Where You Stay

We choose where we stay.

We get back and we see.

Why did I not return sooner?

Why did I flee?

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pursued by everything others say you need, promising it will turn your door’s key to peace causing confusion, exhaustion until you return.

Return to the place that simply lets you be.

The place God says this is you.

This is yours.

The places with no parameters, expectation or restraint.

I stood in front of my new easel for three hours last night. I, thanks to the newlyweds, have a proper easel.

It stands tall to accommodate large pieces.

I painted a piece in a newly free way of layering. Colors in little prism like squares creating ideas of form and figure.

I’ll layer a little more later.

This morning I pondered the biblical idea of abiding.

Of remaining confident when there’s no reason to be sure simply because you know you are close to God.

You slow down long enough, briefly at first until you discover, I am okay, I’ve been at peace a little while now.

Of being where you are even though you can’t see clearly where you’re going.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

Of starting and allowing God to lead, much like a blank canvas you approach and begin with a certain color to continue with sweet consolation.

I like what this is saying. I am content with what I’ve conveyed here.

I’m so glad I began again, taking away what was planned and letting another idea develop.

Mercy Mornings

Stripping away the too many perfect layers to leave the impression of a beauty, imperfect and spontaneous.

Yes. I cannot wait to be back there.

Abiding is simply staying in the place you feel most safe.

The place of the little corner room, soft songs about grace and love blending blue-grassy vibe with truth about staying here.

Where you belong, the place God made you for, the place of quiet confidence.

Present with God.

The place you sense most clearly that you are known, your longings have been observed by God, the place you believe you matter, you are a part of God’s story.

The morning story that reminds you, mercies are new all the time and His faithfulness has surely been great every moment.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

‭‭

Where do you go that causes you to wonder why your return was delayed?

Do you sit with your fingers on keys finding soft notes at first becoming clearly stronger as time passes, you and the piano, maybe a guitar or a horn?

Do you put your hands deep into the soil and seed of flora or bright vibrant leaves?

Do you allow them to linger when you realize your hands are mingling with growth, God’s glory?

Do you sit with no agenda watching the anticipated rain come in?

Linger longer in the places that mean abiding for you.

Rest for our souls, maybe long overdue.

Space enough to remember.

You are strong.

Stronger than you know.

Continue and believe.

This piece is a mixed media collage using acrylic, paper and oil pastel. It is 20 x 38. Comment if interested.

The Road Blurry

Maybe knowing God is better than knowing me.

I found this accidental photo just now.

Funny how it happens, happenstance making sense.

Last night the air cooled slightly after just a showering of a misty rain.

I walked, listening again to informative content on the number of me, the Enneagram 4.

I finished up my walk, showered, ate, settled on the sofa and with nothing else worth my time, watched college softball’s big game.

I’d seen a young woman earlier, she made it to collegiate level and now she tells me she’s expecting her third baby.

She continues to ask how I’m doing, what I’m doing,

how I’m feeling in my new role, “#goingbygrandmanow”

I tell her it has been an adjustment, some things not easy.

I add when I see baby Elizabeth all of my anxiety fades.

She smiles. “Oh, I forgot something!” she says in her excited and bubbly way.

We are standing in the crowded post office and she begins to talk about church.

She tells me about their sermon series and how it was suggested everyone find a “spiritual mentor”.

She has chosen me, says I was her first choice.

Of course I said yes and I’d call her for coffee and yes, we can talk about Jesus.

I was not prepared at all.

Should I have answered no, I wonder?

Should I have said “Oh, I’m not the one, you just don’t know!”?

Because I’m not feeling so suitable for such a place in another’s life now.

I walked and thought again about validation, understanding my tendencies a little more and thinking I should ask a professional…

Is this a breakthrough for me? Have I figured out something transformative and new?

Do I seek not only the validation of the positive of me but, also habitually choose the patterns I know that sustain the negative of me?

Thereby destroying any possibility that life can be different, can be better?

Is this typical I wonder, for anyone approaching 59, knowing 60 is just up ahead?

I believe we’re inundated with advisors and we are at a loss over whose truth to soak in.

