The Book and Testimony of Richard Wumberland

As part of our daily lessons, I teach my children about church history. While we often delve into the stories of early church martyrs and theologians, this past term, I decided to introduce a more modern perspective.

For my daughter’s sixth-grade study in church history, we’ve been reading the book Tortured for Christ by Richard Wurmbrand. This powerful account sheds light on the persecution that occurred in Romania during the communist regime. Wurmbrand, a pastor during the 1950s-1960s, witnessed firsthand the suffering of Romanian Christians who were targeted by the Communist party. His writing not only shares glimpses of his own years of torture in prison but also highlights the experiences of other believers he encountered.

As we progress through the second half of the book, Pastor Wurmbrand confronts the lies propagated by atheists and communists. He points to various testimonies of those who courageously stood against these falsehoods. Additionally, Pastor Wurmbrand passionately emphasizes the responsibility of Christian brothers and sisters in free countries to support their fellow believers who face persecution.

“Tortured for Christ” serves as a poignant reminder of the unwavering resilience and deep faith exhibited by those who endured unimaginable hardships for their beliefs. This powerful account encourages us to reflect on our own commitment to truth and solidarity with persecuted Christians worldwide.

Throughout my lifetime, I’ve read countless books, but only a few have left an indelible mark on my soul. Tortured for Christ is one of those transformative works. Richard Wurmbrand’s vivid storytelling transports readers to the heart of suffering and sacrifice during Romania’s communist regime.

One of my favorite passages occurs on pages 44-49, where Pastor Wurmbrand told about a regular experience he had in prison:

“It was strictly forbidden to preach to other prisoners, as it is in captive nations today. It was understood that whoever was caught doing received a severe beating. A number of us decided to pay the price for the privilege of preaching, so we accepted their terms. It was a deal: we preached and they beat us. We were happy preaching; they were happy beating us–so everyone was happy” (Wurmbrand, 2013 p.44).

As I continue reading Tortured for Christ, Pastor Wurmbrand shares a powerful account of Christian courage amidst unimaginable suffering. He recounts instances where fellow believers, while sharing the gospel with fellow prisoners, were brutally interrupted and beaten. Yet, remarkably, when these damaged preachers were returned to their cells, they would adjust themselves and ask their listeners, “‘Now, brethren, where did I leave off when I was interrupted?’ And they would continue their gospel message!” (Wurmbrand, 2013, p. 45).

This ongoing pattern of resilience and unwavering commitment is deeply convicting. It prompts me to reflect on my own faith journey: How am I being persecuted for my Savior? How am I willing to endure hardship and sacrifice for Him?

As I sit in my comfortable recliner, surrounded by my Bible and prayer journal, I recognize that my everyday disciplines must also be my sacrifice. Diligently praying, remaining faithful to God’s Word, nurturing my children’s love for their Savior, sacrificially loving my husband, living selflessly, taming my prideful tongue, discerning truth from lies, and walking in grace and tenderness toward others—these are my offerings. Although I may not face physical torment for my faith, I can strive to hold fast to it in a world that constantly pulls me away.

Tortured for Christ serves as a powerful reminder that faith transcends circumstances, and our commitment to truth remains steadfast even when we are not physically beaten or bruised. May we, too, continue our gospel message, undeterred by obstacles, and stand firm in our Savior.

My cross is to live out my faith in a world of comfort—a challenge no less significant than enduring the confines of a dirty prison cell. Perhaps, in this free, wealthy, and comfortable world, crucifying myself proves to be a more demanding task than bearing literal stripes upon my back from another’s whip.

Another lesson from the book resonates deeply: the pettiness that sometimes plagues believers in the free world. Richard Wurmbrand explains that the persecuted church renders our comfortable churches void and meaningless by comparison:

“The Bible verses are not well known in many countries, because Bibles are not permitted. Besides, the preacher had most likely been in prison for years without a Bible…They are like Job who said that he would believe in God even if He would slay him. They are like Jesus who called God “Father,’ even when He was seemingly forsaken on the cross” (Wurmbrand, 2013, p. 89).

As an American Christian, surrounded by stacks of Bibles on my shelves, Bible apps bursting with biblical podcasts on my phone, and a collection of books written by believers spanning centuries, one might assume that I’ve been blessed with abundant opportunities to follow Christ. Yet, in the light of a man who possesses no Bible, no church, and no Christian books or podcasts—laying on the cold floor of his prison cell for the sake of his beloved Savior—I feel like a very small believer indeed.

