I, however, was tested before He beckoned me into His huddle team. Unbeknownst to Vonda, she was the tester.
It was after an appreciation tea that my test began. Vonda had asked if she could stay to talk to me about an idea she had. Spending extra time with Vonda is always a pleasure, so I said, “Sure.”
Vonda told me her story in how God had been calling her to help women start and grow their speaking ministries. Ladies from all over the country were asking, if she would mentor them. As a speaker in high demand, Vonda didn’t feel she had the time or place to meet these needs, but she had the desire.
I was excited for her and her mission. Then she surprised me. Vonda asked, if I would be the cook at her first ladies conference! At that moment, I was stunned.
Cooking and serving others is my delight in my home. However, event planning, fund-raising, and keynote speaking had been my profession. At this moment, our CEO was testing my pride. The battle within me fired thoughts faster than bullets flying from an AK-47. The capital letter, “I” was hitting targets. “I, I, I, I, I…” did this and “I, I, I, I, I…” did that as a professional. “I” didn’t cook for hire!
Vonda only saw me smile, but on the inside a battle raged. How long the smile and silence lasted, I don’t know. I do know that Christ waited quietly for my choice of action.
As I looked to Him for direction in a flash prayer, He gently brought to mind, my personal verses that year. “…if you love Me…feed My lambs…care for My sheep…feed My sheep.” John 21:15-17.
The “I” bullets dropped with a cease-fire. There was a choice to be made. I could pick up the firearm of pride ,or I could be willing to literally feed His sheep.
Was He asking me instead of Peter, “If you love Me?” Were the ladies His sheep He had prepared me to feed?
Destructive pride or humble pie? There was no deliberation. My answer was “Yes. Lord, I’m yours to feed whomever You bring before me in what ever role You ask of me.”
God uses Vonda’s and my differences to meet His plan. Vonda would rather write a detailed website and speak before hundreds than create a tablescape, make sweet breads or host an afternoon tea. However, show me a need and my gift of hospitality kicks in to bring about an enchanted environment with food for filling both bellies and eyes for two to twenty-two in minutes.
At that first Christian Communicators conference cooking was a pleasure. Contributing a couple of programs was a delight. Partnering with Vonda was an unexpected blessing brought about by the Good Shepherd.
Our CEO continues to grow His flock of servant leaders in Christian Communicators. To our last conference, He brought a professional cook named Theresa. This freed me to contribute more of my gifts and training skills, which added professional polish and poise to the ladies and their ministries. Theresa served encouragement and blessings, in addition to tasty cuisine.
This year our CEO has added to His plan in growing the Christian Communicators conference. He has tapped La-Tan Roland Murphy to join us as the conference worship leader. Marcia Gaddis is teaming up with us as the assistant with an abundance of kindheartedness, grace and servant leadership expertise. The chefs from theBillyGrahamTrainingCenterat The Cove will be doing all of the cooking.
Yet, our CEO will be the one feeding us all. How blessed to be serving under the One who stretched out His arms on a cross to show how much He loves us.
My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. ~ John 10:27