Deeper Still

I kept my promise to myself this summer although the plan for the big reveal just didn’t come true.

I feared the worst thing that made absolutely no sense.

What if I can’t feel my way back to safety? What if I hit bottom and lose my breath? What if I’m left to figure it out on my own, panic and struggle and cause my own deadly distress?

I practiced in private. Well, just the instructor/husband and I. The scenario I planned, on my birthday my children would come over and we’d grill burgers and then I’d surprise them as they sat by the pool.

They’d see I was able. I had overcome my fear of diving into the deep end.

Other plans played out, my birthday was good but not the “big reveal”.

The accomplishment was more private, I believe it was better that way. Mine to treasure.

Now, it’s Autumn and the kitchen window is open to welcome cool air as I sit with my Bible, thinking about God’s call to deep.

There’s a verse in the Book of Acts that describes this beckoning I’m feeling.

This quiet acceptance of slow growth after my baptism, like roots spreading underneath, necessary for solid strength, I sense the preparing of this stronger me.

This one who is going deeper still in the sharing of my story, my perspective on this often discussed Jesus, the Son of God, waiting for all the skeptics, doubters, intellects and risk takers to dive in to the simplicity of grace.

To feel their way towards heaven.

There must have been masses of deep thinkers bent on proving Paul wrong back then.

They listened and he kept speaking.

He knew his place was simply to share his story of change. His understanding of God, of Jesus.

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.”

‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭17:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Aren’t we all just “feeling our way” towards the unknown and knowable God?

When I stood on the edge of the pool, my toes gripping the edge, body bent towards the water and practicing the rocking type motion that would give me the push

I was scared.

Scared of the same irrational thing, what if I get to the bottom and I can’t come back up.

“What happens when I am that deep?” I asked my husband.

He always answered, same way, he gave me step by step instructions and I followed them and he says it wasn’t pretty; but, I did it.

I jumped/fell in and I did it again and again until I was satisfied.

I met my goal before my 59th birthday!

Symbolic for me, although I didn’t know it.

This has summer changed me, grown me.

Still growing. Letting the roots of assurance of what happened to me in the water take their time in spreading wide, making plans and breathing life into what may have otherwise dried up and withered.

My branches are reaching wider.

Feeling their way towards God.

To the water, the deeper end, bottomless pool filled with mercy and grace for those who take the chance, step from the edge, finally trusting we’ll be drawn up, face beaming, pure joy as we pop up!

Hallelujah, I have felt my way towards God!

Linking up with other Friday writers, prompted by the word “Deep”.

Read others’ take on it here:

Deep

Wonder, Full

Before he’d be going one way for the evening, I was preparing to go the other.

Walking the puppy, I noticed a feather.

We had a slight disagreement, nothing major. I reversed my car, felt the thump thump of something under.

I looked over and saw him, the look on his face saying, I’ll never fully understand her.

I had run over the garden hose.

He turned and I took off writing stories in my mind over the way God made me, makes us all.

“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”

‭‭James‬ ‭3:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I found myself teetering on the edge of despair, emotional discontentment.

He listened and tried to understand, to an extent he did; but, when he came to my defense it only added to my frustration.

Only God knows me fully.

The soul he created, His beautiful anticipation of me.

“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.

You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14-16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I’ve barely and inconsistently scratched the surface that might give a glimpse of the me that God sees and knows.

I find it hard to believe.

I practice intention and notice, otherwise I get sullen over the lack of notice by all the others.

I’m digging deeper, understanding a child that’s not validated will strive the rest of their days for someone to tell them they matter.

It helps to know the reason.

I found a feather, pristine and soft. I left it beside his phone before leaving. The music serenaded my husband as he watered the lawn. Like a peace offering for what I’d done he saw as wrong.

I envisioned him finding it, knowing it was an unspoken apology.

I walked alone later, the cool air sending leaves a flutter. It was good, good to walk alone.

A tiny feather I found for me, white and edged with brown, I slipped it in my pocket.

