Question of the Day

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.””

‭‭John‬ ‭20:15‬ ‭ESV

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭103:8-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Bless the Lord, O’ my soul. Psalm 103:1

All Promises Forgotten

There’s a wide empty field there. An expanse of open where the sunbeams fall in different ways through the trees.

A sound sometimes catches me, a squirrel, a bird or so soft it could be just the movement of the weeds.

Yellow pops of joy on top of tall green.

I consider this midpoint on the trail, the level place before I shift to jog and then struggle up the sudden steep place of a curving hill.

Then round the corner, oh it feels so free!

I am effortless, I swoosh past the houses. I careen.

There is no easy stride without the one that requires an inward decision to keep going.

There is no bliss over arriving finally without the questionable continuing your journey.

Today is the day between the dark death of Jesus Christ and the glorious morning a mourner discovered the empty tomb.

Today is the middle day, the day marked by all promises forgotten.

Jesus told them it would be so.

A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me. Jesus, to the disciples. John 16:16

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Yet, it was so very hard to believe.

The miracle of it all.

I believe.

Much of life gets hard when we are in between. This morning I read that God keeps all of His promises.

I’m prone to worry over whether or not that could be true for me, that’s the human in me as was the human in Jesus.

In the garden he prayed, if it is possible for me to achieve what is your will for every human, the creative works of your hand, if it is possible,

Father, God maybe you have another plan.

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:41-42, 45-46‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In what ways have you suffered?

What memories have you that represent redemption, foster continued hope?

What years of depression and dismay have you survived?

Here’s an example from my Instagram on yesterday:

Why I believe in redemption. I open the mail thinking it’ll be just a copy of my diploma, instead it’s an emotional chronicle of about 10 or so years. I lost my art scholarship, came home to try Georgia Southern. Some things happened because of me and to me. In 1982, it ended, Academic Suspension. 10 years later, I began again and graduated “In Good Standing”. #thecolorsofmybible #redemptionstory #nevertoolate #beginagain

Everything is restorable.

Struggle yields hope.

What is meant to destroy, through Christ, seeking His will, pairing it with human discipline and determination, is a redeemable starting point for a story.

I’m not who I was.

Happy Easter weekend.

Continue and believe.

Inward, 40 Days

Every day this week, the robins have said “Good Morning.” As if they are thrilled to see me return, they fly from the cedar tree to the oaks and back again, as if announcing, “She’s here, she’s here, come and see!”

And I pause before entering my office door, I pause in the parking lot longing to discern their meaning, their message, being so captivated by them there.

I heard a podcast speaking of change in habits, change in mindset and how most of us make it about four days.

Good morning Day 4 of 40 and my observation of Lent!

Someone chuckled when I announced my decision to fast, added we’re not Catholic or Episcopalian or anything like that.

She watched as I chose water over wine.

Had little to say when I told her I had to choose my favorite indulgence, my favorite reward or as we both know so very well because I used to belt the lyrics loud in my powerfully independent voice,

My favorite mistake.

My girl grew up on the anthems of Sheryl Crow.

So, we continued as I shared with her why I chose my indulgent red wine in the pretty stemless glass that my hand hurried home to cup after life and work had worked my nerves and took from me more than I had to give.

How could I not choose to give up the thing that I decided was my worthy reward, my justified balm for my weary soul?

How could I not sacrifice in an effort to find perhaps the true balm that was being perhaps, ignored?

For some it’s social media, others it is sugar or bread or chocolate or maybe stronger drink, intoxicating the heart and mind.

For me it could have easily been Instagram or peanut butter.

Because, I’ve taken to peanut butter in excess again.

Made up for the break from red wine by mindlessly cleaning out the jar of especially crunchy and sweet salty amber colored cream while waiting for dinner to be done.

Then I had my dinner with water in the wine glass and I was satisfied until it came time for something more…my pattern, I am learning.

So again I go to the kitchen and I finish off the chocolate almond Halo Top that boasts of being harmless.

The wine stayed corked in the cabinet and I began to learn what I know now.

I look for reward in things outside of myself to be told that I am enough and when I feel unnoticed, I indulge in the first “good” thing I can get my hands on that is waiting there for me.

To burst through the back door, tell my husband it was a horrible day and reach for my reward.

Maybe three days in, I’m learning already about that “heart shaped hole” people speak of that we try to fill.

The place of our souls where Jesus wants to be enough.

Maybe by day ten I will have fully exhausted all of my immediately gratifying rewards and I’ll sit with Jesus and myself just quietly.

Maybe I will be filled not from the immediate things I seek to gratify me, food, drink, a device in my hand or a reader that likes me and says “you’re good”.

Maybe my needs will be less and my soul’s wants, becoming more will be seen more clearly.

