Sunday, June 21, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Take Courage

Just when our nervous systems were calming down a bit from the events of a world wide pandemic, the race riots began and even Instagram was no longer a safe place to enjoy a mental vacation.

I admit to feeling anxiety as the world continues to fall into chaos and it became even more apparent that those who hold onto my worldview no longer have very much control of the culture, or at least the media who are showing the images over and over.

To be honest, I think the feelings I experienced were as much grief than anxiety.  I know God holds the future but I certainly miss the America I once knew and I'm certain friends in other countries feel the same.  It is much like visiting a foreign country one has never been to before, without knowing the language or the layout of the surroundings.  I feel lost in the midst of a crazy world.

However, one day earlier in the week, I was standing at my sink and looking out the window when I heard that Still Small Voice say... "take courage".  It was as if I could feel Aslan's breath whispering in my ear and courage pour over me as one would use oil to anoint a king in ancient Israel.

I had been reading His Word but still felt unsettled.  I quickly realized that I had also been doing exactly what I know is not wise in these uncertain times.  I was watching the news, scrolling Facebook, and not staying away from Instagram when it became political once again.  It doesn't matter if what people on social media say is the truth (and there is that element that is anything but the truth)... it still becomes a battlefield for the mind.

When I felt Aslan God tell me to "take truth", I had a mental image of actually taking with force, as one would pick vegetables from a garden filled with weeds.  Ummm... not that my old garden ever became full of weeds, mind you.  ;)

Since then, I've been getting information from some trusted news sources and staying away from most television news.  It is the way God made me that I can watch an "end of the world as we know it" video on YouTube without my heart fluttering faster at all but when the national evening news comes on after the local news... it gets turned off as fast as certain horror movies!

I know I'm getting off track, which is something one is not suppose to do as a writer, but it is fascinating what one person can handle and then... not so much.  I take delight in an afternoon TV marathon of shows about people hunting for a huge furry monster known as Bigfoot in the woods but cover my eyes at the commercials about other creepy mysteries.  Go figure...

So to return to my original thoughts, I found courage rising up within as I concentrated on the pretty flowers and herbs growing on the deck.  My husband was (and is) storing bags of mulch on the deck until he can get to a project where he will use them.  They are not pretty and they remind me of projects still undone.

So I moved the deck chairs in front of the sacks to deflect them from sight when looking out the window.  Yes, I am getting serious about this taking courage from what I am allowing my eyes to settle upon.  Flowers.  Not plastic bags full of mulch.

I finished a nonfiction audio book and decided it was time to "take courage" by listening to Jan Karon's In the Company of Others for a mental vacation.  I had started the book when it first came out many years ago but gave up on it.  It was too hard to follow and the Irish brogue was hard to read.  However, many blog readers told me it is excellent on Audible so when I joined Audible last Fall, it was the first fiction book I picked with the monthly credit.  I'll let you know how it is going on a future Book Talk post.

During the complete self isolation period, I did a lot of downsizing of the closet, the accessories in rooms, and shelves in the garage.  Which resulted in four boxes of stuff sitting in the Study for Goodwill.  We've been dropping them off slowly but surely since one still has to sort their own donations in boxes outside of the store.  It has been a source of peace to get rid of all but one box and it will be leaving the Study next week.

I have been taking courage by noticing that changes in nature are occurring exactly as they have for generations.  As I drove home from town last week, a splash of color on the side of the road gave evidence that the wild orange ditch lilies have bloomed, just as they have around Father's Day since I was a child.

They are the flower I most associate with my own father and seeing them bloom wild on the side of country roads as always each year... just as they did on the gravel roads I walked with my dad as a little girl... reminded me that another Father knows exactly what is going on in the world and His ultimate will is being accomplishd.

Aslan is on the move, my friends.  

Mentioned in this Blog Post
In the Company of Others by Jan Karon.  Info... here.

Disclosure:  Most links to are associate links.


Terra said...

I love this post and the painting of Aslan, and how you felt his whisper and his breath telling you to "take courage". We need him now, more than ever, as violent anarchists are raging in our land. Take courage, have hope, yes! And now I am preparing for live streaming church in an hour.

Ann said...

