Turning Towards Better

God has more power than the forces of harm.

This thought became a decision this morning. I woke happily relieved of a restless night that included a horribly realistic dream.

I was pleasantly awakened by the slight sound of “ding”. It reminded me of a whisper, maybe a mama coming close, saying “Sweetie, it’s time to get up.”

Expecting a photo of my granddaughter, I reached for the phone, slid it under the covers so I wouldn’t wake my husband.

Instead of a photo, it was a message from someone who messages me each year a couple of days before my birthday. Each year, the message includes “Toward”.

I open it to enjoy a video of Schroeder from the Peanuts at the piano playing a classical version of the birthday song. Lucy barges in and wants to sit next to him. He says no and she huffs away complaining something akin to creatives needing their space!

I smiled.

I turned towards the glow of morning and opened my palm to give God today, to ask for His guiding.

The birds were uplifting in the tone of their chirping as I sat to journal. This too, I welcomed.

It was time to make sense of the nightmare, time to process it and take what good I could from a vivid story, someone trying to once and for all kill me and me imploring them.

“No, things are better. Things are different.”

I spoke those words to the evil in my sleep.

I woke and remembered the horrible parts along with the prayers I’d prayed just yesterday in my private place.

I’d listened to a podcast about miracles. It stuck with me that we can be bold in our asking; but, first we must let go any unforgiveness.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭11:24-25‬ ESV

I prayed that way yesterday, forgiving people and forgiving behaviors.

Forgive me for my failures as I forgive those who failed me.

The day continued well and then the inability to sleep followed by the scary reminiscent dream.

I steadied my mind and set my intentions on “toward” as I wrote a note to myself. “What can I take from this?”

In the quiet, God answered.

I have no doubt it was Him.

In the nightmare, my words were clear. I was not silenced by the offender.

I spoke firmly and said. “But things are better, you don’t have to harm me anymore.”

Hearing my own voice was significant, I realized and different than the nightmares of before.

Better is believing God.

Better is believing in my very own prayers, my voice. Better is being confident that God has more power than the forces of harm.

Two separate podcasts and a birthday message sealed the deal of this hopeful conversation between God and me.

A podcast on the Lord’s Prayer reminding me of God as my loving father, a podcast about deciding to be “with” God, a God of miracles in every endeavor.

Both were reassuring of the good God I love and who loves me.

My heart danced with joy when Allen Arnold (author of “The Story of With”) spoke of deciding on a dream with God’s agreement and beginning to flourish.

This was confirmation. This is the story of “Look at the Birds” a soon to be published children’s book about worry. A story God spoke so clearly one morning and then kept speaking, “don’t just let this go.”

But, I almost did. Yesterday, I found a note to myself. I almost gave up on the book. I’d added to my to do list, “just hang the bird paintings in Elizabeth’s room.”

That very day the publishing company called to discuss moving forward. I said “Yes, I’ve decided. I’m ready to publish.”

Knowing that there’s no clear measure of success monetarily or simply the book having readers.

However, the success is in the continuing towards a calling, the creativity of God in me.

The memories of last night’s terror have completely subsided. It’s midmorning and I’m looking forward to an early birthday celebration later. I’m thinking of another heron painting. I’m remembering the prayer I believe.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:25-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God, you have miracles unseen.

I hope you’ll believe this for you.

Look at the birds.

Continue and believe.

Here are the links to the podcasts referenced:

Susie Larson with Addison Bevere

The Thriving Christian Artist with Allen Arnold

Your Name in A Bible

This morning I found a child’s name in my Bible. A singular word, her name up in the corner of a page of Psalms with no details, no other information.

I must have prayed for her on that unrecognizable date.

An adolescent with fiery strawberry hair and a presence either marked by anger or the need for attention.

She and her siblings lived in the women’s shelter. She was the child in the middle. She was one of the three found homeless due to the mother’s dilemma.

She tried her mother and she tried us. She could not contain her emotions, her fear, her anger, her lack of being able to make sense of her current condition.

Most likely, I jotted her name the morning after a day that staff and I spent trying to manage her, hold her together, quell her violent temper.

I see her name in my Bible moments before turning to today’s Matthew reading.

Matthew 14 includes a favorite account of Jesus.

Jesus walked on water. Told the disciples not to be afraid.

