Believe

Christmas, confidence, contentment, doubt, Faith, mercy, Prayer, Salvation, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
Questions and Beliefs

Can this be the Christ?
John 4:29

I sang “O Holy Night” from memory, listening to those around me.

I sometimes wonder even in a setting surrounded by believers, how the miracle of Jesus could be so, if I’ll ever truly understand the complexities of the Trinity and how in the world there could be such immeasurably undeserved grace that I’ve been given, been shown, keep receiving.

In contrast, I wonder things like why my children had to be grandparentless so young. Why bad things like fatal accidents happen around Christmas, why the threat of violence and fear feel so palpable in our day.

I understand. This is earth not heaven and I know God has and had a plan for my parents I can’t yet fully understand.

Still, contemplating life with question draws me closer to steadfast faith. The woman at the well stood next to Jesus, Jesus who knew all her secrets and sins and yet offered her himself for a new way to live.

She walked away wondering “How could it be?” and shared with all the townspeople who then decided for themselves…it must be so! I, too choose belief.

We don’t always understand. Often, we won’t ever. But, choosing to believe in the one who hears and responds to my prayers, often in big ways, more often small, is the way to believing even more.

““For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Merry Christmas. May your questions always lead you back to believing what is humanly unbelievable.

Believe in Jesus, the baby, the boy, the man amongst men, women, and children. God’s Son, our Savior because of underserved crucifixion and a glorious resurrection.

Jesus, who is seated next to God, the Father and is seeing me, sitting on a quiet Christmas morning and typing words about Him, maybe saying…see, she’s growing. She’s believing more and more.
She knows she’s fully known and loved.

She believes in Jesus.

Continue and believe.
Merry Christmas!

Grace, Even More

Christmas, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, Holy Spirit, hope, memoir, Peace, Salvation, Stillness, wonder

There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Let Him in.

Flipping through the pages of this worn book, I’ve been anticipating today. Before it was December 24th, my thoughts have been on this one verse.

There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

There was no place for Jesus to be welcomed, no place that could have possibly made space for him, Mary and Joseph. So, they walked on until they found an obscure place that would be suitable. Although no one would take them in, Jesus was born and Mary sat and pondered the majesty of it all.

Nothing could stop God’s plan, no earthly inconvenience or obstacle.

I think of “no room in the inn” as a metaphor for the busyness of life, the inconvenience of accommodating Jesus. That may sound harsh, but I believe it can be true. As hard as we try, we fill our schedules and our spaces until we don’t have space for our Lord and Savior.

There was no room for them in the inn.

Yet, he came and he continues to come, born in us as we continue to believe into our being born again

Or maybe you decide to let him in brand new today. Ask for his nearness. Believe he is God’s son who died for you. Confess your sin, the truth that you’re not able on your own.

Let him in.

He giveth more grace, astounding unmerited favor.

On this Christmas Eve as day turns to dusk and then clear starry night, give God room. Let his peace live in you.

Merry Christmas all!

He giveth more grace. Grace to those who refused space to a young woman pregnant and weary, she and baby’s father.

Grace was given those thousands of years ago as Jesus came and they with all the others, the innkeepers, the shepherds, the scholars, the wives and children saw Him, Immanuel.

With them, with us.

Surely, many believed firsthand in this grace, this light of the world.

Maybe some did not.

May it not be so with you.

Selah.

Tender Mercies

Advent, Christmas, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, grace, hope, mercy, Peace, praise, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, surrender, Truth, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

Because of the tender mercy of our God…

Luke 1:78

I didn’t realize it at the time, but yesterday on a couple of occasions, I felt God seeing me. I felt Him near. The veil between earth and heaven was translucently thin.

In my car, with a list of places to deliver art and calendars, in between being among hurried and intent on shopping people, a playlist emerged. Songs I hadn’t heard before both caused me to pray and to praise. A deep connectedness to God’s spirit within me, led to warm tears and others to a lifted open hand.

No wonder, I’ve been resting with the words, “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask you to stay.”

