Sunday, September 26, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Tea - How I have learned to handle the difficult days

Once in awhile, I have to give myself a homemaking challenge so I decided to follow along with The Elliott Homestead as she started "putting her kitchen to bed each night".  I already cleaned the kitchen before making my way to the sofa to "veg" each evening but I decided to hand dry the dishes in the drainer and put them away before turning out the kitchen light each evening. 

Since they have usually been in the drainer at least a couple of hours already, it isn't difficult to quickly dry whatever water is left on them.  Last night it took only a couple of minutes since I didn't use many dishes making and serving a salad.  

I haven't been legalistic about it and if I'm not feeling well then it would be okay for the dishes to remain in the red Rubbermaid drainer overnight.  But so far, I have kept up with it and absolutely love the way the kitchen looks each morning.  Even if I must wash the kitchen floor this next week.  I don't expect perfection.

This got me to thinking about how decorating our homes in a way that makes us smile is a gift we give ourselves.  I have long thought it important but with the world the way it is now, I'm beginning to think it is essential to our peace of mind and yes, even to our mental health.

I recently had my three-month doctor's appointment and I was quite surprised when a mental health professional came into the office before my doctor.  They were evaluating every patient for depression and substance abuse as these have increased in the last couple of years.

We had a nice chat and she asked how I could remain so peaceful.  I kind of joked and said it is because I have been married to someone who is bipolar for over forty years so I have learned to do everything to be at peace.  Like every other mental health professional we have talked to, she had never met a couple where one was bipolar and the marriage lasted.

I gave all the credit to God, where it belongs.  There is a reason we lay our crowns at His feet.  It turns out that she was also a Christian and then she understood where the real strength came from.  But she also asked if I had done anything special to help on the bad days and I said I had set up my home to be a place that makes me feel at peace, especially my study.  

The nice thing about having a room of my own is that I could decorate it anyway I wanted, even if friends and family rolled their eyes at my taste.  Which leans a lot to vintage decorations, bookshelves, tea cups and teapots, both live and silk plants, and a lot of pretty things on the walls that make me feel I am in a lovely cocoon. 

Actually, it is very much like the way I decorate the rest of the house.  Only elsewhere, I try to fill the rooms with what I love while still recognizing I am not the only person who lives here.  I want people to walk through the front door and feel at peace even if it is not their decorating style.

I have rarely had to fight depression but I did this year for awhile.  The changes in the country (and the world) were causing more inner turmoil than I can ever remember experiencing.  I was shocked at how quickly the new Administration was making changes toward Socialism.

People disappointed me more than ever before in my life. I wondered how some could not see how many things we once called evil are now called good.  How those who live by Biblical principles are put down and quite often by other Christians.  For the first time, I could see how the events of the End Times could actually play out in my lifetime.

I think I was actually going through stages of grief, not for a person but for the country I loved and for the Church.  I was grieving the loss of the world as we knew it, even though I knew full well that the coming events must take place.  I came to understand we were now well into the birth pains as prophesied in the Bible.

The birth pains give us the birth of a new child and that is a great blessing.  However, going through the birth pains is not delightful.  What does help a little is when a woman surrounds herself with warm fuzzies, lovely music, and items that help bring her comfort.  Even then... nothing brings much comfort in the last stages of childbirth.

How did I get better?  First of all, I read the Psalms when I didn't want to read my Bible and found them to be an old Friend. But I also found healing from my home.  From those familiar things that have been with me so long as well as the new items from successful thrift store adventures.

I think that is why so many of us love Elizabeth Goudge's books and many by D. E. Stevenson, for both writers understood the healing power of our homes.  Especially as we make a house (or apartment, or houseboat, or yurt, etc.) a place that reflects what brings us peace.

I think it was a combination of time, understanding friends and family, being surrounded by what brings joy, along with God's healing grace, that helped refill my soul with good things.  More light began to get through to take away the darkness.  I once again found that I could trust the Rock of Ages as the earth seemed to wobble on its' axis.  At least my world did.

