31 Days, Freely – When

“The monarchs are migrating.” I offered as if I knew anything at all about butterfly migration or Fall.

“It’s amazing how far they travel, they’re on the way now,” he added a foreign place I can’t remember and told me how he had read of their journey, how they were created to become beautiful and then to fly.

I know nothing about such things, I’ve only heard about this, I realize.

I sit with my feet in the sand in the place that was clear for us, a wide space, no other people in our space.

They kept flying near along with the dragonfly, landing or flirting with the possibility of resting near my chair.

I tried to capture the image, they only captured my fascination.

Walking, the next day before leaving, I saw another one there. This one, in the rubble of raked debris, just lying there.

The Lab was distracted as I bent to collect it, a small one, I kept it in my hand.

Knowing that it was landed there softly for my finding.

Knowing every little thing on my path is significant to my story.

Yesterday, we gave $5 to a woman with a sign. She reached through my window and I avoided her eyes, “God bless you today for this.” she said and then the light changed and I led us on our way towards food in the hungry and impatient line of cars.

My husband wondered about her worthiness and we both decided his observation might be right.

Then we chose to let go of our judgment, to let be what will be with her intentions, only feel sure ours were good and hopeful and done in love we certainly didn’t consider ever having for her at all.

Not her, nor the shaken young woman, mistaken somehow in her driving, causing our accident. It is best to love her although it makes no sense at all.

I woke this morning deciding not to judge her, nor the others who may have been off track, trying to get back on.

Deciding love is better, costs so very little at all.

When we choose love, people get the best of us, they get to see Jesus coming through because there’s no way we’d ever be so consistent with mercy at all.

“We love because he first loved us.”

‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m not able own my own.

When we love, we aren’t able to judge. When we really love, there’s no sense or room for judgment, at all.

31 Days, Freely – Why

In the work I do, I’ve learned the significance of the “why”.

A quiet, learned and soft-spoken gentleman spoke words almost ten years ago that I’ve used as my guide.

“Why should I care?”, the question potential donors are counting on my application and conversations to have an acceptable and compelling reply.

Yesterday, I began my day with my bare feet in the wet grass, the sunshine through moving clouds making pretty shadows on the green.

I welcomed the day with a big sweet dog that fours ago was an uncontrollable crazy question of why.

I returned home last night to a kitchen that wasn’t quite clean enough for me and a bed waiting to be made straight and ready for my rest.

(These are things I can control, small things of mine.)

In twelve hours of day there were interruptions, thoughtful and purposeful conversations and heaviness, heavy long and long drawn exchanges over loss by suicide and why.

I listened and did my best to lead, direct and redirect, knowing there’s no agenda here, there’s no real set of ground rules, no conversational etiquette, a support group for those bereaved by suicide.

There is only me, the timekeeper and host who sits sort of head of the table and gives space for the twelve or so separate unending respective and at times, remorseful whys.

So, I thought of small things before bed, still am just now.

Small things like a goofy rescue dog as crazy as I’ve ever known and all he now knows and has settled down for us and settled a whole lot of stuff for us.

Love him, love us.

I thought of the small mercies and grander mercies I’ve known.

I thought of my cousin’s timely call she’d considered an interruption and how I assured her, oh no!

How she prayed, prompted me to pray.

To pray giving thanks for small things in light of the others’ large, troubling and grievous things of others.

There’s a sweet, sweet song I love, the artist not so famous.

It has a happy little rhythm, a proclamation of sorts. Her voice, dancing lightly the lyrics of how the mountains before us will become plains.

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The prophet Zechariah spoke these words, recorded for me, for us to know that greater things are still to come.

Not necessarily grander in terms of perfection from our perspective.

But, certainly grander. Grander, in light of your why. Grander, not so much grandeur or achievement or acclaim.

A grander view of God.

Oh, the God of small things.

Alli Rogers “Small Things”

Like tennis balls, wet grass and interruptions we at first are aggravated over and then allow.

And are reminded why, the small things that enlighten us, remind us, compel us to pray,

Saying, thanks. Yes, God, thanks.

Today, I’ll put figures and outcomes and measures together and I’ll combine knowledge with true stories as a way to describe the difference made by a home, a temporary place to transition, to believe in the possibility of better.

Work, life, God and why.

I don’t despise the days of small things.

The mountains before me are becoming gradual plains. I see it more clearly now and understand why I’m so much more certain.

God is with me, can be trusted, can make my big bad things bring small and sometimes even greater good.

Father, our God, let us not despise the day of small things.

