A Great Affection

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, grace, kindness, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing
It is My Story

Twice I saw the man with the cross. Once on the southern part of town, the busy places, the reckless and impatient drivers, the scurrying about grocery shoppers in the days before Easter Sunday.

Then again downtown, on the northern side, blocks from the pretty shops, the sidewalk strollers, he was at an intersection.

The first time, he walked with the wooden cross, a display of his allegiance. He carried the beams joined together and he’d decorated the center with Easter colored florals. I seem to remember he himself was dressed in a jacket and was intentionally put together in a way that seemed to be his best.

At an intersection, two days later, he stood next to a bicycle. The bike, the big cross and this man.

I’d never seen him before.

I waited at the light and glanced to my left. Waiting as well to cross was a man in shorts, unshaven and gazing down at his work-boot clad feet, a faded backpack slipping down from his shoulder.

I didn’t recognize him either. In my years of homeless work I’d seen many like these two, just not them. I thought of their condition, I assumed mental illness and addiction.

I woke with regret over that supposed reason for their condition, their behavior and decision.

I drove downtown and across town yesterday hoping to see one or both.

I didn’t.

The Book of Mark’s introduction in the back of my Bible tells me that the writer is possibly anonymous, theological experts say he wrote his gospel based on Peter’s teaching. I love the tone in Mark’s words. I’m certain I would have been fixed on the words of Peter preaching too.

I read Mark’s description of John the Baptist and I immediately thought of the man on the bike with the flower adorned cross.

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”Mark‬ ‭1:6-7 ESV‬‬

John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth, the unborn child who was moved by the presence of Jesus while in his mother’s womb.

It was his purpose to go first and then point to the one others like me should follow.

Maybe the man with the cross and the man crossing the intersection began a conversation as I drove home.

Maybe the assumed “crazy” countenance of the one honoring Jesus that day led to questions and then to answers.

Maybe the one I assumed would speak of Jesus was all wrong, maybe the man without the cross was the giver.

Maybe the man worn and weary, walking alone from somewhere had a story to tell.

Maybe the two shared their affection for Jesus.

Andrew Peterson has a voice of comfort, a call to consider love and understanding in most of his songs. Honestly, he beckons us to understand ourselves and then better understand others.

This song, this morning beckons me to consider the ways I don’t understand Jesus’ love for me and then to decide it’s not for me to understand completely, only to accept and believe it.

“And even in the days when I was young
There seemed to be a song beyond the silence
The feeling in my bones was much too strong
To just deny it. I can’t deny this. I’ve been seized by the power of a great affection
Seized by the power of a great affection.” Andrew Peterson

I took time to listen this morning, the song Pandora plays for me often. I remembered telling my first real boss that I chose to work in careers that helped others because of a little girl decision. I remembered being certain that I understood the burdens of other children and as a little girl, I knew I’d be called to help them.

I had no idea back then, that was Jesus calling me tenderly towards today, the notice of other tender hearts, the prayers for people as I see them on the street or downcast in the grocery aisle. The sharing of a book filled with birds for children that closes with the assurance of Jesus.

Not just for children.

I hadn’t thought of that shy little girl that I was for a very long time until I listened.

Listen here: The Power of a Great Affection

Days ago, a conversation sparked a reply from someone. I can’t even recall the reason, only the confident answer.

“That’s not my J-man.”

Some might find that irreverent, casual, or cocky.

Like the man walking the streets of my town bent by his cross, me comforted by a song that brings peace, Jesus is a personal Savior.

We call to him and he answers, answers to even “J-man” I believe.

He loves us just that way.

Personally.

Secretly, He knows us intensely and individually.

Loves us with a great affection.

It has no end.

I pray you know this great affection, that His story becomes yours too.

Continue and believe.

Sounds of Silence

birds, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, mercy, Peace, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability

I remember the Paul Simon song that tells the darkness “hello” as he comes to talk to his old friend.

Unintentionally maybe, it sure sounds like prayer. Prayer, in the way the morning sounds soothe me, similar to nighttime solitude.

The Labrador is sprawled out in front of me, his legs lifted up in the air. I don’t disturb him. He’s circled the back yard and been fed and now reclining, a routine.

The ceiling fan whirs above me, the motor, the rhythm of the blades like a chorus of humming.

