“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV
Before the eggplant, there are tiny purple flowers and day by day you can watch to see the transformation. Sometimes I say to myself simply. “Something good is coming.” It’s not that I’m just that confident, it’s that I can look back on my life and see this pattern. I worry about not seeing and knowing the evidence of good and then I decide to let whatever it is alone and unexpectedness of good surprises me. (again)
I made a list of ten questions this morning. I’m made this way, need to know if, when, how, why. I got to number 10, got choked up over the honesty of “How can I know God really knows me?” Sat with my own vulnerability for a minute and then looked over my list. I let God give me the answers. They came naturally.
Moments like this are personal. Like a hydrangea turning from white to lavender to purple or an eggplant blossom falling from the stem once the vegetable is full grown.
Transformation is a quiet process. It’s inner work of our God who knows our inner workings.
Make your list of questions, things you’ve been waiting and wondering over along with your raw questions of God.
Sit with them. The veil between you and God will be gently pulled back and you’ll see His perspective on your longings and you’ll have peace even if you don’t yet have answers.
Maybe, like me, you’ll realize you already knew the answer, you just needed to be reminded. I can be pitiful. I can be stubborn and envious. That’s my nature, God gently reminds me I am seen, fully known and loved regardless.
Faithfulness to each moment keeps me whole and humble.
The room, the little corner behind the sofa where she sews and sits was spiritual, the window towards the water, a warm aura.
The pauses between her words.
“Comfort” “Special” “This is special.”
“Oh, Lisa, these colors.”
I just listened, smiled, watched her hands turn the pages, fingers starting on the corner edges to move slowly down before turning.
I heard her soft sighs.
My aunt, the one known for the phrase “prayer and patience”, was moved by my book, “Look at the Birds”. It was a different response than I expected.
God with us in the room.
A study I’m doing on freedom prompted a thought last week, a question,
“Think back to a time when, because of a family member or friend, you felt seen and known…and truly loved.” In Touch Ministries, Freedom Guidebook.
I added my answer.
“Her hands on the pages felt as if she was caressing me. Her love for who I had become and seeing her being moved by what I was able to do, as if to say, I’ve been watching, praying, loving and now I see you becoming who I knew you were made to be.”
“Aunt Boo” the verbal and physical expression of God’s affirmation.
A children’s book written to help others know their value is just one of the many little things that is changing me.
I pray changing others.
2 year old Elizabeth does this thing now of let’s put all the babies and bunnies and blankets on the floor. “Lay down, Grandma, lay down.” and the fixing of covers and “babies” becomes a distraction from napping. She held “Look at the Birds” today. We didn’t read it. (No way, that might lead to napping). But, she turned the pages and still loves the hawk most of all.
Lots of people think I wrote this book for Elizabeth. It’s just not so. I’m happy she’ll know her grandma wrote a book. But, this book is for all children and babies. It’s my hope every little hand that holds it and listens to “you are worth more” will never ever forget that truth.
Yesterday, I got a message. A child in foster care carried this book to their new home. I pray it’s read often to him by someone. I don’t know this child. I know the special person who gave him a book.
I worry I’m not so good at this book marketing, spreading the message/promotion.
I promise, the knowing I had a part in helping a little boy in foster care believe he is loved.
It is enough, more than.
(The book is available in lots of places. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target,Walmart and my website, http://lisaannetindal.me )
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
I hope my hope keeps growing.
I hope others see hope in me, my book, my words, my art.
I woke with a worry that made no sense really, quickly setting the tone for what was fighting to be a heavy day.
I have been referring to these type things as “the enemy”, thoughts that fight to sway my faith the other way.
I’m becoming accustomed to the strange looks or pauses that seem to say, “Did she say enemy?
Is she really talking about Satan? Is she buying into the talk of the tactics of the evil one, the liar, the conniving thief of peace?”
It’s no different though than the responses of some when you begin to say “Jesus”, begin to call him your friend, begin to believe the truth of his gruesome sacrifice and live and breathe with the purpose of knowing this Savior intimately, personally,
The Son of God, the God who created me, created you.