Because of mercy, Amen

31 Days, Freely – Afraid

I see the cloud, I step in. I want to see Your glory like Moses did. Flashes of light and rolls of thunder. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. Jesus Culture

Somewhere between the nightstand and the hallway, I misplaced my glasses. I want to turn back and look again, my hand unable to find them in the dark before the day.

My husband is sleeping, I’ll get by without them. Stepping into the air of day, the sky is pink behind the pines and I squint hoping to get an unobstructed view.

It’s not possible. I long for a wide open space, an expanse of empty field.

Like the place of my childhood, room to roam, to run, to see for miles to come.

I look up and I am welcomed. Little cotton ball clouds all clustered and I can’t get enough and yet so much more, always more.

The slow shifting sky above me, more and more to see.

The morning after deciding I might never be enough, this rushing into making up for lost time on wasted days and jumping into every chance for fear there will be no more!

A rejection, the fifth or six and I said to myself, well you’re not an encourager really, you can’t write an encouraging submission. Encouragement is not your voice.

I bet God just loves it when I talk to myself that way, it’s always either fear or truth. One way or the other, it’s growth.

Maybe Moses worried he was running out of time, afraid the calling and the task might not be complete.

He prayed and asked God to show Him the way, to show him His glory.

“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.””

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God assured him, I’m gonna be with you and you’re gonna know without a doubt you’ve been in my presence, but I can’t show you everything, you won’t see my face.

God told Moses that he would lead him and that mercy would be shown along with goodness. Moses saw God walk away and nothing was ever the same.

Moses was not afraid.

Not afraid to be led and to lead.

Or that he would run out of time or provision.

The measure of my success is often skewed by my fear of not being enough, fear I won’t have the time or won’t choose to go on.

A futile mindset, until I was reminded by the sky and the glory and later, discovered my glasses at the foot of the bed and carried on, carried on anticipating the next time I’ll be reminded to notice God in my presence,

His glory reminding me, I am not afraid.

Linking up with others who are writing for 31days. I can’t say I’m following all the rules or that my presence is share-worthy encouragement, I’m just writing…Freely.

Potentially

The idea of God’s mercy never-ending lining up with the potential He sees in me is almost too much to take in.

I put potential in a corner, my pattern of hoping not to be a bother, praying not be noticed, doing what I learned to believe was my role, to be content, to never need more than just enough…

Potential is a mystery some days, a misnomer, how could it be for me?

An inaccurate description, uncertain pursuit.

It takes a while to believe in it. I have to hear, read it in God’s word and get little glimpses of it when I least expect.

Yesterday, I heard a radio pastor remind me that I have no clue all that God will enable me to do if I simply choose to believe and continue with Him.

A conversation immediately clicked like a light, the realization of something God is making possible for me through an exchange with another I remembered.

A second encounter, a stranger saw my art and introduced an idea I’d never thought, possibly I’ll pursue.

And a third, I was intrigued by a new mindset in fundraising for our struggling non-profit. Just a slight change in wording, if businesses are for profit, we should be calling our programs “for purpose”, taking the “non” completely out the equation and mindset.

I assure you, this was not expected!

Clarity

Potential

Mercy, all lining up!

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

His mercy never ends and it triumphs judgment.

I hear more clearly now as He says

“Oh no…don’t you believe the lie that you’re not able, not worthy, that there’s no potential in you. Look around, look to me, you’ll see little by little and then occasionally more clearly.

Your potential is great. Remember my mercy towards you, there’s a reason it never ends, there’s so much more for you to know, to experience, to contribute. I made you, I should know.”

linking up with others, prompted by potential here: Five Minute Friday

Falling Beautifully

I noticed it there like a tiny hand reaching out and I walked right on by then turned back.

Again, thinking someone will see me, wonder why I’m fascinated with a small leaf. I wasn’t bothered before,  I’d circle the walking trail oblivious to only what I’d decided God had for me to see.

So, yesterday I turned back and I was captivated by the rich red amongst the verdant green. A few steps later I stepped over one quite the same, told myself oh, there’s the sister, already fallen to the ground.IMG_0779

I’m surrounded by sisters, all teachers they are, brothers and little children too.

Encouragers, strugglers, strivers and restful ones, successful in ways I’m not and all storytellers like me balancing the joy of sharing with the question of our sufficiency to do so.

I’m learning to turn my gaze from all around to within, less numbing of my thoughts and more of a surrendering to someones leading other than my own.

Someone who knows, tells me so in a holy hushed tone.

The little red leaf is progressing, maturing, its positioning on the limb is surely just so.

The sun landing sublimely centered is only because of God and time.

Just as the ones alongside appear fresh and bright and new, the middle one is soaking it all in, gaining a warmer hue by the heat, ripening vibrantly and strong, the beauty so visible.