“But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here! ”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I read on to the fifteenth chapter and as happens often, I’m pulled in by just a phrase.

This morning?

Jesus healed many.

I read of the mama who had a daughter she could not settle. Her outbursts were loud, unavoidable, her spirit unwell, even angry and stricken by evil.

I thought of the name in my Bible, just a name written in faint cursive in the corner of the page.

I remembered the last I heard, the child is in chorus, the family lives on land near horses. The mother is better, the sisters are well.

The disciples felt Jesus should avoid the woman and her daughter. The mother begged for different. Jesus paid attention.

Never thought of it before, the absolute gift we give by paying attention to another’s dilemma, disaster or simply discomfort.

“But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!” Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.” “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭15:25-28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There are many lessons I kept from my work in the “helping profession”. One stands out though, the desperate cry for healing is a common thread between us. “Detours” I used to call them, the choices and circumstances that led to homelessness.

Jesus, on his journey, was often met by unexpected intersections with people in need and bold enough to take a chance on believing in possibility.

The child in the shelter, her mama, the men, women, mothers and children in the Bible.

One thing in common, they decided to believe in the possibility of healing.

And they found it like me, through believing in Jesus, no matter the story my past had already written, seemingly laid out in a fatal ending.

I pray it’s the same with you, this everyday decision not to be bound by your pasts, to continue.

To continue and believe.

To remember, your name is likely scribbled in the corner of someone’s Bible.

Yes. I believe.

Live Today

Yet another list I’ve made after completing three little things yesterday. This list is different, a note to self about enduring, about this time as a time for living.

Eternally Valuable Days

  • Mend fences and repair barbed wire barriers and hurts in relationships.
  • Make them stronger by your willingness to work harder, to dig down deep to prevent future toppling.
  • Commit to loving for the long haul, a firm decision.
  • Laugh, it is allowable.
  • Sleep without guilt over long sleeping.
  • Be mindful in your use of time, not mindless.
  • Look up to the wide sky and see the vast possibilities and the actual purpose of you. Open yourself up to it.
  • Look at the birds. Consider the lilies. Fixate upon the ebb and flow of water, the power of the ocean. Go to these places.
  • Endure the delay that comes with the decision to do the big thing that requires simply moving forward.
  • Believe in Jesus. Believe Jesus, not just the idea of Him. Believe.

“Do all things without grumbling or disputing,”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭2:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A month from today, I turn 60. The truth of that day is accompanied by the truth of that number. Age and learning, age and realizations of time, times remembered and the brevity of time allotted.

I’m on the fence really, a contradiction as usual. On the cusp of beginnings and still surprised by bright ideas.

Still able, still trusting and still willing.

So very willing to discover fully God’s idea of me ordered long long ago that I’ve only see faint peeking in the open door of!

Hopeful, set on hope not fear because of this disgruntled world.

Eternally valuable, I’ll use as my days’ choices.

“A repining life is a lingering death.” Benjamin Whichcote, “Joy and Strength” devotional

Eyes to See

“Ears to hear and eyes to see— both are gifts from the Lord.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭20:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s not spectacular, the little place where the back porch meets the grassy yard bordered by flowers that can withstand the heat.

There’s no manicured touch and the green of the lantana, the clematis and the wild lavender flowers is mingled with the green of a weed that refuses to go away.

Still, the sun peeks through the tall pines and it lays down a bridge on the thick grass.

I glance past the magenta colored roses and I sense God saying all will be okay.

I sense His spirit in my response to nature, in response to seeing.

Like the sight on Tuesday, a woman at the intersection in a dull colored old minivan.

I turned to see her as she waited for the light to turn green. I noticed her windows down, her long loose hair and although it wasn’t sunny, her aviator shades.

All alone in her car on her way somewhere, she shimmied her shoulders and tilted her head and then raised both arms up high and sang to no one listening.

I was awed by her hope.

I went on my way and glanced in the rear view to see her switch lanes quickly in between two others and I wondered where she was going.

I decided she wasn’t in a hurry.

Just determined.

Just ready.

She seemed to be joyously resilient, come what may

she was still going.

The sight of her, of the sunrise every morning, of the geese crossing the busy road somehow quite sure the cars would stop and wait, it all makes me certain in believing.

That this time is a season, a bridge to joy, a bridge to contentment not from without, but within.