My favorite people in the Bible are the vulnerable and uncertain ones. I’m drawn to Job. I’m strengthened by David. I adore Martha and can relate to Jonah. Thomas, the one who needed proof and wasn’t afraid to admit it. I love the ones who wondered.

“Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:29‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Who believe and cling to times when their belief was solidified, made tangible evidence.

The Lord is near.

Believe. Accept the freedom of a sweeter commitment, the language of the heart, not rational.

Heavenly.

Lord, I believe.

I believe in your tender mercies.

In moments so tender,

So tender, a hand on mine, a strong hug.

Love so true, a touch of your hand in mine.

A Forward Looking Calendar, The Promises of God

Art, artist calendar, calendar, Christmas, confidence, courage, Faith, freedom, hope, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, testimony

I sketched a woman with a thoughtful gaze and a posture of certainty. Soon after, I added abstract shapes, soft colors and scattered words.

With ease and my normal messy pace, I added twelve watercolor sketches, deciding this is the 2022 calendar.

The calendar is 11×17 on high quality matte paper. The artwork is sized for later framing. It can be hung on a wall or positioned in an easel for your desk or counter.

You can purchase the calendar here. Use the promo code, 2022CALENDAR for a big discount on 5 or more!

Purchase your calendar here!

Nearer This Year

Christmas, contentment, Faith, hope, Peace, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder

“So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises!”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭TPT‬‬

More than one person has agreed with me, “I’m putting up my Christmas tree early this year.”

Like the leaves changing and popping out brilliant colors, Winter comes and with it, Christmas.

With Christmas, hope.

Witt hope, peace on earth, in our homes.

Hope anyway and always.

Draws us nearer to Jesus in the quiet place of hoping for better, intentionally making the holidays more about God’s gift to us than whether we’ll have gifts for others.

So, maybe decorate early. Sit in the silent evening. Consider your tree as you remember the rugged cross.


“Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.” Fannie Crosby

Happy Sunday.

Continue and believe.

Being Unknown

Advent, Art, bravery, Christmas, confidence, courage, Faith, fear, grace, hope, Prayer, rest, Vulnerability, writing

“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Barely awake, I opened my email account. Scrolled past random messages from people, groups, companies I don’t know.

Rather than swiping to delete, I took a bolder step. I unsubscribed. Many of these emails are about writing, about platform, about getting published. They land in my inbox with the greeting of either “Lisa” or “friend”.

Naively, I once thought they were interested in me, my writing, my ideas.

Because, I’m a combination of starry eyed optimist and strategic thinker.

I’ve always believed if I follow the guide, if I understand the steps, the result will be whatever I pursue.

It’s just not the case and it’s disheartening to hope that a stranger who I gave my email address is going to guide me, be my advocate.

So, not with bitterness or any bad feelings towards these groups, I unsubscribed.

I’m going into seeking to be a published author sort of hiatus.

I’m gonna let my writing hopes get the underground growth in the roots of my ideas. I’m gonna pray more than voraciously read experts’ steps. I’m not shredding my draft or proposal nor my hopes.

Just letting them breathe on their own for just a bit.

Because it’s not rejection that I fear as much as before, it’s the striving to be noticed, to see results of my effort, to stand in Target beaming with my book in my hand in a selfie for Instagram.

Yeah, that’s why I’m letting it rest.

I’ve thrown the dice of my idea towards a few agents and publishers.

For now, I’m loving smaller ideas. Being influential in the lives of others albeit in obscurity in terms of what some of these now unsubscribed emails promised me.

Because, early this morning I got this message from a friend:

“I hope you understand how people see, respect and admire you.” Ray V.

I replied “Thank you.” thinking this is enough for now, more than enough.

Then I thought of coming Christmas and just like that, an idea, Advent prayer cards for either Christmas decorations, gifts, or for thoughtful meditation.

I sketched a pear, added the number 7 and referred to my Advent tradition book, “Waiting Here for You, An Advent Journey of Hope” by Louie Giglio. I saw that Day 7 asks us to consider the value of giving rather than receiving.

Found the photo of my granddaughter’s first Christmas and said to myself, these are things of great significance, waiting quietly rather than striving and offering what I can to others in hopes they do the same.

