I can’t recall the exact number, but I’ve been thinking of the research that has proven we can’t survive long without water.
Water sustains us. I can go hours lost in painting and forget all I’ve eaten is a banana; but, I’ll notice my thirst. I pause for a sip of water.
This morning, I dined alone. With a set agenda, I made breakfast a priority, a good one. I sat at the dining room table rather than standing at the bar. I savored cheesy grits, eggs scrambled and sausage. I drank cool orange juice with bits of sweet pulp.
A very large painting is hanging on the brick wall. It is simple. An imperfect watery path snakes up the middle.
Today, I saw a path instead of marsh and I considered changing the light grey blue to a sandy beige dusty dirt.
I saw the tree-line where the path gets thin. I saw the opening, the invitation to leave the hidden places, the run and hide, flee from harm wilderness calling me forth.
Calling me forward.
Into the broad place of abundance.
“Come back, daughter.” is not a sentence you’ll find in the Bible, not exactly.
Thirsting for safety, thirsting for relief, longing for understanding and deciding hiding is better than seeking, we, like the woman at the well, Hagar and countless others prefer to hide.
And we’re met by the one who gives water, living water.
And we’re given the chance to consider where we are coming from and where we are going.
We’re told we are seen and known and we’re astounded by the surprise of that very thing.
Feel free to use those three words, come back daughter (son or child) when you find yourself longing to run and hide or feeling unknown, unseen, misunderstood or even ridiculed.
Come back to the one who knows you.
“The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.” John 4:11, 15 ESV
I did the most silly, most powerful thing the other day. I changed the description in my Pinterest profile back to what it was originally.
Powerful? Silly? Yes, both. I edited the words characterizing me as an author and artist and I went back to the grander aspiration.
Lisa Anne Tindal, artist returned to “Artist and writer longing for a little white house near the ocean.”
Longings leading my heart back to me.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 ESV
“Come back, daughter.” my Heavenly Father keeps saying to me.
My Notes app became my diary at the beach, a call to smaller, more lasting things.
Nothing aspirational only thoughts of those around me, my line of thinking, line of prayer meandered from galleries, Italian art tours, and pricing my art in a way that measures its worth not just a sale.
We walked down the quiet street and discovered a white heron, gracious in its stance. The creek was quiet, the bird shaded and shielded by old overgrown cedar limbs as I knelt with a three year old resting against my chest.
I told her I was so happy for this gift, this peace today in a white elegant bird.
So, my prayer because God hears them. If possible and good for us, I’d love to have a seaside house for those I love to gather.
To gather again.
To search for the white bird daily.
To paint on paper bags, be surprised by God again, to be visited by birds and song.
Aspirations so small and mighty.
So settled, not seeking.
So confident of my heart’s desires being known by my very kind Father.
Last weekend, I responded to the question of when I became an artist with the truth of flunking out of college, losing my art scholarship because of hard things and harm and then working hard as a helper of families before, in my 50’s, coming back to art.
There’s truth there, but even more in the realization,
I’ve always been an artist in the very same way I was told “You’ve always been brave.”
I did a powerful silly thing. I changed my Pinterest bio back to the true, although dreamy thing.
To be an artist with a little white house near the ocean.
To gather. To paint.
To search for the white bird with my family.
“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15 ESV
“And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” 1 John 5:20 ESV
Last night, I sat poolside as the distant sky settled down in a display of pink. I’d walked a long way again, trying not to let the old body with achy joints catch up. Is it humidity or is it age and wear and tear, lack of good habits catching up?
My body is, has been changing.
I stopped social media scrolling when the sky grew more splendid. Stopped reading what researchers are sharing, what believers are noticing, what culture is trying to correct.
People, mostly young ones are conflicted about their faith. Believers are sharing commentaries and YouTubes that resemble apocalyptic horror films. Culture is confusing me about what to follow, have I been following wrong for so long?
Have I not loved well, loved like Jesus?
I returned to the practice of Bible reading today that directs me to an OT passage, Psalms, and a NT passage.
II Kings, author unknown, follows the first book called Kings and details “the saga of disobedience” according to my Book Introductions in the back. (My Bible was a gift in 2015. You may know the story. It’s the first one I’ve ever felt the freedom to get honest with, have its honesty lead to my return to art. If you’re curious, it is a Crossway, ESV Journaling Bible)
II Kings, Chapter 9 is a violent one. I won’t pretend to understand it all, the prophesy, the lineage, the murders, the deciding who should be king.
