All That’s Needed

Art, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, daughters, Faith, family, grandchildren, hope, painting, Peace, sons, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

“The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I have everything I need. (Psalm 23)

I let my granddaughter run a distance ahead of me when we walk. There’s freedom in her feet, there is an overabundance of curious independence in her thoughts.

Taking care to watch her and yet, letting her be, letting her grow.

Letting her become full grown.

Watching her thrive.

My daughter has a plant called either “snake” or “mother in law’s tongue”. She asked my wise aunt, how to keep it alive.

My aunt quickly replied,

“Get up every day and tell it good morning and walk away.”

I suppose whatever it needs to thrive is somehow either inside its stiff leaves, woven together roots, or maybe it’s in the air around it. Maybe it is the home.

A parable in Ezekial, a rarely read book in my Bible was happened upon this morning. The clean page had a faint underlined place,

“Will it thrive?” Ezekiel 17:9

The parable was written to compare the ways of two leaders, a warning about the king of Babylon coming to Jerusalem and the importance of honoring The Lord’s covenant. History often confounds me. Still, the three words “will it thrive” caused me to sit with this passage.

A riddle to be understood, I sat with these several verses on this quiet Friday morning. I read and read again, God’s Spirit assuring me there’s a truth for you here.

Two vines planted from the branch and seed of a twig transported by an eagle.

One grew and spread near the abundant water and rich soil, it grew outward, freely, vines spreading and branches putting out new boughs.

The other wrapped its young roots around the eagle and became dependent upon it for water and its hope to become a noble vine.

Yet, when it needed to be transplanted, free to grow, the roots would be found weak, easy to be blown away, bent by the wind and eventually wither.

I think of my attention to things God has given me to contribute my part in their growth.

Naturally, I think of my children.

A daughter who’s a wife and mommy, a leader in vocation and learning, outspoken and deeply caring.

A son who is Colorado and lives near a park known for its majestic cedars. A son, who subtly agreed when I mentioned another mother saying “every child gets to write their own story”.

“That’s right.” he said.

Fully grown.

They are thriving and becoming even more fully grown.

It’s a wonder to me, because I surely often overwatered, fertilized with unsolicited advice and often looked on too closely to circumvent uprooting of what I felt meant thriving.

So, how does growth happen best?

Not getting too wrapped in the care and nourishment of our thriving, established long ago by our Father.

If growth is intended for us, it will grow when we let it be.

Because of God, my growth and I have all I need.

Like the healthy plant that never gets watered. Whatever is within it has it thriving. Letting it be seems to be the answer.

I journaled in the margin of the smooth thin paper what God hopes I’ll let linger.

Roots that are planted in good places of abundance and then left to spread on their own are more likely to thrive than the roots I cling tightly to, so tightly they wrap themselves around me stunting the intended growth of my calling, art, writing, my contributions to others.

Roots allowed to spread without being overnourished, overthought or overworked are the roots of long living, lasting evidence of hope.

Of love.

Yes, it will thrive.

Let it happen. Let it grow. Contribute as needed, as led by the Creator of you.

Hope will grow and thrive.

Continue and believe.

“He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Where You Are, With God

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, heaven, hope, memoir, Peace, rest, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom

“To be with God, in whatever stage of being, under whatever conditions of existence, is to be in heaven.” Dora Greenwell, Joy and Strength Devotional

From the kitchen window view, I felt hopeful for Fall, considered leaving the back door open, optimistic that the breeze might join the morning sounds of peace.

Refreshing, it would be.

Not quite yet, but pretty was the thought, the heavens met my request and answered with the ushering in of new.

Hoping to catch a shot of a spider in its web, I found comfort in the powder blue sky fluffed with white.

Turned back for coffee and saw the rosebud ever persistent and perky.

Life continues.

God sweetly says so.

What if you decide the life you think you want is not the life your heart knows is for you?

What if the only voice you answer to is God and the Spirit of Him inside you?

