Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Afternoon Tea

"Each man will be like a shelter from the wind
and a shelter from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert and

the shadow of a great rock
in a thirsty land."
Isaiah 32:2

I made certain to watch Beth Moore teach on Life Today each Wednesday these past few weeks. She has been teaching a series from the above verses... how each of us can become a shelter for another person as we use our past hurts, disappointments, experiences to help another sojourner along the way in life.

I have mentioned this before but I've often had people tell me they wish they had the kind of deep faith I have in the One who created me and I think to myself that they would not. It is faith forged in the fire of trials and affliction where there were some days I felt life would never again be good. Those seasons of time when the circumstances seemed to swallow all hope of laughing again and no escape looked possible.

Then a day came when the pain lessened and the flowers once again brought a smile to my face... when good books were enjoyed and an old song came on the radio and I was humming along. The baby was not in the grave but I knew He was in Heaven... another much loved child was born. Jobs were lost, much longed for houses sold, the move to another town didn't work out so we had to move again, being misunderstood by family and friends, no money, deeper debt, illness, disease, questions unanswered... life not as I expected.

But throwing my arms around the One who never leaves me or forsakes me. Sometimes curling up on the edge of the sofa with my nose in the Psalms and pretending I was on the lap of the Eternal Father and surrounded by His arms as I read His Words and feel His comfort. Somehow the peace always arrives... at times softly and gently as if He knows I was too fragile for overwhelming feelings and at other times in a rush of emotion not unlike standing at the bottom of a waterfall.

The reality is one rarely lives a life free of suffering and the age in which we live is full of uncertain days. What Beth was sharing these past weeks is how each one of us can be a shelter in the storm for someone else. We've walked the path and survived where another has only begun to walk.... and not only survived but came through with our faith stronger than before.

One learns to appreciate what they have when they have felt the sting of loss. The person who has only recently lost is not there, yet. They need the one who has been there to come along side and shelter them with friendship, knowing it is not about them but to briefly share what they, too, have been through and then just to encourage... often times acting as that stream of water in the dessert offering hope.

The young wife is overwhelmed with new days of cooking and cleaning and working and getting used to living with that person she thought she knew (and one never really knows another until they are together each day)... knowing there can be a person she can come to for help and wisdom who will not gossip about her fears and frustrations.

How much easier it will be for her when there are women of faith who remember their own early years of marriage... and becoming a mentor to share recipes, and the best way to scrub soap scum from the tub, and the knowledge that one stays through the bad days to achieve the good.

We've all "been there and done that" in some aspect of life. No human has gone through all the possible trials or they would not be emotionally stable today. But you can look around and see the one who is suffering as you have suffered, invite them to tea or coffee, and listen. Eventually will come the time to advise and teach but anyone can sip tea, nibble a scone, and listen.

God never wastes your trial.


Anonymous said...

Good Morning Brenda ~

This is my first time commenting on your I read each day and I thank you for all that you share! Simple blessings to you!

Hugs ~

Sharon said...

Wonderfully transparent post Brenda!Husband Steve and I too have been in the furnace of affliction.For 8 years now.But we have learned to laugh again.Flowers look pretty to us again.We still deal with some illnesses and such but we go on even with the unanswered questions.God,I have learned,really does not have to explain why.But if we are smart we will continue to trust in spite of the lack of answers.Bless you Brenda.Love~Sharon

Anonymous said...

This really hits home for me.

My daughter lost her beautiful three year old son, in a tragic accident, recently. A young woman who lost her three year old in the same manner, a year earlier, came to the church, and left her name and phone number for my daughter. Amy contacted her a month later, and a friendship has been forged. They share their faith, and their sorrows, and help each other get through the sadness.

Everyone, who is hurting, needs someone who has been there, and survived, and someone who can help another "keep the faith".

Anonymous said...

Dee from Tennessee

"God never wastes your trial. "....I'm a firm believer in that statement. And thankful for the insight. Have a good day Brenda.

Trusting Him in Tennessee. No matter what, no matter what.

(And my sincere condolences to the commenter's family upon the loss of her grandchild. Prayers are being lifted now for your daughter. My heart breaks for y'all, so sorry.)

my cup of tea said...

Wow, I needed to be reminded of that today! Thank you!

Nana Trish is Living the Dream said...

Brenda, sometimes I think I can relate so much to you because we have gone down so many of the same roads. You have always helped me to look at the beauty of things and I am forever grateful. trish

freetobeme - Anita said...

Excellent post. You are so transparent. God bless you. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine with nine children told me that the best way to get soap scum off the tub is to use magic eraser with soft scrub.

It works!!

:) me (Stephanie, your daughter, who has to post here anonymously)

Packrat said...

Wonderful insights - as usual. God bless.

Connie said...

Such wise words and so true. It's when we walk in someones shoes that we really can be helpful. Thanks for the reminder.

carla said...

Beautifully put.

Thank you.

Apron of the Month Club said...

I am a strong believer of learning from mistakes and trials. For there has never been a moment that God has ever forsaken us. We may trip and fall, but God is always there with love and forgiveness.

Thank you for blessing us with your post.

Yoli Kalkofen

Betsy said...

Thanks so much for posting this!

scrappy quilter said...

What incredibly beautiful words to encourage us. Thanks for reminding us that we can become a shelter for those hurting. Hugs..

Beth said...

Dear Brenda,
Thank you for such a beautiful post. I wish I could give you a hug and take you out for a Starbucks...
Blessings, Beth

Anonymous said...

I agree with what you share here. It is in the crucibles of life that we learn so much. And draw closer to the Father.

I never thought that one day my miscarriages would be comfort to me, but today they are. I KNOW where those babies are, FOR SURE!! And that brings much comfort!!

My heart goes out to the Grandma and daughter who lost this little child. The hardest of all to go through!


Lisa Richards said...

Been through lots of furnace experiences here, too, and you speak so much truth in this post!

I hope I will be open to any opportunity to be a stream in the desert to someone else.

Thanks for the post, Brenda!

Anonymous said...

How true. How true. How could we give full whole hearted compassion if we did not need it at one time ourselfs? With life comes understanding. We live and learn the through the many trials of life. For me those also included miscarriages and deaths and huge disappointments, job losses, health concerns, no income many times etc. They also included joy, love and forgiveness and many, many more of course. Through it all we could look back and see the hand of our God each time. I honestly don't see how others make it through without being able to turn to Him and know He is there. He is there onour good days and also through all our trials. Thankyou again Brenda. How you come up with so many precious true thoughts we can all relate and learn from is amazing to me. Jody

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I too have walked through the trials of financial hardshop, job loss, children gone astray, illness, etc. Without the prayers and support of friends, it would have been even harder to bear! I love this post! You said it all so well. V.

Mrs. Don said...

Thank you for the encouragement and for sharing from your heart.