God’s Peace, You are Free

“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.

Intersecting Neighbors

Barely into the morning, I walk with the baby, the dog in the lead, the narrow road so private, I can sing out loud, I look towards the sky.

My granddaughter smiles as she looks up towards heaven.

I unravel my thoughts or I pull them back together.

It’s a narrow road, conducive to thinking and singing and talking to God.

The car yesterday evening, a bland colored Lincoln sedan was still stalled in the middle place.

The stretch people call the “suicide lane”.

Every time I think of that, I think.

I wish they didn’t name it that.

But, that’s just me.

Where did you travel today?

What did you notice?

It’s early morning, the stars still out and I’m headed towards McDonald’s on a “grandma day”.

The car I saw yesterday, in the middle lane had a big truck pulled in behind it.

This morning it’s left stranded.

I approached yesterday, slowing as I thought for a second, State Patrol driving trucks now?

Instead it was a farmer type gentleman in Wranglers and boots, crisp white shirt tucked and talking to the one broke down.

The stranded one dressed in white T and low hanging jeans, clean cut it seemed.

In my rear view mirror I saw one approach the other, extended hands meeting in a healthy shake.

My mind began to wonder.

I wondered if they knew each other, if the farmer type was scared to stop but did, if the younger man stranded wasn’t sure what to make of the older man’s kindness.

That’s what I thought.

Kindness, regardless.

So, seeing the car in the dark this morning made me think assistance had been offered

And accepted.

I turned towards the drive-thru thinking eat now, be prepared, you won’t take the time later.

Two cars ahead of me and I’m trying to decide will I be late for my school teacher daughter and cause her to be tardy?

Thoughts drifting, I don’t see a figure walking towards the restaurant.

She sees me.

I stop suddenly.

She waves me on and I notice then she’s dressed for work, nothing but blue except gold hoops sparkling.

I’m startled. I tell myself.

Notice, be careful.

Notice.

A customer crosses in front.

I’m soon at the drive-thru and I order, move to the pay window and there she is.

The woman who almost intersected my car.

I notice and I ask.

“Did I almost run into you? I’m so sorry.”

She smiles and I decide is wondering why I paid I’m still pausing.

I tell her,

“As soon as that happened, I told myself, be careful, slow down and notice. You’re my god-wink today.”

Puzzled, she was.

I tell her again. “You’re a god-wink, God telling me to notice.”

She smiles.

Later I thought of the parable about the one of three men who offered to help someone they met on the road.

A Jesus story about first and foremost loving others.

Two men avoided him, crossed over the farthest edge of the road.

One helped.

“But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:33‬ ‭ESV

A priest and a Levite avoided the wounded and needy man. The Samaritan, one often shunned, paused to help him.

Helped a neighbor, another human being, didn’t avoid, shy away or cower.

Maybe that’s all it takes.

This afternoon I wondered if the farmer gentleman would have responded differently if he’d been approached by the low slung jeans fellow.

And if I would have had different kinds of thoughts if I’d been the one walking towards the restaurant and maybe almost run over by a person different than my color in a hurry for work and almost not seeing me.

Just thoughts.

I pray I’d have been human and that I’d have loved like the Samaritan, crossed over lanes or lines and did my best, loved

Loved my neighbor.

Grace and Tests

The morning air is chilly. The sky is cloudless. I missed the sun coming up. The day begins.

I’m up with pup again and longing for the days I could sleep past 10.

Who remembers the way that feels, the decision to stay in bed, cool sheets and just waking only to decide to turn the pillow, pull the sheet up and languish?

Linger? Lay longer? Joining the others to realize “oh, man I needed that!” ?

I digress.

The tallest of the pines in our backyard, clustered with two others and encircled by azaleas is going to have to come down,

I look up and notice a glimmer and think the sun is resting on the top pine needles. Instead, it’s the turning of their green to rusty brown, the tree is dying.

Weeks ago I came home from my time with Elizabeth. A storm had come through, pine needles littered the ground and floated in the pool.

Long stretches of bark had been stripped from the tree, bark shaved off the length of the trunk, wide deep stripes.

For a second I thought, “squirrels?” because we’ve had an overwhelming presence of them this summer.

No, lightning it was. The tall tree had been struck, had been beaten.

Soon, it will be cut down. Soon there will be an expanse of space, a clearing of backyard view, less shade on the pool.

It will be a chance for new.

I sat on the sofa and out of nowhere or maybe because I talked with my son yesterday, he’ll soon be sitting for the CPA exam.

