Age brings perspective. Sounds simple, doesn't it? The more time you have to look at, the more insight there is to glean.
And yet, we find ourselves discounting our age. We find ourselves discounting our appearances. We find ourselves looking for youth. I'll admit it – even though I've earned my tiger stripes and my laugh lines, I still try to find ways to disguise them. I was just telling a friend about how much I love sunny days because sunglasses are the best accessory for a busy mom – hides a myriad of sins and sleepless nights as well as making even the messiest hair look simply “beach-tousled! While I'm not ready to give up my favorite shades yet, it made me stop to think, who am I hiding from?
Certainly not my husband – he has seen it all and if I'm trying to attract his eyes and heart I'll actually put on makeup and a pretty smile.
Certainly not God – if we believe we can hide from God, we need only turn back to scripture. God knows all of the good, the bad and the ugly without us even having to admit it.
“Where can I hide from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I go down to the depths, you are there too. If I fly with the wings of dawn and alight beyond the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand holds me fast.” Psalm 139
Certainly not other women – I mean, yes, I like to run the race and feel put together amongst my fellow moms and wives, but if I'm fair I know we've all been there. The temptation to act like we haven't been there or we have it all under control is there, but we aren't actually hiding it from anyone who has been in the trenches before.
Perhaps I'm hiding from myself.
How does tea fit into this little life lesson? Well, it's like this. A cup of tea is a place to find myself.
I was an avid coffee drinker. I adore coffee. I spent the last 15 years of my life surviving by its magical bean powers. The only way I don't drink coffee is black. Just the smell of coffee would boost my mood – still does.
I started weaning off of coffee during my pregnancies and while I was nursing. Weaning as in one cup a day. After my third was born I faced some serious issues with post-partum depression. As I though it was mostly life-circumstances and fatigue, we started by making life changes including cutting back on caffeine. Then I started getting migraines. Two in the span of as many weeks. The only change we could pinpoint was a new brand of organic coffee. Suffice it to say, that stopped my habit fast. I had a choice to make: go out and buy a new variety of coffee to get my fix or pull myself away from the crutch. I chose the latter.
By now, if you've read my posts, you know that I don't write them to challenge anyone's way of life. I do so to share a witness of how God has challenged me in hopes that it inspires others to seek the Spirit more fully in their own lives. The process of giving up coffee has moved my spirit in so many ways and I want to share them.
1. I share and teach on the importance of being free. God gave us free-will, but we are only free when we make choices that truly free us. Any choice can enslave us if we don't direct it towards God. For me, coffee kept me from having to face my morning demons and allowed me to ignore the messages my body was sending me to make changes that made me less exhausted. Giving coffee up made me more myself. It let me hear God more clearly.
2. In beating back my coffee addiction, I learned that I'm a lot stronger than I think I am. And when I'm not feeling strong, I need to fill myself with more God, not more caffeine.
3. I developed a tea habit. Now, some may say that I just replaced one habit with another, but for me, tea is a much healthier habit. First, not all my tea is caffeinated. And tea, by it's nature, is a much slower, more reflective process. I have to take time to brew and prepare my tea and in that time I have chosen to take time to reflect on myself. Who am I in that moment? Where is God present to me in that moment? Where have I forgotten God's immense providence? My cup of tea is where I find myself and center Jesus more fully in my heart.
A few years back a friend introduced me to Harrod's No. 42 Earl Grey from the famous department store in London. It has since become my tea staple as I haven't found an Earl Grey that compares. I have put my own spin on it with the following recipe. It is known to many as a London Fog Latte.
London Fog Latte
1 mug of freshly brewed Earl Grey tea
A spoonful or two of your favorite sweetener – I prefer honey or agave
A few drops of vanilla extract
A generous splash of your favorite milk (dairy and I don't get along on account of my asthma so I stick with coconut milk!) If you have the ability to steam your milk for a bit of froth, it's even more decadent.
Combine, stir, and enjoy.
You can always pour this over ice or consider this recipe for a blended version!
And a bonus image: my sweet girl all dolled up for her first tea party! Pearls and curls…can't possibly love her more.