I picture myself in a long dress with a crown of flowers on my head, walking through a field of wild flowers. I’m gathering bark and leaves, herbs and flowers, and other wonderfully fragrant, earthly, ingredients. I imaging the earth is smiling up at me as I place the tea treasures in the basket, resting in the fold of my elbow. This is a safe place to gather my thoughts and withdraw to when the unexpected challenges of my day try to creep in and steal my peace. I can go to this place, walk, and breath deep. My fingers lightly gliding over the tips of the wild grass as I walk with the breeze flowing through my hair. This is a place of rest!
This picture reminds me of a very special and unique tea that has captured my heart. This tea has several names and the one I fancy most is Blooming Tea. I think this tea can encourage us today and bring hope amid so much heartache and uncertainty. Blooming Tea is an edible flower or combination of tea leaves that are sewn together with a silk thread and open into a flower when steeped. The flowering display begins as something delicate and fragile that has been bound together in a ball. This ball can represent our lives. The blooming tea ball is dry and compiled of a flower or leaves that have been picked apart, sewn, manipulated and squeezed. Right now, I think a lot of people are feeling this way; dry, picked apart, manipulated and squeezed while being held together by a fine thin thread, or "hanging by a thread", as some would say. However, when the blooming tea ball, meets with hot water, something beautiful begins to happen. The bound and manipulated dry leaves begin to blossom. It begins to open, releasing the sweet, subtle flavor of the tea leaves. It begins to open to reveal a beautiful flower that can last up to three days if given fresh water every day. At times, I believe, pressure can begin a healing process and something beautiful can emerge from the dry places of our lives.
When I suffered from debilitating anxiety, I was dry. There was nothing in me that made me feel alive, I was just filled with fear. I was being bound and manipulated by it. I couldn’t see a way out. I knew my thinking was unreasonable but the fear was so real to me I sometimes wouldn’t leave my house. I was being held prisoner by my thoughts and being held together by a thin thread of hope. I was in that place, like the small dry blooming tea ball, where I was going to stay bound unless I was exposed to something that would open me up and begin to expose truth and the truth of who I was really was. I needed something that would dispel the lies and dry places and bring life. It was during this time that I was in and out of the hospital and accrued thousands of dollars in ambulance bills. The anxiety would grip me and debilitate me to the point I couldn’t drive myself to the hospital when I was certain I was dying. So how did I get from debilitating anxiety to where I am today? It is a result of the water that has been applied to my life. My thinking changed as I allowed the washing of the Word to saturate me with truth, hope and peace. Living water has begun to bubble up in me as I continue to put my trust and hope in God. The dry places have come alive. So, it is with the blooming tea and so it is with us. Every one of us was created beautiful but sometimes our beauty is hidden, or bound up. Our beauty can be hidden because of things done to us or due to a false image we carry about ourselves. The world needs our true beauty to emerge, it needs the beauty that comes from walking in our true and authentic selves. Not the image that comes from who the media tells us we should be, or the magazines, or the beauty industry marketing strategists. True beauty comes from knowing who we are and whose we are. It comes from understanding we were created in the image of a God who wanted His image on the earth to carry out His plan of healthy and whole living. Beauty consists of joy, hope, peace and love. It consists of compassion, forgiveness, kindness and understanding. It consists of listening and hugs and smiles. Beauty is loving all people regardless of race, status, gender preference or religious beliefs. Our beauty is meant to carry love.
Where do you feel dry today? Where do you need the refreshing water of life to cause you to bloom? Do you feel beautiful? If you don’t I’m here to tell you, you are! You are BEAUTIFUL, or HANDSOME, and your beauty carries something the world needs. Because again, as I will always remind you, the world needs you! You are beautiful and you are important. I encourage you to water your dry places today so the beauty in you emerges. Find a devotional, a promise book, a Bible. Find a resource that is going to bring living water to your life.You will be changed forever, you will grow and develop and your roots will begin to go deep.These roots will sustain your beauty and growth forever.