I pray we all notice more, the simple steady markers for hope and the unexpected ones that reveal an abandoned joy!

Throw our arms up and sing along to no one at all.

When I’m Old and Gray

Joy

Let it be known, my joy was found in Him.

The sound of a riding mower doesn’t obstruct the birdsong. The birds in the big high palm outside the window with my view have done their daily thing.

They’ve made sure that I have seen them before they go their way.

Off kilter because of allowing myself to go back to slumber, my mind is struggling through the mud it seems my soul is in.

Not quick to journal or to read my dailies, I just sit with coffee heavy with cream and honey.

That.

That sitting, I allow myself to see, that sort of sitting is not idle.

Sitting in slow silence with God and morning.

It is joy.

“You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands!”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The birds in the back are now excited. The lawn mower has moved to the far corner of the next door yard.

I step out to do what my mama taught. On hot days I water the plants before the sun is high in the sky and later, just as it fades.

I love the little things she gave me.

The man on the lawn mower is from one house away. He is cutting the widow’s grass perhaps unrequested. It seems an unspoken agreement that began when her husband got suddenly sick and then sooner than expected went to heaven.

We all were together in communication through texting as he grew closer to passing away.

The neighbors who are black and have two spunky twin girls and are expecting a third baby I believe very, very soon.

The mama watches out for me as I walk towards the safer place. She cautions me on the sharp curve knowing people avoiding the main road use our road as a hidden cut through.

Occasionally, the little girls will wave as they see me. Then they’ll wave again and again as if our waving towards each other is the happiest part of our days.

It always feels that way to me at least.

Excited, we are, to encounter each other. The mama and I talk about our children. We talk about our city. We talk about God. We talk about how we’re glad in a crisis that we know it’s mutual, the phone call away if we need anything.

It had been a while since I’d heard the giggling, the girls playing in their backyards on the fort their daddy built them. I hadn’t seen them at the driveway nor had I walked by and seen the mama taking care of her flowers.

I thought of walking to the back door. I’d done that before when the puppy got out or to drop off something.

I wanted to see my neighbor.

I longed for connection. Told myself, I’d stop that day, the day when most people changed their screens to just black.

Instead, I sent a message and I asked for her honesty. I asked just one question and said take your time with your answer.

I wanted to ask this of someone and I knew I could trust you to be honest.

I asked, “Have you ever felt my kindness to your family to be insincere?”

She answered that I should continue to be the person I’ve shown her, kindhearted and spiritual.

Then, she thanked me for being open minded and willing to have a candid conversation.

I felt she was thanking me to care enough about our differences of which neither of us had any control, to ask an honest question and then accept her answer.

You won’t find me joining in political dialogue. You won’t find me following the bandwagon of others. You won’t find me defending myself in an argument that doesn’t include a perspective I know.

Because none of us can ever know fully the heart of another.

Yesterday, I arrived early for grandma duty. I was worried my daughter would notice I’d been crying. I was serenaded by a song all the way down the long road before her road.

It’s a song about how I want to be remembered, to be remembered that I knew nobody on this earth had or would be able to love me like Jesus.

It’s a song about a legacy of that being enough. I’m so very far from that but so much closer to it than before.

Watering the plants this morning with the kind neighbor circling the widow’s yard, I notice the bright bloom stretching up from the grey leaves I only added to the pot on a whim. Brilliant yellow little flowers have grown from the hard soil of a given up on plant.

What good will come?

What good can come from all of this halfway through 2020 distress?

Maybe, we should change the question slightly.

What good has already come?

I pray you find all sorts of little evidences of that.

I pray you know you’ve been cared for by Jesus all the way, his faithful hand.

I pray you find your joy alone in Him. I pray it for me too.

Continue and believe.

We are one in Jesus. No one here on earth will ever love us His way, only be our example to follow.

Listen. https://youtu.be/wapXZkU-jFM

Let my children tell their children, may it be their memory.

God Only Knows

The bystanders recognized the beggar up walking around. All of a sudden he could see and they began to dispute the truth of Jesus, they began to argue over the day of the week and were certain the beggar was mistaken in some way.

I’m wondering how he became a discarded one at all. Scriptures say he had parents. Had they given up on being his support system? He was an adult after all, he’d have to fend for himself.

