Where Light Is

“There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I could easily stay in my soft cushioned chair, feet propped and fan creating a breeze overhead. The worn quilt from many washings is as soft as a feather and cool against my feet.

I could stay here all day. It would be no matter, and maybe I should.

Stay in this morning spot that is the place where I’m met by mercy and reassured it has no end.

The place of the promise, begin again. The place that is quiet. The place where God informs me through my Bible or the words someone else has recorded.

Or just through the allowing myself to stay, just through my patient sitting.

Job answered his friend’s advice to agree with God and be at peace (Job 22:21) with bitter honesty. He was exhausted over not knowing why or when.

Job was confused over how God would allow his condition, how it seemed to him God was not looking or worse, looking away.

“From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God charges no one with wrong.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭24:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The chapters of the Book of Job continue with Job’s debate with God, relentless in both his longing to understand and his commitment to believe in the majesty and knowledge of God.

Job stayed and God answered with redemption and life again.

He listened to his friends’ advising and rebuking and he implored them in his own defense.

Then, he listened to God.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭42:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m letting that truth linger, lessen the pressure of overthinking or demanding quick answers. I don’t need to have nor am I able to have every answer.

I’ll move from my morning place to other things God is calling me to finish.

Paintings and stories of birds and marshes and laundry.

I could easily stay in this quiet spot with God. No television and no habitual social media checking. No news debates and no high pressured conversations nudging my thoughts to write catastrophic stories.

Instead, I’ll continue.

Job gives us permission to be honest with God. To ask how long and still believe.

To continue and believe. To know the light, keep coming back and staying as long as you are able.

Linking up with others with the prompt “stay” from Five Minute Friday’s Kate Motaung

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Stay

When I’m Old and Gray

Joy

Let it be known, my joy was found in Him.

The sound of a riding mower doesn’t obstruct the birdsong. The birds in the big high palm outside the window with my view have done their daily thing.

They’ve made sure that I have seen them before they go their way.

Off kilter because of allowing myself to go back to slumber, my mind is struggling through the mud it seems my soul is in.

Not quick to journal or to read my dailies, I just sit with coffee heavy with cream and honey.

That.

That sitting, I allow myself to see, that sort of sitting is not idle.

Sitting in slow silence with God and morning.

It is joy.

“You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The birds in the back are now excited. The lawn mower has moved to the far corner of the next door yard.

I step out to do what my mama taught. On hot days I water the plants before the sun is high in the sky and later, just as it fades.

I love the little things she gave me.

The man on the lawn mower is from one house away. He is cutting the widow’s grass perhaps unrequested. It seems an unspoken agreement that began when her husband got suddenly sick and then sooner than expected went to heaven.

We all were together in communication through texting as he grew closer to passing away.

The neighbors who are black and have two spunky twin girls and are expecting a third baby I believe very, very soon.

The mama watches out for me as I walk towards the safer place. She cautions me on the sharp curve knowing people avoiding the main road use our road as a hidden cut through.

Occasionally, the little girls will wave as they see me. Then they’ll wave again and again as if our waving towards each other is the happiest part of our days.

It always feels that way to me at least.

Excited, we are, to encounter each other. The mama and I talk about our children. We talk about our city. We talk about God. We talk about how we’re glad in a crisis that we know it’s mutual, the phone call away if we need anything.

It had been a while since I’d heard the giggling, the girls playing in their backyards on the fort their daddy built them. I hadn’t seen them at the driveway nor had I walked by and seen the mama taking care of her flowers.

I thought of walking to the back door. I’d done that before when the puppy got out or to drop off something.

I wanted to see my neighbor.

I longed for connection. Told myself, I’d stop that day, the day when most people changed their screens to just black.

Instead, I sent a message and I asked for her honesty. I asked just one question and said take your time with your answer.

I wanted to ask this of someone and I knew I could trust you to be honest.

I asked, “Have you ever felt my kindness to your family to be insincere?”

She answered that I should continue to be the person I’ve shown her, kindhearted and spiritual.

Then, she thanked me for being open minded and willing to have a candid conversation.

I felt she was thanking me to care enough about our differences of which neither of us had any control, to ask an honest question and then accept her answer.

You won’t find me joining in political dialogue. You won’t find me following the bandwagon of others. You won’t find me defending myself in an argument that doesn’t include a perspective I know.

Because none of us can ever know fully the heart of another.

