The room, the little corner behind the sofa where she sews and sits was spiritual, the window towards the water, a warm aura.
The pauses between her words.
“Comfort” “Special” “This is special.”
“Oh, Lisa, these colors.”
I just listened, smiled, watched her hands turn the pages, fingers starting on the corner edges to move slowly down before turning.
I heard her soft sighs.
My aunt, the one known for the phrase “prayer and patience”, was moved by my book, “Look at the Birds”. It was a different response than I expected.
God with us in the room.
A study I’m doing on freedom prompted a thought last week, a question,
“Think back to a time when, because of a family member or friend, you felt seen and known…and truly loved.” In Touch Ministries, Freedom Guidebook.
I added my answer.
“Her hands on the pages felt as if she was caressing me. Her love for who I had become and seeing her being moved by what I was able to do, as if to say, I’ve been watching, praying, loving and now I see you becoming who I knew you were made to be.”
“Aunt Boo” the verbal and physical expression of God’s affirmation.
A children’s book written to help others know their value is just one of the many little things that is changing me.
I pray changing others.
2 year old Elizabeth does this thing now of let’s put all the babies and bunnies and blankets on the floor. “Lay down, Grandma, lay down.” and the fixing of covers and “babies” becomes a distraction from napping. She held “Look at the Birds” today. We didn’t read it. (No way, that might lead to napping). But, she turned the pages and still loves the hawk most of all.
Lots of people think I wrote this book for Elizabeth. It’s just not so. I’m happy she’ll know her grandma wrote a book. But, this book is for all children and babies. It’s my hope every little hand that holds it and listens to “you are worth more” will never ever forget that truth.
Yesterday, I got a message. A child in foster care carried this book to their new home. I pray it’s read often to him by someone. I don’t know this child. I know the special person who gave him a book.
I worry I’m not so good at this book marketing, spreading the message/promotion.
I promise, the knowing I had a part in helping a little boy in foster care believe he is loved.
It is enough, more than.
(The book is available in lots of places. Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Target,Walmart and my website, http://lisaannetindal.me )
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV
I hope my hope keeps growing.
I hope others see hope in me, my book, my words, my art.
The subject line in the email was “I Wrote a Book”, and I attached a bio with background, art and a few words expressing I hoped the recipient and her family are well.
I’m remembering now my first years working with homeless families. She was our emcee and it was one of best fundraisers in history. Her beauty, poise and sincerity added to the success.
Over the years, she remained engaged with our agency and I had many opportunities to talk about tough things on her show.
This would be different. I “go by Grandma” now.
The morning of the Skype call, I moved slowly towards the time, I arranged the room and realized there’d be a toddler nearby. I thought of canceling. Instead, we talked about it, my granddaughter and I.
I moved her coloring pad and crayons to her parents’ bathroom. I changed from my uniform (exercise leggings and T-shirt) to a blouse in my daughter’s closet.
My granddaughter stood beside me as I curled my hair and then added mascara, blush, etc.
The interview began and she played with her “babies” close by.
I was worried about Skype, about the wrinkles on my neck, about my hair because my daughter had no hairspray, about talking too fast or too slow, or too much.
And some of these things are evident in the interview.
More evident though, is the graciousness of Jennie Montgomery, the peace God gave me, the joy over art and more than anything at all.
The surprise of my own voice as I spoke clearly of being loved by God.
The legacy I hope this book leaves, Lisa Anne Tindal is both strong and vulnerable,
It’s become the norm for me to wake with a lyric or a verse. I know the song and it sets my tone. I open my Bible app and search for the verse if other thoughts don’t get me off course.
The promise of today is bright sunshine and the Labrador returns with the ball jammed into his cheek. I step outside and decide just a couple of tosses. It’s still too cold, early Friday morning.
He’s satisfied and so am I. I turn to go inside, my feet numb from the cold hard ground and I see the beauty of what seems to be an overnight changing to green.
I find myself wondering if God is aware. Of my waking on a Friday morning after sleeping hard from unacknowledged exhaustion.
Did God know I’d wake up with the words to a song by J.J. Heller, “You Already Know”? (Yes, I adore her.) Did God know I’d be standing barefoot and I’d listen to Him reminding me of the dangers of comparison?
Does God know how many blades of grass surround my feet? Is he aware of every rain drenched fallen camellia? I believe so.
“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:30-31 ESV
We are important to God. Courage and trust are the evidence of our embracing this as belief.
Hagar, a pregnant mistress in the Old Testament, used by others to fulfill a longing, felt abandoned, rejected, unnecessary. She longed to escape the bitter condemnation of Sarah. She fled into the wilderness.
God met her there. He pointed out the water she’d been thirsting for.
I wondered this morning if she’d been standing near the flow of water and couldn’t hear it or if she’d become so worried, afraid, confused and maybe angry over how her life’s direction had pointed towards self-destruction, that she couldn’t see the provision of God waiting there.
So, God pointed it out. She was changed by seeing that she’d been seen herself.
“So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.”” Genesis 16:13 ESV
In a few weeks, a children’s book illustrated and written by me will be available. I may have chances to share its backstory, a story I only recently realized but God already knew.
“Look At The Birds” is a book born of talks with my granddaughter about birds and talks between God and me about worry, worth and trust.
It’s a book with a mission of helping children understand their value is determined by Jesus and no one or no place else.
It’s a message God longed for me, the wife, the mother, grandmother, the author, the artist, to begin to finally embrace.