Tasting Mercy

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, eating disorder, Faith, freedom, hope, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Stillness, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing

Remember when you refused to say “diet”, instead lifestyle or good choices for my health? Maybe you’ve counted calories, drank smooshed up vegetables in a pretty glass, restricted cream and sugar in your coffee.

All in an effort to be well, to be satisfied with yourself, body and soul.

Yesterday, I gazed at the casserole dish of cheesy baked spaghetti my daughter made. I remembered the day I would’ve gone for thirds, if by myself eat the rest of it.

I let the memory help me, I let it fade into the shadows. I left it there.

I woke up early unnecessarily today. I prayed beside my bed that God would help me keep learning, keep listening, keep strengthening my spiritual health.

I see the word prompt for today is “taste”. Rather than think of passages like kind words being sweeter than honey or tasting and seeing that the goodness of the Lord is good.

I rested for a few minutes, soaking up a passage I never tire of,

The passage about the woman who’d been hemorrhaging for twelve years and had gone broke trying to get well, to find a solution to her blood saturated clothing.

The crowd was thick. She could get close to Jesus without being noticed. She did. She touched the hem of his robe and instantly everything changed. She got well.

Jesus knew it. Knew she was there. Knew she was desperate and called her out from her chosen obscurity, her hope to keep herself secret.

“When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your garment I would be healed.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:47‬ ‭TPT‬‬

All eyes and ears were on her then, Jesus didn’t just heal her, He gave her the voice to invite healing for others.

I haven’t thought of it this way until today.

Others see and hear us. See how we’ve changed and keep seeking to be healed.

On Sunday (isn’t Sunday always okay tomorrow I start the diet day?) I considered doing Whole30 again.

The diet that restricts certain foods as a way for you to learn what is specifically not good for you is work. It takes effort, makes you feel like a brave fighter or a competitive something or other.

But, there’s no cheese allowed, no cream in my coffee, no chocolate, no red wine, no bread, no sugar, no peanut butter (!!!). The “no” list is long.

Earlier this week, I embraced a friend in a funeral home. I didn’t expect to hear her words through tears. I just know they surprised me, sweetly and certainly she spoke.

“I’m gonna need you.” she said before I spoke a word. On the way to this visitation I almost decided against I decided I’d offer myself as a person to call.

I’d tell her “If you run out of friends to call or no one’s available, you can always call me.”

You see, we know each other but not dining together or visiting each other’s home sort of friends.

Her greeting me with “I’m gonna need you.” surprised me and then it didn’t.

This thing called blogging, posting what God tells me on Instagram, this sharing of sitting on the sofa sketches at night, this creative thing God so graciously made me to do.

It has an audience of listeners, seekers, “needers” like me.

It’s just me being vulnerably, being honestly me.

My “sermons to self” sometimes become hopeful words for others, I suppose.

I pray this anyway.

So, on this chilly quiet morning, I make myself breakfast. I don’t skip it thinking I’ll eat later. I am intentional with starting the day filled with possibilities and errands well.

I take the English muffin top and toss it. I like the bread, but I just choose the bottom. I add sharp cheddar to the egg white and turkey sausage and let the broiler make it bubbly. I add a dollop of cherry preserves to balance the savory. I place it on the pretty china.

I sit and enjoy it.

Like I told my friend who is grieving and I continue to tell others and myself,

“Take it easy on yourself.”

Offer as much mercy you’ve shown others to yourself.

Cease striving, seek wellness.

Be humble when convicted, but don’t punish yourself, don’t let bitter regret or self-hate simmer.

Continue and believe.

Believe you’re fearfully and wonderfully made and so fully known and loved.

Be well. It is well.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank you for sustaining me Lord, for keeping me well, for reminding me of what harms and what helps me, what makes me a beautiful offering, a vessel to pour out new life, love and listening. Thank you for showing me gently what limits my abilities, takes me from your Spirit. I am listening. I am learning. Thank you. Because of your mercy, Amen

Peace as the Reason

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, eating disorder, Faith, hope, Peace, Trust, Vulnerability

I have a new journal with space for three things, labeled “finding your focus”.