I’d been researching angels, read that finding a white feather, some believe is the presence of an angel near.

I couldn’t help but think of my mama and her love of Willie Nelson.

The line from a song about a sad soul, too far from heaven, about to lose her way or not belonging in the place she’d landed.

Too far from heaven, too close to the dirty earth and ground, the feather I found.

Angel flying too close to the ground…Willie Nelson

Back home, I saw my husband had left on the counter, a pear or an apple?

I couldn’t be sure.

I washed the tiny feather, laid it on top of the brown fruit to dry.

I can’t be certain if it’s an apple or a pear, I’ll just wonder.

Not slice it.

The beauty of it on my kitchen counter is enough.

The message of simple things, forgiveness, offerings of peace, images and objects that cause for me, remembrance of God.

Remembering with wonder.

Full of wonder over all I don’t yet see.

I am made for so much more than what I present on the outside.

I’m more significant in the eyes of God because of the me only He sees.

When God made me.

He decided my significance.

Enough.

Validated me in a way no words, acceptance, praise or accomplishment can get close to in measure.

The measure of my worth?

That God made me.

There’s a million reasons to trust Him. He knows me fully and yet, loves me still.

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

May my soul find your nearness and stay near, God. May I be ever aware of what’s unseen, the spirit of you, nearer, nearer in my natural realm.

Too wonderful to know, too wonderful not to believe in the possibility of.

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.

Light Returns

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Light, Returning

Early morning drive and I look to my right. I say to myself

The light is returning.

I chase it down all day long, the view from the porch perched in a slightly sloping country valley.

The sunlight on tops of the leaves. My granddaughter and I walking together.

She doesn’t know or does she?

Her grandma is new.

Her grandma is breaking old cycles.

She laughs in the early morning, first thing every morning happy baby.

The dark had been pursuing me, dogged pursuit that left my soul and body ill.

Unrelenting in its battle, the enemy was allowing an encounter to trigger old thoughts old ways and old questions.

God, why did you allow this to happen?

This is a personal story, it may help someone, my sharing the surprise boldness of a conversation.

And what followed.

My response and my reconciliation. Brief parlay into dark and return to light.

I had to, darkness was not going to take from me all God had me tangibly becoming.

It was a Friday night, a rare date with my husband, “GT”.

Cool enough for jeans and long sleeves, a chance to wear jewelry, a time to feel pretty.

Downtown crowded because of a festival, we chose a sports bar and delighted in an old fashioned, made like your mama, cheeseburger. We split the fries.

He had a beer.

I had a glass of Merlot.

It was memory making, the ambiance, the lack of concern over no fancy seating, no fanfare for my birthday, belated.

Content and enthused. That’s how the night felt.

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I’m Still Standing

A relationship of almost twenty years,

Content and enthused, a good place in a marriage.

We find our seats in the old restored concert hall. The music is good, the night continues as I watch my husband infatuated by the talent of the band, he leaned up in his seat, toe tapping and an occasional, “that was good” and rowdy applause.

It was my birthday gift, the Eagles tribute concert. He really wanted to go. It was his idea, his choice of “my” gift. He told me it would be good. He really wanted to see the show.

Me too, because there’s no call for pouting over such things when you’re eighteen years in.

Committed and secure.

Intermission came and we joined the mass of others. Selfies and restroom lines. He ordered a beer. For me, a wine and a bottled water.

I heard my name “Lisa, how ya doing?”

Puzzled, I turned. Vague recognition of the man but really no idea.

He identified himself. Small talk began, words with no relevance exchanged.

I was in shock. After 30 plus years, I encountered the brother of my abuser.

I was shaken. I fought against the feeling. I numbed it with downing my ice cold Dasani water, something to do with my hands. Help me feel safe.

Still.

I was thirsty and nervous.

I felt like I was drowning, still, so thirsty.

The concert continued. Two rows behind us was where they were sitting, the brother and his wife.

I’d been spotted like a sharpshooter, I was a target.