This stark contrast has given me profound perspective on what truly matters. Believers in persecuted countries don’t have the luxury to engage in disagreements over worship styles, Bible translations, or the role of women in church leadership. The causes we often prioritize in our comfortable Christian churches can sometimes distract us from the essence of the gospel. It’s a sobering reminder that our focus should remain on Christ and His mission.

In a world where self-promotion is rampant, may we humbly seek to live out our faith, bearing witness to the love and sacrifice of our Savior. Let us prioritize what truly matters and hold fast to the precious gospel, regardless of our circumstances.

Believers universally agree on the centrality of Christ and the grace poured out on their souls for salvation. Their hunger for fellowship with other believers drives them to meet faithfully, even at the cost of imprisonment or death. In stark contrast, the persecuted church makes every American Christian appear feeble by comparison.

Truth be told, if I did not rest entirely in Christ’s atonement on my behalf—despite the ease and sinfulness of the world I inhabit—I would seriously question the security of my own soul. It is not by my own efforts but by His grace that I stand. Otherwise, I might be tempted to flee to a country where suffering for His sake would honor Him more profoundly.

In this contemplation, my heart zeroes in on the crux of the matter: it is all about Him. With every poignant testimony I encounter in Pastor Wurmbrand’s book, I glimpse the worthiness of Christ. Yes, He merits every sufferer’s pain and every martyr’s death. Jesus is immeasurably precious to those who love Him, compelling us to daily pick up our cross and follow Him. Whether that cross resembles the chains of a prison cell or the comfort of our lives, both serve as reminders of our devotion to honor Him who carried and died on the cross that was meant for me.

When I survey the wondrous cross
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss,
and pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast
save in the death of Christ, my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them through his blood.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.  -Isaac Watts

Nursing Little Ones Back To Health

When there is someone sick in our home, I have learned that there are multiple types of illness and multiple types of treatments. I keep an assortment of things on hand to help speed healing and ease discomfort.

Bone Broth:

I always cook down poultry bones to create a rich stock. I freeze it in flat plastic freezer bags or pressure can it for later use.

When a child is sick, I warm up the broth with a touch of salt and garlic powder. For a heartier option, I add chicken meat and veggies to turn it into a comforting soup.


While I don’t always keep crackers on hand, I make sure to have them available when a child is suffering from a stomach bug.

Crackers are gentle on a recovering stomach and serve as a bland, easy-to-digest first food. I opt for whole-grain varieties with low sugar content.

Alternatively, rice cakes or dry wholesome cereals can also work well in this situation.

Raw Honey:

For sore throats or coughs, I add honey to tea. Raw honey acts as a natural cough suppressant.

Interestingly, pediatricians often recommend honey over cough medicine due to its effectiveness and lack of frightening side effects.

Raw honey is also rich in antioxidants, which may speed up healing in the body.

Note that honey is not suitable for children under one year old, so alternative methods are necessary for babies recovering from coughs and sore throats.

Yogurt and Kefir:

Probiotics play a vital role in combating bacterial infections. Most ear and sinus infections, as well as stomach bugs, are bacteria-related.

If my child is able to eat, I try to incorporate yogurt or kefir into their diet. These probiotic-rich foods support gut health.

In cases where antibiotics are necessary, I ensure they are taken alongside probiotics to maintain a healthy balance.


  • Chamomile Tea: A soothing choice to calm children and promote restful sleep.
  • Peppermint or Ginger Tea: These teas work wonders for settling upset stomachs.
  • Senna Tea: Helpful for easing constipation.
  • Licorice Root Tea (e.g., Throat Coat): Ideal for soothing sore throats.
  • Milk Thistle Tea: During nursing, I relied on this tea to boost milk supply.


  • Baobab Powder: A potent antioxidant rich in vitamin C. I incorporate it into smoothies and drinks for overall healing support.
  • Matcha Tea Powder: Known for its healing benefits, I mix matcha into smoothies, cold drinks, or warm teas for both myself and my children.