Holiness

Health

and Change

are today’s, likely tomorrow as well.

About change, it has become clear to me that we do not change when our shame or shame meted out by others is the motivator.

I look in the mirror and see my mama’s rounded shape.

I remember her walking through the house in her bra and panties and thinking “Oh, Lord have mercy, isn’t she ashamed?”

But, she wasn’t. She was just her.

The waist I inherited from her has almost gone away, padded now by a layer. For months now I’ve watched my belly decide it’s time for me to accept it.

Or change.

I look in the mirror and I acknowledge this 61 year old body. This looking sideways in the full length is a reflection, is change.

I assure you, it’s progress in the right direction, the not darting quickly to the closet or only using the bathroom mirror.

Because looking is simply seeing and not allowing shame to suffocate me with the reality of my excess weight.

I don’t believe in shaming myself any longer. It’s not productive, effective or motivating.

Shame does not prompt change, only forces an action that is not maintained.

Nothing good comes by force. Force and peace are opposing motivators.

Change comes when we allow ourselves to embrace the slow work of hope.

When we begin to believe the distant promise of the peace that changing that damaging, unhealthy, harmful behavior will bring.

But, not suddenly will we see and that’s the thing about change.

We must have a sort of dreamlike vision towards what we don’t yet see.

We must want peace, not a tiny waistline or kicking a habit we’ve used as a treat or comfort.

We must believe peace is within reach, that we were born to live in peace.

And be brave enough to moment by moment not shame ourselves into change, rather to change because

Peace is the reason. Peace is our attainable hope.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

This post is part of a series on change for October along with other writers in the Five Minute Friday community.

The Pace of Peace

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, doubt, eating disorder, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Vulnerability, wisdom

I’ve taken some advice I used with others making their way towards change, women working to steady their lives after losing their footing.

I remember suggesting,

“Look in the mirror, you’ll know how you’re doing. You’ll see if you’re changing.”

“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭15:30‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I see the signs of aging, the crinkly look of already used tissue paper is the texture of the skin on my neck.

My nose is wide, not graceful or balanced below my eyes.

My lashes are short and somehow my actual eyes appear tiny.

This was the observation early morning after sleep not coming and my frustration over it.

I’m one who needs my sleep and very well knows it. I woke up to the problem when I got up close and peered into the bathroom mirror.

I remember just days ago an acquaintance and I talking about not recognizing each other after a few years because of the mandatory mask.

The old friend disagreed, told me he’d recognize my eyes anywhere, that they are very intense.

I wonder how it can be when age and life it seems are dulling their blueness so rapidly.

No amount of wrinkle cream or remedy seem to make a difference.

The difference is deeper, it’s the soul of me I am learning.

Two days after fixating on the size of my nose I visited the early morning mirror and now, it’s daily. I compare me to that sad selfie I won’t be sharing, thank you, as a tool to assess what I believe.

Beauty is born in the soul. Clarity and hope will not shine through if the source of them both is sought outside the place that inhabits God in us.

To be honest, it’s the approaching sixtieth that has me accepting my appearance and racing to catch up with time wasted not caring about my health or caring too much obsessively towards harm.

So, Monday has me focused on what I know now and what I’m doing that is good.

Because I can’t circle back on life’s walk and erase unhealthy choices. I can’t run ahead and anticipate or offset dreadful aging.

I can live today.

Begin again every morning knowing God keeps no records of wrongs only watches and nudges us toward learning.

I can look in the mirror and marvel over its honest reflection. I can be happy over my current condition trusting my eyes will tell me what is different as well as what choices I make that need to be different.

God is with me.

All the way. Good things are coming with brave choices and gentle faith in myself as I wait.

