Not Your Ordinary Obligatory End of the Year Blog

The newspaper hadn’t been delivered when I took the dog out at 5 AM this morning, but by the 7 AM walk, it had. Front and center, just as I expected, was a collage of photos expressing in some way the events of the past year. The magazines and tabloids at the grocery store have been displaying such collages for the past week. Yep! It’s time for the obligatory end of the year musing on the past year and sighing after the hopes and dreams of the new year about to dawn. Turn on the TV and watch any number of programs highlighting the cultural events of the past year… flashes of political figures and political changes; pop culture fads that came and went; major cultural events like weddings, deaths, scandals; sporting events; natural disasters; all the things that we presumptively collectively and culturally deem to be major news.
Pick up the Christmas cards you’ve been receiving this December and you’ll see the same on a much more personal level — the events of the past year from the eyes and experiences of friends and family as they ruminate on this thing called life on Earth. My friend Carmen began her letter with a quote from Albert Camus; “In the depths of winter I finally learned there was in me an invincible summer.” That quote, completely apropos for the year she has had, also rang true for me, on a variety of levels. The one I’ll explore here with you is, of course, related to Compassion Tea. Shocker, I know!
Motherhood is great, don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoy mothering my family, my children’s friends and their families, just about anyone who seems to need mothering and probably lots of folks who don’t. I’ve got a good thing going here in Pleasanton — great family, great friends, a lovely country home with wonderful neighbors, good schools, hubby’s strong job, relative health, wealth and plenty everywhere I look. Yet, over the past few years, there has been a growing gnawing. As I’ve learned more about God’s fatherhood, His deep compassion and concern for His children, I’ve also felt a general unease, a sense that I haven’t been meeting my end of the bargain. I’ve told myself countless times that raising my kids in a strong Christian household with God at the center is my great vocation. And while that is a comfort and certainly the focus of my day-to-day, there was still a nagging feeling.
This unease came to a head this spring when I attended a Beth Moore conference in Fresno. Beth spoke of dry seasons in our lives whatever they may be and we prayed collectively and individually and fervently through song and prayer for God to end our dry seasons, for Him to send the figurative rain.
In June, He did. Those who know me know that I love to write although it’s a joy I rarely find in the day-to-day. Sure, Facebook is fun because I get to create witty quips. My mom has often encouraged me to write a book, some great novel or children’s book. Heck, Matt tells me I could be the next J.K. Rowling and then he could retire in ease. Yet, writing a book is daunting business and I find personal musings more my style than creating complex plots. So, I’ve often prayed that God would help me find meaning and purpose through my talents, that He would guide me to use my God-given talents for His good purpose.
So, on a June day, I was standing outside surveying the pool, listening to the kiddos run and scream, when Uncle Lee and Aunt Anne called. They laid out an opportunity that sounded exactly like the prayers I had been praying… an opportunity to write, on a somewhat personal level, for an organization that was and is actively seeking to fulfill God’s purpose here on Earth. This was my burning bush… or at least as close as I will probably ever get to one.
Back in June, Compassion Tea was still very much in the planning stages. Founders were meeting, attending tea conferences, discussing suppliers, fine-tuning mission and purpose. They had come a long way since the late February meeting when they all agreed to pursue the idea of Compassion Tea. But they had a long way to go before the actual launch of the website and business. By September, the website was up and running and the first members were signed up. By November, the orders were coming in steadily and the memberships were adding up. In December, the first ever line of holiday gift packs were available. And those of us at Compassion Tea can do nothing but laugh and say, “WOW!” The success of the company in its first year is staggering from our perspective, one of God’s miracles, truly.
So, as I ruminate on the past year, I find an “invincible summer” in the power of prayer, the perfection of God’s timing, the preciousness of doing His work. As I sigh toward 2012, I see the warmth of sharing God’s Son, the blue skies of helping those “least served,” the sunshine of growth – personally and as a part of Compassion Tea, the “invincible summer” of serving God. Good bye 2011. Hello 2012!

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