They’ve been so fully met all along.

What you need has always been here.

I chose to fast from red wine for 40 days for two reasons, one of them selfish, I admit.

I see it as sort of a spiritual experiment. I am curious to see how my faith will change, what I will hear and see more clearly.

How I will know myself and God when I surrender intentionally.

The other reason as I told my young assistant when she, seeing all the conflict of work these days announced…”Oh wow, you really chose wine?”

Women and wine, it’s obviously a thing.

To which I answered.

How could I not sacrifice something that will be hard when Jesus died for me…sacrificed His life on the cross for me?

She smiled sweetly.

So, Lent for this not churched that way poor country girl, I am learning and I am allowing your lessons.

It may be more than wine as the wind down “waiting to comfort me reward” that’s been buffering God’s voice.

It may be that and other things I am only just beginning to hear.

It may be finally that all the mistakes I casually named my favorites because you don’t tell your little daughter dancing in the kitchen about your shame.

You masquerade your shame with reckless sometimes funny mommy behaviors.

It may be that three days in,

I am at last understanding

and embracing

forgiveness.

It will be joy for me, fully believing.

It will be like resurrection morning!

Last night, I drafted a post about the robins, deleted and started over three times. Went to bed thinking, well I don’t know why…but, I may be losing my writing voice. It seemed so unnecessary, for me to tell again about my love of a bird.

So, I woke and I journaled and I decided to be brave and share my choice for Lent. Like most writing, the words just came. And it is about me; but, it may be for someone else, God said. “It is my will that you be brave.

It’s your part to be real at the risk of being ridiculed, this is what you should surrender, your fear of being shamed and allow your truth to go the places I say, Lisa Anne.”

About forgiveness I’m learning more every day, every new day I am becoming more free.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

They Rested

Never random when she calls, it’s always an interruption for both of us.

Still, we are rapt and attentive, anticipatory.

We pause, we interject.

We listen, we add to the conversation.

We are one and we call one another from the proverbial cliffs of our own anxious waiting.

Sometimes I call her down, sometimes she consoles, corrects, cajoles me.

Either way, there may be tears. There is always prayer and always, always we are both equally better.

Or at least, we’ve filled a big chunk of the space in our minds tainted by what we are dying to know, what we are willing ourselves to believe all will be His will or we are plain worn out from devising outcomes from which to choose and get ready for.

We are both willful we decide.

This morning, I want to know more. I’m reading my Bible like the good book it is, enthralled to know more, I decide to read each account of the day between death and resurrection.

I choose Luke because of one sentence in what amounts to no more than a paragraph.

Just a paragraph, a pause.

John, Mark and Matthew all the same, a resignation of accepting the death of Jesus and a business transaction on the part of a man named Joseph.

“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:50-54‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The women prepared the spices, they’d taken care to continue in their parts. Verses before, they’d been told of promises.

Jesus saw their longing, their lamenting. He spoke of our own longing, our lamenting when and will and how and how long?

“But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:28-30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Told them days of blessings are a sure thing. Every single word of Jesus was purposeful, was promise.

Was a promise he kept and still keeps.

As if saying, Believe. You will see!

That day in between, sad but serene resignation, accepting, doing what we can do.

They did what they could, they made the preparations.

They were careful in their role as ones who cared.

They did what they could and then rested.

“Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:56‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, I made a new to do list.

I’m in charge of some things and I’ve promised to do another. My children will be with me tomorrow for lunch and I’m ditzy when it comes to hosting and cooking and timelines.

I’ll read the narration for our cantata and I’ll sing and worship.

I added a bold bracket around my list and asked God to use me and my abilities as He sees fit.

And I remembered wisdom from another:

“I will when I can.”

Today, I’ll rest in my waiting. I’ll do my best to embrace the time, the day between.

Sabbath, I surrender to you. I’ll give grace to me and to those around me.

With anticipation and excitement I’ll celebrate the life and newness and resurrection tomorrow.

Like Mary and the others, I’ll hold on hopeful and wholeheartedly to your promise that it is not finished with me, there are still mountains to be moved and beautiful blessings from barren times for me and for the ones I love and humbly pray intercession for.

Prayers spoken and answered, she will call and we’ll sing together because His glory has been shown.

Yes, we have seen God’s glory!

New life!

If I Were

I was stern with someone last week. My discernment was laced with condemnation when it became a confront to what I’d noticed, what I’d found wrong.

Seconds ago, I texted an apology.

I pray it’s received, three days late, after all.

My work role requires confronting some days, and some days are hard. When work coincides with loss of a pet, worry over doctors appointments, and lingering concern over good things for grown children.

So, the balanced scales of the helper in the helping profession tilted heavy towards chastise, not guide.