The birds are harmonious today, not just one or two near the window but gathered someplace in the periphery.

Their song is subtle.

It compels quiet pause.

Later, I’ll lunch with a new friend and attend a funeral.

I’ll listen. I’ll savor the words someone who reads my words without knowing me has to offer.

I’ll be teachable. I won’t see another’s wisdom as criticism.

I will listen to the words that will honor my friend. He was wise. He was kind. Words shared of him will be worth remembering.

I’ll sit a little longer here with plans to read John’s accounts of Jesus healing unlikely people.

I’ll savor the silence that’s not really silence, just a time of gratitude for mercy again this morning.

Mercy that keeps me teachable, makes me open to others and keeps my heart open to good change.

The sound of silence, my old friend.

The atmosphere that conjured morning prayer.

Lord, help me to listen.

I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “savor”

Five Minute Friday

Beauty, Earth and Everything

Art, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, heaven, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

I’ve removed the fifteen or more books from my nightstand.

Some of them read, some recommended, others opened and skimmed and set aside.

I’m hard on myself as a reader. I’m distracted and mostly too sleepy. They say a writer must be a reader.

Maybe that’s why I’m less afraid to paint.

To simplify. The nightstand now has one framed photo, a lamp, a pen with paper and a paperback collection of Psalms and Proverbs.

“How he satisfies the souls of thirsty ones and fills the hungry with all that is good!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I’ve taken to the practice of reading at least one verse as soon as I’m settled in bed.

Some nights more. I thumb to the passage chosen by the date and the pages from notes compiled through the years are becoming my sedation, my self-help.

There are pencil scratches, black or blue ink faded to soft grey. There are bold underlines and tiny little star asterisks in places.

The summary of supplication, of suffering questions, or redirection of myself in an achingly sorrowful way.

Remorse, regret, confusion and occasionally a determined commitment to peace, the words warn, these are best kept secret.

Much like Job may have felt, I imagine if he sat with the pages that detailed his friends calling out his wrongs and his reply incessantly saying,

But, none of this makes sense. Why me?

I feel like Job was just that honest.

If you find your old journal or Bible, do you find your honesty to be hard or do you see it as simply honest?

Do you see how far you’ve come or are you hard on yourself that some days you still hurt to comprehend some things?

I fell asleep with a revelation the other night.

I’d read my prayers scrawled in the old book. Concerns so very intimate that only God and I knew and know the reasons.

I realized I had such a yearning for God back then.

I realized I still do.

The thought of my laments and longings documented with pencil or pen gave me a new idea, a different peace.

I was a seeker. I still am.

My soul ached with yearning.

It still is.

I decided it is a good thing to be still yearning, to not be satisfied in who I’ve become, to be certain God’s still what my heart yearns for and the goodness of His gifts to me, to my family, beauty made of so many hard things.

The words to a song you won’t hear on the radio seem to pop up on my Pandora quite often lately.

I drive the morning road, make it to the hill and curve on the dirt one and I slow my arrival because it happens!

The voice of Paul Beloche, so gently and assuredly reminding me of all the beauty God has made of my life already.

In A Million Years

Causing me to imagine the beauty of eternity that is heaven.

Have you pondered heaven more this year and last?

Maybe not, unless you’re 60ish like me. Have you clung less tightly to earthly hopes knowing they pale in comparison to the promises of heaven?

Do you believe in heaven or does it seem like a mysterious place that might be so?

Do you want your life on earth to be forever because there are so many hopes that haven’t come true just yet?

I do sometimes. There are some earthly things I hope to see come true.

You’d find those hopes in my little book if you had the chance to hold it, you might even find your name there.

On Tuesday mornings, I listen to Emily P. Freeman’s podcast, “The Next Right Thing”. Her voice is easy. Her tone is directive as well as gently suggestive. I tell myself “Listen”.

This week’s episode was more practical than prose, a night time ritual that would better our sleep. I recommend it, listen here:

The Next Right Thing

She gave a helpful list with one thing being to ask yourself at the end of the day,

“Where did I see God today?”

Naturally, I loved this, it’s might kind of deep thinker thing.

Tuesday was a “grandma day”. It was so sweet and easy and it was a gift the way the simplicity of the day fell into place.

The moment?

We sat together in the cool castle building dirt spot. To pass the time ‘til Mama drove up, I taught the baby to sift sand from one hand to the other. Teaching maybe the wrong word, I just did it and she followed.

From one hand to the other we just passed the sand between our hands. She looked up, longer than usual, looked deeply into my eyes in a way that said, “This is sublime.”

Yes, this was when I saw God.

God with us.

Heaven met earth and situated itself with us in the Springtime dirt.

Yearning for me not to miss such a beautiful moment on a blue sky day.

And I didn’t and I pray I don’t from now on.

“Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭7:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lord, may our earthly days cause our longing for you more every day even as we yearn for the incomprehensible promise of heavenly days promised by you.

He keeps his promises.

Continue and believe.

Yearning is peace.

Mud and Moon

Abuse Survivor, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grandchildren, Peace, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

The moon is my favorite along with the color blue, the crescent curve and the hue called cobalt.

Crescent moon like a tilted uncertain smile, saying okay hang on, hang on.

And the cobalt like the ink from a broken pen, the thick fluid, jam from a jar.

I love the others, the sky, the teal, the baby; but, the strong cobalt calls me closer.

The half moon or the full in its brilliance are spectacular.

Still, I favor the crescent one.

Today, I watched a toddler persist. The country path that leads to her home had puddles of rain yet to dry up.

We walked towards one, I reminded her of her shoes, not her boots and she approached and then walked on.

One puddle, the largest of all and she paused.

She turned to find a pebble and then “plop” it went in the water and then she found a big brittle oak leaf.

Intent on tossing it into the puddle, she carefully skirted the edge of the muddy water.

But, the wind swept lightly across her little knees and then again and again, the brown leaf was swept up in the wrong direction.

I heard a little sound, like “umph” but, I saw her not frustrated, simply understanding.

Then she came from a new angle and she dropped the brown brittle leaf in the center of the puddle.

There!

Then, we walked on, “ready set go”.

I’m wondering now if there’s a color of water that I love, a thick colored watery taupe.

An oak leaf resting as we walk back by,

The cobalt of the morning sky allowing a strip of coral in.

My day began this way.

I welcomed the beauty, flipped my phone towards the windshield and I sensed the tone for my day.

Persist.

But, persist calmly. Consider what you value.

What you’ve decided decides your value.

Muddy water mid-morning then a cloudless blue sky against white spindly trees, I am reminded of the value I place on things decided by others.

The things I believe might mean my arrival. I remember now the persistence of a toddler when the wind was against her.

The wind picking up the leaf so lightly and the little hand that decided quietly,

keep trying.

Thoughts of an expression, “lightly child, lightly” reminding me to not try so hard that my trying becomes striving, obnoxious, an idol, not a quiet and important mission.

I am remembering the first time I read this thanks to a blogger friend, David Kanigan.

“It’s dark because you are trying too hard.
Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly.
Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.
Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.” Aldous Huxley

A collision of faith, nature and wisdom plus the plucky persistence of a toddler.

What are you chasing? What have you not valued that is yours?

The writer of Ecclesiastes sounds much like Huxley to me.

Small matters matter.

More than chasing other, anything other than moon and sun and birds and mud puddles.

“I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭1:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Being Refined

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
Beauty Remains

There’s an odd tree near my home. Its branches are grey and twisted and it half stands half reclines in an empty lot.

It is solitary with only tiny tender pines trying to begin their lives nearby, bright green fan like needles on the skinniest of branches.

I’m not an arborist. I know this tree is old, “gnarly” comes to mind. It has pods of some sort and pale white tiny blooms in the Spring. I’ve yet to see it produce a nut or fruit. It still has a few crinkly leaves furled and scattered.

It has lingered long.

Planted in the empty lot or the lot owned by someone and long neglected.

A decade or so ago I began to notice, this leaning tree keeps staying, fascinating me. It is steady although it has no real reason, not attended to by anyone other than God’s good rain and sun.

I’ve just gotten word from a gallery telling me thanks for your submission, our walls are full.

We have enough for display.

I downgraded from a website for my art to Etsy. The decision surprised me with the ease, and the peace, the still today peace is keeping me.

The desire to be an artist feels like an ache, a wound that keeps reminding you to take it slow, slow movements bring lasting health and renewed fervor.

This I know. The change is internal. I am being refined. I am growing. I know because this time, I have told this change, welcome, come on in, stay a bit.