From what I’ve heard it’s one of the toughest.

I thought of other tests, examinations that measure our knowledge, measure our faith, call upon us to dig deep into our recall of provision and know without question.

I’m still standing. I am well.

Come what may, we will endure. We’ll excel on the test that measures our believing all things are for good despite life’s batter or beating.

I remembered college professors who allowed you to “exempt” an exam or graded “on the curve”.

I remembered neither of those were ever enough grace for me when it came to biology or trigonometry.

I’m glad God’s grace is not like that. I’m thrilled to have a story that includes survival.

When it could have gone the other way.

I have a very good life despite a history of battered and beaten.

I am well.

I am here to tell. What have you endured that gives you reason to know the grace is real?

What did you feel momentarily or maybe a period of months or years, there’s no way I’ll pass this test, there’s no way I’ll endure unchanged, unhardened, secure?

The choice is ours. The choice is yours. You frame your days around the grace that never ends, the nearness of God, the truth you’ll find in the stories of ancient victims who endured.

On Saturday, I spoke with a friend about the woman cured by Jesus of her discharge of blood lasting twelve years.

A well known passage for me, filled with possibility and hope.

The woman was ashamed and so secretively she sought healing. She just touched the bottom of his robe.

The part I missed before that my friend settled on is the purpose of her being seen by Jesus.

Jesus wouldn’t let her remain unknown.

He asked her to identify herself and when she did he saw her face to face and told her, Go in peace.

Be healed.

“When the woman realized that she could not stay hidden, she began to tremble and fell to her knees in front of him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:47-48‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Let’s not forget that Jesus interrupted his plans. He’d been called to heal a wealthy leader’s daughter and paused to give confirmation to a woman who’d been living in a very bad, incapacitated way.

I believe she was healed even if she’d hadn’t been told so by Him that day.

I believe Jesus wanted to see her, wanted her to allow herself to be fully known and seen.

Because maybe, if she’d walked away healed but still hidden, she’d be prone to fall back towards shame.

Jesus knew that.

Knows the same with us.

Is there something you’re enduring and half-heartedly hoping He knows?

Be transparent.

Kneel to pray and imagine the hem of his garment. Rise to endure knowing you’re seen.

Fully known.

The roots of the tall pine were the nesting place for babies this year. Perfectly secluded, the baby bunnies were born and they frolicked all summer.

I loved the surprise of them, loved to call them “jackrabbit” like my granddaddy did.

They brought me joy.

The tiny roses keep spontaneously blooming bright red regardless of harsh pruning.

They are survivors.

What test are you facing? What situation a challenge of your truth of God’s grace, provision and equipping of you to endure?

His love never ends.

Provision won’t run out.

Nor does the grace he gives for endurance.

“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:4-5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Now to research trees.

I’ve always wanted a mimosa, the tree with fuzzy dark green leaves like velvet and blooms so brilliantly fuchsia, you can’t help but be hopeful, cannot help but believe!

Researching the mimosa tree, I learn that gardeners consider them a nuisance, the seeds, the pests they inhabit and such.

Matters not to me because when they decide to bloom they are so very beautiful, fragile and brilliant, a color you can not deny.

Tree experts say many mimosas don’t survive.

Yet, many do.

Strong.

Continue blooming.

Continue and believe.

Testament?

My husband described it as a “testament”, my description of my day.

And I didn’t correct him. I knew he meant testimony. Hey, that’s progress for me, the not correcting of word mistake.

He wasn’t there on Sunday, he had been called to work. I shared with him once I settled in back home standing in the kitchen.

He was at a loss for words.

If I’m honest, he and others sometimes are surprised by me and so, I leave them with a task, figuring out what it is that Lisa wants them to say. (Enneagram 4 indeed, me) 😊

So, I texted him the copied post from my Instagram, expressing the joy of my “beautiful day”.

Here you go:

So, today was baptism Sunday at True North. I’d forgotten about it. I usually try to prepare myself for the emotions it stirs. I watched people publicly professing their Savior, Jesus and my gut began to stir, asking myself when, why not already? Did that this morning and then actually “took my thoughts captive”, thinking it hasn’t been the right time yet, you don’t need to know the reason. I’d told my family, I’m going to get baptized, I am…the first time I was a little girl, scared to death of God, knew who Jesus was, didn’t know Jesus!

Thank God for mercy and a country preacher, I gave my life to Jesus when my children were little. My path hasn’t always been straight; but, I’ve known him beside me. Grace has kept me and grown me beyond all expectations based on my past and the human in me.

