It was a good weekend. A Saturday stroll with the dog home with my son for the weekend, my daughter doing well, her mood and her cheeks have a beautiful “baby glow”.
Monday came and by the end of the day in a matter of about 45 minutes, the mood in my heart’s room, in my thoughts, deep in my soul turned.
I tried to make sense of my jittery breathing, the aching sense of deep hole in my soul.
It was a piling up of things, a compilation of wonderful and woeful things.
I saw a woman at “TJ” who looked like my mama. I found a photo of me with my newborn daughter. I began to wonder if I could ever be as good a grandmother as she was to my daughter, my son. I asked my son for a second hug before he returned to his adult abode and world.
I held on to the dog and then watched as he walked towards the door, as if saying, “this is not my home”.
My paintings unsold, all laid out earlier on the floor.
There was a conversation about my age.
All over the place things left me no space.
Stole the joy of my day. Took my breath away.
That’s it. Now I understand.
I had no vacant space to catch my breath, no time to let it settle.
Simple, just too much on my plate!
And then kindness occurred.
A friend understood, she has felt the same and then more kind words of three or four others.
I expect to rest well this evening.
My soul, my thoughts and my body.
Will take time for balanced breath.
A honey-like pouring rhythm of soft exhales.
“Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.”
Last week I told someone I just felt so “invalidated”. Now, I don’t know if the passage about the man held back for 38 years by his disability was planted in my mind OR if God knew on this day, I would wake up and read John 5 and understand it more clearly.
More clearly as in, it is time to stop taking on the burden of others’ behaviors and spoken words. It is time to stop owning the responsibilities of anyone’s choices other than your own. It is time to move on and sin no more, look on to new things. No if’s or buts like the man who said everyone either beats me to it or is blocking my way.
Jesus was ridiculed for leading this man to healing on a Sunday. Jesus wanted them to know that God is always working and so will be He. (vs. 17). The chapter continues with the questioning of his authority. Jesus told them even greater things will happen, things they will marvel over.
Chapter 5 is about Jesus doing His Father’s will regardless of naysayers and critics. It is still God’s desire that we be healed, changed, walk towards new life because of Jesus.
The Chapter closes with lines I underlined two or three times. About what I seek and through whom. Convicting for me!
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people.”
John 5:39-41 ESV
We can’t wait for people around us to move us from our helpless places to the healing pool. We move from being invalids when we know our validity is through Christ. We can read every self-help book on our shelves and even daily sit with our scriptures. We’re surrounded by good and well meaning advisers who we may want to impress, gain their approval. We won’t know liberation from the oppression of our maladies until we seek the glory that only comes from God. At least, I believe God is saying, Lisa Anne…this truth is for you.
Maybe you too.
The Book of John is a powerful book, a great read if you want to be closer to Jesus.
Every day this week, the robins have said “Good Morning.” As if they are thrilled to see me return, they fly from the cedar tree to the oaks and back again, as if announcing, “She’s here, she’s here, come and see!”
And I pause before entering my office door, I pause in the parking lot longing to discern their meaning, their message, being so captivated by them there.
I heard a podcast speaking of change in habits, change in mindset and how most of us make it about four days.
Good morning Day 4 of 40 and my observation of Lent!
Someone chuckled when I announced my decision to fast, added we’re not Catholic or Episcopalian or anything like that.
She watched as I chose water over wine.
Had little to say when I told her I had to choose my favorite indulgence, my favorite reward or as we both know so very well because I used to belt the lyrics loud in my powerfully independent voice,
My favorite mistake.
My girl grew up on the anthems of Sheryl Crow.
So, we continued as I shared with her why I chose my indulgent red wine in the pretty stemless glass that my hand hurried home to cup after life and work had worked my nerves and took from me more than I had to give.
How could I not choose to give up the thing that I decided was my worthy reward, my justified balm for my weary soul?
How could I not sacrifice in an effort to find perhaps the true balm that was being perhaps, ignored?
For some it’s social media, others it is sugar or bread or chocolate or maybe stronger drink, intoxicating the heart and mind.
For me it could have easily been Instagram or peanut butter.
Because, I’ve taken to peanut butter in excess again.
Made up for the break from red wine by mindlessly cleaning out the jar of especially crunchy and sweet salty amber colored cream while waiting for dinner to be done.
Then I had my dinner with water in the wine glass and I was satisfied until it came time for something more…my pattern, I am learning.
So again I go to the kitchen and I finish off the chocolate almond Halo Top that boasts of being harmless.
The wine stayed corked in the cabinet and I began to learn what I know now.
I look for reward in things outside of myself to be told that I am enough and when I feel unnoticed, I indulge in the first “good” thing I can get my hands on that is waiting there for me.
To burst through the back door, tell my husband it was a horrible day and reach for my reward.
Maybe three days in, I’m learning already about that “heart shaped hole” people speak of that we try to fill.
The place of our souls where Jesus wants to be enough.
Maybe by day ten I will have fully exhausted all of my immediately gratifying rewards and I’ll sit with Jesus and myself just quietly.
Maybe I will be filled not from the immediate things I seek to gratify me, food, drink, a device in my hand or a reader that likes me and says “you’re good”.
Maybe my needs will be less and my soul’s wants, becoming more will be seen more clearly.
They’ve been so fully met all along.
What you need has always been here.
I chose to fast from red wine for 40 days for two reasons, one of them selfish, I admit.
I see it as sort of a spiritual experiment. I am curious to see how my faith will change, what I will hear and see more clearly.
How I will know myself and God when I surrender intentionally.
The other reason as I told my young assistant when she, seeing all the conflict of work these days announced…”Oh wow, you really chose wine?”
Women and wine, it’s obviously a thing.
To which I answered.
How could I not sacrifice something that will be hard when Jesus died for me…sacrificed His life on the cross for me?
She smiled sweetly.
So, Lent for this not churched that way poor country girl, I am learning and I am allowing your lessons.
It may be more than wine as the wind down “waiting to comfort me reward” that’s been buffering God’s voice.
It may be that and other things I am only just beginning to hear.
It may be finally that all the mistakes I casually named my favorites because you don’t tell your little daughter dancing in the kitchen about your shame.
You masquerade your shame with reckless sometimes funny mommy behaviors.
It may be that three days in,
I am at last understanding
It will be joy for me, fully believing.
It will be like resurrection morning!
Last night, I drafted a post about the robins, deleted and started over three times. Went to bed thinking, well I don’t know why…but, I may be losing my writing voice. It seemed so unnecessary, for me to tell again about my love of a bird.
So, I woke and I journaled and I decided to be brave and share my choice for Lent. Like most writing, the words just came. And it is about me; but, it may be for someone else, God said. “It is my will that you be brave.
It’s your part to be real at the risk of being ridiculed, this is what you should surrender, your fear of being shamed and allow your truth to go the places I say, Lisa Anne.”
About forgiveness I’m learning more every day, every new day I am becoming more free.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”