Please comment if you’d be interested in an Advent Set of illustrated cards. I need to know if there’s interest in my idea or just another of my many ideas. Cost will be under $20. If you’d like to view other art, visit here http://lisaannetindal.me

Love, Said the Sky

Abuse Survivor, birds, Christmas, confidence, contentment, Faith, family, freedom, memoir, mercy, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“We will enhance your beauty, encircling you with our golden reins of love. You will be marked with our redeeming grace.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Pink Embrace

I returned to a book in the Bible yesterday, read all eight chapters of the odd one, the complex one I avoided, the one that confused and confuses, the one that felt oddly sexual and therefore, made me feel dirty, caused me to withdraw, decide it didn’t belong.

The timing of the reading was brought on by something unintentional. I’d been scurrying around, doing busy Christmas things, avoiding the onslaught of bad news and stuffing down my frustration over Christmas not being the way it should.

For no real reason I began to wonder how many of us really believe God loves us, not in an occasional way when a song makes it seem so or in the touch of a loved one, the smile of a baby, the surprise of a special gift?

My sister in law gave me a present wrapped in thick paper sprinkled with holly berries. We weren’t supposed to exchange I told her, just the crazy “white elephant” thing, that was the plan.

I looked across the room at her, the distance of the living room rug and she said,

“Your mama told me to get you that.” And our eyes met, both puddled and the room went silent.

Inside a box, a cream colored canister adorned with a “red bird”, a cardinal.

She added, “because of your book.”

Two days later, I’m recalling my waking thoughts. I wondered how often my thoughts of God’s thoughts lean more towards correction, self-loathing, self-condemnation and whether I believe the ugly of me more often than His love.

Whether I believe God thinks these ways of me too.

I wondered again how many of us really believe we are loved, are longed for by God.

“It is you I long for, with no veil between us!”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭TPT‬‬

In comparing the two, how much of our thoughts are devoted to measuring up, second guessing our pasts, taking inventory of our wrongs or not yet good enoughs?

What amount of our time and thought is devoted to being embraced by God, truly believing you are loved?

That God is love.

That love fully believed will bring peace, will model, actually exude peace and strength.

The cardinal canister is on my kitchen counter with a little ceramic sparrow resting on top, resembling a knob, a daughter memory.

I’ve decided it will be a vessel for answered prayers and things God causes me to see, I’ll scribble onto strips of paper, leave them there forever as love’s legacy.

Because I didn’t think of it on Saturday, today I’m certain.

My mama knows about the book I’ve written, about to be published, called “Look at The Birds”. It is she who always told me “don’t stress”, not to worry.

Her hands and God’s made me brave, made it possible.

On Saturday, the family who travelled a couple of hours, the ones who felt safe in coming and were able, headed back home.

Me too, traveling the road from my daughter’s and buffeted by the most glorious pink aura.

No one around, country roads empty, I took my time to see clearly, God had been with us and He will continue to be.

He loves us so.

I believe and my believing will lead to peace and strength.

Now, I turn to the words of the Song of Songs, a poetic book of the Bible, an allegory written by Solomon.

“This divine parable penned by Solomon also describes the journey that every longing lover of Jesus will find as his or her very own.” Introduction, Song of Songs, Passion translation.

I find the place I read last week, the words that didn’t make me question, didn’t cause me to shut the book, confused over the passionate tone.

I’m instead, more certain of God’s extravagant love. A tear forms in my eye as I understand love.

My season is coming.

“The one I love calls to me: Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling. Come away with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. For now is the time, my beautiful one. The season has changed, the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone. The rains have soaked the earth”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Closer every moment to victorious.

The bondage of winter will end.

Continue and believe.

Peace Walking

Christmas, contentment, daughters, Faith, family, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing
Noticing God, Being Noticed by God

I’m certain God is intentional. On Monday, I believed this. My body tight and my soul sullen, I bundled up to walk.

My pace is swift I’ve been told. There’s motion in my movement, I swing my arms. I reckon there’s a rhythm in my ample hips. I walk on. It has its benefits.

