Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,

And a time to die;

A time to plant,

And a time to pluck
what is planted...
Ecclesiastics 3:1,2

It was with no difficulty that I thought of what I'd write about this week. My ponderings have been of sowing and reaping and seasons... and odd weather. As I sit here today, I have my gorgeous purple-ish heather sweater on that Stephanie brought back from Ireland when E. was a baby. Our temperature is unusually cold for mid-May.

We have even more flooding as a result of wicked, wicked weather which went through on Friday. Our first "scary" storm all spring. The storms were so intense, we lost our ability to contact with the server so even computer use was impossible. They started in early evening and continued throughout the night.

Our raised bed garden is still in the early stages of building, the plants being kept damp and safe all huddled together in a shallow vintage enamelware pan. I'll help put up the chicken wire this afternoon and we'll lay the weed fabric. If all goes well, the beds can be built tomorrow. Our friend who raises cattle hasn't been able to get into the fields to collect manure for the soil, anyway. His fields are flooded. Farmer's are very concerned as most of the crops have not been planted.

I was thinking yesterday how our lives can be so much like seasonal living. There are beautiful, sunny days when life is lovely, creativity is flowing, and even toddlers are easy to live with. For some of us there are "storm watches" as we know trouble may be brewing such as the announcement of possible layoffs at the factory or the doctor telling us we must "keep an eye" on a possible medical problem.

I've found most storms in my life have come about quite unexpectedly... a sunny day with the dark clouds, thunder, and lightening taking me quite by surprise. The affects in my life can be brief or long term... changing everything forever. However, like the tall trees in the forest, if my spiritual roots are deep... I can come through the storms stronger than ever. Sometimes I am forced to be more adaptable than usual... as the weeping willow tree, swaying with the winds to keep strong.

I was chatting on the phone yesterday with a precious blog friend. (Unfortunately I had to cut the conversation short to pick up Christopher from work.) We talked about how one goes through the storms of life and then it is when we look back (having passed through the storm) that we can see the Lord's work in the midst of each storm.

When one is walking through a particular season of life, it would seem the circumstances are controlling us. For instance, all our energy and budget in our physical life is going towards building the garden, planting the garden, planting flowers in the containers on the deck, and attempting to do it all with as little money as possible. (Thankfully, we can eat from the pantry!)

This is the season of planting. We may like to move a little slower to conserve funds and energy but the season will soon be past for planting, moving into the season of growing. It takes just a little slumber and procrastination to miss out on the planting season and there will be nothing to show at the harvest.

Even in our physical life, we will find ourselves in seasons which cause limitations... financial storms, physical challenges that keep us bedridden or working with little energy, life at home with preschoolers, concern about decisions being made by family members, moving from one house to another, a season of necessary business travel, the inconveniences that come with having survived a hurricane or tornado... overall those seasons that prevent us from planning ahead and force us to live one day at a time.

However, even in the midst of such seasons in our life... we can look for the beautiful and that which brings warmth and light in the darkness... the baby's smile, grandmother's stories of "the old days", putting together an inexpensive picnic that delights the family and making the decision to celebrate in the midst of the trial...

We can make the decision to spend our small amount of discretionary income on flowers which will bring smiles all summer, brewing a pot of tea in a beautiful teapot, the luxury of real cream in cheap coffee, finding the book we've been wanting to read (free) at the library, the excitement of a check in the mail, looking for the "God circumstances" in life... a cup of cold water in the parched days of trials.

There is absolutely no storm in our life where He is not present already. He is the Alpha and Omega... the Beginning and the End... the One who never changes. No storm and no trial goes unnoticed and He who knows when the sparrow falls also realizes when the path has become weary and we are in need of refreshment.

We take a deep breath, open the Word of God, drink in the refreshment offered, and wait as the winds of adversity are blowing around us... knowing this is but a season. It isn't Heaven, yet, and we know no trials "not common to man".


scrappy quilter said...

Oh how I needed to read this today. This past week was a very emotional week for me. As I read this I can see more clearly. Thank you for sharing such words of wisdom. Hugs..

Vee said...

I'm listening to this morning and reading this just made my early afternoon. Thank you for such comforting words.

Leann said...

I loved reading you post this afternoon. We've been seeing some neighboring "storms" and this was uplifting.


Cheryl (Copper's Wife) said...

Amen! The knowledge of the sovereignty of God in time of trial is such a tender mercy!