Friendship Tea

IMG_1464I went to visit her today and she once again offered me a cup of “friendship tea”. The tea is a blend of tea and Tang that she has been offering me for the whole of our forty years of friendship. She is not quite sure of where the name of this blend came from and I have no idea. Even so, even at 90, she had the kettle on waiting for me to arrive for our visit and the offer of tea as always. It has been a tradition with us.

 As I reflected on my friend and the tea, I am keenly aware of how precious her friendship has been, how much refreshment and encouragement she has provided me, far beyond the tea she always offers. The tea, served first at her kitchen table, was a welcome to sit and chat. Much of the time she was listening to me. Through the last forty years, she has offered me the most precious of gifts, listening as well as often praying for me.

 When we met, I was a young mother of two and she, twenty years my senior, seemed to never mind my chatting on about the season she had already walked through. There were gaps in the forty years where my life seemed to be spiraling off in so many directions that we would not see each other, but when I would be in touch she offered me the grace of never reminding me of the gap or how she had missed me. When we would see each other, it was as if we had talked only last week.

 Today as I hugged her before leaving and took a moment to pray for her, I felt so thankful for how much she had reflected Jesus to me all these years. He too has often spent more time listening to me than I have waited to listen to Him. He too has not reminded me of His disappointment for being away from Him at times. He too has offered me continual grace and love.

 It matters little what the source of the name of “friendship tea” was. What has mattered has been the gift of friendship she has offered, the kindness she has never failed to show, and the love that was always offered without any expectation in return.



Seeds and the Rock Cut

Our route to church includes a section we call “the rock cut”. It is a small stretch where the hillside was carved out to make the road. The result is a clear view of sedimentary rock. From time to time, road engineers will clear this area of fallen rocks, trees that have grown up on the hillsides, weeds, and even a stray wild flower or two. They scrap away the rocky sides so it is safer to drive through this area and all vegetation disappears.

 This was done a year or so ago and “the rock cut” has been a clear rocky surface again. This year as spring has been in full bloom, I noticed that the rocky hillsides are once again covered with green. Weeds are abundant, small trees have taken root again, the early spring beauties are springing up, and the sandy color of rock is disappearing under the growth of green vegetation everywhere. It is a cycle that continues over and over again.

The seed in our rock cut has not grown up quickly. Last year there was barely a shadow of green here and there, but by the end of this summer hues of green will be nearly covering this area once again. Clearly, it is not a soil that is friendly to seeds and yet they persist.

 As I look at the area I consider how tenacious the weeds, trees, and flowers are. They keep on growing and pushing into the soft sedimentary rock to take hold.

 We often hear sermons and parables that consider the condition of the soil, but on our rock cut and on numerous trips to the Rocky Mountains I have observed things are growing and coming to life in tiny crevices everywhere. It reminds me of the power God has given to living things. They keep on trying to grow, to find a way to continue, to bloom.

 Yes, many of the green plants I saw will not thrive, but I have watched this cycle for a long time and I know that road engineers will need to return again and again to undo what is growing and causing rocks to loosen and tumble toward the roadway.

 Whatever may be happening in your life, whether it seems to be parched, dying or flourishing with blooms abundant, know that when God called forth life on the earth there was great power in that call. Whatever the difficulty may be, life will continue in cycles and seasons and seek to bloom again. He is still calling forth life in His creation, in you, in me, in all of us.

The Value of Stillness and Beauty

When did you last take time to simply be still?  Can you remember what it felt like?

John Eldridge recently wrote in a newsletter about how much our soul needs stillness often, space to simply be without asking it to do anything else (not praying, making lists of things to do, not worrying about others), but simply giving it space to simply be still. 

His words gave me pause as I realize how seldom I have allowed for that time apart from a vacation. My days and likely your days are often filled with doing the business of living and sometimes the busyness of ministry. We have jobs, homes and possessions to care for, relationships to tend to, hobbies to schedule, and meetings and ministry responsibilities at church to cover. Hopefully, we spend a few minutes in devotional time to read and pray, but are we truly allowing ourselves even five minutes in a day to be still and allow our souls to rest and be refreshed? 

Why do we resist? There can be many reasons most of us can name, but they likely fail to get to the core of our forgetfulness of the temporary nature of life on this planet and that we are eternal beings and yet so finite.

When I take time to be still, I can sense an inward sigh of letting go and from that a refreshing peace and internal stillness that restores my soul as little else can. Such times also reawaken my awareness of the beauty around me that I can easily miss in my busyness or in the headlines of the day, which remind me of the horrible war in the visible and invisible world I live in. That beauty whether in music, the blue of the sky, the lilac in my garden that is about to bloom, or a photograph I love, reminds me of God’s presence with me no matter what the headlines may say or what assault the enemy may make upon my mind.

Consider this and take time today to be still, to see beauty around you. Perhaps you will also hear a repeating echo whispering to you that gives you exactly what you need. Value stillness and beauty for how God uses them to sense His presence, to refresh, restore, and heal your soul!


The commitment begins, a commitment to risk discovering if the spark within me that has never died is to be stirred into a flame to help others find their way, take their own risks.

Discovery is the name of the journey. I follow what seems like a reverberating whisper that I have heard since childhood and long ignored. Perhaps it is as Margaret Feinberg would describe a “sacred echo” to a destination I have yet to discover.

How foolish we are to perceive we truly know ourselves no matter what our age! The notion belies the reality of divine creation and our capacity to grasp the smallest nuances involved in the process.  We are created in His likeness and how much can we truly comprehend of Him?

So, discovery begins by setting aside all that I think I know of myself and allowing the journey to reveal the truth. It requires humility and pushing past the fear that has halted every attempt to begin the journey. Today is but a step on this quest, but it is a step nonetheless and one my heart cannot fail to risk.

The length of the journey is uncertain, but at long last time is there to make it and there can be no more excuses, childish excuses must be set aside once and for all.

Companions are those who have made similar journeys, tuned into persisting whispers or sacred echoes, and discovered courage and learned to see with a new lens and catch whispers of new echoes.