Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Hmmm... Monday Night Tea? Sit down with me for decaf Earl Grey and one of the brownies I made yesterday. I'll cut them in half since we don't need too much chocolate or sugar in the evening.

I was reading the comments about boys... and worry... and all that last week. It reminded me of my journey from being very fearful to having more... calm... in my life. Oh, I still have little attacks of fear once in awhile but usually when one of the guys is very late getting home (as opposed to the panic I would feel as a newlywed when my husband was fifteen minutes late!).

As I said, my mother was definitely the queen of worriers. She would literally worry herself sick. When she passed away at age eighty-five, I teased my brothers and sisters that we should put on her tombstone... "See, I told you I was sick" because that was what she had been saying for oh, eighty odd years. :)

The first "event" I can remember which began the change to faith was a sermon preached by an old country preacher the first year we lived in Holland (Michigan). I was twenty-six or twenty-seven years old and we had started attending this church since the pastor was a friend of our former pastor "back home".

I can't say much for his style, or his grasp of the English language, but he could preach. This particular Sunday, he taught us about living a life from an eternal perspective... how God's Word doesn't make sense if we think of this life as being all there is. No, when when we live each day and take into account all that happens to us in light of eternity... it begins to make more sense.

Randy Alcorn has written a lot about this. I love his books, both his fiction and nonfiction. I guess one instance in my own life that reflects this is when my first child, Matthew, passed away soon after his birth. If I didn't have an eternal perspective, if this life was all I expected, then it would have been dreadfully difficult to get over Matthew's death and decide to have another child. However, Stephanie was born a year later and Christopher, uh... twelve years after that (talk about an eternal perspective!) and I know I will see Matthew someday... in Eternity. There is so much more than the three score and ten (more or less) on this planet.

I guess the other reason I tend to be less fearful today comes from living through so many difficult times and not only surviving but finding myself stronger spiritually as the years went by. The Word is so right about Faith... Patience... Experience... Hope being a cycle one goes through in life.

I love Romans 8:16, which is one of my husband's favorite verses, where Paul tells us God has not given us a spirit which makes us a slave to fear but we can call him Abba... Father. How wonderful it is to know God as Father (especially since my father passed away when I was so young) and trust Him with my life (and my family).

When we lived near Muscatine, Iowa for four years, there was an elderly woman who attended our church that our family adored. We found out from her adult children that she had actually had a very difficult life. Their father had been a heavy drinker and somewhat abusive. Yet, this little woman was one of the sweetest people I had ever met. She had decided to let her life's challenges draw her more to Christ and become like him instead of becoming bitter and an angry old lady.

I think of her often, even though she has probably gone on to her reward with Christ. She had such an enormous affect on my Christian life. I knew I wanted to be an old lady like her someday. How much better to have my children say that Mom had quite a few challenges in her life but Jesus was her best friend instead of apologizing for their cranky old lady mother who was a sourpuss. :)

There is nothing within me that makes me less fearful except Christ and His Word taking root and growing through the years. I can't make myself less fearful. I can't even talk myself into having less fear and worry. I can only stay close to the One who loved me so much that He left Heaven to walk on this planet to rescue me from a fallen world. The closer I can stay to Him, the more His Peace overtakes my worry.

Oh, there is another thing I have to admit to being afraid of... the dark. I have never liked the dark and especially when there are trees and things that go bump in the night. I wrote a post about being afraid of the dark a couple years ago... check this out if you think I've finally completely overcome fear. :)

There are still many reasons in my life to fear. Our remaining income doesn't include food or gas. However, He has already shown us His provision this month and for September. Perfect love (His) leaves no room for fear. When I feel it creeping up on me, I run to the Rock.


She'sSewPretty said...

Brenda, I always leave here feeling uplifted. I hope that I won't be a cranky old lady some day. Some days I'm just so cranky, I don't even want to spend time with me.

Alison Boon said...

The rock is the only place to be. I had to go through some fear in order to have the job God wanted for me. I was scared, it involved jumping in the open sea ( I don't swim well and have always hated being under water) but God was right there holding my hand every second. I don't think you'll ever be far from God, you sound like you have a pretty close relationship. May he continue to bless and keep you.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

I wish that posts like this could be gathered into a book. Have you thought of doing that? A devotional? You're so good at sharing and touching your readers with your insights.

Had to laugh over your description of the country preacher who didn't have much grasp of grammar (my paraphrase). I've known a few like that who could preach up a storm. The Holy Spirit can use any of us!

Also grinning about your mom the worrier. My grandmother frets and stews about everything. At 98, she is still up in the night checking to see if doors are locked, cats are rounded up, and the dishwasher isn't going to burst into flames. Drives me slightly bananas!

Have a wonderful week...hope that I get to visit again soon.

freetobeme - Anita said...

Thanks for the tea time. I always enjoy reading your blogs. I used to worry a lot more then I do now. Maybe I'm getting wiser as I age!

Kelly said...

Your words have helped me today! please know that! thank you for following your heart and writing what you feel!


GrammaGrits said...

Brenda, we are so alike that it's a little eerie. My mom is a clone of your mom. I, too, am most afraid of flying and the dark. I praise God that He has taken me through hard things to work in my heart, and He continues to work. His Word is becoming my life and I thank Him for that. "Write eternity on my heart. . . " as Solomon said. God bless you!

Beverly said...


As someone posted earlier Have you ever thought of writing a book? It's as if you do a devotional for many of us now, so why not put your thoughts into a book? You really do have a way of expressing yourself. Keep using the gift that God has given you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Brenday,

Fear tends to paralyze us, doesn't it?

But when we fear, we have a place that we can go and rest and know that we will alwyas be safe - His everlasting love, his embracing arms, Him...our Father, our friend.

I am glad that you are feeling better and you were able to share this wonderful post with us.



marye said...

That's great Brenda. I agree! Lately I have been telling people that my faith is stretched by my Anchor holds!