Angel in a Pickup

by Penelope Carlevato @TeaTimePen

Being a tour guide on my Taste of Britain Tea Tours is one of my greatest joys. I escort women on ten-day tours throughout England, experiencing the glory of England and afternoon teas in many different venues. The first day is always the toughest, getting everyone settled in their hotel rooms, converting their dollars to British pounds, and explaining English terms.

On one of my tours, we had the privilege of seeing Queen Elizabeth twice on our first day. The ladies were thrilled at the chance sightings, and I knew it was one of those “God things”. It was their first trip to England, and I wanted it to be perfect.

That evening, relaxing in the tub in my London hotel room, I decided it was a good time to catch up on my Bible reading.  A verse grabbed my attention…”Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NIV).

Why was it so important to me that this trip be perfect? Was it so everyone would have a good time, or was I trying to make myself look good? I wanted everyone to believe I had it all together. I didn’t want to be thought of as a failure when things didn’t go as planned. I realized I would be walking on eggshells during the tour if I didn’t trust God with these women and all the details of the journey. I turned it over to Him, as I had done my homework, and now I needed to rest in his goodness and provision.

At the end of our ten days in England, I was pleased that everything went so well.  No injuries, illness, or complaints. God was in control, and it had been the perfect trip – up until we traveled to the airport.  We were late.

As we left the motorway and entered the roundabout leading to Gatwick Airport, our van suddenly stopped dead…right in the middle of two exit lanes.  We were blocking traffic at rush hour. Drivers began to blast their horns and shake their fists at us. I immediately went into panic mode instead of trusting God to take care of the situation. But one of our sweet ladies in the group suggested we pray. What a brilliant idea! 

We prayed, “Lord, please send us an angel to help us in this situation.” 

As we concluded our prayer, a small pickup pulled in front of our van. A tall, good-looking man in a dark blue uniform jumped out of his truck and came to our driver’s window. “Oh no,” I thought, “a traffic warden (the English name for a policeman) is going to issue us a ticket. Just what we didn’t need! We’ll miss our flight home for sure.”

He came to the driver’s window, and instead of issuing us a ticket, asked if he could help pull our van off to the side of the road. He used a tow rope he had in the bed of his pickup and pulled us out of traffic.

Walking back to our van, he peeked his head inside and asked, “Which terminal and airline, ladies?”

All of us shouted over the head of the driver, “South Terminal – British Airways to Denver.”

“Great,” He replied, as he tipped his cap, “I’ll see you on board. I’m your pilot.”

God whispered in my heart, “See? I am in control. Trust me. I’ve got this.”

We all cheered like a bunch of teenagers. In a short while, the Automobile Club arrived to help us with our van. We had a broken gas gage. We had run out of gas!

I learned a great lesson on that trip.  God went before us, and He was in control. It wasn’t a coincidence that our British Airway’s pilot passed us on the roundabout at that exact time. We made our flight on time, and once onboard, the pilot gave us all an exclusive visit to the cockpit.

This Scripture is not just words on a page, but God’s promise to us:

So not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Penelope Carlevato -5About the author: Penelope Carlevato is a Christian author and speaker and a contributing author for numerous compilation books. She serves as a regular columnist for Leading Hearts, the award-winning magazine for Christian women, and also writes for Innovative Health and other medical and wellness magazines. You can find out more at PenelopeCarlevato.com

Penelope has written several books: Tea on the Titanic, First Class Etiquette, The Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic, Tea Lover’s Journal, and Happy Family Tea Time. Whether planning a Birthday Tea, a Christmas Tea, a Christening Tea or even a themed DownThe Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic by [Penelope Carlevato]ton Abbey Tea, the pleasures of sharing tea time come alive as Penelope shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and inspiration. 

 

Join the conversation: Has God ever rescued you from a difficult situation? Please share!

He Cares

by Penelope Carlevato @TeaTimePen

 Our pastor and his wife were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. The church presented them with a gift for a four-day cruise out of Los Angeles Harbor on a “party” ship.  I couldn’t help but wonder, “what are you thinking?”  It was called a party ship for a reason! Anyway, off they went to celebrate their anniversary.

On their return home, they were full of smiles and reported what a wonderful time they had. A few weeks later, we had lunch with them, and I decided to find out what “really” happened.

Well, they were shocked when they first boarded the ship and saw all the party-goers. They found their cabin and couldn’t decide if they should get off before they left port or stay on board and make the most of it. Maybe this was all part of God’s plan. After praying, they felt God had a reason for them to be on this particular ship.

A big concern was who would be sharing their dinner table for the next four nights. They prayed about the situation and trusted it would be good.  At dinner that evening, they were delighted to meet their dining partners, a young Christian couple on their honeymoon. The newlyweds were just as surprised about the atmosphere of the ship, and had been praying the exact prayer.

It turned out to be a fantastic four days. The young couple was delighted to have marriage advice for a few nights, and our pastor and his wife loved the joy and excitement of the newlyweds.

Our pastor’s wife shared, “Don’t ever doubt what God can do when we ask for his help.”

We had been asking God for help for several months. We found ourselves priced out of the housing market in Southern California in the mid-1980s because of the high-interest rates – almost 20 percent. We decided we would rent for a while, but rentals were very scarce because of the high prices. Every day I would study the for-rent columns in the newspapers, but as soon as a house was available, it rented.

