Over Tea

I have been wondering how to start this blog after being MIA for the past four months or better. Most of you may have decided that “Over Tea” was just plain OVER! I can’t say I would blame you for that. Maybe, if you read my last blog on battling giants, you figured I had gone down in total defeat, or that I was wounded beyond recovery after the battle, lying in the valley, slowly bleeding to death. Well, not exactly. When I wrote that blog last June, I did expect things to get worse, not better, in that area of my life…and I was right. I knew perfectly well that if I put myself out there in a vulnerable place wanting to prove my Jesus, Satan would be all over it…and indeed, he was. I might as well have painted the bulls-eyes on myself, because the arrows were certainly flying my direction. The last thing the enemy wants for us as women is to be vulnerable with each other, finding out there is strength in numbers and freedom in truth. Nevertheless, I decided I would rather open my heart to pain and trial for the sake of overcoming in the name of Jesus, in the hope of encouraging someone else, than suffer in silence and miss a chance to be used of God and blessed in the process. Honestly, this situation is like a lot of struggles in my life have been…I just want the hurting part to be over without a lot of work…you know those prayers, “Jesus, please just fix this mess, or remove this trial, or heal this wound.” And sometimes He does, almost before the knee prints on the carpet are gone…but that’s the rare exception. I’m learning that the general rule seems to be that the messes, the trials, and the wounds have been allowed in my life for a purpose…and that purpose is not for me alone, but for anyone and everyone who shares in my life or knows my faith story. And so, though I haven’t defeated that giant yet, and though it felt at times like I might as well get out the white flag and start waving it wildly, I am still standing, still in the fight.

I had a hectic and wild summer for reasons I won’t elaborate on here, and I don’t think I have been more emotionally drained very often in my life. If you know anything about eating disorders you know that they are totally tied to emotional responses. Even though I know that, it wasn’t any easier to confront the whole issue this summer. For me, food is a coping mechanism, just as it is for a lot of people, even those who don’t carry it to an extreme, so it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that a very emotionally charged summer was fuel to the fire of my addiction. Certainly, Satan intended it for my demise, but God allowed it for my benefit. I am not exactly sure how that all plays out just yet…but I am confident it does. Suffice it to say, I didn’t have a lot left at the end of the day through those summer months for writing much of anything coherent. Even after more than a month of the park being closed, I am still struggling to get back to something akin to normal…hence my “Missing In Action” status. Sometimes, though, the best way to get back to normal is just to do things that are normal, whether we feel like it or not…and for me, writing is normal; so I want to share some things that have been much on my heart for a couple of weeks now…

Truthfully, I am hopeful the “Over Tea” posts will start a conversation between women who are working through the messiness of life. (And honestly, I think that’s pretty much all of us!) The reason behind the name of this blog is that I love conversation over a cup of tea or coffee (and, yes, there should be cookies too ). I delight in honest sharing of thoughts, ideas, hopes and dreams. In my job, I get more than enough superficial conversation…the cordialities of working with the public…and I don’t mind, but the thing that excites me is real conversation about real stuff…matters of the heart and soul. I love discussions about the “hows, whats and whys” of life, the sharing of learned wisdom, talking through daily struggles, and the joy of relating some sweet little revelation from the Lord. This is the stuff of friendship in the Christian life. We are all so different with unique experiences, backgrounds, and life situations; but we are also so much alike, sharing that wonderful thread of womanhood imprinted on our innermost soul by the Creator of the Universe. Even while my experience may be different from yours, you may have some bit of wisdom that speaks to me; and while you may not be at the same station in life that I am, I may have an insight from my own travels that opens a window of understanding for you. I suppose what I am trying to say is that we need each other. There is so much of life that keeps us occupied…kids, jobs, housework, endless responsibilities…it’s hard to set aside a time to physically sit across the table from a friend and share. If you have the chance to do that, for heaven’s sake, don’t miss it! Get together with friends whenever you can, and share what the Lord is doing in your life. Ask hard questions of each other. Talk about what God is teaching you, or about what you want to learn from Him. Hold each other accountable. Encourage each other. Share your hearts and pray together. But, if you can’t do that, or if you need more, perhaps you will find some form of sharing here at the FLAME website through this blog, or through Cami’s “Mommy’s Musings” posts. The idea is conversation…we want to know what you think…what you need…what you’ve learned…what keeps you down or keeps you going. We want to share what God is revealing to us through day-to-day living, and we want you to share right back if you are so inclined.

I have to admit how surprised I am as I type this…how passionate I feel about it. It’s not about my blog or me…it’s about Jesus and what He has done and is doing in my life…and my desire to share it with others. I think sharing what God is doing in our lives is actually a responsibility (though a delightful one). Think of it like this… Say we were all shipwrecked together on a deserted island. We have no food, no water, and no shelter. Do we all huddle together and just wait through the days to certain death, or do we go out seeking what we need? And, if we do go seeking and one of us finds an oasis with food, water and shelter, do we keep that to ourselves while the rest of our shipmates struggle to survive? If I find that oasis, and don’t make the effort to share it with the rest of you, what kind of person does that make me? What do you think if you find that oasis days or weeks later than I did, and realize that you were suffering needlessly because I was too busy, too selfish, too distracted, or too shy to tell you what I had found? Jesus is our oasis…He’s our life…our food, water and shelter…and if we don’t make an effort to share how we got to Him or how He sticks with us, or what He does for us, we are depriving others who need to know. So I challenge you all to step up and step out and share with the “shipmates” that Jesus has put in your sphere of influence. Do it face-to-face, online, through cards or letters, via phone calls or whatever means you have…but for the glory of God, do it!
One last thought…
For many years of my life I ran away from God. It’s not that I didn’t want God in my life, it’s just that I wanted things He didn’t want for me, and I didn’t realize my pursuit of those things would take me so far from Him. In those years I cut myself off from something I desperately needed. I left no room for Christian girlfriends. What a loss I inflicted on myself by that unintentional move! I lost the perspective, help, encouragement, wisdom, care and prayer that I so needed, and that I am quite sure others were willing and even anxious to give. It was worse than being shipwrecked with others on that deserted island…it was more like being alone in a canoe, heading out to sea all by myself with no island anywhere ahead of me. (And I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any oars, either! ) Thank God for His unending patience and grace, because He sent a mighty storm, not unlike the one that Jonah encountered (see Jonah 1) and turned that canoe, and the prodigal in it, around until it crashed right into a big ship with people aboard willing to reach out to one in need. The poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island unto himself,” and let’s face it, no woman is either. We really do need each other; we have so much to offer each other. No matter what you think your gifts are or are not, you have something to offer and Jesus is longing for you to give it. Read John chapters 13-17 where Jesus is giving His disciples last instructions before His crucifixion. He’s telling them to stick together…to pray…to love each other, to be unified in Him. Jesus prayed for them and for us! Why would Jesus do that if He didn’t expect us to do the same things He expected his party of twelve to do? What do you think would happen in our families, churches, and communities if we as women made a real effort to be unified with each other in Christ? The apostles, empowered by the spirit of God, literally turned the world upside down and nothing has been the same since. Dear sisters, we have the very same spirit in us that the apostles had…the spirit of Christ…and together in Christ we can turn our world upside down too! Do you want to see what God can do? Step out in faith…reach out in love to a sister in Christ…and let’s find out!

By | 2017-02-20T04:50:59+00:00 September 11th, 2015|Over Tea|0 Comments

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