Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. 
I do not give to you as the world gives. 
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27

I would sit by the pond for hours... Bible open to that section in which I lived for months upon months... the Psalms.  The year of living by the pond was one in the midst of great trial and heartache, when I had to remind myself to breath as the emotional and spiritual pain was so intense I questioned my physical survival.  The emotional pain so deep I did not think I could live one more day.

The three humans and two kitties were pretty much isolated, not knowing anyone in the area and totally in the dark regarding where we would settle permanently.  It was the year I decided not to "do math" and our homeschooling was mostly reading books, walking the shore of Lake Michigan, and visits to museums and the nearest library. 

Somehow God had led us to rent this place in the midst of a forest by the pond.  At the time I didn't understand this was a Gift from Above. The move there had been a nightmare and the eventual move "back home" would require stepping out in blind faith.

But the year by the pond changed my life... it changed me.  Contentment... peace... joy... all feelings I embrace wholeheartedly and all birthed that year of intense personal pain... my very soul in the furnace of affliction... all that which didn't matter being melted away. 

I remember hot summer nights as my head lay on the pillow with the open window immediately to my side.  The sounds of the forest and those coming from the pond in combination... providing a lullaby for the brokenhearted.

I recall often the thoughts which would run through my mind each night to enable me to sleep... "there is nothing you can do right now to change circumstances"... "close your eyes and rest in Him"... "sleep, listen to the sounds of crickets and night birds and frogs in the pond"... "trust God in all things"... "He has not forgotten you".

There continued a battle for my mind and soul as I found myself drawn to water... the pond... Lake Michigan... one a small home for even tinier life... the other as big as an ocean when viewed sitting by the shore... yet also life giving.  I had to let go of fear, bitterness, unforgiveness to make room for Grace and Peace.  I had to give up my way for His.

I always think of the lessons learned that year as I watch catastrophe on the TV news.  So much in the world is out of our control.  Life can be thrown into turmoil in seconds as the wind blows, the flood waters rise, the earth beneath our feet trembles.  I think of it when I hear children have been killed in a fire or a family wiped out as a drunk driver took the wrong turn.  Life is uncertain at best.

But I cling to the Gift of that year... forged in the fire led up to by years of adversity and feeling much like Frodo at the edge of Mount Doom.  I had known Him as Savior and Father since my teen years.  I walked the Christian walk and talked the Christian talk... but... I met Him as Comforter and Friend by the pond.

Eventually some of my circumstances improved, moving "back home" and a few years later purchasing our house at the edge of the woods.  There are those trials which have never ceased, those He gives the Grace to meet each day... trusting His journey instead of youthful hopes and dreams and desires which had fallen apart.

He knew what would befall humanity in this fallen world as He promised us peace such as the world cannot give.  It was not a false promise or given to only a few but for all who would draw close to the Person... the Prince of Peace... even as the earth trembles and the waves roar around us.


Vee said...

It's the only thing that makes any difference at know Him. The earth may crumble away, the waves roll, the fire burn, but to know Him takes us beyond all of it, not necessarily away from it, though. Thank you for sharing from your heart. I consider it a great blessing to read your Sunday Afternoon Teas.

Anonymous said...

Seems like the worst thing about major crises is the feeling like you're alone. The only good thing about them is learning that we are never really alone.
Thank you for reminding us of that.

Joanne said...

Another perfectly written post...
Thank you for your encouragement and truth!
Blessings on your Sunday,

freetobeme - Anita said...

Thank you for baring your heart here. God is so good.

Anonymous said...

You are such an inspiraton!

Anonymous said...

Soothing words...that I needed today. Thank you.

Fixing My Thoughts said...

You and I seem to have much in common. I, too, (long ago, fortunately) have been in such anguish of soul that I didn't see how I would live through the nights, literally. But every morning I awoke to face another day because of His great love. And because of His great love, I got through them. Grateful for you, Bess

Mrs.Rabe said...

This post made me think of this verse

- Psalm 73:26

"My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful God we serve. Thank you for the reminder that we do not walk through the valley alone. I look forward to reading your post every Sunday.

Joanne said...

I hope you don't mind, but I shared your link on my blog...your post was so comforting and encouraging...
I wanted to direct others to it.
Thank you again for such a heart-felt post.

Anonymous said...

:) I needed to hear this today. Thank you.

Fixing My Thoughts said...

I just linked to you, too. Bess

Anonymous said...

These are truths we must be reminded of from time to time. Your writing in this post is exquisite. Sharon

Anonymous said...

Your writing and perspective always touches me... and often brings tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing from your heart!


happy momma said...

Thanks for your encouraging posts. I guess we all have had our times of feeling as you described. I'm so glad that even when we feel we're alone, the Lord promised to never leave us nor forsake us. He's always there! Thanks again for sharing your heart. God Bless!

Gina said...


I am back to blogging on Blogger. It is so nice to stop by. I loved your post on contentment. A timely post indeed.



Sandi said...


He gave me the same verse once during a time of trouble. The trouble ended in time, but I am glad for what I learned during it. He told me, "You won't believe what will come of this." I don't think I've seen yet all that has come of it.