Brewing some perspective…one coffee shop at a time

No blogging. No running. No unwinding. No margin. All work & little play is rarely a good combination.

A trip to the North Coast before the end of summer was a welcome pause. Caris & I walked along the path by the Atlantic from Portstewart Promenade to the Strand. It brought back memories of walking the same path with my Granda Murphy many years ago.

We started with a coffee to go from the new hipster Three Kings coffee shop. As a collector of quotes I noticed what was written behind the coffee machine. As the barista crafted my cappuccino, I read:
‘Be awesome you’re a hand of the king’

I’m not sure where the quote came from (even Google couldn’t help!) but I liked the sentiment. Striving to be awesome, being a hand of the king.The King. Doing things wholeheartedly. For the King.

As I walked along the Port Path I thought of William Makepeace Thackeray’s words: ‘Whatever you are, be a good one!’ As we walked passed the convent, I thought about Mother Teresa’s words: “Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.”

In subsequent weeks things went from bad to worse. I thought about what can be done when you’re feeling too awful to try to be awesome. When you’ve been under stress, overstretched & are feeling spent.

This month, I sat in another coffee shop with Cecilia mulling over this question. We talked about the need for rest.True rest. We need to find rest in the struggle, peace in the middle of the storm.

We find rest in Someone. We need to draw near, move close to God to find the rest we need.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
(Matthew 11:28 NIV)

‘Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”’
(Psalm 91:1-2 NIV)

Even when we are feeling awful,
‘We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair’
(2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV)

‘We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken.’
(2Cor 4:8-MSG)

Last week, as I left Ards newest coffee shop I caught a glimpse of a familiar face that is dealing with life threatening Illness & little children simultaneously. That’s taking tough to a whole new level. I realise I don’t really have the right to describe this year as hard compared to others.

I thought of the untold stories & invisible burdens carried in the lives of the people who surrounded me sipping coffee. In that coffee shop there were likely to be people dealing with unwanted diagnoses, bereavement, divorce & a multitude of other stresses as we progress along this journey called life.

This journey can take us through painful places. Yesterday I read of the Israelites pilgrimage through Valley of Baca, the vale of tears. There are beautiful words in Psalm 84:

‘Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.’
(Psalm 84:5-7 NIV)

I love that image of soft autumn rains- a season of refreshment.

The coffee shop I visited with Cecilia is aptly named Season, because of the well known Bible verse:
‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens’
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

There is a season for everything.

‘It came to pass’ & my husband’s grandmother added, ‘It didn’t come to stay!’

A Facebook added another dimension- ‘It might pass like a kidney stone but it will pass!’

Whatever tough times, difficult days or dark chapter we’re going through- it will pass

For, ‘He has made everything beautiful in its time.’
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

Beautiful in time,not necessarily our time-scale.

‘He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.’
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

But if you’re still wading through the messy middle, longing for this season to pass, remember:
‘You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.’ (James 1:2 -MSG)



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