Or was he so downtrodden by his lifelong blindness, he just grew tired of being their burden? He could beg others for money instead of his parents.

I love the Gospels, the Books of encounters with Jesus. There are many people who stir empathy in me. There are relatable stories to my healing by Jesus.

Jesus came along and he noticed the man blind from birth. The disciples, always looking to learn from Jesus, asked what had caused the blindness, were his parents neglectful, had they been bad people before they became parents, or was the little boy born with some sort of predicted worthlessness that led to him being born blind?

They wanted to know who or what was to blame.

Jesus told them it was God’s plan. The blind man would be an instrument for God’s glory to be real, for the mysterious to be memorable.

“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭ESV

Jesus made a paste of mud and his own spit, pressed it against the blind beggar’s eyes and then said go down to the water and wash it all off. The man did and he could see.

Everyone asked how, the man said I did what Jesus said and that’s really all I know.

His vision restored, the interrogations continued. The parents were questioned, they confirmed their son’s blindness as well as his current condition. Told all the skeptics to ask him, not us, he will tell you! According to scripture, the parents were keeping their distance because they were Jews and they would be disallowed from the synagogue if they acknowledged Jesus, if they acknowledged their own child’s healing.

These were the times I suppose even a parent of a son who was healed was careful about boldly agreeing and believing in Jesus.

Seems it was safer to be a skeptic, to know there are people who believe in Jesus because of their own healing; but, they were not ready to believe for themselves.

Maybe it seemed too impossible, too unattainable, too supernaturally “magical”.

Same as today really.

The man who could see could only speak for himself, hope with all his heart that his testimony mattered.

“So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:24-26 ESV‬‬

Centuries later, I sit in my mama’s covered chair with my Bible, the margin on the page has a pen and pencil resemblance of me, my face turned towards the words and a slight listening tilt.

I understand the blind man. I can relate to his dismay over Jesus initially. I can sit with my Bible and know beyond doubt that I too have been healed when many for valid reasons discarded me, left me to fend for myself.

And like the blind man who couldn’t explain mud and spit restoring his vision, I often wonder how me simply believing in a cross, the likeness of which I now add to my wrist could have altered my life so very significantly.

It is not my place to understand it all, to know every how or why God found me worthy of healing. It is mine to believe. To be able to rest in this:

But, you do know, God, You do.

We’re all in a state of not knowing now. On Sunday, I knelt in the place by my mama’s chair. I was distracted, I admit. Still, I joined in the prayer of Pastor Steve Davis with many others. I prayed and am praying in agreement with him that this time will bring people who don’t really understand God, maybe just hope in the possibility of Him being real closer to believing. The prayer closed with that very request of our Heavenly Father, that during this pandemic stirring panic, countless people will come to know God, will believe in Jesus as their healer.

I pray this as well. I know healing that saved not just my soul but my very life from risky, dangerous, threatening to kill me situations.

Like the blind man, I believe in Jesus.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe, moment by moment if necessary.

Acknowledge/Admit you were born a sinner. Believe in Jesus, God’s plan for us to be with Him in heaven. Confess your sin and begin to live healed.

My prayer for my not knowing readers.

Redeemed

In progress, “Redemption This Side of Heaven”

Nothing was working. Not watercolor on paper after an hour and detailed pencil, ink, and letters. No, not my vision.

I turned to paint the paper mache’ bunny for Elizabeth, pinks added and not happy with it.

A small canvas, smoky blue background and the barely there shape of a nude.

Not working either.

Leave it. Empty the water jars, wash the brushes, find the lids that fit all the scattered tubes. Tomorrow you can paint again.

But, the big easel stood lonely beside me so I set a blank canvas in ready position.

Stood there a minute and began with blues and blues and blues and then more hues.

Decided to call it “Redemption, This Side of Heaven”, originally “Eden”.

If redemption had a color, it would be many and here on earth we can experience it as strength, as beauty, as brilliant.

Continue and believe.

Happy Sunday, may you know redemption, this side of heaven.

“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?”
‭‭John‬ ‭4:29‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Believing the Proverb

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When God gave this word to Solomon, He was thinking of Mary, of Martha. He was thinking of Peter, of Paul, of John, of the Woman caught in adultery….too many to tell. He was thinking of me, Lisa and of you, of you as well.

I believe this.

