Wonderful Souls

She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:17

What will you notice in others today other than the surface of them, their predicament, their imperfect and even offensive behavior?

Will you consider what’s within?

Will it occur to you that your interaction with others is invitation to ministry, to the wonder of it all, our souls?

Yesterday I woke with the ache of an unpleasant dream. It was early morning and the drift of extra falling asleep led to remembering the news of Saturday.

A woman had been found by her son, unexpectedly she passed away. The dream had me rolled up knees to chest while my friend sat close by letting me cry. Letting me express the regret over not intervening, not being close enough to the sweet elderly woman’s need.

The dream was beneficial. I texted my friend told her I was praying for her because the measure of her grief is greater than mine. My friend had been much closer, like a daughter, like a fighter for this woman’s good, my friend was up close to the survival of this sweet tiny little spitfire survivor of abuse and valiant victor over the bottle despite being homeless woman.

Yes, I had a small part in helping but my friend had one much larger.

Still, both of us were engaged, captivated and humbled by the tenacity of Miss G. because she taught us both to be better, she taught us to keep keeping on.

As tiny as a child she was and on her very best days just as excited over living.

Miss G. was diminutive. If she ever felt diminished or delicate she kept that hidden.

The weak places she buried in the shadowy silence of her soul.

Let us in only a little, me much less than my friend and co-worker, Michelle.

Miss G. saw the wonder of life, love, believing in possible things and she lived, she lived in light of that wonder.

Monday morning now and I’ve switched off the lamplight. I am with God.

He alone knows the sadness of my soul.

Only He knows the benefit of sorrow’s visit.

Sorrow is grief’s measurement.

I allow the rivulet to lay on my cheek, I am thinking of my relationship with Miss G., the petite pulled together woman who fixed her hair to show up to clean the rooms in the emergency department of our hospital.

She was a hard worker, inspired others, was awarded for her attitude.

She came to check on me as I cautiously turned to see her, my condition still shaky, the vertigo and its nausea.

I don’t recall what she said, her look was not one of pity, no it was all her, her philosophy.

Never missing a chance to promote strength over pity.

Stay strong, don’t fall and don’t ever let yourself believe that God is not able.

She left me with this, this instruction as she looked long and directly before leaving.

This was not a verbal exchange. It was her heart seeing mine, this was her ministering to my soul.

So, I allow the tears to fall and let them seep below my skin, to dry on their own. I consider them a gift, drops on my cheeks like the resting rain on the last rosebud.

If I could I’d leave them much longer, evidence of love.

I thought of this sweet woman and of others.

Thought of the work I did before.

Then gave myself permission to see it as it had always been, ministry.

The work of overseeing a program that welcomed a woman in because she was without a home.

That’s not social or administrative or not for profit outcomes based work.

No, not at all.

This is and was ministry of the soul. I see now, clearly.

The encounters, the obstacles, the run ins with not ready for change people.

This was not hard work.

No it was soft, softening of all of our souls.

Me and they, all of us souls.

“Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭13:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The wonder of it all!

God intersecting our lives with others, all of us with burdens undeniable or hidden.

May I never lose my wonder!

There’s a tiny brick house I pass twice a day on the way to Elizabeth and back home.

A tiny porch bordered by mounds of garbage is lit by a bulb. Often the front door is open and a woman sits in a plastic chair that faces sideways, never turned towards the road, the passing cars, people.

I long to know her story.

I’ve decided it’s enough to simply see her as a soul.

To pray for a need not mine to know.

My friend’s grief over Miss G. is much more than my own. I texted her after my Sunday dream.

This morning I walked outside and I thought of how much you loved Miss G. how much she loved you. I know you are grieving. Miss G. is celebrating in heaven and she was greeted with “Well done thou good and faithful servant!” and I just see her grinning at Jesus and saying…”oh but you just wait til you meet Michelle!” You loved her well, God saw it all. Love you. Praises today, only praises.

What souls are yours to see?

Give yourself permission to go deeper than passing interaction or fulfilling vocation or expectation.

The soul is secret and yet so open.

