Sunday Afternoon Tea

By on August 22, 2012

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). ūüėČ

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

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. ūüôā

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.

Originally posted on Coffee Tea Books and Me.

About Brenda Nuland

Brenda is a Midwestern wife, mother, and grandmother who loves to write about living a life of faith, books, tea time, decorating, frugal living ideas, homeschooling, and everything having to do with making life more beautiful - especially in the midst of difficult circumstances. Her blog:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Sunday Afternoon Tea