Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Afternoon Tea

"But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, 
then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... 
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."  
Joshua 24:15

Choices and overcoming... those has been my ponderings this weekend as the occasions and events of the last weeks have brought memories... many which have tumbled over each other with only the clearest landing in my mind... often of a moment when a decision was made.

The decision to remain in a marriage when it was no longer fun when friends were telling me to go.  The decision to leave the corporation, when it was still fun, to raise our daughter.  The decision to homeschool when we saw what the public school system was doing to our ADHD son.  Even those seemingly small decisions made on the spur of a moment after a quick prayer was sent up to Heaven... and realizing much later that it led to something bigger than us.

If the decisions had gone the other way?  I would have been a single mother working long hours in a corporation and never had the son join our family.  None of the decisions at the time were the easiest but all brought about great reward... here and There (I am certain).

I remember a morning long ago, reading the Letters to the Churches in the book of Revelation... among my favorite sections of the Bible.  They are so clear as to what pleases God and where He finds fault. 

I'm not certain why the word overcomer suddenly jumped out at me after dozens of readings of these verses, perhaps it was during a season of trials... but I realized how over and over the promises were given to he who overcomes and that would make an assumption that there was a lot to overcome in this world.

How many times our beliefs have sent us in a different direction than the world, leaving behind family and friends as we took the road not often taken.  Each decision made during a fork in the road and as Joshua proclaimed... "you may... but we shall". 

Giving up sadly friendships of those whose understanding did not include leaving behind some of the things of the world as we became more careful of the environment we allowed in our home... authors read, movies watched, TV shows blocked... often called too protective of our children as we walked that path.

Family members turning their back and talking about us, invitations not given, space needed... trying to show love while explaining why we took the path we did to live by the standards we felt He desired... at times love not returned by those few who could not comprehend our life's decisions.

But the rewards of choosing... as one of us is in late middle age and the other just into the "official" senior citizen status (that not being moi')... oh, the rewards.  A husband and wife and daughter and son... a son-in-law and three granddaughters and two grandsons... all on the same hymnal page so to speak.  Watching as our child teaches her children to love God and walk with Him in all their ways. 

Sitting up at night chatting with the other child as he speaks of a young woman who loves God and whose family shares similar values... smiling that this is so important to him.  Having prayed him through and gone through many long conversations as he realized God has no grandchildren and he must come to his own conclusions about belief... his own choosing... and he coming out on the other side stronger.

I shudder to think how easily it all could have gone the other way if we had taken the easier path.  No, life is about overcoming obstacles in front of us and clinging to Him when the winds of adversity are blowing and it is no longer fun. There are moments of bliss followed by days of tears and the knowledge that He gives the oil of joy for mourning as the dark days turn back to gold. 

Did we make the perfect decision every time... far from it.  All of us will leave this planet with some regrets and bruises along the way, wishing we had done this or not said that... a life lived imperfectly in a world that does not know perfection.  But there will be a Day when imperfection meets Perfection and there is nothing left to overcome.

As C. S. Lewis put it so well in The Last Battle...

“But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. 
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia 
had only been the cover and the title page: 
now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, 
which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: 
in which every chapter is better than the one before.”


Anonymous said...

How well I understand your words today...thanks for sharing your journey!! You are blessed indeed, in at least your immediate and growing family are all on the same page. My husband and I are mostly alone...while the most contact we have is with our children and families, none of our children truly understand our faith path. From opposite ends of the spectrum even. But as I reminded my hubby this morning as he left to work (yes, even today...they wish him to work EVERYDAY of the week), at least we have each other and there were years we really did not even have that!! But I am reminded again, that we see through a glass darkly right now, in this existance and someday, EVERYTHING the locusts have stolen from us will be returned!! So it is ok, it will be ok. Tis good to look for our blessings and some days we have to look a bit harder than others.


freetobeme - Anita said...

Dear Brenda:
You really bared (sp?) your soul here and I love you for it. God has blessed you for following Him and you are blessing us with your reflections and sharing. Thank you so much. God loves you and so do I.

matty said...

I always leave our visits with calmness and joy, dear one!

Tomorrow I return to the madness of my working life and I am dreading it. So much easier to make my choices when I don't have to deal with the silliness of the world. It is especially difficult tomorrow; for the first time in 15 years, I don't want to go.

Think of me, won't you, as you turn the page in one of your dear books, sip your tea, and count your blessings!



my cup of tea said...

Wow Brenda! We have shared a lot of the same struggles! Our family has been on a similar journey. What a joy to know what is on the other side! Thank you for your words today.

Vee said...

It's good to be at a point where you can turn and look back to see the plan working out. Sometimes we're too busy trudging to see. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for that Lewis of the most hopeful expressions of our future that anyone can imagine.

jAne said...

hmmm. yes. to all of it.
been there done that, still
going on in some respects.

lovely post, brenda.

i remind myself that we are
to please HIM, not them.
that alone is sufficient.
every good thing stems
from our surrender to HIS
will and HIS leading us
on HIS path. it's all about
... HIM. :o)


Peggy Lorenz said...

Thank you, Brenda! I am on a similar path right a marriage that has been very difficult and challenging, and which many people have urged me to leave. But I have felt God's whisper that I need to be patient and stay, and give Him time to work in my husband's heart. Something like that is hard to explain to people! :) I am praying to "come out on the other side" stronger in my faith...I know this situation is stretching me mightily right now!

Blessings to you,


Anonymous said...

Wonderful, thoughtful post.
I've found that most decisions that were made with careful prayer are often the right ones.

Sue said...

Beautiful and thoughtful post. Your C. S. Lewis quote is my very favorite, hands down!! I get chills {good ones:-) } every time I read it.

Anonymous said...

So glad to see someone say they have stuck it out in a difficult marriage. In our families we have gone through many many divorces for so many "good" reasons and yet most of the time years later the outcome is so much worse, people in grinding poverty and more divorces and childrens lives so broken. It is though people actually believe they are chosing between a difficult or even bad circumstance and happiness, my sister-in-law said this through 3 different divorces that she was chosing happiness. Her childrens lives have been just devestated especially her daughter, and now of course her grandson. Keep getting that word out as it is so seldom heard anywhere.!!!Karen

Anonymous said...

sending a blessing your way...i remembered at the last second to go thru your widget before i placed my $100 order at amazon.
i hope you can order several items that will bless your heart as summer comes to a close.
an old friend

Cheryl said...

Oh, Brenda, this post is so poignant and honest...and encouraging. Hard choices...but obedience is *alway8s* rewarded. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

Cheryl said...

Oh...and the C. S. Lewis quote you shared...beautiful! That puts it *all* in perspective!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful way with words you have. God has gifted you with articulating your heart for God in a very deep and moving way. May He encourage you in pursuit of holiness which is so evident in your life.