I know we can't take our stuff with us when we go to be with Him.  I'm pretty certain what awaits is infinitely more wonderful than what is in my home here.  But I am also certain He that designed the Temple in all its' glory and even gave some men the gifts needed to create such beauty... He understands my need for a home that helps me find peace in this fallen world.

There is always a balance between needs and desires and admiring and coveting.  But I think most of us realize those differences.  We thank Him when we know it had to be His leading when we decide to stop by a store and find a much desired object is on the shelf and now well within our budget.

After all, He is the Architect and the Builder of our Story here and our Home there.  We must never let anyone make us think our homes are not important.  For most of us, they are where we live our day-to-day life, where we can rest and find grace to meet another day in this unsettling world.

Mentioned in this Blog Post

The Elliott Homestead blog post where she talks about why she started leaving a clean kitchen each night before going to bed... here.  There is a link to her Instagram account in the story.

Image:  From @coffeeteabooksandme Instagram.  This vintage pan holds three or four plants, according to their size, at a time.  It sits on a vintage picnic basket and has had a variety of different plants throughout the years.  Sometimes a plant dies but quite often it grows too big for the space.  

One of the palms that used to reside there now has grown so large that it takes up a corner of the study.  But I love having the greenery in sight when I get up each morning and enjoy that first cup of coffee sitting in the recliner.  There is something life giving about real plants.


Anonymous said...

I love how God had the tabernacle decorated in the wilderness, how he gave certain
gifts to men who were to make beautiful things for it. He is the Master Decorator and
creator of all things beautiful. Love your post today. Blessings

Margie from Toronto said...

I'm glad that you have created a peaceful place for yourself and that you find strength in your faith. I too consider myself to be a Christian - attend church regularly, volunteer and even work there - but I'm not sure I'd be a Christian in your eyes. My denomination is traditional in many ways but this past Summer they made the decision to recognize same sex marriages and to allow clergy who are openly gay. It has never been an issue at my particular church as everyone has always known that our associate minister is gay - her has never hidden this. It was a difficult decision for many - and one that has taken a few years to work through. I sympathize with those who have issue with it but it's one that I support. Knowing that we wouldn't deny the comfort of the church to all gives me comfort and hope for the future.

Forgive me - and I truly don't mean to be disrespectful - but I, in all honesty, don't understand how you could ever call your Govt. a socialist one. To those of us who have socialist parties as one alternative - or for those in Europe who sometimes have freely elected a socialist govt. (which is fairly common) - the notion that the Democrats are "socialist" is incomprehensible. I am truly curious as to why you would think this. Is it something that you would be comfortable explaining? I'm not being sarcastic or disparaging - you aren't the only American that I have heard express these views so I am truly curious as to why you think this? If you don't feel comfortable in responding I will completely understand. Thank you

ellen said...

I, too, have fought with some depression this summer. I keep wondering when people will wake up and see how the media is lying to them. I keep waiting for something GOOD to happen. One of things that have helped me is thrifting. It takes my mind off things and it's fun. I always thank God for the things he's gifted me with and the fun he's provided for me in these times of uncertainty and confusion. He knows what I need and provides for me! What a wonderful and generous Father. Thank you for this post.

Deanna Rabe said...

I think so many of us were amazed at what this administration did after stealing the election. Well they have had to try to work fast! They're being found out.

My heart has hurt for our nation, too, but I feel as if it needs big change (not communism of course). We've been lied to for many years.

I'm delighted that you have come through, and thank you for talking about how important our homes are, especially during this time!

Morning's Minion said...

