(Don’t) Tell All

bravery, coronavirus, courage, depression, Faith, hope, kindness, Peace, rest, Stillness, Truth, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

The cashier at Target wasn’t speaking clearly. I couldn’t understand her when she totaled up the stuff in my buggy.

I know the jokes about how Target trips always slip up on you when it’s time to pay.

But, this time it was the mask(s). She and I were struggling to speak clearly, to understand one another.

Hold Us Together, Together

I thought of telling someone how I was feeling the other day and then I didn’t.

Buried it, the best kept secret.

They have enough of their own I decided.

But, the more I thought about the burdens we are masking, the more concerned I am about the damage it is doing.

We’re all becoming way too okay with staying hidden, with keeping our sorrows to ourselves in a kind attempt not to add to the distress of another, family, friend or anyone else.

I think most of us are overwhelmed. Most of us know those around us are as well.

So we keep it to ourselves.

We don’t admit the feeling of being alone, all by ourselves, because we don’t want to let on that we are really feeling hopeless.

Or maybe some are not.

Still, I am worried that we’re keeping too much to ourselves.

Today I had the chance to hear from a likeminded soul.

We despise the masks required of us. They make us sad, angry, concerned that we can’t say so because others will call us selfish.

And that one ten minute exchange gave me hope, gave me freedom, told me another human understands.

I hope God sends someone your way who will listen and that you’ll be energized by the commonalities, by the similar angst.

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I urge you not to keep your fears hidden, your fatigue over uncertain futures, your walking around in a daze akin to disassociation.

I pray you find an encourager, a listener who is open to your “tell all” conversation and that you come away better; known, loved and heard.

I pray I open my heart to the heartaches of others and that I reciprocate the kind listening I was gifted today.

Ask the Questions

confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, depression, Faith, hope, mercy, Peace, praise, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, writing

Last week, I asked a question of someone I never thought of asking. I reminded myself of times leading and training others, how I’d tell them if you ask a question, that shows you are committed to learning and it also shows me you’re okay with not knowing as long as you trust that you can learn.

I asked three precise questions to help me with a writing decision and the person who answered, answered with “No problem, that’s what I’m here for”.

And I didn’t think it until today, this lost and listless morning, I should ask God to help me unravel these feelings, this lost exhaustion.

And He did.

“And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭20:32-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Being honest with God about the empty and boring angst my morning began with led to a gradual shift.

Numb due to the daily same no indication of change because of pandemic, discord and lack of good sleep due to dreams about Christmas, I’m barely moving as I go towards the coffee.

I sit with pen, open my Bible, circle boldly the word “trust” and then add the same letters on the place below my thumb, add a cross where the big nail pierced Him.

Flat, unmotivated, agenda-less and only pending set aside for later ideas kind of days.

I decide fresh air may enthuse me and I see the sunlight on the wild purple flowers.

I find the tomato sweet granddaughter discovered and dropped. It seems a rabbit took a bite out of its side, left it near the porch.

I find the new red bloom on the daisies and I see the geese crossing the road slowly, unconcerned over the big truck lightly tapping a beat with its horn.

The geese take their time, their plans for today are the same as the days before.

I saw the acceptance of rest in all of it. The empty slate day that welcomes restoration in a gradual way, the renewing of my mind, a required reminder.

Today, a summer Sunday perfect for quiet supplication of a clean slate, anxious clutter cleared and a willingness to be okay in the widening expanse of waiting.

These are not days of “finger snap” make all things better.

The realization of this, at first is exhausting. Still, these days that represent dwindling hope are only doors to more trusting.

If I could, I’d go stand in the widest open field I could find secluded from all eyes and I’d open my arms way, way wide.

I’d celebrate a realization.

I trust you, God.

I’d celebrate the change quiet brought me on Sunday morning when I woke so depleted. I’d thank God for answering when I asked for restoration. I’d thank Him for new ideas ready to be followed up on. I would thank him for answering all my questions.

I’d be grateful for the dream that kept me thinking although sleeping, I’d thank God for dreams about Christmas.

Because, Christmas is my favorite.

Thank you, God, for correcting my vision.

“He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy Sunday!

Continue and believe.

