Grey in the Window

I’d love to tell you the favorite part of my day was my morning thought of how faith is like the elusive bluebird. Of how I told myself that God uses birds throughout the gospels to teach us most everything, tell us to be light, not to worry. I thought that was a worthy thing, the way I pulled it altogether, the idea of faith requiring recall, not being dependent on the recurring miraculous. I’ll blog about this faith revelation later I decided. And I’d pull it altogether with a fascination with bluebirds I hope would allow me a photograph, even land and make a nest of my open hand. If I asked God for that and He gave it would that mean always and forever my faith would more likely be certain?

That even though it’d be an uncommon miracle type thing to have a bluebird land and settle in my hand, I might want something more, something one might call a miracle. Something sort of like today. I’m a serious one and yet, I laughed in a silly way today. I laughed unprompted by another or just to go along.

I stretched out across the playroom floor, the baby coralled by my extended legs. She sat still at my waist and over and over I positioned her little stuffed kitten on my middle. She was still.

“Ready?” I asked and she watched wide eyed and attentive as I pretended the little kitten was walking to the edge and then “Uh-oh!” the little grey kitten fell and fell again. My torso blocking her view, it would seem the little kitten flew!

I laughed at the thought of my play and she laughed along with me, eventually, not right away. No, not until at least six or seven tumbling kitten games.

It occurred to me she was seeing a new thing. She’d never ever seen her grandma laugh so spontaneously and I saw her smile widen and then as she held the little kitten in her tiny hand, she laughed with me. We laughed together.

Then I lined up the other animals and she crawled to chase the dog towards her little nursery.

Then, I called “Elizabeth” and she turned to see me once more letting the little toy kitten dance to See ‘n Say music and she bounced her little butt and she smiled and clapped her hands.

The thoughts about the elusiveness of faith, the blog I’d planned to write. Noble and true and realization that matters.

But, I’m still thinking about the kitten I bounced off my tummy then gave it a special spot in the window. The clouds were bringing cold tonight, the meteorologists were wrong, God had a different plan. The wide uncovered window upstairs kept the gloomy skies where they belonged. Inside, warm and dry we laughed and laughed again.

And Elizabeth smiled. So did I.

Ravens and Babies

“I need all the help I can get.”

I say that on the regular and I know it. I need to shield myself from the worrisome realities of this world. I need a safe buffer, I need to do what I can to help my own “hemming in” a mindset that says no to fear.

I don’t know any country songs anymore; no more singing songs about good times, lost loves or even reminiscing with some Eagles, Clapton or Stevie.

I do keep my Phillip Phillips handy because his voice makes me happy and soulful when I need it.

But, I worship on Sunday.

I need it and it’s an answer to a kind calling of me to return, to rest.

I cling to my quiet spaces that welcome big or tiny thinking. I pray and I listen to songs about believing in God, redemption, beginning again, courage and the assurance of God. I do all of these things because I know I need them.

I’m not able on my own.

On my own I write scary stories, I anticipate the bad news by the ringtone. I observe the reactions of others, stand prone to defend my tender self. I “armor up” I suppose in a not always healthy way. When I’m not trusting I feel my breath in a knot in the center of my chest.

To trust without knowing feels like risk for me. To go one step farther not knowing the location of the sudden ledge is not comfortable for me.

To only know what I am to know in the story of another makes me uneasy. I squirm in my seat wanting to see how I can prepare for the ending.

I sometimes need to know what isn’t mine to know and if I’m honest, it’s more about my lack of understanding than it is concern for another.

I don’t like not knowing. It feels like risk for me.

Trusting God feels risky.

Then I remember to consider the ravens, the way He made them. He tells us we are worth more.

“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:24-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Last week, my granddaughter and I were cooped up from the rain and cold. We went window to window to get an idea of outdoors. I spied a big bird, black as coal and shiny and we tracked it together from front yard to open field to sky.

“Bird.” I said to the baby.

And then, she replied in a sweet soft utter…

“Bird”. I smiled and held her close.