I was very discouraged, and time was getting short, as our current home had sold, and we needed to move. For some reason, our friends’ situation regarding table mates on the cruise ship came to my mind.

I thought, “If God cares about who our pastor and his wife sat with for dinner on the cruise ship, surely He cares about where we live.”

That evening we all prayed and thanked him that he had just the right house for our family. We wanted a home in the same school district, three bedrooms, a fenced yard, and within our budget. My spirit lifted, and I thought again about our pastor and the cruise ship dining experience.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV

The next afternoon, I drove through a beautiful neighborhood to pick up the children from school. As I drove down a quiet, tree-lined street, a man placed a for rent sign on the front lawn of a very nice house. I stopped and inquired about the rental. It sounded perfect, and as I looked inside and out in the fenced back yard, it was perfect. But the owner told me several interested parties had already called, and he was interviewing them first. He would be happy to let me fill out a rental application. I prayed to stay calm and trust God. I repeated the scripture from Philippians and our pastor’s wife’s advice – “don’t ever doubt what God can do when we ask for his help.”.

Our family prayed that evening for that house. Early the next morning, the landlord called and said he had chosen us!  He told me, “The moment you stopped yesterday afternoon and talked with me, I knew you were the family God wanted in this house.”

We spent several years in that lovely three-bedroom home with the fenced yard. God does care where we live and with whom we dine. The extra blessing was the Christian landlord.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

TWEETABLE
He Cares – a timely reminder about #GodsLove from Penelope Carlevato, @TeaTimePen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Penelope Carlevato -5

About the author: Penelope Carlevato is a Christian author and speaker, member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Bureau and Titanic Speakers Bureau, and a contributing author for numerous compilation books. She serves as a regular columnist for Leading Hearts, the award-winning magazine for Christian women, and also writes for Innovative Health and other medical and wellness magazines.

Penelope’s book Tea on the Titanic, First Class Etiquette is a collection of recipes, special menus, and interesting facts and stories of life in the Downton Abbey and Titanic era. Whether planning a Birthday Tea, a Christmas Tea, a Christening Tea or even a themed Downton Abbey Tea, the pleasures of sharing tea time come alive as Penelope shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and inspiration.

Join the conversation: Do you have a story about when you brought your needs before God and he provided for you? Please share!

Practicing Hospitality

by Penelope Carlevato @teatimepen

As a young mom, my Mondays were always busy.  It was my laundry day, and I had several mountains of clothes to wash. Monday was also the day I volunteered at the school store and drove the after-school sports carpool. All three of our children were involved in football or gymnastics. Usually I cooked dinner in the crockpot that night, as it was impossible to start a decent family meal after arriving home so late.

My husband called me from work early one Monday morning to tell me he had invited a college buddy  for dinner. Ed was just in town for one day on business, and this was our one opportunity to have him. I had a large roast in the crockpot, so dinner wouldn’t be a problem. My main concern was getting the house in shape, setting the table, and whipping up a quick dessert.

After all the chauffeuring and getting children home after practice, I raced into the house to complete the final touches on dinner. As I did, I asked the kids to please put away their cleats, back packs, gym bags, and get into the shower. I turned to my work in the kitchen.

When I heard the front door open, I took off my apron and greeted my husband and Ed. When I stepped into the foyer, I almost fell flat on my face as I tripped over stinky cleats, socks, backpacks, gym bags, and shoulder pads. I was so embarrassed our guest was greeted by this mess!

But, to my amazement, Ed assured me, “I feel right at home. This is what I come home to every night!” His gracious comment put everyone at ease, and we had a great evening.

It was an enormous lesson for me. I didn’t need a spotless house to have guests. I think I knew that, but this was the first time I actually put that belief to the test.

“For am I now seeking the approval of human beings or of God?  Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10 NIV

Many years later, I continue to practice my gift of hospitality. Sometimes I serve meals in a spotless home, but sometimes in a messy home. No one has refused to come for dinner because the house was in chaos! If I have time, I will make the meal very special, but if not, it’s paper plates and plastic cups. My mother shared some wise words with me when I was growing up:  “It takes so little to go the extra mile and make your guests feel special.” My preference is to add a little “class” to each meal.

Hospitality is a part of a Christian’s lifestyle, extending Christ’s love to all who enter our homes. When we release the need to have the “perfect” home, we are open to welcome friends and strangers with genuine gladness and love. Nothing is more fun than breaking bread around the table….and it’s not what’s on the table that guests remember. It’s who is around the table.

Practicing hospitality was also an opportunity for my children through example, as I gladly offered my home to others even when every detail was not in place. Insisting that everything be just-so was in reality an effort to impress people. The only one that I needed to please was God.

Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  1 Peter 4:8-10 NASB

TWEETABLE
Practicing Hospitality – insight from Penelope Carlevato @TeaTimePen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Penelope Carlevato -5About the author: Penelope Carlevato is a Christian author and speaker, member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Bureau and Titanic Speakers Bureau, and a contributing author for numerous compilation books. She serves as a regular columnist for Leading Hearts, the award-winning magazine for Christian women, and also writes for Innovative Health and other medical and wellness magazines.

Penelope’s book Tea on the Titanic, First Class Etiquette is a collection of recipes, special menus, and interesting facts and stories of life in the Downton Abbey and Titanic era. Whether planning a Birthday Tea, a Christmas Tea, a Christening Tea or even a themed Downton Abbey Tea, the pleasures of sharing tea time come alive as Penelope shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and inspiration.