Several weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure of attending a silent auction hosted by our Sligo women’s ministries organization. The theme for that afternoon was High Tea, complete with fine china, hors d’oeurves and magnificent hats. The auction proceeds provide scholarships to women around the world who have been called to ministry, but for some reason or another are unable to pay fully for their studies.
As I scanned the sea of exquisite and, dare I say, unique hats, I realized that each hat had something to say about its designer and possibly the one who was wearing it. There were stylish veiled hats, hats with ribbons and bows, some broad-brimmed, others made from stiffly starched materials, some antique and others that were very trendy. I saw red hats, white hats, pink hats, blue hats, black hats, hats with roses, and even purple straw hats. As unique as each hat was, the wearers were even more diverse in culture and ethnicity. Each delightful woman had a story to tell. The hats simply created the springboard for purposeful conversation. As each woman was encouraged to share her personal ‘hat story’, I found myself contemplating my own broad- brimmed adventure. Yes, my bonnet had the capability to eclipse the moon.
I thought about my first hat as a small child, a simple white hat, tied with a pink ribbon. I enjoyed wearing that hat. Everything was new and fresh to me. I was excited about the journey ahead-so much to learn and experience. As a teenager I was asked to wear a hat in order to participate in an evangelistic meeting. Although I was willing to serve, my pride prevented me from wearing one for fear of ridicule by my peers. I suppose I was not quite ready for that assignment but I remained on the path. Then came my lily-white, flying nun hat worn for my husband’s ordination to ministry responsibility, and purpose had begun. Those hats represented pivotal times in my life and I can clearly see how God’s leading strengthened me and prepared me for such a time as this.
Throughout the afternoon I had a chance to speak with every woman at the event. Each woman was someone’s daughter and each had her own unique story to tell. Some were mothers, grandmothers and even great grandmas, who were proud to share nuggets of wisdom laced with humor. I also met single moms, surrogate moms, potential moms, and those who simply admired moms. I can only imagine the colorful stories behind each lovely face and behind each beautiful hat.
As the gathering came to a close, we were reminded of our united purpose. We were there to make a concerted difference, not only in the lives of our immediate social network, but for those young women who had been called to support God’s mission around the world. I wondered whether or not my small gift would make a dent. As the total amount collected for the event was announced, we all cheered with delight! Despite our cultural filters and our differing ideologies we had become a powerful entity for change. I guess you could say that we had become purpose-driven daughters.