Subject: Prayer

I find my phone to stop the alarm then drift for a minute, catch myself before falling into the bliss of a half hour.

It is chilly. I reach for the smooth treasure of indispensable device and question where I laid my glasses. My hand smooths the covers searching and there, good, they are there.

Many mornings I can’t find them, they’ve either been knocked from the table or buried in the covers, haphazardly left wherever, when my eyes grow heavy from straining over bedtime words.

This morning was easy, there they were right beside me waiting.

I said, “Thank you, Lord, for how easy that was.”

Realizing there is more, will be more for which I will say thanks.

Maybe that’s why Paul told the people to pray without ceasing.

Maybe he didn’t expect them to linger without taking a break with their faces to the ground.

Because that is not possible, to stay prayerfully posed all the day through.

Maybe praying without ceasing means just saying thanks for seemingly unimportant and not so life affecting things.

Like finding your glasses without having to crawl quietly on the floor next to your bed with your husband still sleeping hoping you don’t wake him…

To let “thank you, Lord” be as natural in your thoughts in the little things, practice for the big ones that life assures us will come back around.

Gently triggered, prayer is an audible or thoughtful response.

Maybe praying without ceasing isn’t impossible or silly at all.

But, is necessary and natural, a good for you practice like sleeping, breathing, eating, running, working or thinking.

A spontaneous response, rising up from the uninhibited ever expanding wellness of our souls.

Thank you, Lord, for words and thank you for your mercy when I struggle yet again with brevity in my expression through prose.

Thank you big time for making me brave enough to continue.

For thoughts that are informal, even casual or a little comical.

That you help me turn into words.

Thank you for accepting my offering of them to you as prayers.

To continue and believe.

Thank you for everything.

For the subject this morning:

Prayer.

I’m linking up with others who enjoyed the wisdom of Michele Morin at Tell His Story today!

Surprise! God Has Your Best Interest at Heart- Guest Post

Just Left of Beautiful

The grass was chilled from the still cool soil and the overnight temps were on the warm edge of freezing.

Just to the left, what you don’t see, is my life changing significantly, almost too significant to perceive.

A maternity shoot, my daughter, her husband, their May baby.

I offered my jacket for her bottom and then remembered I had not driven my car.

So, from a distance.

My daughter with her firstborn inside her sat down carefully on the ground laid out in perfectly plowed and planted rows, slices of shimmer,

chilly grass.

The photographer’s mama stood with me.

I smiled as told her I wasn’t surprised.

That she’d sit down, in her pretty dress, baby in her belly, they sat without hesitation on the cool of God’s soil.

Then remembered my blonde girl running through wheat fields, cotton and corn.

I stood and I watched as she rested her hand on her baby.

At a distance, I watched, closer to my daughter than I thought possible, sweeter than ever before.

Like Honey

Slow Stroll with Colt and Camellia

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.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Change is Eventual

I’ve gotten as far as finishing my initial monthly newsletter. It is scheduled for this evening and Sundays the middle of every month to come.

“They” say that’s not the best day for sending. That’s the day that felt right for me anyway.

The initial one never went through.

Either it was confirmation of my deficient technical skills or was way “too much Lisa” not enough Him. I believe a combination of both.

I’m a work in progress. This blogging, writing thing is as much an enigma most days as me.

You’re an enigma wrapped in a riddle. my husband’s description of me

I have no idea where the form is supposed to be for followers to subscribe.

MailChimp almost got the best of me, still not a simple thing, at least not to me.

I will figure it out. Not now.

Eventually.

Place and Time

I exited the gym last night and was overcome by the sky.

Dark as if threatening a storm, I was captivated by the cobalt color, the veiled expanse of heaven.

I snapped photos with my phone unconcerned over who might be watching.

Said to myself,

The sky’s my thing. I see so much of God.

My interactions of late have been a little heavy, some surprisingly negative and a few tinged with murky colors of out of blue disdain.

But, it is okay. It truly is okay.

Through God and with God.

I’m good.

He has led me all the way, preserved my sense of me and more importantly, I pray left in my wake a sense of Him.

He has led me all the way.

To places that were difficult as well as places that were good.

Places where He kept me safe, kept me kind, made me able.

The coming months promise new places, new stages, new challenges and I’m sure the promise of blessings!

He will be with me still.

Under dark stormy skies as well as happy sunshiny days.

Jesus has been with me all the way.

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭69:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It has been so very long since I’ve joined FMF, writing for as close to 5 minutes as I can. This time, prompted by “place”.

Join us here:

Place

You Can Rest Now

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I had the most peaceful morning. I had slept so very well, the kind like a Saturday morning when it was just natural to sleep in.

Then I was easy on myself, I sipped coffee with the “grand-dog” near and eventually made myself breakfast, well, it was brunch.

