Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday's Woman Guest Post - Teri Lee

Teri Lee was a little girl I watched grow up at a distance.  She is the same age as my little brother, so I saw her at school programs, awards days (and she racked up quite a few!), and cross country competitions.  I'm happy to see the woman she's grown into and delighted to have her share with us today.

Thank you, Teri Lee, for sharing your Wednesday's Woman with us!

It’s more than just having people over for dinner, isn’t it?

My grandmother knows.  Her grown children and grandchildren (and now great grandchildren!) all live in different states.  She has been widowed for 12 years.  She has semi-retired and lives alone next door to the house in which she grew up.  It would be easy for a person in her position to sit at home and become lonely.  Grandma worked full time as a teacher and librarian, was a pastor’s wife who often led the music and/or played piano in her church, and raised three girls.  It would be fair for her to take these years to just rest and find things she enjoys to do.  But the Lord has work for Grandma to do.  So she gets up every morning and gives even more of herself to those around her…and in that act, brings life and love into her own home.

Grandma says that most recipes serve eight…so why would you just cook for yourself?  Instead of using this as an excuse not to cook, Grandma just fills her table regularly with (at least) eight people.  Her widowed neighbor across the street, single mothers and their children, and a constant stream of military families stationed far from home all come into “Grandma Shirley’s” house for a meal…and a taste of love that a real home brings.  She keeps a list of what she serves so she never serves the same thing twice (so if you love something, you better tell her you want it again…or you’ll never taste it twice!) and she always uses her prettiest plates.  No matter what is served, Grandma’s house is a place where the heavy-burdened can take a big breath, fill their stomachs, and refresh their hearts.

Matthew 9 talks about how Jesus ate with sinners because they were the ones who needed Him.  In a culture that is based on doing things to elevate and promote self, Grandma seems to specialize in calling people to her table that can offer her nothing but the joy of serving.  They are special guests to her…a chance to offer someone something they need in a hard time.  I know Grandma doesn’t see anyone as a “project” or a “charity case” but rather friends.  She has a gift of seeing them the way Jesus sees them…and loves them accordingly.

I’ve wondered before how Grandma meets all these people.  How does she always know people who need her table?  I think it has a lot to do with being obedient one time.  She meets a military couple who eventually asks to invite their neighbors over as well.  Those neighbors become her dear friends and eventually invite her over to their house where she meets their sister’s family who lives in the area.  Then, one of them moves and passes her name to the family who is being stationed in their place…and so on.  She stops at houses that she knows have been on the market when she sees the “For Sale” sign go down.  She tracks down every church visitor and notices the family shyly trying to get directions in town.  In other words?  She makes room.  Her life is busy (I’m talking about how hospitable she is…but she also sews nonstop for others, works part time at a college library in town, and is extraordinarily active in her church) but she is never too busy for people.  If you need her…there is always room.  She always has an extra card table, an extra hour, an extra ear for those around her.

Hospitality is more than opening your home.  Hospitality is opening up spaces in your life and heart for those who need the Jesus inside you the most. 

Teri Lee is a member of a little family that seeks after Jesus in all things.  She stays at home with her one year old son, Carter, and is wife to a wonderful man, Steven.  Teri Lee dabbles in all sorts of home hobbies with a great deal of enthusiasm and very little skill J.  She seeks to remember these moments that make up our lives at Castillo, Party of 4.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much, Teri Lee. You made me cry some as I read what you said. I love you more than you know.