  • Vitamin C Powder: A staple in my home. I blend a small amount with stevia and natural flavoring extracts (like cherry, pineapple, or coconut). Sometimes, I add matcha or baobab powder for an immunity-boosting sip throughout the day.
  • Vitamin D and B: Both of these vitamins build up the immune system and speed up a person’s recovery. I sometimes supplement with them if the illness is severe, like flu.


While I prefer natural remedies, I recognize the value of medicines when needed.

  • Acetaminophen (Dye-Free): My choice for relieving pain without unnecessary additives. The Genexa brand is reliable.
  • Ibuprofen (Dye-Free): If necessary, I use this to address both pain and inflammation.

Both medications are my last resort, especially when a fever becomes concerning or a child experiences noticeable discomfort.

Essential Oils:

In our home, I approach essential oils with great care. Essential oils’ side effects and long-term impact remain insufficiently understood, which prompts me to exercise caution. While I appreciate their potential benefits, I use them only when there’s a specific need. Here’s how I navigate their use:

  • Lavender Oil-A doctor once cautioned me that even lavender oil can mimic estrogen in the human body, similar to soy products and BPA, so I do not add this to baths or diffuse anymore. However, I do use it for a bug bite treatment, or sometimes to help relax neck muscles and reduce headache pain.
  • Eucalyptus for Lung Health: During allergy season, I employ a diffuser with a blend of oils, including eucalyptus. Eucalyptus helps open up the lungs and ease congestion. For severe chest congestion, I opt for a gentle eucalyptus chest rub, sometimes accompanied by hot towels or a heating pad. While opinions on this vary, I find eucalyptus to be effective and personally comfortable for occasional use.
  • Thieves Blend and Airborne Germs: When illness circulates in our home, I’m not opposed to using a blend like Thieves to combat airborne germs. Thieves oil combines various essential oils known for their antimicrobial properties.
  • Tea Tree Oil for Skin Blemishes: Tea tree oil is my go-to for healing skin blemishes. Its antiseptic qualities make it effective for minor wounds and acne. I also find it to be numbing and healing for cold sores. I dab a bit on a cotton swab and hit the cold sore with it. In a day the sore is gone.
  • Peppermint Oil for Nausea: When we travel, I apply peppermint oil to my son’s feet to ease stomach discomfort. It has anti-nausea properties.


When illness strikes, proper hydration becomes paramount. As a mother, I’ve learned the importance of keeping my children well-hydrated during sickness. Here are some strategies I employ:

  • Mineral Salt Water: Instead of reaching for a bottle of Gatorade, I opt for a simple solution: mineral salt in water. This natural alternative provides essential minerals without the added dyes and sugar.
  • Plain Water: Sometimes, the basics work best. Plain water, whether chilled or warm, remains a reliable choice. Staying hydrated with water is fundamental to recovery.
  • Lemon Water: Lemons are detoxifiers and rich in vitamin C. I often make lemonade by squeezing fresh lemon juice into water and adding a touch of Stevia for sweetness. Warm lemon water can also soothe a sick child’s throat.
  • Juice in Moderation: While I’m cautious about juice due to its sugar content, I recognize its benefits. Cranberry and grape juices are nutrient-rich, but I dilute them slightly to reduce the sugar load. Apple and orange juices, when watered down, still provide flavor and vitamin C.
  • Frozen Hydration: Chopped ice is an effective way to keep children hydrated during bouts of vomiting or diarrhea. Natural fruit popsicles also serve as cooling treats that provide slow hydration for kids recovering from upset stomachs or fevers.

Non-Food Treatments:

  • Humidifiers: These devices are the nemesis of cold viruses. They also work wonders for soothing sore throats during the night. I keep a couple of humidifiers—one for each room—especially when multiple children are sick.
  • Steam Showers: When sinuses are congested or throats are sore, steam showers work wonders. I’ve even held my babies in the shower to benefit from the steam.
  • Epsom Salt Baths: For fever relief and overall comfort, I add Epsom salt to warm baths. It helps detoxify the body, absorb magnesium, and soothe body aches.

Rest is crucial for healing. I ensure my children take naps and go to bed early when they’re unwell. The severity of the illness determines the amount of time spent in bed.

