Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Note: I know this will make S.A.T. pop up again on RSS feeds. Sorry! I just wanted to add that I truly don't feel judged. I welcome those who don't always agree with me. That's the whole point of this post... be the person God is calling you to be and know there are differences in the Kingdom of God about how we pursue life.

Sit down with me and enjoy a cup of Earl Grey while we chat. It is so good to be home again. When I am working outside the home, there is only time for maintenance and making an attempt to declutter. This next week I hope to enjoy some creative projects and begin a new study for my quiet times now that I once again have... time.

It's interesting to me how God works by giving me "ponderings" during the week to chat about on Sundays. Tasha Tudor's birthday led me down the path of ponderings this week. Her decision to live life as she desired to the point she created her own little world is what draws us to her (and we meet her through her art work and books).

I was thinking this week how she has inspired me to begin doing more of that, in my life and on this blog. It has saddened me to have many readers who used to comment regularly stop coming by as I made the decision long ago to communicate how important my faith is to me and all I do. I stop by their blogs and I'm no longer on their lists of Favorites but I continue to read and admire them where our love of books, beauty, and Tea Time meet.

I did not make the decision to recommend our new VP lightly. I had already set a time to have it post the next morning when I went back an hour later, sat here at the computer staring at the screen... and changed the post to DRAFT form to think about it a little longer... later deciding to publish it and then adding the second post when I arrived home. I knew there would be those who would be disappointed in my decision and perhaps (as with others in the past) drop me from their Favorites list. Also, I choose most often to bring no controversy here... except perhaps our favorite teas and lattes. :)

However, when I first pushed that Create Your Blog button and wrote out that first post (once I figured out how to do it back then, it wasn't as user friendly as it is now), I had a few reasons for wanting to write. First and most importantly... to encourage other people who are going through difficult trials that God is at work in their life and this isn't Heaven, yet. Second... share my love for beauty, books, and Tea Time. Third... share my passion for emergency preparedness (a well stocked pantry and some planning ahead). This is the core of all I write and do and developing precious friendships has been an unexpected fruit of that experience.

In my ponderings this week during lulls in the chaos of work... when one could stare out into space and ponder thoughts in their heart... I thought about how far God has brought me to be more like Tasha. Not spiritually as she made no claims to be a Christian (as far as I can tell). No, in that my mentor is and probably always will be Edith Schaeffer. In the now forty years since I gave my life to Christ, I'm getting better at trying to serve Him to the best of my ability... to become the person He created me to be rather than try to fit the mold others expect. I desire to be the person God most wants me to be, followed closely by my husband and children... those who know my quirks the best and love me in spite of them.

I disappointed my in-laws by being a fervent Evangelical Christian and "taking my husband" away from the Lutheran denomination (little did they know he'd already left it at college). I disappointed my mother when I gave my life to Christ (she had been raised in a legalistic Christian home and thought I'd become like her family). I disappointed many Christian friends when I spent years working full time (even though that is what my husband desired) and I definitely disappointed many other Christians when I chose to come home full time.

I completely bewildered many Christian friends when we made the decision to take Christopher out of the public schools and teach him at home. Oh, my friends... only those who have walked that path can feel the firestorm of controversy that decision can bring among family and friends. I've been on all sides of the Mommy Wars.

Every devout Christian... man or woman... faces criticism from all sides because we are going against the flow of Society in the first place. Secondly, we criticize each other because we are unique in the place God has led us which will make us different by way of denomination, the way we "do Church", raise our children, choose to educate our children, the way we dress (or don't dress as with some women these days), the way we teach or preach, the books we read or don't read, ditto for movies and DVD's, TV or no TV, work outside the home or be led to stay at home full time... the various reasons we Christians can come against each other is practically infinite in the way you can take one or many roads these days.

I've often quoted the words my mentor (Edith) writes in many of her books... "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will always end up with nothing." That is definitely true of me. I can guarantee you without doubt, if you read Coffee Tea Books & Me long enough (and some of you have been with me all two years so far), I will disappoint you as I have some in backing a mother of five children in her quest to be Vice President. A woman I admire greatly who could have aborted a down syndrome child in utero and no one would have known about it... but she and her God.

I love the spirit of Tasha Tudor... the spunkiness of living life on her terms. When we receive our Social Security check this week, I'm going to purchase some oil for my oil lamps and use them from time to time... in her honor. I'll also look around my home and do some "tweaking" to make it cozy for the upcoming cool weather... by faith as it is 90 degrees here today!