So, today I knew I’d be baptized soon, I would and because of God’s great kindness it would be the right time. I was at peace.

The pastor surprised the church today at the end, the baptism waters welcomed me and close to twenty others. I, as you might know, love words. But, words failed me other than “beautiful day” “can’t even express it”…God’s powerful timing.

I don’t anticipate anything now other than God’s continued provision of His plans for my life. I’m no more perfect because I was baptized today, I’m still a learner. I’m still a listener. But, oh my goodness thank God I’m not who I was, not last year, last month or even…before church this morning.

Early morning, it felt like an odd prayer, I asked God to help me understand obedience. He answered in my Utmost devotion. Obedience is simply knowing we were created to live a life in pursuit of God, to choose holy every time the choice is ours. Today, I told HB when the surprising opportunity to be baptized was given “I got to do this.” I believe she said “I knew you would.” I can’t be sure. My emotions were high, the Holy Spirit was powerful, it was to be honest, overwhelming.

Thank you to those who came to greet me, who smiled from your seat, called from Charleston when you heard.

Thank you, Jesus.

#beautifulday #madenew #faithful19

A “Testament” he said,

Wow, what a testament.

I’m googling testament, curious over its meaning.

I find he may have been correct.

I was wrong.

tes·ta·ment
/ˈtestəmənt/

…something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event…

Yes, my testimony of last Sunday is indeed a testament.

A story worth retelling.

The Five Minute Friday prompt today is “testimony“, so many stories, one loving God.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/09/05/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-testimony/

Protected Child

I watched the shifting sky, the colors filtered and spread wide.

I’m with my granddaughter on our morning walk, earlier this time.

The sky beckoning her gaze.

I capture her profile, her mama and daddy’s home in the background.

Her cheeks are full and full of joy and their blush is the same as what God has mixed in with the sky.

We walk.

I hold tight, shift her weight, careful not to have my arms press in to her tiny frame.

She welcomes my hold.

She regularly tilts her sweet face in awe of the trees, the sky.

I pray out loud, sing songs that include her name and other crazy things.

I love her. What a sweet thing.

Someone from the coast asked for my thoughts yesterday,

What do you say to your storms? DH

I answered.

I tell the storm, “I’m protected.”

This morning, I think of my children, my family and I have a moment of new and needed clarity.

If I’m protected, are not my children protected as well?

I journal my thoughts on a morning that God woke me at 4 and I decided, get up anyway.

I thought about God’s all encompassing immense and protective love.

How he loves them even more than I ever could be able.

God, you’re their protector just as you are mine.

I don’t have to “stay on top of things”.

I don’t have to anxiously remind you in my prayers to keep things under control.

Ha! Wow!

Me, reminding you of your role?!

I don’t have to watch from a distance so far that I squint to hope to see what’s going on, strain to hear, concentrate or calculate the endings of stories of their books when they are barely a chapter in.

And that you, not I, have already written.

I can set aside my book, my syllabus of reading between the lines, leaning toward tragic stories over beautiful and memorable autobiographies.

Like mine.

Yes.

I can know they are protected.

“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I can love more fully than I’ve ever loved.

Point more clearly towards hope.

Be strong so that my strength is what they admire.

Yes, love.

Love is the protection, mine to freely give.

Best I can offer.

Protection is yours.

Selling Our Wares and Our Ways

I’ve mentioned before, my grandma was an artist. She created bejeweled Christmas balls and sold them.

I suppose she did this for two or three years.

She had a following.

If it were today, it might be said she had a platform, her art at Christmas was known county-wide.

I’ve not sold a painting in a month or so and today I was rejected twice via email, my bravely written and submitted words.

My words, my fingers easy on the keyboard or messy in the paint.

I saw the email, didn’t want to read it, held my phone at a distance as I scrolled as if the yes or no might cause my screen to explode or illuminate in my hand.

So many submissions, thank you.

Not selected.

Okay.

Less than 72 hours ago I was reminded of a favorite Old Testament verse, I admit I pluck out just a portion, my favorite part.

Don’t despise the day of small things.

“For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice…”

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭ESV

Someone called me asking about a gift certificate for a painting. I said, sure, okay.

$25

I heard a podcast interview that discussed the ministries of 30 or so years ago, sitting with others, talking about hard things and Jesus or helping someone on the cusp of not believing to believe again.

That’s what we called ministry back then.

Now we look at numbers, followers, visitors, and interactions.

Last week I quietly chastened myself. It stuck. I was changed more than momentarily.

My blog is my ministry.