Let your grace toward someone do unrequited things today.

Be satisfied beyond anything that you noticed and your work became ministry, became the work of seeing souls.

See them more clearly, love when opportunity comes.

Rest In Peace, Miss G. Thank you for ministering to my soul, the souls of so many others.

I will remember you well.


“Fill us with wonder
May we never lose our wonder
May we never lose our wonder
Wide eyed and mystified
May we be just like a child…”

Bethel Music

Unintentional

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.

Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A more modern translation of this verse is softer, substituting the word discouragement for dismay.

I know now that to be dismayed is a more serious state, more knocked off your feet kind of feel than discouraged.

To be dismayed is to have a sudden loss of courage.

I am thoughtful over this definition. To be dismayed means to me, to be on the brink of defeat or uncertainty because of an unexpected thing.

The photo taken last week while training the puppy was accidental and unintentional.

I’m certain it was because of me adjusting the leash or preparing to control him as we got closer to the fluffy dog behind the neighbor’s fence.

I must’ve swapped hands worn out by his yanking and I guess my finger grazed the phone.

Anyway, I find the image drawing me in, the complexity of the soft and hard ground, the leaves crisp and scattered, just a glimpse of my forward foot and the puppy’s tongue.

We are in training .

We keep on, the shift underneath us so barely noticeable, the shift within us not forceful.

God changing the within in gradual ways.

Surrender is not sudden.

Drawing nearer to God is neither disdain, discouragement or dismay.

It’s simple. It is a soft and secret self-discipline stirred together with sweet encounters of peace.

Peace that is not sudden, is a steady undercurrent like creek to river, sandy path to the main road.

There, I’ve defined it now, the drawing of my eye to the random photo.

The unintentional picture on my phone, peace is what it captures.

Now I know.

I know peace, courage, standing quietly strong.

Not dismayed now.

May be soon. I pray not.

And even if, my heart will be more ready, not be stolen away.

I’ve got peace in my soul, in the ground beneath my feet.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Moon and Memory

I walked outside last night to find the moon after reading how another one anticipated it and well, blows my mind.

The moon was nowhere to be found by him.

Not here.

I’m still confused over this.

How his sky had no moon and my sky’s moon was so grand, so bold.

Months ago someone I care about was struggling.

We talked on the phone. I walked outside knowing our talk will be long.

The moon was pretty then.

I told her to look up and find it, I’m seeing the moon with you.

All will become clear.

In the cold cold of a morning causing South Carolinians to freak slightly out, I’m up early and the moon has shifted, still hanging out over my house.

Daylight comes and I drive to my granddaughter’s home, escorted by the big moon to my left the whole way out on the curvy stretch, country road.

I thought of God again.

Thought of my halfhearted morning devotion and the hurry hurry hurry of me.

Comfort, it was to see.

To know.

Here I am God and there, there, here you are.

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭8:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Knowing, seeing, staying.

The moon is enormous tonight and situated in the sky above our yard.

I walk the puppy to the back and notice the slap of the air so cold I brace as if I might fall.

Then I pause, take a deep breath and a deep breath, stand still and pause and I feel it.

The deja vu.

A night I don’t remember so clearly, only the feel.

No idea exactly when, I’m rushing home, get the presents together, quiet stepping down the hall, babies asleep, grab the bags marked stockings.

Yes, the air tonight, the moon lighting up the icy ground, the cold on my cheeks.

Oh, tonight feels like Christmas.

Yes.

Thank you, God, for that.

And for your mindfulness of me.

And the moon.

Thank you for the moon.

Have Learned

Towards Peace

Underneath the pretty mug marked

Peace.

There’s the Sunday paper, the section with the column written weekly by a scholarly and kind, solid in the faith, teacher of the faith man.

I’ve not read it.

I opened my daily things and read the Utmost for His Highest daily devotion on the phone.

Left it there, walked out with the dog and thought it too much for me, I’m very deficient, I’m not far enough along to learn from this spiritual compilation of a master of God’s word, Oswald Chambers.

