Monday, November 30, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
For a year and a half I have had shelves at a local gift shop. It has worked beautifully for me and my customers. It is close to where the previous owner had the tea shop, so it is convineint for customers and they can special order things and pick them up there. I visit the shop once a week and restock, until now...there is no more room on my three big black shelves. So, next week I am taking a whole booth, that's right 80 square feet to with what I want. That means I have lots of space to fill, enter hutch #1:
This beauty is being painted by the most fabulous furniture painter east of the Mississippi. She works wonders with paint. I will use the hutch to display my products (mostly teapots) and will also sell it. Have I ever mentioned I LOVE furniture? I mean REALLY love furniture! This will give me an opportunity to buy a lot of furniture and decorate till my heart's content. I have always loved decorating too and am grateful the Lord is giving me the opportunity to do not one but TWO things I love - tea and furniture. Oh and be a wife and mother, etc. etc. He is pretty AWESOME that way!
Monday, November 16, 2009
It was the eve of Judah’s dedication. I was at a local department store looking for something to wear. It had been six months since I gave birth, but the extra pre-pregnancy pounds were still hanging around. I was NOT going to wear maternity clothes to his dedication when he was SIX months old.
I tried on several dresses peeking ever so quickly in the unforgiving dressing room mirror to see if the outfit would suffice and make me feel somewhat normal for the day. I had a lot of “NOs” hanging up. Returning my items to the “I’m not taking this” rack I made my way back to the ladies department and then I saw it – a leopard dress. I LOVE animal print. Then I heard it, “You can’t wear a leopard dress to your baby’s dedication, it’s not appropriate.” What? Who said that?
Grabbing the dress I headed towards the dressing room and tried it on. It fit nicely and I could look at myself for more than a few seconds. As I turned to look at my profile I heard “You look six months pregnant.” I am buying this dress I said with determination! It was only going to be about $20 with the sale and coupon.
As I headed towards the register I stopped in the purse department. For as long as I can remember I have only had one purse at a time because I do not like the hassle of changing purses. So, I keep it till it falls apart and then I get another. Mine was beginning to fall apart, so I looked with great interest. I found not one, but two awesome purses on clearance, which would be further reduced by my coupon. You know I cannot resist a good deal. Then I heard it again, “You can’t wear a leopard dress to your baby’s dedication, it’s not appropriate. Two purses, now that’s just extravagant.” What was going on?
Before I knew it I was in full on battle with the enemy. He was accusing me, as is his nature, but he was accusing me to myself. The battle was so fierce I almost began to cry in the purse department. I called my husband for back-up, but he didn’t answer. I frantically kept dialing the number, no answer. It was just me, the devil and the leopard dress. I have come to know my Father so intimately I recognized the attack from the enemy almost immediately. But would I win?
This may sound over-the-top to some, but to anyone who has ever struggled with self-image you will understand the conflict. This battle was not about a leopard dress and a couple of purses, this was a battle for my soul. Would I agree with the devil, who is a liar or would I agree with the lover of my soul, my Maker who created me in His image? What does my poor self-image say about Him? To Him? It says He is a liar. I knew that was not right.
I would like to say I pulled myself together, prayed a heartfelt prayer, resisted the devil and he fled, but it did not happen that way. Rustling up any strength I had left I headed to the checkout with the leopard dress and two purses, but my insides were churning. I did not feel like a daughter of the Most High God, so isn’t it great that the title does not depend on my feelings? I walked out of there with a dress and two purses for $50, so I should have felt great, but I didn’t. There was still a full on battle going on inside my head.
You know our thoughts come from three places? God, the devil or ourselves and I always used to think the accusing thoughts and negative thoughts were always from me, they are NOT! The accuser of the brethren was throwing anything he could at me to bring me down and at this point I was not fairing so well. I told my husband all about it when I got home and still almost cried just remembering, but somehow when I got dressed Sunday morning I felt beautiful.
Our pastor always does a word study on the name of the baby being dedicated and he said this about Judah...Judah means this “He stood facing the congregation with his arms raised to the Lord” what an awesome picture of the name the Lord gave me for my son. Then the pastor gave me the microphone to share my testimony about how the Lord named Judah. It was a wonderful day!
Can I just tell you that many people told me they loved my dress after church. Ha, ha devil! And I told some of them the battle I fought to even buy that dress. They understand the battle and encouraged me.
