Welcome to our Ladies’ Tea!
In the busy chaos of the world, it’s a joy to sit together and have a time of retreat and calm in our busy and often chaotic lives. And today, we are taking tea with our most beloved guest, Jesus!
Taking tea has been a tradition in many cultures around the world for over a thousand years, and I like to think on the moments of serenity, and, I hope, being silent and listening to God. What might our world be right now if we all took a few moments each day long enough for a cup of tea and devoted it to hearing God speak to us or just basking in His presence?
I am one who enjoys the beauty of tea, and I especially enjoy the beauty of a teacup. I have a collection from my Granny’s Avon collection, and I smile when I walk by them and see them displayed. Teacups are so intricate in style and pattern, and it fascinates me to think of how they were made.
Let’s see how a story of a teacup being created is not unlike our own Creation story…
The Teacup Story
There was a couple that used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery, especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. One day in a beautiful shop they saw an exquisite teacup. They asked the clerk, “May we see that? We’ve never seen one quite so lovely.”
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke, “You don’t understand,” it said. “I haven’t always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red, and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over, and I yelled out, ‘Let me alone,’ but he only smiled and said, ‘Not yet.’ Then I was placed on a spinning wheel and suddenly spun around, and around, and around. Stop it! I’m getting dizzy!’ I screamed.
“But the master only nodded and said, ‘Not yet.’ Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening, and I could read his lips, as he shook his head, ‘Not yet.’
“Finally, the door opened, he put me on a shelf, and I began to cool. ‘There that’s better’, I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. ‘Stop it, stop it!’ I cried. He only nodded, ‘Not yet.’ Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot, and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded.
I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, ‘Not yet.’
Then I knew there wasn’t any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened, and he took me out and placed me on a shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and said, ‘Look at yourself.’ And I did. I said, ‘That’s not me, that couldn’t be me. It’s beautiful. I’m beautiful.’
“I want you to remember, then,’ he said. ‘I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you’d have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn’t put you there, you would have cracked.
“I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn’t done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.’”
Jeremiah 18:6 “Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”
I know we’ve all had our moments, months, years and maybe even decades of spinning, consuming fire and fumes that seem unbearable. The last year for me has been a struggle with the MS and the extreme anxiety and that only bringing on more of the MS. It literally feels like I’m in a potter’s studio, building up, breaking down, and spinning endlessly.
But even during the darkest moments, here are the truths and promises from God that I hang on to:
1) Like the teacup, my Creator loves me so much that He won’t settle for anything less than what He has designed for me. He will continue molding, shaping, and making me exactly to His design until I achieve my ultimate resting place in Heaven with Him. (Jeremiah 18:6: O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand.)
2) The trials I face, like the teacup’s molding, fire and heat, and finishing are being used as a refining fire for me, I will be triumphant over these trials, and the Lord will hear me. (Zechariah 13:9: And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried; they shall call on my name, and I will hear them.)
3) He will never leave me or forsake me. This comes at a hard price, to somehow be at peace and in praise of the trials I face, but He promises that He will be with me if I will find praise where I am and let go of coveting being in another circumstance. (Hebrews 13:5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.)
4) He works all things for my good, the times on top of the mountain and the times in the valley, the trials I bring on myself with my stumbling through this earthly life and the trials that are thrown at me from the darkness in this world, because He will fulfill His purpose for me. (Romans 8:28: All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.)
Like the teacup’s potter, my Potter will be with me through all of the pounding, the heat, the fumes and yuckiness, and one day I will be face to face with Him and He will say, “Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.”