Spaces We Get Stronger

I remember the time before.

I walked, hurriedly to the massive concrete place.

It was early morning, my face was taut from determination, my eyes were worn from the hours of awake, waiting, watching.

How could I be expected to find it, I realize now, many years later. It was a hard day.

I’m no longer that hard on myself.

I walked, already lost and entered every lane. I chose different levels. White, black, grey, red tail lights barely standing out in the black place filled with cars. Occasional glints of shiny color distracting my search, the sun coming up and in gradually.

I had a full meltdown.

The patient waiting without me at the corner of the hospital, the nurse maybe wondering what happened to her mama and my girl most likely sure her mama must be lost.

I lost my car. I stood with the truth of my disaster and accepted what I knew must be true. It’s not here, somehow, someone has taken it.

My daughter waiting, I believe realized I’d “lost it this time” and we’d not discuss it at all.

Same as there’d be no need or time to talk of “what if, what next, what now or why?”

A hospitalization after a procedure that was not a success and she, we go from exam table in pretty Dr.’s room to hospital bed to spend New Year’s Eve.

We were released and my mind, emotionally overloaded could not remember the space among hundreds of cars from two days before on the morning we got to go home.

The morning the sunrise came in through the openings in the hard place up high, I came to terms with what I might not be able to fix or find.

I found it eventually and made it down to load my girl in the car, her almost adult frame and baby face, understanding how I’d fallen apart and stayed away so long, struggling a real struggle in the parking garage while she waited in a wheelchair below.

She loved me anyway. Didn’t say so then but does everyday now.

So, this time I wasn’t gonna lose my mind and my car. Fatigued for a different reason, sleep deprived and uncertain of how I might be.

We were early, but had to park on the very top, the place that feels oddly special with open sky above, a slightly risky feeling.

I opened the door, grabbed my purse and prepared to walk with my boy into the place he’d be flying away for three months.

Stopped for a second, he slightly ahead on his way. I looked down at the marking on the space. “L” it said, okay I told myself, “L like Lisa, I’m good.”

Then, just to be certain, uncertain of my state upon coming back alone, I quickly got my phone from the pocket of my bag and I took a picture of the place I’d be coming back to.

Because, I remembered and I’m not at all embarrassed now over losing my car before.

The mama mind is naturally consumed sometimes and directionally challenged because of the strong and hard pull of the heart. Times when the baby bird is in need of healing to be better at flying and times when the bird is learning to fly.

Surely, mama bird might struggle in her return to the nest.

I’m certain she does.

Perhaps, they mark it with a bright stem or string, wanting to be confident of where they left off.

And I wonder now, if ever, just for the sake of mama memory, if the mama bird flies back to rest a bit in the place she let them go.

Maybe just for the sake of remembering how strong she made their wings.

The Far Away Chorus

On Sunday, I stood among a display of images, faces, places, art.

I’d made my way over to an area made into what I saw as sanctuary.

No walls or doors to enter in, the space was open. I entered.

The images displayed in honor of the remembered lives massacred.

This morning I’ve slept with interruptions and I rise from my bed and then decide to begin with prayer. Knees tumble and land in a somewhat pensive posture.

Thank you for protection, I begin. I add in grace, mercy, and thank you for today.

My prayer, one of a rambler and a sleeping mind. Rote in my utterance, disorganized and uncommitted.

The void unfilled.

So, I tried hard to cease with the words, to let it happen, to believe my heart was heard.

I knew there was something I needed to know; needed, not wanted.  I’d disengaged, though,  closing the door to the place needing attention.

Closed off the place and hid the mess, distracting myself with other obligations.

Saying I’ll get back to it soon.

I will.

Why must I feel my prayer should be performance, I wonder sometimes?

Why must my cluttered mind overwhelm me in the clamor, a competition, the hearing of my thinking the thoughts

And of letting be, letting go, letting come to rest?

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Standing still instead, waiting to hear the hearing I’ve known.

On Tuesday, I went back to the place honoring those who died in a church at a Wednesday night prayer meeting.

The beauty of the faces hanging in frames. The bright vibrant color on those who walked the bridge in unity, hands raised up high on the high bridge over Charleston, South Carolina.

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The others lined up, symmetry along one wall, black and white, the photographs, the expressions on the faces.

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Together, standing amongst flowers strewn on the ground, eyes closed in prayer, hands  unbroken and tightly clutched.

