Surface Things

anxiety, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, grace, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom

The older I grow, the more I know smaller things matter most of all.

A quilt your grandma made, a way of prayer that waits instead of begging and a sense of listening only age can grant you.

It’s no secret, I love words and I pay attention to their timing. I write first thought prayers every day.

Today, I thought of sorrow.

A word describing the emotion of heavy grief, loss, regret or dismay.

But, it wasn’t that way, felt softer like another favorite, “melancholy”.

I remembered a time a confident colleague challenged my assertion

“Everyone has a secret sorrow.”

He answered with, “Not me, I had no hardship or regrets at all.”

It puzzled me. I suppose it’s possible.

Not for most of us. Most of us long for different stories, past and present.

I believe it’s good to say so.

To those you love and trust or maybe a safe and objectively trained professional.

Or just a prayer.

Father, I surrender my sorrow. I will walk with my head lifted and my feet steady in your protection, your provision and the fulfilled promise of the redemption and unrelenting grace I know.

Amen

Secret or spoken sorrows become hope and healed joys when we believe it can be so.

What surfaces when you allow yourself to sit a minute in your thoughts?

Surrender what surfaces. We have a God who listens to our private prayers, whether sorrow or song.

Continue and believe.

Your needs are known.

Rather Resilient

Abuse Survivor, anxiety, confidence, contentment, courage, fear, hope, memoir, Redemption, Vulnerability, wonder

Behind the grill, in the corner there’s a collection of leaves, dirt, dust and a moth or two.

I paused this morning to see the sky. The air fixated, it seemed on one leaf. Brittle fern fronds on the floor like rose petals left for a lover and the one leaf, edges upturned and a little bigger than the others,

Sort of shimmering.

I know it’s strange, to be fascinated by a dried up leaf on a sleepy Saturday morning.

Was it healthy or close to decay? Was there a notice of it over the others that caused it to be the lonely one taking in the breeze

While the others were still?

Had given in to decay.

I turn 62 next week.

There are unforeseen health things.

All in a matter of a couple of weeks. There’s the dental stuff that triggers childhood shame. There’s the inflamed knee that pains me and odd or maybe not, I’m unable to kneel to pray.

There’s the diagnosis of high blood pressure that I’m disputing, watching and waiting.

Because I think it’s anxiety.

There’s all this stuff that points to aging and old things and to the trauma of losing parents before they were old.

Someone I love told me of an emergency room visit and how it triggered her. I told her “no wonder” and asked how she recovered.

She told me it was just a few days ago. She’s getting better.

And not by crazy shaming of self “get it together” because

It’s not the same and that was so long ago.

Instead, by accepting her emotions and not shaming herself about them.

Letting the sorrow and fear revisit and then go their way.

This is now.

You are here. This felt like that, but it isn’t.

All the leaves have now been swept away together. The resilient one mixed in with the ones unbothered by the wind are in the yard with the pine straw and mulch.

Strange that I’d notice a crinkled leaf first thing.

Or not strange at all.

Rather,

resilient.

Here Now

Abuse Survivor, anxiety, contentment, courage, memoir, Redemption, Stillness, surrender, traumatriggers, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
Keep Walking On

I pulled the brittle brown fronds from the weary looking ferns in the heavy heat of the day.

I’d watered the hydrangeas that bloomed rich cobalt blue last summer, but not so this season. I paused and looked out at the open field of green grass that was a sandy field last year. I couldn’t hear what she was saying but it seemed my granddaughter was instructing the dog “Eli” in some sort of life lesson.

And a thought came to me about me.

This season will soon be past, this Fall you’re gonna see its worth and it’s going to feel like an end to your grieving.

The thought seemed important, the timing of it unexpected, but welcomed.

I’m weary of myself. I think it’s time to acknowledge, I am here. This is now. I am not there or back then.

I am here.

Yesterday, God had me thinking about the man who couldn’t walk for 38 years and couldn’t get in the water to be healed. Today, I woke thinking of this healing after a night with a crazy/heavy dream…a dream that caused me to wonder (again) why “those things” happened to me.

“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Just because I’m curious, I always want to know things like…well, once he walked after all that time did he think he might be a cripple again or like the woman bent over with a disability or the woman with the flow of blood for so many years…did they ask Jesus…why’d you allow this horrible thing in the first place and why’d you let it handicap me for so long?

These questions are nowhere (at least I haven’t found them) in my Bible.

Maybe the reason is simple, these questions are not beneficial to our strength and sanctification.