Often I wonder about those who read mine and maybe others’ blogs that either proclaim or hint at our faith.

Do I make it seem so doggone hard that a reader might decide, good gracious I’m better off on my own?

It’s possible.

This morning, I opened my tiny and edge torn book, Joy and Strength, a collection of verses and very ancient quotes.

First line was the wisdom of Paul, the murderous villain who was a hater of Jesus, the closing chapter of Philippians, a book marked heavily by my pencil

a note under the header: “Read the book of Philippians, God will reveal what you need to remember.”

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭RV1885‬‬

The words I have learned are my takeaway today.

Know why?

Because it tells me Paul wants me to know, this deciding to surrender your life and your knowing to God,

It is not easy.

I love it so much that he says he had to learn and that he learned through the good and the bad, the celebration and the disappointment.

He learned through circumstances.

He made it through.

Before Paul spoke of contentment and learning he wrote about mindfulness.

Mindfulness meaning, think of all the good, don’t let your thoughts go towards what you’re lacking.

Think about what elicits praise.

Maybe Paul kept a little gratitude journal.

practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The decision to believe wholeheartedly in Jesus is not like the “poof…snap of the finger”!

It’s commitment with doubt occasionally on the edges.

It is certainty that the life you have now is significantly more peaceful than before and it is a patient endeavor, a decisive continuation towards knowing God more.

Baby steps. Always baby steps I believe it should be.

Content in the valley and peak, the ebb and flow.

Spurred on by the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, strength in our core.

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank you, God, for your rescue of Paul, a teacher for me and for every human who may have stumbled, fallen, been wrong or done wrong.

Paul, now compared to Kanye and Bieber, a bad, bad man who Jesus believed in, believed could do better, be better, begin again.

I don’t really know the hearts of either of them. Only God and they know whether it’s true, whether they have chosen the way of peace.

I turn now to the column called “Faith Words” by Fred Andrea.

In the column, he writes about the stubborn Jonah, his ideas about worthy or unworthy people, his decision to run the opposite way of God’s leading and then learning a big lesson only to have to be taught again.

We are all learners, stubborn at times, pitiful and even pious.

This is why it jumped off the page this morning, will stick with me as meant for me.

Paul’s strong statement, “I have learned…”

Reassuring for me.

Continue. Continue and believe.

Learning is peace.

On Sunday

The clock ticks dull and rhythmic and the heat pump is straining, causing echoes down the hall.

It is dark and I’m wrapped and anchored, a layer of blanket held down by the big puppy.

I’m remembering the fall asleep reading of last night.

A book that intrigued, “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” is honest, irreverent at times, but made me want to know more, made me long to understand the mystery of her trauma.

Thinking it was years of working with abused children that called towards the book and then learning it was more, it was Eleanor’s story.

And mine.

“My life, I realized had gone wrong. Very, very wrong. I wasn’t supposed to live like this. No one was supposed to live like this. The problem was I simply didn’t know how to make it right. Mummy was wrong, I knew that. But no one had ever shown me the right way to live a life, and although I’d tried my best over the years, I simply didn’t know how to make things better. I could not solve the puzzle of me.” Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

To see her heroic, an overcomer redeemed from the hard years.

I got to the meat of it finally. The hard truth, the flailing soul at her lowest low, Eleanor Oliphant deciding not to go on.

Graphic were the paragraphs describing her vodka induced departure from living.

I thought of times I prefer not to think of, of circumstances that will stay just memories, won’t become written for sharing.

But, the honesty on last night’s pages, it was fulfilling to read them. They were relatable.

The main character at her lowest low, at her most honest.

A friend complimented me yesterday, he watches my life through my writing.

I go honest and he says keep going.

I feel I’m failing and he says no you’re just getting started.

You are so “locked-on” to where you want to be that you often don’t realize you are living that journey. As I peel back my layers, I keep finding all the junk, bugs and detours.Some day, when I grow up, I want to be like you. Ray V.

I’ve yet to reply to Ray’s comment sufficiently, to say thank you for seeing me, seeing the undercurrent of struggle that quickens my stride.