As He waits for me not to undo my past or catch up, just to join alongside Him.

“So the Lord must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the Lord is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Want to know the condition of your soul?

Look into your morning mirror first thing and then continue.

Continue and believe.

It is well.

It is well with my soul.

Sanctuaries

Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, doubt, eating disorder, grace, Peace, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, writing

We have value.

Worth caring for. Cared for. Worth resets of neglected places and grace in the rearranging. Worth “beginnings again”.

Sitting in my studio (there, I said it!) that I call a “sanctuary”, the room that was Heather’s, the room with every momento of my children or creative inspiration on the walls before, I feel renewed.

Today, I cleared the walls of unnecessary (almost every space was push pinned with something!) and only left a little. I left the cow Heather painted, an empty frame to get me thinking, and a color wheel Austin must have done in a school assignment. Other things on tables, just a very few to keep my focus on what matters.

I exchanged a pretty chair for an old one and added a forgotten pillow. I repositioned the desk to the window, no longer facing the wall. I cleaned up my messy painting desk, layers and layers of dust, pencil shavings and paint. I felt a little embarrassed by all the paint tubes without lids, how I’d been so careless. I let it pass and I kept at it. Because, I knew the result would be fresh, it would be a “begin again”.

I woke with that thought today, begin again. I wake with it often. Today, just maybe it’s sticking.

My space had gotten totally out of hand. It had a vibe of disrespect. It did not represent the love I have for writing and art and it was a glaring contradiction of a “sanctuary”. Nothing but claustrophobic info overload was its loud unmotivated voice.

On Friday, a friend purchased three paintings. We talked for a bit in the center of my room and I saw my “sanctuary” from her perspective. An outsider seeing in would never know that these things in my room are my treasures.

She certainly didn’t say it. And she didn’t make me feel it, I felt it because I knew it.

I guess in this pandemic season I just let things go, lots of things, thinking well does anything matter anymore? It can be easy to think that way, to let things go, when all around you are questions about life going on and if and how and when it will.

So, begin again, I am, Yay!

Reluctant for sure, tomorrow morning I’ll step on the scales. I haven’t since October. October told me to eat sandwiches again and I have been since then and it is showing, the excess “uncaringness” of it all.

I’ll accept the number and I’ll acknowledge its causes and I’ll begin again in this body God says is His temple. Begin again. We matter to God, every little thing about us does. We matter.

Treasured we are, treasured spaces for God’s use.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Breakfast, Dreams Unsettled and Possibility

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, eating disorder, Faith, freedom, grace, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Redemption, Vulnerability, writing

I’ve only scratched the surface, understanding who I am. Some things I’ve settled on being done with, the unsettled traumas no longer unsettling me. I’m not settled, though, on all I’ve yet to see, what God made me for, possibility.

Before I went to the kitchen cabinet I remembered, I didn’t buy the cereal.

I woke up this morning and laid quietly anticipating my decided on Raisin Bran with banana swimming in creamy white milk.

I’d be on the second cup of dark coffee made the color of soft wheat with my half and half cream and a tiny bit of honey.

Raisin Bran is my favorite. It had been years since I had allowed my treat. After having just what I wanted for breakfast yesterday, I made up my mind to do it again.

Sigh, I took the other road, I bought the cardboard textured granola.

I settled.

This is not unique to me, this deciding something less is better for me, deciding I’ll just stop here, only the small good things were meant to be mine.

It is not unique to me that under the layers of self-critique there resides untapped potential, joyous possibility.

It was good and better for me. My rebellion towards sugar only slightly compromised already today. It was good, the granola.

Many years ago, my diet was deprivation. I survived on lettuce laced with mustard and then blew it out by Thursday on keg party beer and Krystal burgers. The memories are not pleasant. I’d love to frame them funny, just not possible.

