Secrets and Growth and Peace

I believe God is pleased that we think of Him, ponder, consider His ways.

“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

That’s just another example of His grace.

I believe God sees our gradual growth and celebrates rather than pontificates over why on earth has it taken her so long to arrive here, why can’t she stay in this place?

I believe God is simply happy to see our return, our return to believing that He knows.

I’m certain that morning is the most optimum time for gentle instruction.

I’ve not a clue as to why I woke up this morning with the question to myself.

How are you waking, with regret or redemption?

Why, oh why must I wake with such deep considerations?

Or maybe we all do, just keep them to ourselves.

Makes good sense, your brain filters your thoughts all through the night, transfers them to the place where the finished and important product, a lesson is delivered.

Voila’! Here you go! This message is just for you! God

Are you smiling now, imagining God saying “Voila'”?

Me too.

I think sometimes I think the oddest things and then realize there is always a reason.

A secret waiting to be revealed.

To be researched, to be determined what it is exactly God wants me to know, to hold on to as my own.

Wants me to u-turn, don’t go back that way, you were progressing, see now…stay here.

Be at peace.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:33‬ ‭ ESV

Someone called this morning by accident. Her Bluetooth dialed the wrong Lisa. I knew her voice, thought Lord have mercy, did I call her and forget I did?!

But, I hadn’t and she reminded me of our relationship which led to me telling her what I’m doing now, hoping to use my grant writing skills to work with causes I believe in.

And that led to her telling me she had “chills” now because of an idea she has to strengthen the cause she is over.

We talked about it further and even longer about our faith, about how God wakes us to new opportunities every day and how none of them are accidents.

I considered her truth.

She considered mine as I shared with her my waking thought, regret or redemption, which will you choose to frame your day?

She said “Oh, that’s wise.” “Thanks”, I said and thought, thank you God for this confirmation of my next steps and direction.

Of letting some things go unattended to give my energy to what is new, even unseen, sort of brewing.

So, what is this state of mind and heart called “spiritual maturity”?

It is waking with regret less often in light of your redemption.

It is waking with the clear and attainable path towards peace.

It is recalling the stuff you felt God telling you to do afraid even if there’s fear in the room because there’s a reason you don’t know that God wants you to go, to be something He sees as necessary for others in the room.

He has us go places we don’t understand.

It is being attentive to a nudge that becomes a lengthy pause because you are still enough to become more wise, to receive either good or disappointing clarity so that your peace is not stolen and so that you grow.

That’s redemption, my friend.

Understanding what it is that is the taker of and opposing force of your peace.

Spiritual maturity is a splendid and secretly personal gift.

It is a fervent fire inside kept alive by your yearning to learn more, know more of God.

It is an acknowledgment of better days, contented minds, and restful nights because of your redemptive choice to forgo regret.

It is knowing you are still growing. It is glimpses of the secret place, the view of you through God’s eyes.

Smile.

It is not always easy, nor is it difficult at all.

The secret for me, intentional choosing which thoughts I allow to write scary, hurtful and impossible to understand stories.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To set my mind on the awakening things of my mornings.

Lord, help me to stay quiet enough to know which way to stay my thoughts and which way my words and work should go. Because of your redemptive mercy towards me, Amen

Peace and Water

Art

The owner of the shop that sells my art said,

“Landscapes, Lisa…more landscapes.”

I answered, “Okay, I’ll bring a new one every day!”

Then commenced to continue, the serene scene of sea.

Too dark, too gloomy, too dismal.

Reworked it for three hours,

Then color, just got happy with shape and color

And

Peace and Water, 22 x 24 mixed media

Peace and water.

Magnolia Muse

Shall I attempt to paint you or no, simply rest in what you told?

Walking by with repetition and only glancing

yesterday stopping to see you

Up close.

To listen, draw near?

Sense your saying,

You are

More than enough.

Give from what is necessary,

your surrender.

Do away with what is not needed.

Sacrifice, give up the convenient empty fillers for fullness you only cautiously believe.

Empty yourself of excess.

To believe in more.

You have settled so long.

Believe now and join in

the cycle, the circle, the life lived in light of regeneration.

Bad to good, hope despite harm, trauma recalled only footnotes for mercy, references of grace.

Begin and begin again.

Like the petal cupping useful fallen carpels,

proof.

Continue.

Believe.