I acknowledged it, was attentive to what the heart knows and the mind refuses to hide.

This morning, I read a writer’s truth that had the balance I need, just enough spot on conviction from God’s word to be sure it’s for me and then a tone of encouragement, a tone of “okay, now you know, do better”.

And then, I opened my Bible to read the little Book of Titus that inspired her reminder to me of how others should see me live.

But first, my Psalm for today, the 51st.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And then, quietly pencilled my truth, my “if I’m honest” revelation…

If I were a speaker, a teacher, a preacher, I’d want to be a balanced presenter.

I’d want to encourage in a way that surely gives hope for those not fully and consistently living their potential as God sees, knows, and filled them with, their promise and purpose.

I’d want my instruction to be because of my own knowing, not my curt examination and self-righteous critique of another.

If I were a teacher, a preacher, a speaker

I’d long that my words be my brave and possibly shocking truth, not some occasional and wobbly walk, falling to waysides with regularity.

If I were a teacher, I’d hope I’d include a talk on how this meander in our walk is a part of our journey; yet, not the map God has designed and that that’s why He is merciful and patient

and clear in His giving of directions.

If I were a preacher, a teacher, a speaker or advisor

On many days it’d be best that I’m wordless, my words depending on my ways, not His will, His way.

It’d be best I keep quiet.

Because on those days, I am prone to judgement, frustration and feel my efforts are futile.

On those days, those mornings like this morning.

Oh, it’s so very good to be made right, to listen, to apologize, to examine my heart and invite, simply invite the clean slate of new day made new with my repentance.

Reconciliation, that’s it, morning is sometimes simply reconciling the day, the week, the moments of before.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Profit and loss-like, losing the excess of self and gaining God through His holy deposits into my soul.

Balanced to begin again.

Teachable, more and teacher less

and hopefully differently.

Questioning the Bloom

“The Bradford Pears are blooming! Oh, my goodness, what is going on?”

“And these too!” I added, “What’s gonna happen if it doesn’t rain soon or if the ice comes back or when we get the “snap” before Easter?

We look for the demise not the design.

The verdant green of leaf of the hydrangeas are showing out too, all of a sudden getting ready to be the underlying cushion of the most brilliant purple, pink, heathery blue puff of round poof.

The pink buds making a hazy veil on the big wide fields lined with peach trees all in a row, the ones that died, frozen last year.

It seems they are ready to make a showing, showing up early for the big show!

I wake this morning to birds singing, much earlier than I guessed and I regretted my pessimism over the peach trees blooming, over the doubts of their surviving.

Because I remember it’s not us who plans the season and it’s not us who orders up the beauty, it’s God and we forget it because we’ve grown accustomed to miscues, mistakes, manipulations of man.

“Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭50:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We question the beauty, we make it our creation and we forget we’ve nothing to do with it all and in forgetting we miss the bloom,

we lack the joy in our anticipation of it’s fading.

May we never lose our wonder, may we never miss His beautiful world.

linking up with others at Five Minute Friday, prompted by “beauty”. http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/02/22/fmf-link-up-beauty/

Before Beginning

Yesterday, I thought of the women in mourning. All day long, sort of tucked back and settled there, my thoughts were on the times in between. 


In between believing it was the end or I might see beginning again, again. 

I keep this on my desk, a little slip of paper.

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.   Louis L’Amour

I’ve had some of those. Not only mornings,  I’ve made it through a night or two when your mind finally decided to give it a rest, that real or imagined trauma.

 I’ve made it through days moving through, sometimes falling into bed earlier than made sense just so tomorrow could come. 

I’d say, “I’m going to sleep, tomorrow will be a new day.”

And each and every time I’ve been face first on the floor or knees down, hands open and up, I have made it through. 

Sometimes I had no words, only my heart spread wide open to God. 

He knows. 

Many believe circumstances are designed by God to teach us to hold out hope, to walk by faith, not by sight. 

I know this to be true because I have seen newness of days after months of droughtful delay. 

Like childbirth or special times with someone you love after a too long separation, the hard stuff fades, the pain or consuming wonder over why is so insignificant when the day is new. 

Yesterday, the day in the middle of death and of life. God, I thank you for designing it to be this way. 

For such a time as this, that we worship or we contemplate or maybe question and wonder. 

We see now, Lord.

 I do, I know…more and more and more…age, wisdom and circumstance; but, mostly proof, mostly proof has made me see. 

Like the morning you weren’t there and they waited with heartache to see you again. 

Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace to you.” John 24:36

I’ve had my mornings, Lord and I know they are because of you. 

Mornings and long stretches of waiting. 

I see now, just the time and season before beginning.

I pray you know this peace unfathomable, yet true. With time and mornings, truth and life.