Now I allow what I want on occasion and I don’t diet harshly or with rigid expectations. I may be close to deciding the 15 pounds I’d like to lose, been talking about it for a few years, have settled, they might be the allowance of grace I need to give me.

Other settling?

Art, book, health, career…I’ve not achieved as much as others here. I’m heavy on the ideas and light on the sticking with them.

Not settling, just waiting and maybe accepting.

Yesterday, I got an email rejection in regards to a story I’ve written about my grandmother, edited three times and sent three separate places now.

What am I to do with these sweet words? I really don’t know. I have so many it’s crazy. How do you settle with them never going anywhere. Writing is hard. I’m not sure why I’ve not quit by now.

Take Me To The Water

Last night after dinner I returned to the large canvas. My daughter had an idea for a painting she’d love over her bed.

Try, try again I did. Covered over covered layers and wiped the whole canvas one color. Again.

“Have I forgotten how to paint?” the familiar aching question.

I stayed at it, kept adding color and layers and I did not quit until I could snap a pic and send to my daughter.

“Beautiful”, was her reply and then that she knew I could sell it and that I should and it shouldn’t be hers for free.

But, it will be if she loves it in person. It will live in the home of she and her husband, their daughter. I won’t find another canvas and recreate it. No, this will be hers.

I don’t want her to settle.

I’m not settling on the small things any longer. I’m having toast with my cheesy scrambled eggs and dark chocolate with almonds in the evening with red wine.

Deprivation to me leans toward punishment. I do love to call myself out. Self-critique over my lack of writing progress is defeating. Pondering perfection based on the price haggled over for painting, so exhausting.

I’ll return to the easel now and I’ve jotted down new thoughts for the book idea. Both, more storytelling and less audience seeking.

And maybe for lunch, I’ll have a Peanut Butter and Jelly, just a half of sandwich on the crusty bread, crunchy peanut butter spread with sweet fig preserves.

I’m believing the wisdom of Psalms and beginning to want to know it full well. I’m choosing to savor everything and be satisfied in the truth that I have only barely begun to know the me made by God.

Good Settling

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s some freedom for me there. In the uncovering of my layers. There’s all sorts of unsettling of my thoughts, my days, my offerings to others.

May it be the same with you.

Rest on Saturday

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, depression, eating disorder, Faith, freedom, happy, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

This “microblog” on insta seemed to resonate with a few so I’ll share here: (Happy Saturday!)

Flakes and Banana Simply

Saturday without shame. Is there anything sweeter and more reminiscent of being a kid than cereal flakes floating in creamy milk with little round banana bites?

All of my life, food has been a battle.

Eat too much, eat too little, eat everything or nothing at all, carb shame and protein shakes, don’t eat too late, don’t skip meals…you might know the drill.

Y’all this morning, I’m finding beauty in a bowl of cereal because why in the world would I allow food to be a battle when we live in a world with so many very real battles, battles of the heart, battles of the enemy for our souls. We make progress in our walk with Jesus and then get pulled away causing us to question whether we’re good enough and even worse whether God really loves us at all! That’s why he calls us to stop striving, stop adding stress to your already load, rest.

I used to write “trust” on my wrist or doodled wherever I’d find space, I’d jot down TRUST. But for me, it’s softening now, this change towards Jesus. It’s less like instruction and more like invitation and less self-condemnation and more of me honoring the reality of my salvation.

It’s less rigid persecution of me by me and more giving what I can and being okay with not knowing where it goes.

It’s “Sit back and rest, Lisa. I’ll take you where you need to go.”

The places I wrote trust, I’m writing REST.

It’s finishing my cereal without regret over not having a veggie omelet.

PS…if you’re a newsletter subscriber, tomorrow I’m writing about Jeremiah’s warning of trusting our hearts. I hope I can do him justice, it’s a very interesting subject/passage.

#lifetothefullest #faithful19 #thecolorsofmybible #rest

Give Not Get

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, daughters, eating disorder, fear, grace, memoir, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting

Today I give you a story you might never know.