Childlike observation, trust not yet tainted by fear.

Consider the bird through a baby’s discovery.

Trust like a baby. Faith like a child, fearlessness because of belief in Jesus.

Risk like the ravens. Confidence like a happy sparrow. Peace like a lily in an open green field. Plenty like a pauper with more than enough for breakfast.

Continue. Continue and believe.

Linking up with others here who are writing about risk. https://fiveminutefriday.com/2020/02/20/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-risk/

Believing the Proverb

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When God gave this word to Solomon, He was thinking of Mary, of Martha. He was thinking of Peter, of Paul, of John, of the Woman caught in adultery….too many to tell. He was thinking of me, Lisa and of you, of you as well.

I believe this.

I missed the part about the meeting of their faces until I read the passage. A familiar passage, I remembered the telltale rooster crow and skimmed over the way Jesus saw it all. Jesus saw it all.

I can’t stop thinking how Peter must have felt the next morning. Did he experience a hangover of sorts? Here I am again letting doubt takeover? Maybe not because these hours were the deadly ones, the tortured crucifixion. Sorrow over self had no place then. Only the reality of sacrificial and loving death.

Peter, a man who was the brother of John, the one who was able to step from a stormy boat to walk on the top of the ocean because he trusted God, was sure of Jesus.

His denial to others of his belief is a captivating story.

Jesus told him as he prepared them all at the Last Supper and before. Jesus told Peter, you will deny me.

“Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter was adamant that he wouldn’t.

But he finds himself sitting around a fire outside a high priest’s house that held the captured Jesus. Peter has followed the throng at a distance from Jesus. Not so far that he didn’t appear to be associated with the Savior. Just far enough to avoid the reactions of the ones who’d be making the crucifixion decision.

The onlookers build a fire, like concert-goers in line for a sell out I suppose. Fireside conversation begins and three separate people spread the word, this man here, hey you, we saw you with him. As if to say, why are you sitting here when you’re known to be a friend of Jesus?

Peter told all three, “not me”.

“And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:58‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Then a rooster crowed three times. Peter met the eyes of the watching Jesus. He wept. He wept at the realization of a Savior who knew him so very well.

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:61-62‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter’s story doesn’t end here. He encountered the resurrected Jesus and he continued his life proclaiming all he had learned from his experiences with Jesus.

I’m thinking about the fireside scene. How in the world did Peter succumb to peer pressure? Why was it so hard for him to believe without being afraid of consequence or opinion?

I believe it may have been just a fear in general in believing good things could actually come true.

But, this is probably just my takeaway. That we believe what we can count on based on our histories to be true, to be certain, to be what we can count on.

Our humanity causes our hearts to draw the map for our minds to follow. I don’t think Peter was unsure of Jesus. More than that, he was unsure of himself. So, he placed himself with the accusers, the deniers, the cynics and the intellects.

He felt more at home that night with the ones who chose to believe a sure thing, not life changing, miraculous or unseeable.

Jesus knew he would. Peter’s behavior was forgiven. The account of Peter tells the undeniable truth for me and you.

Jesus knows we’re prone to doubt, afraid to speak out, that we dumb ourselves down at times when it comes to our faith.

Jesus knows we’re afraid to be bold on occasion. Knows we’re quite tentative in stepping into his promise of better, of complete.

Yesterday, I heard a statement.

You will be as safe from sin as you are close to Jesus.

What I believe and whether I believe completely is fully known by God. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. His denial leaves a compelling story for us all.

The regret of Peter over distancing himself from Jesus. The realization and tender repentance when met with the gaze of Jesus.

A repentance, loving and open because of mercy we all can know.

Again and again.

What we believe makes the difference. Believing with an uncertainly over God or believing with all our hearts.

