Monday, November 12, 2018

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Does Your Journey Have a Message?

Well, the Sunday post had to become a Monday post when I was too tired from our short trip to see family to finish tweaking it.  We did have a wonderful time together and that is the most snuggle bunny baby I can remember holding.  :)  Now for the Sunday Afternoon Tea post, just a little late.

I have been thinking a lot recently how God seems to allow people to go through certain trials so they can be of help to others.  I see it all the time in biographies.  It is certainly true in my own life.

For instance, I can pray for friends with prodigal children but, except for the usual discipline that occurs with raising children, my two have given me very little trouble.  Both my son and daughter also married people that I enjoy being around.

However, I can easily empathize with someone who has mental health issues in their family.  Whether a spouse, a child, or themselves... it has been a part of my life for a very long time and this past summer, close friends and family knew that my husband was experiencing the worst symptoms of mania that I have ever seen him go through.  While depression is difficult to watch, mania is frightening to those who care for a person for they can pose a danger to themselves and others.

For awhile this summer, we didn't know what would happen, contingency plans were made, and a lot of time was spent in prayer.  Thankfully, all is much better and it seems as if the worse is over.  My husband's symptoms may be a result of Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. We know that a lot of people who served in Vietnam were exposed and that the permanent side affects include what he experiences.

I can look back and see how God prepared me for this specific journey so if I were to be asked if given the opportunity, would I choose a different trial... I would say definitely not.  I truly believe that God allows situations in our life that, as we walk through them throughout our life, become the message we will leave behind.

I recently wrote about the trials of my years before marriage and I am sure that... combined with those later... are the reason I have chosen to look for the Beauty.  I have long been attracted to that which is considered Beautiful in life.  Not necessarily expensive or sparkly or rare... but that which highlights God's Beauty and how He made us. 

Rest assured, there were plenty of people along the way who had never met Christians such as us with a love of great literature, art, making delicious meals, who lit a candle just for the cozy affect, and seeing our home as a blank canvas for creating a harbor in the storms of life.  (Now you know why I like Sally Clarkson and her family so much!)

When I look back, I realize that it was going through the trials we did as a family that made us spiritually stronger in general and brought about the good attributes of my kids as they grew.  When life is dark at times, one must search for Light to keep growing and in that search... roots grow deep.

That is also why we must give grace to our younger selves and to those we care about.  Mostly we need to give grace back to God, who provides it in the first place.  If we are holding on to a grudge against God for those things He has allowed in our lives to happen, then we can never use those experiences to His Glory.

Does your life have a message that will bring grace and peace to another?  Look at your journey.  See what He has brought you through and the lessons learned along the way.  Your message is found in your darkest days.  I don't believe God ever wastes one of our trials if we ask Him for wisdom.

When the healing doesn't happen or the progress is slow.  When the prodigal takes time to return.  When the relationship remains difficult and the road is rocky.  When it took awhile for dreams to be fulfilled or... if the answer to prayer was completely unlike you expected.  Most of the time people just need to know they are not alone in their suffering.

Your journey doesn't provide all the answers but it can lead one to Jesus, who does.  I'm convinced that someday when we meet Him, we can look back and understand everything we have been through.  Except I doubt once we look upon Him, anything else will matter.


Terra said...

Yes, our trials can lead us to help others. We have a newly formed widows group at my church, and it is nice to come together as friends who can understand. These ladies are new to me but we share a sad bond. Many times I pray more and learn about God's love more in hard times. I like your post.

Out My window said...

Bless you as you walk this journey. You are so special in more ways then you will ever know.

Lori said...

Just reading this post made me feel sad, not because I didn't like the post, I did. Just looking back I see God's hand but there were some very hard and sad times. Yet your words ring true. Sometimes I just have to remember where to set my mind Colossians 3:2.

Marie said...

You said it well! I can relate--different types of trials but the same effects. Thanks for saying it the way you did. Right on!

Vee said...

So glad that you’ve met and held your cuddly grandbaby. Hope there are photos. Brenda, you write the meatiest posts. I will have to read this again. It does strike me, with Veterans Day yesterday and observed today, that family members serve almost every bit as much as the veterans themselves. It costs a lot to keep a country free.

Anonymous said...

It is true we learn from hardships...but for those of us (and I have friends who have also been in similar or even worse)...some parts of our lives, where we were abused or neglected as children, are very hard to find a good reason for...even in our old age. Yes, we do have empathy and caring for others like us...but I cannot say that it HAD to be in order for me to be where I am either...I do not know that. I would like to think I was not so hard-headed or empty-headed, or hard-hearted that I HAD to be nearly killed in childhood. It is simply the price of living in a sin-filled world. Some of us, even as little innocent children, are caught in that. I do believe I am alive today because of GOD...that is for sure. I am absolutely committed to making the best of what happened, by reaching out to others who are suffering and hurting...but was that REALLY important for any child to go through? I think not. I do understand what you are saying however, as I have also had less than easy times with my husband...and I am glad for where we are now. Grateful. Would I voluntarily walk through the same doors again? Heh, not likely...not too likely. My kind of personality does not seek conflict...though admittedly there are people out there who seem to need it almost... I do agree with looking for my case, it is in the handwork I have made, nearly all of it given too much of such is overwhelming to my husband who prefers things plain. Also, in the lovely books I read...and in the lovely beauty can always be found even if not within one's one home...thanks for sharing...and I am relieved for you that things are calmer. Yes, Vietnam brought such sorrow to so many!! My husband was a submariner then...and even in that arena, I am certain some of his health (and perhaps mental issues too) have been directly related to that awful time.

Maureen said...

Thank you for such a thoughtful post. I pray that in the midst of whatever life brings me, people will see Jesus in me. said...

For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Cor 4:7
I am so thankful that He has taught me through His Word that He can bring good out of any circumstance. That as we fix our eyes on Him rather than circumstances, He gives us His rest and peace, and we can forge ahead with joy, trusting Him who is all-trustworthy. Also thankful I don't have to lean upon my own understanding.
Thank you for the comment that we need to give grace to our younger selves as well as those around us. That is quite thought-provoking.

Melissa said...

Answered prayers from your trial over this past summer! Joy in your heart for bringing you through another episode. Sometimes we have to go through things so that others will see the glory of God shining in us. Thank you for sharing.
So glad you were able to visit your new grandson!

Kathy Kolb said...

I do not know what your husband's medical issues are. I do know if they were caused by Agent Orange he is entitled to disability and many other benefits. It took my husband 5 years to be declared 100 % disabled from the medical issues he has as a result of Agent Orange. The Lord has blessed with financial compensation, an adaptable vehicle and other pe
rks as well. He should go to his nearest VSO and inquire if he is eligible. I do advise he not go thru the Chicago office. They take forever.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Yes, yes. I have seen this true in my own life too. He is so good even through the trials. I find if I keep my eyes on Him, and trust Him, the journey becomes purposeful.

Thankful,things are better with your husbands health.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I am so sorry to hear what a difficult time your husband has been having this year. I think mania must be very tough to live with - for the one who suffers it and those living with and caring for that person. Sending prayers.