In Peace I Go, Again

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, grace, grief, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, rest, traumatriggers, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom

After a very long time, I pulled the stubby stems from the dirt. The four times or more repotted “lipstick plant” was not thriving.

The plant sent by my fellow choir members at the time of my mother’s death. Inside, then outside, repotted and revived, try and tried again until it was decidedly time to let it go.

The forest like ferns in the window box were just there, not thriving either. My master gardener cousin suggested them and I liked that she called them “Fall ferns.” To me they looked like a walk in the woods, a reminder of creeks and pine trees.

My husband’s recent hospitalization (he’s greatly improved) reminded me not then, but yesterday, I’m good at operating on auto-pilot.

I’m skilled at begin subtly hyper-vigilant, of draping myself in sort of an emotional bubble wrap.

And praying throughout it all, praying believing in the power of prayer and the nearness of God,

Until I’m not.

Until I remember, “this feels like that”.

While I believe in my healing because of my faith in Jesus, the physicality of past trauma and memories are remnants and threads in my tapestry. I’d love to believe I’ll one day not be affected, but I’m more hopeful in knowing my hopefulness in this regard is real progress.

Is peace, is going forward in peace.

Again.

Still, conversations about options for life, long days hoping for turnarounds, ICU waiting rooms with siblings taking turns to visit and calls with the announcement “gone” are realities I have experienced.

No wonder it all came back to knock me off my feet when I quit trudging forward in a fog, when I finally slowed down.

Grief catches up. Trauma is skillful in its tactics.

It’s best that we not avoid it, rather go down the road again and again to the place where the view is more clear, better, an invitation to known peace and comfort.

Allowing the intellectual revelation that my life has been affected by trauma and loss, I have an understanding of the fallout rather than falling apart because of it.

I am in tune with myself.

I can grieve what happened back then in a way that brings a tender resurgence of sadness, but not one that destroys me.

Because I know Jesus told many “to go in peace because you’re now well, you are healed”, but the brain often rebels.

I’m not a clinician.

I believe understanding leads to disciplined healing and I don’t think remembering our hard things is always detrimental. I believe it leads to both understanding and to gratitude for who we are now

Despite what happened then.

Remember my mama’s broken pot with the miraculously spreading succulents from her funeral?

Well, they withered like an old flattened tire. The December frost took them. I brought the pot inside, too late, maybe.

I ran my fingers across the soil and tried to help the plants perk up.

Just one tiny plant like a miniature palm is standing. I’ll wait before adding more. I’ll hope more will rejuvenate on their own, find the nourishment to keep on.

The window box ferns are limelight green in the terra cotta pot. They’re happier on the porch in new soil. They must love the chance to grow in the place where death was accepted to invite new flowering.

Life continues. Life reminds.

New days bring new acceptances of our responses that hinder our acceptance of hardship or hope and invite us to know which are best.

To be brave enough to know ourselves and even braver to invite a new perspective.

Or not so new, just remembered.

Redeeming our days, because we’ve been redeemed.

Knowing ourselves in light of knowing the God who knows even more deeply and says I’m with you here, I was with you there.

Go in peace, daughter.

Go in peace.

Be gentle with yourself. Keep growing.

“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Keep On

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, hope, Peace, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, walking, wisdom

The cold air was dreadful. I’d made a mistake in choosing to walk.

Halfway up the trail and I wondered why I had no cap, no jacket.

Even the couple with the dog dressed in a jacket must have known.

I walked on.

I thought of what was to come.

Up the hill, round the curve.

My body warmed.

I conquered the cul de sacs.

Again, I think of my son saying walking’s not exercise.

Caring less than before as my thoughts unravel in a rhythm that I know.

The rhythm of release. The crossing paths with those who know my walking.

Never pausing for chit chat.

They know me, fast and determined.

I walk on.

Strong and with intention.

An object lesson in perseverance.

A better than before every single time, can’t think of a time I wasn’t better for choosing.

Walking, fast and steadfastly.

Continue, I do.

Continue and believe.

Majesty Displayed

contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, heaven, Peace, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder
Earth Mixed In

Yesterday, I paused at the end of the road, amazed at the sunset and the one first star. I snapped a photo (I thought) of it, but instead I captured the glory of life here against the heavenly sky.

All day long I’d been thinking of “your majesty fills the heavens” in between thinking of one sentence in Psalm 23…you lead me on paths of righteousness, for your name’s sake.

Often, a verse will captivate me all day. The truth of God placing me on a path that leads to righteousness and it being for the sake of sharing His goodness and name enlightened me in a new way.

Yesterday, I meditated on Romans 8:28, realizing again in the same way, God lays out our days and we often wonder why this interruption, why this lingering trouble, fear or frustration.

The house at the end of the road has a brilliant Christmas display. Santa Claus on one end and Reindeer the other. In the center in vivid gold glistening with white lights are two angels over a manger. In the middle of this impossible to ignore yard decor, is Jesus.

God with us, Immanuel.
The Lord is near.

“Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭71:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Notice God today.

Juxtaposed.

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.

Blogger

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, Faith, memoir, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

I remember when I began blogging.

My intent was to write. That’s it.