Someone wants to edit my website, has a proposal she wants to present, claims she can make me more visible, increase sales, build my numbers.

A creative has seen my art, beckons me to join her next series of marketing courses. I consider, almost jumping in, signing up for yet another hope that feels false after a bit.

They’re a business after all, I tell myself.

I unjoined a writing community, yet the content continues to come.

And yet, writing and painting don’t hold the same place in my heart as before.

Have become like a chore.

This morning I made a list of concerns lined up with contentment, two columns, thing is nothing was listed under contentment at all.

Yesterday, I heard a mom talk of her little girl’s big girl dreams and goals. I smiled as I listened to how she was schooling her own mama in teaching her marketing strategy.

This child already knowing the value in believing she is capable and she can do anything when she combines her confidence with her courageous talent and selling of her self.

But, maybe it’s different for some.

Maybe I’m one of the some.

Maybe nothing more than now is the best place for me. Maybe I’ve blinded myself of the goodness of God by seeking what everyone else says is better.

What if we overwhelm ourselves with so many virtual mentors we lose ourselves in their midst?

God spoke to me this morning saying it is okay to consider the wisdom of others but you must never forget the wisdom you’ve found of me.

Your one story is now shelved because you have filled your mind with the details of so many others’.

Your fear has unintentionally buffered your courage.

So, there comes a choice to be made, slow down and take a breath.

Eliminate the unnecessary content.

Listen to God more than anything or anyone else.

It happens when you don’t deny the evidence of that.

A friend of your daughter says be my spiritual mentor and unknowingly prompts your return the place you had left.

The place where one person in this great big world sees you face to face and says I want to know the Jesus you know.

“Is that possible, do you think?” she asks.

And I answer, “Yes.”

It is possible.

I’m thinking of my grandmother this morning who was industrious and talented but rarely talked about her craft.

She created intricate Christmas ornaments from discarded jewelry. She boxed her creations up in big flat boxes and her work room was a dresser and a bed.

She made deliveries to people who paid her and I suppose she was known for her creations.

But, I never remember anyone encouraging her to go bigger, maybe put a sign up in the IGA or even an ad in the Statesboro Herald.

She provided what was requested of her. She was compensated, yes; but, only enough for what she needed.

She was content in the act of creating, it was her independent venture that I saw, that instilled in me the truth of possibility.

My grandmother taught me that being yourself is all you need.

Is there a book in me?

Will a gallery be inclined to display my art?

Will I be a better me or finally decide I’m enough as I am?

Content in the waiting as I rest in what comes not forced or rushed and be amazed by paths crossing and opportunities that unfold unexpectedly.

Next week or the next I’ll have an iced coffee with “Sam”.

I may tell her what a mess I was when I saw her or I won’t.

I may just tell her what I was learning on that and any other day.

Learning that the advice I need is found in the quiet place beside my bed or in the wide sky, the bending road or in the palms of my beautiful granddaughter’s hands.

God is everywhere, I will tell her.

Continue and believe, I might add.

Knowing God is better than better knowing me.

Learn as you go.

I’m on the morning road to my daughter’s, her husband’s, Elizabeth’s home.

The fog is lifting.

Remembering the thing that God just told me, an awakening of sorts and how one day I may tell Elizabeth or not.

How her grandma began to come into her own…

Maybe just live it intentionally for her to see.

Rest in this self awareness you’ve so keenly acquired and continue now easily into the you God has always known.

Discard all calculations to change your course or set new direction.

Become who you were becoming the very day you were born, God’s unique and capable child.

It is well with your soul.

It is well.

Retrospective Perspective

I can’t stop loving the little tiny yellow petals that fell easily from the sturdy lantana stem.

I don’t think lantana is meant for little jars or pretty vases.

It must be meant to spread its growth and simply keep growing in the ground in which it lives.

But, I needed bright for pale hydrangea and it wasn’t intentional to have the discarded pieces there, still it was to me so beautiful, the falling away and remaining a bloom.

If you pay attention to the answers you give to others, the words you offer in a conversation, you’ll see that these are the truths that God is revealing in you.

I am growing.

On more than a couple of occasions I’ve offered up “God is changing me. I am growing.”