Were it not for me reading three books at a time, one called The God Dare by Kate Battistelli, a second called Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and the third, the book called Ephesians written by Paul.

I’ve just finished a just right omelette, fluffy pillow of egg with the soft insides of spinach and melty oozing cheese. On the side a good tomato as if straight from the vine, peppered generously. Enjoyed every bit, a mellowed out mug of coffee with cream to complement.

I gaze over at the empty plate and think to finish Ephesians but remind myself of the three words that came in light of getting on with my life, vocation of some sort, art, writing and family.

Give not Get.

I thought again.

I’m brave now, hearing God daring me to pay attention and say things He has for me to say.

There was a time I ate everything I could get and then ritualistically and yet uncontrollably used my unwell techniques to get rid of it all quickly.

I was not well then.

I’m close to weighing the same as my husband. I felt lighter yesterday, paused to see the flatness of my belly in the bathroom mirror and took a chance…decided to step on the scale.

Wrong!

You weigh the same, the same as last week and more than last month but not as much as that one time before.

I remembered the book about the bread and wine and not a mention three chapters in of calories or gluten or exercise.

Only stories of times around tables and splendid descriptions of food eaten with abandon, life and love.

Food freely given, not grasped for or grabbed to be hidden, hoarded in a get it now or never again kind of way.

Stories like my story this morning, a quiet acknowledgment of noticing my finished breakfast.

Oh, this is good…this life I get to live, have been given, it is good.

Given not taken.

We get new chances every day, to pick up where we left off, to make choices not to go back to old ways.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To live as grace givers, savoring, trusting the flow of good things and graces.

We have known the gift so that others might know.

We give what we’ve been shown.

My “God Dare” today?

Writing about not eating, about not keeping what I ate because that was all I felt I could control.

A sum total of about 10 years of my life given to anorexia and bulimia.

Close to 25 years now, not thin but healthy.

What’s in front of you that feels insurmountable, that lessens your existence, that self-imposed struggle that sickens your body and soul?

We are created as God’s workmanship, we inhabit His spirit.

He gives life, life meant to be unfathomable in measure, the width, breadth and depth of it all.

I picked up Bread and Wine from the back stack of bargain books and already it has given me more than any book on diet or grace or shame has ever given.

Like its author, pregnancy (thank you, HB!) changed me, pregnancy saved me from my disordered eating.

I wish the change had come sooner, my hard fought recovery not at all sudden or easy, but cushioned by God’s grace.

It took becoming pregnant to finally say to the world, I’m hungry. My first pregnancy shifted so many aspects of my understanding of my body and with it, shifted my view of hunger…I could claim hunger on behalf of my baby, and that small step might as well have been a mile for all it unlocked inside me. Shauna Niequist, Bread and Wine, a love letter to life around the table with recipes

In the book, is the question, What’s your last supper?

Mine?

Spaghetti thick with basil sauced tomatoes galore sprinkled with freshly shaved parmesan and bordered by thick buttered bread.

My cousin Vickie’s salad I can’t replicate on the side.

A glass of red wine as we recline and later gelato, the real kind that tastes like a coffee with just enough chocolate, a dollop of whipped cream to crown it!

Now, what’s for lunch? What’s for supper? Are the good watermelons ready?

Will we be fancy today, my daughter and I or will it be Chick Fil A?

November Like Grace

bravery, courage, eating disorder, Faith, fear, freedom, grace, grief, kindness, love, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Stillness, suicide loss, Teaching, Trust, Uncategorized

Yesterday, the tiniest of yellow leaves were dancing down around my friend and I. We were happy to be likeminded over loving the frenzied leaves falling down, likeminded in our acceptance of our imperfections and our wonderings. We didn’t say so, but now

I think we both were thinking likely, of grace.