What We Avoid

When illness strikes, our home follows specific guidelines to support recovery. Here’s what we avoid:

  • Sugar: Sugar suppresses the immune system and provides fuel for bacteria and viruses (including cancer cells). It also depletes vitamins. To expedite recovery, we minimize sugar intake. However, there are exceptions. Raw honey, despite its fructose content, soothes sore throats and coughs. The benefits often outweigh the risks. Occasionally, we use medicine containing sweeteners or allow crackers, unsweetened juice, or a bit of Gatorade (in cases of severe dehydration). These options contain sugars, but we weigh their immediate benefits against the concerns.
  • Milk: Except for breast milk in nursing babies, we avoid regular milk during illness. Milk doesn’t hydrate the body effectively and can exacerbate fevers. Its lactose content (a form of sugar) doesn’t aid speedy healing.
  • Heavy Foods and Meals: Sick individuals in our home avoid heavy meals. While we invite children to eat with the family during meals (if they’re well enough to sit), we don’t insist they consume what everyone else does. Instead, we allow them to sip on tea, have crackers, and be selective until they’re ready for more substantial food.





Comforting Sick Children

It is that season again…the one when it seems everyone is getting sick. I find from Christmas until March, it is not at all uncommon for little ones to get sick a lot. And so it began for us last week with one of my daughters getting a cold, now my youngest is sporting a fever and headache.

As I nurse my little ones back into health, I recall what it was like for me when I was sick as a child. Honestly, I kind of liked being sick as a child, not because I enjoyed feeling fevered or congested, but because my mother would treat me so tenderly. I could stay the entire day in bed and be served food on a tray. I would get checked on in the night. There were no electronics when I was a child, and our family did not own a television, but my mother had a special bag she kept aside for her children when they were sick. It had coloring books, puzzles, and some interesting toys we didn’t see any other time. Mom kept an old school bell in that bag too, that she would give us to ring if we needed her day or night while we were sick. When my Daddy would get home from work he would come check us and tell us how sorry he was that we felt bad.

The comfort and care I received as a child during the times I was sick, have endured as sweetness in my heart. I felt loved and cared for all the time, but those times I was sick, I was able to feel it a bit more.

When I hit college, and ended up in the college medical facility with a fever, I quickly found that being sick was not so warm and fuzzy. I had a nurse check on me on occasion and that was it. There was nothing to do but sleep and get well. The people around me were doing there jobs, but really did not care about me in any tender sort of way. I really grieved the loss off pampering when I was sick as an adult. Growing up is a good thing, but it comes with its losses and griefs as well. The warmth of loving memories as a child, is certainly something I will never cease to be grateful for.

As much as I was sad to receive grown-up care from that time on, until now, the tenderness and concern of how my parents treated me when I was sick lives through me to my children.

I was also surprised to learn that not every parent coddles their sick children. I know books have probably been written about toughening up children and such, but I believe the toughest child is the child who knows and feels loved unconditionally. And I don’t want calloused, unfeeling children. I want to raise children who are inwardly strong, confident, and resilient. This takes wisdom I know, but it also takes a lot of gentle loving.

Having a sick child (or even husband) is an opportunity to give snuggles, slow down, fix off-menu food like cereal for dinner, and show the deep seeded compassion for a person in discomfort.

Nothing will bring more healing and joy to a soul who knows and feels deeply loved and cared for while he or she is not well.

As I throw my heart into nursing my children or spouse back to health, I feel as though the affection of what my parents poured into me still pours out of me toward my children.

I wake up multiple times a night to feel fevered foreheads and make sure my little ones drink some sips of water. I let them take showers or baths several times in one day to let the steam sooth their sore throats or Epsom salt clam their fevered muscles. I take them soup and crackers to their beds. They are allowed a tablet or Nintendo Switch to play games, but are also given a good long nap in the afternoon. Chopped ice can be given for them to suck on, warm honey tea for healing and calming, cold washcloths to wipe their sweaty heads, and I rush to their sides to tell them it will be okay when they are holding a trash can with an upset stomach.

There is absolutely no scolding of a sick child, and certainly I do my best to keep them happy.

One might say I overdue the pampering, but I know from experience, it is a fantastic time to pour into my children affection and love. I also know, time will come soon enough when there will be no one to fix their tea or wipe their sweaty heads when they are sick. And perhaps the love and affection they feel now, will come to mind in those days, and they will be able to find comfort in knowing how much they are loved. So, for a season, I get time to love on my sick little ones and give their not only their bodies, but their hearts the much needed care as they recover.