The Audacity of Believing

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, depression, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Unity, Vulnerability, waiting, writing

After three days with no writing or painting, I returned to my “sanctuary” on Sunday afternoon.

It was as before, it was life giving, the losing track of time and paint on my hands and forehead.

All afternoon, I painted.

I followed my husband’s suggestion. He noticed I was isolating and told me to stop spending so much time in “that room”.

When I did, I thought of other things. Things other than the canvases piling up, other than hopes that seem to have no place to land in this seemingly hopeless land.

I noticed the hardships of others. I paid attention to sorrowful eyes on masked faces. I observed the way we all seem to be walking together reluctantly, like lambs headed for slaughter.

I recalled my work with depression and suicide. I recalled the one thing more important than any other.

The one in need asking for help, and the listener being committed to listening and helping.

I thought of situational depression in comparison to chemical.

I realized, maybe now (I’m not an expert) it makes no difference. Isolation, depression, anger or sullenness, no respecter of persons.

And I revisited my career long reminder.

Be kind. Everyone is fighting a hard battle.

Here we are on another Monday feeling like the never ending mystery of our days.

I turned to Matthew, today marked Chapter 7, about not judging others wrongly, considering their conditions could be yours.

I read ahead, drawn towards a healing story.

Longing to remember the healer, longing to remember the one needing healing.

Wanting to feel touched by another’s story.

This one, a single soul held captive by an ugly disease. He was a leper, one others avoided.

He was brave enough to believe and saw the throng of people along with Jesus descending from the mountain down into the valley where he stayed hidden.

He asked for help.

Jesus listened.

“And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭8:2-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, I’ll remember those who are struggling more than most, more than me.

I’ll pray they find a listener, are able to express their pain and that the ears that welcome their anger or dismay, offer a heart and hand of patient compassion.

I pray that I am able to offer the same, whether words or canvas or eyes that smile instead of look away when I meet another seeking soul, a gentle lamb trusting God and in need of healing.

May we find each other in our quest for healing. May we continue to believe in the audacity of believing.

Name Changer

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, hope, memoir, mercy, mixed media painting, painting, Redemption, Vulnerability

As I painted, the painting went from soft mossy green to blue. What began as “Your New Name” moved towards a change, a new name born of a feeling,

Thoughts of doubt and waiting to see what may develop led to the change. The painting became. “Melancholy Day”.

What originally evolved from imaginative thoughts of what Eden would look like to Eve if she could return, a visitor who’d been able to forgive herself of her wrong.

A lush garden she’d be standing in, embracing the glorious view.

Instead, the canvas became more blue and representative of my melancholy mood. It’s not that she’s not strong, the female figure conjured by thoughts of Eve.

She’s just stuck for today. Increasingly uncertain of the meaning of her paintings, the value in her work, the question of its worth.

Today, the art is finished. It’s a huge unavoidably melancholy message.

But, morning brings relief and honest understanding.

It was good for the artist to get that out of her system. It was good to pour the blues onto a big enough space.

Making room for new expressions.

Continuing and believing today.

Where Light Is

Angels, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, Faith, hope, mercy, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting

“There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in its paths.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭24:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I could easily stay in my soft cushioned chair, feet propped and fan creating a breeze overhead. The worn quilt from many washings is as soft as a feather and cool against my feet.

I could stay here all day. It would be no matter, and maybe I should.

Stay in this morning spot that is the place where I’m met by mercy and reassured it has no end.

The place of the promise, begin again. The place that is quiet. The place where God informs me through my Bible or the words someone else has recorded.

Or just through the allowing myself to stay, just through my patient sitting.

Job answered his friend’s advice to agree with God and be at peace (Job 22:21) with bitter honesty. He was exhausted over not knowing why or when.

Job was confused over how God would allow his condition, how it seemed to him God was not looking or worse, looking away.

“From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God charges no one with wrong.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭24:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The chapters of the Book of Job continue with Job’s debate with God, relentless in both his longing to understand and his commitment to believe in the majesty and knowledge of God.

Job stayed and God answered with redemption and life again.

He listened to his friends’ advising and rebuking and he implored them in his own defense.

Then, he listened to God.

“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭42:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m letting that truth linger, lessen the pressure of overthinking or demanding quick answers. I don’t need to have nor am I able to have every answer.

I’ll move from my morning place to other things God is calling me to finish.

Paintings and stories of birds and marshes and laundry.

I could easily stay in this quiet spot with God. No television and no habitual social media checking. No news debates and no high pressured conversations nudging my thoughts to write catastrophic stories.

Instead, I’ll continue.

Job gives us permission to be honest with God. To ask how long and still believe.

To continue and believe. To know the light, keep coming back and staying as long as you are able.

Linking up with others with the prompt “stay” from Five Minute Friday’s Kate Motaung

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Stay

God Only Knows

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, coronavirus, courage, depression, doubt, fear, Forgiveness, freedom, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, rest, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder

The bystanders recognized the beggar up walking around. All of a sudden he could see and they began to dispute the truth of Jesus, they began to argue over the day of the week and were certain the beggar was mistaken in some way.

I’m wondering how he became a discarded one at all. Scriptures say he had parents. Had they given up on being his support system? He was an adult after all, he’d have to fend for himself.

Or was he so downtrodden by his lifelong blindness, he just grew tired of being their burden? He could beg others for money instead of his parents.

I love the Gospels, the Books of encounters with Jesus. There are many people who stir empathy in me. There are relatable stories to my healing by Jesus.

Jesus came along and he noticed the man blind from birth. The disciples, always looking to learn from Jesus, asked what had caused the blindness, were his parents neglectful, had they been bad people before they became parents, or was the little boy born with some sort of predicted worthlessness that led to him being born blind?

They wanted to know who or what was to blame.

Jesus told them it was God’s plan. The blind man would be an instrument for God’s glory to be real, for the mysterious to be memorable.

“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭ESV

Jesus made a paste of mud and his own spit, pressed it against the blind beggar’s eyes and then said go down to the water and wash it all off. The man did and he could see.

Everyone asked how, the man said I did what Jesus said and that’s really all I know.

His vision restored, the interrogations continued. The parents were questioned, they confirmed their son’s blindness as well as his current condition. Told all the skeptics to ask him, not us, he will tell you! According to scripture, the parents were keeping their distance because they were Jews and they would be disallowed from the synagogue if they acknowledged Jesus, if they acknowledged their own child’s healing.

These were the times I suppose even a parent of a son who was healed was careful about boldly agreeing and believing in Jesus.

Seems it was safer to be a skeptic, to know there are people who believe in Jesus because of their own healing; but, they were not ready to believe for themselves.

Maybe it seemed too impossible, too unattainable, too supernaturally “magical”.

Same as today really.

The man who could see could only speak for himself, hope with all his heart that his testimony mattered.

“So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:24-26 ESV‬‬

Centuries later, I sit in my mama’s covered chair with my Bible, the margin on the page has a pen and pencil resemblance of me, my face turned towards the words and a slight listening tilt.

I understand the blind man. I can relate to his dismay over Jesus initially. I can sit with my Bible and know beyond doubt that I too have been healed when many for valid reasons discarded me, left me to fend for myself.

And like the blind man who couldn’t explain mud and spit restoring his vision, I often wonder how me simply believing in a cross, the likeness of which I now add to my wrist could have altered my life so very significantly.

It is not my place to understand it all, to know every how or why God found me worthy of healing. It is mine to believe. To be able to rest in this:

But, you do know, God, You do.

We’re all in a state of not knowing now. On Sunday, I knelt in the place by my mama’s chair. I was distracted, I admit. Still, I joined in the prayer of Pastor Steve Davis with many others. I prayed and am praying in agreement with him that this time will bring people who don’t really understand God, maybe just hope in the possibility of Him being real closer to believing. The prayer closed with that very request of our Heavenly Father, that during this pandemic stirring panic, countless people will come to know God, will believe in Jesus as their healer.

I pray this as well. I know healing that saved not just my soul but my very life from risky, dangerous, threatening to kill me situations.

Like the blind man, I believe in Jesus.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe, moment by moment if necessary.

Acknowledge/Admit you were born a sinner. Believe in Jesus, God’s plan for us to be with Him in heaven. Confess your sin and begin to live healed.

My prayer for my not knowing readers.

Wisdom Stories

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, daughters, depression, family, grief, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder
For she is your life. Proverbs 4:13

I watched the soloist in worship, saw timidity in a way that led to her being brave. Fairly new to the stage, I’ve been attentive to her growing. I long to know her story.

Has she always sang so bravely, was it a thing she knew she’d always do? Was it a path that opened before her and at last she agreed she was able?

I watched as her hand held the microphone in its stand. I listened as she told me it’s God’s breath in me that led and leads to my breathing. She opened both hands towards the ceiling as her voice was elevated, “Great are you Lord!” I joined in agreement.

I’d still love to know her faith story. I’d like to know her journey as a woman.

I sat in the white chair later, the chair that was yellow when my mama got it. She had it in her den and I don’t recall her ever sitting there. It was positioned in front of her place for sitting, a place she could simply see it.

It faced the wide windows that opened the view to the field, the skinny lane that announced visitors. My mama lived alone for a bit and her yellow chair is only one of a few things she gave me. The others, ceramic roosters and a bracelet, now broken and not really jewelry, “costume” the jeweler said, “not worth anything”.

The yellow chair now recushioned and covered white, the little roosters and the bracelet, all yard sale discoveries.

My mama had very little.

Her legacy is wisdom. Wisdom and spontaneity, gifting herself with an occasional treat!

I thought of her as I drifted into a nap on Sunday. The yellow chair now creamy white facing my own wide windows.

I found solace in the soft chair, curled like a baby in my mama’s not made for sleeping chair.

I rested in the certainty of her joy when she found the fancy to her yellow chair. I celebrated her deciding she was worth it, something her life had never told her.

No wonder I find comfort in my mama’s yard sale chair.

It’s a side of her story she really didn’t tell. Her story of strength, of being worth something other than what life had shown her. A story of the bravery in believing, to wake to your very own beauty.

To believe in yourself because of God’s plan. I sit in my mama’s humble chair and feel the softness of her wisdom, I feel able to keep believing I am more than what my hard years have told me.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

There is wisdom in quiet joy. There is wisdom in pursuits that are tentative.

There is safety in remembering another’s very own wise path, as far back as when the writer of Proverbs called wisdom a “her”.

“When you walk, your step will not be hampered, and if you run, you will not stumble. Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I hope to ask her one day, the new solo singer in worship, “How did you get to this place of using your voice to strengthen my faith?” There is wisdom in her journey I’m certain. I long to know why.

Who are the wise women in your life? The humble ones, the overcomers, the singers, the confident business owners, the young mamas, the elderly still with us, the teachers, the artists, the singers?

Life makes us either hard or wise. Stay soft if you can, wisdom comes not from hardening.

What’s your wisdom story?

Oddities, Faith and Birds

Abuse Survivor, birds, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Stillness, surrender, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

A few days in a row I fixated on the idea of a bluebird landing in my palm. I imagined being able to get close enough before it flew away.

I set out with the plan that if I asked God to let that bird make a nest in my palm, I’d believe even more strongly in a God I can’t see.

I would see faith in a whole new way.

The fencepost is marked by a blue ribbon! Trickery to my vision even today.

If I clutched that resting bird, I’d go back home or sit on the front steps and I’d make a call. “Cousin!” I’d say with a loud happy voice, to my cousin who believes bluebirds mean hope.

“Cousin, you’ll never believe it! I have just held a little bluebird in my hand!” And she’d reply in her southern strong voice with either,

“What???? …Get outta here, no way!!!”

I love the way she always gets excited over my revelations.

Or, she’d say “Oh, Lisa, I can’t believe it, isn’t God so good?”

She might find my behavior odd, that I long to see a bluebird sit still in my hand.

That this crazy idea born of seeing a bird near the fence for me is a metaphor for faith, for sustaining it.

For me to be honest with me. Holding a bird in my hand would just lead to me longing for more. I’d love the way God answered my crazy request; but, what next?

Would I ask God to bring a cardinal indoors to live next to my bed? Would I have no fear of flying and ask to soar on an eagle’s wing?

Outlandish thoughts! Really elaborate tales I write in my intricately woven head.

God made me this way.

Last month I was more focused on the birds than ever. Crows all over the country field and a gathering of blue birds in the yard. Several cardinals seem to time it just right and I am turning my face towards the sky and they unravel themselves from the branches and hover over my walk on the trail. Bright red, soft and luminous blue, even the omenous charcoal black buzzard sitting atop the falling down house.

I noticed them. I thought about how God made them all. Thought about God telling us we mean more to Him than birds, than sparrows.

We are more intricately made. A blessing and a worrisome thing is a mind, a complex and compromised by life on earth brain.

Maybe that’s why I love the birds, love the idea of flying from place to place with my little flock. Being able to simply know my nest will be strong and safe if even for just a season.

Knowing there’s a pattern to life, there is a path for safe transition to Heaven.

Birds stay in that pattern undaunted by earth.

The coldest and most wet winter and I still hear the new bird in the tall pine singing its newly acquired noisy song. It sounds like anguish to me. Who am I to say? It’s most likely excitement.

It is a birdsong of faith.

As I type, the sound of a bouncing off the tall window has occurred. I don’t look up soon enough to see it, to know its color, brown, blue or rich red.

I know it may have been off course or maybe, just maybe it felt my longing and it thought it could come inside. Most likely not land in my hand, only let me truly see up close.

That’s faith that accepts our complexities. It’s faith in the God who made me who makes me unconcerned over writing this post, a crazy essay type story about how a bird not in my hand is leading me to deeper faith.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My thoughts are known and they are unique, one of a kind wonderings and at times quite woeful.

I am thankful I am loved completely by a God who knows me so well, who knows me because He knew me.

Who’s watching over and is satisfied by my longings over bluebirds.

Who is satisfied that I am coming into me as a work of His hand. A God who sees me testing Him to give me a bird as a measure of faith and is understanding of my ways and compels me deeper, deeper into His view of me.

God is okay with my oddities.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:23-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

None of us are the same.

We don’t see one another’s inward parts. For me to write about birds is a risk; a risk I pray gets others thinking. We can never understand the mind of another. We can only accept that as truth. We all have hidden vulnerabilities. Some of us overcome them. Others show and then regret showing because they’re met by the very different thoughts of another. Some brains have fought back with resilience.

Others still have little corners and crevices that have stored up fear. Some hearts don’t appear to be broken but are quite broken. They are not beyond repair. No, not at all beyond resilience sustained by faith. Some are not healed yet; but, they are closer to believing they will be, closer to the possibility of coming into God’s own. The place of rest.

So, from the perspective of one who ponders birds and skies, let’s all join together, separately and yet wonderfully made and believe together.

Faith makes us well, may we not need earthly evidence to believe it.

I don’t think Jesus would have told us to look at the birds if we couldn’t grow by looking. So look up today. Look for the birds, imagine if you like, being allowed to hold one gently for a minute.

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Heavenly Father, thank you for making us so individually well and reminding us that we are so very fragile. It is you that makes us strong. Help us remember you through a flash of blue against a winter field. Because of mercy, in Jesus name, Amen.

Light, Your World

Abuse Survivor, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, depression, Faith, hope, memoir, obedience, Peace, Redemption, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

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.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God’s Peace, You are Free

Abuse Survivor, Art, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, Faith, fear, freedom, grace, kindness, memoir, mercy, obedience, Peace, praise, Redemption, rest, surrender, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s exactly as surprising and joyous as they say, being a grandparent. Some may say, it’s what I’m learning, an infant requires of your attention, a full percent and it’s never a demand, it is a precious gift.

Complement it with an idyllic setting, open field, blue sky wide, leaves changing colors and a quilt on a back porch situated perfectly for a breeze.

I sing with abandon. She listens, smiles. The acoustics are so good. My voice carries. God is near.

Being a grandmother, big chunks of uninterrupted peace. My granddaughter is privy to God’s refining of me.

Perhaps, it’s her and God’s idea.

How can I keep from singing your praise?

I welcome the unlearning of the traumatized me, I acknowledge it may take a bit.