November, I welcomed you! Hard to say clearly why. Surely it’s not the hustle and bustle of holiday coming that makes holiday so unholy, so hurried and so “un” divine.

October felt so lengthy, intense, its work , its worries and its waiting.

November, for some reason felt like corner turning, drawing nearer to the fruition of a more solid settling.

And then yesterday and later, I heard of death by suicide and I read a sister’s story of her brother’s too soon death due to addiction.

I couldn’t, can’t stop thinking of how haphazard life can be, how some of us get tripped up and fall and get back up and safely carry on.

Sadly, not all.

Some make it, find the resolve to continue, and the continuation of that resolve, in increments assures no more falls.

It’s a precarious world we’re slap dab in the middle of. My friend and I talked, yesterday because we’re aware, we’re not able to avoid or willing to turn blind eyes.

We’ve had people in our midst, their struggles are more than just speculation or someone else’s issue. We are with others and we have seen evidence.

Evidence of hopelessness. Evidence of fear. Evidence of doubt and evidence of destruction slowly through either addictive indulgence or addictive control or addictive forlorn failing feelings.

Either way, it seems hope is in high demand, kindness, persistence, refusal to avoid and if you can, when you can just demonstrate deliberately that you care.

Sometimes, though it’s not that simple. Your kindness is less than a drop in a deep ancient well.

You do what you can, keep dropping your love there.

I’m still happy it’s November despite learning of new deaths.

I’m still happy for November and Saturday and the way the cold caused my toes to curl when I let the dog out.

Happy that I spent time reading my Bible, not scanning, delving deeply in to what Paul told Timothy and what God told him to tell me.

And you.

Today.

We still have this hope. That Christ died for us so that we could live, not so that we could be perfect or withstand all our falls from grace and flat on our faces falls; but, so that we would see His face when we pick ourselves up to rise.

That we’d continue to do our best.

That we come closer to an understanding of our lives here, our lives are meant to be His, to be lived out based on our rescued from the fall, faith.

Maybe through us, others will see grace.

Maybe through others we see it too.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭2:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s an old hymn we used to sing called “People Need the Lord”. When I was a member of the choir, I’d suggest we sing it more. There didn’t seem to be a Sunday someone might need to know and believe that in these days, we need the Lord.

We’re not able on our own.

We live in a world of simply not knowing what may come, whether someone we love might fall.

Remembering now the sister’s heartbreak over her brother and another’s trauma that has her trapped in a deadly self harm cycle, I wonder if my words are unwelcome, if my hope will be a hindrance, hokey.

I understand. Grief is not a quick thing, hope is not on grief’s horizon. If it’s anywhere it’s around the bend of some crazy and unthinkable scary roads.

Hope is rarely on the mind of grief. I imagine hope as a sweet child with little words, only telling grief, I’ll come out Sir or Ma’am, when it’s my turn to join the grown up table.

And then it sits down together with grief and it sweetly adds its beauty and peace to those dining habitually over their mundane plates, changing slowly the place, the setting.

Like a hopeful child it may not be my place to add comment or conclusion at times.

Last week, I realized clearly that my insights, my intelligence and my speaking incessantly about how much I care about heartbreak and tragedy are insignificant to the person in their grief, their trauma, their fear.

I sat with the truth of that for a long time. Depleted from the knowledge of nothing I can do and the acceptance of it, I courted thoughts of giving up, of being a more silent spokesperson, of staying in the background, kind of keeping to myself what help I may know.

There’s value in that, giving what you can when you run across a need, otherwise just waiting and knowing people know you’re there.

November, it’s only day 3 and you’re really schooling me!

You’re refining my understanding of brokenness and you’ve got a steady eye on the fire that’s creating me as valuable, a vessel for pouring out my knowledge my and hope.

You through me.

Made to know you, to worship you.

To reveal my hope.

Hope that is needed.

Hope incomprehensible, hope that others need.

Farther along, we’ll understand vividly, so clearly, the why of everything.