That if I’m not careful “trips me up”.

The fictional character, Eleanor Oliphant is an atheist and yet she’s convinced her life can be better, she just needs to make it true.

It’s futile, this force towards stories we aim to rewrite or to decide its up to us to change the ending.

Oswald Chambers met me with truth this morning:

“When I stop telling God what I want, He can freely work His will in me without any hindrance.

Utmost for His Highest daily devotional

Maybe another way to say this is just stop forcing what you believe is yours to capture.

Stop measuring your value based on what you think you did without.

Be where you are now, reconciled that this is so very much enough.

Know you’re not finished, there’s so much more knowing to be known.

Eleanor, the one falling apart in a self-induced stupor is greeted by a friend when she is roused to open the door.

A friend, concerned and asking to be let in. He hadn’t left her thus far.

I’ll finish the book today, reminded by a friend David Kanigan that Sunday is meant for rest.

David Kanigan

I’ll be hoping Eleanor rested finally, put to rest her traumatic before and settled her soul in the goodness of her now.

Hoping for the ending of the story to be better than fine, to be redemption.

I know it’s fiction and Eleanor has decided God is not real, is not her friend.

Still, I can hope.

And I can believe.

Continue and believe.

You weren’t equipped back then, Lisa. DR, another wise friend

Thankful for a Sunday, for friends and for God.

I do believe in the three and they believe in me.

Breakfast, Dreams Unsettled and Possibility

I’ve only scratched the surface, understanding who I am. Some things I’ve settled on being done with, the unsettled traumas no longer unsettling me. I’m not settled, though, on all I’ve yet to see, what God made me for, possibility.

Before I went to the kitchen cabinet I remembered, I didn’t buy the cereal.

I woke up this morning and laid quietly anticipating my decided on Raisin Bran with banana swimming in creamy white milk.

I’d be on the second cup of dark coffee made the color of soft wheat with my half and half cream and a tiny bit of honey.

Raisin Bran is my favorite. It had been years since I had allowed my treat. After having just what I wanted for breakfast yesterday, I made up my mind to do it again.

Sigh, I took the other road, I bought the cardboard textured granola.

I settled.

This is not unique to me, this deciding something less is better for me, deciding I’ll just stop here, only the small good things were meant to be mine.

It is not unique to me that under the layers of self-critique there resides untapped potential, joyous possibility.

It was good and better for me. My rebellion towards sugar only slightly compromised already today. It was good, the granola.

Many years ago, my diet was deprivation. I survived on lettuce laced with mustard and then blew it out by Thursday on keg party beer and Krystal burgers. The memories are not pleasant. I’d love to frame them funny, just not possible.

Now I allow what I want on occasion and I don’t diet harshly or with rigid expectations. I may be close to deciding the 15 pounds I’d like to lose, been talking about it for a few years, have settled, they might be the allowance of grace I need to give me.

Other settling?

Art, book, health, career…I’ve not achieved as much as others here. I’m heavy on the ideas and light on the sticking with them.

Not settling, just waiting and maybe accepting.

Yesterday, I got an email rejection in regards to a story I’ve written about my grandmother, edited three times and sent three separate places now.

What am I to do with these sweet words? I really don’t know. I have so many it’s crazy. How do you settle with them never going anywhere. Writing is hard. I’m not sure why I’ve not quit by now.

Take Me To The Water

Last night after dinner I returned to the large canvas. My daughter had an idea for a painting she’d love over her bed.

Try, try again I did. Covered over covered layers and wiped the whole canvas one color. Again.

“Have I forgotten how to paint?” the familiar aching question.

I stayed at it, kept adding color and layers and I did not quit until I could snap a pic and send to my daughter.

“Beautiful”, was her reply and then that she knew I could sell it and that I should and it shouldn’t be hers for free.

But, it will be if she loves it in person. It will live in the home of she and her husband, their daughter. I won’t find another canvas and recreate it. No, this will be hers.

I don’t want her to settle.

I’m not settling on the small things any longer. I’m having toast with my cheesy scrambled eggs and dark chocolate with almonds in the evening with red wine.