“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Psalms 139:16 NLT
God sees you growing in wisdom and bravery. The enemy does too.
Yesterday evening, I walked the neighborhood trail, talk in my ear about a book, “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund
I rounded the curve, alone on the trail, a distant dog barking and a teenager puttering with a putter in a backyard. I waved and continued.
The stretch of smooth bordering the wildflowers caused me to turn and look.
On the edge of the woods, standing in the overgrowth, I saw it staring.
I stood still.
A fox was fixated on me, staring me down. Its old eyes considering me, I looked back.
It never moved and I was captivated.
Not threatened, simply moved.
Its body seemed old and exhausted, the copper color of its coat mostly overtaken by grey.
It seemed intent on making a statement although its presence felt met by a resistance it didn’t quite understand.
As if it had no strength to harm me, only make me know it was still there.
Dane Ortlund describes a loving Jesus who longs for us to remember He is with us, for us, we can stop striving to be good enough.
We can stop condemning ourselves, anticipating punishment for our behaviors. We can rest.
We can calm down.
The worry that woke me went away as quickly as I raised my weary body from beside my bed.
I prayed and my prayers were heard by my advocate, the one who came and lifted my head to say today is another new day.
You will see.
I searched for the symbolism of the fox. Found words like sly and conniving and some that reframed those words to skilled and thoughtful, able to get itself out of dangerous places.
Jesus used the word when he referred to Herod who was trying to halt his mission.
“Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose.” Luke 13:32 NLT
Words in red in my Bible, relevant still today.
Jesus saying to us.
Tell that fox you still have a purpose.
The strange waking worry found relief. I saw a photo of a painting, the one above. As it happens on occasion, I saw shapes that weren’t intentional. Today, I stare at the painting in peace. Brushstrokes and blending it seems led to angels hovering near, protection and peace.
All things come together, the fox, the special painting that came with angst in completing.
I’m ushered forward by the sunrise a few days a week. The road is often mine alone, I’m on schedule for my arrival and with low songs surrounding me, I notice the changing borders, green growth, fields becoming food and trees dotted with coral peaches.
I’ve been tracking an object since I first glimpsed it on Monday. Celebratory balloons, a star and two others, silvery white and deflating, drifted to rest in the high grassy border.
I wondered where it had been, how it ended up here, how long it may be before it’s flat in the ditch or whether the wind might miraculously lift it to cross the road and be found in a better place.
It stayed in the same place and by now it’s likely flat, deflated and hidden.
The happy gesture of someone for someone on their birthday drifted away and deflated.
Maybe there was laughter when the ribbon escaped the grip of a little hand. Maybe the one who tied them to a porch rail tied them too loosely and, oh no they got away.
I wondered about the faces turned towards heaven that smiled as the balloons met the sky and then left them.
Left to wonder what happens now.
I thought of what waiting feels like, waiting for God to take our prayers and hold them for a bit as we long for permission to go safely in another direction or we linger in that place we’ve been kept with no answer, no escape, no clear resolution.
Waiting, I thought feels like hope slowing deflating.
Or it feels like rest.
The choice is ours.
Each day I write “trust” in the spot above the date in my journal.
I hope it sets my tone, positions my soul to be satisfied although waiting. Waiting to see if my words sent to another might be shared, waiting to see if the works of my hands, brushed on paper and canvas might move someone to purchase and move to their home.
I move a new painting into my living room, I want to get a sense of the colors, whether they welcome or comfort. Are there places I missed? Does it tell me the story I hope it tells others.
Will someone see “The Promise” of an unclouded day in the same way the hymn came clearly as I decided the sky should be brilliant and cloudless?
Every picture tells a story.
Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies Oh, they tell me of a home far away Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day…(a hymn Willie Nelson sings, my mama’s favorite.)
Everything comes together, God brings all things together.
A verse comes to mind.
The soul at rest is peace.
Like an estate set aside for someone later, a trust to secure a child’s future, God must have things securely waiting for the right time in His sovereignty for me to hold them in my heart, see the reason for the waiting.
Trust is rest.
