Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Life in Grayscale

Grayscale - a range of gray shades from white to black,
as used in a monochrome display or printout.

Thank you to everyone who was concerned about my week long absence.  Each day I thought I'd write a blog post but the combination of intense heart/humidity and not feeling so well made writing impossible.  Especially when the computer was only available in the evening when my brain doesn't function well, anyway.  ;)

Normally I can work through symptoms and get on with the day's activities as long as they are in the house, in the garden area, or a short distance away.  But it didn't work that way this week.  Such high humidity can be felt in the house even when the air conditioner is set to 75 degrees.

I constantly choose to focus on the good, the colorful, the Art of living life to the glory of God.  While I don't always break through the ribbon at the goal line each day, at least there is that goal to work towards.  

When we stop running (or in this case... walking) toward the goal then the enemy of our soul tends to succeed in whispering defeat, which turns into feeling sorry for oneself, which can lead to comparison with other people, and that always ends up in bitterness and discontent. 

There is a reason that in the Letters to the Churches, Jesus promises gifts to those who overcome.  Which should tell us there is much to overcome in this life.  Thankfully, for most of us, there are no huge battles every day of one's life.  Mostly it is the little foxes nipping at our heels that wear us down in between great battles.

But my thinking tends to wander to the Christians who suffer greatly for their faith in other countries.  For many of them, the battle rages daily but the strongest Christians tend to come out of those lands of intense persecution.  God gives the amount of grace each of us needs in our situation.

The title of this blog post comes from a thought which came to me this week when I was feeling particularly dreadful.  I told God that my world at the moment appears to be lacking color. It reminded me when I print out a page which is colorful and I don't want to waste the colored ink... so I change the printing option to grayscale.  No color.  Black and white and shades in between.

Sometimes grayscale is beautiful.  Stephanie's wedding photos were mostly in grayscale and the images today remind me of that magical (Narnia magic, of course) day when the wedding party and parents walked through a grove of woods to the small chapel and one felt as if a couple hundred years had slipped away.  

In many ways, each of us has the ability to choose between color and grayscale just as Stephanie chose for her photos to be in black and white.  Now, I admit that there are some who... for medical reasons... have great difficulty finding their way back to color.  They need healing, whether directly through prayer or a combination of spiritual, emotional, and medical assistance.  Most often it requires all of this as well as a great deal of love and grace. 

But for others... for instance, my own recent struggle with limitations... there is a choice available.  Not an easy choice for when one feels weary physically, when there is a struggle to do the most basic of daily To Do's, when the brain is fuzzy and sitting is all one wants to do... then the choice is a battle of sorts.

However, unlike one who needs medical assistance to even begin to return to  normal... those who are weary in the journey of life and that which has been given them to overcome... we can still choose to run or walk or perhaps even crawl our way to the finish line.

The Bible tells us there is a "cloud of witnesses" cheering us on as we live each day towards our final breath.  While there are theological discussions about just who they are and if they actually see us physically or if spiritually they "sense the race"... I still like the idea that someone is cheering the Church to the ultimate goal in Christ.

Hebrews 12 continues to tell us we are to "run with perseverance the race marked out for us".  What is our goal... or rather Who is our goal?  It goes on to say it is Jesus.  Some translations say He is the author and finisher of our faith.  I like that best.  Being bookish and all.  Jesus was and is and evermore shall be the author and the finisher of our faith.

That is why peace is a Person.  Why Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.  It really is all about a god... the God... who became like one of us to live a perfect life and win back legally the Keys to the Kingdom... and has restored to His Creation the ability to return to a relationship with Him.  One just has to accept Jesus as who He is, that He is the One True Way back to that relationship with the Father.

Ponder how amazing it is that we have a God that not only comes beside us as we walk on this fallen sod that is Earth but the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us.  I don't know about you but no matter how I feel physically... there is a lot of wonderment in that Truth.  

Am I feeling better? Not so much at the moment.  But I'm not quitting even if I have to slow down for awhile.  I can almost see the goal line.  I've come too far to quit... and so have you. God left Heaven so that He could be our finish line.  How could one ever give up?

Thank you for caring.


Anonymous said...

I was talking to someone this morning about how short this life is. I am in my sixties and wondering how I got here so soon--it doesn't seem possible to have that many years on me. But in the light of eternity it is not even a nano-second. So when trials make the days seem long, we keep pressing on. Like you say, we have come too far to quit. Eternity is ahead--Jesus is ahead. Hold fast, stand firm, it will be worth all when we see Him. Glad you are back--missed you this week. Blessings, Sharon D.

Anonymous said...

For a person who is right now low physically you have put out a very powerful statement of faith. I would sure buy a book of all your Sunday Afternoon Teas if you ever published them. They are more powerful than any I have read. Beautiful and powerful.
I imagine most of us ponder your writing all week asking God to enlighten us on what we personally need to be doing for him too.I often finish reading your thoughts almost stunned at their beauty and insightfulness. You use your God given talent to bring us into new understanding showing us God;s sovereignty and all He stands for in our lives and what our part is in being His creation. I am at a loss for words. I write but it isn't enough for the awe I come away from your writings of how awesome is our God. Thank you again. Sarah

Angela said...

Oh dear Brenda, I am praying for you to feel better.

Vee said...

You, my friend, are one remarkable woman. I will be praying for you to feel better each day. I pray, too, for a break in this oppressive heat and humidity that has gripped so much of the country. And is it wrong for me to pray a computer in for you? It can not be.

Father, you know the needs of this house, this family, Since you have given the ministry of this blog, please give the tools needed to accomplish the task. It is in the name of Jesus Christ I ask. Amen.

Anonymous said...

I missed you this last week, as well. You are an overcomer! Still managing to post when not feeling well. Praying for strength and healing for you. {{Hugs!}}
Laura C. (WA)

A Woman that Fears the Lord said...

I'm so sorry that you are not feeling well this week, Brenda! I am stopping right now to pray for you, again! I appreciated what you wrote in this post! Thank you!

Jane said...

Having lived with some family members who tend to see life in grayscale, I can sympathize and empathize with your -dare I say - struggle. Please know that you are an inspiration to many and that you are loved!

Carol said...

Dear Brenda: So good to have you back blogging with this wonderful post. I pray for your renewed health. (MD)

Ann said...

Father, I ask that you would touch Brenda with your healing hand and surround her with your love. Encourage her Lord as she seeks to rise above all that is coming against her. Restore her strength and give her peace so that she may continue to write and strengthen and encourage each one of us. She is a blessing to us who look forward each week to her Sunday Afternoon Teas and find hope for our own little lives. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

Julie said...

Thank you for your posts. I have been dealing with sickness these past few months.You have been an encouragement to me. I often think of you and pray for you. Please continue as you can. You are probably helping more people than you know.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Be well, Brenda! I'm praying for your well being. Autumn will be here soon!

Anonymous said...

After reading the news, I needed some encouragement to go on and run the race.

Thank you.

Sherry said...

You encouraged me today. Thank you

Rachel H said...

Great words! All this week has been emotionally trying. My husband is from Denham Springs, Louisiana and most of his family still live there. Some did not have flooding, others did. What can you do but look toward Jesus and the end of the race? We lost no family members, but others did. I have been shopping today, and my husband is taking our van filled with relief items tomorrow. Please keep those affected by the flood and the wildfires in your prayers.

Carrie said...

Beautifully stated. I'm coming on this post a few days later and have already read that you are feeling better, for which I am glad. Still, THIS post was very encouraging. Thank you for sharing what you were thinking about and learning during the midst of a rather trying week.