What if contentment isn’t a fight to the finish, instead a quiet knowing you’re already farther than you thought you’d ever go?

What if you shift all your measuring tools from “I was” to “I am”

And gently, gently let yourself be you encountering the doors that open to who you are “becoming”.

All without outside interventions, offerings or comparison.

Even if according to others, becoming feels like unjustifiable, unfair or underserved waiting.

What if you realize you’ve really no idea what it is you’re waiting for?

“Believe…life will surprise you.” Brandon Heath

What if who you are is quiet and you’ve been way too noisy?

Even if you’re the only frustrated listener?

It’s loud, overbearing…the you that’s unsatisfied.

“But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭37:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe.

Decide to be close to God, unchanged. Look up, remember where you are when you’re with God.

Stay if you can. Return often and linger longer.

“For just one day of intimacy with you is like a thousand days of joy rolled into one! I’d rather stand at the threshold in front of the Gate Beautiful, ready to go in and worship my God, than to live my life without you in the most beautiful palace of the wicked.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭84:10‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Gentle, Be Gentle

Children, confidence, contentment, Faith, family, memoir, obedience, Prayer, Vulnerability

Out walking without music or talking in my ears, I thought of prayer.

I prayed for betterment of me, things I’d acknowledged and lessons accepted, although hard and jolting, their truth.

This is growth. This is good.

So, how I wondered, is the right way to pray for those important to you, because of blood, heart, soul, breath and truth?

Or those you care for either in person or just because of similarities.

How do you pray for those who believed, but aren’t so sure these days, these days that will be honest with us if we’ll let them.

truth that came

Or for those who refused to ever believe in a way too mysterious truth.

Gently, you pray.

“Gentle, gentle…” I said countless times to my granddaughter.

It was their second meeting and the kitten wasn’t quite sure.

The toddler was excited, emphatic and ready.

The kitten accepted her.

Give and take, trust building gently.

Friends

I thought out walking, no noise save my breath and my steps.

The best prayer?

The prayer that’s gentle, the one that asks God to come near, says it is safe.

You’re safe.

A prayer that flows from a thought and

either reminds or acquaints.

Either way, the prayer I will pray is the one I’ve only newly begun to know.

You are loved. You are known.

And like a P.S. after the amen

I’d say Lord, help them know this sooner than later even though any time is good.

Be gentle, my Heavenly Father.

Be gentle and come near. Invite a reunion or a relationship.

A remembrance, gently.

All along, you’ve been loved.

Glad you’re here. Stay near.

What a gentle Lord I know.

Lord, help those I love and those I don’t know to know your gentle love.

Such A Faith

Abuse Survivor, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting
Hope

My gaze focused on the tall bare branched tree, old and ash colored amongst the others still holding green.

It reminded me of hope and holding on, of being planted in just the place that the morning sun illuminates it. We walked together in rain jackets, pockets crammed with acorns and fallen leaves, feet bare because of spontaneity.

The rain sounds led to a prayer stance she copied. I smiled.

Peace. Sweet peace.

On the way to church on Sunday, a memory came. No reason, not a song or a scene that stirred up the scary long ago vivid memory.

Of a time marked by alone in a sort of wilderness, marked by events that changed the imprint of my brain. Changed and erased my sense of safety on most days.

I’m afraid altered workings of my brain forever.

I wonder.

Today, that fear of forever seems accurate. Powerful nightmares for no apparent reason woke me at 6:00 and then finished their working as I drifted in and out of their fearful overtaking until 8:00.

I journaled them, looking for the seeds that started the nighttime stories, the coal that fueled the frightening furnace.

I made sense of it in a way and then asked God if nightmares would always be my battle, if I’d ever be able to be effortlessly hopeful and free.

Matthew and Mark recorded two versions of the boy brought to the disciples and Jesus by his desperate father. I imagine the father was wondering if his son would ever be well, if he’d be overtaken by muteness and seizures forever.

Jesus answers questions firmly and with a tone of importance and perhaps, impatience with them all.

