New Things in New Places

I got this from my mama.

I’ll rummage through the clearance aisles and I’ll look for the most neglected, damaged or left behind things in the store.

I rarely go for the item that’s marked way down as far as it can go but still not worth anything for me, nothing that I would consider complementary to my home.

I picked up this little cracked bowl, held it up and noticed the red tag, $1.79 and I began to decide if I should take it home.

I thought how I’d not be bothered by the chip on the rim, how the design was really like no colors in my room at all.

Then I remembered the insect pen and ink drawing by my son from long ago and the birds on my table, one of them a black crow.

So, I bought the little bowl and it cups the brown magnolia pods perfectly well. It’s a little thing added to the place I gaze to measure the morning’s sun, a small thing, a beautiful change.

Last night before group work out, I walked/ran. It was dark and I was alone on the track. Women playing tennis on the lighted court, people alone with their dogs walking in balance and pace. Runners ran past me in their running attire, graciously passing me thinking I’d stay in my place.

I turned up the volume and told myself, you can run too.

So, I did and then I went inside to join my work out group.

I was doing everything I could to run out my mood, to outrun its pursuit, to work the kinks of dread and worry out in an intentional sweat.

To have my hope come back, my rest, my request to not fall back into my patterns of dread.

And I was intentional like Job in my prayers and I talked to God in my car after a good and solid and rigorous workout.

Take from me these disenchanted ways. These ways of being sidelined by bad dreams that I decide will surely come true in some way.

Then I waited because I heard His Spirit say,

this will not be an immediate change, immediacy in my reply will not build the trust that should be.

Yes, this I know.

You know what happened next if you know my God.

Small shifts began to change me, good food, hot shower, soft blanket, early sleep.

Brought pleasant dreams about little babies and being someplace laughing.

We all were having cake.

My dreams are just as real and as vivid as my nightmares. Jesus, help me to know fully this truth from you.

And if the bad ones come back to visit sparked by some passing thought or something I read, I know they will not take over.

You, my Heavenly Father, will not allow it, did not plan this for me.

But if they come back to stir up memories, may the fire of the trauma be for good use not bad.

May its memory spread wide and complete like the farmer burning his entire field for a new crop.

Destroying all the old, in preparation for the very same place to grow something new.

The former crop has done what it was supposed to do, God and the farmer know it is time to yield the same harvest or maybe something totally new.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:18-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’m smiling now as I write this. Will my prayers bring something like useful soybeans or will my words and art look more like giant stalks of hearty corn?

Or will the works of my hands and my mind exhibit a stillness and calm, like soft amber colored wheat stalks, late summer swaying in pleasant wind?

Or will it be all of these, beneficial, nourishing as well as calming?

It is possible.

Continue and believe.

Continue.

Believe.

Mary Geisen wrote a similar story, one about continuing on our roads. I feel it’s a feeling so many of us have. May we all be better and more faithful because we share the brave telling of our stories.

Tell His Story

Someone I Don’t Know

For this reader, I pray.

Mercy

Peace

Love.

“Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.”

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I only know cancer because of my father. I know a writer only because he’s a blogger.

A blogger who regularly reads my words. He added a comment and words he said were inspired by mine.

I’m feeling cautiously optimistic over writing and being humbled by the realization that I put the “cart before the horse”. The query letter must come before the proposal. I felt and feel so dumb.

Well, at least it’s done.

Then I see Andrew’s “like” and comment and I love that he’s letting writing love him in this time.

His cancer is terminal I suspect and yet, he made time to encourage me.

No further words from me, only his words he said were inspired by me.

And a visit to his blog and a decision to pray for peace and comfort for someone I don’t know. Join me if you will, in prayer and in reading his prose, his words on his blog:

https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/?m=1

The only way I can pass on the joy that lies at the eye of the hurricane is through the words whereby I can show that I do not deign to give the devil his sought-for prize of curses on blashpheming lips; blaming God for cancer’s enterprise as it wounds upon my body rips. But I have found a better path, writing through this vale of pain to climb out of fog-shrouded wrath and bring me out to light again. Words are lamps that help me toward the immanence of a Loving Lord. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

Mercy, peace, love.

The Tiny Light Ahead

Yesterday, I told someone something in a way that only slightly conveyed the real thing I tried to say.

I told her that I believed it is impossible to imagine what my life might be if I began to believe only in possibility.

We paused and our quiet faces wondered, how on earth do we do this, how do we not stray or get swayed by criticism, cynicism or just the crazy negative noise of our hectic days?

I looked into my precious cousin’s face and I answered that I’d walk with imaginary blinders on both sides of my face.

I’d need to stare intently at the tiniest of light, like the dot of a pin off in the distance, move forward with intention towards hope, off quite a ways.

Avoid the garish glare and naysay of others and other things on my way.