Our seasons are the same.

Soon the leaf will fall and land in the high weeds all around or maybe be blown nearby to intersect with my walk.

I’ll see it there as I continue and it will cause my notice to consider, I’m more beautiful when I’m surrendered, more fully farther along and changing with this season.

This season for me to allow the development, the spiritual kind, for His purpose and not mine.

It is brave not to resist, not to resist the changing, not resist the fall at all.

Linking up with Mary Geisen as she asks “Are you good at waiting?”

https://marygeisen.com/are-you-good-at-waiting/

Preparing for the Storm

So very excited to have her, my daughter might be sleeping in her little bed, her husband out working in the storm.

Crisp clean sheets and pillows fresh with light lavender scent and on Saturday night I’d have both she and her brother right next to me in their rooms.

Instead, the storm weakened, there was no need for her to sleep over.

No need for her to stay. I was prepared though, in every possible way.

Several days ago, I heard or read that if there are pleasant hills, there will be valleys.

I wanted not to hear that, wanted to look away as if my understanding of this truth might hasten my finding myself sooner in the valley at the bottom of my current pleasant hill.

My life is not all pleasant; but, pretty much is good, sufficiently and grace-filled.

Has been for the most part for some time. This is why I didn’t want to hear it, shook it off, the possibility of the valley.

David knew valleys. He wrote of them, of the one that skirted the border of death, the one wrought with shame over his significant sexual sin, the one where he faced Goliath, the embodiment of what would prove his strength from God or evil’s victory that would change us all.

David has lessons, lots of them from which we can learn.

Or relearn.

“So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭71:18-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I love to tell the story of the itinerant preacher man who traveled every weekend to the little church around a curvy clay road at the top of the hill, the one called Poplar Springs.

My life was in shambles. I found myself alone with my girl and my boy.

He visited me at my mama’s because we had been visiting the church, my children first for Sunday School and then I joined in.

Word spread quickly in the tiny rural place of my home, my dilemma a disgrace, it only made me strong.

So, I asked Him how I should pray for God’s help to get through.

His reply,

Just pray for mercy.

So, I did and I do.

Because the mercy I prayed for back then when my babies were young is the mercy I remember still now, and continue to seek.

Mercy in unexpected hardship, mercy in times of unknown outcomes, mercy that wraps its arms around me and is strengthened through remembering.

Strengthened even more in relating to others. Others recorded in God’s word.

The woman at the well called out by others and Jesus. The man who wanted healing but never thought to push himself towards the waters, the man called Saul who became Paul; yet, still knew he wasn’t able on his own.

He knew he needed mercy, for he would always remember how he’d been before, I believe this was his thorn “in his side”.

Like preparing for a storm that didn’t come with the devastation predicted, we should prepare for upheavals of a personal nature.

Praying not just when desperate, learning from God’s word not just searching for something to tell us all is well.

Believing all is well because we remember the mercies of before and we praise Him for the mercy of now.

Today, I’ll prepare good food for my son before he returns from his school’s evacuation. I’ll make enough in case my daughter stops by.

I’ll store up the goodness of these past few days, this weekend’s little victories and exchanges.

I’ll carry them with me as I rest in this time of merciful, this pleasant little place, this hill in my heart.

I’ll move on unafraid towards valleys that might come knowing I’m attended to lovingly, I’m held closely by mercy.

Pray for mercy, just pray for mercy.

My prayer, I once thought such an anxious desperate plea, now a dependence, a comfort and assurance.

If there are hills, there will be valleys.

So, we cling to the mercy of God, treasuring His truth.

God is for us.

God is with us.

Happy Way of Life #17

I made it to the top of the hill and the rain showered my cheeks in a whipping wash.

The storm brought rain mostly and a time to wait, and trust, and to stop depending on the weather or the man to begin, or to stay, to go.

Go, go with the flow. Go slow if you struggle, still go.

So, today the wind said no use for that hat and I set out to walk, to run into the wind with Alison Krauss singing of maybe one day maybe and a simple love like that and please read the letter that I wrote.

Tiny leaves all around, torn from the trees still green and one large maple between two pines is sparsely scattered with yellow now amongst the still lively greens.

img_0576img_0567img_0566

Saying time is changing, you are changing. It is time.

So, I passed a couple walking separate but together, moved uphill running to the opposite and not even a nod did I offer.

For I was moving steady and thinking now about the times against the wind and how that song used to slow me but, now feels quite fine.

Like a letter you write that needs new correspondence because this is now and that was then.  You open the mail to find an invitation to enter a literary competition, to submit again like last year before and you tuck it away knowing already the story, the one about changing names.