Homeschooling Will Not Save Them


On our walk today, we chanced upon some other home-schooling friends and I had a most interesting, yet troubling conversation with one of the mothers.

As we chatted, I learned that my new friend moved into the area a few months ago. In that time, she and her husband had been looking for a church. She sweetly stated that they were not faithful at attending church, but were hoping to find a home church soon and become more faithful. I quickly encouraged her aspiration. And our conversation turned to the subject of modern health-care, then laws, then our deeply broken culture.

She commented how grateful she was to be able to home-school as health-care and culture around her crumbled. The more we talked, the more distance my heart grew from her, as I realized our purpose in life was not the same. Even though she was a believer, she did not rest in God’s sovereignty for her children’s future. She was hoping home-schooling would protect them from the evils within and without.

Growing up as a home-schooler, my new friend was not believing any new lie. It was the same old philosophy I heard from home-schoolers throughout my entire life. The flaw was in parents trusting in home-schooling (basically themselves), rather than trusting in God for the spiritual well-being of their children.

No, it is not new at all that parents rely on how their children are raised and educated to be the redeeming factor in their children’s lives. Even if it is not home-schooling, many parents enroll their children in public or Christian schools for terribly wrong reasons. When I was in Christian college, there were a lot of students there, who were forced to go their as a last resort of their parents to fix the souls of their children. Christian schools are no different today. And I would venture to say that home-schooling is equally at fault. It is the belief in something other than God, to “fix” a child.

I have had many interactions with other home-schoolers throughout my life.  And can personally attest, there are great majority of homeschool parents who home-school out of a heart of fear. In fact, my heart was once in such a place of fearful control. So I completely get the underlying fear of the secular world. Home-schooling can be seen as simply a way for parents to have complete control of their children’s lives. For some parents, that is not the purpose of home-schooling, but for others, that absolutely is. Much more could be said on that account, but a discussion on a person’s need to “control” is another subject for another time.

Homeschooling is a way parents can control input into their children’s lives. Homeschool is a way parents can limit their children’s exposure to the secular world. Homeschooling becomes a way parents can indoctrinate their children with their faith. Homeschooling becomes the way parents protect their children from sin and the influences of the world and help them be good Christians.

Is any of that wrong? We could quibble that those home-schooling parents certainly are well intentioned and not unloving in their pursuit for what is best for their children, but Scripture says that: “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6.

Christ is the ONLY source of hope for our children’s souls. That goal must be our first pursuit as parents. When I say our primary pursuit, it is most important that it is our personal pursuit. We must pray for our children as we strive to walk with God ourselves. Nothing is of more value for our children than our relationship with God. We must be faithful in studying and memorizing Scripture. We must seek out a church that is also faithful to God’s Word (not one that has a bunch of home-schoolers with the same life values as us). We must be faithful to Christ who sacrificed his precious blood for us: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25.

The trouble lies, when parents put their trust in for their children’s future in home-education and do not prioritize the church (not just “like-minded” homeschoolers). My new friend, was so comforted to know her children were being home-schooled and not pressured to be in the system of the world. Yet, she forsook the biblical command of fellowshipping with other believers. I cannot reconcile that thinking with Scripture. My new friend, could not possibly attempt to lead her children to Christ, if she herself did not lean into Him herself. Other home-schoolers and home-school groups are not the church. They may be believers, but being under the biblical direction and ministry of Elders at a local church is biblical. Home-schooling (dare I say it) is not. Homeschooling is a method of education, not our faith.

Homeschooling families often find safety, security, and hope in their home-schooling. Honestly, nothing could be more dangerous in my mind. I was home-schooled. A lot of my friends were home-schooled too. The vast majority of them are no longer followers of Christ. In fact, we have seen the results of a few home-school Christian leaders such as Joshua Harris who were home-educated and then choose not to follow Christ.

I would be the first to shout out from the mountain tops that home-schooling does not a soul save!

I would rather my children attended the worst, most liberal, public school in the land and had a heart for God, than were educated at my wonderful, safe, God-centered dining room table, and neglected Christ. God is just as capable to save a soul of a child in public school as He can save a home-schooled child’s soul.