June’s newsletter will be about just that: How redemption isn’t fully experienced until we believe we are worthy, until we believe our lives can change from victim to victor.

That we are certainly redeemed by our acceptance of Jesus; yet, we are still walking around in our sorrowful and afraid stances until we begin to see…life can be good for me, I can live and breathe redeemed.

Redemption becomes more than a word from a verse in your Bible that you only say you believe.

Redemption keeps growing until it brings healing.

You can subscribe here: Visit our page: https://mailchi.mp/8aace4f5e35a/redemptionseries

(Maybe you or someone you know is ready to move from sort of believing to knowing fully that life can be hopeful, forward not always focused on before.)

Maybe we have similar stories.

What will you do in June or maybe, what will June do in you?

Maybe you’ve started growing in some way and you are sort of excited over the possibility of new views of you, seeing yourself in a new way.

Maybe less striving and more sitting back to see.

Maybe it becomes easier like an all of a sudden realization of “Oh, it’s been a while since I felt my old way.”

I didn’t expect the past three months or so to teach me so much. I never expected to be so optimistic over my future with really no tangible reason.

Maybe it’s because optimism and hope are inward things.

Yes.

Paul wrote letters about how Jesus changed him. His only hope was to be as certain what he left behind changed others. His words are for change, for growth, for grace.

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I pray June brings continued growth as I intentionally pursue it.

May it be the same for you.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. II Thessalonians 3:18

#quietconfidenceartandword #hellojune #thecolorsofmybible

Knowing More

I am not a singer.

I mean I don’t ever sing with unleashed joy in the car or even in the shower.

I do love music and I’m fascinated by those who sing freely.

No surprise, music and lyrics just somehow seem to live in me.

Like most every single thing, songs become thoughts.

I sometimes wonder how there’s enough space for all the swimmers in my ever growing pool of deep thinking.

Seriously.

I wake with words lots of mornings, a hymn or an old Southern song…

Kinda crazy, ’cause you won’t find “The Gaithers” on my Pandora.

But, the room was cool this morning and I woke with ease and thought of

“What can I learn about myself today God, to help me see the Lisa you know?”

Then, the tune, a swaying sort of call…

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that name.

So, I rose and began my day in search of wisdom.

A mind more aware of God’s helping and of me. This I seek.

I landed in Proverbs before the second Thessalonian letter and circled back to Psalm 120.

Proverbs gave me this kernel, my interpretation of verses 5-8 of the fourth chapter.

Wisdom comes when the dust of the lesson settles.

I’m fascinated now by the Enneagram, only vaguely interested before.

Once I realized I most accurately lined up with “4” I wanted to say, oh, no more.

It was too much me, too clearly conveying my responses to life and most everything.

I wanted to abandon the idea of me, the one who looks back not forward and the one who likes to play pretend in response to hard things and therefore, just sort of fairy tale them away.

Or write tragically stories with scary ending, never a mediocre story, always unrealistically happy scenes or worst case scenarios. Reading this truth of me makes me cringe.

But, acceptance is the first step to healing I believe.

Oh, so me, bravely honest in calling myself out.

Or the one who anxiously seeks to be known and understood, the one who feels most everything in ways that make no sense to anyone else at all.

Unless, they’re a 4.

I was unhappy with the spot on “fourness” of me.

But with understanding comes the prize of a well guarded friend named wisdom.

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:5-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Knowledge comes when we are quiet and willing seekers, open to learning more in every situation and in every day.

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭120:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Who am I to say where learning comes from?

Intelligent researchers and compelled understanders who were open to learning created a list of nine personalities, perspectives called stances.

I am open to seeing myself from their perspective because I am open to becoming a student of me.

Strange it may seem that a book about numbers could bring clarity to what I consider my calling, that the progress I’ve made towards healing might be complemented by wisdom compiled by humans.

Not really, we’re all here on earth to be helpers one of another.

Helpers towards the place our creator will most clearly be seen through the works of our minds, hands and the peaceful countenance in our eyes.

Clarity seekers.

Clarity in increments.

Helpers everywhere.

“…that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1:11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Heavenly wisdom and earthly knowledge working together to make me more of what God sees.