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The slain pastor’s Bible encased in glass, opened to the parable of the mustard seed.

3Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. 32 Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32

Heaven was enlarged that night.

Surely it was.

Stained glass windows depicting Mother Emanuel Church and words, just a few lines, a humble display, a description of what happened that night.

On Sunday, I listened and my emotions felt close to erupting like volcanic overflow in the international airport. I came to the place I’d be letting go and the letting go I’d need to be prepared for in advance.

On Sunday, I stood alone in the place with strong words on the wall that said

“Charleston Strong”.

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My cousin was there; but, she let me be alone, apart.

I wasn’t very strong.  I was surely present.

I was present as I heard the soft sound of hymn barely coming through someplace, seemed above or perhaps the four corners holding together.

“It is well, it is well.”

Sunday was an opportunity to be aware, to feel the feels of goodbye, to not be blindsided by the things I did not know.

I’d never left a child at the airport.  Never boarded a plane or watched a son fly away.

On Tuesday, we returned, my son and I and he successfully and without me or complication navigated the steps towards leaving, of boarding for his flight.

He surprised me when he approached a woman, asked her to take our picture.

“Uhmmm, I’m gonna be studying abroad for three months, could you take a picture of my mom and me?”

We stood together beneath the Arrival-Departure display.

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I reached up and around trying to embrace him. His backpack stuffed fat for carry on, my arm got all awkward and tangled up and I smiled, leaned into his chest and let go my attempt to hold on.

My expression, a sigh. I notice now, the darkness under my eyes.

He turned and looked towards security and I looked the other way.

“Come and see this.” I said.

We were together there for a few minutes, entranced together by the display.

“Isn’t it amazing?” I asked.

He answered “Yeah.”

We both captured this time, this place, took photos of what touched us there.

Patience filled the separate place, we lingered and I listened again to what I found to be amazing, the sound the same as Sunday.

I entered the space with seeking heart,  curious over display, stood quietly and after a little while, just the same as on Sunday,  now on Tuesday.

I heard the chorus. The faraway melody, the hymn of assurance as soft as a lullaby and as certain as a vow.

“It is well, it is well

with my soul”

And now it’s Thursday.

I’ve heard good words from my son, excitement in the tone of his texts.

I’ve prayed for protection still and I’ve stumbled over my thoughts of his journey.

I’m remembering now, my decision to wait on Tuesday,  at the top of the parking deck, waiting for the departure. I heard the faraway sound of strong engine, I watched the plane appear and then become only a speck. The sky empty then, a flock of blackbirds gathered for me, I believe, to say “all is well”.

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I heard the seeping in of faraway chorus of grace again today, of

Waiting, of sanctuary and of song.

It is well with me.

I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee at Tell His Story. Her words this week remind her of looking towards the heavens, of remembering where hope comes from.

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/one-thing-well-never-outgrow/

Will and Whale

It wasn’t God’s idea.

His intent was not for us to have the option to be stubborn.

Not his desire that we’d consider a different way other than His.

That we’d have to look back with regret on our fighting against and fleeing the path we stood before contemplating and then either ran towards another way, still miserable but at least not doing the thing we felt was undoable.

What’s your Nineveh?

The thing ahead of you waiting your contribution?

Or at least your willingness to be there with, reluctant acceptance of even?

Or have you fled, or at least on the cusp of running the other way? Hiding from what you’re afraid you can’t do?

“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”

‭‭Jonah‬ ‭1:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Book of Jonah is spread across just two pages in my Bible, I read again today, adding to my illustration, a semblance of me alone on the other side.

The thing you keep asking why, maybe asking haven’t I done enough or I’m certain if I get close enough you’re gonna close the door anyway God…so,

I’m staying far far away.

I’m hiding from that challenge, I’m not able.

I’m not willing. I’m sorry for being so sorry, but no, I just can’t.

What’s your Nineveh?

Like Jonah, will you cause distress to everyone else in the boat you don’t belong in and get thrown into the turbulent seas of a decided rebellion, thinking it’s simply choice?

Or will you step closer, allow the path to let you in, trust God in his desire to grow you in this place you do not want to go?

I’m going there, going through it and I understand, I believe the reason.

He planted it there. I’ll find the purpose of my part in this path, when I choose to follow in a way without resistance.

The way of God’s persistent pursuit of me.

No Angel

This morning, I am writing on the Five Minute Friday prompt of “support” and my mind goes the way of thinking of work, of funding we lost to support the homeless.