I adore Edith Schaeffer and the way she and her family changed the lives of thousands upon thousands by welcoming people into their chalet, serving meals and tea to countless strangers and finding time to put pen to paper as her ponderings molded young women for decades. I would be a far less capable wife and mother without her. I'll pull one of her books off the shelf... many of which are now yellowed and stained with the snack I was enjoying while reading a particular section in the evening... and once again absorb her precious wisdom.

Each one of us must spend time in the Word and before our God who created us... who knew us before we were in our mother's womb. Only He can guide us and mold us to be the person we are to become and only Jesus can present us before the Father at the end of our journey without a spot or wrinkle (and in some of us... like me... that takes a lot of washing and ironing my friends).

We must listen to others, those who have shown wisdom to us through the years. In the presence of many counselors we learn. However, many voices will try to mold us into becoming who they believe we are to be... and do what they think we should do. It will be that way until we cross the Jordon and see Him on the other side. Choose this day Whom you will serve and to Whom you will listen, followed closely by those who know you best and love you most.

Then find men and women who have gone down that path before you... in the Bible, in books, those who are living and breathing... and learn from them but remember... only One has lived a perfect life and even He was crucified by those whom He offended by not being the person they thought He should be.

18 comments:

Sharon said...

Brenda...What a marvelous post...you have given so much food for thought here.I appreciate the way you share your faith here for it constantly encourages me as I blog or simply live my life for Jesus.I just celebrated 30 years of of walking with Him back in July and it was the best decision I ever made!Bless you Brenda!~Sharon G.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Dear Brenda,
I am sorry that you feel so judged by others.But I know lots of other people don't judge you! I know we don't agree about everything, but I greatly value your blog and all that you have to say. We do agree on many things and I lots to think about when we don't agree....It says so many times in the Bible, "Judge not....." I always told my kids that we have to judge whether actions are good or bad;we have to decide what to do. But we can never decide that people are good or bad, really, because only God knows enough to do that......

I am quite sure that God wants you to be authentic in your walk with him. And you seem so much to be that. What else can any of us do? You are very generous to share your life with all of us.

cheri said...

Amen.

If only we (or perhaps I should say 'I') would spend as much time examaning our own hearts and motives as we do others....

Quinne said...

Hi Brenda :) Sending you hugs today! It's a joy to sit down and visit with you a little here.

I've told you before, but I wanted to thank you again for the way you share your heart. Love, Q

Lyn said...

We can still respect and have love for each other even if we don't always agree. It would be impossible to agree with someone on everything in life.

I may not agree with someone's opinion, their religion, their politics, their sexual orientation, or their choices. However, if we claim to be christian and want to live as Christ, we need to still show love and kindness, not judgment and hatred. It is easy to forget that none of us are perfect and all of us sin.

Tracy's corner said...

what a great post. I think it is so important to make sure that i'm in God's will. For me i work parttime and homeschool my children. I think we need to remember that God's will is differnt for each of us. We need to stop the mommy wars and support one another. We need to put our focus on the Lord.

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Christians should only do and say what we feel led to do and say by the Holy Spirit. I always get the sense that that is exactly how you have chosen to live your life...to be yielded to what the Lord has for you and to speak up from time to time on the issues of the day. I commend you for the love and grace that you so freely share with your readers and if any don't like that, well, there are a lot of other places to visit. Those that are supposed to be here to read will be.

Anonymous said...

http://www.voddiebaucham.org/vbm/Blog/Entries/2008/8/30_Did_McCain_Make_a_Pro-Family_Pick____.html

I hope the above link comes thru, because I believe the author has very valid points.
I was very disappointed to read the comments below where I was seen as judgmental for disagreeing with you Brenda, and also where I was called legalistic for quoting scripture. The Bible is very clear on women being keepers at home. Feminism has crept into the church so that now women not only work outside the home and don't think anything of it, they also don't think anything is wrong with voting for a woman as vp. Sarah Palin's first and most important job is to her family-who could argue with that? And if her time and thoughts and plans and energy are divided by serving her country...then I do not see how she can spend time cleaning her house, baking and cooking for her family, etc. I am very sad that the church doesn't see anything wrong with what she's doing. That is how far we have sunk. And I am not being legalistic-I am only going by what scripture says. That is where and only where I get my opinions.
I am voting for McCain and yes, I feel like a hypocrite. I don't see how I have a choice though. I truly believe that men should be known in the gates and not their wives. I believe Prov. 31 is our best example for Christian women. And while she had a home business or two, it is clear that she worked from home and not away from it, and that her husband praised her and not her countrymen. HE was known in the gates, taking care of politics for his city, and not his wife. She was busy taking care of her home and family.
Do the readers who disagree with me also believe in egalitarianism? Or do they see in scripture where a husband is the leader in the home? How can Sarah Palin's dh be the leader in his home when his wife is the leader of his state, and possibly help-meet of another man, John McCain?
Do I make any sense?
Again, my opinions come soley from scripture. Would I come up with these controversial ideas on my own? Not on your life! It is too painful to be thought judgmental and legalistic.
I do not mean to offend, only to share what I believe. Please forgive any offense I have caused.
joly

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Tasha Tudor...oh yes, dear to my heart and thoughts.

