Tea and Thee

You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. —Psalm 23:5 NLT

I remember the year I hosted a group of reservist nurses over Christmas in Germany. They had been called up to serve in military hospitals while their counterparts were in Kuwait gearing up for the Persian Gulf War. Some of them stayed just for Christmas Eve and day, but a few were able to linger for several days. One of them was a poet, and she gifted me with a poem when she left to join her new unit. I wish I still had it, but, sadly, all I remember is the title: Tank and Tea and Thee.

Tank was the name of our shepherd-chow dog—the most mellow dog. He was literally always with me wherever I was. In the mornings when I sat down with my cup of tea and met with God, Tank lay at my feet. He always put one of his big paws over at least one foot to make sure he’d notice if I moved. What a steady, loving, doggie presence he was in a hard time.

This dear nurse noticed my daily rhythm and wrote that poem. I remember how reading it stabbed me with a piercing joy. I was so moved. She had noticed the one thing about me most worth noticing. I needed God desperately, and so I sought Him daily. I had no strength of my own. It was a difficult time, raising two little girls alone in a strange new place, and I wasn’t very good at it. I was afraid much of the time. But my God was with me every day, and I especially felt His presence as I sat on the couch with Bible open and cup of tea in hand. How I thank Him for His strength in a dark and scary time!

Today when I sit on the couch with my cup of tea, my little teddy-bear breed pup, Bella Grace, is my companion. Much smaller than Tank, she curls up into a fluffy white bundle of fur on my lap and sleeps while I read and pray. My daily quiet time is still the only thing really worth noticing about me. I belong to the Good Shepherd, and He has chosen me as one of His very own. When I sit with Him and ask for His help, He gives it generously. In fact, like our verse above says, even in the presence of enemies—storms, illnesses, fractured relationships, uncertainty—He prepares a daily feast for me in His Word, and His Spirit touches and heals my soul. He honors me way beyond what I deserve by anointing me with the oil of protection and joy in the midst. He fills my cup to overflowing with blessings as I discover truths and instructions for my present circumstances while sitting and waiting on Him.

Jeremiah writes: “This is what the Lord says: ‘Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord, have spoken!’” (Jeremiah 9:23-24 NLT). I don’t boast in anything I can do, for all I can do comes from God. He made me, and He can use me or strip me of everything as He chooses. I boast gladly that I know Him. He welcomes me to meet with Him each day at the table, enjoying a feast from His Word prepared for me. How glad I am that I am His!

And, of course, He doesn’t just meet with me. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV emphasis mine). His offering to save you and me and to welcome us into His flock is generous to overflowing. He’s the One who makes life the beautiful adventure it is. Even when we are surrounded by enemies. I lift my mug of tea with joy and turn once again to time with Him this morning. I highly recommend it.

Oh, Father! How wonderful it is to belong to You! Thank You for making Yourself known to us through Your Word. Thank You for being the ever-present God who meets with us always when we turn to You. Truly, our cups run over and flow down the sides with the joy of knowing we belong to You forever and always. Thank You, Jesus, for Your sacrifice that made this possible. Amen.

You are loved,
Sharon

 

 

Sweet Selah Ministries

Vision
To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

 Mission
To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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4 Responses to “Tea and Thee”

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  1. Donna Wyman says:

    Sharon,
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart in these devotions. God has truly gifted you in writing and I am blessed to be able to take a few moments to ponder your thoughts.
    Blessings,
    Donna Wyman

  2. Sharon, I appreciate what you wrote here. I had a rhythm that worked for me - it has gone out the window with many life-altering events. My time with God flows through my day, and still i find myself missing the rhythm. I have learned rhythms change I am pretty sure one will emerge in ways that are sweet...thanks for the reminder this morning.

    • Sharon Gamble says:

      Dear Carol, I shall stop right now and pray for God to reveal to you a "new rhythm" that fits your current season of life. And I love that your time with God also flows throughout the day! We never want to sit with Him and then walk away from the quiet time without a conscious "please stay with me" thought in our heads. He's always there and it's so beautiful when we walk in that "knowing" and speak to Him often in all that we do. Thank you for writing.

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