But, I noticed one thing, a revelation type read.
They were looking for peace.
I believe they’d been looking a long time and probably long into the next books and chapters I read, I’ll discover that the people who were far from God kept looking.
Looking for peace.
Before the murders and executions recorded here, seven times there was a question of “Where is peace?” and a proclamation by King Jehu that there’d be no peace until Jezebel was dead.
What do you have to do with peace? Is it peace? Two questions asked repeatedly in five verses. (II Kings 9:17-22)
Jezebel died violently, her remains devoured by dogs and many others were massacred.
More warnings, more rulers, more seeking of peace.
I’m not a Bible scholar. I seek to understand what God is saying to me to clarify my confusion, to comfort my dismay, to guide me into Christlikeness.
So that I can be at peace.
So that I can emanate peace through my believing, toward others and I hope, through art.
The back of my Bible guide led to Psalm 141 and then the books of John just before the tiny Book of Jude.
“But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!” Psalm 141:8 ESV
Second John is a letter written to a lady and her children (likely, a congregation). I found this to have a sweetness in tone, the offering of grace, mercy and peace, along with a gentle warning of what not to let in my house.
“Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,” 2 John 1:9-10 ESV
The wolf at the door, the author of confusion, the purveyor of doubt, the stirrer up of strife and trauma triggers.
I won’t let him in my house.
“And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Jesus Revelation 22:7 ESV
I won’t stop believing.
Believing in the creator of pink sunsets, precious babies, quiet oceans, and people like me who almost gave up on themselves.
I won’t stop believing.
I pray you don’t either.
Dear God, return us as we wander from you, caught in the tension of what others say of you and our embrace of who you’ve shown us you are. May we remember and return to the notice of you all around us. Help us to pause from the noise of culture to seek you, the path to peace. Because of mercy, Amen
I woke without alarm and quietly found my clothes. Carefully, I remembered the sandals were on top. The contacts were turned right side up and the bathroom window gave enough light for a splash of cold water on my cheeks.
The old door creaked as I closed it. Bare feet on the steps, I saw the pink behind me as I thought nothing of walking alone on our last vacation morning.
The promise of grandeur was kept. I thought if I could touch the far away sun, I’d never let go.
Decided that’s why we’re not made to hold such things, we’d cling so fiercely we might never see from a distant perspective.
“How deep is your faith?”
I asked myself this morning, the question in the tune of the Bee Gee’s song.
Riding home from a week away, I enjoyed what my husband calls a “conversation hiatus”, a thing he will never fully understand. I’m just glad he allows it. I thrive on quiet. I require a flushing of the mental overload, a reset of sorts, a not always pleasant assessment of events, conversations, interactions and pushed to the side for later thoughts.
Processing, becoming prayers. Seeing from a distance, not holding tight or looking too close.
Heal what is hurting. Mend what is broken. Speak what needs to be heard. Continue with me, Lord, these lessons I might begin to live, to teach.
Find me, Lord, where I left you.
Keep changing my perspective, Father. Keep redeeming what is not mine to remake.
Psalm 23 became a plea in a hospital bed for me back in 2019. Maybe I made it more than it was, the scary episode of vertigo that refused to quit. Likely, I did make it bigger than it was.
Because it wasn’t the episode, it was the fear. It was the trigger of being forced to quit or being grabbed and shaken, being unable to escape a violent grip.
Over and over for months, I said to myself.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I have everything I need.”, taking the opening line of a well known Psalm and making it mine.
Now, I prefer a different translation.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1 ESV
One that reminds me no matter what, how, or when…I shall not be in want.
My faith will and has sustained me.
In the morning when I rise, I’ll keep considering my perspective. In all that affects me, I will pause and examine the ways I have changed.
I’ll give myself a minute and I’ll ask, “How deep is your faith.”
Knowing that’s all that matters and knowing that’s all and only what makes me, me.
And I shall not want.
“…that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” Isaiah 2:3 ESV
There are four words I treasure and a couple of other phrases too.
“Continue and believe.”