Like the birthday balloons trapped in the overgrowth and slowly deflating, I can choose the place I’m in as a place of settled trust.
I can wait for the next place God takes me.
I can see waiting as God knowing me.
I’ll take the country road again. I’ll glance with expectation towards the field to my right, the place with the resting balloons.
I’ll be expectant that I won’t see them, that they’ve been caught by the warm breeze of weekend and they’ve caught the attention of another.
Someone like me, feeling deflated by waiting and realizing there’s purpose in pausing and rest never means stopping.
To rest is to trust.
“Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you.” Psalms 143:8 TPT
“And if anyone doesn’t listen to you and rejects your message, when you leave that house or town, shake the dust off your feet.” Matthew 10:14 TPT
I can hear it clearly. My mama would say “Turn the page.” and if necessary, repeated just those words.
Move one, let go, carry on kind of thinking, no need to linger here thinking of the wrong.
I’ve learned to pay attention to waking thoughts. After filtering the crazy dreams (last night my mama was napping while someone else cooked supper, pork chops) I wait to see what resolution of yesterday’s woe comes to the surface.
A question came today, “Am I difficult to work with or were they?” An honest assessment of my part and another’s led me to realize, I’d done my part and they hadn’t. I could see this issue, unmet expectations in many areas of my life.
I’m not great at advocating for myself. It’s a learned behavior. I’m even less good at moving on past doors that didn’t welcome me.
I am learning this stems from unmet childhood needs and it’s a tough thing to identify, am I needy or are they not meeting my needs?
It’s a trauma wound and a trigger, a very good thing to know how it affects you and whether your appraisals of others are accurate or if you’re needing longed for acceptance.
“You’re very good at understandingyour flaws.” someone told me.
Yes, I’ve gotten better and it has led to growth and wholeness. It has led to this truth and even more seeking:
“God will continue to bring people, circumstances, behaviors of others into your life until you consistently know the approval, acceptance, and applause of others will never compare to His love. Notice of others will never be enough, won’t last long, and often will disappoint. People who court you can’t always be trusted. People who promise may forget they promised and people will forget they knew you or might not open their door.”
Turn the page. Walk away. Walk towards God’s call.
Jesus told his disciples to shake the dust from their feet, head to a new city, away from those who didn’t receive them or their message.
You will not be accepted by everyone.
Be smart. Be astute observers. But, be gentle. It may be scary to “put yourself out there”. You’ll feel vulnerable, being vulnerable is a sign of authentic faith. Doing things you can’t see clearly resulting in acceptance or rejection.
Be remembered as kind and gentle; but, exercise the accuracy and wisdom God gave you.
If you’re rejected, continue on another way. But, don’t give up. (my takeaways)
“Now, remember, it is I who sends you out, even though you feel vulnerable as lambs going into a pack of wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes yet as harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16 TPT
I write about what God brings me in my own process of healing from past trauma.
I write reluctantly often.
A voice on one side saying no one wants to hear that and another saying your honesty about your continued healing and clarity about your triggers and negative patterns may help someone else.
I write because I’m simply continuing as I believe in redemption through Jesus, a prettier story of hope and wisdom comes every single merciful morning.
I hope so for you too. Shake the dust of yesterday’s defeats off your shoulders and carry on.
Carry on today.
“He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.” Psalms 121:3 TPT
A few weeks ago, a dear friend and counselor was honest with me.
I had been chasing my trauma rabbits again. They are fast and very persistent in telling me I should catch up, latch on, hold one I might catch and cling ahold of and carry it around, allow it to rest on my chest, a familiar companion.
The trail had gotten treacherous. The call to explore new healing methods. To abandon the promises of my faith.
Everything and everyone an unknowing trigger in some stance or posture.
My friend told me I had begun to make my trauma an altar. I cried without reservation. I welcomed her declaration.
If you’ve read this far, you’re thinking, why doesn’t she stop sharing this stuff?!
Or, you understand.
And maybe say thanks.
If the latter is the case, I want to bring you comfort, a little self-talk, prayers and assertions that are keeping me from kneeling at the ill-intentioned altar of my significant, but, no longer present trauma.
