…and in thee too, while thou knowest it not, God shall be glorified. E.B Pusey
We ventured out differently, not sure the sun was warm enough for walking.
I carried my granddaughter in my arms and adjusted from one side to the other, her weight as we walked.
We covered the perimeter of the land that surrounds her home, all the way to the front of the home valley to the long length of shaded space beside and then turned back towards inside, the front porch welcome back home.
From a distance it was beautiful, I walked slowly avoiding large flat places where cacti lay and stepping gingerly over the little hills, the holes, the tiny valleys covered in grassy hay and straw.
We walked slowly, quietly, calm.
Elizabeth was still, interested as I talked to God and myself. She listened to my random observations of life and leaves and how blue the sky was.
We were noticing God.
On the edge of the field, the most brilliant of color caught my eye, a cluster of yellow amongst all the bare branches of what I think I’m remembering held pink plums in the summer.
Now empty except for this glory.
Brilliant late beauty not killed by the cold.
How was your 2019?
I woke with the thought mine was monumental, the change, the choices, the transitions.
I hadn’t realized the truth of this until I numbered the reasons.
Then it all made sense, this feeling of the cusp of new, this current lull in nothingness.
I believe I’m in the season of growth with all the growth still unseen, not evident to the human of me.
I’m always afraid I misuse words so I googled “monumental” and affirmed my thoughts were true.
2019 was a monumental year for me. I thought maybe this is God’s reason to now shift to living momentarily or “momentously”.
Thinking be satisfied in the moments now, don’t aspire to great big life shifting ambitions.
Again, checking my use of word, I was met with surprise, “momentous” I had all wrong, very different than only living in the moment.
All right, really.
(of a decision, event, or change) of great importance or significance, especially in its bearing on the future.
Reflecting now, Godisconfirming boldly for me, one who loves words, thingshave been happening under the surface, deep in your spirit, my spirit in you that you do not yet fully know.
You’re getting closer though. God
Beginning to believe that it is so.
That you are known and
you are worthy of my love.
The years before are simply seeds thatneededsifting, needed dormant seasons, needed to lay fallow for a reason,
needed to die to live again.
I believe this.
Are you in a lull that you question? Is where God has you insignificant from your view?
Asking, is this allthere’smeant to be for me?
It may be so and that’s the reason for long walks and discoveringseeminglyinsignificantthingslike yellow leaves.
We simplydon’tknow, we just keep walking to the place called “we will see”.
We will see.
I’ve added back to my circle todayone prayer IthoughtI’d prayed way too much.
Have you felt that way? Thought after months of the same unansweredquestion, I’ve asked enough, I’vetoldGod more than He wants to know, I’m maybe even annoying Him.
I’ve prayed and He knows, I’llmove on…
I’ll letthat prayer alone.
No, I’vedecided to pray it again, to ask forGod’s help but with a differenttone.
I’ll ask with an expectant spirit anticipating a brilliant “we shall see” surprise, an answerthatsaysI’m cherished.
God’sreply, unknown to me when or how. I’ll be cherishingitbecauseI am cherished as is the one for whom I’m making my steady request.
If you believe in prayer at all, expect God to hear you. If you do not expect, you will not have. God will not hear you unless you believe He will hear you; but if you believe He will, He will be as good as your faith. Charles Spurgeon
Someone held my journal in her hand yesterday, one of hundreds gone before.
She needed to list the children’s names for Christmas drawing for gift exchange.
I found a blank page past three or four written in and I let her hold my journal, the place where my current words are dwelling.
Imagined how I’d feel if she turned back a few pages and found my mornings’ words.
Lament, praise, self-criticism and supplication to God, all script and drawings expressing my very private hopes.
I’ve just read an intimate sharing, ten or so sentences in a poem.
The poet, according to his bio, leaves his short pieces in a variety of places.
He writes honestly.
About life, love, death, a menagerie of meaningfully derived pieces.
He is a doctor, a poet, a brilliant writer.
His written wordresides in a variety of places, publications.
I paused at the call for submissions, quickly told myself no, you’re too harried in your writing hopes. Simplify, just live with one hope, to write stories of redemption, of being certain strength is the result of not giving up on hope.
If your words had a dwelling place, what would it be?
A gated mansion where people pay good money just to peruse?
A sought after invitation to be allowed a closeup view, maybe to sit amongst the words, even have an open book on their lap? A famous place?
Or would your words be in a tiny space found at the end of an overgrown field, a place that is shielded by years of unnoticed knowing?