Deprivation to me leans toward punishment. I do love to call myself out. Self-critique over my lack of writing progress is defeating. Pondering perfection based on the price haggled over for painting, so exhausting.

I’ll return to the easel now and I’ve jotted down new thoughts for the book idea. Both, more storytelling and less audience seeking.

And maybe for lunch, I’ll have a Peanut Butter and Jelly, just a half of sandwich on the crusty bread, crunchy peanut butter spread with sweet fig preserves.

I’m believing the wisdom of Psalms and beginning to want to know it full well. I’m choosing to savor everything and be satisfied in the truth that I have only barely begun to know the me made by God.

Good Settling

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s some freedom for me there. In the uncovering of my layers. There’s all sorts of unsettling of my thoughts, my days, my offerings to others.

May it be the same with you.

You’re Movin’ Too Fast

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

On Monday, the weather was cool and all day long, the sky was grey with thick theatrical draping, the clouds seemed so heavy.

I watched through the windows that day, we stayed inside.

A beautiful bird visited.

If we’d have ventured out, we might have walked for miles, found ourselves in the place where the cornfield was being cut down.

We might have worried the neighborly man plopped in the big machinery, the one who’d been working all morning tending his field.

You could hear it all day muffled, way off from the back porch, the machinery and the voices, someone giving instructions.

A pause and then the noise of work again.

Getting the season’s work done.

If Monday morning had been led by different thoughts, I would have jumped from the couch, waking up a startled and half asleep five month old.

She, most likely would have gazed towards me and her blue eyes would have softened all at the same time they met the face of mine, her grandma.

She would have smiled.

We might have hurried out onto the porch. I’d have had her little bottom cupped under my arms, holding tight in the way I like to hold her.

The way that lets her see the whole wide world.

We might have watched and then kept seeking, walking quickly and carefully into the open field.

But, we didn’t.

We didn’t go chasing hoping to be closer to what got my attention.

We didn’t follow and end up lost in the deep country woods.

A hawk was on the porch that morning.

Elizabeth slept and I saw it. It lingered only long enough for me to see its shadow and the broad wing.

I only experienced the knowledge of its presence, not close enough to capture on my phone and share or to sit close beside.

The hawk made its presence known.

I noticed God.

We rested, didn’t go off crazy chasing a photo for Instagram.

I was content that the grand bird was near.

That’s how God is.

Notice. Listen.

You will see, not everything all at once, tiny glimpses and assuring hints.

Things you will never fully know.

Touch or see up close.

God is always near.

On Tuesday, the day was different, warm and bright blue.

We walked down pine needle littered trails and the baby dozed while I pushed through dry dirt down the familiar road.

We ended up at the back porch and her eyes opened when I rested. The snoozing baby awakened, looked up.

We lingered outside long enough to see the wide and majestic dark wings against the heavens.

The hawk returned and was content above us and us, content below.

I’m moving slower now.

The vertigo episode of a couple of weeks ago with no determined cause requires a thoughtful pace.

I still am humbled by it all, the way of God getting my notice.

Causing me to take nothing for granted.

Strange, the lesson of it, the clean bill of physical health causing consideration of mental.

It makes no other sense.

A word came, “frenetic”.

A word I do not think I’d ever used.

As I thought it, eventually said it, it felt extreme.

Still does.

After all, I am retired, have no heavy responsibilities or pressured roles.

Or do I?

I worry that my hope will run out of time, be cut off.

The list I made today, it surprised me, pressure self imposed.

The idea of do everything now, you are aging, you might never see your dream come true, the dream of your private soul, the ones involving art

And words. The ones your mind is all tangled up in, dangerously entangled maybe.

fre·net·ic
/frəˈnedik/
adjective
  1. fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way “a frenetic pace of activity”

Where was this pace?

In the place between my ears that led to that incapacitated dizziness?

I’m not sure what I’ll accomplish today.

It’s already mid morning.

I have many irons in the fire of my creative passion. Sparks are sparking, wheels turning.

Slow down, don’t let them fall off the rims, note to self.