A crazy thing happened on Sunday morning. I heard a sound above my head and thought, an animal in the attic…a big one. At last, I’d convince my husband and he’d believe me, those squirrels are living above our bed.

Later, I went to make the bed and discovered branches curled against my window. The pretty poplar tree had been uprooted by nature and leaned in a precarious way against our home.

Home alone, I walked out in rain boots and pajamas to see the bulbous root upturned and the trunk resting against a patio table. The discarded table saved our windows and our roof. The tree is now cut into pieces by our sweet son in law and only debris remaining.

I am wondering what caused it to fall.

Today, I read a passage in a devotional referencing a verse about being refined.

I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. Zechariah 13:9

I thought of what it means to be refined, how I’d always equated being refined with having more polish, more finesse, what had been started becoming a final result that stood out from the rest. To be refined would feel as close to perfection as possible, a pleasing object to gaze upon, a showpiece worthy of applause.

I know the metaphor of life’s trials and traumas being a symbol of the fire of the silversmith, the heat melting the substance so that it shines smoothly.

Deep Roots, the Gnarly Tree

I’m realizing it’s not about shining, the refining God wants us to understand and allow.

It’s an inside transformation, a change in our souls that leads to changes in mindsets and goals.

A change maybe we and God only know.

To be refined, all impurities are removed from a substance, it becomes internally pure.

A Canon named George Body, born in 1840 describes it this way,

“His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment’s delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, it is when the image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as a mirror. Raise your eyes, then amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you.” George Body

Stand like the old tree, stronger because of the nature of its own depth and fiber and because of the refining hand of God.

The strength is inner, the strength that was brave when it said call yourself an artist.

Keep creating.

“Love Story” 16×20

Keep it quiet. Keep it confident. Keep it grounded.

Remember, your theme is redemption.

Redemption, not kept to yourself.

Find me on Etsy (LisaAnneTindal)

Becoming

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

Yesterday I sat in the dentist chair wishing I had music as a buffer, a distraction to help me not think of what the hygienist was thinking about my aging teeth.

Instead, I chose the Psalm again, the 23rd one and I made it a new song.

On repeat.

“Lord you are my shepherd. You are right here beside me and you’ve always made sure I somehow had all I needed.

And sometimes you’ve given me abundantly more, so much more you surprised me.

I think you must know how much I love surprises, love it when someone thinks of something I might love and then there they are, gifting me!

Lord, you’ve been such a giver of gifts for me. You’ve been with me in the scary places I got trapped and the days of sorrow like a tunnel narrow and winding so the light seems it’s not coming.

You’ve helped me out. You’ve given me reason not to be afraid again.

And again.

Lord, you’ve displayed the best of me for others to see, displays I’d never create on my own.

You show me off, you don’t let the gifts you made in me stay hidden. You help me see what is possible.

You refill my creative cup over and over like a beautiful feast, I return to the paper, the canvas, the brushes in the jars of water.

And I create quietly and certainly.

Lord, thank you for creating me.

The me I am becoming. The one unafraid to honor you, to be an influence that causes curiosity over Jesus.

The me, deep thinker and no longer bothered by that often misunderstood depth.

You made me this way as if to say, ‘here’s who Lisa is, she’s a keeper!’

Thank you for shepherding me, for being so gentle and wise.

For being sure of me becoming me and for doing so very

Patiently.”

Amen.

“I delight to fulfill your will, my God, for your living words are written upon the pages of my heart.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭40:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Peace Resolution

bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
New Year’s Eve Thought

In a year that was “novel” in so many ways that robbed our peace, being at peace was my solution, at least my constant reset.

I didn’t and don’t watch the news, I stopped scrolling when something was being proclaimed about Jesus that contradicted what God’s word said. I avoided conflict and although I shared my opinions and beliefs at times, I ended up realizing people who disagreed would counter with comments that hurt.

At some point, I decided that people who disagreed and spoke up were just trying to maintain control. I mean, in a year that meant so little control, being ticked off and being outspoken was, I suppose the one thing many people could control.

But, in conversations with others, only just one or two, I kept going back to “being at peace, so that I can be peace for others.” And I learned this was something impossible on my own.

Today, the last day of 2020, God brought it all together. Peace is accepting your present knowing God is protecting you from being damaged emotionally by revisiting your past, saving you from stepping back into it, and trusting that He knows your tomorrow, that your future is providentially good, better than you could create without Him.