She listened and I gazed past her and through the little tables lining the restaurant. I looked out onto the busy bustling downtown lunchtime street. People passing by, others stopping to speak, I thought of me a year from today, will I be changed by possibility, a soft contrast of me today?

Would my face be lit by possibility, will I carry my hopes in a more confident frame?

Some things I think, must be pursued in a solitary way.

I told her I was certain my life would be different if I became unafraid of possibility and if I just continued towards the tiny light growing brighter as I near.

I would be different if I believed in possibility, if possibility was seen as an option for me.

I think we rarely really live this way.

Pursuing possibility in a peaceful way, a waiting way.

A know as I go quite certain with God kind of way to what God has to show me.

Possibly possibility.

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Whether it be work or money or art or writing or relationships, I am saying to me:

Do nothing out of desperation.

We continued talking about our longing to be hopeful after life has given us so many reasons to be afraid, to be so silly and naive to think we should be hopeful only to have past experiences slap us back to reality as if to say, “Hope’s not for you, surely, you should’ve known.”

The plot can shift though, we decided, the story line is our story line and we can change the paragraphs and flow.

We can surprise ourselves, readers of our own books by creating a different ending, we can believe in the hopeful development of our life stories.

Believing can come natural, just as naturally as we regularly disbelieve.

If we don’t allow fear to destroy our stories.

How different I would be, we all would be, if we took leaps of faith, if we walked on whatever represents deep waters towards the light that is meant to illuminate our days.

To bring clarity to God’s ways.

God, help me to be an example of someone who has faith.

Stay faithful.

Continue and believe.

Noticeably Me

Continue and Believe

You see someone you know, it’s a happy and welcoming exchange.

There’s a little chuckle, there’s natural conversation and an I know you it’s okay exchange.

Then they say, I see a change.

I see you changing.

And you smile, you smile and your smile must surely be a bright beam of light towards the one you know, the one who knew you

You smile because you thought you were the only one who knew.

Continue and Believe

Truly, I can’t think of a word more beautiful than belief.

It is synonymous with so many good things.

Unbelief on the other hand pops up and asks ugly things like, Are you sure? What are you thinking?

What will people think?

How on earth will you be able? What makes you think you can?

I thought the oddest thought as I walked into the post office yesterday. It crept up and seemed sincere.

What you persist in will cause others to persecute you. What you continue to believe God is calling you to do will be doubted by others.

I googled persecution and I don’t think it’s quite that bad, the reactions of others, cynicism masked as concern.

I’m certain though, that it is meant to curtail my continuing.

Unbelief from others feels like a low grade persecution, a pointing out of faults, a resistance of acceptance and unbelief is really just fear.

Unbelief is insidious, Lord help me stop its spread.

Catch it quick, stomp out its embers,

Don’t let it let me burn only briefly and then slowly fade!

“The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Not As Before

I’ve made some decisions and haven’t turned back, took some chances and opportunities recently, things that are teaching me that not everything comes by chance.

Fortune shines on others more than me and

Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be…these were the truths I believed.

Being a believer of a God who is sovereign, who is in control, led to my conclusion that only just enough good could be for me and that as a believer in sovereignty I must surely stay in my place, must not seek more than a little, must stay anchored by doubt and by fear of failure, not trying at all because of the unlikelihood of success.

I intentionally handicap myself.

I’m beginning to learn from my children, adults who have most likely seen this in me all along but never called me on it, accepted my ways for this long.

I wonder how it feels for a child to see a parent finally coming into their own?

Close to 60 years old and becoming strong?

I wonder if they realize in their own way, they helped me here.

To this season of wanting my legacy to be more than the timid and tentative mama, they may have always known. The one whose thoughts were always deep and bent towards worry.

Here now because I want their faith in God and His goodness to be strong.

Several months ago, I lost control.

Headed towards an important event, we were “T-boned” by a crossing car and my car jumped it seemed into the deep ditch and the front end was crushed by a timely positioned pine.

The Labrador, my husband and me. He jumped from the passenger side and I screamed loud and long. It was a very odd and out of control sounding cry. It was fear.

My daughter answered her phone.

“Mama, are you okay? You are okay. You are okay. Now, stop crying, just breathe and calm down.

You’re okay.

Calm down.”

She called her brother. He called me.

Same reaction, the same level tone in a child of mine’s adult voice. It was the same assurance, same calm.

Control what you can control. my son

Months have passed and changes have been made, changes are on the brink of being announced, career, home, and faith.

Changes are taking place.

Last night, I gave up on watching “Ozark”. Intrigued by the young actor with the authentic twang, I told myself to try it again, watch something that at least causes thought.

Fifteen minutes later, I switch to a Julia Roberts movie simply because she’s beautiful and required less attention.

Told my husband I couldn’t watch, don’t want to go to bed with those thoughts.

