Tuesday, October 9, 2012

September 15, 2012 ... Day 8

Today was going to be the day. I had promised myself, If I can just get through Thanksgiving Sunday, I'll be done with it the next day.

It's been a really tough year on so many levels. At the mid point of the summer I felt that I had reached my breaking point.

Thanksgiving seemed to be the logical conclusion to Nilgiris, Part 2; after all, it was a little over five years ago that Mum and I had talked about my reopening the TH for Thanksgiving 2007. Mum, of course, moved on to better things; and I was left, wanting to be with her, wanting her to be with me, wanting somehow to capture and keep the vision we had dreamed of how a part-time version of the Tea House could look.

I ultimately reopened in November 2007, and I remember crying for the first couple of months any time someone would hug me and mention my Mum and how she would have loved this. Dad and my family held up my arms, as it were; my dear Brenda came out of retirement; old friends rallied around me; and people who had been customers before became new friends.

I reminded myself often how blessed I was, how much I had been given.

But this year was different. I felt exhausted all the time, less in control of what went on in the little TH. I seemed always to be playing catch-up, losing infinitesimal amounts of ground each week. I would go to bed tired and wake up more of the same.

I couldn't bear the thought of leaving the TH itself, however - there is no place on Earth I'd rather be - so I started to figure out how I could live downstairs and perhaps rent out the upstairs suite. I got to a place of shaky confidence that it could actually work, that I could actually be looking at weekends free and trips to Mexico with my sisters.

I asked God for clear guidance and to stop me if it didn't seem like the right thing to do. Nothing really came to my attention either way. I tracked down a set of pretty pocket doors that would work to separate the living area from the sleeping area I had in mind.

Then came September 15. I was reading a classic little devotional book called Daily Light. It was Saturday evening; I had crawled up the stairs to bed and it was very, very late. 

This is what I read:

EVENING                                                        SEPTEMBER 15

A double minded man, unstable in all his ways.

No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him. - Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. - Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

No longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, ... grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ.

Abide in Me. - Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

JAMES. 1:8; Luke 9:62; Hebrews 11:6; James. 1:6,7; Mark 11:24; Ephesians 4:14,15; John 15:4. I Corinthians. 15:58.


I was stricken. This was direction most unequivocal. I put the book aside and tried to sleep. However, the words continued to work in me through the restless night watches, and I woke up in the morning with a few very clear thoughts:

  • I had put my hand to this plow.
  • I had to quit doubting, quit being driven this way and that.
  • I had to stop being immature ("grow up" - ouch!).
  • God's promise was that if I diligently sought after Him, He in turn would make Himself known to me. 
  • I had to ask in faith, believing, for what I needed.
  • I had to abide in God.
  • And - kindest of all - my work was "not in vain in the Lord."
The rug had been pulled out from under me.

Dad came over after church to help me get ready for Sunday dinner. I got my book out and read the passage aloud to him. "I don't have any peace about closing, Dad," I said to him, with tears starting to form in my eyes.

"I have never had peace about you closing," he replied simply. What a wise Dad I have! He was prepared to wait, not burdening me with his thoughts and insight, until I was ready.

"It says I can ask for what I need and if I believe, I will receive. This is what I need most urgently ..." and I told him.

"God will provide," Dad assured me.

And He did! And He has continued to do so. But that part of the story's for another day.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner in the TH yesterday evening. Two sittings, over 50 people eating turkey, panic-inducing moments in the kitchen for sure; but everything from the turkey to the pumpkin cheesecake was infused throughout with the seasonings of joy and purpose.

Deb and I cleaned up until around 1 a.m. I went to bed tired; and I woke up, the morning after Thanksgiving Sunday in the TH, feeling - refreshed.

I checked my Blackberry, as I do every morning when I wake up, and I saw this subject line:
Thanks for Keeping the Nilgiri Flag Flying 

You can't make this stuff up. 

I clicked on the message: it was from someone who had studied in the Nilgiris and who had Googled something and arrived at the TH's website. He remembered Dad and Mum and the three eldest Ironside children.

It was the first thing I read on the very day that, should I have gone ahead with my plans, the Nilgiris Tea House would have been closed.

He asked me a couple of questions; and then he ended his message:

Take care, and have a wonderful life.

My very best,

David James

As far as I was concerned, the name could just as easily have been signed, God.

(Designed and given to me by my sister Cathryn)


  1. "I must become what I Sculpt, otherwise I cannot Sculpt It..


  2. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. -Galatians 6:9

    Love this glare off the inner workings of your heart. You are moving on with it. With the work and the community surrounding you. Family gently lifting, guiding, and opening the shades. To let His light in.

    ...but they who wait for the Lord and who hope in And who trust in the inner workings of his undeniable love for us.. They shall renew their strength. They shall toil through the days of ministry and blessings to wake up in the morning feeling... refreshed.

  3. With gratitude for a heart that seeks, listens, trusts, abides and courageously does not turn back ... and for confirmation! Nilgiris Tea House may be 'little', but it's flag of warmth and love flies high.

    May your heart know peace, and be renewed and refreshed with gentle mercies new each morning.

  4. "It is only courage when we know the cost of failure. It is only faith when there is the potential for doubt. And it can only be won when we have to fight for it." (Naomi Zacharias, The Scent of Water)
    Thank you for your courage and faith, Karyn, and for fighting the good fight. Chariots of fire encircle you daily! And in the night there's a song.

  5. I have chills! and tears! and am so glad! Sending hugs and grins your way!

  6. We love you Karyn and your beautiful creation....long live both of you!!!


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