My girls and I made it back home to the ranch this past weekend after spending our summer break traveling along the east coast and then catching up with friends and family in Fort Worth. We started our excursion by driving to my parent’s house the day after school let out where we took a couple days to regroup. Anyone who knows me personally is probably aware of my need to constantly regroup and Taylor would always tease that it was easily my favorite word. Traveling without him and leaving the security of my routine certainly brought out a heightened anxiety, but turning off the autopilot of our normal life helped me to face my grief and process everything in a different environment.
That environment changed drastically from the drought we left behind in New Mexico when we boarded a plane and headed to Destin, Florida to visit our friends, the Fielders. Lauren (McGill) Fielder was the first friend I made in college at TCU. Lauren grew up in Destin and after living in Fort Worth, Dallas and New York, is settled back home with her husband, Layne (also a local), and their daughter, Sophia. Lauren and I met at frog camp before the start of freshmen year and were fast friends, sticking together through all the happiness and heartaches of the last 15 years. Lauren is one of those friends where you can always pick up right where you left off because she is true blue and the embodiment of sunshine. One of the things I admire most about Lauren is you know she lives for Jesus after your first conversation with her. She doesn’t have to tell you she’s a Christian, but you can tell Christ is a part of who she is by the way she treats everyone around her.
I always describe Lauren as “the hostess with the mostess” because hosting is truly one of her God-given gifts. The rest of her family is also just as welcoming and delightful. I had not been to Destin since our freshmen year when I went with Lauren back to her parent’s house for fall break, though I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the McGills in Texas throughout the years. Lauren’s daughter, Sophia, is just a few months younger than Margot and though the two had face-timed on occasion since birth, they had never met in person. It was no surprise that our three daughters were instantly friends and calling each other “Sissy” within a couple hours of knowing each other. Our first night at Lauren’s house, we made it home from the airport and had an easy dinner followed by the kids playing in the backyard before bedtime. Standing with a friend I’ve shared so many moments with in life, we couldn’t get over how special it was to watch our own girls finally get to play together without any hesitation or shyness.
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”Hebrews 13:2
That first night, I cozied into the queen bed of Lauren’s guest room with my two girls and had a restful sleep for the first time in quite a while. Our entire trip was restful, even though Lauren made sure to showcase the best of her hometown and filled our days with exciting activities and new experiences. Lauren is always good about promoting local shops, businesses and restaurants and building up her community by supporting their successes. I know she has been one of my biggest cheerleaders in life. On our last day in Florida, Lauren hosted the most fabulous princess tea party for several little girls complete with all kinds of local treats! I loved seeing my girls enjoy dressing up with Sophia and meeting some of her friends. I enjoyed visiting with their precious mothers. Lauren’s sister, Mallory, who is an incredible photographer and just as beautiful and warm, captured the pure joy of all the princesses in attendance.
Even though our week in Destin was filled with activity, It was completely restful because I felt completely at home in my friend’s house and free to talk about anything and everything. One night after our girls were down, Lauren and I stayed up chatting and inevitably the conversation turned to Taylor and our thoughts on heaven. We talked about God-given gifts and what type of jobs there might be in eternity. Lauren then confidently said, “I just hope if I go first that everyone I love knows there will be a beautiful spread waiting for them when they get to heaven.” This comforting thought made me laugh because it was so true. Weather in a dorm room, a narrow NYC apartment, or the Lord’s banquet table, Lauren knows how to host a party and that is a gift God has used to bring so many people together and into the home of a woman who will gladly share her faith with anyone. I have no doubt that she is a woman who has already entertained an angel or two. I often think about Taylor ranching in heaven or wonder if there is a football team up there he is coaching. All pondering aside, we all have God-given gifts. I don’t know if the Bible tells us how we will use them in heaven, but I challenge all of us to consider how we are using our gifts now on earth to bring glory to God’s Kingdom.
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