I would like to tell you that it is all behind me and I came out victorious, but I am still fighting this battle, AND I know my Father is VICTORIOUS. I continue to seek Him to restore me in this area. The pictures from that day still make me want to cry because I am not happy with the way I look, but I did go out recently and buy all new clothes in a bigger size because I am going to be at peace with myself and my God until we work this self-image thing out*. And WE will because He is faithful as I seek Him in EVERY area of my life.
*This in no way means I'll be this size forever. It means that I am NOT striving to lose weight. I will do what He shows me to do. The Lord and I will address the issues that keep me at this weight and with His help, the weight will come off in due time.
THE GOOD NEWS IS:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. Revelation 12:10
There is a great chart (issue 9, page 21)that has these three headings:
GOD/THE GOOD SHEPARD
and it lists what the voices sound like. For example: God - doesn't compare you to others, Self - compares you to others, Satan - forces comparison
I highly recommend going here (click issue 9, page 21) and printing this chart and keeping it in a prominent place. I'll be taking it with me shopping for a while!
Chart is from an archived issue of House2House magazine
Sunday, November 15, 2009
I got a phone call and it was a neighbor of my mother’s boyfriend's son. She said that my mother told her I wanted to sell the business and she was calling to talk about it. (That was not exactly what I said) I was caught off guard, but I was still basking in the Lord’s faithfulness and presence. I was “self-controlled and alert” because I know “My enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) I was on my way to another event that would keep me out until 6 p.m. that night. I was tired. This was no time to have this conversation; I said I would call her back.
Two things that stood out to me here:
1) It was so like the he enemy to try and catch me when I was busy and tired, so I would get caught up in the moment, 2) BUT it was SO LIKE GOD to go before me and show up in a big way just moments earlier giving me firm footing in my faith to fight one little tempting phone call (fiery darts)
Do I want to sell the business? If that is what God wants, but like I said I do not feel released.
One lady came up to me after the tea and said, “You have a ministry. People need to be taught this. We are raising a generation of children who will not know how to have a face-to-face conversation.” Wow, when you put it that way! My business is a High and Holy calling.
The previous owner saw this business very much the same way – a ministry. To me she was a forerunner for what God called me to do with this business. I can do what I do with this business because she was faithful in what He called her to do. When God hands the baton to the next minister I will know and I will joyfully pass it on. For now I stand firm in knowing this is what He has called me to do. There are still days (many) that I am busier than I would like to be and want to throw in the (tea) towel…BUT GOD!!!
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Ephesians 6:16
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Saturday, November 7, 2009
God prepared me for months for this event. It was a tea party at a local church for 100 women. They invited me to speak and bring tea. The topic "Biblical Hospitality". It was a wonderful time - from the months of preparing my heart to minister to these women to the 200+ cups of tea I made. It went beautifully! My heart was full when I got there and overflowing when I left.
I was as excited when I left there as I was when I wrote this. Knowing He had called me and was preparing me was beyond description. Bringing stories to my recollection to share with these women. Making His word come alive, so my passion would ignite them.
Earlier in the week I read a story by a local pastor titled DIS-CONNECTED. In it he recounts overhearing a father talk about taking his teenage daughter and a friend to a football game. During the game she was texting and when he asked her who she was texting, she pointed to the friend next to her. That story startled me! I have a lot more to say about that in another post. It was part of my argument about the importance for these women to open their homes and share Christ's love with a "dis-connected" world. I'm not talking just the "world", I'm talking about the people in your church. The ones who sit next to you week after week and you never say more than, "Hi, how ya doin?'" scootin' away before you hear their answer. I encouraged them to do it despite the condition of their homes.
That may sound simple to you or you may be one of the many that will not invite others over because your house is not "just right". People are lonely and hurting, they just want to be asked, invited, included, so please you be the ONE! Be the one who invites, opens and includes someone who just needs a friend. Afterall, God does not care about the condition of your home, he cares about your spiritual condition and that is obedience.
Romans 12:13 Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
1 Peter 4:9 Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.These women got the message! Their comments heartfelt and sincere after my talk. God spoke to their hearts and moved in their spirit to obey His call to hospitality.
What I love about tea is it is a simple way to answer the call to biblical hospitality easily, affordably and in a relaxed atmostphere. Things happen over a pot of tea that may not happen otherwise - people let their guard down, they open up and they share their lives. The art of brewing tea causes us to slow down long enough to be PRESENT.
So, I encourage you as I encouraged them - INVITE! Then I want you to come back and share your testimony with me, because I know there will be one because God is JUST THAT GOOD!
What happened minutes after the tea party in the next post because...your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)