I love so very much, this folksy rendition, this truth and song.

Farther Along

November, I see your reason, my naming you my turning of season.

Grace, November, you are feeling like grace. I’m grateful you found me again

For catching my almost fall back in to what looks like sadness that is actually fear.

Time and Turnarounds

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, eating disorder, Faith, freedom, memoir, Peace, praise, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, writing

I wish there was another word for broken, I thought.

I’ve had my heart broken, had my collarbone broken and I’ve been broke, close to destitute quite a long time ago.

You’ll hear speakers talk about it, writers write about it, how we must be “broken” to be whole, to truly be who with and through God we are supposed to be.

Women, broken and beautiful.

I prefer words like surrender, words like committed, words like fully aware that I ain’t able own my own.

I need God every hour.

I prefer to believe if I’m a vessel that I don’t have to be cracked open, broken to be used.

Broken seems so physical, to me so much more body than soul.

My tendency to circle back to old ways because I’m not fully broken still rears its ugly secretive ways.

Yesterday evening, the house was mine alone. Just as quick as I could get in the door, my hand reached for the refrigerator door.

Eyeing the savory tarragon chicken salad with almonds so creamy and heavy on the flavor, I grabbed the container and a spoon and dug in.

Standing with the refrigerator door open thinking just a taste, I went for more and then thought, so salty, I need sweet, need so much more.

The apple pie was going to waste, I decided. Just as quickly as before, I dipped out a chunk not a slice and dug around in the pan deciding I’d just have the apples but, then adding the buttered up crumbles.

Popped open the microwave, turned and opened the freezer for ice cream and my timing was synchronicity, the beep beep saying “it’s warm”.

So, I sat with my pretty little bowl and I enjoyed the dessert I decided must come although there’d been no meal.

I thought I’ve been here before but it has been a good long while.

I could go for more, take advantage of the indulgence opening up an opportunity to eat more, even more, to go over the edge like I used to before.

Empty house, pie and ice cream and salty, savory, sublimely good things, they could be all mine.

It could be just like before, I could simply go back for more and more.

All in my control, this at least I know.

Instead, I paid attention to my body’s reaction and my mind caught on. Was I allowing the breaking? I know, at least there was a slight bend, not so unwelcome an idea as before.

I went for my walk/run, returned to shower and spent two hours doing something tangible, demonstrative and intentionally in control of my part with my writing.

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I organized what I could imagine coming together as chapters, moved the art covering the cork board and planned it all out, quietly, visually, assuredly.

For me, this was a new thing, a turning in my road, a smoother stretch than ever before.

When we don’t go back to the place of before, the struggles that harmed us but feel so very much like rewards, could it be we’re being broken?

When we reject our default responses, the self-medicating maneuvers to avoid the unpleasantries of our days, could it be we’re accepting the tiny opening of cracks in our tightly sealed vessels?

When we anticipate the good stretches, don’t get off kilter by the interruptions of uncertain or not as good as before, could it be we’re broken more than ever, we’re believing in our God of so much more?

We worry less about the wilderness of unknowing while waiting and we don’t fill ourselves up with all our hungry hearts can hold, no need to hoard the good. We don’t have to do that anymore.

I made a turnaround last night.

I embraced the frantic fringe of my almost choosing to binge, to fill up my empty spaces and be in control. Instead, I recognized the misery of me, did what I could to pour my mind and body into the alternative, filled myself up with intention, followed it up with action and had a moment or two when the pieces fell together.

It caused a chill up my spine, my breaking,  and a pause that said,

Yes, Lord you are bringing all of this together now, you are leading my writing way.  You’ve broken me of myself, it had to happen to make room for so much more.

“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey,”

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:7-8‬ ESV

Like Moses reminded the Israelites, God reminded me of the horrible places he’d delivered me from and promised me that with His help my turnaround was leading me to so very much more.