“It wasn’t God’s intention.” and “Keep on.”
The first I came up with to remind myself not to give up on life, myself or my God. The second, wisdom from a friend, helps to make sense of horrific happenings that make no sense at all.
Helps to reconcile what shouldn’t have happened, what went wrong, how you were wronged or what damage went unattended.
Trauma is not God’s intention for us. We move and breathe in a world that’s mean as hell.
When we choose to keep on, we’re deciding whatever “it”’ is or was, was not God’s intention.
There’s solace in this decision, sort of heavenly.
The third, from my mama, mostly unspoken but demonstrated by her tenacity
and stubborn resolve.
I put geraniums in clay pots every summer because I decided they are “mama’s flowers”.
I feel she sees me and sometimes I know that she does.
Mama’s last car was a green Chevy Geo, I think. It was small like a Nova or a Corolla.
She commanded the road, striking out on her own for a couple years, driving as fast as she wanted.
Get in the car and go seemed to be her philosophy.
Yesterday, I got steadily closer to a Chevy Impala driving too slowly. The construction ahead told us to move over. The Chevy just kept on creeping, the shape of the driver was either short, small or leaning in a relaxing swagger I noticed as I came close.
I passed and looked over and in a flash, I saw my mama. The woman with the short hair and the handicap card on the visor had one hand on the wheel and the other lifted to wave a “Hey, girl.” to me.
I wondered where she was going, all alone on a Friday morning. Maybe to get a breakfast biscuit, maybe just gettin’ out for no reason.
I saw her independence.
I saw my mama.
I pulled into the station for gas and as I turned the gas lid to lock, the Impala strangely pulled in behind me.
The woman with the happy cheeks and the knowing eyes waved again and nodded as she smiled, laughing alone in her car.
Just for me.
God was with her and somehow she knew I needed my mama.
The woman in the Chevy saying,
“Keep on, Lisa Anne. Keep on.”
Continue and believe. This is God’s intention.
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:6 NLT
My husband watches the news, I do not. So, I asked him why the police didn’t charge in. He had no answer.
As a little girl who cowered and a woman who devoted most of her life’s work to trying to make life better for children, I cared and care deeply. My first “real” job had an essay about what children need as an unnecessary attachment.
I cared and care about children.
Still, my counselor suggested I not look too much or as needed look away.
Does that seem uncaring?
If I share a photo of blackberries or art or me enjoying a precious book, does that mean I’ve forgotten the horrors of this place?
“I can care without caring too much.” Me
The thought came as I carried on towards today.
I can care deeply; but my caring can’t be so much that I can’t care for myself or those who love me.
I’m waiting for the blackberry bushes to be overgrown with deep grape colors. I’ve promised my granddaughter we’ll pick them together.
Small things, great love in the place God has me and from a distance,
continual prayers for those I can’t touch.
“casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 ESV
When she’s older I’ll tell her that I love the thick branches, the way it’s so old but still strong and I’ll tell her that its green leaves against the ash colored limbs just bring me comfort. I love the way it leans as if resting.
I’ve not misplaced my faith nor have I given up on prayer.
I wrote about helplessness yesterday, about how it feels as if we’ve got no other choice.
I don’t regret my thoughts becoming words and landing here.
It’s my blog after all and all along I’ve only written honestly.
I thought about prayer today, what it is to me and what it does.
A simple prayer was spoken on my knees in the shower last week.
Jesus, please comfort her where she needs it.
Hurtful words had been shared and repeated. Like a pinch on a soft part of your arm that the bully won’t let go, it left a sting.
And I didn’t respond. I thought it better to let it go. I considered what may have caused the harsh words.
I remembered I just can’t know.
When I asked God to comfort, I was comforted. I left it with Him and I no longer felt hurt.
Because I just can’t know.
Tonight, I’m thinking of the Texas families. I’m deficient in understanding and only know from experience with those grieving, this is a long and winding and without navigation road, the death of a child.
So, I ask God to comfort.
I accept my place in this offering of prayer.
I join the chorus of others who pray.
And I have faith in the God who is comforting. Who is mighty, strong, unwaveringly there.
If me deciding against anger and instead inviting God’s comfort to a tiny trivial thing can bring such sweet peace.
I know the angels and armies are stretched wide and locking arms in an answer.