If you sense I’m still a little tentative in my Enneagram quest for knowledge, you’re quite right.

Still, as the prophet Isaiah taught, God places teachers everywhere to remind us that the bread of our adversity only serves to guide and teach us and that others on our road have insight we should know.

Learn every day.

Continue and believe.

Believe and continue.

Jesus, what can I learn today to be the Lisa you know?

I am open to knowing now.

To asking, calling, singing softly every day…

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there’s something about that name.”

Grace Awaits

We walked in the heat and kept going until we found shade.

We didn’t stop to rest.

Colt, my “grand dog”

We kept going because we know the pattern. We know where there is sun there will be shade.

We kept walking because the grassy field borders the man made trail, the one where the strong roots are revealing their tenacity.

They’ve broken through as if knowing it will cause our steps to favor the earth, the grass.

To remind us, it is hard here; nevertheless, the soft places remain.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The old hymn with the sway in its notes

Reminds me of an old chair moaning as I rock.

I’m sitting on a big back porch and the breeze although warm too early this year is steady and sweeps softly on my cheek.

The chair is old.

I want to repair it, have it dressed in new fabric, have someone who knows how make the seat and back not so noisy from the pressure of its sitter.

Still, it allows my sitting, it allows me to settle there and it tests my tolerance for the noise unpleasantly necessary.

I could sit still, I could not encourage the back push and the forward pull of the place behind my knees that leads to the rocking.

But, I don’t.

I sit in my aunt’s old hand me down chair and I rock.

And it allows me to continue there.

Grace is that way.

Grace knows we might be annoyed by things and others that we keep responding to in the way that causes even more annoyance.

Grace waits for us to settle down, stop the thing we do that brings frustrations we could so easily let go.

Or accept them and notice less the noise and more the joy.

Grace awaits.

It never leaves us.

Grace stays.

Continue and believe.

Linking up with other story tellers here:

https://marygeisen.com/lights-out-when-fear-is-like-a-switch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lights-out-when-fear-is-like-a-switch

These thoughts on fear are so very true!

Towards What is Yours

A life lived reluctantly is not what God has in mind for any of us.

Paul reminded me this morning in a passage that’s a paragraph with multiple underlines from a time and times before.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.

But one thing I do:

forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Beckoning me to remember who I was before when I’m disappointed in who I am now.

Reminding me it’s not at all easy, otherwise he’d not have used words like “pressing” and “strain”.

Paul’s words are true and valuable, validation for me that I’m not who I was before.

He wrote that God will let us know when we think otherwise about what is most important, the “upward” call, the movement of our motivation based on our relationship with Him.

Look up, Lisa Anne.

Look up and move forward, learning even more than what you thought was enough so far.

Learn from the pressing, the straining, the uncomfortable rub of life that is making new wine from your bitter grapes.

Continue and believe.

Continue towards the goodness that is yet to be fully known.

Secrets and Growth and Peace

I believe God is pleased that we think of Him, ponder, consider His ways.

“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

That’s just another example of His grace.

I believe God sees our gradual growth and celebrates rather than pontificates over why on earth has it taken her so long to arrive here, why can’t she stay in this place?

I believe God is simply happy to see our return, our return to believing that He knows.

I’m certain that morning is the most optimum time for gentle instruction.

I’ve not a clue as to why I woke up this morning with the question to myself.

How are you waking, with regret or redemption?

Why, oh why must I wake with such deep considerations?

Or maybe we all do, just keep them to ourselves.

Makes good sense, your brain filters your thoughts all through the night, transfers them to the place where the finished and important product, a lesson is delivered.

Voila’! Here you go! This message is just for you! God

Are you smiling now, imagining God saying “Voila'”?

Me too.

I think sometimes I think the oddest things and then realize there is always a reason.

A secret waiting to be revealed.

To be researched, to be determined what it is exactly God wants me to know, to hold on to as my own.

Wants me to u-turn, don’t go back that way, you were progressing, see now…stay here.

Be at peace.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:33‬ ‭ ESV

Someone called this morning by accident. Her Bluetooth dialed the wrong Lisa. I knew her voice, thought Lord have mercy, did I call her and forget I did?!