Ok, Time-Out: I love home-schooling. I love being a part of my children’s education. I love watching them learn. I love answering their questions about God, life, and why the sky is blue. I love seeing them develop and grow. I love the flexibility we have as we learn. I love being able to talk about our wonderful Creator, our precious Savior and great God as we walk through our subjects in school or pound a loaf of bread. I love guiding my children into acts of kindness and hospitality. It is truly a great gift and privilege that I have to be able to home-school.

But I do choose a church because there are a lot of home-school families in it. I choose a church because it is founded on the truth of God’s Word. I fellowship with others because they are believers, not because they home-school. I want my children to be around a variety of believers…not just home-schoolers. As believers, we all need each others differences. We will not grow, and think well if we only surround ourselves with people who are just like us. My world is not about home-schooling. It is about Christ.

The church is a biblical institution….home-schooling is not. The church is whom we are called to fellowship with. Some of the church will home-school their children like me, and others will not. We are called to live a life of self-sacrifice. That means even building relationships with people who are very different from us. It is the easy thing to limit our children’s exposure and control their input and friendships. And I will be the first to say, that I am the guardian of what and who comes in to the lives of my children. That is wise parenting. However, I choose to walk with my children and help them think through how to get along with children who are unsaved or raised differently than themselves. It is a good teaching tool. I do not send them to public school to let them deal with it on their own. The day they enter the world will come soon enough, but until then, I have the privilege of walking with them as they are exposed and learn about different thoughts and life philosophies.

For instance, our walk with my new home-school friend a few weeks ago, was an incredibly interesting conversation with my older girls who were present to hear it. We could talk about how too many home-schoolers do not value the church, want to submit to its leadership, are critical of any believer who has different values than their own, or control fellowship to only those who are the same. My children and I were able to have a meaningful and vibrant conversation as a result of talking with someone who home-schooled like us, but for very different reasons than us. We have had so many conversations about thing our unsaved neighbor children have said or done, friends in youth group, or even comments from family members that are on a different page.

My goal, is not to point my children to MY standards or beliefs, but always point them to Scripture for their source of truth. I say over and over….”what does Scripture say about this?” Sometimes, I Scripture has no straightforward answer, and I must leave the choice open. and say, it is a matter of personal conviction.

Like how we choose too or not too celebrate Halloween. I let them know that when they grow up, they will have to pray about it and decide for themselves how and what to do about such things that are not doctrinal issues. But preference and areas of personal conviction; someday, that may even include whether or not they will home-school their children.

Subtle Signs of Pride

I re-wrote a text twenty times yesterday as I found myself constantly convicted about my message. It oozed of pride, no matter how I worded it. Finally, I just deleted the message, and let my friend know that I looked forward to a future conversation in person with her. But now, I will need to guard my words during that conversation when the day comes.

Ok, so what is my problem? Pride of course. It was showing up in my need to promote and prove myself to a new acquaintance. I was subtly trying to better her and try to build a respect in her for me, by letting her know things about myself, that simply were not necessary.

Self-promotion is a sinful habit of mine of which I am more recently and acutely aware. Whether it is name-dropping, discussing my background or levels of education, talking about experiences, letting people know my gifts or talents, making sure people know that I already know something…pride creeps into my text messages and conversations, because it is clearly in my heart!

Pride is an acceptable sin. Since everyone is prideful, it is easy to overlook as one of those sins that we cannot overcome and that the blood of Christ has no power to make is victorious. Self-promotion is so widely accepted, that we expect it to be a large part of conversation.

I am still learning the ways that my heart revels in its pride. Whenever I tell someone about my children’s achievements or disabilities (preventing them from achieving). Even sharing the deepest, hardest events of my life can become a source of pride, if my motive in sharing that with someone else is self-serving. If I feel have suffered more than those around me, it can be a temptation to be prideful, and in a a way, one-up people. If I have experienced something others have not, such as travel or special experience that can be cause for pride for me. What we do for a living, our family values, the food we eat or don’t eat, the way we raise our children, the way we look, what we are good at doing and what we are terrible at doing, can all blossom into pride in our hearts.

Sometimes pride seeps out of our mouths as a prayer-request for something, we really want everyone to know we are doing. Sometimes pride comes out when we can’t resist saying how much we understand, just so we can tell our story. Pride oozes out of cracks of our hearts when we comment negatively speak of someone else (or negatively think of someone else)…all that is is thinking I am better than “so and so”.