Would the little place where your words live be a thrill to visit, your guest realizing they’re in on the discovery of a secret?
Where would you say your words would be found growing?
I read a famous person’s Twitter post offering up thanks to her thousands of followers and how it all began seventeen years ago on her blog.
I realized she’s no longer a blogger. She must be one of those who knows blogging is so over, who reads a blog anyway?
I’ve decided I can be selfish with my words, like my paintings, they’re my very own babies.
I’m inclined to keep the window closed, locked tight and curtained, the one that lets my light out to the great big world, let’s the light of others in.
I’m careful with my contributions to the writing community.
Selfish, I realize.
These words are mine that are often too heavy for even my own heart’s sharing.
I don’t jump at the chance to be chosen quite so much as before.
I’ll let my words keep living here, safe, friendly, the readers who read them.
This vague and not prolifically named place. Not easily found, not optimized for the seeker.
This quiet place emerging at a snail’s pace is the place of my writing, consistently an intimate expression.
Expression a stranger might read and decide they can relate.
Blogging may no longer be important, there may be a different set of aspiring writer rules.
I’ve grown weary of the unending advice or writing advisers.
It is hard to keep up.
I’m either naive or unteachable, stubborn or afraid of failure, uncomfortable with success.
Who’s to say?
It’s all about perspective.
My perspective, my eye for life and love, my ideas uniquely formed about redemption, about my assurance of heaven,
None of these can be duplicated and this is the reason.
Writing is selfish.
Selfish in a sweet and honest, sometimes very raw causing the reader to pause way.
I’ve read blog posts like this.
Occasionally I’ve written one.
Say your prayers, I tell myself, let your thoughts get to forming words, type them out or scrawl them down.
May they keep being true.
May you be okay with the not so famous place they settle or are shared.
May the words of my heart find the reader who needs them.
This is my goal, my prayer, my less than spectacular ambition.
Go slowly. Simplify. Keep going. Share what you know about fear, trauma and shame and now, redemption, about Jesus. Go and tell, you’ll know where. Your life is a parable only you can tell.
“And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word.”
Mark 4:13-14 ESV
What’s your parable this morning?
Mine goes like this. The room this morning early is simply lit by the lights on the tree at end of the couch. The big puppy is resting his head on my lap. The coffee is strong and I’ve added real cream. I’m remembering the dream that I dreamed and how parts were upsetting and parts were reminders. I have yet to open my Bible or my journal and pen. This morning, I had a thought about blogging, about sharing and about simplicity. I sense God keeping me here, intent on that idea, write simply. I’m okay with that although it reeks of insignificance based on lofty expectations birthed by following others.
I’m dwelling in my morning spot, the place of being okay with waiting. I’ll continue my Advent readings and I’ll stop fearing not trying.
I’ll wait for Christmas now. I’ll wait patiently for God to lead my words to places He made them to go.
Here, in spoken places and in hearts changing like mine.
Content in our redemption.
Our stories becoming God’s parables of hope.
Hard stories softened because of Jesus.
Like this one I have stored up:
I watched a man be baptized yesterday morning. His expression was all his, the way the moment of his decision to live differently was unable to be kept hidden. I watched him lift his arms to hold the hands of the one baptizing him up to his chest. His forearms painted completely in ink. He said something about his decision that was so covered in his emotion no one could know. I watched the face of this man rising from the water and I watched the face of the one baptizing. I felt it all, the grandeur in their strong embrace. I saw and felt redemption and I once again, remembered my own.
This man’s story, story of redemption and the Jesus we both know.
Similar in some ways, redemptive in all.
Abiding in love.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
What’s the sunrise like in the world where you wake?
Is your view hindered by high building, hard structures or is your inability to see the light a barrier of your own making, a filter because of your unpleasant thoughts based on imperfect circumstance?
All of us, different and yet our days are lit the same way.
Distracted? Disenchanted? Less than optimistic because of imperfection or depression or hard circumstance?
How in the world are our lights supposed to shine when we feel so dull, uncertain or burnt out?
Burned down by our own dimming of our light or worse, someone once again making dark our days, heartbreak despite the glimmer we had of hope.
The country road I take is always busy early.
The curves are predictable now before I see the sunrise. Headlights approach and I steady myself, flip my lights to dim hoping they kindly reply in a soft nod.
Homes are popping up, close together or close to the road, some situated in a low down a path valley.
The road to my daughter’s, the road into town for many has become a community.