But, I don’t linger there, my mind goes to the place that keeps me humbled, keeps my heart aligned with work, a place where love comes in.

Here goes.

I get a random text from her. She wants to check on me, wants me to know she loves me.

I respond “I love you too, do you need anything and then backspace the question, tell her I am stopping by with food.”

Our system’s flawed on this one if you ask me. No benefits for one who can’t work because of mistakes made years ago.

So, we’ve been helping, we check on her.

A former resident of our shelter called “Nurture Home”.

I pulled in with bags of staples and milk and eggs. I noticed the window broken out in her back seat. My periphery takes in the neighbors and I am aware of loud music from the adjoining duplex.

I knock and she opens the heavy door.

She smiles. We hug long.

And I’m happy to see her home, the place we’re helping her with.

I notice the bedroom wall. I stare long at one framed photograph, left alone in her bedroom for a bit.

A photo of her cradling her son and smiling a heavenly smile.

I’m sad knowing her longing to know him now, the photo of them hanging above her bed, close.

She texted me later, called me “her angel”.

I replied, “I’m no angel. I assure you.”

This extra stuff beyond programmatic interventions some call “support” or “aftercare”.

She calls it love. I see it as grace and perspective.

A reminder of my periphery, my purpose, of the opportunity to notice His nearness.

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:17-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The Scarlett Effect

I must’ve had Scarlett on the brain.

We played Clue over and over and because I loved the color of the game piece.

I decided, I’ll be Scarlett.

Then, I woke and thought of Scarlett.

O’Hara, that is.

I woke imagining distress and I figured out myself, figured me out, my ways.

I’m either imagining the horrific or I’m deciding…oh well, my hands are tied.

What will be, will be.

Oh, Lord let it not be hard.

So, yeah, I recognized my ways and decided “no more of that thinking that way…nothing or all, catastrophe or avoidance…no more of that!”

No more.

And it began with a waking thought, an affirmation.

People may question this truth.

But, I assure you it’s true. I linger long enough before rising and a song or a verse comes to mind, says good morning Lisa, here’s what you need today.

This truth happened today:

Fear is not from God.

Fear of what I do not know, cannot know

Is NOT from God.

A sound mind…one settled and set on truth, trust, assurance.

One reined back in towards what’s certain and true.

He’s got the whole world in His hands.

This is true.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Rest now, oh wandering and imaginatively, tragically creative mind.

Tell yourself stories of good, oh, sound mind, rest.

Rest, assured.

Getting Real

It’s a dim morning. Plans are being made and preparations began will be followed through.

My sister is breathing easy on the couch and I’m aware of the storm.

I sit, quietly.

I sometimes call them “epiphany” because I love the way it sounds.

To be in a quiet place and bit by bit by bit, it happens.

The change in way of seeing.

The slipping up on me of coming to a conclusion on my own.

Things wise or quick to correct people may have said, either as encouragement or a gentle chastise…

You must stop perceiving in this way.

This is not the way you should view life and its gift, its lessons, its living.

Somewhere today in my scanning devotion, Irma, weather and whatever I accepted a truth.

“Your value, Lisa… as you are now and as God sees in His plans for you are worth so much more than any past wrong doing or decision.”

The winds are causing trees to bend and the rain is sideways sheets.

I sit in the waiting room of a doctor who worked us in early, my son is wearing his college hoodie, caught the eye of the physician, an alum.

Small talk, talk only Citadel men understand.

I sit back. I’ve suggested what he say to the doctor who will be preparing him medically for international travel.

I remember my epiphany before the one most recent, God loves him greatly.

Unfathomable, but true.

God loves him more.

Jesus talked with his disciples, prepared them for their going on without him.

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.”

‭‭John‬ ‭16:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Stay strong, all will be well.

Recall what you’ve been told, what you know.

What you’ve seen me do for you and for you to believe by seeing.

And though they slept in the garden, he prayed, he prepared their way ahead.

There are new places my son’s feet will travel. There are new lessons to learn, new experiences to experience and encounters to encounter.

He will grow, I’ve prayed through the nights and more to come.

With God’s help, I’ve done my part.

Prepared his way.

#lethimfly

Work and Life

I’m not working today, at least in not my paid position.

I’ll be welcoming travelers, refugees from the big storm, Irma.

I’ve planned it out, started last night.