Still, I was startled awake before light and had to shake off a horrific dream. I knew it was partly me to blame. I watched the gory scene, heard the horrific words, saw the actor’s fear and grief and evil exchanged.

I went over my average daily screen time. I ate extra spicy food and then had red wine and then topped it off with chocolate milk, Advil and crunchy peanut butter on a spoon.

I recalled the nightmare to forget and move forward. Remembering times before. I had the damaged perception to believe that bad dreams were God sent messages to me.

Messages like you’re still that wild and mistake making girl, you’re still the too attractive and easy for your own good young woman, you’re still the poor girl in the ill-fitting tops, you’re still the fat middle schooler in your brother’s husky jeans.

You’re still the woman in the pew unwelcome by the women who are already there.

I don’t think nightmares are for anyone’s good. If there’s nothing else I can control today, I will control this new truth, this new optimistic conclusion.

And I will carry it into my day, I am no longer living the trauma victim way.

“Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Hagar was a slave girl who followed along with circumstances that caused her to carry a label we today would most likely call “whore”.

I can barely type the word. You see, I’ve been called that before.

In the nightmare last night, I revisited that woman of before; but, she ran, ran, ran ironically away from a church and through the streets to find herself alone in prayer, her face to the floor.

She found God there.

She rose and she walked freely, more freely than before.

What mindsets have held you captive?

You are never in God’s eyes the person you were before.

If you have experiences that lead to nightmares, don’t succumb to the belief that these bad dreams are your restitution for your bad before.

Use the sense that God gave you. Combine it with good and trustworthy therapy and then add in what you know. Know what God knows and can control and then assert yourself to control

What you can control.

Your “resurrection power”, your “freedom living on the inside”.

You called me from the grave by name
You called me out of all my shame
I see the old has passed away
The new has come! Chris Tomlin

Be found in your wilderness, come forward to be seen and to be fully known.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

My morning will not be boisterous with unwrapping, celebration won’t come until later.

Children are adults and we’re laid back and flexible, open and accepting. I’m anticipating the day, anticipating spirited appearances, nuanced moments of Jesus in it.

The angels told the shepherds not to be afraid when God’s glory illuminated the sky, an announcement of a Savior.

And Luke ends his beautifully researched compilation with the words of Jesus, again saying fear is something you should never feel.

Of what are you afraid today?

Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Luke ‬ ‭24:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What are you doubting on Christmas morning?

Everything changes at Christmas except for Jesus.

Jesus stays the same, do not be afraid.

Merry Christmas to you.

Do new things, you can and you will, I’m remembering now my mama, she came to me last night in a dream.

Angelic, she was as she waited for me and without a word guided my continuing, gave approval of my plans.

Finally fading into the distance after nodding, smiling, giving her okay of who I am.

A beautiful vision, angelic it seemed.

Do not fear, Lisa Anne. Do not be afraid.

Merry Christmas to you.

Merry Christmas to me!

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

God With Us

The rain is falling so lightly now. A minute ago, I opened the back door and there was a warm encircling wind.

Now, I’m so in love with this moment, this moment beside the Christmas tree, the rain coming down again like yesterday.

Different rain than the unceasing one of Thursday. This one, I welcome, I feel it is a cleansing rain.

The geese are flying over, my mama would say, “Here they come.”

Yes, mama I know, today is a new day.

I’m fixated on the silence now I am again serene, I am aware of God with me.

Yesterday’s morning post ended with me thinking of the name, Immanuel, a name of Jesus, “God with us”.

Last night, I told someone I just felt a “darkness” coming down. I had finally settled on what my “one more thing” gifts would be for my children. I abandoned the thought of the grandstanding gifts of excessive and chose the more simple, the needed, the essential.

I sometimes overcompensate. I worry they’re not quite completely sure of my love, or of me.

Shopping was interrupted by a crisis call, 911 had to be called and the response to the crisis and our connection to the one who disrupted our day in a violent demand went on into the night.

There was prayer, prayer alone and prayer with another and prayer coupled with setting boundaries of providing insight to the ER. That is my role.

That is all, I told another and told myself.

I’m not called to rescue, only to provide a way through which many times is to step away, not be the depended upon rescue.

I am satisfied. I’ve done all I can.

Now, I’m thinking of where God was in all of this occurring. Only after the fact am I realizing I should have slowed down, been less frantic and fearful and frustrated.

I wish I had simply paused and breathed deeply in, let my shallow air linger in my lungs and wait, wait, to let my soul override my mind and know without a doubt, He knows, He sees.

He is with us. He is in control.

Love is the life of faith; obedience the life of love. Yea, rather, Christ Himself is the life of the soul. Edward B. Pusey, Joy and Strength devotional

I’m nearing the chapters describing Jesus’ death. In this experience of reading through Luke, I am being reminded of the purpose of His birth, the intention of God in all His son did while he walked on earth.

In Chapter 20, Luke records the questioning of Jesus, the discussions and debates over His authority. They were worried their kingdoms might topple, that the ones they considered their rulers might lose their esteem or that they, the rulers themselves might lose their lofty positions.

“And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭20:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

They heard Jesus teach with parables and discerned His lesson as a criticism of them. They sent spies to pretend they believed and would follow, only to try and catch him or to convince themselves they were okay, had no need of Him, could stay aligned with Caesar.

Like today, they made complicated what God planned to be simplicity in our belief. Not all of them but some decided to accept, to stop their disbelief,even though they were not yet certain of what was to come, what would clearly justify their belief.

“Then some of the scribes answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well.” For they no longer dared to ask him any question.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭20:39-40‬ ‭

When we believe God is with us, we’re less prone to question. When we return to the places we know we have found Him before, He will still be there.

An opened hand to heaven before my feet hit the floor, the warm wind before the rain begins, yes, He was there.

I’ve seen You move, come move the mountains
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again
You made a way, where there was no way
And I believe, I’ll see You do it again. Elevation Music

Do It Again

Your promise stands, sustain me longer than my mornings. I’m so very certain, you are near.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

The Time of Becoming

Advent: arrival, appearance, emergence or occurrence, the arrival of a notable person or thing.

What are you waiting for, still?

What is the light at the end of the way that you keep pursuing, going towards?

Like the shepherds followed a star, is there a possibility you hope to see still?

My word for 2018 has been “still”. In the beginning, it represented a courageous decision to pursue a certain writing goal.

That I could still, it wasn’t too late.

I’m still writing; but, changes came my way and my book idea will never be the same.

I’m in the phase of stillness, resting and listening to know, which way God, do you want me to go?”

Tell me what to say, Lord.

Continuing in the Book of Luke today, another chapter full of guidance and illustration, historical retelling of what Jesus did before he died.

My spirit has been a little weary, thoughts around trauma trying to take over. I’m recalling today that this is the year I, with the help of some strong therapy, decided I could live healed, that I could let go and be healed.

The year it became my choice to forgive.

My friend said yesterday, that evil still comes back to try to play.

I think she’s quite right, it’s Advent, the season of light and peace, it’s only natural evil creeps in, shows up even louder, harder, mean and determined.

Has to, it is harder now than before to take my peace away. I’m no longer disabled.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Able to seek light and freedom, to not revisit the darkness.

To God be the glory for my emergence year, still.

Becoming me.

I’m linking up with others here at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Still”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/12/13/fmf-link-up-still/

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

No Fear Now

Yesterday, the birds were gathering outside the window. I saw their shadows and the way they intersected the sun, a flash and dimming of the light coming in.

I didn’t turn to watch them, I missed their morning dance.

Instead, I was intent on the details, I was recording my fear. There were three nightmares and three pages of journal, trying to decipher the power and realistic terror of each of them.

Now, they’ve faded away, their scariness has passed and their power over my day, finally waned.

Jesus, God’s Son came to eliminate our fears. There’s no fear in love and His love came to take away our fears.

He told the disciples to fear one thing, evil, the authority that keeps us in fear, tries hard to keep our thoughts from heaven, to cast us into Hell.

To keep us kept by our nightmares, our minds pulling out the bad stuff in our sleep and it dancing dirty dances all night long. It is crazy, evil’s power making buried stuff come out to play, to mess with our peace , to derail our good days.

It is evil.

Jesus said fear is never from me, be assured, you’re worth so much to me.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Luke‬ ‭12:6-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s no fear in love.

Grief, like a terrible nightmare makes me afraid, a different and try as I might, unavoidable afraid.

Christmas comes with grief. It would be wrong not to long for those we lost; yet, that longing turns to sadness. We imagine times when we’d all love to just sit around and laugh and be happy over our happy times with those we miss, those we loved. It’s not that simple, that simplifying of grief.

All the more reason to draw near to Jesus, no masks are worn in His presence. He alone sees our anxious and sad, pretending not to be, hearts.

Do not be afraid. He knows grief sometimes feels like fear.

“”Fear not, little flock.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

No one ever told me grief felt so like fear. C.S. Lewis

I avoided the dancing birds. I was hoping not to see the red bird. I longed to see them most days, but, for a little while I felt different than before.

The bird rushing past my work window, a flash of brilliant red or the subdued female hue, I looked away.

This time avoiding the reminder that it’s not really you, only symbolic of you, my father and my mother.

I’ll see them again I know and I’ll accept the gift of their appearing.

A gift of love, a gift that holds no fear.

If I listen closely I might hear “Stop being afraid, Lisa Anne” and I may see my daddy looking over at her before nodding a yes, quietly and simply nodding “yes”.

Always, yes.