I exited the trail onto the last cul de sac. The yellow leaves fluttering from the trees, adding to crunchy cushion under my feet. I turned the curve and a leaf affixed itself to my sleeve. I smiled and walked on.

“I’m with you.” I was certain of the message, the brilliant interruption. Around the bend and back uphill, the brittle yellow leaf lingered despite my pace. It wanted to be seen, it wanted my acceptance of its message.

“God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.” me

It’d been months since I jotted that sentiment, a long stretch of days just walking to let go worry and angst. God said “See me, I see you.”

“You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind.

Yesterday, I walked again. Accompanied by my daughter and her daughter, the baby in her wagon all dressed in pink and her mama matching, her cap was pink.

We talked about Christmas, talked about random things.

Then my daughter looked at her child and shared a little story.

Sitting outside or walking I can’t recall, my daughter said a giant yellow leaf cascaded down from a tree and in front of the baby’s face before resting at her feet.

My daughter said she told her, “Look at that beautiful leaf, Elizabeth, just for us from God”.

And then together they gave thanks, the baby and her mama said,

Thank you, God.

I imagined her sweet little toddler tone. I remembered my yellow leaf of Monday. I knew then, why I didn’t settle down and write about it and then yesterday I knew again.

Now I know. Now I know.

God knows.

You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past.

With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:2-5‬ ‭TPT‬‬

On this evening before Christmas, I pray your pace is slowed enough to notice.

To notice your path even though exhausted or uncertain is fully known and most of all, I hope God sees you, you see God and that you hear Him comforting you with the sweetest tone of all, the words,

“The pace of peace is easy, it’s slow, it’s me with you as you go. Come back, daughter. Walk with me.”

Merry Christmas friends!

Peace is a promise God keeps. Remember this with me.

Believing or Not

Advent, Angels, Art, Christmas, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, grace, heaven, Holy Spirit, hope, mercy, Peace, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder, writing
“Nativity’s Child”

I sat with one last piece of watercolor paper in the pad, a pencil sketch of a woman’s face I had started was faintly there, not completely erased.

I added oval shapes of angel faces, a few more realistic and scattered to give an idea of angels all over the page, floating above the baby Jesus with his mother, Mary in the corner.

I’d had a moment earlier when a friend wrote about the “multitude” of angels and I couldn’t stop myself from the thought

Could it be? It seems so unbelievable, there are angels, they are real and as much as I prefer not to borrow a song’s lyrics, “there are angels among us.” (The band, Alabama)

And now I’m inspired again. It’s just that simple, no it is splendid, this new fervor.

“The Multitude”

My beliefs in such things mysterious to me are easy to hold as hope and not as reality.

Someone used the word “resplendent” in a message contrasting their feelings and faith as tender and yet, resplendent.

What a beautiful word, an adjective meaning brilliant, shining, impressive or magnificent.

I again thought of that unbelievable night, the night that Jesus was born.

I am thinking now of its significance.

The significance of seeing and believing in a way that is so much more than a poetically written ancient story of a mysterious man born to a young virgin.

The weight of believing or not. Faith that is not fiction.

“Redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus must be considered fact, a deeply personal unwavering belief, otherwise that very gift of mercy, redemption will never be fully experienced, only vaguely hoped for.” me

So, I cradle the ceramic baby in a basket and I see it more than decoration, I see it truly, fully.

An old man in the Bible, Simeon had been waiting for the prophesied Messiah. He met Jesus with his parents and he worshipped, praised, and acknowledged.

“Lord and Master, I am your loving servant, and now I can die content, for your promise to me has been fulfilled. With my own eyes I have seen your Word, the Savior you sent into the world. Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied, saying:

He will be glory for your people Israel, and the Revelation Light for all people everywhere!”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:28-32‬ ‭TPT‬‬

An elderly woman named Anna, both had been waiting their whole lives to see the Jesus their God had promised.

“While Simeon was prophesying over Mary and Joseph and the baby, Anna walked up to them and burst forth with a great chorus of praise to God for the child. And from that day forward she told everyone in Jerusalem who was waiting for their redemption that the anticipated Messiah had come!”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:38‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Resplendent, the aged faces of these two must have been, like the sight on that angel and starry filled night of Jesus’s birth.

