Sunday, October 02, 2011

Sunday Afternoon Tea

There is something about late September through October which brings a sense of melancholy to my heart.

Perhaps it is that overwhelming sense of beginning and ending... memories fresh of hot summer days while the imminent frost and freeze warnings remind me Winter is just around the corner.

My thoughts have turned very philosophical and my ponderings have been about the journey each of us walks in this life.

I'm convinced God has a journey for each of us, not that we ever walk it perfectly this side of Eternity but at least as we attempt to walk close to Him, our journey takes us on the road of His desire.

I always thought that journey would take me far and wide, with prosperity and a bit of glitz and glory.  The surface would be paved with easy to trod soft soil and the scenery along the way beautiful.  My husband would be successful and my children perfect with nary a tantrum among them.

Of course, reality set in when a season of trials opened my eyes that the journey would be walked upon gravel roads with steep mountains and low valleys and hairpin turns along the way.  The destination would be reached out of breath and clinging to Hope and with great thankfulness for guardian angels.

I never anticipated any of that but if I hadn't gone through the difficult paths, I wouldn't know what it would have been like to come upon the cold water in the desert or the scent of Lilly of the Valley hidden behind the rocks or a feast spread out in the presence of my enemies.

To learn about forgiveness and grace and mercy and the way He loves to lead me to hidden delights (such as an English teacup at a thrift store) or to open a package filled with all that is needed for warm and cozy and well-read evenings.

If I had a perfect family then I would not have belonged and how wonderful it is to see the child who frustrated me over and over at the age of seven and eight and eleven mature into one who is far beyond all I anticipated he could ever be (and I was good at hoping).

The journey brought great distance between myself and those I loved... at one time my mother and now my daughter.  It also brought with it the joy of reunions and the knowledge that there will be a day when distance does not matter, that we are just passing through... merely a mist which appears for a moment... but a mist which was God-breathed with life.

My journey has taken me places I would have preferred not to go, thank you very much.  But with it came the knowledge that He has placed me there to be His hands and eyes and feet and to show there is Light in the midst of darkness... into the mission field of lack and illness and forsaken dreams.

As I have talked to others on the path, I see how He has ordered their journey in an individual way... leading them into a world which at first was a surprise and then a ministry and now a passion.  Such as Joni and her ministry to the disabled and Chuck Colson's daughter who ministers to those with autistic children.  Neither asking for their journey but each woman making that decision (through their tears and fear and exhaustion to their own hope in Him) to take what He has given and use it for the good of others and to His glory.

I think of the friends I have met whose journey will not be known by many, whose names are written in the Book of Life and not in the New York Times.  Those who did not understand the forks in the road or the side paths which led to disappointment but as they walked the journey realized there was One who stayed beside them on the way and strengthened them as they became His people to proclaim that He truly is there for others... ready to reach out and lift each one in their weakness and despair.

Something else I have learned through the years... He knows how to redeem the journey.  When I take a wrong turn down the path, He has a way of finding me on those side trails and bringing me back to the main road toward the goal of His making.  The Hound of Heaven ever seeking me and the Great Shepherd out to find the one lost lamb.

I have seen others who spent years and even decades off the path, whose life I would think could never be rescued.  But that is why He came, Jesus is in the redeeming business.  It doesn't matter how far we got from the main road or how dark our path became... He can take us from anywhere and redeem the journey.  He... who left Heaven to bring us Home... is ever calling us to forsake the tarnish the world has to offer and seek the true Treasure.

So... with renewed pondering, I will enjoy the season as the weather has turned chilly and the leaves are beginning their autumnal showing off... shedding their green coats to let us see their glorious colorful under garments.  How wise of God to provide for us such Beauty before the season of black and white and gray.

How thankful I am to know life can be good... even on the gravel road.

Added Note:  You can find out more about Emily Colson's work with autism and her book about raising her autistic son... here.


jAne said...

so, so, so very beautiful.


Vee said...

Such thoughts so beautifully woven. I had to go back and reread just to glean more. I could read it a third time and a fourth and find more truth. The way you describe your mission field is wonderful. If we are believers, then we each have a mission field. Focusing on what it might be would seem to be a good thing. I often feel as if I should be this or that, but why I feel that way is beyond me because God has built into me the things that I love. I could no more be a missionary to darkest Bolivia than I could be a prima ballerina, but I can ____. (Whatever that blank may be.) Now I'm off to Google Chuck Colson's daughter. That ministry is of great interest to me.

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

This is so beautiful, Brenda, and so true. Each has our own journey and no two are alike. And we are never alone.

I haven't read that poem, The Hound of Heaven, for years, or thought about its author. Thank you for reminding me.

Cheryl (copperswife) said...

Such a beautiful reminder of God's love and grace in our lives.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever think God would have you to be such an inspiring writer? ...well He did. He lead you to reach out across the many miles and bring His word to those in so many far flung places. Words of comfort. Words of encouragement. His words. My gradatude to both of you. Sarah

Anonymous said...

You always keep your message positive. I so appreciate that! Yes, there are negatives because life can be hard and the obstacles many, but we need to focus on the positive because in the end, Jesus is love, hope, mercy, blessings, grace ... all positive things. Thank you! Pam

Anonymous said...

Good entry, Brenda...and so true!! I wonder how many people actually receive the life they hoped for? My Mama always said we had to make the best lemonade we could from the lemons dealt us and it is so true...yet, GOD intersperses a few lovely surprizes along that path, here and there too. Always something to be grateful for.
Blessings, Elizabeth in NC