My Instagram is my ministry.

My art is my ministry.

I felt like crap when I admitted I’d acted as if there had to be more.

Always more.

Almost three years ago I told a friend “I don’t want to be a cutesy trendy female Christian writer.”

It seems I’d forgotten.

I had made my readers small, the regulars who read my words, unimportant.

I realized all along and without me needing to know, my words are my ministry.

My words are always honest.

Are genuine, not prettied up hoping for selection.

These weekly, daily, maybe more are truly me, true me.

Brave and oh, the trendy word.

“Authentic”.

I prayed last week for some sense of direction to keep writing, trying or give up.

Specifically, I asked God to send someone to tell me keep going or settle.

Then I got the rejection of two pieces and I acted as if I’d never asked the above question.

God’s not saying quit writing.

God is saying quit chasing notice. Stop seeking acclaim.

Why are you trying to write anything other than what you started and can’t bring yourself to finish?

Because I fear rejection.

Yet, I fear giving up even more.

I’ll keep going, slow and with free speaking, thinking, praying and believing.

I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep painting and I’ll keep taking the same steps as before knowing I’m still headed towards forward, not the me of before.

Small things of my day today?

I finished a tiny watercolor painting, my three month old granddaughter on my lap.

We walked together, Elizabeth and I and when I mentioned the birds, her sweet face turned in their direction,

I prayed with my cousin and she with me and we helped one another.

Ministry.

Yes, I used what God gave me, small things.

My ministries today.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and God will lead my thinking. I’ll type a little something and someone might comment, “needed this today” and I’ll answer

“I’m just saying what God told me first thing.”

And I’ll sit and add colors to canvas and in my comforting of myself, I’ll make art for others.

I don’t know why I continue, rejection is a certain thing.

Small things, I won’t despise them.

Won’t despise the days full of them and what they are teaching me.

Rejection and joy, all in a day.

On the Day Marked 29

“You have trusted Him in a few things, and He has not failed you.” Hannah Whitall Smith

Work is in progress behind my window.

Heavy machinery harvesting timber.

The wide field that welcomed a spontaneous “capture the flag” adventure on a memorable New Year’s Eve is becoming more empty day by day.

The place where the cousins cavorted, that’s a memory nothing will take away.

Memories, such beautiful yet onerous things.

We discussed the motivation behind the new landowner’s intentions.

My husband added “Yeah, they’re raping the land.”

He paused for a minute when I gave no reply and I saw in his eyes that he regretted the word.

The troubles of my heart are enlarged: O’ bring Thou me out of my distresses. Psalm 35:17

And that’s progress.

That knowing of me by him.

That’s progress.

This morning I opened my devotional to read and felt seen and known.

He made you and understands you, and knows how to manage you, and you must trust Him to do it. Hannah Whitall Smith

I move to put my books away and see I’ve been moved by words for the 29th of August rather than July.

There are no accidents with God, the truth meant for a month from now is what is needed today.

The greatest burden we have to carry in life is self. Hannah Whitall Smith

Smith was an author, a Quaker, a fighter for women. She was a mother to seven children with only three who survived. Something she fought for resulted in “scandal” and I am thinking it had to do with women.

She wrote about God as a God of comfort and one to be trusted.

She died in 1911. I’m glad she left her footprint through words.

For me by accident this morning.

The lot across from my home is changing. The place that kept me feeling like I was still back home in Georgia will be nothing but vacant and leveled soon.

Empty space for consideration.

A place for new. And it’s not up to me what it becomes, only how I decide see it.

Same with struggle, with grief, with open wounds waiting to be healed.

Grief must be complete before life can be full.

Oddly, I’m grieving what’s happening with the strong and lovely trees across the way.

I love someone who’s dealing with the same, an unwelcome change in the space she felt still, felt safe.

Causes me to consider and to welcome that maybe hard consideration.

What is it that you’re not allowing in?

What is it that you’ve not fully grieved.

What do you harbor that’s only been allowed God’s peeking in for a sort of intake session, pre-intervention, taking from you?

What are you avoiding revisiting because you abhor the ugliness and truth of what it includes?

What are you not inviting a closer and clearer look at and in doing so, only prolonging the splendid healing?

Allow your knees to hit the floor, tell God your secret sorrow.

Let the tears flow.

Welcome the clearing.

Welcome the hard seeing that feels so achingly self-destructive of your wounded soul.

No one likes to cry.

But, if we’re honest it leads to better.

Embrace the joy that is waiting but cannot arrive til you’ve let the sorrow begin and be done.