He tells the disciples your faith must be increased and he tells the father you must rid yourself of unbelief.

“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬

“Jesus said to him, “What do you mean ‘if’? If you are able to believe, all things are possible to the believer.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Then he tells them, you must have faith and most of all your prayer must be a committed, confident and consistent kind of prayer.

“And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:28-29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I gathered my journal and pens, other books and put them away for today. I sat with my coffee and my kitten.

Quietly, not at all condemning, the answer to whether my past trauma would always lead to debilitating nightmares and have power over me in my sleep came.

Yes, if you will hold fast to the faith seed I gave you, nurture it with prayer and commitment and allow the growth, you will be better, less held in the horror of past trauma.

I believe

If you will decide to believe. If you will have faith in your healing equal to the measure of me, your powerful Heavenly Father.

You will continue to be better.

The passage in Mark 9 has held my interest for a couple of months. I see the father, I see the disciples who’d just returned from the Mt. of Transfiguration with Jesus.

They’d been witness to God saying this is my Son.

“And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.” And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Still, their faith was small, Jesus told them as they asked why they weren’t able to heal the boy.

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I find comfort in knowing belief wasn’t easy for them, having faith that made no sense must have also been a challenge.

I like the tone Jesus had with them…sort of you asked and I’m telling you. You need more faith, you need less unbelief, doubt and dread and more abandoned belief in me.

I sit now with the answer to the question I asked an hour ago, a note to God as a prayer.

Yes, you are well and you will be even more well as you ask for my help. Ask me to help your unbelief.

Is there something you’re sure you’ll never be fully free from? This side of heaven may always include our hardships, horrors and disabilities.

Ask God to bring you relief and to increase your faith, decrease your unbelief.

Perfection is not necessary in this pursuit. Recognition of its power and of your need are more important.

Turn your face towards heaven.

We were not made to carry burdens alone. Talk to God and a friend or counselor. Find someone who will believe alongside you.

Continue and believe.

A Better Fame

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, grandchildren, hope, memoir, mixed media painting, obedience, painting, Peace, rest, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

Who can you think of past or present who is famous because of their peace, the most indescribably unknown person you know?

“These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Bethesda”

I spoke with an author of three books recently. I sensed the ache in his voice as he told me about his writing after I talked about mine, the children’s book inspired by Matthew 6:26. We agreed to sell a lot of books, you must be famous, have a website with a bookoo of followers and be good at talking about yourself.

Just the conversation between us about self/book promotion was hard.

Before sunrise today, I thought of just how contradictory that seems. I’ve read lots of Christian books, some sort of trendy and insubstantial and some very resonant and worth returning to.

I thought of how we, as far as I interpret the words of Jesus, are not supposed to want to be famous.

When we say

“Make Jesus famous, not me!”

We’re supposed to be able to mean it.

And yet, an agent won’t return an email and a query goes unread because you have less than 5000 Instagram followers.

A few weeks ago, I had a skip in my step, a sense of a really cool possible art opportunity.

Time passed and it faded to “oh,well…”

I’ll reference trauma once here and that’ll be it.

If your needs went unnoticed as a child or young adult and you get well enough to try expression of your needs and talents again and nothing happens…

You decide it’s better to be invisible again.

Because invisible is what you know.

But, now this self-awareness feels less achingly deficient and more like

a better fame.

A realization of what I decided was my “treasure” was not my treasure at all.

Years ago, when I began writing, my heart set on a memoir about the possibility of hope, I was starry-eyed and optimistic and I told myself don’t be a chatty little woman who writes about Jesus.

Be authentic. Be real. Be truthful but not so truthful you hinder another’s hope.

And I thought I’d write a book about it all.

Now, I realize I may not.

Because the truth, my truth I am learning to be okay with is,

I don’t think I want to be famous. I think I’d rather be quiet.

That admission may be the kiss of death to being a published author or it may be the breath of heavenly fresh air to a weary striving soul.