Maybe it’s that God knows we waste the purpose and value of our redemption when we gaze at our damaged places so much more than our deliverance.

When we think of our deliverance instead of God’s delay, we can live out our own healing and that healing offers hope to others…it never hinders their believing in that very same hope for themselves.

God is changing me here, sometimes it feels like I’m kicking and screaming in a gentle sulky rebellion; but, it’s a change that’s needed, a change that forgets the former and believes in the truth of promised new things.

One last thought, it’s not easy to stop focusing on your self in a time and culture that promotes self-obsession, self-promotion to be the best, and for me, self-absorption with the ever looming “why me?”

You are here. That was then. You’re not there.

Continue and believe.

A Faithful Hope

anxiety, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, Peace, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

Hold on.

This wilted one bloom rose met me as I waited patiently.

A remnant.

Were they coming? Was I wrong?

Did they decide against meeting?

Would I be wounded by naivety again?

Not a soul in sight, I spotted this rose and I knew all was well.

All will be well.

Trust.

Hold on.

A wilted and woeful rose, dry from drought.

I call it “noticing God” because that’s what it is.

I notice.

I’m noticed by God.

Trust is near. Patience is the way.

Peace is God’s purpose.

The peace found in waiting, artwork exchanged, words of faith shared, eyes met in conversation, bright in our individual and yet the very same hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe.

Our God is faithful.

Looking For Day

anxiety, beach, birds, contentment, courage, family, hope, Peace, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

Windows without screens were raised in the dark. No breeze through the night, only murmurs of others and the occasional firefly spark.

Someone had an accident, downed a power pole they say fueled the entire island.

Streets welcomed walkers, children giggled and competed on their bicycles. We joined the porch sitters who hoped it wouldn’t take long.

All night long was powerless, no covers, nothing but time for intermittent prayers and mind wondering worries, sleeping in our undies with the door open.

Morning began with the chatter of insects, birds, other sounds I had no idea signaled the morning to wake up.

I tiptoed through the beach house and decided to go, to go find the new day, the sea and birds.

And they came and kept coming, their flight like a dance and a song.

God’s hands on the harp, the long and low strokes causing melody and chorus.

Rhythm.

The lifting of the wings, the beaks straight and strong, the dipping down and the floating back up

Crescendo.

And I, with no charge on my phone for more photos, making it 10,001.

But, these and this came before

Saying, sit and rest.

The show is not yet done.

The morning after the blackout night, windows open and a mind that refused to be quiet.

The electricity returned before morning and rather than sleep I went looking for God, looking for day.

I believe I will again tomorrow.

Sit in the awe and wonder, listen to God.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”
‭‭Psalm ‬ ‭5:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Where’s Peace?

anxiety, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

The ceiling fan is whirring, kitten calm and purring. Sounds from down the hall tell me my husband is stirring.

I’ve just been reading about hope and twirling my feet in circles, a quiet quirky habit.

Stopping by a friend’s home last week, she mentioned her husband’s in the bedroom watching the news. I stopped myself before saying, “Tell him to stop watching the news.”

Seconds later he came down the hallway, disheveled and dazed. I thought, “See, told ya so.”

I didn’t.

Maybe he was actually napping, lulled into drowsiness by the incessant woeful, panicked argumentative banter.

How, I can’t imagine.

“Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭116:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Because there’s a stirring up all around us, a critical chatter and a dull humming dread.

It’s a choice to decide on different.

To know our souls must rest.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭15:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I hope you rest today, tomorrow and the next.

I hope you care for your soul.

Linking up with other writers, prompted by the word “stir”.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2022/06/09/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-stir/

Listening

anxiety, Children, contentment, coronavirus, courage, Faith, Redemption, Trust, wisdom

Rain is swooshing, sloshy sideways. The dark cloud wasn’t far away or pretending.

All of a sudden it’s pouring.

I leave my frantic cleaning for the back porch.

This world, our country is really getting worse, I decided loading my groceries.

$9.00 for granola bars and $10 for Kuerig coffee. Big deal money men are making formula and if I read this right, telling mothers who had CoVid not to breastfeed.

Pulled out of Food Lion and told myself to stop listening, stop listening to the fear, the invitation to join the dismal conversations.

Stop listening again.

Listen to a toddler napping, snoring, breathing after a make believe train ride followed by a walk so free her shoe flew into the air!

And she said, “doggone it” and “let it be” and we left them in the dirt and I sang and she echoed

“Don’t worry about a thing…every little thing is gonna be alright.”

