Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I must admit to sipping a strong cup of coffee with Splenda and cream at the moment. The extreme weather changes of the past few days brought about the need for caffeine... filling my Pooh mug twice (vintage Pooh, of course).

I wish I could say all the Christmas decorations are put away (and yes, it is hard for me to put them away each year as they offer so much beauty to the house). However, I pulled most of them into the living room and dining area and there they sit... a huge mess waiting to be carefully packed away.

I have learned from many late November days that the ease of Christmas decorating has a lot to do with how carefully the items had been packed the year before.

Although I am much better, I'm still easily fatigued so I turned my back (literally) on those rooms and got ready for bed early last night. There was a heavy rain pounding against the window which enhanced the coziness of being inside.

I had printed the last e-mail from Laine's Letters and I'd picked up the Elizabeth George book I had been re-reading (for what seems the hundredth time). After fluffing the pillows, crawling between flannel sheets, and pulling the quilt up to my neck (that was a cold rain)... I finally felt relaxed.

I should have been beginning the book I need to review soon but my soul needed this particular Elizabeth George book. She wrote about beauty... beauty in our souls that will be manifested in beauty of relationships and beauty in our homes. I had been pondering beauty lately (Christmas does that to me), which is why I pulled this particular book off the shelf. Laine's most recent "Letter" (e-mail) spoke to where I am living right now, too... peace in times of turmoil.

Rain has always relaxed me and caused sleep to come quickly. Would you believe I fell asleep around 9:00 and didn't have my first cup of coffee until 9:00 this morning? I guess I was tired! There comes a time with a cold or flu when one is feeling better and forgets they still need extra rest. So, I'm sitting here in front of my computer instead of at church!

Not only have I been pondering beauty but also hope... for some reason, the word "Hope" has been coming to my mind all week. Perhaps it is because we are nearing a new year surrounded by more outer turmoil than we have known in generations.

Instead of fear, He Who Created Me is already whispering... Hope. Fear... and Faith... and Hope cannot dwell together, Fear will trump the others if allowed to take root and grow.

Oh, I do admit to fleeting fits of fear. Hmmm...try saying that quickly three times. Anyway, it is not the kind of fear that quickly comes upon us, say when we hear the siren in the distance and a loved one is one the way home, or a bill arrives which is more than expected. Those fears are common to man.

No, I'm talking about the fear that takes root within us and sets up a home in our soul. When fear becomes a nagging shadow in everyday life. I used to deal with that kind of fear quite often. One of the blessings of having gone through long and deep trials is having taken the axe to the root of that fear.

I know it could easily become a part of me again if I did not spend at least a little time each morning in His presence (even on those days when I don't feel Him there). I cannot conquer fear on my own, no matter how hard I try or how many verses are memorized... or prayers of "HELP" shouted to Heaven.

That root of fear can only be taken out by Relationship... knowing Him. For it is Perfect Love that casts out fear... not my imperfect actions but His Perfect Love. Knowing I may not understand what is happening in my life, not trusting in my own abilities... but trusting in the very Character of God.

I have mentioned before that my mother was turned off to Christianity due to legalism in her early years. Although she later came to know Christ as Saviour, she never was able to find the peace He offers. Years of letting the actions of others get in the way of knowing Him personally brought about a callousness which Peace was not able to break through.

My prayer for everyone reading is the ability to look past relationships with people, past hurtful trials in your life, past circumstances which scream out impossible odds... and to ask Him to become real in your life. Ask that He who was born in a stable, whose birth we have just celebrated, who offered himself as the Lamb of God to pay a ransom for us... make Himself real in your circumstances. Fear will be trumped by His presence.

I love the part of the movie, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe where Aslan tells the girls the White Witch knew only part of the law, she didn't understand that the sacrifice given in the place of another would break her powers... and where it was Winter and never Christmas... Spring would return... a true Resurrection of Life and... Hope.


martha said...

I so agree with hope trumping fear. I wear a necklace purchased at Orchard House this past summer. "Hope and keep busy" it advises. I have thought a lot about that credo and realized that "keeping busy" doesn't necessarily imply physical action. It could be so simple as to keep busy praying, couldn't it?

Legalism destroys faith, often, because it removes the final act, having faith, from us. Instead, it places a barrier between us and faith; it is a barrier that is not created by us which removes our intimacy with faith.

Very thought provoking post!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Have just come from Judy's at My Front Porch...your two posts dovetail so well.

These quiet Sunday afternoons reading your calming, reassuring words are a great blessing.

Thank you for all the Sunday Afternoon Teas that you have done this past year.

Tracey McBride said...

Beautifully said, as always. Fear, in all its forms (including worry) is no more than the opposite of faith. How easy it is to lose sight of these truths and be pulled into the miasma of fret. That's why thoughtful blogs such as yours can both soothe and strengthen. Thank you so much for the great writing. God bless you.
P.S. Hope you are feeling better.

Melanie said...

Hi, Brenda. I stop by occasionally and always enjoy your posts. Your post gave me so much to think about. I love the photo of your tea things. I just bought a tea cup and saucer - "Lavender Rose". I love that pattern. It looks like your tea things. So pretty!

The Muse said...

i feel as if i could have written this post from beginning to end....

debbie bailey said...

Which Elizabeth George are you reading? Have you tried Elizabeth Goudge? She's one of my favorites! Great post encouraging me to leave fear behind. Thanks!

Cami @ Creating Myself said...

I used to envy very old people. Thinking that their fear must be behind them.... for they had either proven themselves or let themselves down so much that they were immune to disappointment.

But I have learned that you don't have to have faith in yourself to know no just have to have faith in God.

Wanted you to know that I have the china pattern that you use for your everyday tea. The Johann Haviland Moss Rose... isn't it beautiful?

Carolyne said...

Well said! The *Love* of Christmas truly came to you and you expressed it in a very understandable way.
Blessings, Carolyne

Susan B said...

A beautiful post Brenda. It gives me much to think about, thank you. I'm glad you are feeling better, and was able to get some rest. Take care.

KarenHarveyCox said...

Such a lovely post. Yes, I agree fear is something we have to dismiss more often these days. But the Bible teaches us that God is not the author of fear. I believe we can feel the joy of the Lord no matter what our circumstance and resting in His presence does give us strength. Thank you for such a lovely post and thank you for your prayers.

Beautiful Pear Tree Lane said...

Hi Brenda,
Just catching -up on my blogging,and stopped by for a visit.You are so right on about fear and faith.Fear seems to grip most of us more times than we like to admit,(voice of experience speaking).You always give me so much to think about.thank you!!!

kymber said...

Hi Brenda,
I hope you are feeling better soon. I must feel nice to get some of your Christmas things packed away for another year. I am going to tackle that job this weekend. When I read that you were reading Laine's Letters my heart quickened - I used to read her letters as they would arrive through emails. I absolutely LOVE that beautiful Christian woman. She is such an inspiration. I had thought that she had given up her writings years ago - so I will have to check her link out that I see on your sidebar.

Blessings to you and Happy New Year!

Lady Katherine said...

I love your tea set! So lovely!