Not happenstance that July 29th would also include a HWS quote and a verse about God as our maker, the Father we can trust.

And a question from Isaiah about to whom we belong and who He is…

“This is what the Lord says— the Holy One of Israel and your Creator: “Do you question what I do for my children? Do you give me orders about the work of my hands? I am the one who made the earth and created people to live on it. With my hands I stretched out the heavens. All the stars are at my command.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭45:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

One worthy of my trust.

Maker of heaven, earth, tress and me.

Continue and believe.

Middle Place Waiting

They didn’t startle as I stepped closer. Any minute I expected the interruption of an assertive announcement by the leader of the flock and then a sudden flutter and departure upward.

Instead they just kinda waddled or as my little nephew described my walk when he was little.

The geese were “shalkin”. Their bottoms were shaking a little as they walked away. 😊

I watched as they slowly went from one neighbor’s front lawn to another.

Then several just situated themselves in the middle of our well traveled road.

Cars slowed, geese cleared and then cars quietly drove on.

Some tapped their horns lightly. The neighbors little girls, I could hear in the distance as I sat in my evening space, giggling over the visitors.

They were congregating in front of me, on the other side of the fence.

I’d love to say my mama sent them to see me and in a way my response to them, the sweetness of their odd visit, it’s heaven sent because it gives me a silliness that’s rare for me.

Unexpectedness invites us to believe. Click To Tweet

Last week I ran in my pajamas from the back to the front surprised by them, our yard filled with geese and now scattered feathers.

Truth is, I believe, they’re confused. Their trek has been redirected. The pond they expectantly fly to from the other is now uprooted, uprooting their annual route, their typical schedule, their counted on livelihood.

The big log trucks in and out, orange signs for the coming and going cars, warning to caution, log trucks might be entering here.

Thankful for the signs, they may be saving the geese from head on beak collision.

I’m anxious to see if they fly again with ease, once the noise is done, the bustle and debris cleared, the pond safe to return to, despite being without tall pines.

They’ll figure it out and this might be our final year of geese visits. It may be a while before I recall again the voice of my mama saying, “Here they come.”

I’m listening for new things in this middle ground called transition, age, vocation, dream pursuit, purpose and plan.

Where are you now?

The exciting onset of endeavor, the middle ground of stagnant seeming nothing place, or are you celebrating your arrival, your destiny’s destination?

I’m learning to be settled where I am, the solid place of somewhat mediocre.

Because I know the excitement of accomplishment, accolades and acknowledgement of you. I’ve been in those places, stood behind those high pedestals.

I’ve been in the place of defeat too, the place where the floor beckons my soul to release my fears.

The middle too, the place of multiple options and lines cast like lures towards the big fish, nothing worth keeping, I just throw it back in to grow, try try again.

Feels less like suffering suddenly and more like learning to be still. Click To Tweet

Patience. The middle place like overgrown pond fishing, it’s more about waiting than reeling in.

The path is unfolding, keep waiting.

Every place you are in He is there too.

In the happy beginning, what sadly or successfully ended and in the middle, the place of hoping and of not knowing.

Always, always.

“lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:20‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Continue and believe. Click To Tweet

Prompted to write by the FMF group. Read more here:

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/07/25/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-middle/

But Jesus

Two pages of print so fine I resort to going without my glasses. My vision is aging, my prescription apparently needs changing.

Side note, 49 got me worse than 50 did and I’m thinking 59’s gonna hit me hard the same.

Still, oh mercy me…I’ve come along way in my most recent ten years!

Thank you Jesus!

At first I thought I might just focus on Ephesians, the second chapter.

I’ll take just a few words and I linger in my absorption of their meaning being just a tad different.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I felt the emotion of remembrance and I let it set in

But God.

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast that always welcomes the discussion of hard things.

A pastor, raised by his grandmother talked about his struggles and I won’t attempt to quote him, it’d be better if you listen in.

Derrick Hawkins on JOE

I’m out walking.

Fooled by the morning temps now hot, achy for some reason. I pressed on if for no other reason than to get back home.

And I listened.

At the end of this podcast, Lisa Whittle asks her guests an every episode question.

What’s the last thing you’d say about Jesus? Lisa Whittle

When Derrick Hawkins answered, I said “Oh” out loud and again “Oh, my.”

I’ll remember that like a Bible story, I’ll consider it significant.

When the woman at the house of the leper in Bethany poured out expensive ointment from her alabaster flask over Jesus’ head the disciples were indignant.

