Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Sanctuary From the Cold

As I write, I have Christmas music playing on YouTube for it has seemed like Christmas when I looked out a window this week.  The snow that started falling last Sunday remained on the ground through Saturday.  Record breaking cold temperatures sent me rushing down the gravel lane to check the mail each day.

It was a good week to continue recovery from the eye surgery.  I'm feeling much better now and my surgeon tells me the operation was very successful.  I have regained about 80% of my eyesight in that eye.  He thinks he may be able to help clear up the remaining vision, which was damaged from a previous diabetic trauma to the eye.  This time with only laser surgery.  I will know more at my next post-surgery visit in December.

I can't tell you how many times this past week, I have been grateful for a warm house when I walked past a window.  The kitchen especially always takes on a golden glow when it is dark and snowy, probably because of the butter cream color of the kitchen cabinets.

I kept thinking of the word... Sanctuary.

We all need a sanctuary from cold winds, whether they be caused by nature or the way the cultural winds are blowing these days.  We need a place to feel safe.  We need warm drinks on cold days and stew simmering on the stove as was the case this past week.

I refrained from Christmas decorating but I did place a few winter decorations around the kitchen and living room.  My family room has a bit of a cabin-in-the-woods feel about it all year, which happened by chance as I tweaked the look the past fourteen years.   I even keep out a couple small primitive Christmas trees all year for the forest look.

I'm not the only one who feels the need for sanctuary at home these days.  I was reading the Editor's Letter of a magazine recently and she wrote about the turmoil in society today and how the simple act of decorating our homes in a way we find beautiful allows us to share that beauty and peace with friends and family.

I have found that those of us who are women of faith need to have a reminder now and then that it is not only okay that we love beauty around us, it is in our spiritual DNA.  We were born in a garden that was the picture of perfection and we have longed for Eden ever since the day our original parents were cast out of that home.

I have found that the enemy of our soul is still in the deceiving business and whispers in our ear that unimportant things such as wanting our home to be warm and beautiful is not very spiritual, you know.  How... worldly.

But it isn't.  Worldly that is.  Not when it is done because we need beauty.  It only becomes worldly when we desire the applause of the world.  When coveting is behind our desire for beauty, then nothing we do and no amount of money spent will bring us the peace we desire.  We will always long for more than we have, searching for that feeling we think buying stuff will bring.  Especially if it is more expensive than our neighbor can afford.

No, it is not worldly to desire our home to be warm and cozy and comfortable for those who live in it with us and those who walk through the doors into our care.  We understand that our job description is important, we are creators of sanctuary in a fallen sin filled world.

Does that mean there is always peace in my home?  No.  However, I have found ways to create peace on difficult days.  I have in place my Bible on the coffee table, books in the midst of reading, a few DVDs sitting next to the television, a favorite CD in the CD player in the Study, ingredients for the creation of good things in the kitchen... and headphones when necessary.  ;)

You, my friend, are a missionary of peace and a maker of beauty and a light in the darkness.  The same Holy Spirit who filled the Temple with His Beauty is at work within you to bring that beauty into your world.  You are not worldly for making your home your creative canvas.  You are simply made in the image of the Creator.

He has gone back to the Father and the word on the street is that He is building a home for each person who has accepted his gift of salvation.  I have a feeling that when we walk through that door, we will finally be in the home we have desired all of our life.

In the meantime, you can have the ministry of making your home a sanctuary for those who walk through the front door.  Never perfect and rarely completely clean but those who enter will know there is a person that cares about this place and it shows in comfy furniture, lit candles (battery operated where kids and kitties are around), soft music, good smells coming from the kitchen, and a welcome smile. 

Image: The Warmth of Autumn by Susan Rios


Vee said...

I have always loved that graphic. It prepares me for the good things that are coming in your post. I sometimes surprises me how comforting a visit to your blog is.

Still, as cozy as cold weather can be, I hope that the temps go up some. These January temps have been a shock.

So glad to read of your good report and praying that your December appt. will bring news that the doctor can help you even more. Always good to be feeling much better. ☺️

Anonymous said...

So thankful your vision is continuing to improve! Still praying for 100%, however! Wow! Winter arrived early for you this month! We will have below freezing night time temps this week, but no snow. We used to get a light snowfall around Thanksgiving every year, but that hasn’t happened in a long time. Usually just lots of rain and wind,now. I Love the idea of our home being a sanctuary! And adding those special touches that make it beautiful and “ours”. I try to do that in simple ways.....
Blessings to you,
Laura C.(WA)

Anonymous said...

I now live in a desert area that is mainly warm during the day, but is cold on the long nights. I truly believe that making filling, nutritious dinners and having candles/candle imitations and a warm, loving environment as much as possible strengthens every family member. It is important. It is a gift we give.

Catsngrams said...

I love my home. It is my sanctuary your blog is so warm and friendly and inviting. I will visit often. thanks

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I am so happy to hear the good news about your surgery! More than I can say....And I loved this post about our inborn longing for beauty. I don't remember you expressing just this way that it is not wrong to want beauty and to make our world beautiful as long as we are doing it for the right reasons. This is a true message that you make so well. I am trying to enjoy the more time for reading when the dark comes earlier, but I have to confess I like the longer days, though I don't like extreme heat! But we all need to find the good in whatever we have, and add to it if we can. (Oh, dear, I think I rambling here.)

Gretchen said...

What a beautiful reminder of the power of beauty in our lives and our ability to provide it in our homes. Thanks! I needed that today. Our pastor recently did a series on the attributes of God and beauty was one of them. I think that we often forget that this is one of God's attributes and when we long for beauty in our homes we feel guilty. But as you pointed out, when our hearts and desires are in the right place, we need not feel guilty.

It occurred to me recently that asking myself if something (a book or movie, for example) is beautiful is a good gauge for whether or not I should spend my time on it.

Glad you are recovering well after your surgery.

Rebecca said...

Y" my friend, are a missionary of peace and a maker of beauty and a light in the darkness.". I'm going to copy those words into my journal! Such a cozy communication from you today! (Great to read of the improvement in your eyesight.)

Deanna Rabe said...

So much goodness here, friend! I’m going to read this to the ladies in my book study from church. We are doing The Life Giving Home, by Sally and Sarah Clarkson! This post goes perfectly with the ideas in the book!

Patti said...

I love this!! Your words very much reflect my own today, as I talked about finding purpose and fulfillment in being an empty nest homemaker. Although I once felt pressured to go back to school or work after my children left the house, I still find great joy in creating a warm and welcoming home.

Thank you for your gentle, affirming words.

Patti @ This Beautiful Life

hopeinbrazil said...

I always appreciate your thoughts. Your comments made me think of the book I just read (The War Romance of the Salvation Army) about how serving hot chocolate and doughnuts to soldiers during WWI was a taste of home, which was also a taste of heaven. Another reason our homes should be warm and inviting is because they point to the most wonderful place of all, our eternal home.

So glad your eye sight is improving.