Because I stumped my toe in the kitchen fixin’ lunch and she paused her singing to comfort me

“It’s okay.” ELB

So, I let the Windex wait because the knockout roses are catching puddles and leaning into the not yet summer rain.

I’m listening.

Untainted things.

I ain’t listening to fear.

Continue and believe.

I will too.

The Calming

anxiety, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, love, memoir, patience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

The morning fooled me with its horizon.

Thick clouds bordered the pine tops like hills, like in the mountains.

Crescent moon to my left.

I remembered smiling, remembered the now distant idea, “Look at the moon, precious child. It’s called a crescent. It reminds me of your smile.”

The idea still near, I drive into Monday.

Radio boring, and podcast unnerving because of the cadence and tone in the guest’s voice.

Found a second episode and found the same. A conversation on attention and I couldn’t focus because of the speed of the exchange, the “chirpiness” in the voices.

Was the listening speed wrong in my app?

No, it’s me. I’m afraid I’m a bit particular about voices, quick to silence those that are pushy, perky or peppy.

Maybe it’s a southern thing.

Maybe simply timing.

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
‭‭Esther‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Last week in the same number of days, I was told three times by a trio of different people, one a total stranger.

“You are calming.”

“Have you been on the radio? Your voice is so calming” and “Talking to you calms me.”

A friend, a former colleague who’s an executive and a young stranger.

This morning I noticed the coming day coming slowly as if the earth had decided to stay under the soft covers.

No sound now, music or podcast wisdom.

I enter Monday with full attention as I pause for the passing family of careful deer.

I feel the weight shifting as I turn, the road narrow with a picture perfect view.

I am quiet, quiet as Monday morning mostly sleeping.

I’m calm. I’m easy.

I’m hearing my voice again, patiently waiting my turn to use it.

“Prayer and patience…prayer and patience.” Aunt Boo

Even Fear

anxiety, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

You are able, God, to redeem every fear, the unspoken ones, the ones that include mystery, the ones we say we don’t have, but we surely do. The ones that threaten you at the depth of your core, the ones thought of silently that suddenly make sense. The ones we should sit with for a bit and write our Father a note.

Maybe you just say “Help.” or even say “Help me here, now the reason for this fear makes sense.”

The ones you decide to have the courage to believe are redeemable based on how much your loving Father has already redeemed, the ones that lead to the extending of your heart and hand to ask “Lift me up again, Father.”

What are you afraid of? Don’t believe it can’t be understood and then for your good.

“Unless the Lord had given me help, I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death. When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭94:17-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Understand Me

Abuse Survivor, anxiety, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability
Almost There

Here’s a real life story about anxiety for so many who don’t “get it” and a revelation that that’s okay because “you understand me, God. You understand me.” (Passion Music, “Bigger Than I Thought You Were”.)

Early morning darkness only illuminated the garage and I wondered what made the motion that led to the light. An animal, a person, a man?

I tapped the wrong button and I locked the truck three times before I heard the open click. My husband’s prized truck, my transportation for the day. Hoisted myself up to the seat and saw the light flashing “oil change needed” which reminded me to take off the brake.

Couldn’t find the pedal on the floorboard and instead found the lever to “pop” the hood, then turned to jump from the truck and felt my left side move with a tease of vertigo.

Carefully, quietly as I could, I opened and then closed the hood. Then, I sat in the driver’s seat wondering where the brake release was located. Switched on every light and guessed on the one beneath the steering wheel. Success!

I left the driveway for the empty road and determined myself to not be angry, stressed or feel stupid.

But, the highway was busy, cars and trucks headed to industry or interstate flashed their brightly lit eyes at me in a hovering and then sweeping by me stare.

The windshield had fogged, continued to fog as I found defrost and then, panic again and a weight on my chest as I couldn’t figure out the wipers.

But, I continued. I drove on.

I took my deep faith in fear out breaths and it got better, the panic in my chest, the anxiety locking up my breath.

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy. Psalm 94: 19

I thought to tell my daughter, but didn’t. No need to have her busy morning challenged by the perplexity of her mama.

Rehearsed telling my husband later, but decided no use.

He doesn’t understand anxiety, hates it for me, but doesn’t understand it really.

The windshield cleared, I had the country road to myself, quiet because the radio was another challenge, and I got there in plenty of time to see a toddler already smiling on her mama’s bed.

Peace was there.

“It’s foggy, but so beautiful this morning.” I told my daughter.

Peace of all is and was okay.

Will be always.

Peace was with me all day yesterday and will be today.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

You understand me, God.

Linking up with other writers here:

Five Minute Friday