I missed the part about the meeting of their faces until I read the passage. A familiar passage, I remembered the telltale rooster crow and skimmed over the way Jesus saw it all. Jesus saw it all.

I can’t stop thinking how Peter must have felt the next morning. Did he experience a hangover of sorts? Here I am again letting doubt takeover? Maybe not because these hours were the deadly ones, the tortured crucifixion. Sorrow over self had no place then. Only the reality of sacrificial and loving death.

Peter, a man who was the brother of John, the one who was able to step from a stormy boat to walk on the top of the ocean because he trusted God, was sure of Jesus.

His denial to others of his belief is a captivating story.

Jesus told him as he prepared them all at the Last Supper and before. Jesus told Peter, you will deny me.

“Jesus said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter was adamant that he wouldn’t.

But he finds himself sitting around a fire outside a high priest’s house that held the captured Jesus. Peter has followed the throng at a distance from Jesus. Not so far that he didn’t appear to be associated with the Savior. Just far enough to avoid the reactions of the ones who’d be making the crucifixion decision.

The onlookers build a fire, like concert-goers in line for a sell out I suppose. Fireside conversation begins and three separate people spread the word, this man here, hey you, we saw you with him. As if to say, why are you sitting here when you’re known to be a friend of Jesus?

Peter told all three, “not me”.

“And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:58‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Then a rooster crowed three times. Peter met the eyes of the watching Jesus. He wept. He wept at the realization of a Savior who knew him so very well.

“And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:61-62‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Peter’s story doesn’t end here. He encountered the resurrected Jesus and he continued his life proclaiming all he had learned from his experiences with Jesus.

I’m thinking about the fireside scene. How in the world did Peter succumb to peer pressure? Why was it so hard for him to believe without being afraid of consequence or opinion?

I believe it may have been just a fear in general in believing good things could actually come true.

But, this is probably just my takeaway. That we believe what we can count on based on our histories to be true, to be certain, to be what we can count on.

Our humanity causes our hearts to draw the map for our minds to follow. I don’t think Peter was unsure of Jesus. More than that, he was unsure of himself. So, he placed himself with the accusers, the deniers, the cynics and the intellects.

He felt more at home that night with the ones who chose to believe a sure thing, not life changing, miraculous or unseeable.

Jesus knew he would. Peter’s behavior was forgiven. The account of Peter tells the undeniable truth for me and you.

Jesus knows we’re prone to doubt, afraid to speak out, that we dumb ourselves down at times when it comes to our faith.

Jesus knows we’re afraid to be bold on occasion. Knows we’re quite tentative in stepping into his promise of better, of complete.

Yesterday, I heard a statement.

You will be as safe from sin as you are close to Jesus.

What I believe and whether I believe completely is fully known by God. Jesus knew Peter would deny Him. His denial leaves a compelling story for us all.

The regret of Peter over distancing himself from Jesus. The realization and tender repentance when met with the gaze of Jesus.

A repentance, loving and open because of mercy we all can know.

Again and again.

What we believe makes the difference. Believing with an uncertainly over God or believing with all our hearts.

“The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Must Be Me

The geese were carrying on a lively conversation over my shoulder.

I stopped on the curve. I owed them my attention. They used to captivate me so.

And now don’t really.

Not sure why.

The dangerous turn where people just don’t care.

Drive way too fast, using our quiet neighborly place as a shortcut, cut through, toss your trash and beer cans out place.

I paused to talk with the father and daughter in their yard. The little girl’s a twin and her sister’s got a fever. She’s solving a mystery her daddy told me.

The result of a week filled with “Scooby Doo”.

I watch as she pieces together her clues, little slips of paper her daddy hung in the trees, hid near the wagon.

I notice he’s patient.

His twin daughter, the one most inquisitive.

“Merry Christmas” she told me, three times or four.

Then her daddy, a police officer reminded me to be careful, people drive too fast and then he told me that when he sees me walking he prays I’ll be safe.

I told him I have to walk, don’t worry, I’m careful.

I’d be a shell of myself if someone told me to stop walking.

So, I walked at dusk on Christmas Day.

It was joyful.

Cutting short my route because of talking to the daddy and daughter and well, because I’m slow now, slower than three months ago.

Vertigo scared me then gave me permission to eat bread.

Sandwiches, I decided.

I’ll just eat sandwiches now.

