How Much We Need

“ …there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I would stand close by and wait, watch and contribute as I was told.

My mama, in her kitchen, I watched as she prepped the meat for the main meal to add a pound cake for later.

In the intervals of ingredients, she rarely gave a measure.

She’d answer with “that’s enough” or “a little more”.

Rarely did she let me add too much. She knew that wound spoil it all. The flour would be mixed with the sugar. It would be impossible to separate the two.

We would have to start over.

In all my years of helping bake cake, that was never the case.

The measure of the two ingredients was always enough to take the next step, to add in the eggs one at a time and the butter.

The cake came out right. Consistently moist with the sweet thick light brown crust.

This morning I made a list of three things I’d like to believe without interruption, three things that would never go away, be not enough.

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

  1. Self-control
  2. Belief in possibility
  3. Assurance of God’s love

Someone may be reading this and asking how is it that she doesn’t know these things?

I sat just now and countered each need with truth. Because see, in this world we live in the stuff that gets mixed in gets us mixed up.

Self-control is my decision. Every decision begins with a thought. God’s spirit will be my guide.

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT

All things are possible. This truth is for me. It is God’s desire that I allow my heart, not my mind, to lead.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s love is immeasurable. It is unwavering.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I told someone yesterday I’ve been dreaming about my mama. I told her I think it’s because my daughter’s about to have a baby. She smiled and added she thinks that’s so sweet. I told her she’d understand one day, for her I hope it’s not soon.

Longing is immeasurable. Memories are a beautiful thing. God made me to remember us in the kitchen and her famous pound cake.

And he led me to consider the comfort of having enough.

Not too much.

He led me as if my mama and He had been in intimate conversation and they both decided.

Look now, she’s about to give in. She’s about to be pitiful again. She’s about to let doubt ruin the batter, she’s leaning closely towards throwing out the good ingredients and deciding she might never bake a good cake, create a story or a painting again!

Can I tell you one thing for sure?

He knows. He knows our tendencies and stands close by saying, let’s don’t go that way again.

I’m rising now from my morning spot on a day I am calling “sick” and I will get busy with the good things God has started in me and then I’ll go and try my best to get the ingredients for my mama’s unwritten recipe.

I have a cake to bake!

Thank you Jesus and mama, for teaching me.

Continue and believe.

I’m afraid I never follow the five minute rule. Still, I appreciate the prompt, so I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “measure”.

Measure

Wounded and Believing

Thank you, Jesus

There’s a sliver of a wound on the inside of my index finger.

Rather than take the clear path only a few steps away I stepped towards the corner.

Took the risky way, the rebellious path.

Awaiting the New

The asparagus fern from last summer had been put away, covered in pine straw, protected.

From a distance, I saw vibrant green peeking through.

I am impatient for the new season.

So, I squeezed up next to the porch and gingerly pushed about the branches of not yet blooming roses.

Then left the fern, after all, it may be too early, we’ve not yet had the “Easter snap”.

I looked down and saw the stream of deep dark red and felt the sting of the injury from the thorn that caused me to be cornered.

I paused to dab my finger against my shirt, only temporarily stopping the flow.

I continued on my mission, needing to get my pansies into the dirt.

Rain was forecasted, I needed them ready and waiting for the pour down from heaven.

Beautiful Belief

The blood continued to flow from the place the thorn broke the skin, now all mottled with black soil.

It was the dirt after all that stopped the bleeding. Dirt crammed beneath my nails and clogging up the gash of my finger’s wound.

I thought of Jesus.

Thought of how so often I am hesitant to speak His name in public. Thought of expressions like

Less Lisa, More Jesus

Thought of the power of the sound of His name and how I keep it to myself as if the magnitude of His name might upset our rooms.

Sometimes I only hint at the reality of Jesus.

Deciding others will find out on their own.

As if accidentally maybe perhaps or hope so

Someone will just know that we know Him and maybe ask if it is so and hey, tell me why I should know the one you know…

(Sermon to self here. Please just know.)

I thought of the thorns they placed on His head in a sarcastic cynical crown.

I thought of how eventually his blood became mixed in with his sweat, the grime of his sacrifice, the mixture of it all.

Love and death.

For me.

For us all.

I thought last night about this love I am not required to earn.

Thought about Jesus fulfilling God’s purpose, Jesus obeying the Father, a sinless obedient Son.

I am thinking now of the miracle of me, the miracles I have seen, the ones I’ve yet to see.

The ones that I will never know.

That are yours! Not mine to see.

Way too many to comprehend.

Jesus let Thomas put his hand in the place where the spear cut open His side. Told him he was blessed because he believed.

Added how significant it is not to see and yet, believe.

The measures Jesus took and takes to get us to believe are simply too much to me!

Too much to fathom why sometimes I don’t believe.

And yet, like Thomas.

He is still there for me.

Still telling me,

Peace be with you. John 20:26  Believe.

The Book of John ends with a beautiful thought, the truth of the ever astounding and amazing love of Jesus.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

‭‭John‬ ‭21:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I understand. Yesterday, I thought of all my journals, all my haphazard prayers, intentional supplications, and all the countless recoveries and redemptive interventions Jesus has brought to my life.

I believe in Jesus, not because I’m educated in this way.

I believe because of all He has shown me because of my believing.

Like Thomas and the others, I believe because he gave me chance after chance to see.

The little slice of the wound from the thorn is still open today. Soon, it will be closed over, no sting or tinged color of pale red. Soon, the insignificant wound will be healed.

I’m thankful for the sharp thorn, the red flow that lingered.

To be reminded of believing.

To be less attentive to my wounds and more open to you.

Linking up with Mary Geisen and others at Tell His Story:

The Walk to the Cross

Me Before

There was no inkling of me then.

At least not to anyone other than my Heavenly Father.

Who, if you believe in things like fearfully and wonderfully made and a purpose and plan.

God already knew of me before any other knowing was possible.

God knew I’d be different than most, that I’d love words and their expression and that sometimes others might not know what to make of me and so they might describe me jokingly.

It’s odd to be so quiet and at the same time feel so very different, so different that your difference doesn’t go unnoticed.

Sometimes you’re awkwardly called out.

The bane of your introversion.

Notice.

A very long time ago, this place where I walk, a trail encircling what is now a subdivision, was covered in beach, in sand.

I heard this in a historical account of my town, our community.

I walked this evening.

My steps had intent.

Outrun the mood before the mood takes you over, runs you down, knocks you off your feet.

I was tired. Had too much sugar and not enough sleep.

Walk it out, I told myself before the miserable mood walks all over you.

I had a good pace and then saw in the bramble and brush, a tiny little bloom, a blossom bursting through.

Solitary on the dead leaves, seemingly distant from branch or vine.

The bloom before the berries.

The promise before the fruit.

I continued on, self-talk declaring.

The rest of your life is yet to be seen.

Your bloom is just about to break through the cold decay of your ground.

The ground that bordered the sea before anyone other than God knew what beauty you are meant to see.

That same ground is just about to sprout bright bloom, the flowering, the growth,

the plan for good not bad.

Me before is

Not

Me now.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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