Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Three generations...

Unless the Lord builds the house,
    those who build it labor in vain...
Psalm 127:1a (ESV)

This past week we celebrated our 38th anniversary.  How did that happen???  Where did all of those years go?  Well, it was lived one day at a time and that is how we made thirty-eight years (I was a child bride, obviously).  ;)

I must admit, I don't know how anyone can have a long marriage without both people being thoroughly dedicated to keeping Christ in the middle as the glue which holds their family together!

This past week I was re-reading one of my favorite nonfiction Christian books called Holy Habits.  The first chapter break I came to was called Soul-Keeping Habits.  Isn't that a wonderful title?  The section is about cleansing your heart daily.

The authors talked about the need for heart cleansing being even more important than our daily house cleaning.  We are to... as did the Psalmist... ask God to shine a light on our heart and show us what needs to be dusted off or swept out of our soul (mind, emotions, etc.).

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
     Try me and know my thoughts!
Psalm 139:23 (ESV) 

The chapter reminded me of a season of great affliction in my life which led me to repeat this prayer daily!

I had come to know Jesus as a teenager and felt His closeness deeply in those early years.  He literally became a "Father to the fatherless".  I fell totally head over heels in love with the Savior!

It wasn't that I didn't love Him, anymore, but the ups and downs of life had replaced my first love.   I didn't feel that closeness, anymore.  One day I was praying and I sensed so clearly He was asking me if I wanted to know Him as I did in my youth.

I remember saying, "Of course, Lord!" but then I truly felt the seriousness of His question as He said, "Are you certain?".   Rarely have I ever heard Him so clearly.

I sensed He was warning me to truly know Him at that level again, there would be trials ahead.  Well, I still said "Yes" but I admit not so fervently.   Sigh... I thought we had trials before but soon there came upon us a season of difficulty which lasted a very long time.

I guess there was a lot of purging and refining He needed to do!   Quite often I asked Him to search my heart and shine a light upon it as did King David.  Just as in the chapter of the book, I knew I had to do a "soul check" daily.

It was during this season of refinement that I learned to ask Him what He was wanting to teach me in the trial.  For I came to realize there is always a lesson to be learned... He never ever wastes a trial.

Because of the Lord’s great love  
we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning  great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

I have noticed something about those who have walked in affliction.  When they allow it to draw them closer to He Who Created Them... they are the sweetest and most merciful people on the planet.  They love the Lord and appreciate when His Blessings come their way.

Those who let their circumstances move them away from Him, who become bitter about life... they can develop a heart as hard as stone.

Rather than letting their circumstances mold them and shape them into becoming the person God knows they can be... they resist and complain and grumble... developing a tarnished, ugly attitude instead of the shining gold God intended.

So... where am I today in my soul?  I've come a long way from the time I took a spiritual gifts test and scored "Mercy" dead last!  (How embarrassing...)  But I still have to be washed anew each day with His mercy that is new every morning.

That's how I can have a long marriage, friendships, or any relationship... His love and His mercy flowing through this very imperfect human.

Salvation came in the moment I asked him to come into my heart as the Lamb of God, forgiving all sins, restoring me to the Father as if I were in Eden before the Fall.

But it takes a lifetime to run the race... imperfectly but each day growing stronger as I realize it is HIS strength that keeps me able to finish well.  No wonder the Word says we lay our crowns at His feet.  :)

Picture:  You can tell the little ones were already exhausted and this was before the wedding ceremony and reception.  However, they were real troopers and even little Anna did well the next few hours.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your anniversary. Wow! 38 years is a long time.
That sounds like a good book.

Angela said...

Hi Brenda, Is that the book by Wilson and Volkhardt? It sounds like a great book! Thank you, Angela

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

Yes, those are the authors. :)

Jewels said...

Wonderful words of Life. You are such a loving encouragement to me, dear friend. Thank-you, for the gift of your time in sharing your heart, and His. xo

Vee said...

Love that photo! I hope that you have it on display somewhere in your home. Anna just cracks me up.

Mercy dead last? Hahahahaha...I can't imagine why that also cracks me up. It doesn't fit the image I have of you that's for sure.

Angela said...

Thank you Brenda. Lovely post as always. My husband and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary on Sept. 4th- NOT always easy- well sometimes just plain hard- but so worth it! Like when our daughter walked down the isle in Oct. He is the only one that shares all the funny, sweet things about her. Congrats to you both! Blessings, Angela

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...


Mercy, dead last eh? I smile because I can relate, although I don't know if it every scored last for me...

God's grace and mercy have done there work on me - just as I know it has done its work on you, too.

As I tell my kids, He will continue to grow us into His image, and He will use things in our lives to do it.

Thanks for the encouragement.


Judy said...

May God continue to bless you in the marriage to which you have remained faithful through many hardships. He promises that His grace is sufficient...and that in Him is fulness of joy - may you know these things to be true in the year ahead.

Anonymous said...

It seems that trials are our lot until we pass over Jordan...of one sort or another. No wonder we are so tired. But grateful too, to have gotten past some of them. In the next life, if it is important for us to understand, then we will. I am certain some of what we have lived through will never make any sense at all here. Sometimes HE shows us why...but from my perspective it is not something we can expect. Just trusting HIM to get us through to our final day. Whenever that comes. And today, nearing 40 years of marriage, I can truthfully say, the things that I appreciate are indeed small. And happy with just that. Peace is worth so much!!
Elizabeth in NC

Deb said...

Belated Happy Anniversary, Brenda! I hope you had a very special day. Congratulations on 38 years! We have 32 years coming up next week. I love the picture you shared.