It was to be a challenging day. I decided not to rush.

It felt like the right choice.

Interviews today, the call back for seconds, there would be three of them.

The first, a sharply dressed young woman.

I listened as she answered their questions, a panel of four, plus me.

She was articulate and graceful and I noticed the tremor in her voice, the sound that became less possible, the strain of nerves, a rush of something taking control.

I paid attention as she continued, answered tough questions about some things she didn’t really know.

She, a year older than my youngest child and she was an applicant for my job.

I watched as she continued, a question posed about management style, multi-tasking and de-escalations of conflict.

She answered without pause, said she’s a big believer in therapy and she had at one time thought it unimportant, her emotional self-care.

She talked about mental health, used the subject in a sentence about her church. Every area of her life, she had exposed to the light of the needs she knew, her own and others’.

Now she knows, she knows the value of taking care, of being alone.

The necessity of a sort of reset.

Had it been appropriate, I would have told her thank you, thank you for that.

Because you are brave.

Brave enough to know yourself and to continue the pattern you know that is right for you.

The thing that keeps you well, not just “fine” or pushing through.

This morning, I realized how desperately I was in need of rest.

It was so good, the way I slept.

Like I’d been out for a while and all the while someone so kind had been keeping their kind heart and eyes on me.

The word “recovery” came to mind and it seemed odd because I am well.

It was fitting though, this sense of this season representing recovery from exhausting patterns I’d become accustomed to.

I so greatly needed rest, I’d been unable to feel my own fatigue.

Until I began to see

you need it.

It’s an inward shift.

Today, I mentally applauded someone who admitted at one time anxiety made her weak and that now rest keeps her strong.

And so she listens to her mind, her body, her soul and she goes to the place that whispers.

Come away, get to the place you call rest.

You can rest now.

Peace is not found in a fainting towards the finish line pursuit, rather in the place you left it last to continue yet another exhausting other pursuit.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1‬ ‭esv

On Healing

POSSIBLY

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.

#40daysoflent #newwineoutofme #continueandbelieve #faithful19

Inward, 40 Days

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

and embracing

forgiveness.

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.”

‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Crazy and Possibility

This is crazy I told myself.

Two hours in my work clothes, shoes kicked to the corner.

And the background music…on point. (I’m not sure what this means but

I like the sound of it!)

Painted soothing blue, planning on a marsh late summer but not quite right.

Paint on. Paint off.

Missing my girls. Add the shape of one I’ll call.

“Possibility”.

I want to keep on. I want to finish. I want to stand back and go “Yes…oh.”

Then I remember this little thing I saw today and I told myself you can come back and add layers or even paint over to start over.

Either way, you had two glorious hours of painting…and painting always, always gives you way more than it takes!

This piece, to be continued.

Battle On

In the Book of Luke, the 21st chapter, Jesus told of a poor widow having very little left to give.

Yet, she gave all she had, two copper coins.

And Jesus noticed.

He noticed her poverty and He noticed her commitment.

my girl and my grandma’s purple pansies

My days have been an absolute hodgepodge of diverse people and places this week.

All the voices loud and mingled together and pointedly expectant of me.

Who am I to have all the supposed answers?

At dusk yesterday I sat alone in the backyard. The clouds were clearing out, one lone puff of one resisting the drift, the last one to fade away.

I woke up today and told myself.

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up because the internal angst has blurred the external hope people read of, hear you speak of and assume you’re quite certain, okay,

It’s all good.

Yes, I say.

Everything gets messy before it becomes clear.

You’ll be super miserable before you walk away, that way you won’t feel guilty for leaving as you know is your typical sweet martyr way.

Or…as my sweet and ever sincere friend said the other day:

The peace you had in the beginning is still there, it is still leading the way. JM

The thing with the battle of the mind, the fight for the settledness of the soul is that it is insidious if we don’t know it is up to us, our own choice to refuse to allow its control.

To say, I know your motives, I know it’s your plan to make me weak from within.

Not happening today.

Today, I will see you in every face I see and I will battle on.

And maybe, just maybe even though not a single soul could ever know my battle, just as I don’t know the one that they own

They may see my countenance renewed and therefore, they may see you!

Chapter 21 of Luke continues with Jesus warning of persecution and it being an opportunity to bear witness of how we are different.

“Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:14-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I love the permission this gives me not to have to know every single thing.

Mostly I love the permission this gives me to not mull every encounter to the point of misery, rather, to trust I will know how to respond, what to say.

My responses will be different when I respond from the place of peace within.

Still, some may come against me, baffled over my demeanor and ready to push their agenda to topple my resolve and tip my trust from within.

This is earth, not heaven. This is to be expected here.

By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:19

I won’t give up.

I want to see the plans for my life I have yet to fully see.

Continue and believe.

This part is up to me.