Because writing, painting, being a published author are not my treasures, my peace and my peaceful sharing of my healing are. They are the treasures I hold and occasionally share in hopes of stirring curiosity over the same treasure for others.

I won’t stop writing and I won’t stop painting, often with crayon.

I’m just certain being a person who can be found by name on Amazon as an author or who has art that can be searched for and purchased has given me a taste of fame.

But never has fame made me famous, instead only made me wanting more.

Thirsty for recognition, parched for praise and aching for a dollar sign saying success next to something I made.

Eight years blogging. I suppose it’s fitting to write honestly today.

That feels like a quiet celebration.

Keep writing. It’s good to continue quietly and to believe.

Because healing is not dependent on fame, only on believing, believing like the lame man on the banks of the Bethesda.

“When Jesus saw him lying there, he knew that the man had been crippled for a long time. Jesus said to him, “Do you truly long to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there’s no way I can get healed, for I have no one to lower me into the water when the angel comes. As soon as I try to crawl to the edge of the pool, someone else jumps in ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your sleeping mat and you will walk!” Immediately he stood up—he was healed! So he rolled up his mat and walked again! Now Jesus worked this miracle on the Sabbath.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:6-9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Be well.

Possible Hope

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, Forgiveness, freedom, hope, memoir, mercy, Prayer, Salvation, surrender, Vulnerability, wonder

“He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Growing

Two passages have held my interest in August, my writing sparse because of a desperate longing to correctly understand one and to linger in the hope of the other. Plus, my brain’s been a bit fuzzy, like a dull swirling of what next.

Anyone else?

The passage about the man blind from childhood whose parents were interrogated by the Pharisees about the cause and the remedy has captivated me.

“His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:20‬ ‭ESV

The other is the passage that contains the words to “carry your cross” used often in sermons or songs. It always intrigues me. More so now because I believe I’ve been believing it wrongly.

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Once I heard a woman sing a song she wrote about her cross. Her voice was strong as she began and then wilted in weepiness towards the end. The lyrics told of her personal battles, her depression. These burdens she told us she had decided were her’s to carry, they were “her cross”.

I caught myself now thinking, “albatross”.

Mercy

I remember how hopeless it left me, her disclosure, and how I pondered the weight I’d be expected to lay across one shoulder for the rest of my life.

I’d be bent permanently by the burden of my traumas.

If my past was my cross I’d be like the aged and decrepit beggar on a back street barely carrying on.

Oh.

The road I often travel passes by the County jail. Men and women are leaving to walk towards town with paperwork in hand or they’re sitting at the exit, heads bent towards their laps, hoping soon their ride will be there.

I pray.

“Change their life for better, God, today.”

Last week, a young man I guessed to be in his late twenties stood on the corner waiting. He was dressed in clothes that didn’t seem to match a night spent in jail. He stood and then paced and I watched in my rear view mirror until watching was no longer possible.

I noticed something different. I sensed his deep contemplation and so I opened my hand to heaven and prayed, “Lord, let today be his turnaround day. Be near him in a new way.”

When Jesus passed the man who’d been blind from birth, the disciples asked him, whose fault is this?

Is he blind as a punishment for his wrongs or is he blind and it’s his parents’ fault?

Jesus told them no, it is because God wants others to see the possibility of hope, of healing.

“Jesus answered, “Neither. It happened to him so that you could watch him experience God’s miracle.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

And I See

Now I see.

“The healed man replied, “I have no idea what kind of man he is. All I know is that I was blind and now I can see for the first time in my life!”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:25‬ ‭TPT‬‬

And now I see, the cross I carry is not the cross of my past wrongs or wrongs done towards me. My cross is not a burdensome visible and invisible reminder of what Jesus healed me of and from.

My cross is the very cross Jesus died on, the sacrifice of surrender to His Father’s plan, the hope of eternity for all of us who would say like the blind man.

It was “the man called Jesus”. (John 9:11)

Who said , I can’t comprehend it all, I just know what I experienced and I won’t debate with anyone on how or why or if.