Promised Plans

I’m writing prompted by FMF and the word “promise”.

Not originally thinking of Jeremiah, I was reading from the Book of John, Thomas the one called the doubter asking why should we believe in a place we don’t know.

Jesus replied essentially, because you know me and thus you know my Father, God,

and you can be certain.

I don’t really think Thomas doubted as much as he was just intrigued. Heaven and God are intriguing, after all.

So much to know!

Believing, according to Jesus was all they needed to know.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I flipped to Jeremiah on my way to the day’s Psalm and started touching up and coloring in a place I’d been before.

I added the female form in the other margin and I found the familiar words about plan and purpose.

Then I found the promise.

The unwaveringly certain promise.

I will always find God.

There’s not a promise more significant.

I look for God in confusing times, I wait and clarity comes.

I look for God, seek Him by interrupting my day to kneel down to pray.

Momentarily or much later, I find Him.

My circumstances change.

Here’s the promise.

We are seen by a God who loves us. He waits to be found again and again.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up with others here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/05/16/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-promise/

Give Not Get

Today I give you a story you might never know.

Were it not for me reading three books at a time, one called The God Dare by Kate Battistelli, a second called Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and the third, the book called Ephesians written by Paul.

I’ve just finished a just right omelette, fluffy pillow of egg with the soft insides of spinach and melty oozing cheese. On the side a good tomato as if straight from the vine, peppered generously. Enjoyed every bit, a mellowed out mug of coffee with cream to complement.

I gaze over at the empty plate and think to finish Ephesians but remind myself of the three words that came in light of getting on with my life, vocation of some sort, art, writing and family.

Give not Get.

I thought again.

I’m brave now, hearing God daring me to pay attention and say things He has for me to say.

There was a time I ate everything I could get and then ritualistically and yet uncontrollably used my unwell techniques to get rid of it all quickly.

I was not well then.

I’m close to weighing the same as my husband. I felt lighter yesterday, paused to see the flatness of my belly in the bathroom mirror and took a chance…decided to step on the scale.

Wrong!

You weigh the same, the same as last week and more than last month but not as much as that one time before.

I remembered the book about the bread and wine and not a mention three chapters in of calories or gluten or exercise.

Only stories of times around tables and splendid descriptions of food eaten with abandon, life and love.

Food freely given, not grasped for or grabbed to be hidden, hoarded in a get it now or never again kind of way.

Stories like my story this morning, a quiet acknowledgment of noticing my finished breakfast.

Oh, this is good…this life I get to live, have been given, it is good.

Given not taken.

We get new chances every day, to pick up where we left off, to make choices not to go back to old ways.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To live as grace givers, savoring, trusting the flow of good things and graces.

We have known the gift so that others might know.

We give what we’ve been shown.

My “God Dare” today?

Writing about not eating, about not keeping what I ate because that was all I felt I could control.

A sum total of about 10 years of my life given to anorexia and bulimia.

Close to 25 years now, not thin but healthy.

What’s in front of you that feels insurmountable, that lessens your existence, that self-imposed struggle that sickens your body and soul?

We are created as God’s workmanship, we inhabit His spirit.

He gives life, life meant to be unfathomable in measure, the width, breadth and depth of it all.

I picked up Bread and Wine from the back stack of bargain books and already it has given me more than any book on diet or grace or shame has ever given.

Like its author, pregnancy (thank you, HB!) changed me, pregnancy saved me from my disordered eating.

I wish the change had come sooner, my hard fought recovery not at all sudden or easy, but cushioned by God’s grace.

It took becoming pregnant to finally say to the world, I’m hungry. My first pregnancy shifted so many aspects of my understanding of my body and with it, shifted my view of hunger…I could claim hunger on behalf of my baby, and that small step might as well have been a mile for all it unlocked inside me. Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine, a love letter to life around the table with recipes

In the book, is the question, What’s your last supper?

Mine?

Spaghetti thick with basil sauced tomatoes galore sprinkled with freshly shaved parmesan and bordered by thick buttered bread.

My cousin Vickie’s salad I can’t replicate on the side.

A glass of red wine as we recline and later gelato, the real kind that tastes like a coffee with just enough chocolate, a dollop of whipped cream to crown it!

Now, what’s for lunch? What’s for supper? Are the good watermelons ready?

Will we be fancy today, my daughter and I or will it be Chick Fil A?

Continuously Believe

I’m in between assignments, never had this much time on my hands.

I have, perhaps never been so quiet, so quiet I can almost hear God’s plans.

At least more than even before, though not fully I am sure.

The spaces in my mind occupied by busy and angst are uncomfortably new.

I must fill them with something, I thought, then waited and in tiny incremental steps, did one thing knowing God will do the next.

God is always working behind the scenes.

3:45 in the afternoon yesterday and I’m found with time to fill.

I sat poolside with a book and my husband until I’d had enough and three hours still until I’d need to get ready.

I’m goin’ for a walk, I told him and struck out like I do.

Happened upon a feather and I kept it although it was grey, not white or blue, oddly it was habitual, my picking it up, not my typical “totem discovered” enthused.

My music skipped annoyingly so I walked without a beat, a solitary robin above me, lifting in a rollercoaster rhythm through the trees.

I found the camera icon and flipped my phone around only to break the cycle, the fat robin never came back into view.

As if it say, that was just for you, no documenting our time together for others required.

Okay. I see.

This morning I remembered last night’s silent prayer.

Driving home later than usual, I’m in the passenger seat and we’ve been with people and chatter and both agreed upon what my husband calls a “conversational hiatus”.

Big semi-trucks are parked in their resting places in both directions of the interstate.

Their big red lights are dim like a soft sleepy glow. He comments, they’re required to pull over, somehow their stopping to rest is kept track of.

Oh.

I lean back, close my eyes and pause.

I pray remembering the bold request earlier today and then later a subtle satisfaction that the outcome will be okay either way and what I want and asked to come sooner than later might never come at all.

I settled it with God and myself then, okay.

Another person came to mind, someone I’ve no real attachment to, only aware of the seemingly futile reply to her prayers.

Someone I love hurts for someone she loves.

I prayed in a “Why not?” way for them, asking God to intervene, intervene in a way they’ve yet to see, a way that will seal the deal for an end to their anxiety.

For real I prayed, long and it seemed ridiculously up front, for real evidence of stability.

Prayer is a response to a nudge from God, so much more than seeking results or answers.

Prayer, the kind where it seems you’re sleeping, pausing, resting, prayer that comes because you notice God with you.

With you, a peaceful presence.

Pray more I tell myself now. More often, more spontaneously, more aware of God’s nearness and when someone comes to mind.

That’s a prompt, an invitation to conversate with our loving Sovereign God.

Pause to mention the person God brought to mind, ask God to see others more than He sees you.

The bluebirds don’t linger although they come close.

The tiny sparrows perch on the rusty barbed fence. I approach and they dart on their way.

The place that grows the flowers from a newly rain soaked ground is littered with egg of baby blue.

A new bird is learning to fly, leaving behind evidence for me.

For you.

To pray sans ceremony or setting, to pray and be changed and to pray for change to come true and be seen.

To pray continuously.

Continue and believe.

“pray continually,”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV

Vulnerable Afflictions

I read the response of another the other day… “Who would you like meet?” His answer was “Jesus.”

And then another in a different place, oddly the same question posed. This person answered “Paul”.

Paul, the writer of, with certainty, eight books of the New Testament. Paul, who was a horrid man who was known as Saul who met Jesus and commenced with the telling of his truth from there.

At some point, I pencilled in clarification on a passage.

The verse describing the life of Jesus in me,

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

We carry around in us what Jesus died to save us from, our human tendencies, our vulnerabilities, our bends towards atrocities even. We carry with us the humanity of us and we simply seek to lessen its hold.

Paul knew who and what He had been. He celebrated when the “outwardness” of him was being overshadowed, wasting away by the developing of the inner him, Jesus in him.

He was focused on eternity and driven to tell others so.

That was his story line, the telling and retelling of his rescue for a purpose story.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The words I wrote in the margin are barely visible, words forming a question about my own vulnerabilities and the display of them making me more aware of the human me… a gradual revelation, the changes to the heart of me.

I won’t say I’ve come a long way. I just know I am not the same, not who I was.

The same as Paul.

The margin as of today has a sketch of a girl in repose.

She sees how far she’s come and she knows she has a big part in how far she will go.

The coming to terms with her story being incomparable to any other.

She cares less although not quite enough yet about herself as she does others.

What’s your story?

She is accepting that her part is just to keep telling in written and painted creation, occasionally or eventually maybe before an audience or in a small circle.

Who knows?

We will not know fully unless we go, simply go forward to the places we get to glance back on and say,

I did it.

I kept going.

My story is not so scary as before, not so tinted by affliction colors.

Stronger.

Strongly, we step forward.

We leave behind us for others, through our stories.

We just prompt another to wonder.

We cause them to consider why we believe in something we don’t yet fully know, why we yearn to keep learning.

And given opportunity, we answer to tell,

We believe because believing is the closest thing to hope.

And because we our story of before, all of our vulnerabilities and afflictions only mercy references and notes for the rest of our story.

Believe and continue.

5 Women Redeemed

My May Newsletter is all about choices we make to allow God to redeem your messy and or miserable situations. Use the little pop up form to sign up and read more. I learn as I write and I am learning as I go.

We are never unaccepted by Jesus. 

His offer is redemption. Our choices are our own. This month rather than focus on one certain story, I happened upon five and each story of a Jesus encounter came with a chance to make a choice. …

Thoughts on Heaven and Mamas

This morning I cleaned out my “Saves” on Facebook, stuff I thought I may read later, there were over 50 various things I considered useful at the time.

Same old same, healing from trauma, posts about family, even more expert recommendations to grow my blog, have my voice heard, write the book, don’t give up…

I deleted almost all. I have to be honest, I am on writerly advice overload.

At the bottom was a note, the Facebook kind, I suppose my idea of blogging before I blogged and it was called 30 Randoms…things I’ve learned since mama died.

It is a list compiled 10 years ago come November.

Much of it is the same.

I suppose the ache began when someone said change your profile pic to your mom’s, one of those FB things that make you either go along or rebel.

I rebelled in a kind of pitiful, mulling over pondering way, my way.

I don’t have a photo I haven’t shared before and the one I have is dated and it doesn’t portray the mama I want to portray.

Grief changes its hold on you over time.

I miss my mama, see the cardinals all the time that say she is near.

I’m afraid though it’s simply not enough. Well meaning people will say oh she sees you, she’s looking down and you stand silent like a big dumb block not replying to their little kind words or something to say remedy.

I believe my mama is in heaven; but, I do not fully understand what it’s like for her there.

Possibly her spirit still lingers near me, possibly it’s my memory and longing for her involvement that manufactures this comfort and assurance for me.

Here we are over 10 years and there’s so much she should know.

Updated here are 30 randoms I’m offering up as prayers to heaven in hopes that someone else up there runs out to find you and you sit together and you laugh and cry happy heavenly tears over what is going on, how we’re doing without you and daddy down here:

1. The grandchildren are something else altogether and individually, they are just enough you to be stubborn and outspoken and often irreverently rebellious in being themselves!

2. We are all still married to the ones you saw us with before you passed away.

3. Baby Brown is due any moment of a very soon day. This will mean three great grands. Our home has a baby room.

4. Your grandsons are strong, just enough cockiness of your daddy cushioned by the gentle handsome ways of our daddy.

5. I left my job that was destroying my health. I am an artist. I get “pissy” and I’m sure have a certain look when someone says a painting is “cute”.

6. I am a writer. I will be going by “grandma” just like you and I will be helping my daughter with her baby, just like you.

7. I am less afraid but still prefer to stay hidden.

8. I left the church that made me feel I’d never be enough.

9. I sit every morning with my Bible, a pencil and a memorandum book.

10. When I’m sad or angry or anxious, I clean the whole house, rearrange stuff.

11. People call me an open book. I reply with only certain stories.

12. I reunited with Melanie and revisited the times I fell apart and she helped you and daddy hold me together.

13. I regret going home the night you passed away.

14. I understand you probably wanted it this way.

15. I love Jesus the way you lived it, love everyone the best you can, not more than you should to those who love themselves so much they don’t need yours.

16. Be kind to your husband, as he ages you become everything to him.

17. Love a dog, this love will sustain you.

18. Love food, not its control over you.

19. Delicious things are only delicious if savored not embellished or used to satiate empty bottomless places.

20. Accept God’s grace.

21. Being pitiful is not pretty or permitted.

22. Wear more red. Paint your toenails red, learn to wear a hat.

23. Don’t stress.

24. Stress will kill you. (I’ve told you before, Lisa Anne).

25. I’m going by Lisa Anne now mama, occasionally “LT”.

26. I sold three paintings last week and I gave one expensive one away.

27. One painting found a new home, it was inspired by your high school photo and I called it “Heaven Meets Earth”.

28. Today, I will believe there are better days ahead, I’ll not long as much to have you here to have your hand touch mine, to see your face when you see ours.

29. Today, I’ve decided I’ll ask again and if you’re listening, maybe you can soften the way. For Mother’s Day, I want a dog.

Yes, how fitting, how perfect, how precious it will be. A puppy or a rescue, a new home with me to represent and honor you. Yes, I’ve decided, I’ll ask again.

Don’t you think it’s time, Greg? Time for us to get a dog? If not now he might say soon and I’ll let it go, trust it’s just not a good time.

30. Better now, I’m better. Grief is a mystery and an unexplainable thing. Words from others who don’t truly know are better left unsaid.

There’s really no right response other than remembering.

When Mother’s Day is without a mom, a mother, an outspoken and gone too soon mama!

The greatest gift is to allow all of the remembering you can stand!

P.S. I joined the Artist Guild and there’s an exhibit tonight I don’t think I’ll be attending. One, possibly two of my pieces will be displayed. Some artists will have ribbons on their works. I’m not going because I still don’t care for spotlights or attention.

Remember the time you and daddy drove four hours because a piece I created was chosen for a blue ribbon?

I remember it well and the years that followed dulled my shine and the gift of your being there.

So, if I didn’t say so then, thank you for telling me back then that it was possible,

I could become an artist according to you!

I finally believe you.

Happy Mother’s Day. I feel you near, do not fully understand it, I do believe you have become an angel.

Lisa Anne

Stubborn Minded Me

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,

He brought them to their desired haven.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:29-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My daddy used to say I would argue with a stump, I was as stubborn as they came. I wanted to have the last word.

Quiet child who watched and only spoke up when I saw something wrong or someone about to be wronged…maybe, me.

That quiet stubbornness got silenced and I lost my voice for a long time, lost my defense mechanism, my stubborn belief that it mattered, pointing out right over wrong.

Now that I’ve found it again, my challenge is to appropriately use it, pull it back, keep it reeled in, learn to control it.

Not allow it to control me.

Stubborn me doesn’t wait well, I want to jump up and tackle wrong to the ground, demand an answer for whatever anxiety it has caused.

Even if the anxiety is oh so small. At least I’m self aware.

I’m losing it slowly, the need to anticipate wrong, letting go the power of my manipulative mind set on preparation and safety of my mind and soul.

I ask why of others less often. I wait to be shown not told.

To be shown there was no threat after all, there was never a plot to harm you being calculated while you looked away.

It was just your imagination running away with you.

I’m an Enneagram 4 (Romantic) with a 5 (Observer) wing. I’m no expert on this popular assessment that so many are embracing.

I assure you though, the test got this right with me!

I write vivid stories. I romanticize right or wrong depending upon my careful and constant observation.

My personality traits can work for or against me.

Today, I’m leaning towards the “for”.

Because I almost picked it back up yesterday and then again this morning. I wanted to confront, stomp my feet and ask why someone responded to me in such a way I didn’t deserve.

They most likely have forgotten by now and there’s really no need to know.

It is over. Let it go.

I sat in the quiet with wisdom all around me, the Psalms of David, the integrity of Job, the quiet worship of Mary.

I told myself if there is asking of why,

Ask God.

The answer will come when it does or it may never come at all, just the need to know taken gently away, eased from the shelf I’ve set it down on waiting to be picked back up again.

I won’t miss it. God will replace it with new things.

Things like a settled mind, a sense of Him.

Ask God and wait for His peaceful reply.

It will not likely come until you’ve shut down the chatter in your analytically bitter and questioning mind.

The answer more sufficiently simple than all the “romantical” conjuring and contriving of explanations your mind could ever tell.

God will be thrilled by our return to Him, He waits for the forfeiting of our frustrated rationalizations for the freedom of His will and His way.

He welcomes our questions.

Ask God.

Settle your stubborn mind.

Find rest for your soul.

He is jealous for me. Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy. When all of a sudden I am unaware of this affliction eclipsed by glory…David Crowder, How He Loves

Oh, how he loves us!

I’m linking up with others who are telling stories that God gives them to share. Join in here: Tell His Story