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?
It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.” Galatians 5:7-8 NLT
You are safe. God is making sure.
Thepeople who prompt reminders of your horror are not harming you.
This is not that.
Lord, I thank you for seeing the potential in me and my story. It’s why I get to write and paint and love others. Thank you redirecting me, thank you for placing people in my life who catch me when I’m falling, when I’m bending on scarred knees to lie funeral flowers on the grave of my past, the memories of my abuse, the altar of my trauma. Thank you for not allowing fear to cut in.
“You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.” Psalms 139:2 TPT
On Thursday, I woke with the weight of a rock on my chest and acknowledged it by lying silently. I shifted the blanket and thought of the questionable source, the concern that I felt was my fault, realizing it was something other than me, the reason I had reason to worry.
I stayed with the revelation and accepted that it was not mine to change.
The change would come in a healing God may bring or in acceptance of the thing I named unmanageable becoming not best, but okay.
I thought of prayer, of prayer when worries are best left secret.
I read Psalm 139 again, the Passion translation, the confidence of David that God is love, that God is listening.
Because of travel, my mornings are different, only pockets of alone time, no journal, no books, just quiet finding me when it knows I need to be found.
I wrote the morning’s thoughts and shared them on Instagram. I was better then, hoped someone else was as well.
How often do you keep your feelings to yourself? Is there wisdom you have for others that might be better left unsaid?
Prayer is the place made for secrets.
God knows everything about us, our fears, our nagging worries, our catastrophic endings we write to stories based on fear’s perception.
Fear may be valid. Fear is not helpful. Fear forces one of two choices. Join in a conversation with God. Pray and tell him the secrets you keep from others that He already knows, just wants us to be open in sharing. Or let fear strangle your thoughts and hope.
Tell God where your faith is feeling shaky. He will rekindle your hope and He will increase your quiet courage.
Everyone has a secret sorrow waiting to be changed to trust and joy when brought to God in the quietness of prayer.
God knows and loves us so well.
David understood. He strayed, struggled and was deeply honest. He never stopped returning to the place he knew and was known, the presence of our sovereign God.
The morning became purposeful.
I walked a couple of blocks for our coffee and returned to a load of laundry, my clothes would be straightened and organized, this would be better.
I walked down the narrow stairs to the basement. Quietly, I passed the door of another tenant and turned to hear the washer still rumbling.
Five minutes left in the cycle according to the little green light on the old coin fed washer.
I stood facing the dryer.
I prayed, the freely coming names and needs of others and I passed the time by passing them one by one to the ear of my Father.
Five minutes, unselfishly motivated, my attention completely turned to others who God brought up.
Thankyou, God, for reminding me that you are more than enough when I feel I am incapable. Thank you for turning my thoughts to others to say to me your grace towards me is enough.
Is still enough.
The small suitcase is lying open on the floor of my son’s new home, the one he decided has “soul” and I smile now, happy that my tendency towards loving words that are fitting, is a part of him too.
My friend and counselor talked me through the airport in this big city.
She prayed for me and is praying.
I am borrowing her carry-on even though I had one already.
I am confident because of her and others and because I’ve kept my promise to my son.
There’s been no crying.
There have been photos. He’s kept his part of the promise.
Fear is such an angry emotion, so disproportionate to faith when the enemy takes over.
Fear likes to get a head start, likes to overtake you when you’re groggy, tired or lonely.
It has you siding with thoughts that destroy you, causing you to think you’re simply preparing your defense.
Fear is not pretty.
Life fully embraced is.
I’m researching trees in the quiet this morning, fascinated by the one in the park and the similar one anchoring my son’s new home.
I want to call them cedars because of what God says about those. I want them to be special, memorable, like a charm God kept secret knowing I’d be here to be captivated.
But, I think they may be spruce or a particular pine not known to southerners.
Either way, their beauty is peace and their standing is strength.
“He will be standing firm like a flourishing tree planted by God’s design, deeply rooted by the brooks of bliss, bearing fruit in every season of life. He is never dry, never fainting, ever blessed, ever prosperous.” Psalms 1:3 TPT