I notice the lights on the newest one I like, a modern take on country home. Sleek architecture with clean lines.
Christmas lights, a straight line across the front and one small new tree is curtained in loops of string lights.
I pause and remember my thoughts on such displays, Christmas lights on trees with no sense of order, no symmetry, no design.
No, I don’t want lights outside if we can’t do it right!
My husband asks and I tell him I don’t want lights outside if they can’t be just right, don’t want the display that says hey let’s throw these lights up in the trees and see how they land, see how they shine.
I have always been opposed to such a haphazard plan.
A home near ours has the new idea of lighting that appears to be perfect, fits neatly under the roof line and well, it is perfect. The one perfect tree wears Christmas. It is covered in a mesh overlay of sprinkle.
As neat as a pin, a very quiet display. Set for the season, perfect in a clean and closed fashion to me it seems.
The lights are in place and will shine unchanging til the new year.
A settled and set display on the outside, a view that is unchanging.
I thought of my longing for perfection, my determination to be splendid or nothing at all.
I wondered if the light I display has become so driven towards perfection that I appear unwelcoming.
Or maybe if I’m close to not shining at all.
The Book of Job mentions light twenty-seven times. Job wishes the light would just go away, the darkness made more sense and he longed for death. He wished he had never been born, never seen the light of day.
The light reminded him of his dark place as if to say if I can’t make sense of this time, this place, I don’t want to see it!
“Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain; may it never see the morning light. Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to see all this trouble.”
Job 3:3-6, 9-10 NLT
The life of Job fascinates me, the way an undeserving man can suffer such bitter and destructive nonsense, question God, lose everything, experience despair and continue to consider that God might still be God and be good.
“God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’”
Job 33:28 NLT
Maybe we’ll string lights in all the trees this year, spread them out across the shrubbery, the bright orange extension chords undisguised in the day and our front yard a maze of electricity source.
For the glorious display when the darkness comes.
Maybe we’ll have lights again.
Imperfect but bright, this might be our display.
On the mornings I keep my granddaughter, I’m excited for the sunrise where she wakes.
We step onto the back porch all bundled and bright she is.
The rising sun is unobstructed there. The land is wide and the horizon only tops of trees.
Good morning, God! Elizabeth and I say.
The display is always brilliant, takes my breath away.
The same sun rose at home this morning, I almost ignored it.
Stepping outside with the puppy, I realize over my shoulder, the sky is ribbons of magenta, coral, powdery blue.
I snap a photo and then pause to admire the camellias.
I’m remembering the little lighted tree, the imperfect display, obvious in its sparse simplicity.
Simplicity keeps calling me back towards the “color story”.
Simply write it, keep it simple. You’re no theologian, Lisa Anne; but you do have a brilliant story.
Don’t we all?
“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
The crescent moon reappeared after a week of enormous full one. Its beauty is subtle, causing the eye to be discriminant towards the heavens, the evidence of cycle, of God in a quiet and sure way.
If courage had an expression I wonder what it would be.
If someone had the inability to hide their thoughts from their facial expressions.
What would the face of courage reveal?
Would courage look like tragedy, would the countenance of courage be downward glances, forlorn faces or broken distressed mouths formed in a grimace to convey the pain that courage represents?
Would it be like the joy of a love for another that’s met in an equal exchange or like the glee of a surprise causing a wide and spontaneous smile.
Not that way, I don’t think the expression of courage would show in that way.
Courage has a countenance more solid, more settled, more internal.
Steady, a secret formula.
Courage keeps a record of profit and loss and has tallied up the cost.
The value is underneath the layers, immeasurably personal and for the most part.
Courage is secretive.
Is a secret.
I sat on the pew marked for friends of the deceased. Family on the right side and us on the left, we were a sparse group.
Five of us spoke. The summation?
Each of us in our individual ways remembered this individual as courageous.
If courage had words to share, I wonder what it would say.
Not very much, I’ve decided.
Courage is just that way.
Not a braggart or an instructor.
Courage is more.
Courage is a quiet conqueror who given the chance will tell of the agony, the distress that brought them to bravery.
Give its testimony.
Otherwise, courage stays quiet.
Stays quiet as a way to cherish and guard this inner resolve and immeasurable source.
Courage is the evidence that we know and believe in God’s love.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”
Romans 8:35-37 ESV
The cost of courage?
Impossible accounting, irreplaceable, its value and the places from whence it comes.
Individual trials, personal triumphs.
Continue and believe.
I’m linking up with others, prompted by the word “cost”.