But, I hadn’t and she reminded me of our relationship which led to me telling her what I’m doing now, hoping to use my grant writing skills to work with causes I believe in.

And that led to her telling me she had “chills” now because of an idea she has to strengthen the cause she is over.

We talked about it further and even longer about our faith, about how God wakes us to new opportunities every day and how none of them are accidents.

I considered her truth.

She considered mine as I shared with her my waking thought, regret or redemption, which will you choose to frame your day?

She said “Oh, that’s wise.” “Thanks”, I said and thought, thank you God for this confirmation of my next steps and direction.

Of letting some things go unattended to give my energy to what is new, even unseen, sort of brewing.

So, what is this state of mind and heart called “spiritual maturity”?

It is waking with regret less often in light of your redemption.

It is waking with the clear and attainable path towards peace.

It is recalling the stuff you felt God telling you to do afraid even if there’s fear in the room because there’s a reason you don’t know that God wants you to go, to be something He sees as necessary for others in the room.

He has us go places we don’t understand.

It is being attentive to a nudge that becomes a lengthy pause because you are still enough to become more wise, to receive either good or disappointing clarity so that your peace is not stolen and so that you grow.

That’s redemption, my friend.

Understanding what it is that is the taker of and opposing force of your peace.

Spiritual maturity is a splendid and secretly personal gift.

It is a fervent fire inside kept alive by your yearning to learn more, know more of God.

It is an acknowledgment of better days, contented minds, and restful nights because of your redemptive choice to forgo regret.

It is knowing you are still growing. It is glimpses of the secret place, the view of you through God’s eyes.

Smile.

It is not always easy, nor is it difficult at all.

The secret for me, intentional choosing which thoughts I allow to write scary, hurtful and impossible to understand stories.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To set my mind on the awakening things of my mornings.

Lord, help me to stay quiet enough to know which way to stay my thoughts and which way my words and work should go. Because of your redemptive mercy towards me, Amen

Peace and Water

Art

The owner of the shop that sells my art said,

“Landscapes, Lisa…more landscapes.”

I answered, “Okay, I’ll bring a new one every day!”

Then commenced to continue, the serene scene of sea.

Too dark, too gloomy, too dismal.

Reworked it for three hours,

Then color, just got happy with shape and color

And

Peace and Water, 22 x 24 mixed media

Peace and water.

Magnolia Muse

Shall I attempt to paint you or no, simply rest in what you told?

Walking by with repetition and only glancing

yesterday stopping to see you

Up close.

To listen, draw near?

Sense your saying,

You are

More than enough.

Give from what is necessary,

your surrender.

Do away with what is not needed.

Sacrifice, give up the convenient empty fillers for fullness you only cautiously believe.

Empty yourself of excess.

To believe in more.

You have settled so long.

Believe now and join in

the cycle, the circle, the life lived in light of regeneration.

Bad to good, hope despite harm, trauma recalled only footnotes for mercy, references of grace.

Begin and begin again.

Like the petal cupping useful fallen carpels,

proof.

Continue.

Believe.

Promised Plans

I’m writing prompted by FMF and the word “promise”.

Not originally thinking of Jeremiah, I was reading from the Book of John, Thomas the one called the doubter asking why should we believe in a place we don’t know.

Jesus replied essentially, because you know me and thus you know my Father, God,

and you can be certain.

I don’t really think Thomas doubted as much as he was just intrigued. Heaven and God are intriguing, after all.

So much to know!

Believing, according to Jesus was all they needed to know.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I flipped to Jeremiah on my way to the day’s Psalm and started touching up and coloring in a place I’d been before.

I added the female form in the other margin and I found the familiar words about plan and purpose.

Then I found the promise.

The unwaveringly certain promise.

I will always find God.

There’s not a promise more significant.

I look for God in confusing times, I wait and clarity comes.

I look for God, seek Him by interrupting my day to kneel down to pray.

Momentarily or much later, I find Him.

My circumstances change.

Here’s the promise.

We are seen by a God who loves us. He waits to be found again and again.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord…”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up with others here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/05/16/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-promise/