Resplendent were the colors, brilliant and vivid on another evening, the rich reds of the Son of God’s blood covered body, the darkest daytime night before the curtain was torn and God illuminated for all the reality of what occurred, a death for our sins, the reality of God’s offer of mercy. A vivid scene that must be believed and remembered.

Many doubted, many still do, honestly admitted needing proof.

“Then, looking into Thomas’ eyes, he said, “Put your finger here in the wounds of my hands. Here—put your hand into my wounded side and see for yourself. Thomas, don’t give in to your doubts any longer, just believe!”

Then the words spilled out of his heart—“You are my Lord, and you are my God!” Jesus responded, “Thomas, now that you’ve seen me, you believe. But there are those who have never seen me with their eyes but have believed in me with their hearts, and they will be blessed even more!”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:27-29‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I suppose the choice is up to us, us earthly people. We can choose to believe or not.

A life of faith only faintly evident or one fully committed, resplendent!

Thankful today for the angels, the believers, the doubters like me.

Very surely grateful for redemption, for mercy unmerited, for grace.

Thankful for words and the peace of mind, presence of the Holy Spirit gently nudging my using them.

Continue and believe. He’s not finished with you yet.

Thoughts And Angels

Angels, birds, Christmas, contentment, doubt, Faith, grace, heaven, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder

“But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:19‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Luke’s description of Mary’s reaction on the night of the birth of Jesus caused me to consider the God who knows me.

The same God who knew Mary, the young woman, a virgin who was visited by an angel and told,

“this is your assignment from God”.

You will give birth to the Savior of the world. You are a player in the miraculous plan of God to make an eternity of peace possible for all.

I’m humbled as I think of the tiny bit of peace giving I could give and yet, tend to be inconsistent, tend to often need more and more grace.

And God continues to give it, continues to understand me.

I sit on the rainy morning in a quiet house, thinking of which direction to go next, asking God to guide my painting back to the place that was His idea.

Asking forgiveness for time spent on comparison, for bitter doubt over unmet expectations.

Where are you feeling vulnerable or maybe you’re not?

Maybe you don’t think so heavily. Or maybe your vulnerability is not shared. That’s okay. God sees and comes near with understanding.

I sit a little longer, let the sounds be my comfort. I open my Bible to read about angels, drawn towards the reality of them. My interest is peaked.

I’m excited again. I may begin to paint angels again and not simply call them women.

God is near. God is doing a new thing in me today, actually continuously.

“Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere! For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah. You will recognize him by this miracle sign: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a feeding trough!” Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:9-14‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I imagine the sky that ancient evening as blue as coal tinted silvery. I can see the figures, angelic in form and with a beauty translucent. I see Mary cradling the baby she was chosen to deliver.

I sense her awe down deep in my soul and I know the same aching.

I know the awe of being rescued.

Redeemed, given grace towards restoration.

Have you heard about the alignment of the stars predicted next week?

Talk is it may snow here on Christmas Day, here in South Carolina we may get to sit next to windows and be quieted by the rare occurrence of falling snow.

We may be gifted with unexpected beauty.

Quietly now I’ve journaled notes to myself about God and me.

God cares about you. God loves you. God has a purpose for you today. God is orchestrating miraculous unseen things for your good and His glory. God is in control.

God can be trusted.

I think of Mary again, of the way she didn’t fully understand even after her baby boy was born and perhaps even through all His days on earth, she was simply a participant in a life chosen for her that was miraculously complex and simply required trust, acceptance and surrender.

I pray I embrace the ways of Mary, pondering so many things and still believing expectantly.

I pray the same for you.

Sitting longer than I felt I should today and refusing to call myself lazy, I rest a minute more

And then far off the geese approach and I listen to them as they make their presence known.

“Here they come.” I hear my mama and I ponder.

I wonder if the angels told her.

Your daughter needs reminding,

“She is seen and loved and known. God is for her.”

Continue and believe. Christmas came.

Christmas comes.

“For today in Bethlehem a rescuer was born for you. He is the Lord Yahweh, the Messiah.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭TPT‬‬