Amongst One Another

I suppose it might be possible.

That there might be some amongst us who don’t know struggle, haven’t had it woven intricately in the layers of their skin, embedded deep deep deep in the pits of their tummies.

I saw someone last night and I remembered how she’d been real with me and I, with her.

How I’d said yes to her unexpected invite for lunch, just wanting us to know one another more.

First of all, how often are we so honest? How rare are women that brave?

She shattered my illusion of her life more sublime than mine. She told me her story.

And, I mine.

I guess over a year or more ago. She listened as I shared the colors of my Bible, my story.

And I saw her and I told her what that meant to me, her opening her heart, her curiosity of mine.

What if we did that more? What if we left each other loved and uplifted, caressed on more than typical passing platitudes?

We’d know more the feeling of being amongst one another. We’d be more generous with our giving of time, less greedy for dominance in conversation.

Another friend made me cry when I held her and let her cry. It was hard.

Then soft.

She said it, what I already knew.

“I think I just saw God.”

I read a beautiful prayer this morning, a prayer by a French Archbishop whose name I can’t pronounce. It was a prayer asking God to find us when we can’t find Him.

Take my heart, for I canst give it and when thou hast it, oh, keep it for Thee and save me in spite of myself. Archbishop F’enelon

Someone mentioned feeling as if in an abyss yesterday and we then talked about the “cliff”.

If you’ve ever been in a deep place feeling like you can’t pull yourself out or if you’ve found yourself on the edge, on the cusp of disastrous choice worn out and miserable over what’s come your way, having to get real quiet or real loud and maybe say God, come near, be my rescue, remind me again.

Save me, yet again.

The Lord is my strength and my song. He has become my salvation. Psalm 118:14

We’re not made to cower.

Impatient Wonder

Two or three things stuck last week, adding to the mix even more this morning and now, afternoon as well.

The first is the perspective changer that uncertainty is a gift, an absolute gift.

Uncertainty, held by grace.

And wonder.

Last week, I berated myself out loud to another, her commentary brought new perspective, brought me to consider a kind response.

To realize I had not been “resourced” back then to choose alternate responses.

Too much wrong food, buying stuff just because and giving in to a pattern as if there was no other way but back and so scared I might be moving in reverse not forward.

“Coping mechanisms” she called my overindulgence(s).

You’re self-aware, you’ve called yourself out this time, that’s progress.

You’re not stuck.

“Oh.” I remembered later, what a gracious choice. What a gracious idea giving permission to mess up and even more so, a prompting to step surely and rightly again.

I’ve been talking about turning 60 for months now, anxious that I might not do the things I said I was gonna do when I was a year younger than I am now.

I’ve got about 30 months to 60 and I guess about 900 days. I’m no math person, let me use my words.

Words are my thing, not numbers.

Wondering if I will, uncertain if I can.

Impatient to see what I will.

Stuck.

If you’re Southern you might remember a ready reply your mama, your grandma or grandpa would give in reply to whether and when.

Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!

What might happen depending on God being willing and I imagine whoever started this go to reply, the road might have been impassable, their door might have guarded the way out and they may have decided not today, gotta wait for the creek to settle, gotta wait for the water to flow back downstream to the river, to the sea.

Gotta wait for the settling.

Today, I read about the woman in Proverbs again, the passage that tells a son what to look for in a wife. The verses are filled with guidance, the descriptive nature often causes wonder of worth.

Today though, one part stuck.

“She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The part about considering, about patient wonder, about tentative even proceeding.

About waiting patiently for an undertaking, taking graceful steps towards uncertain yielding of creative crop.

Giving myself a pass on not perfecting.

I hadn’t cooked for days. My husband was having omelets, pb&j’s and pizza from a box.

I’ve a meal in the oven now, rosemary roasted turkey, potatoes and carrots to be beside asparagus drizzled in butter and warm grain rice.

An assignment for a magazine had me insecure and regretful, due tomorrow, 1000 words for a hundred.

I find a little teacup and steep the bag in steam and down the hall I go and I pray

Father, help me to write the words that someone is needing, that they read my words and begin to be better.

Because of mercy, Amen

Me

I go back for the tea, meet the waiting laptop and the notes scribbled and scattered and I read, I read before I write, the little teeny words on a square on a string I’ll tear off and keep.