I have a following now.

I have orders and commissions and I have writing opportunities.

I will proceed at a pace that doesn’t say wait or quit or run harder, just says keep going, keep going.

Pause and rest.

Don’t chase.

Don’t stress.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to. Don’t have it your way or nothing at all…you might find you’re moving too fast.

I love the mind God gave me.

One that writes stories of adventures that tell the tale of chasing after a hawk then settles itself for the lesson from God and verses…verses from the Bible and R&B, the “Book of TLC” and Simon and Garfunkel.

Slow down, Lisa Anne.

You move too fast…gotta make the morning last.

sing along now…

“Feelin’ groovy…😊

And a final one from my mama…

Stress’ll kill you. Bette Jean Peacock Hendrix

Hope and Strength 2020

I sometimes wish I didn’t love both.

Art and words.

I paint what I call “female forms”.

Some call them angels.

I’ve designed a 2020 calendar. Each month has a thought, a little nudge and a Bible verse.

11×17 on ivory, images large enough for framing.

More photos later and I’ll add to my shop.

For now….just writing about it here.

I’ve done something new.

Feels like a whim.

Is a whim a leap of faith?

Maybe.

Maybe.

More info on ordering this week!

Eyes Untainted

It is pretty far reaching to imagine seeing others always and only as God sees them.

Our vision spot on and untainted by our wrongs and by theirs.

I sat amongst others observing interactions, hearing bits of conversations.

Watching some speak with microphones and others being spoken of, spoken for.

I wondered if the ones unable to speak freely would have or could have said more.

The ones who were tentative in accepting an invitation to speak, were they prepared?

Were they as free in their sharing as they’d wished they could be?

Thing is, life is a stage and we arrive as audience sitters either hoping to go unnoticed or longing to just have a chance to share our “take”.

“Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the Lord.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Our experiences leak in and muddy our waters, most of us have an undercurrent of fear, of well disguised vulnerabilities that we mask when amongst others.

Then we’re alone and we contemplate our worth, we question our belonging.

We decide we’ve been tricked, wronged, not measured up.

Thankfully, we get quiet and recognize our vision blurred by pasts wrongs and chunks of time devoid of being known and acknowledged.

We decide to accept that we may see things wrongly, that we are looking through old dirty and damaged glasses.

Our notice of others in negative ways just doesn’t fit anymore.

We want to be kinder, gentler or at least, accept there are battles everyone is fighting we just will never know.

We’d rather be soft than bitter.

Hard words and harsh responses have worn us out, we don’t have time for remorse anymore.

We’d rather offer an open door, only if barely cracked than shut the door and lock it, forbidding any reconciliation, any chance at all of relationship.

Do you ever wonder, How does God want me to grow here?

How does God see what I am seeing?

Are my heart’s eyes wrong?

In a room filled with a variety of characters all vying to be known or to belong.

What, I wonder, does God see of the looked over, the forgotten?

The one who arrived but felt unwelcome.

I believe He sees them, sees me.

God sees weakness when I see arrogance. God sees grief’s lingering hold when I see nervousness. God sees fear when I see avoidance. God sees striving to maintain an image when I see condescension.

God understands people.

Oh, to see as God sees.

God sees my misplaced confidence in self when I beg for the notice of others.

What is it that God sees in you that may be misunderstood by others?

What would God say about how you’re seeing someone today?

Can our tainted vision of others based on experiences be rewritten, readjusted, without preconceived judgment?

I believe it can.

The surrender circle this morning?

Jotted adjacent, today’s note to self:

God sees differently.

Sees me, sees others.

Down deep flaws and faults used to cover or lessen their showing.

God sees differently.

What if my surrender included the surrender of “my take on things”, my perception of another’s behavior tainted by some weakness or harm I will never know they are carrying?

What if I see me and see others through the eyes of redemption, through the lens of hope that knows all and never says no?

We have this in common, all of us, humans seen by a compassionate God.

Our tainted selves, He sees untainted.

We, after all are His vision, His creation.

It can be so. It is not easy.