My daughter had a blog. It was lovely. It was sweet. I loved it so very much.

When I began blogging, I was clueless on followers. Then I had a book idea, memoir.

It was the best title, best concept, most ingenious combining of story, art, recovery.

Goodness, that was long ago.

Numbers

Trying to be famous enough to be a writer was exhausting.

Lately, I keep wondering who might be open to my question…

Is it possible to write a book without having throngs of people flocking to know you?

Was there a time when numbers of those who knew you didn’t matter?

Was there a time a newsletter wasn’t necessary to have a voice worth hearing, words worth reading?

I considered these questions as I quietly paid my annual WordPress fee to keep my space here.

I remember, years ago, I told a blogger friend.

I don’t want to be perky little Christian woman writing about her beliefs in Jesus.

I want to be me.

So, if I’ve accomplished anything.

I believe, book or no, I’ve accomplished this.

Who’s to say if the book idea is long buried or it was a teeny tiny seed I’ve yet to harvest.

Time will tell.

Until then, I’ll keep writing here.

Unconcerned with who follows, only hoping I make them curious.

A southerner who loves words and loves writing, an artist who keeps creating.

Because she’s sure God kept her and made her to continue.

Continue and believe.

Thanks for reading. 😊

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.

Georgia’s Just Fine

contentment, kittens, love
Content

Her first night here, she hid under the house. I sat in the flower bed the next morning and waited, gave her time to come out.

She did and became less afraid.

There’s something to be said for love without demands or conditions…offered on the other’s terms and acceptable comfort.

There’s something to be said for commitment without impatience.

I can tell you, I never expected it, but a rescue kitten has added to an increased recognition of the value of seeing from the perspective of another, not just my understanding.

She’s still skittish, but trusting.

She comes inside when I say “Georgia” more often than scurrying away.

Some mornings and nights she stays.

Slumbers.

Patience is a virtue. We all need it.

For all who know my pet trial and errors, I assure you,

Georgia, the kitty who slept in a horse stall is just fine.

Georgia is.

Still, Believe

Advent, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, grace, hope, kindness, mercy, Peace, Prayer, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

As Martha was met by Jesus, distraught over the death of her brother, she told Him she still believed in His goodness, in the purpose of Him.

Then, she went to get her sister Mary.

“She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.””
‭‭John‬ ‭11:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Mary stood next to Jesus and asked why he waited so long. Jesus wept.

Then he told the sisters to take him to their brother although it had been four days.

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?””
‭‭John‬ ‭11:40‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Lazarus was raised. Jesus told them both and all who had followed out of grief and curiosity, that this was the way God intended it, so that all would believe, not just the sisters.

All, like all of us.

“So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.””
‭‭John‬ ‭11:41-42‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I woke up early, got my journal, books and pen and then felt the need, like a gentle call to read my (actual)Bible.

The Mary and Martha story is good. Always.

God’s timing is not ours.
Don’t give up hope.
Don’t stop believing in the grace, strength, mercy and presence of Jesus.
Look at your life, remember times you asked for help and help came. Times of desperation because of delay of some sort.

Sometimes I pray “God, show us your glory today, come through in a way that it’s clearly you…’cause I’m not able on my own.”

And Jesus has come, has remedied, relieved, given me strength when I am weak.

Believe in Jesus. Believe in his peace.

Happy Friday!

Faint, Yet Pursuing

Advent, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, fear, hope, mercy, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, testimony, Vulnerability, wonder

These words gave me permission to consider my wandering, validated a truth I see in myself and wondered how many others wrestle with the same question.

Where is God today?

Why do I feel I’m in this battle alone?

What if my faith is fleeting?

Faint, yet pursuing. Judges 8:4

This verse describes a throng of warriors’ commitment to battle with their leader, Gideon.

“And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.”
‭‭Judges‬ ‭8:4‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I jotted down three verses from my Bible one day last week, folded the paper and put it in my “to do list” book.

The passages were from Psalm 42, Luke 2, and this Old Testament text.

Often, a trio like this will wrap me in its embrace of understanding, acknowledgement of question, and offering of clarity and peace.

Gideon, David and Mary share a theme that resonates. They wavered in their confidence and faith, maybe in a way like me, asked God to be near, asked Him to show evidence that their faith wasn’t without hope. That they can wander away and wonder in a questioning way and they can be themselves.

We can be ourselves.

God welcomes that.

David gives countless templates for questioning conversations with our approachable God.

“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭42:11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Today, I pray you notice the Christmas around you. That you feel a nearness with Jesus, God’s intentional gift for us.

Nearness, more near than any humanly possible things.

Jesus Christ, the baby, little boy and man who dwelt among others and now, if you’ll allow Him dwells within, His Spirit

Strength and peace.

I pray that you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, not just the idea of Him, although it surely is the most beautiful idea on its own.

A baby born to then die for us. A baby born without sin to become a man crucified cruelly although without sin.

I pray you believe and that you begin to pursue and never stop pursuing even on dismal days, days when you’re battle weary and days when you being invited to participate in such a miraculous truth seems unbelievable.

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe. If life leads you to question, continue and be at peace.

The strongest testimony may simply be this.

Faint, yet pursuing.

Yes. I will. That’s me.