Love what Lyn said...so true about life, day in and day out.

And for some reason, Father Tim's prayer from Jan Karon's Mitford series comes to mind...the prayer that never fails.

As always, Brenda, thank you for you blog and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

Oh, forgot..may we all be mindful of the hurricane and the people in that area....uplifting them to Him.

They are just on my heart on intently.

Karen said...

I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate your comments on your blog. I imagine we all have friends that we don't agree with one hundred percent, but hopefully we don't judge them harshly. I am glad that you have the courage to stand up for your faith and your political beliefs. In Ezekiel 22, God talks about not finding anyone who will take a stand for Him. I don't ever want thata to be true in today's times and as long as people like you speak up for Him that won't be the case.

blessings,
karen

the pleasures of homemaking said...

Hi Brenda, I certainly don't always agree with you but I respect you tremendously and appreciate your openess.

The issue that Joly brings up is always a hard one for me. I appreciate an open dialogue as long as it stays polite and doesn't attack.

As to losing readers, I bet if you put your sitemeter back you'd be surprised. Just because people don't comment doesn't mean that don't read. Lots of comments don't really mean much!

Manuela

Brenda said...

Sweetie, Im am so excited about the VIP. The first time I saw her the spirit of God shown so bright. I know we are none perfect,but I love what she stands for.
As for losing friends and upsetting others. Jesus did the same. Making him happy is what matters. I know it is a hard and sometimes lonely road.
I have few friends that see eye to eye and I am the type to stand.
So draw strength from God and stand my friend.

sallie@aquietsimplelife.com said...

Brenda,

You are one of my very favorite bloggers. I feel as though you are truly a kindred spirit in Christ and I look forward to meeting you either here or there someday!

I have learned to give very little energy or thought to people who leave anonymous comments. If people will not give their real name and be a real person, then I don't believe they really merit much attention. I know that probably sounds harsh, but anyone can attack and leave.

Keep on doing what you are doing. You are blessing many people by what you write here, including me.

Hugs,
Sallie

Morning Glory said...

This is so well-stated. I'm always saddened when I discover that some bloggers pass such harsh judgment on others. We simply cannot judge someone else's life unless we are living that person's life. Since we only walk in our own shoes, we really need to concentrate on extending kindness and grace. It's so much better to find the common ground rather than the differences. Keep on being yourself, Brenda.

Mishel said...

Excellent post...one of the best I've read on this subject.

We started homeschooling back in 1993 (my youngest will graduate this year) and honestly, when I look back at how "sure" I was of things back then and how judgemental I was towards others (especially my sisters in Christ), it makes me cringe.

My children are older now, I'm older...and by God's grace, I've grown in this area and can accept that the Lord *really* does work in our lives and of those in our family--individually. What a concept! : )

Blessings,
Mishel

Lallee said...

But did you disappoint God in those decisions at different seasons of your life? I'm sure you walked with His guidance, and it His smile we seek. You already know this, so just consider it a ditto to what you shared ;-) I'm always learning not to put God in a box. His ways are always higher, aren't they?
Hugs,
Lallee

judy said...

You are still one of my "favorites". I think if you are a woman who desires to speak Truth in a world that twists and despises Truth you will always have controversy. I celebrate women who stand up for Truth in their homes, in their churches, in their places of business, on the internet. We are PROMISED in Scripture that we will not have many friends for taking that stand. Celebrate that you are in the minority on earth and the majority in heaven. I began blogging a few weeks ago and believing that the Proverbs 31 woman is multifaceted my blog touches upon several areas in the life of a woman and to my surprise I just had to post about Sarah Palin. She is a brilliant pick but more than that I believe we are seeing the visible hand of God intervene. Many of us have had broken hearts and walked in places with our children that we never dreamt of -- but how beautiful that we serve a Sovereign God who can use all that muck for His Glory. So keep writing dear sister and live for an audience of One!