Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I awoke this morning to heavy rain (again) and possible flooding in the areas of our county that have already had to endure two "100 year floods" in the past few weeks. I also awoke with cold symptoms. My husband was in a terrible mood and to be honest, all I wanted to do was crawl under the covers and stay there all day. I would but I have a very important baby shower to attend this afternoon. As it is, I'm missing church for the second week in a row. Ever have a day like that? That's exactly when I need a calming cup of tea.

For the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about the world in which we now live and one who lived in difficult times long ago... Queen Esther. I truly believer that, like her, I was born into the "kingdom" for such a time as this. Everything I have experienced, any knowledge gained, strengths, weaknesses... all come together for today.

To be honest, when I look at my own circumstances each day I feel quite unable to handle them. Throw in the world news, rising food and oil prices, increased crime statistics, kids in a university (again) being killed while sitting in a lecture hall, and uh... even the bees are dying off... sheesh, what will tomorrow look like?

I told God once before that I thought He made a mistake on His timeline. That was when Christopher was born twelve years later than his sister. I was already wearing down physically and here was this little boy who was a challenge from conception! While going through those years of physical and mental exhaustion (and every mom of an ADHD child will know what I mean)... those were the years I told God He obviously had meant for this child to come sooner in my life.

Of course, now I smile at such thinking for Christopher is exactly the son I need. He is definitely not perfect but he is truly a joy to have around... even if he does have a rather melancholic nature. God's timing is always perfect, never early... never late. Which is also to say, the fact I was born in the 1950s and I'd enter the 21st century with a chronic illness also did not escape His notice.

Perhaps you also look at the world around you and wonder how it will be possible to face tomorrow? There are a lot of "what ifs" in life at this time, not the least of which is the consistent threat of terrorism. Not only from the "outside"... those college students in northern Illinois were killed by another student. The YWAM students and the sisters killed at a Colorado church recently... shot and killed by a young man raised in a good, Christian home.

So, Brenda, now that you have depressed us and made us want to stay inside today... what is your point? Life isn't easy... this isn't Heaven, yet... but we are exactly where God placed us in space and time. He has promised never to leave us and never to forsake us. However, His grace is like manna, it only lasts one day at a time.

The Word says we are to "take no thought for tomorrow". Now, that doesn't mean we don't plan at all. The Bible also tells us it is a foolish man who sees trouble coming and hides from it (my translation). I plan by filling my freezer with meat and vegetables when they go on sale, having some extra canned goods on my shelf, extra batteries, candles in case the electricity goes out again (which does happen in the county), etc.

I "take no thought" by not worrying about tomorrow or fretting over yesterday's decisions. God has given grace for today. He knows we can't go back in time and change yesterday so we must let the past... go... literally... take a deep breath... let it go. We can do what is possible today to prepare for days to come, only as He leads. He knows what each family will face tomorrow. It is remarkable for me at times to look back and see how He was preparing answers to prayers YEARS before I would need that particular answer.

A friend of mine was telling me recently how she has challenges with anxiety. I shared that the result of facing numerous trials and challenges through the years was now... the ability to have less anxiety. That doesn't mean I'm never tempted to worry or fret, no... when I hear an ambulance go by at the same time one of the guys is due home, there is that fleeting sense of panic and a quick prayer sent up. I still hyperventilate at tornado warnings.

But I have learned to take my eyes off the problem that is causing my panic and putting it on God. When we've had no income, when my health has been terrible, when my husband goes into another bipolar depression or becomes angry, when there is less money than bills already and the cost of living is skyrocketing... I have learned to look at the Rock. He has seen it all already and nothing surprises Him.

I do not have faith in faith, especially not my faith. How often I've had to pray a prayer for Him to forgive my unbelief. When my first son died shortly after birth, my pastor at the time let me know it was because of my lack of faith. Fortunately, I was grounded in Scripture enough to know (eventually) that wasn't true. I give Him the best faith and trust I can muster but then... I trust not only the Word but the very Character of God, Himself.

Would He that came as a Lamb and will come again as the Lion of Judah let me down? The answers to prayer may not be as quick as I would like, I may even have to (gasp) suffer a bit physically and financially... but He will never do anything out of His Character.

We can be assured that we were born "for the kingdom... for such a time as this". With all our challenges and problems, weaknesses and flaws... we are here at the right place and the right time. Even if we don't understand it, we were born into the very family for which He planned. He doesn't ask more from us than we can give.

At the same time, He will surprise us at how much we can survive and flourish when given His strength and grace. But it only comes during the time we must have it and when we ask for it. If we look at tomorrow with fear, we cannot handle it with grace meant for today.

I pray for you peace and courage, faith and joy. As the angels say, "Fear not".


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Brenda, I think that this post is anointed. I was just reading some rant somewhere about how bloggers don't talk about the difficult things...that we're all so busy complimenting ourselves and being fake that we can't lament the loss of students at Illinois State or whatever the current news of the day happens to be. So this post is especially hitting home with me today.

Just this morning I was introduced to C.T. Studd who was a missionary years and years ago. There are a lot of his quotes about and one was this: "Funds are low again, hallelujah! That means God trusts us and is willing to leave His reputation in our hands." We could substitute anything for "funds" I suppose and it would still be true.

(Sometimes the things that pastors try to do to their flocks is beyond revolting. I hope that your pastor was enlightened somewhere along the way.)

marye said...

I always seem to stop by at just the right moment to be uplifted..thank you!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Brenda, for a precious blog post that is 'real'. It was a true blessing. This sentence just leaped right out at me!

"At the same time, He will surprise us at how much we can survive and flourish when given His strength and grace."

I have found this to be true in my own life, especially through having to care for my father-in-law last year at this time as well as care for and schooling our 7 children. I learned so much about my Self and my God.

Thank you for writing!
Jennifer (ps--I've emailed you once or twice, just so you will know who I am! :))

Anonymous said...

Great post Brenda! I like what you said, "If we look at tomorrow with fear, we cannot handle it with grace meant fo today." Very good!

Blessings, Patty

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your heartfelt words.

Anonymous said...

May God rain blessings upon blessings to you, Brenda. What a good, solid reminder -- fresh manna must be gathered each day. We have only to seek from Him. I pray you will know God's grace this day, as you serve Him and as you serve your family as wife and mother. You are a blessing to your readers. Desert Lady

Barbara said...

Hi! Brenda i have been catching up on a lot of your posts. This is a great post but it grieves me to know that your pastor said you child died because of lack of faith. That is such an awful thing to say and so not true. A complete lie of Satan. Wow. I am glad that you did not believe it.
You are so right, we do not live by our own faith but by THE faith of the Son of God. Gal. 2.20
Blessings to y ou.