And now, the article is done, pool time and blueberry creamy coolness to be followed by dog walking and sky studying.

Sunday, oh, Happy Day you have been!

Words and Pursuit

I love a pretty word, love the way it prompts pursuit.

Draws me to be hopeful it’ll fit just right, my emotion and understanding.

Love the way it awakens me, a word saying “Carry on, continue, you’re not too far gone.”

I found myself drawn to confirm my understanding, the word “ardent”, I felt descriptive of someone committed, zealous, passionate even in their effort to be near, be in relationship with another.

The book I read in the mornings is made of quotes and verses and very often, I must pause to understand the linguistic disconnect.

I’m not sure I’d ever heard it, that God was an ardent pursuer of me, a sort of suitor refusing to accept my rebuff.

Lord knows, back in the day, the nice guys I cast aside, rarely did they continue their pursuit, lost interest, lost cause.

Today, I couldn’t quite believe with my whole heart. I teetered between the why and His will. I wondered if others tired of wanting to understand but, being unable to believe.

Someone stopped by and her whole face was smiling. Another stopped by and she cried, I cried with her.

Another called and I apologized before I ever began, I’m sorry I’m pitiful today. She told me she’d woken the same way.

I sat in my car and she prayed I’d know his nearness, that I’d remember my strength because of a God who pursues and protects me. She prayed there’d be a break in my heavy load and that the big things looming would have His hand on me.

And it wasn’t all of a sudden, like a gathering of hallelujah singers all around, it was a gradual sense of God’s presence.

A calming factor, a sense of hope and an affirmative reminder that I believe.

The to do pad on the fridge, blank until today. Home from long day, I decide on a bike ride. The slight cooling down of evening air on my face, I pedaled strong and determined and never let up, careening around the curve and back through my yard. I hop off my bike and back inside, realize the day is different.

It’s dusk and it’s evening and there’s chili simmering on the stove.

I reach for the fridge and my note to self from early morning.

Believe God.

Now, I know you know I didn’t, haven’t seen God. But, he pursued me today and followed me and happened to have people see me, hear me, listen, smile, cry and pray.

And they were intentional. They were wholehearted and enthusiastic. They were passionate in their pursuit of my heart as I was of theirs and we were mutually ardent in our compassionate responses.

Goodness and mercy found me today. It seems it was not without effort because sometimes I look and don’t find and I grow weary and worn, wilted, drained and deplete.

But, He never lets go His ardent pursuit.

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Ardent, a word descriptive of a committed and fervent one. One who never gives up.

A quote from my little morning book from the Rev. John Tauler, born 1290 and deceased in 1361, 71 years of understanding of God’s pursuit:

For God is right diligent to be with us at all seasons, and to teach us, that He may bring us to Himself, when we are like to go astray.

None of us ever desired anything more ardently than God desires to bring men to the knowledge of Himself. J. Tauler

Oh my goodness, knowledge so very close to being too wonderful to know.

To know that I am known by God.

Wonderful to know.

Mercy Cry

Boot camp warm up always begin with I guess a community type bonding circle where we all play a little beachball volleying.

The trainer usually gets the brunt of being the target and dodges a direct hit to the face.

The ball’s pretty flimsy and it doesn’t hurt, still we all put our hands up to cover our faces or the occasional and intentional ball in the chest.

Last week, I returned a volley with more force and intention than my normal sweet self.

I ran to meet the ball in the middle and then straightaway returned it from whence it had come, and ohhh, everybody was like, “whoa…Lisa!”

I smiled, told them I was the only girl in a neighborhood full of boys and I mostly stayed out of the way.

Sometimes, though I fended for myself, knew how to be defensive, my brothers surprised when I’d “had enough”.

This morning, I’m thinking about mercy and how God keeps on giving, keeps on taking me as I am and keeps on loving me when I’m not feeling lovable or worthy.

Like my brothers used to bend back the fingers on each other’s hands or twist one arm behind each other’s backs, stubborn and dead set on not giving in,

Sometimes I hold out as long as possible before I fall apart and ask for help.

For mercy. One thing will happen and then well, another and before long maybe another and I’m shaking my head saying.

“Lord, have mercy! Lord…have mercy.”

I’ll even text my cutesy little “LHM!” Joking or making light of some ridiculous something I’ve seen or heard.

When mercy is not to be received lightly, mercy is not to go for very long without asking for even more.

Knowing full well, mercy is always for me.

Always waiting my reaching out for it, my walking lightly and light heartedly because of all of it I’ve already known.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Mary was told by an angel that nothing would be impossible with God.

Mary, the one whose womb wove together mercy, Jesus.

Mary, who assured us it wasn’t just a gift she’d been chosen for.

Mercy, oh, mercy!

It is ours.

Ours for the asking, ours to be remembered. New mercy to replace the doubt or the decisions we might have made that mercy is not for us.

Must have surely run out.

Like the stubborn refusal to bear the pain of an arm twisted behind your back or to bear the consequences of a misdeed or miscommunication, I decide sometimes in my miserable state, I guess I deserve it.

I suppose I’m meant to bear the pain. I might wallow, cower, hide or wear the mood of martyr.

Yet, I tire of my contemplations and contemptuous self-pity.

“Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭123:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Or, like this morning, I’ll accept the day and its possible difficulty and I’ll accept the mercy of Jesus.

I’ll cry “Mercy!” and soon, very soon I’ll be relieved.

And I’ll move more lightly, less angrily mopey. I’ll let go the wrongs and twisted ways of others I’d decided I must be duly punished for.

I’ll forgive myself and others.

I will give them mercy, give myself a little too, there is more than enough, it endures forever. I’ll linger as long as needed in my morning spot, the place I’m met my mercy,

My earthly “mercy seat”.

“For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me.

He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:49-50‬ ‭NLT

Quiet Voila’

Last week or maybe last year, sporadic in my notice and recognition, I decided “child’s pose” was very much like prayer.

The prayer pose in the dark of early morning beside my bed or in the middle of a day when my pacing feet and pounding heart had left me with no place to go but to

Go there.

To hide away on my side of the bed.

You’d have to walk around to find me.

To hit my knees and find my soul beckoning me rest and my shoulders, lower, lower until they too are closer to the bottom and to wait, my muscles groaning in extension, I’m reaching, now gently.

As far as I can and I wait for God to cause my hands to open towards heaven.

Like a quiet “voila!”.

Saying, this is yours God, not mine.

Like a child, my outstretched hands are both released from my heavy thing and opened for the pure embrace of God.

Lean a little deeper into the prayer like a languished stretch and then ease back upright to maybe a sort of sun salutation.

I rise. I’m better, Son of God, I salute you, your Spirit, now.

I’m better today.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up for FMF prompted by “release”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/04/05/fmf-link-up-release/

Oh, and by the way, my book review of Kate Motaung’s recently released memoir, “A Place to Land” is in a draft right now, I’ll be posting tomorrow and giving away a couple of copies!

or you can order here: https://www.amazon.com/Place-Land-Story-Longing-Belonging/dp/162707662X/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&linkCode=sl1&tag=headhome-20&linkId=3e098af8efaaaff2f28a716b3f563944

Closer to Healing

If you could see it, you’d either laugh so very hard, take pity on me, or either be bored after awhile with the whole scene.

I carefully walk to the end of the diving board. I bounce only slightly, I step forward then back then decide, oh, well not this time either.

Every summer, the same.

I’m thankful again today for chances to write. I’m thankful that God puts us all here, one amongst the other to say, I understand, here’s where I am on my journey…here’s how I got this far. I pray my words help someone.

I’m a guest writer at Beloved Prodigal today.

Visit here and see why the diving board is so scary to me and why I’m closer to the water than ever before, I’ve been healed.

Room for Healing

Not Sought After

I almost hurried to finish what I only had one day to complete. It would be my first time not submitting, my first time not trying, my first time not getting all optimistic and hopeful that this time I’d surely be selected.

“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭27:14‬ ‭NLT‬

Almost midnight, I get a message with just a question, “What has become of “Colors”?

Accountability, an unexpected “ding” and my reply was ready. “Work in progress. Truly.”

He replied with thumbs up.

The message sent by someone maybe seeming an unlikely supporter, wise one, writerly and truthful.

He’d read the first chapter of “Colors” as he calls the book, and he understood clearly when I spoke strongly of wanting not to be just a cute little inspirational writer, I wanted to be true, honest, brave.

All those things and now, most of all though humble and hopeful.

Closer to me and my story for them, for others, for God.

Ready to convey Hope and Healed in a way others see healing as not just possible but potential and probable.

So, I didn’t submit for the fourth time (actually, maybe fifth) to the well known platform for Christian women writers.

I wasn’t prompted by God with anything to say. I knew the words would be just mine and they’d be impulsively conjured up and confident only in me, not Him.

Yesterday, I told someone I’d always found humility to be tough, tough for people who have already had such a hard time with finding themselves worthy.

It can be so conflicting sometimes to believe in good things, to believe ourselves deserving and hear voices that shout loudly inside that warn of pride.

Thinking less of ourselves does not mean thinking ourselves less than what God says.

Maybe humility is simply thinking more of the me God sees and knowing oh, my lord how much more that is, and is not pride it’s just believing without stopping believing.

I decided I make humility harder than it is.

When all it is, is focus, keeping right my focus. Humility is simply modesty aligned with prayer and an open mind to God’s ways more than mine.

Unexpected encounters are the confirmation of why the best things are never sought, always unexpected.

It’s our seeking that leads to pride, the seeking that starts with hope, starts with maybe just an innocent sweet yearning for good.

We might even call it God’s blessing because we know He loves to bless His children.

But, we’re human. We get off track, get impatient over the wait. Insecure over our worthiness.

We get driven and determined over what started as a meek imploring, hope for something to quickly off the rails crashing towards an object or accomplishment that we can NOT live without.

If it doesn’t happen this time or doesn’t happen at all, who am I now?

Who was I ever to God?

We ignore God maybe, then. We begin to believe we should have it, whatever the it is and our motives change.

Our motives change from humility to pride.

No longer do we want what God wants.

We want what we want.

And if we’re not alerted by our soul’s stirring, we act impulsively, we react from our ingratitude for what hasn’t happened yet.

Because we’re human and we can make our way work, we decide to handle the matter, we get things done!

So, two encounters unexpected last night. Two people sought me out in a noisy boisterous crowd.

The first to tell me she starts every day with my Instagram post. I hugged her and I hugged her again. Such a small offering, a few words, maybe a paragraph that’s all I give.

We hugged again and I told her, “It’s just God every morning speaking straight to me and I just share it.”

She smiled as if she saw that, she saw that

I’m imperfect and seeking.

The best place to be.

Humility is no more than that.

The more we find God, the less we look elsewhere for our worth.

Another person, I believe maybe four hugs this time we shared. Overwhelmed and feeling guilty, she decided to resign from our Board of Directors.

I told her I would miss her, I understood, I still hoped to see her.

My husband was standing with us and she told him she just “felt so guilty” about all the things she should do but, she knew she couldn’t.

He pointed towards me and said, “She knows.”

Then she told us what her husband said to her, a comfort and confirmation.

“If you’re feeling guilty it’s not because of you, that feeling, that discomfort, it’s God trying to tell you something.”

Esssentially, her guilt and her discomfort were negative emotions and God never wants us to feel badly about ourselves. He wants us to come to Him to ask for understanding, for guidance, for ways forward.

We don’t need to make tough decisions on our own, they’re always going to leave us conflicted, angry, resentful and divided unless we align with Him, diligent in prayer.

Closer to knowing Him, His ways, His will.

I told her I’d just come to this truth recently, that God does not bring us guilt, doubt, dismay.

We are human in this human and imperfect world. We grasp for understanding when we’re not capable of ever understanding all.

We grasp for what measures our success and what we gauge our contentment by.

Our grasping is always striving, never submission, never settled and waiting for what comes when it is

Not sought after.

The deadline came and passed for the submission. A half-hearted morning prayer was uttered that day “God, give me words that mean in courage.”

Moments, really were all that happened between the reluctant ask and the confident decision, not now, not hurried, not for you, Lisa Anne, not for you.

Because all of my encounters with people and places and platforms that hold my words close and up for others to read have thus far been unexpectedly given, I am completely sure they came from God.

Humility is most of all, prayer and patience. Closer to being the one He knows and Has wonderful unsought after plans for.

Prayer and patience…

Aunt Boo