And it’s been six months since my feet have stood still on either side of the number on a scale.

Last week someone told me to keep being me.

Just be you. DK

I have been thinking of it since.

So, today is day two of walking solitary again with words or music in my ears.

My bones feel inflated, the rub of joints and hips; but, today was better than yesterday and so on and so on.

Thinking I’m not able but trying anyway.

30 feet or even less, the left heel moving weight to the toe and then the right and the left and the bounce, bounce of the headphone wire against my chest.

I’m elated although I don’t go far.

The geese caused me to pause as I rounded the curve.

The sky has swept the slate clean and I can’t explain it but there’s a freedom in my feet.

There’s a light sense of new as the horizon replied with a sky that said love.

And I’ve added maybe 90 seconds of running to a 15 minute walk and I’ve given myself permission to be okay with the accomplishment of that.

Okay because it is me and I, after all.

Must be me.

And someone told me to keep being me.

Someone else told me they pray for me.

Neither of the two I will forget.

No, I’ll keep going.

Keep going towards you, Lisa Anne. You’re closer than you’ve ever known.

I’ve just read that DK who can’t fathom how significant his three words were…the just be you that has set the tone for my 2020 thoughts, has experienced loss on Christmas Day and so, I pray for him. I pray for peace in a time and a thing that makes no sense, the heavy weight of his loss. I will pray the kindness shown to the one he’s lost will be in turn, known by him.

Such Peace

The air is cool and there’s the sound of drizzle that’s not rain, just the dripping down of its remnants in the branches and needles of the pines.

I hurry the puppy, “Go”, coaxing him to do his business and he goes, knowing my feet won’t be walking out any further.

I wait.

The thing my husband has positioned by the fence that borders the pool, a wind gauge or whatever is only twirling slightly as if God’s hand is near.

Something I can’t see is brushing the fan blade that propels the flat tin, a decorative piece.

Maybe it has a function, no idea.

This wind gauge was gifted to my father in law. His son brought it home.

I wait, cold.

The turning of the metal windmill gauge type thing now rhythmic in its pattern.

The light from a neighbor’s yard giving me a patterned silver glint, the light shine compels me, I stand still.

Expectant.

The pattern.

At peace.

Found this morning after all sorts of ways it’s felt stolen.

We long for peace at Christmas, expect it, I’ve decided.

My husband can’t repair the laundry door I slammed from the hinge by accident.

The puppy ate the remote and some Christmas ornaments.

Some people I love have some things not falling into place.

They’re impatient and because I love them, I’m impatient too.

Things like this happen at Christmas. my husband said.

And we’re frustrated and worried and we wrongly equate our anxieties over scarcity and over money.

What we are really pondering is.

Where is my peace?

Where is the peace that came at Christmas? I thought I knew it so much better this year.

Is it in your space now, your world?

Is it possible?

Do you need a reminder somehow?

Maybe hoping God could send you an angel to confirm what you believe of Christmas?

I’ve said before, I’m no expert at scripture. I open my Bible and I’m intrigued by a passage, a verse, a document describing others and God.

Gideon didn’t think he could do what he’d been chosen to do.

The Book of Judges begins on page 200 of my Bible. That’s enough to tell me these are ancient words about Israel, about other gods, about anxieties back then over how to be saved.

Gideon names the place the angel answered his request to be sure of His calling.

The Lord is peace.

This is the place he decided to believe in the Lord, to believe in a peace worth pursuing.

“Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m certain I won’t find peace in any venture I strike out on on my own. I won’t find it in a crazy gift exchange family gathering and I won’t find it in my world, the world of overly energetic puppy, tech issues with my TV, calendars I’m trying to sell, orders for paintings, manuscripts that need editing but are stagnant because I’m afraid to try again.

No, I won’t find peace in any of this.

“And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the 300 men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing.”

‭‭Judges‬ ‭8:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I will find it in the places I’m met by it, find it in my pursuit.

Find it in the places I bring it with me.

Hope others feel it to.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

I will find it in what I believe. That it’s true God chose a baby to save us. It’s true that Jesus walked among imperfect people like me and that he loved them the way he loves me, you too. That it’s true this world is angst and trouble and hurry and mean people. It’s true that He is peace.

The baby, the Savior.

Nothing else will do.

Is such peace.

“ I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