Yesterday, I arrived early for grandma duty. I was worried my daughter would notice I’d been crying. I was serenaded by a song all the way down the long road before her road.

It’s a song about how I want to be remembered, to be remembered that I knew nobody on this earth had or would be able to love me like Jesus.

It’s a song about a legacy of that being enough. I’m so very far from that but so much closer to it than before.

Watering the plants this morning with the kind neighbor circling the widow’s yard, I notice the bright bloom stretching up from the grey leaves I only added to the pot on a whim. Brilliant yellow little flowers have grown from the hard soil of a given up on plant.

What good will come?

What good can come from all of this halfway through 2020 distress?

Maybe, we should change the question slightly.

What good has already come?

I pray you find all sorts of little evidences of that.

I pray you know you’ve been cared for by Jesus all the way, his faithful hand.

I pray you find your joy alone in Him. I pray it for me too.

Continue and believe.

We are one in Jesus. No one here on earth will ever love us His way, only be our example to follow.

Listen. https://youtu.be/wapXZkU-jFM

Let my children tell their children, may it be their memory.

Sing Your Song

I heard a familiar tune from the hallway. Must’ve been stuck in his head from the Sunday service we watched on the TV in the den. Neither of us sang along. Church at home still weird.

I told him, I heard you can’t be sad or angry if you’re humming or whistling.

No response really.

But, he did resume his whistling as he walked away.

“Nobody loves me like you love me, Jesus!” Chris Tomlin

I woke up with this lyric. God wakes me up with songs some mornings. I think it’s sweet. I’m not a singer except in my car or the shower. I’m not even one to sing loud if someone’s in the car with me. I’m too self-conscious to raise my hands in church but I have found myself lately walking through my neighborhood with my palm to heaven, have driven down the road with one hand lifted in praise.

Maybe it’s God saying I know you’re longing to sing and you’ll be singing very soon. Maybe it’s just a truth I need.

Truth is, nobody knows me and loves me like Jesus. I can tell him my deepest regrets and He is gentle, not a harsh critic or a negative reply.

More importantly I can tell Him the sweetest possibilities I hope for and He knows the significance. He’s not surprised by my surprise over me being blessed in some way, chosen for something that is a deep deep longing, so deep a desire it’s kept secret.

But, He knows.

I stand in awe of His amazing ways.

“Nobody loves me like You love me, Jesus
I stand in awe of Your amazing ways
I worship You as long as I am breathing
God, You are faithful and true…”Chris Tomlin

Love, The Way

“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When I’m not certain how to join a conversation, I sometimes don’t say anything. I linger with my questions, I gather information.

I acknowledge my lack of understanding. I tell myself this is just too much for a well meaning but insufficient response. Situations over lives lost violently and unnecessarily weigh heavy on my heart. I am not equipped with words to make a dent in the dismay.

I turned to John today, led by my ancient Roman numerically referenced devotional, “Joy and Strength”.

A drawing in the margin illustrated the question asked by Thomas, “How can we know the way?”

I realized Jesus had told them, shown them, modeled it along.

The way is love.

John, chapters 13 and 14, tell the touching story of the love of Jesus.

Jesus, confusing the disciples by sitting at their feet with a basin of water, choosing the dirtiest of their parts, feet familiar with dirt, and he washed their feet.

He was teaching that you do what seems unfitting for you to do, you take it a step farther than telling about Him or giving food or shelter or telling their own Jesus story.

No, you love others if they’re different, you love people who walk on different roads other than your own.

You acknowledge that their steps are led by God enabled feet and journeys, joys and woes.

Feet like your own.

Made by God, loved by God.

Led by God.

Led by love.

All sorts of words can be said about choosing love.

It’s the choosing that matters, not really the words we’ve known so very long and already know.

It’s the choosing to love when that’s all you know or when that’s “all you got” in unthinkable ungodly situations.

“And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:4-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Love is the way.

Love, the way to God.

Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, the washer of our faltering feet.

Necessary To Grow

My friend chastised me gently when I shared how I despise the money part of being an emerging artist. I underprice my work because in my mind at least I’m not giving it away.

Although I have before.

My friend, the same person who told me my gift is “mercy”, corrected me when I told her promoting my work felt uncomfortable, not godly.

She believes my art and writing are talents God gave me to impart hope to the kingdom. She told me my work is “kingdom work” and so it should be as big and impactful as possible.

I have battled big time the skills to build a website. WordPress is not the right platform, others overwhelm me.