So, be at peace in your present. Look for evidence in nature, happenstance and the faces of those you love that say…Jesus is here.

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank you for encouraging me this year. Be certain of one thing, the things God tells me to share here quite often astound me! Also, feel like way “too much Lisa”.

Still, someone needs peace too, otherwise God wouldn’t give me words about it.

Happy New Years Eve, be at peace.

Continue and believe.

Think less of what you didn’t accomplish, follow through to completion and more on the things that surprised you as givers of peace picked for you.

I love a vignette! Here’s the third word in the trio of “yearly words”

Victorious2021.

Makes sense although it feels mostly only like “I hope so.”

Tying up the words, “hopeful2019” and “endurance2020” with a stronger faith, one I’m cooperating with towards “victorious2021”

A victory that has no lofty goals, only peace.

In Time

confidence, contentment, curiousity, Faith, hope, Peace, rest, Stillness, Trust, waiting, wonder

A friend has been sharing the continuous bursting forth of her garden roses despite winter, despite December.

We had our first frost. In Carolina, the southern one, that’s a thing. Although not so much a notable date because of all the other incessant tracking of things.

I walked out to see this bud hoping to open and was awed by its beauty, the tightly wrapped gift of a bright bloom, the tender thorns still soft and not to be avoided.

Look at this, I thought. Growth happens when it’s supposed to.

I listened for a minute longer, snapped a photo.

Remember God.

“Remember.” God

Not for us to know our triumphant season, only to wait to see it in our becoming or to accept the peace to know that our time has already come and we can either simply remember it

or perhaps, it’s actually now.

Be at peace.

Continue and believe.

“Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble, but commune with God at all times.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Bucket Listless

Abuse Survivor, Art, birds, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, family, heaven, hope, Salvation, Thanksgiving, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Someone said we shouldn’t have a bucket list if we believe in Jesus, believe in heaven.

Made sense, the whole reality of the mysterious truth of eternity, incomprehensible, some might say fantastical idea of God’s original plan, perfection.

That was a relief at least for me, me who’s never flown. I don’t possess a passport and have zero income except the occasional art purchase and a tiny retirement check.

In case you’re curious, it’s Italy.

Someone else reminded me of counting my many blessings, naming them one by one, noticing things, noticing God. I can do this again, a practice to revisit.

Treasures

Golden leaves on my headlight lit path

One golden leaf spinning down

A sky sprinkled with stars

A leftover cheese straw wrapped prettily

Watching Elizabeth waking up and talking to her crib friends

Walking together, saying “Hey” to the sunshine and our shadows

Several birds, very small flying upwards into the sky blue sky

Elizabeth sitting all dainty in her chair ringing her little Christmas bell, her smile, pure glee

The sunrise just now and birdsong causing me to go see where they’re nesting

Calming babies holding them close on their first grandparent visit

Listening to adult conversations between children and not adding my two cents, just being enthralled by their wellness, their voices, by them.

Waking up to rain on Thanksgiving and deciding it makes sense, 2020 and all

Stepping out anyway, my eye noticing the puddled up drop on the magenta rose

Clouds like puffs

Finding my children’s baby stuff

Not ruining the steaks or letting the bottoms of the cookies burn

I could go on, the infinite list, none of it “bucket”.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about mercy or grace, about God.

I wonder if I’m qualified at all.

I’ll wait and see and continue to listen.

Continue and believe.

I’m not listless after all.

“You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name! For the Lord is always good and ready to receive you. He’s so loving that it will amaze you— so kind that it will astound you! And he is famous for his faithfulness toward all. Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭100:4-5‬ ‭TPT‬‬

So, I began again.

I thought of heaven again this morning, thought of the spectacular mystery just like faith, like hope, intangibles.

Invaluable treasures, the list I’m returning to

The smell of sausage in the kitchen

The thrill in the voice of a child over Christmas and drinking from a Santa mug instead of sippy cup

The sound of frenetic keyboard tapping as my son, home all week but a professional, passionate about his work, working.

A gift for no reason, a luxurious blanket that brought security, represented love

My husband’s announcement as he comes down the hall, “another beautiful day”.

Day 27 of my thankfulness notes:

Thankful for God’s grace.

Linking up with other bloggers here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2020/11/26/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-grateful/