Sunday, February 07, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge,
       but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
Proverbs 22:3 (NIV)

My ponderings this week have been on the subjects of fear and preparing and difficult times and the economy and... I think you get the idea.  I've been pondering them as I am thinking of a new pantry post, reading articles online, watching the commentators discussing the recent stock market losses, and discussing the economic and political future of the United States with favorite people (like my daughter).

One of the articles I was reading included a statement which I thought profound, especially as I had just been talking to Stephanie about the trouble our school systems are all in due to the cutbacks from the State.  The author of the article wrote, "The States are the canary in the coal mine" and most states are in deep trouble.  (This saying comes from the past when the coal mines would keep canaries in the mines, should the canary die then they knew they had to immediately leave the mine as there was a build up of fatal gasses.)

Personally, I don't fear the future.  I truly believe God puts each of us in the generation... the place... the time... even the neighborhood where He wants us.  I choose to make decisions as if life will go on as normal for dozens of years, as in encouraging my son's decision to study to be a computer scientist.  At the same time, the part of me who has expected "the end of the world as we've known it" since I was eleven or twelve years old believes in praying for the best but preparing for the worst.  How do I prepare?

I must first prepare spiritually... I don't care how much we prepare for the possibility of economic failure, natural disasters, etc. if we operate in fear and trembling we won't help ourselves or become salt and light to those around us.  An important part of that preparing is spending time in the Word and chatting with He Who Created Me each day.  I tend to talk to Him all day because I need Him all day.

I'm going to write more very soon about my quiet time basket but it helps me very much to have everythiing ready which I need to spend time with Him each day.  Morning is best but sometimes my day starts in such a way that I've been up a couple of hours and haven't stopped running since my feet hit the floor.

As one who has gone through numerous trials which took the breath out of me, when life was so painful I woke up in the morning sorry to see the coming of another day... as if I had to remind myself to breath... I can assure you the faith built during those times was only because it had a foundation to cling to.  I already had the habit of listening for God's voice through the years, knowing He leads us today just as He did from the time of the Ancients.

I must be part of a community... now I know one could remind me I stay at home a great deal and at this time of life I have less (in person) community than ever before.  However, we do have friends and family even if these days we must rely on quality rather than quantity.  Having gone through a severe trial when living away from close friends and family, I can assure you it is far easier when one has people around them whom they trust... whether it is family, a church or synagogue, neighbors, or friends... we need each other.

I must prepare for the worse as I can... and leave the rest to God.  I'll write more about this in my pantry post I'm writing but there are lots and lots of links on my sidebar to my own past posts as well as excellent posts and articles at other sites.

Personally, I find by deepening the pantry and making certain the house and car has necessary maintenance updates... I feel calmer.  I truly believe (and I've talked to lots and lots of people who agree) that God is calling many to be as Joseph to stock up while times are good.  Anyone who has lived on an unemployment check will tell you how helpful it was to have items on hand and purchased already.

I must prepare my children... rather than keeping our kids completely naive to the world around us (age appropriate, of course), I'm convinced God is raising up his own Josephs and Daniels and Ruths and Esthers... fully and uniquely prepared for the time in which we live and serve Him.  If we believe stories read from past generations, the families that went through severe trials (the Great Depression, war, weather disasters, etc.) were those where the children felt a part of the solution... those who knew how to pray and trust God as they walked IN the trial... and trained in a theology of trusting Him in the bad times as well as the good.

(Did anyone watch the Duggar's recent show about their preemie baby when all the little kids were in prayer?  Daddie Duggar said we must praise God in the bad times as well as the good times?  Amen, brother... )

I must choose simplicity now... rather than forced simplicity later.  Those individuals and families who have chosen to learn the basic skills of the past such as cooking and baking "from scratch", bread making, gardening, sewing, canning and other preserving, knitting, household repairs, etc. will be blessed and a blessing should circumstances require a simpler lifestyle.

When we were without an income for a year and in a place with few friends and no family, I can't tell you how much it helped to have good books to read (what we owned and supplemented with a library card), favorite DVDs to watch once in awhile, board and card games to enjoy, and to have plenty of homeschool materials already on hand.

No one person can do everything, which is again why community is important.  I can also assure you as one who has gone through the lean years... the simpler lifestyle can bring rewards far beyond being prepared for any economic downfall.