Oneness with God, closer to understanding others as we adjust our perceptions.

We have to want it, untainted vision that chooses not seeing through eyes that are old, not seeing the same.

Same old same.

Old.

Eyes that see in new ways.

Eyes untainted.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Weathered Beautifully

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Look around you. Everything can change in just days. Every little thing is God’s way of saying.

Notice the beauty in the weathering.

A lesson in everything, I told someone and she agreed.

Sort of like giving God the question, the messes we find ourselves in and the consequences of them.

Being intentional in the after of it, pausing and expecting to see the whole thing new.

If we will listen, we will learn from the God “reframed” whatever.

Stay teachable, allow change, don’t resist growth not despise the maturity most disguise, don’t want to own their own “aging”.

I’m wiser now because I am more open to God’s wisdom, not my own.

Learning is not a harsh or punitive lesson.

Sometimes it’s a surprise, an acknowledgement that your take on something was spot on, now continue, confident in a graceful way.

Your lesson is not a license for remorse, your accurate assessment is saying,

You matter to me. I’ve noticed you. You have great value, your longings and your confusion as well as your questions, they are valid, significant. God

Yesterday, I thought to tell my husband it felt “tropical”, the air early morning.

Instead, I told him the air felt stormy.

Today, there’s a difference of about thirty degrees and the air is fresh and cool, rain rejuvenated.

I’m likely to speak artistically, to be descriptive in an odd way.

My legacy may include that, “Lisa loved to use unusual words.”

That may be spoken of me when I’m no longer here.

Legacy.

I scribbled next to my “surrender” circle, “my thoughts”.

Left it there and then felt it float above my head most of the day.

How simple it was to jot it down. A challenge or a big heaping helping of peace if it were to be so.

That my thoughts would be only good or at least not so overdone, rewritten, transposed on my heart, the beating down of unknown.

If every single thought was hemmed in, buffered, not allowed to run off course on its own rabbit chase…

That would be what I hope is my lasting legacy.

Quiet Confidence.

Confidence in God.

My life verse? It evolved from the words “quiet confidence” a very long time ago.

I looked for a description of my daddy for a tiny little ad to memorialize him. I rarely read my Bible then. I’d seen others use verses as a way to remember the deceased, to honor them.

Since my daddy was quiet, it was my hope that in heaven he was confident finally.

At least that’s what I hoped people would see, that my father wasn’t so well known in small town Georgia, in terms of success.

But, in heaven he at last was confident.

I kept it for myself. I’ve tossed it over in my mind, made it my brand. I’ve pondered its true meaning.

Quiet Confidence.

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling,”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I cling to the two words most.

My granddaughter and I walked again on Wednesday. We didn’t venture far and our pace was a little lazy. I held her and we pivoted from tree to field, from sky to other end of unending open sky.

An ancient grey tree caught my eye. Maybe hidden until the space was cleared for a family’s home. A tree that had grown up years ago and not planted by man. These trees, this forest grew up over time, naturally.

Not by force, not even pruned or cared for. The tree with the weather making it tough, changing its appearance to what I decided is beautiful.

Is strong.

We change over time too. Circumstances can toughen us, make us either angry or resolved.

I wondered what the tree stripped bare of the fuzzy growth would be, thought of peeling back the layers.

Left it though, the beauty represented the years, rooted and strong, weathered.

Wow, me too.

I am weathered.

We look for the lesson in hardship, consider God’s perspective or we bend under the weight of our fragile attempt to be unchanging, immortal and untainted by the truth of life and death, unavoidable events.

Trees yearn towards God. Brittle arms, branches with tiny offshoot branches…open hands, fingers knowing they’re getting closer to heaven.

So, I’m deciding not to waste any of it. Not complicated situations, doomsday environments and even more proof that I’m not able on my own.

Legacy.

Quiet, confident, teachable.

Weathering beautifully.

Last week I discovered that it is only found in an ancient and out of print Bible translation, the words “in quiet confidence” instead of “strength” or “quietness and trust”.

I’m clinging to the ancient version, confident because of it.