Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

The sun is shining through the lace curtains in the dining area today.  Sunshine has been rare this winter.  I am hoping the sunshine stays out more this next week so I can take a few pictures.  Candlelight may create a beautiful and soft environment in the dark of winter but it does nothing for my lack of photography skill.

My ponderings this week... other than how I appreciate my pillow and living room sofa as I nap off and on... have been many.  Too much time on one's hands tend to lend themselves to thinking and it can be quite important to guard thoughts as one would lasso stray sheep or cattle... bringing them into the corral of thankfulness and grace... out of that part of our mind where such ponderings can stir long enough into fear, depression, and a cranky spirit.

I've mentioned before that... aside from the Psalms... one area of Scripture I return to quite often are the Letters to the Churches in Revelation.  I can recall many years ago, reading through them and wondering why they were not talked about more from the pulpit (although since then I have heard excellent teaching).  I love Scripture which tells us precisely what makes God happy and sad and angry and (hmmm... now I can see where I get emotions)... especially proud of us.

However, I believe for me these past years the most important lesson learned from these ancient Letters came in the words... "and he who overcomes".  Life is not always easy, even in the best of circumstances.  He who watches over our way knows we have something to overcome... to come over... the trail will be rocky and uncomfortable and at times we'll have to climb over great obstacles and forge through floods and stumbling around that which stands in our way to finishing well... He knows and He tells us in the ancient Letters that He is watching.  To him who overcomes He gives... rewards.

St. Paul described life as a race and as he was coming to the end of his own time on this planet, he said he had run his race and finished well.  He wasn't talking about a sprint.  No... the man who began his life murdering the Faithful and ended it as the all time greatest missionary... he would tell you life is a marathon.  Sometimes there are days and even entire seasons of life when we run on flat roads and the way is easy... and then we hit the hill(s).  I have heard stories from those who ran the Boston Marathon of being fine until they hit "the hill".

One of the lessons learned (and there are many) from reading the writings of those who came before this generation... whether in literature such as I've been reading this past month or the biographies of the men and women of God who walked in past centuries... is an understanding that the road is difficult... more than our present day society and theology often preaches.  They understood there is much to overcome along the way.

Rather than holding our breath and stomping our feet and telling God we're not going to play by the rules of a fallen world (as we think suffering is for someone else but not us), we can hold on to God's promises in the Word to either cure us, feed us, provide for us... or give us grace to walk the path.  He wants us to understand it is not Heaven, yet... we are not Home.  I think Christians in past centuries understood that more than we do these days.

As for me, my desire is to remain faithful even when there are days one must stay on the sofa with fatigue and at times... pain.  It has taken me awhile to learn to accept these days and use them for what they can be... a time of reading and planning and thinking and pondering and having pen and paper handy to write down ideas.

I will come away from this past week, not only with a "to do" list of those household chores which did not get done... but new recipes to try which were gleaned from a cookbook and online, a couple of decorating ideas, plans for the spring garden, and books read which fed the soul... hours spent thinking of creating beauty instead of that which was not being accomplished.


Charlene said...

Wow, did I ever need to read this today. I've been disappointed with myself for the last week or so because of my perceived "failures" in a couple of areas. I do so need the reminder that it's the long term improvement that counts, not necessarily what I get done every single individual day.

Thanks, Brenda, for the encourgement today.

moreofhim said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. Your heart speaks to my heart with your words of wisdom and it so blesses me. I am in a time of pain and struggling and just knowing that others go before me and knowing that there are things I can do while in this down time, is so encouraging.

I come to your blog daily because I know that I'm going to be refreshed and learn something new. I also will be given wisdom from the Word of God and that is such balm for my battered body and spirit.

You've encouraged me to "dig deeper" into His word and into my thinking. I'm so grateful and just wanted you to know that you have definitely touched someone's life "out here". :)

God bless you - Julie

Vee said...

Add me to those who needed this today. "Overcome — Come over"...great insight in that reversal of order. Thank you.

Hope that you feel much better soon. It can't be fun to have to rest when you'd rather be doing something else.

Terra said...

It sounds like you are using your resting time wisely. I too love those words of Paul, about finishing the race.
I like to read the same Bible verses in different versions, and compare them. The Bible I bought most recently is The Message, which I enjoy comparing with other versions.

scrappy quilter said...

Another post so filled with wisdom. Hugs

Sharon Lovejoy said...

Fill your basket with flowers of wisdom and peace and be patient with yourself.


Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

Anonymous said...

Don't you wonder sometimes if some of the difficult people we are "given" in life, well, maybe there was no one else who would put up with them?? A young friend of ours, would refer to some of these people who were so tolerated by others as "graced out"...I like that term. And it is a goal that no one else has to "grace out" me too...both my husband and I hope not...though all of us, being imperfect humans, no doubt are at times. We hope we pass well the tests of this life...tis such a short time in view of eternity!!

Anonymous said...

I am really sorry that you have to suffer but you do have a ministry with this blog. Would you be blogging if you were completely well? He uses everything we give Him, right?

Friend Debra

Kim said...

A good reminder that a Christ-saturated life is not one that is pain-free but Christ-filled.

Sue said...

Thank you for transparently sharing your pain, fatigue and struggling so humbly with us! I, too, feel that the Lord has led me to your blog...for encouragement, inspiration and help thru my trials. I, also, struggle with pain and fatigue from fibromyalgia, gluten intolerance and degenerative disc I write, I am babysitting my 18 month old nephew overnight for a few days...and am hurting from holding/rocking him for a long time...this particular post really helped me! Praying your pain/fatigue diminishes quickly and you are back on your feet!