“The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Sky Writing Stories

This is my space, the place my feet take heavy steps now, more slow, less driven. This arena of sky all around me. I’m known, she keeps walking. The neighbors don’t interrupt only nod. I keep walking under God’s massive and ever fascinating sky. I take photos with a not up to date phone. I continue to chronicle my notice of God. Birds all in a cluster. Oddly, one, only one, a lonely goose flew over. I wondered why.

I noticed the birds all together and then separate. I wondered if the ones on the borders of the wide expanse were afraid they might lose the others.

I wondered if birds are that way. If they compare their flights to the flight of another.

Then I said to myself.

“You don’t notice the way you did before, don’t write quite as often about emotion stirred by evening walk, birds or feathers or the breeze that brushed your cheeks.”

Perhaps, there’s a lull or a rest or better yet.

Yes, better yet. You’ve grown.

The story that you’re writing now is not nearly as melancholy.

Not heavy. Not as hard to hear I’m hoping.

It’s more melody.

Harmonious.

Still honest. Maybe just busy with the grandbaby and too tired to notice feathers…

No, not that at all. Maybe your soul has settled. Either way. It is good. You’re still writing. You thought of a new title just last night.

One that includes remembrance.

You know you’ll continue either way.

Continue and believe.

Still. That’s the sermon to self that guides you.

Continue and believe.

Let it Shine

I am now listening to the shrill song of what I believe is a baby cardinal. I read somewhere that it is a high pitched cry.

I imagine the bird being the baby of the mama and daddy red birds that greeted me through the morning kitchen window.

The grass there is green already.

So pretty, their red wings against it. They have returned and their legacy of flying by to cause thoughts of others will continue in the little bird up high crying now.

Yesterday, I couldn’t calm the baby. We sang every song in our regular rocking slow cantata.

She was in rhythm with me, a sweet low sort of melodic hum.

She listened as I sang “Deep and Wide” on repeat and the one I’d never sang before.

“This little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. Hide it under a bushel, no. I’m gonna let it shine.”

Today I hurriedly read about the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. The way he was tempted when starving, the way he was rejected because people who knew His parents didn’t think His miracles could be true.

He continued though. He continued and history records those who saw Him as human and then Savior.

History records for the benefit of me, of us. Storytellers and those rescued.

History and present. Firsthand phenomenally personal and compelling because of His love, His Spirit, our steadfast and settled believing He is Jesus.

“And reports about him went out into every place in the surrounding region.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Believing and continuing.

Let it shine. Your personal essay, a report of Jesus.

Day Fulls

I miss random writing. I do.

I store up stories for later like today my granddaughter sitting at my feet, letting her play in the dirt she dug up, cool and moist from recent rain.

That was beautiful. Her little pink ruffled butt in the ground sprouting open for new Spring grass.

She held up her tiny hand and offered me dirt and I held it. I watched her return to the work of discovering.

But, painting, I’ve been painting.

I’m satisfied with this one, the middle of three “girls”, a commissioned triptych.

More stories to come.

Surely Goodness

I’m standing in the kitchen and thinking go snap another picture.

Instead I settle on the view, a room filled with tall windows and panorama, a telephone doesn’t suffice, for the glory and purpose of me saying to me.

You are here.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

You get to experience this time.

This place. This grace.

This momentary hand of God that tells you, stop rushing. Stop trying to capture any more clearly than what I’m revealing gradually. The sunrise in the country with clouds sweeping up to the places you can’t see.

But you know are there.

Eternity is possible for those who believe. Life is more than earth and heaven more beautiful than we can conceive.

Stand still. Let that heart of yours rest easy. Now, the baby is rising. Open wide eyes and smile and exploration of every single crevice of her sweet life and pretty place.

Ready yourself! Life is worth discovering! You get to be an observer!

Now the grand sky has changed to pink. The window above the plant, the cookbook, the big letter of their last name offers me peace.

The color of love and peace.

I look down, look away and well, I could go on forever.

I’ll stop lest I start telling you about the birds, the trees, the wide open field shifting from brown to green.

The geese that are communicating.

Wherever you are today, I hope something captures your attention, something you can’t really capture, only believe.