I’ll carry on healed and I’ll carry the cross that made possible my healing, the good shepherd’s brutal cross.

I will follow.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I most likely won’t know what happens in the lives of the prisoners who’ve been set free.

I know hope is possible.

Healing is a moment away for any and everyone. Jesus is still near and miracles are still the evidence and purpose of the cross, the cross waiting for us to carry in exchange for every weighty sin, shame or trauma.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭ESV

Continue and believe.

Pray the same prayer for others today.

Your Eyes Will Tell

Children’s Books, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, Peace, rest, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, waiting, wisdom, wonder
Mercy Every Moment

In the summer months, my husband questions my robe with pajamas.

I tell him I love it, I just like to wear it. I feel pulled together.

Before daylight, I’ve left home, left it hanging with soft pajamas on the hook.

Monday morning morning views are back. The sunrise to the right of me leads me on. I turn to see it developing, the new and glorious day.

The road towards small town has me meeting headlights and remembering a time the lights sparked caution.

Remembering today that’s better, the lights, the road, the earliness of day.

Everything an adjustment bringing acceptance.

This time last year I wrote a book I thought was for children.

It was God’s promise posed in a way of “maybe she’ll get it this way” kind of thing.

I matter to God.

You matter to God no matter what.

You’re seen, known and loved.

When I worked with women trying to decide whether to believe life was worth living and whether they could change life stealing patterns,

I’d say,

“Look in the mirror, look for more than a minute, you’ll be able to see how you’re doing.”

I’m not talking full length that helps you decide if you can walk on the beach without your shorts or whether the pants are too tight from behind, whether the dress fits good or is too matronly.

No, just the bathroom mirror.

Wash your face and gaze. Consider the condition of your soul through the look in your eyes.

You’ll see. You will know.

Look again, again and again.

Check yourself.

Are you wearing your righteousness? Are you dressed in the covenant of peace?

Your eyes will know and they will tell you so.

You’ll see restoration, you’ll be excited to keep seeing it.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Become friends with the morning mirror. Carry on. Remember how yesterday was different.

Your faith more certain, your chasing misplaced trust became an acceptance of it.

A robe embraced you, rested on your shoulders and covered your questions,

The robe of righteousness, the blanket of salvation.

Continue and believe.

Be faithful in your belief.

Faithfulness is God’s character and that same character is in you.

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Open Hand

confidence, contentment, curiousity, grace, heaven, memoir, mercy, Peace, praise, Prayer, waiting, wonder

Barely had I written down the words, instructions to myself for today, when the sound of rain in subtle steady sheets caused me to rise.

I opened the door, left it open and watched the rain fall against the luminous backdrop of day.

The rose petals splattered softly like paint tossed towards a canvas.

Beauty.

I like rain in the morning.

Permission to be slow.

I made a list of “be’s” wondering if it’s just me that can’t get started, can’t accomplish in an orderly manner like before, can’t see things through because of changing direction halfway through or a focus blurred by one thing or another.

Anyone else?

I wondered.

Be still.

Be focused.

Be surrendered.

Be okay.

Be open.

With the last one came a visual. Me, in the car, me in my room, me in prayer, me in pause.

Walking and my hand opens to let God have a hope, a thought, a question.

With regularity, I open always my right hand and I give someone or some thing(s) to God.

Prayers that don’t just happen in church, happen any or everywhere.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Not until this morning did I think of the act of the surrender from my open hand, a stronger visual of letting it go, giving it to God over and over

Because I grab it again and I keep having to say sorry, I know it’s better with you.

Here you go, God. Please take this, help me to let you keep it this time.

Maybe I’ve turned a corner this morning, I’m thinking.

The “be open” added all of a sudden saying don’t close your fingers in a grip of what’s not yours to handle.

If you do this, how can I lay the very best things in the cup of your hand, the place I designed to gift you like a newborn in a cradle, new things, new joys, new chances,

New mercies every morning?

Open your hand to grace.

Grace and glory.

Glory.

Amen, hallelujah

Amen.