The guest room comforter all fresh and clean, the bed the Labrador loves will need to be shared.

But, as soon as I’m done here in this morning spot, there will be more work done.

My sister and her family are evacuating here. My home is humble, but it will welcome them. My sweet, wise cousin said she wants to be with me because my house feels like Faith.

I really loved that thought.

So, in just a few, I’ll change from pajamas to work clothes and get going as planned, committed to finish by noon.

My prayer, the prayer of the quiet one, not so great at all things hospitable:

Lord, I pray you prepare my heart and from my heart flows nothing but love without reservation or expectation.

I meet needs everyday, or if I’m honest I just oversee the meeting of them. This is my job. Today, my work will be “home” work and opportunity to meet the need of family.

Giving, not receiving, the example of Jesus.

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”

‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭20:35‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Then, the mental list becomes to do:

Change linens

Vacuum sofas

Vacuum house (oh, the shedding of the Labrador!!!)

Clean bathrooms

Dust

Move dead plants from the pool

My house is humble with places of my heart all over it.

It is. I long for better sometimes, but then I work to be happy with my best.

Committed to my plan, I begin to prepare my place.

A refuge from storm, I pray, today.

And I do believe at the end of the day or in the midst of a storm, if my humble house is clean most anything is just a tiny bit better.

Linking up to write on the prompt of “work”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2017/09/07/five-minute-friday-link-up-work/

When I Listened

I found time to paint and with a chunk empty, I gave it to quiet distraction.

I took the apron from the nail on the wall and tied a loose bow around my waist.

Inundated with images of storms and ravaged places, I’d been hard on myself, “Is there something I could write, are there comforts I might provide here?”

But, I’ve nothing to add that might be worthy.

I’ve not weathered their storm.

For those who feel deeply, you’ll understand, how it was just so perplexing to me, to not connect with all the other “one anothers”.

I was systematic in my approach to canvas, tediously attentive to the grace I desired be displayed.

5 Angel Paintings, 5 hymns, one buyer of my art as Christmas gifts. I took my time, layering colors, blending over laid down with purpose lyrics.

And the girls, the slant of their shoulders, the sway of their gowns, the simplicity of their glances, I was resting with them, myself graced by the spreading of the paint and the perfecting of soft background.

Music playing, my Lauren Daigle station, all softness with a just a touch of James Taylor type folk.

It was a thoughtful time, my heart slowly responsive.

And then, a new song, and I decided quickly, oh…I know who needs this.

Listened to its telling the listener of her worth, of her value, her serenade…oh, realize you are loved.

Sat with this for a few, then sent it to a special someone.

Then, I second guessed my assumption of knowing her need and oh, my goodness why do I feel like it’s my job to lift the souls of everyone around me as if I of all people could possibly know the need of their own very soul?

But, the little bubble had the word “Delivered” underneath.

My head dropped to my lap and regret mixed with hope. Hope it’s taken as I meant.

Hope it’s okay.

Now, I’ll tell you what happened next if you promise you won’t think I’ve lost it, that I’m deeply and darkly sad or that I’m just way too deep.

Well, most likely you may already, oh well.

I’ll tell you because it was amazing.

I’ll tell you because I bet you’ve had extraordinary moments too, you just don’t share it with the world or a few curious and a few intrigued readers.

But, how might the world know? How might another soul find a similar song?

I listened again to the song, “Wonderfully Made” by Ellie Holcomb, mainly checking myself, and my like a “soul reader”, conclusion of her need of it’s word…and God’s

I sat with my 5 angel paintings awaiting deeper detail. My hands messy from blending and the desk a wreck of scattered tubes, brushes, pastels, pencils, pages of old hymns.

I’m messy. I am, I thought.

I listened.

It started soon and it started slow. My cheeks grew warm and then rivulets of tears fell, puddling just a second in the laugh line on either side of my lips and then slowly, slowly, easily, eventually sliding into the place I think is called clavicle.

Then, the song ended and I sat. No concern for being found in such a state or of my husband asking “What’s wrong?”

I would have said “Nothing.” and I would have meant it.

Simply taken by being taken to the place I needed to go, the place I needed to feel.

The song, well it’s beautiful in its message. I hope you listen. I hope it makes you cry.

I hope it causes you to know how beautifully, fearfully, wonderfully made you are despite your years, your days, your choices, your harms uninvited.

I hope you listen.

Wonderfully Made

I hope you cry when you believe the words to God’s song.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Oh, and little word changed to “Read”‘and then a reply of gratitude for my reaching out.

 

Linking up with Quietly Through today.  http://quietlyreminded.com/2017/09/07/hold-fast-quietly-thursday-link-14/

Enthuse Me to Believe

I started with the two chapters my guide led me to, then read to the end.

Because I knew the end would give me hope, I knew the ending would set things right or at least enthuse me to believe.

Can you list the things too wonderful for you to know?

I read this from the Book of Job and it never fails, I want to say,

“Could you possibly find a better word there, could you consider using “challenging” or “heart-breaking” or maybe even “shameful”?

Wouldn’t it make sense just to say “unfair” or things you carry on your back like a sack of bricks ’cause you’re confounded wondering “How could I have done better…obviously, it’s my fault that this has happened, please show me, God.” ?

But, “wonderful”?

Job chose to respond to God after losing everything, I mean e v e r y t h i n g,

with words that expressed his understanding of His power and well, that He is God.

I read of the astute men questioning Job, backing him into a corner like the tiny room interrogation of a mislead and mistaken kid caught up in a crime and not at fault.

Everyone looking for an admission of what Job might have done to bring this on himself.

Years ago, I wrote a piece about speculation following the suicide of a young person. Good mamas and daddies lost sons and I heard stories of what tales were being woven over the teen’s choice to die. People speculating the horrors hidden by a family as a way to be certain it might never show up on their doorstep.

Job just listened to those who accused, cornered and questioned him. There had to be some hidden sin, had to be a reason God would destroy the life of such a fine man.

Job’s friends found no answer, so they found him in the wrong, went their way.

Another “burned with anger” towards Job because he justified himself rather than God.

His family had long abandoned him, telling him to curse God and die.

Words like rebuke, contend, assert and condemn, the themes of the chapters describing the attempt of others to understand why God had chosen close to death hardship for Job.

Then, the Lord speaks to Job. He listens and everything is changed.

Forlorn, frustrated, filthy and weak, he listens to God reminding Him who He is.

“Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?

Can you send forth lightning strikes, that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are?'”

Job 38:34-35

And I visualize Job listening like a child, quietly enthralled by His Father’s presence.

I like to think how it would have been to have God finally speak, the awe, the relief, the absolute welcome of his “coming through” just in time.

I see Job changing, almost a dead man coming back to life, his face more softened and longing to hear more.

Like a parent saying I love you, let’s talk, let me remind you of some things about my love for you.

We will begin again.

I’m still here for you.

Then God asked Job a question, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?” Job 40:2

And Job answered, with just a few words.

“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.” vs. 4

God continues to uplift and strengthen Job, comparing him to a most massive animal.

Job listens still and then responds with a confession and repentance, words so splendid, I long to never forget them.

“Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭42:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Confession? Repentance? But, I thought Job was blameless, thought he was one of God’s chosen and most righteous.

Yes, but he wondered why.

He sat in wonder and was abandoned by, surrounded by others who wondered.

He never succumbed to denying God, he only questioned.

He wondered.

Then, gently he was reminded of his speck of dust part in God’s great and wonderful world.

Yes, I’m enthused to believe.

There are hard things, changes, decisions that make no sense and come like a hard and unexpected kick of your feet from under you.

Rock bottom.

I love that Job questioned his plight.

I love more that he understood his inability to understand and that He still believed in God.

Job was restored and the friends who turned their backs on him, they were forgiven and restored.

Job asked God to forgive them.

“And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job’s more than his beginning.”‘Job 42:12

He’s not finished with me yet.

I’m enthused to believe.

God is here for me.

For you.

I’m linking this post up at Tell His Story with others who write.

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A beautiful story with beautiful photos in a beautiful place that took a time to become beautiful!  I love this post that causes me to think of the ways I visualize perfection and miss all the little imperfections that over time are made perfectly complete. Lord, help me to see you are the grand designer, not me.

Read here: 

When Life Doesn’t Go According to Plan

And then, to discover the Featured Writer is Meghan Weyerbacher is well, just more than enough, especially when I read how she keeps facing that big ole mountain and it’s not moving, so she decides to take it down little chunks at a time and more than quite okay with her progress. Yes, I loved this piece. Meghan is an encourager. She reads my blog. Call me naive or not confidently “writerly”, but, that means the world to me!

This!  

You see, I had always pictured the verse Mark 11:23 to be like an instantaneous happening. Every now and again I feel like if I pray and a mountain doesn’t move, that I don’t have enough faith or what it takes to do what I truly believe God led me to do.  Meghan Weyerbacher

Resting Again

Tonight, I’m resting. Kinda had to after getting knocked down by out of nowhere, can barely move yucky sick.

So, I rested in bed, then rested in the country, couch, bed, couch and again, back home to bed.

Resting still. No idea where it came from, knocked me down, a phantom illness.

My cousin says the sky is bigger in the country. She believes it. I believe it.

Others don’t understand. I wonder though, why it is that I’m almost immediately able to breathe with more ease

When I’m surrounded by sky?

Friday, I was not well. Made it to work and left after an hour, barely able to drive.

I’d been noticing my health, eating right, proud of my progress, even saying prayers of thanks for my health.

But, I’d been pushing it mentally, sleep deprived and stressed over work worries and other unforeseen imagined things that might happen.

I didn’t think I’d been quite so stressed til I woke up and my body made me slow down. I even dreamed of being sick, of a crisis at work, of some other worry, can’t recall.

Friday was rough, but, I kept on moving… you’ll be better, just keep pushing.

So, I made my way to the country at sunset to dog sit. I just had to get there, that’s all, I said, won’t feel any better or worse there.

I sat on the porch under the chimes and the sky changed colors while the dogs got reacquainted.

Slept not well, dogs watching guard and this strange unwavering fatigue, I tossed all night. I suppose around 3:00 the dogs gave out and one plopped by the back door while the other climbed in bed.

Woke, missing sunrise, but thinking coffee and made my way to the kitchen in the big old house. Drank a sip, fell back into the covers and how I could sleep more, I have no idea. But, I dozed.

Woke again. Hopeful for feeling better.

Just a little, I did.

I warmed my coffee and found a cool breeze. Forgot my journal, so I just sat and felt the cool air on my face and slowly, slowly, careful for nausea not to return, I relaxed.

And I began to realize I’d been rushing ahead, feeling like a godly rush of what I’d decided a fervor, but a total disregard for where I might be headed.

I read a chapter from “She’s Still There” a book written by Chrystal Evans Hurst, a preacher’s daughter who got way off track…she talks about our “drifts” from the path we should be on, the path God has for us.

The way we get pulled off track and if aren’t careful might not notice and have to be shown.

This morning her words rang true because I believe I’d forgotten to notice how my striving was wearing me out, my soul had become weary and my body finally caught up.

Pay attention to the beauty of your soul and the pulse of your existence. Chrystal Evans Hurst

So, I rested all day and am now still.

I stopped in my tracks about 36 hours ago. My feet could barely carry my weight, my voice was hushed and raspy, my heart pounding as I lie in bed waiting for wave of illness to pass.

And I prayed it would pass quickly.

But, it hasn’t completely.

Not yet.

I’m resting still, about to sleep some more and I have lots to do tomorrow, so I pray I wake all fresh and new.

But, if I don’t I’ll know I’m not ready.

I’ll know I need more time, more time to let my heart beat more softly and my soul be more certain. I’ll understand more clearly why I got hit like a freight train when I didn’t have the sense to watch for the collision.

The verse I call my life verse is soft and sure. It’s about being quietly confident.

But, you might never have read the verse that follows. It’s something we do sometimes, find a pretty promise or an assurance of grace and we don’t notice the other part, the words that cause conviction, the words that teach us hard lessons much needed.

Isaiah 30 is about a rebellious people, people running from a life of following God, maybe people growing weary, perhaps distracting themselves with effort but no faith…so they became disenchanted, left their quiet confidence and fled.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it. You said, ‘No, we will get our help from Egypt. They will give us swift horses for riding into battle.’ But the only swiftness you are going to see is the swiftness of your enemies chasing you!”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’ve been rushing maybe. I’m the only who’d know, not an outward rush, an internal constant chastisement of self over not enough, pressure to be more and to feel more content while doing it.

Nothing good comes by force. Nor from running away on the swift horse named regret for what hasn’t been yet.

I found grace this weekend again. I remembered God longs to be gracious to me and in the wide open space of the place I call “Pretty Place”

I had no more fight, no fervor, and I found my pace, the pace of grace.

No demand other than rest and I surrendered to my body and soul fatigue to find Him there waiting for me to rest again.

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Again, I rest.