In fact, anything in my heart or mind, that I do not see as a complete and utter gift of God, is pride. 

Paul spoke directly about this in Galatians 6:14 when we proclaimed “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world”

All that I am, have, have done…even my faith in Christ and my sanctification in Him is a complete result of His grace.

So what do I do when I am tempted to say a word that will promote myself instead of Christ? Well…first…I am learning to deeply consider that since those experiences and those gifts do not define me, they often do not need to be said. So yes….delete….delete…delete….

I am learning to ask myself when I talk….does this increase the cause of Christ? or does this increase the cause of me?

What defines me is Christ. And His work in me is what must increase. John the Baptist is a beautiful example of a life so focused on Christ. In John 3:25-30 we read:

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification. And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.”

What more can I say to improve upon that testimony? Only may it be the story of my heart as well.

Sharing a Cup of Tea

In her more recent book, Teatime Discipleship: Sharing Faith One Cup at a Time Sally, Clarkson goes into great detail concerning the joys and benefits of sharing a cup of tea with someone. For insight and perspective into building relationships with others at home, I highly recommend Sally’s book, paired with Rosaria Butterfield’s best-seller: The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World.

Both books discuss ways we can use our home to invite others in. We can create a resting place for our family, other believers, and unbelievers, simply by utilizing our home well. I have always been a proponent of ministering to others through my home. But last year, inviting people for tea became a highlight of how we shared hospitality.

I know each person is in a certain season of life, and there once was a time, I could only manage one hospitality endeavor a week. Now, that my children are older, I find it very easy to invite anyone over for tea, short notice, or someone we just met. My children love to chip in and set the table, brew the tea, and lay out snacks.

Tea is fun and un-intimidating for most people. Inviting people over for tea also allows me to have guests over during the day. Daytime visits, keep my evenings more free for my family, and yet allows me opportunity to open my home to others and get to know them.

Why tea?

Tea is child friendly. Unlike coffee, which can be high in caffeine and bitter to taste, there are a lot of choices when providing tea. I can offer an assortment of options, with or without caffeine. My children all have a personal favorite, and if we have other children join us for tea, most mothers are comfortable with their children enjoying a cup or two.

Tea is cheap. Even though there may be initial expense in a container of good tea, overall, it stores well and only takes a few bags or Tablespoons to make a medium pot of tea.

I can use items I have already for tea snacks. I do not aim for a proper British tea when serving tea. My goal is fellowship, and that can be had around anything I have in the house. I can fill celery with peanut butter, make a few mini muffins, cut some apple slices, dip dates in chocolate, put cream cheese and finely sliced cucumbers on a tortilla and roll it up, make deviled eggs, melt chocolate over nuts…I rarely buy anything special at the store for our teas. I simply utilize the foods we have at home for savory or sweet. I keep sugar cubes on hand, just for tea, and we usually have milk, cream and/or half-and-half in the fridge. Of course, we always have tea.

People with food sensitivities can eat obligation free. Unlike sitting down for a meal, guests at tea are expected to pick a few items and not eat a bite of everything. Tea allows my guests to have a certain freedom with what he or she eats. Sometimes, a guest will just drink tea and not eat at all, other times, there is much festive indulgence. It is all up to the guest what is put on his or her plate.

Sharing Tea is a fun way to get to know people. Everyone I have ever invited is very excited to come for tea. I have had women who are very feminine minded dress up to the nines in fancy tea attire. I have had women enjoy a cup of tea in jeans and a t-shirt. No matter the kind of lady we have, each one has been thrilled to join me and my children for a cup of tea.

Having Tea is unintimidating. Sharing a cup of tea (especially if children are present), puts people at ease. Tea is a strange mix of formal and casual. Since it is not a sit-down dinner, people see tea as more relaxed and simple than a meal. It is also formal enough, for everyone who sits at the table to feel special.

Setting up and hosting friends for tea is training my children in an art of hospitality. My children are working on character traits of kindness, gentleness, and thinking of others. Tea provides them with the opportunity to focus on all of those things as they help me prepare and show love to our special guest(s).

Ok, those are a multitude of reasons I enjoy sharing a cup of tea with people, and I have a lot of other reasons too, but those are the main ones that come to my mind. I am truly grateful for the Lord’s provision of little things like tea, that we can use to connect hearts and bless others.