“If you believe in a God who controls the big things, you have to believe in a God who controls the little things. It is we, of course, to whom things look ‘little’ or ‘big’.” Elisabeth Elliot

God has blessed me with many things. Paintings that touch lives and are sold, art on a gallery wall, art in a featured magazine article, art that is influenced by strength and hope.


Still, I have a hard time with some parts of it all and God tells me to just keeping creating even if your steps feel bogged down, incapable or slow.


Crawl before you walk kind of thinking. I need a website but before I take that step, I need more of a business perspective on my Instagram… So follow my art page on Instagram if you haven’t already. Numbers of followers and prices that represent the hours of work are a thing and as my dear friend told me, if you’re doing kingdom work, you want to touch a big wide kingdom with your work!

For now, I’m inviting others to follow my art page on Instagram. lisa_anneart

Happy Monday, Memorial Day, another week towards better, y’all!

A Gift, Wonder

Here’s a granddaughter inspired post about “wonder” I wrote a few weeks ago.

Today is her 1st birthday. I call her “morning glory” among other little things. A baby who changes a day from gray to blue, a baby girl who has changed our world. Happy Birthday, sweet little curious thinker, “ELB”. We thank you for making us so much more sure of every single thing. You cause me to rest. You increase my joy. You are a gift. You are the embodiment of certain hope. You are silly, you are wise.

What We See

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both. Proverbs 20:12 ESV

As if our bodies were synchronized, our necks craned and faces tilted towards heaven, we stared through the sheer drapery and we tried to find the opening. We wondered if it was as tiny as the point of a pin. We longed to see and were left questioning, “What is up there, what is causing the lingering of her stare?” We were fascinated. We were perplexed.

The baby was tiny then. We decided the veil must surely be thinner between babies and heaven. Occasionally, as her mama cradled her after feeding and before sleep, she raised her tiny arm towards the ceiling in a newborn hello wave. Something was there, someone, a presence only baby girl was capable of seeing. We were captivated by her vision. We researched angelic explanations and discovered mystical and somewhat biblical explanation. My daughter and I agreed, she is in awe of her new world, she sees either angel, God or we hoped, her great-grandma.

Then, she began to grow and curiosity for other was all about what she could touch, feel, manipulate, and discover. We noticed her looking towards heaven less often. She became more fascinated with the cool earth beneath her knees and feet.

Her longing for understanding seemed to be bigger than simply seeing. I watched as she discovered discovering.

I began to discover again.

We sat together in the cool grass of Spring. I watched her fascination with leaves, pine straw, and the big dog.

We sat together.

So serene. I braided the pinestraw in a way I may braid her soft hair one day. She watched me and her chubby fingers tried the same.

“Bird”, I said and she looked at me and then towards the sky. For a moment or two she was enthralled, we looked up together. I held her hand and we sat still.

I am thinking now, posing a question, sermon to self-type evaluation, “Where will you see God today, Lisa?” because it has been something I’ve been wondering in this pandemic. I have taken stock of the things God has not stopped. Babies are born. Birds are cavorting. Even the wind seems more melodic. The flowers are brilliant. The clouds are puffed and fully inflated. I find it confusing these spectacular symbols of living in a time of speculation and dread of death.

How is there such splendor in such a time of fear? How is my wonder over such beauty so fulfilling? What is God’s intention in this juxtaposition of grief and beauty? Are we to hold both, one hand clutching uncertainty and the other, splendor? Possibly, I believe. Perhaps wonder is simply faith we see only through childlike eyes.

The baby will be here momentarily. I’ll spread an old quilt on the grass in the back corner. All the toys will be toted out and she’ll play until she is bored with blocks and colors. Then she and I will look and listen. We will mimic the crow. We will toss the ball to the dog and we may sing her favorite song, “Deep and Wide”. She’ll guide my hands because she knows the words now. She’ll remember long ago when her grandma opened her arms, deep and then wide and sang to her over and over about the fountain flowing, one full of love for her and me. 

We will look together. We will listen and then have a lunch of sweet potato. I’ll be attentive to her seeing and she will be to mine. We will look in wonder for God today, the sweet baby girl, and I will remember our creator, the one who gave us our eyes and our ears and our favorite thing of all, our wonder. 

Where will you see God today? 

May your seeing be as mysteriously clear as a baby’s.

Happy 1st birthday, Elizabeth Lettie, we love you more than any words can express. We love you for changing our seeing. We love you for increasing our wonder.