Of course, there will be times when we think of the possibilities the future holds as the economy is unstable, war drums continue to sound in other parts of the world, terrorism is always a possibility now anyplace in the world, we see earthquakes and tsunamis, etc.

God is in control... now as in the past.  He always will be in control.  I love the above verse as it reminds us God warns His people we live in a fallen world where trouble happens but in the long run... all is well.  Should we go through difficult times, He asks no more than we take one minute... one hour... and one day at a time... for He gives us new mercies every morning and grace for the day.

14 comments:

Jan said...

You are an amazing lady, Brenda!
Great post.

Lisa Z said...

Very well said. I have come to similar conclusions, though I certainly freaked out for a while upon first hearing about peak oil and climate change (for it is changing, regardless of why) and the economy taking a nosedive (before it actually did).

I feel God is calling me as a Joseph, though at times it seems selfish to store up food just for myself and my family. So, we also give as we are able and keep the perspective that a strong and healthy (and alive) family can do much good in a world gone crazy--as the world usually seems to be.

Florence said...

Amen is all I can say.

Becky K. said...

We watched One Night With the King...about Esther...last evening and then because of the weather had church at home this morning. We talked more about the Providence of God over time and specifically with His people.

It is so faith building to study the Hand of God through History.

After reading your post a song started running through my head...Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto Me.

Hard times build strong faith.
It is then that we most easily observe God at work.

Becky K.

Senkyoushi said...

This is a great post. I needed these reminders right now, especially the one about teaching my children.

scrappy quilter said...

This is one of the best Sunday afternoon teas yet. What an encouragement to read this and know that God is in control, yet we need to do all you've mentioned. Hugs

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries™ said...

So well put Brenda...reminds me of that old adage:

"Pray as if it's up to God.
Work as if it's up to you."

Love,
Tracey
x0x

Mrs.Rabe said...

I agree with you about preparing ahead.

We are doing a bigger garden this year, we sew, and knit. We live pretty simply. We do try to stock up on basic food items, and I only buy what I know we will eat. This avoids food waste.

Thanks for continuing to write these kinds of posts!

Linda said...

Good post today. I'm relying of God to guide me, without Him I wouldn't know what to do. So I'm learning. This was the first year I really stocked my freezer and I'm learning what works and what doesn't. This summer I hope to make some better choices. I was going thru my QT basket today and I need to get back to doing my QT. Linda

Anonymous said...

Brenda,

Thank you so much for this post. It was very timely. I am getting ready to head off to bed since my day starts at 4:00 am. I really needed to hear/read something deep, but simple about God. Life seemed to get a little overwhelming earlier this evening. I decided I should look for the Sunday Afternoon Tea of the weekend before I turned off the computer. Your post was exactly what I needed. Thank you my friend.

Have a wonderful evening!

Valerie

Anonymous said...

I agree with you that preparing spiritually is the #1 thing we must do...I doubt many or even any of us can TOTALLY prepare for every single need ahead anyway. We will need to rely on HIM and hopefully HE will surround us with those who will be helpful to us if needed too. We have not found community hardly at all in the last number of years, living in several locations, but HE must know who we need. Ultimately, we need HIM most of all. Finding others of similar belief and goals seems harder as time goes along. Seems a "sifting" is going on, in most every place we hear about. The internet has been a nice help in finding others to share with.

In the days of Elijah, who felt so VERY alone, he as reminded that there were yet 7,000 who had not bowed their knees to Baal. So today, probably a remnant...yet more than we know. HE can arrange meetings to occur when needed too, I believe.

Blessings,
Elizabeth

JoAnn said...

I love your post!!
It's just what I needed to read today!
Thanks for all your postings..I follow your blog everyday!

Linda Hibner said...

Brenda,
I was in transit from Memphis back home to Texas yesterday and missed reading your Sunday post until this morning. What a blessing it was! Many Christians feel that the time of Christ's return is closer and closer. All the more reason to be prepared, right? I think preparing spiritually AND physically for the future certainly helps us be better stewards. God bless you for always going back to the true source, God's Word, for directions to share with others. You always seem willing to let the Lord use you.

Linda
www.gracefullives.blogspot.com

myletterstoemily said...

i feel very insulated from the economic downturn
that you seem to be suffering from.

your instruction now, could save me from a lot of
suffering in the future. thank you.

it is wise to prepare for the worst but be grateful
when in plenty.

i am sorry you have had to go through such lean years, but am inspired by your contented, optimistic
posts.