Oh how my soul resonates with what you say. I know in my heart that God is in control of all that I see and hear going on around me and I know that all this has to come to pass before the return of our Lord and Savior ... but ... in my humanness I feel sorrow for the country that is no more and for all the people that suffer now and those that will in the future. So I, too, limit how much I read or watch -- I do a lot of skimming because my mind cannot absorb too much ugliness and the disregard for human life. "Shelter in place" is actually a comfort in many ways. As Psalm 91 so aptly puts it "He who dwells in the secret place of the Lord shall remain fixed and stable under the wings of the Almighty whose power no foe can withstand." (Amplified Bible). That, to me, is a great definition of "shelter in place".

Unknown said...

I, too, in many ways want to go back to the America I knew, the one I grew up in. Sadly, though that America was a very unkind place for many people and we can't go back to that. We have to, by the grace of God form a new America that brings justice, kindness and respect to everyone.

Vee said...

Wonderful, comforting words. Although I have for many years now taken my news from trusted sources, I still must be careful. Too much news is too much news no matter who is dispensing it.

Seeing these times reminds me of the 1960s, but the fact is, today is much darker and far worse. It was not part of my belief system that Christians would see these days so I am dealing with some disappointment and you and I know to Whom that leads. 😏 He owes me no explanation and does not deserve my frustration. Nevertheless, I am feeling it all the same.

Instagram was horrific and Pinterest nearly the same. Good heavens! There was no respite. Blogging may be the last safe place in social media where an opinion can be stated.

Take courage, Chill, Take a Break, Knock it Off...all things I've been hearing in my head. I probably should not confess it. You'll think me gone round the bend. 🤪

Thanks, Brenda, for this thought-provoking post.

Anonymous said...

I could certainly identify with your post today. Felt so unsettled this many distressing things going on In our world. Been watching too much news! But in church, as we sang that old hymn "Peace, peace wonderful peace coming down from the Father above..." that peace came and His presence which overrules all the anxiety and turmoil and makes me long for it every hour of every day..just to know His presence. He is still in control! Appreciate your post today. Blessings, Sharon D.

Kathy said...

Thank you for your message.
I was just ranting to my brother about all the lying from the president and gov't and then I heard a sermon on lying and the six things God hates and now your post about God telling you to "take truth"... I think He is trying to get my attention.

Anonymous said...

This was so good and encouraging! Thank-you so much for sharing! Love how God spoke to you to “take courage.” We’ve basically quit watching the news except for the weather, lately. I can hardly bare to watch what’s going on. It grieves my heart to see our our country being torn apart and in such turmoil. I, too, miss the America we once knew.....the times they are a changing, and all so very fast! It’s scary and unsettling! I keep wondering, what’s next?! I began reading Jan Karon’s Mitford series when this all started, and it has been so good to escape to gentler times! Kudos to you for sorting through and getting rid of things! I haven’t accomplished much except to plant our veggie garden! So thankful you are back!
Laura C.(WA)

ellen b. said...

I've needed to guard my heart and mind during these unsettling times. So good to listen to the truth during this time. I don't think times will be easier for us and we need to be ready for the onslaught of evil coming our way. God is still sovereign and He will bring us through.

lynneinMN said...

so appreciate your post today. thank you. as stated above, I too am grieving over our America that is disappearing. I never thought our God would come back in my lifetime, but that seems more probable than not. we are taught in His word not to be afraid, but i'm afraid. we shouldn't worry, but I worry. keep repeating to myself "God is in control"...and He is. Instagram was "uninstalled" a couple weeks ago, Facebook is very limited. News comes from trusted sources only. I thank you for your blog. In Christ...LynneinMN

Suzan said...

I feel that watching too much news is definitely detrimental to my mental health. I do as you suggest and try to concentrate on what is positive in my life. For someone who has a lifelong battle with depression and anxiety I have been astonished at how little of these feelings over the course of this pandemic.

God bless everyone.

Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deanna Rabe said...

I teared up at your word “Aslan is on the move.” How glad I am to know the Lord and to have friends who know him, too! It is a time to let our courage rise.

I am also careful about my media intake. I’ve found myself taking deep breaths and re-reading the Mitford series. I will probably listen to the audible version when I get to that book! said...

Yes, take control of what you watch and see. Thankfully, I have a big project going on right now. Our son and family are coming to visit us for a week! I NEEDED to get my work room cleaned out, (it did help get me through these last three months with all of my sewing projects!) so I went through just about everything and decided to get rid of so much stuff. Three trash bags full and 5 boxes to donate to GoodWill. It's out of the house! Now to some light cleaning, baking, and enjoy the two grandsons soon!