The enemy had a ready participant, this brother set on setting me off course of my recent and joyous healing.

The encore was done, we rose to go home. My husband’s hand on the curve of my back, I paused on the stairs.

I said his name.

I looked at him, his wife’s face unsettled, a little caught off guard and I said out loud.

You know your brother abused me…it was very bad.

He responded and his response made sense, so long ago, maybe we all were a mess back then. The conversation softened trying to make impossible amends.

I’m not sure. I backpedaled a little after seeing him try to reconcile his brother’s wrong.

I said I’m okay now.

Just wanted to be sure you knew.

But, that wasn’t my reason. I felt strong in that moment like a fighter or a skilled and confident hero.

This is your chance, take it, was my thinking.

It left me off kilter. I busied myself for the rest of the weekend.

Asked my husband on Sunday, what would be his answer about my confrontation,

Would you say that was strength or weakness?

Naturally, he said “strength”.

But, the real question I asked of myself, “was that the behavior of a survivor or a victim, the conversation of one reconciled with her past or one still hindered”?

Monday came and the trauma triggers were tightening their chains.

I fought it.

I fought in the quiet. I was physically ill, every joint and muscle ached.

I prayed.

It is not up to me, restoration, only God.

I knew the response for me. I wrote one note then tore it apart, a second more brief and not a word of defense, not a word about me.

“Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭80:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Briefly wrote, I apologize for my words, I saw they were upsetting for your wife. You’re not responsible for your brother. My behavior was not consistent with the place God has brought me. I wish your brother nor your family any ill will.

Then I mailed to an address that may or may not be his and left the corner blank that would have given my place.

Many would disagree with my choice to apologize.

The note was not necessary.

Or was it?

Many would say that I was weak, I had been victimized again.

I thought the same things.

I listened to God’s spirit and chose the less popular way.

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Reason to Believe

On Tuesday morning, I drove back to the country. I’d been trying to capture the crescent moon all morning at home.

Told myself, there’s a reason you love the crescent. When you were a little girl, someone surely told you stories about God and the moon.

You don’t remember the conversations.

Someone surely talked to you though, left an impact on your soul.

Someone cultivated the God in you, the one who chooses to ponder, to bravely pursue better things. Take chances when left alone your behavior would be forgotten, might be seen as acceptable.

The sky opened up with tangerine light and the clouds were like an evolution from under, all clustered together as if to say,

I see the light. I’m getting closer. I am so happy you found me and I, you.

I set out to write about hope after trauma, key word, “after”.

I asked God repeatedly over the past several days.

Why did you let this happen?

Over and over, I found myself thinking, you’ve come so far, this is a real setback.

Why such a setback?

Why after all these years would I be called out by this brother?

He didn’t have to speak, there was no need for friendly or otherwise reunion.

But, he did.

I’m farther along because of it.

God knew I would be.

No setback now, only cause to move on.

For months I’ve written, prayed and thought about committing myself to a mindset I call “forward not before”.

What made sense to set me back has only beckoned me forward.

Because it wasn’t strength that led me to confront the brother, it was hurt and harm and opportune place.

The enemy had a hand in this. There’s no reason to believe otherwise.

It was weakness hoping to be strong by succumbing to weakness.

Strength, I believe, is recognizing the encounter as a lesson.

A lesson with a quiz I didn’t pass right away, took upon myself to initiate a retake.

Crazy choice, and uncalled for some might say.

But I’m better. I made right my wrong, the only behavior I can control.

The light has been shining in new places. I’ll not allow the darkness back in.

My part in my trauma story is now redemptive.

Redemptive and light.

Light that lingers, returns, dispels the encroaching darkness.

The light of believing and continuing.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

I’m still standing. I’m still here.

I could have been different, there were moments I’m surprised I survived.

Good, not harm.

Light always returns.

Elizabeth’s grandma and her restoration, her legacy.

Love one another.

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.

Course Change

Does not wisdom call?

Does not understanding raise her voice? Proverbs 8:1

I heard them off in the distance and decided they were traversing through the warm fog towards the expected pond down the road.

