I recently read an article titled, "If Teacups Could Talk"(1) by Kathy Helvey. The thing that jumped out at me was this paragraph:
"But there is a difference between a cup of tea and life. When we brew tea ourselves, we can put it aside or throw it away if it's not to our liking. That is not so with life's cup of tea. We have to drink it. How we go about swallowing those difficult cups of life depends upon what we know and believe about the nature of our life's "tea strainer."
I had to read more. Why? Because when I look back at my life over the past 40 years, It seems as I have been having to swallow one difficult cup of tea after another! Not only that, but over the course of a few years (especially more in the past few months), I find myself wanting to turn to a cup of tea more and more for relaxation and calmness. A cup of hot tea has become my "drink of choice" and just yesterday, I was telling my husband how much I would like an old-fashioned teapot that has the strainer built in so that I can use loose tea... wow... Don't you love how God will plant something in your heart and mind that will be used at a later time?
Anyway, I digress... I read the passage about, "A Bitter Brew." Boy, can I relate to the past part of it when the author wrote:
“My cup was a very bitter brew, and I didn't like it one bit! There was absolutely no sugar in it, and I certainly didn't relax and enjoy it."
Those two sentences perfectly describe, and sum up many parts of my life. Well, feeling wise anyway...I had to keep reading... and here it was... my "aha" moment:
"I am the Lord your God. I go before you, I am with you and I'll never leave you or fail you. Do not be discouraged or afraid" ~Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
Do not be discouraged or afraid... yet another wow... I have been known to feel, a lot of both of these emotions over the course of my life and adding to that, anxiousness and full of worry.
I had to keep reading (there are only three more paragraphs left). I felt like God was reaching out to comfort me. So many different emotions I have been experiencing and a few words in a short article seemed to put me completely at ease. It was the promise that you hear about in church... the promise that you hear people talk about on the streets, in coffee shops and on the street. The promise of God's love and comfort. Again, wow... as I have opened up my mind and my heart to God over these past few years...I have learned so much. Just in exploring my own personal relationship with him...not what the church wants me to hear or do, or what my Christian friends believe I should feel or think... but rather, that personal bond I am developing little by little, over time with God. I realize now, why it never happened before and why I was such a skeptic early in life.
Something happened when I opened up my heart and said ok... let's give this God thing a good, honest solid try... after all, if it isn't as real as they say it is and it doesn't work for me, then what do I have to lose? I won't be any worse off than I was before! Anyway, I am rambling now, back to the article.
I read and have to share this paragraph with you:
"Now, will I be discouraged or afraid to drink life's cup at times? Oh yes! But I don't have to be … because now I know and believe in the nature of my life's tea strainer. I also have the confidence that as I drink, even though I can't taste the goodness of it, or understand the why of what's in my cup, in the end I know it will be good for me. I don't have to be discouraged or afraid because it's all been "Father filtered" from a loving, wise, sovereign God."
Life happens. It's not all a bed of roses. Sometimes, life can be just downright ugly. “A Bitter cup of tea to swallow.” I will, on occasion, feel discouraged, fear, anxiety, depression, sadness, anger, resentment... all these different emotions...I am human after all. But I like what the author said. I feel like she spoke right to me, "I can feel it, but I don't have to be it."
Through building my relationship with God, I realized that I am not going to live my life with blinders on. Just because I have become a Christian and have the Holy Spirit inside of me does not mean that my life will be a bed of roses. Quite the contrary.
Since beginning this journey with God, I have learned that I can now recognize those self-defeating feelings ahead of time, and when they come up rather than just push them down inside and, most importantly, I am learning that i don't have to become what I feel. I do not have to let my emotions rule my life and dictate how I am going to live it. If my life were a teacup, I think it would be one made of fine china with cracks, chips, faded color, crackled finish, broken handles. BUT, it would still hold the tea… and for me, that tea now, is God's Word.
Just like lives, everyone's tea is different but the one thing we all have in common is that our lives are all like teacups waiting to be filled with tea. We will all enjoy hot tea, cold tea, luke-warm tea, sweet tea and bitter tea. My question to you is, what kind of tea do you fill your cup with? How do you sweeten it to make it easier to swallow?
Dear Lord, thank You for my cup of tea. Lord, thank You for giving me the sugar when sometimes, it just gets to bitter to swallow. Lord, thank You for being alive and active in my life! Through Jesus’ work, I pray. Amen.
© 2011 Giving Thanks Daily, Darci Escandon
(1) Kathy Helvey If Teacups Could Talk (http://www.libertyonlineministries.com/index.cfm?PID=16021 )