I envision clarity like a treasure I bring up to my chest or it’s a tug of war, the big mean boy grabbing at what’s mine and me, scared of being overpowered.

I used to give it away.

Now, I’m angry over its thieves.

My little bit of peace and clarity jerked from my arms and the aggressor running away, turned back towards me, sneering and laughing his ass off!

I’d have used asterisks for the s’s but I decided not to veil the truth of this thought and image, the abusive act of my peace being stolen.

In the dim light of day as a way of escape, a rescue for my hurting heart came this morning.

The answer?

All things are possible with God.

I thought it over and over.

This! This is real.

Not with self-care, not a new counselor, not a community or “tribe”, not a webinar or self-help book.

Not some instructor, well intentioned but profiting from my naive determination shadowed by doubt and discontent.

These are the things that draw me in, make me prey to promises only God and I together can fulfill.

Bold revelation, you may say.

When I write this way, I’m a little worried and then I decide someone else may need to explore this, this self-handicapping behavior, this lesson in knowing our weak places, being uncomfortable with settling there.

The closer we get to God’s gracious idea of us, the more miserable we are wearing any other garment or expression.

Clarity came and may be the less traveled road to peace.

This leg of my journey will lead to peace.

A rarely talked about truth for victims of trauma, I’ve heard it spoken many times by my kind and skilled counselor friend.

People return to negative patterns because this is familiar, this is safe. The sometimes unhealthy behaviors are the most fail-proof remedy we know.

Thankfully not return to allowing physical trauma, more the insidious spread of subtle abuses to self, the power of our thoughts, our mindsets that

Sabotage our freedom.

Compile all the days you lived under the thumb of something or someone, succumbing to the control, manipulation or unfair, cast aside treatment by something or someone.

The undoing doesn’t just happen like the snap of a finger and thumb.

Take it easy on you.

Then do two things, Lisa Anne.

Now that you understand what you’re doing, be grateful not debilitated, give yourself grace.

Stop seeking validation, support, or yet another conversation in which you expect another human to fully understand your distress.

It’s not possible and it’s not their place or fault.

Your wounds and your beautiful hopes are far too deeply layered for another human being to understand.

Something about early morning, God always speaks as if to say:

I filtered your fears overnight, here’s what’s left, the sure thing you must now know. All things are possible with me.

This place God has brought me to, saved me from, kept me safe…how on earth could I think it’s possible to continue on my own?

I jot the “Jabez prayer” every morning.

“He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Today, I added little check marks next the lines in the beginning: I’ve been blessed, check, I’ve had my territory enlarged, check!

The last two things, I am still very much in need of, keep your hand on me God, keep me from self-harm, the thoughts that betray me, so that I won’t revisit, get caught up in my pain.

You see, I spoke of newfound freedom, the choice to live with hope not remorse. I made it seem so easy.

Yet, I didn’t give a thought to the multiple layers of harm that very hope would have to fight daily with the devil to stay real every minute.

The one thing just a glimpse of freedom will give, a strong and renewed will to fight hard against repeated entrapment!

An awareness that it is hard not to be a victim when you were one for so long.

It is hard not to be who you were.

Almost impossible.

It’s easier to be weak and manipulated than to be newly strong.

I boasted of hope, forgot I am not able on my own.

God is my counselor, my advisor, my strong encourager of looking forward not before.

This is not a grim post, only honest. I’m afraid honesty’s in my bones, got that from my father, God rest his quiet soul.

I rise now to continue the things He started in me, blessed me, continues to enlarge my territory through happy brave opportunities.

I’ve designed a 2020 calendar, available soon, each month, an image of a woman strengthened by hope and God.

(Hope to share by next week, tell you more about ordering.)

Some told me they were proud of me, well intentioned comments and I suppose make sense.

What I’m doing though, is just following through on a God-planted seed, an idea, God’s work through me.

Please don’t be proud of me. Together, let’s be proud of God.

I rise now to clean my “art and writing room”, to ready it for what is possible today.

Are you a victim of trauma, physical or emotional abuse?

My thoughts…be strong, believe in your freedom; but, don’t walk it out alone, without the one who knows you completely, God.

“Jesus looked at them and said,

“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Believe. Continue and believe.