I guess they were maybe vying for his approval. Perhaps, they thought he’d find her behavior flamboyant or ridiculous.

They were haughty in their pointing out her behavior to him. I love it.

Jesus said basically, let her love me. Let her be. Click To Tweet

That she’d take it upon herself to worship Jesus unprompted and unexpectedly, she simply did what her heart led her to do.

She walked up behind the reclining Jesus and she honored him by giving away what was seen as precious, costly, not to be wasted.

She couldn’t imagine a better use for it.

The best of her given so unabashedly.

The best of what she’d acquired or been given, given away in a sense for the sake of worship, of remembrance of him, of believing what he’d been telling the others was about to occur.

Like a farewell offering, a worthy gift to a deserving recipient.

Maybe the disciples doubted the doom of his death. Maybe the woman at Bethany believed and was ready.

Because of her lack of concern for the disciples opinion, she will be remembered.

“Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here in South Carolina on a balmy nothing spectacular morning, I turn to this story.

On the day I decide to open my Bible after two days of just phone found scripture, I sit and let my eyes fill with tears.

I am connected with her story as I was with the one of Derrick Hawkins.

In the mornings I go out barefooted and stand in the cool wet grass for a minute.

I look up usually.

Sometimes down, at the level place God has me now and I know clearly I cannot discount his mercy.

I made a list this morning of all things of me.

Changed artist to painter and writer to blogger, added roles most important, wife, mother, grandmother, disciple.

Told myself, let’s be honest Lisa Anne and celebrate that honesty being enough in your Father’s eyes and hands.

No need to demand my attention I feel God’s been saying.

Stay aligned with Jesus, be unconcerned with who may be watching. Click To Tweet

I pray I’d not have been the disciple who said thousands of years ago, I don’t know Him or the one who couldn’t stay awake or the one who kissed his cheek as a way to show the killers who to take.

But I am some days, I falter.

He finds me.

Says come back now, your unique worship is welcome, nothing is wasted.

Give me what is you.

How will I be remembered?

Will it be in ways of significance or simply small by our culture of comparison and cutesy competition and Instagram celebrity standards?

I don’t believe this satisfies Jesus and I’m beginning to believe it doesn’t satisfy me.

My seeking of recognition.

Not my anxious counting of followers, rather my calm obedience to my content consistently representing my hope of causing curiosity over Jesus, my possible never knowing how my story might change another.

And that being okay, the not knowing that one day a grand or a great-grand or even a stranger might say oh, I love the way she wrote about life and love and Jesus or I love the way she laid down color on canvas.

Letting Jesus decide the direction of my blog, the worth of my story.

The image and images I leave.

Time is not a factor in the impact of our stories and our brave acts of sharing.

The alabaster flask anointing story of Jesus causes me to be certain of my mercy story.

Causes me to know I’m a child of God and that Jesus will always be my defender.

The story of Derrick Hawkins and his last comment about Jesus got me good.

I’m sure he didn’t plan it, my connecting with him.

But God did.

Got me thinking I understand mercy more now.

Mercy that’s rich.

That doesn’t chastise or refute me.

Mercy finds me and says, that was then, this is now. Click To Tweet

My Heavenly Father saying

Yes, I know Lisa Anne but, Jesus.

And me in agreement saying, I’ll continue.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

“For we are his workmanship…”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peace Takes Courage

The rain subsided enough to get a walk in.

I determined to pursue my daily unraveling.

The sky no longer threatening, the storm separating the colors and the background pale blue grew larger before me.

The grey only narrow stripes of color like paint laid down on a canvas, the palette knife technique.

Rain like water misted from the bottle kept to keep moist the canvas, the grey diffused.

God’s fingers like the biggest thick brush now blending, muting color.

At peace with the presentation.

The exhibit now open for my viewing.

The crepe myrtle petals are sopped like kitchen sponges and hanging low like bursting ripely fruits just waiting for my indulgence.

And it happened again.

What’s this lightness in my gait, the awareness of pep in my step and of belief I’ll take off running once I make it round the bend and just maybe take an extra hill?

Peace, I decided as I took the final home bound hill.

It’s peace that has taken the bricks from your feet.

Peace that says take your gifts and give them to whomever will listen, will read, will be curious over how you moved from burdened fighter to learner to victim no more.

A thought came clearly, I imagined myself confidently telling others.

I give God all the glory. Without God none of this would be possible for me.

Peace is possible.

Take courage.

“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭ESV

Continue and believe.

Linking up with others at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Take”.

Read more here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/07/04/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-take/