The Psalms--there for us in every situation: joy, grief, anxiety [" Help, Lord!"] the reminder that God is available even when we are in the 'pit' of despair. The many moves in my 58 years of marriage have meant establishing a home in differing circumstances. There are a few things that always move with me: my grandfather's rocking chair, vintage treasures discovered over the years, a core collection of the books I need. As we have built or remodeled houses the first thing I do is to establish a small civilized corner--the rocking chair draped with a small quilt for color and comfort; a small table to hold a mug of tea and a book.
When the dilemmas of family, finances, health, the frightening state of the world, swirl around us we cherish the routines and the homey surroundings that help to ground us.
Re Elizabeth Goudge: with the coming of October it is time for my yearly reread of the Elliot Trilogy--the violent storm of wind and rain that gives closure in 'The Bird in the Tree' always seems appropriate for autumn--the story well known but always fresh.

AnneKristy said...

I love reading your posts. There is a familiarity and comfort in the readings.
I am a homemaker and I prep, but not to a big extent (would depend on who you compared me to). I have a list of those items we usually purchase and keep a good stock.
I too am married to a person with a mental health condition. We've been married 39 years. It is only in God's grace, and God equipping me with what I need, that I have endured and we are still married.
At a couple of Sunday school parties I went to as a young wife. I won the prize twice for cooking the most meals in a week. I was surprised that more women didn't cook. I wondered what they ate and how they fed their family? To me it is both logical and simplistic to cook and even bake. I understand people are busy but many meals don't take long to create.

Gina said...

Brenda, I love all your posts but this one really hit home. I usually leave the dishes in the dish drainer but I think I’ll start drying them and putting them away. I read Shane’s blog posts and it was so good. I’m subscribed to her YouTube channel and enjoy watching her. Thanks for the reminder to do this after dinner. I love coming down to a clean kitchen I. The mornings.


Anonymous said...

To Margie from Toronto:

I imagine Brenda may want to more fully address some of your comments, but I couldn't help writing this, whether or not you happen to see it...

First of all, going to church no more makes you a Christian than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger...(to paraphrase the words of Keith Green)

A Christian is one who understands he is a sinner (Romans 3:23, 6:23) deserving of punishment of death/hell, and in need of a Savior. Jesus Christ, God's Son, is the one who was sent to die that death for you because only He could live the perfect life that was necessary. He offers salvation to those who will accept it - who choose to believe in Him and trust Him with their lives and their eternity. (John 3:16) He is the ONLY way to be saved (John 14:6).

The problem is this: Many call themselves "Christians" who have a general knowledge of God/Jesus/the Bible and attend church, but who have no intention of following Him or submitting their lives in obedience to Him. One can believe a lot about Jesus, but have no "Jesus Allegiance". When a person becomes a true believer, the Holy Spirit indwells him and teaches him about God through the reading of His Word, the Bible.

If you are truly a Christian, I believe that if you will take the time to study passages of scripture that address the topic of same sex marriage/homosexuality etc, The Holy Spirit will help you to understand that God is very much opposed to that lifestyle and calls it sin (I Cor. 6:9)

Particularly Romans 1:18f which says,

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness...because of this God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another..."

It couldn't be any more clear. Now, there is nothing in scripture that says we should hate or hurt people who have such lifestyles (or who are living any other sinful lifestyle) - indeed, attending a church that is loving and caring yet preaches the truth of the Bible would be the best thing for them- they need to hear truth and see the love of God in action! However, God certainly does not want us to condone that which is sin or to allow those with a sinful lifestyle to be leaders of His church. I would encourage you to seek out another church fellowship that takes God's Word as truth and does not distort it. There is a terrific website that may be helpful to you if you have further questions about anything I've shared.

God bless you. I will pray that He will reveal His truth to you.


Anonymous said...

This was so comforting ..I was struggling with the wrong view of money for a long while now ( the opposite ..maybe...of being materialistic) , I felt guilt over wanting anything that wasn't an absolute necessity , finally I told my husband how I had been feeling and he set me to thinking right about money.. your post went along with what he said perfectly !! ,also had been struggling with fellow Christians giving me their opinions instead of Godly opinions !! He also set me straight on that !!I feel so much burden has been lifted off me I am just so grateful , I didn't realize I'd been in a pretty bad depression for awhile...Thank you for taking the time to write these posts ...they are truly helpful .Karen

Margie from Toronto said...

