Sunday Afternoon Tea: Then there was a woman in Joppa

By on October 7, 2012
Apple of Her Eye

Then there was a woman in Joppa, a disciple called Tabitha, whose name in Greek was Dorcas (meaning Gazelle). She was a woman whose whole life was full of good and kindly actions, but in those days she became seriously ill and died…

Peter got up and went back with them, and when he arrived in Joppa they took him to the room upstairs. All the widows stood around him with tears in their eyes, holding out for him to see dresses and cloaks which Dorcas used to make for them while she was with them…

Then he turned to the body and said, “Tabitha, get up!” She opened her eyes, and as soon as she saw Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand, helped her to her feet, and then called out to the believers and widows and presented her to them alive.
Acts 9:36-41 (Phillips)

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I just adore the story of Tabitha (Dorcas). Have you ever thought how your everyday actions influence others? I do quite often and this week a book I was reading reminded me of a few women whose lives imprinted on me in the area of domesticity.

As I pondered their influence, I was reminded we often think it is only important to do great things and having a platform which reaches thousands. But I believe just being a light in a dark world will have major affect these days.

I think once in awhile of my aunt, the one who was married to my mother’s brother who also developed Juvenile diabetes in middle age. I was quite small when we would visit their Elizabethtown home but her feminine touches were everywhere… that unique Southern way of combining luxury with lack.

I have to remind myself that generation was born not all that long after the Civil War (or War Between the States according to what side of the Mason-Dixon line you found yourself). For I came along when my mother was well into middle age and she was also a late in life surprise child. 🙂

What was it about my aunt that would cause a young child to recall her some fifty years later? It was the way her small home was so warm and cozy with those little touches of culture… a little silver, good china, beautiful if somewhat shabby furniture, delicious food, and her precious smile.

She was a true Southern lady and although I only remember one or two visits to her home… and each lasting for only an hour or less… she is one of the women I wanted to be like when I grew up.

I recall my sister Bonnie’s mother-in-law, especially during the Holidays as she was the amazing baker and candy maker who blessed all of us with homemade goodies each year. Except for the occasional new doll… hers was my most anticipated gift.

She was a heavy set woman who wore her waist length gray hair up in a bun. Most of my memories of her took place in her tiny kitchen, apron around her waist and seeming to have an extra set of hands as she ran to and fro stirring the pots and setting the dining room table and running back to turn down the heat on the pot roast.

She was indeed a maestro in the kitchen. I didn’t spend any one-on-one time with her but just watching as one of her invited guests made me want to bless others with my cooking someday.

I recently shared about another woman whose role as homemaker imprinted on my soul the kind of person I wanted to become… and I only met her “in person” for an hour or so! She was the mother of a large household of children who were friends with my husband in his teenage and young adult years.

It was her creativity and the way her family interacted that drew me to her and I understood why this home would be such an oasis for my husband from his critical parents.

I have often thought how her faith was manifested in love, compassion, and creativity… and I wanted to be just like her.

So… what am I trying to say? We influence others by the way we live our lives every day. Never perfectly, of course. My sister’s mother-in-law could be difficult at times (can’t we all?).

But as we set a pretty table, light a scented candle, simmer chicken soup, bake an extra loaf of homemade bread, knit a scarf or crochet a warm afghan, surprise those we love with popcorn and hot chocolate (can you tell it is cold where I live?), send a letter in a card we made, read our Bible, say a prayer, and offer hospitality to the brokenhearted… we influence those whom God has placed in our life.

The three women above had no idea they were influencing a child and later a young wife as they went about their daily activities. Don’t ever think you are not doing the work of God because you have no pulpit… oh, no… for your pulpit is your home!

Picture: Apple of Her Eye

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Sunday Afternoon Tea: Then there was a woman in Joppa