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Broken, surrendered, open to new directions, to making space for Him, clarity for my making known of Him.

Just as sovereignty and providence would have it, I heard a pretty song this morning that made being broken feel quite lovely and welcoming and well, just exactly what and who I should be because of who I was before.

A rebel, a prodigal, imperfect and scarred.

I suppose I’m quite beautiful after all, broken.

 

 

If it’s true you use broken things, then here I am, Lord, I’m all yours.

Matthew West, Broken Things

Linking up with the Tell His Story community and a post today about Jennifer Dukes Lee’s new book, It’s all Under Control. Timely for me and I’m thinking lots of others. Visit here:

https://marygeisen.com/you-have-more-control-than-you-think-and-a-giveaway/

 

Able to Run

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, eating disorder, Faith, grace, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder

Almost 100 degrees and not expected to drop until around 8:00, so I lace up my shoes and I set out.

Thought of the earbuds but chose silence thinking is there any good thing extra I might hear and benefit from?

Striving for every kernel of truth, every recommendation for continuation or confirmation that the things I’m doing I’m doing right.

Instead my arms are free, the pavement too hot for the Labrador, I’m energized by the thought of just the one thing, the decision to walk swiftly until I reach the spot at the top of the long stretch of hill to the place that is level, obscured and a straightaway.

It is hot. My breathing rebellious against my plan and pattern and my legs, large and weighty as I try to be rhythmic in their lifting. “I just can’t run.” I’m known to say and today I was told “It’s a mental game.”

So, I remembered the days of before, the steep hills on the North Georgia campus, early morning my roommate and I starving ourselves in the cafeteria and running three times around the campus.

That was a different determination.

One contentious and filled with a fervent need to control at least one thing I could, my weight, my body, my fear in a strange and new environment.

“But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:18-19‬ ‭

I make it past five fences and houses and give in, I walk and then turn the corner towards the road shaded and step it up again.

Different now, I notice my feet lightly falling and my forwardness more at ease.

Cars pass and I’m unconcerned by the shape of my shorts riding up, crooked and cornered. I continue.

Different, my pace, softer.

Quiet thoughts become prayer.

Lord, thank you that I’m able.

Help me to be more willing.

me

I considered the things I’ve decided of late, bravely trying and being unconcerned with how far I might go or if I might not be invited to participate at all, knowing I’d not go anywhere at all

Unless I stepped out.

Stepped forward. Changed some things, cared less about who is watching, waiting for my fall, surrendering back to the sameness of me.

I told my cousin that I’d decided to put my art out in a new places, broader landscapes, it seems it’s not as popular here, or maybe it’s run its course.

She replied,

Even Jesus wasn’t popular in his own hometown, he had to leave, go other places. VC

So quick was her retort, a few words in a lovely and long conversation, wise kernels sprinkled in through her from God.

I arrived home, red faced and t-shirt clinging to my chest, my face sweaty and making little trails on my cheeks, I go for cold water.

Saying to my son, “I ran more than before.”

His reply, “Keep adding to it. Every day add more, that’s what it takes.”

I thought again about the thought becoming a prayer, thankful at my age and with all the trauma of my past, its potential toll on my body and my mind, my soul, that I am able and I’m more willing than ever.

So, my prayer will be that God sustains my able state while I catch up on my willingness, while I continue at a smooth and steady race towards the ideas He decided were for me a very long time ago.

Remembering it was art that landed me in that place of my youth and I faltered there, I was harmed in some horrible ways and yet, it remains the determination to create, the words, the colors, the love of expression.

I am still able.

Thank God, I’m able.

Able to move forward, sporadic spurts or long stretches strengthened by ability and a new decisive willingness.

Through Him.

He is able. He is willing.

LINKING THIS STORY UP WITH OTHERS WHO LOVE TO TELL OUR STORIES OF JESUS. LINK HERE:  http://marygeisen.com/laughter-is-the-best-medicine/

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