Joy - I thank you for your answer and will try to be respectful - but the Bible also says "judge not lest yee be judged". If you truly believe in "The wrath of God raging against the Godless and the wicked" then can you please explain to me how Americans who claim to be true Christians possibly support a man like Trump? A man who has been married 3 times - had numerous affairs - has consorted with prostitutes, is totally disrespectful of women - who lies & cheats in business - who disparaged your men and women in uniform - and who has lied constantly to the American people? A man who used the Bible as a prop for a photo op - it is incomprehensible to me.

I think I will stick with my Church - it's a much kinder place and I feel perfectly comfortable in calling myself and my fellow congregants true Christians.

I understand that we will never agree about this but I do thank you for at least offering your thoughts.

Melissa said...

Thank you for these lovely,thoughtful words.
Because we just moved to a new small town in another State, we had to find a new doctor. He did ask all of those personal mental health questions was a very emotional time for me because of all the adjustments of a big move, leaving friends made and a church family that we had ministered to for 14 years. I think we did manage to convince him that it was still all good and God was in charge of our timing and we would be adjusting to living with family temporarily, because we have enough faith and comfort from the Bible to carry us through this new season in our life.
Making our homes comfortable, clean, and cozy is a joy which I hope to portray to our family. The new Jerusalem, new heaven and earth are pictured as being very beautiful in the book of Revelation. As in the book of Genesis, it says, "and God saw that it was good" in the things that He created.

Anonymous said...

Correction to the last comment:

It is

Anonymous said...


Regarding your reference to "Judge not, lest you be judged ..." from Matthew 7:1f

Many people like to quote this verse because they do not want to be held accountable for their sinful behavior.

If you look at the context of that verse, however, Jesus was addressing the behavior of the hypocritical Pharisees, who piled self-made "laws" on top of God's original Law and burdened the people. If the people failed to follow every minute detail of their rules, they became judgmental(found specks in eyes of others), but they themselves had MAJOR heart issues of pride, etc.(logs in their own eyes). They were not in a position to judge others until their own heart issues were first dealt with.

We are called many times as Christians to call out the sins of other believers - pointing them to the truth of scripture. This is not because we ourselves are perfect, but because God's Word is, and it is the ultimate authority. If the Bible says something is wrong, then it is wrong. Ephesians 5:11 says, "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." Also, when Jesus sent out the disciples in the Great Commission, He gave them instructions to make disciples, baptize them, and "teach them to obey everything I have commanded you". (Matt. 28:18) If a so-called Christian (especially in church leadership) rejects the clear teaching of scripture, then one must wonder if they are only wolves in sheep's clothing.

Again, in no way does the ability to judge another person come from within us, but that authority is coming from God. Like the Pharisees, an individual should not choose to confront another with sin if there is glaring sin in his own life. He must first confess his own sin and then approach the brother in love and humility.

Regarding Trump ...
Yes, I agree that his lifestyle has been utterly immoral and ungodly for the most part, based on everything I have seen. There has been talk of his personal decision to follow Christ, but one waits to see the fruit. Nevertheless, I did vote for him. The reason is that I chose what I believed to be the "lesser of two evils" in that Trump's agenda aligned more closely with my Christian convictions - especially on issues such as abortion. I imagine that I am not wrong in saying that MANY Christians voted for him for the same reason, but found his personal character to be distasteful and wished for a more upright, godly leader.

Thank you for kindly receiving these thoughts and views, and for your response. Again, I pray for God to reveal His truth to you as you seek to follow the Lord Jesus.

Anonymous said...

I forgot to write my name, but the reply to Margie was from me, Joy. (-: