On day 22 of the month of October I compare translations of Psalm 46:10.
Psalm 46 begins with a promise. I’ve begun saying, “God, you know all about this.” as a way to wait for resolution, acceptance or change in troubling situations.
Because God knows. God is in control. God is good even when we don’t see eye to eye on things.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” Psalms 46:1-3 NIV
Another passage reminds me that God knows me, knows my questions, knows my thoughts, is aware of my waiting, even more so my worries.
I am reminded He knows me, called me to be near.
Most translations of Isaiah 43:1 use the word “called”. The New International Version prefers “summoned”.
Imagine you being called back home from a distance. Maybe someone spots you in a large crowd, a concert or fair. You’ve gotten separated and your circles haven’t circled back.
You hear your name and you look to find the voice. Again, again your name is called, begging you to come back or at least let me know where you are.
That you’re safe.
Or imagine a child in a department store, wandered away as you look for a size or color. You look up and they’re gone. You call frantically, you rush from aisle to aisle, oblivious to the glare of onlookers as you call your baby’s name.
Finally, you’re reunited.
You try to contain your emotions, you try not to let your desperate fear be bigger than the relief of the sweet reunion.
I believe it’s this way when we forget God has the whole world in His hands, that He can be trusted, that He is for us.
I believe that even when all is not okay and there’s no changing it, we’re still better if we don’t slip away and try to rescue ourselves from sadness and distress.
Piling anxious questions on top of what’s already mysterious, forgetting He’s fighting for us, always has, always will.
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 NIV
I sketched a figure in the margin of Isaiah’s words. I added “Fear not.” to the words already pencilled there,
“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NIV
Created me, called me, redeemed me.
Be still simply means wait.
Waiting with hope or with acceptance that I may wait without knowing all.
“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.” Proverbs 16:33 NLT
Barely awake, I opened my email account. Scrolled past random messages from people, groups, companies I don’t know.
Rather than swiping to delete, I took a bolder step. I unsubscribed. Many of these emails are about writing, about platform, about getting published. They land in my inbox with the greeting of either “Lisa” or “friend”.
Naively, I once thought they were interested in me, my writing, my ideas.
Because, I’m a combination of starry eyed optimist and strategic thinker.
I’ve always believed if I follow the guide, if I understand the steps, the result will be whatever I pursue.
It’s just not the case and it’s disheartening to hope that a stranger who I gave my email address is going to guide me, be my advocate.
So, not with bitterness or any bad feelings towards these groups, I unsubscribed.
I’m going into seeking to be a published author sort of hiatus.
I’m gonna let my writing hopes get the underground growth in the roots of my ideas. I’m gonna pray more than voraciously read experts’ steps. I’m not shredding my draft or proposal nor my hopes.
Just letting them breathe on their own for just a bit.
Because it’s not rejection that I fear as much as before, it’s the striving to be noticed, to see results of my effort, to stand in Target beaming with my book in my hand in a selfie for Instagram.
Yeah, that’s why I’m letting it rest.
I’ve thrown the dice of my idea towards a few agents and publishers.
For now, I’m loving smaller ideas. Being influential in the lives of others albeit in obscurity in terms of what some of these now unsubscribed emails promised me.
Because, early this morning I got this message from a friend:
“I hope you understand how people see, respect and admire you.” Ray V.
I replied “Thank you.” thinking this is enough for now, more than enough.
Then I thought of coming Christmas and just like that, an idea, Advent prayer cards for either Christmas decorations, gifts, or for thoughtful meditation.
I sketched a pear, added the number 7 and referred to my Advent tradition book, “Waiting Here for You, An Advent Journey of Hope” by Louie Giglio. I saw that Day 7 asks us to consider the value of giving rather than receiving.
Found the photo of my granddaughter’s first Christmas and said to myself, these are things of great significance, waiting quietly rather than striving and offering what I can to others in hopes they do the same.
Please comment if you’d be interested in an Advent Set of illustrated cards. I need to know if there’s interest in my idea or just another of my many ideas. Cost will be under $20. If you’d like to view other art, visit here http://lisaannetindal.me
Remember when you refused to say “diet”, instead lifestyle or good choices for my health? Maybe you’ve counted calories, drank smooshed up vegetables in a pretty glass, restricted cream and sugar in your coffee.
All in an effort to be well, to be satisfied with yourself, body and soul.
Yesterday, I gazed at the casserole dish of cheesy baked spaghetti my daughter made. I remembered the day I would’ve gone for thirds, if by myself eat the rest of it.
I let the memory help me, I let it fade into the shadows. I left it there.
I woke up early unnecessarily today. I prayed beside my bed that God would help me keep learning, keep listening, keep strengthening my spiritual health.
I see the word prompt for today is “taste”. Rather than think of passages like kind words being sweeter than honey or tasting and seeing that the goodness of the Lord is good.
I rested for a few minutes, soaking up a passage I never tire of,
The passage about the woman who’d been hemorrhaging for twelve years and had gone broke trying to get well, to find a solution to her blood saturated clothing.
The crowd was thick. She could get close to Jesus without being noticed. She did. She touched the hem of his robe and instantly everything changed. She got well.
Jesus knew it. Knew she was there. Knew she was desperate and called her out from her chosen obscurity, her hope to keep herself secret.
“When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your garment I would be healed.” Luke 8:47 TPT
All eyes and ears were on her then, Jesus didn’t just heal her, He gave her the voice to invite healing for others.
I haven’t thought of it this way until today.
Others see and hear us. See how we’ve changed and keep seeking to be healed.
On Sunday (isn’t Sunday always okay tomorrow I start the diet day?) I considered doing Whole30 again.
The diet that restricts certain foods as a way for you to learn what is specifically not good for you is work. It takes effort, makes you feel like a brave fighter or a competitive something or other.
But, there’s no cheese allowed, no cream in my coffee, no chocolate, no red wine, no bread, no sugar, no peanut butter (!!!). The “no” list is long.
Earlier this week, I embraced a friend in a funeral home. I didn’t expect to hear her words through tears. I just know they surprised me, sweetly and certainly she spoke.
“I’m gonna need you.” she said before I spoke a word. On the way to this visitation I almost decided against I decided I’d offer myself as a person to call.
I’d tell her “If you run out of friends to call or no one’s available, you can always call me.”
You see, we know each other but not dining together or visiting each other’s home sort of friends.
Her greeting me with “I’m gonna need you.” surprised me and then it didn’t.
This thing called blogging, posting what God tells me on Instagram, this sharing of sitting on the sofa sketches at night, this creative thing God so graciously made me to do.
It has an audience of listeners, seekers, “needers” like me.
It’s just me being vulnerably, being honestly me.
My “sermons to self” sometimes become hopeful words for others, I suppose.
I pray this anyway.
So, on this chilly quiet morning, I make myself breakfast. I don’t skip it thinking I’ll eat later. I am intentional with starting the day filled with possibilities and errands well.
I take the English muffin top and toss it. I like the bread, but I just choose the bottom. I add sharp cheddar to the egg white and turkey sausage and let the broiler make it bubbly. I add a dollop of cherry preserves to balance the savory. I place it on the pretty china.
I sit and enjoy it.
Like I told my friend who is grieving and I continue to tell others and myself,
“Take it easy on yourself.”
Offer as much mercy you’ve shown others to yourself.
Cease striving, seek wellness.
Be humble when convicted, but don’t punish yourself, don’t let bitter regret or self-hate simmer.
Continue and believe.
Believe you’re fearfully and wonderfully made and so fully known and loved.
Be well. It is well.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14 ESV
Thank you for sustaining me Lord, for keeping me well, for reminding me of what harms and what helps me, what makes me a beautifuloffering, a vessel to pour out newlife, love and listening. Thank you for showing me gently what limits my abilities, takes me from your Spirit. I am listening. I am learning. Thank you. Because of your mercy, Amen
In my career days of meeting with those bereaved by suicide, these were my words, “Take it easy on yourself.”
Same with women who acknowledged mistakes and were trying to move past them, without their pasts causing shame.
Years later, I’m still saying to others and mostly to myself, “Be kind to yourself.”
This morning my mind goes back to the ugly work of shame.
Shame, when you feel unworthy, humiliated, powerless is an internal emotion tied to a circumstance or behavior.
Strangely, it’s a feeling we decide on, either because we have the sense we shouldn’t feel a certain way or we’ve felt that way for what we decide has been too long.
I thought of a feeling, a sadness I was convinced I shouldn’t have and I told myself embrace it, acknowledge its understandable place in your life now and most of all,
Understand that acknowledgement brings healing.
Talking to God about it and at least one other listening friend is freeing.
Denying sadness, fear or hurt because we convince ourselves we shouldn’t feel them only adds injury to the loosely bandaged wound.
Pretending stunts healing, numbs the work and wonder of God’s purpose in our acceptance of the circumstances we wish were not ours.
The hard things we deny being still hard only harden us.
Don’t be afraid to be honest with God. He knows anyway.
Refuse to be ashamed of your feelings.
Last week, I communicated with a stranger about anxiety and depression. It helped me to offer help to her. It helped me to hear the familiar words, “I usually just keep this to myself.”
Nothing shall hurt you. That’s a big, hard to fathom promise. It follows the reminder of the power within us, prayer and connecting with God’s spirit in us, even as Jesus saw Satan fall from heaven.
This morning, I got a text from someone I only know by phone, asking about counseling for anxiety and depression. I gave her a list of people I know and added “I understand and my weapons are patience with myself and prayer and more prayer and more prayer.”
Because, if we get tangled up in why am I depressed or anxious we’re only piling on more anxiety and depression.
When we pour it all out in prayer, the scary, sad or lonely question, we invite the power of God in.
We get better this way or we seek counseling and possible medication.
Either way, we grow when we know ourselves, can see it coming for good reason or out of nowhere. We employ our faith, we add to it as needed.
I found this verse by what I thought was accident this morning. No accident though, there are no coincidences or lucky discoveries with God.
“He knows all about this.” is another phrase, a tool against anxiety or depression that I employ.
Continue and believe.
Be kind to yourself, unashamed.
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 ESV
Today’s prompt word, “Treasure” was on my mind bright and early on the country road.
The humidity hanging on a couple more days made my windshield foggy and the road ahead a misty haze.
I switch from dim to bright, to see clearly up close or farther ahead but blurry, I kept trying to decide.
A little or closer to seeing all.
I notice few other morning travelers. I drive slowly, no obnoxious impatient people behind me. No approaching lights undimmed on one of the many curves.
I can’t decide if I’m old or more careful, more slow or more cognizant of what I’ve committed to, what’s required of me.
I chose music over words and a Pandora station different than other mornings.
A song I’d never heard nor the artist led my morning on. Simple words.
A treasure, the refrain.
“I don’t have much to give. But, I give you my beating heart.”
A song about what matters to God, how so very little is so very much.
I won’t despise the day of small things. (Zechariah 4:10)
I thought of a surprising conversation yesterday. I’d asked an agent in a zoom call whether self-publishing a children’s book gives credibility to an author seeking to publish adult nonfiction traditionally.
There was no “Oh, tell me about your book” or an approving nod that says you’re on the right track.
No, neither of those, none of that.
Only, “only mention your book if your sales have been 5000 books.”
Well, good to know, I suppose.
I love “Look at the Birds”, every single word, every color on the pages, every thought that clicked to birth the story and illustrations.
I felt a mixture of naivety and betrayal. Familiar thoughts.
This is when I remember my husband says I’m prone to believing life is a fairy tale.
Maybe or maybe just hopeful.
My heart beat a little faster yesterday when I saw a friend had my book on her coffee table. My soul welled up this morning when my granddaughter said “my Jesus, your Jesus too.”
Like the foggy barely lit road of morning, we see just enough to know the smallest treasured thing is the thing that brings the flutter of a heart well known, well loved and treasured.
Follow your heart for direction more than your misguided ideas of being known, seen or valuable.
“For your heart will always pursue what you esteem as your treasure.” Matthew 6:21 TPT
Know what matters. Songs in the early private morning, a crayon in the hand of a child, a conversation with a friend who sat close by, listened and understood.