Family, Friendship

Cups Of Tea

If you are cold, tea will warm you;

If you are too heated, it will cool you;

If you are depressed, it will cheer you;

If you are excited, it will calm you.

William Ewart Gladstone, British Statesman

This quote describes me although changing “tea” to “making tea” would also be accurate. I suspect I make more tea than I drink. The exception should have been aboard the Emerald Princess this week as I cruised to Canada. However, I learned today that teatime is no longer offered daily.

I don’t know if I will make the only teatime offered because the number of guests is limited. If I do, I suspect that the waiters in white jackets moving among the white-clothed tabletops will remind me of my aunt who likes to ask, “Who will bring her a cup of tea?” (See here.)

May someone bring you a cup of tea this week.


The Friendship Balance

A friend was moving and leaving not only a void in my life and others, but also a void in our church ministry. Anne* repeatedly told me that she was praying for someone to fill the gap. I doubted someone would serve us the way she had. I doubted I could work as easily with another person.

I frequently thought, “Pray all you want, but it won’t be the same.”

And I was right. I was given more.

My heart was knit to my new friend more deeply and more quickly than I could have imagined. I accepted this better friendship without explanation, but a mutual friend eventually did explain. “With Anne, everything was about us. Nothing was about her,” she said.

Anne asked, “How are you doing? How can I help you? How can I pray for you?” She didn’t answer those same questions. The rare times she mentioned her life, I felt privileged to be trusted.

My new friend was vulnerable. She revealed her heart. She asked me to pray for her. There was a needed balance in my new relationship.

*A pseudonym

How is your friendship seesaw?

Friendship, Lies I Believed

Do I Really Pick My Friends?

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends.

Until I was fifty, I believed that ubiquitous lie. Sort of. The truth came to me as I sat on the sofa of a couple who had recently moved to another state. My husband and I had deviated from our route during a trip that was already too long—in both miles and time—to see them.

I remember thinking, “When we met seventeen years ago, I would never have imagined I would be sitting here today.”

When we met, we were outwardly incompatible, and we remained that way. However, we were friends. Shared life had made us friends.

Thinking back, I only tried to pick my friends twice. It didn’t work with Valerie in third grade. It did with Jennifer in seventh grade. All my other friends appeared. Divine encounters. Shared experiences. Shared ministries. Shared projects. Shared thoughts, All involved moments when something clicked that was out of my control.

Along the way I learned that I don’t control my friendships. Friends are a gift to be received, just as my family is a gift to be received.

Who is your unlikely friend?


To Whom Do You Turn?

But he [Rehoboam] abandoned the counsel that the old men gave him and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him.

1 Kings 12:8 (ESV)

And what was the result?

So Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day.

1 Kings 12:19 (ESV)

For years, I did not consciously teach my children where to turn for counsel—except urging them to seek their brothers’ perspective on a particular topic.

That changed when my oldest two were departing for college. I urged them to consult their professors if they had trouble in a subject.

Next, I turned to the remaining child. Perhaps, I felt he was vulnerable without his brothers. I told him that if anything happened to my husband and me, whom he was to turn to and whom he was to ignore. I was specific about who could help with each area of his life. He took that to heart and still aggressively seeks counsel.

Thankfully, my earlier years of neglect did not cause harm.

I bless the LORD who gives me counsel; Psalm 16:7a (ESV)

God's Faithfulness, Parenting

A Place To Listen

Where do you hide your heart?

Amy Grant, Michael W Smith

Why does it matter where our hearts hide? Why does it matter where we teach our children’s hearts to hide?

Because we need a place where we can call for help and listen.

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.

Jeremiah 33:3

Because we need a place to decide what to do next.

My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.

John 10:27

Someone close to my heart ran to a spot with this view.

When my sons were younger, we were outdoors for the love of the outdoors. I am grateful that we unwittingly taught them the value of a quiet, listening place—a place where they would eventually hide their hearts.

Where were you taught to hide your heart?