I stood as the puppy followed his pattern, checking out the corner shrub, sniffing at the dirt; he is so slow in the mornings to do “his business”.

The sound of the geese came closer and I expected to see them fly over the four homes down subdivision.

Instead they were sounding very close.

I stood as the sound approached and there they were, two sets of geese perfectly positioned over me. So very close, I could see the pattern of their feathers and their soft curved bellies, their beaks breaking up the fog.

Two sets of seven or eight or so in their arrow design making their way to must be a new destination, course change, following new directions today.

The puppy scurried towards me and was startled, his little face looking up towards the sky as he hurried.

This is new for him, I thought; he has to figure out if he should run away or be okay, trusting their kind and sweetly patterned arrival.

Being safe and simply noticing.

Noticing God.

Like the random occurrence of the dragonfly perched on my cup poolside, it rested until I noticed and because I noticed, I captured it on my phone.

Someone asked, “You’re taking a picture of a dragonfly?”

I don’t believe I responded.

Because I had no idea the symbolism and I didn’t know how beautiful it and its traditional meaning would be.

Until this morning.

Until the meaning lined up with my prayer.

The Dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life.  This symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment and living life to the fullest.

I’m back to bedside prayers in the morning. To be honest it’s sometimes more like a long low downward dog pose, hoping for relief in the ache of low back.

I tumble from my bed to the floor determined to at the very least start well.

Start surrendered.

I think of the invalid who’d been so very close to healing waters but waited over half his life for someone to help him get well, help him from the ground into the water.

He waited to be noticed, for maybe someone to care and he used the excuses that well everyone else is beating me there, the line’s too long or perhaps, he felt the waters had lost their strength because of all the help they’d given everyone else…

Could there still be healing enough left in the water for me?

After all those years, he was paralyzed, not only his limbs but his mind and his soul.

Oh, man! I understand.

Stay where you are, settle in your place of thinking you can but never will.

“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”

‭‭John‬ ‭5:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s no coincidence, the geese flying over, the visiting dragonfly and my different prayer this morning.

Lord, can my life truly be different? Help me live today in pursuit of the difference in me that only you know. Help me to be moment by moment today instead of rushing towards this evening, tomorrow or even next year. Can my life really be different? I’m willing to see.

I don’t think we know at all, even an ounce of what God might have planned if we are patient, persistent and willing.

I don’t think we see the magic and power of getting up from our “mats”… our places on the ground or the floor and embracing the change and changes God says are possible when we forget all the barriers, the doubts, the distractions and the pull of life backward or in unhealthy directions.

It may be slow. I’ll try to be steady.

I’ll go slow.

I’ll follow unknown paths perhaps.

Moment by moment, change will come and I’ll find myself in small yet surrendered places.

Positioned with Him because I moved from my worn out tattered and sad place and into the healing water.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Changed.

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/

Light Remains

Has your path left a long shadow behind you of late?

When you look back at before do you see only the grey, the narrow thinning of your best days?

This is not the case.

We rarely see the places our light remains. This, I believe is always always God’s intent, we don’t have to see it, see Him to know the light in us is never dimmed.

We don’t have to know the places the light he gave us remains.

Maybe that’s grace that says this is humility.

Maybe it’s mercy that says there’s new every morning, let’s move forward.

Some days I skip the Old Testament passage my guide tells me is for today.

Not today.

Job 29 and 30 is Job’s defense, his argument with God. I suppose you might say it’s sad.

But, it’s honest.

Job is recalling his standing amongst others, the way people responded to his walking by, the commitments he made to others and followed through. Maybe you’ve been in a similar place. Yesterday, God positioned me with a woman of faith, we caught up and she assured me she’d sensed some recent changes had been uneasy.

We were in agreement, God grows us up in those seasons, helps us not fight for our reputations, to sit in silence and let Him lead.

While I’d never compare my life to Job’s, I learn something new each time I turn to his book. Today, it wasn’t the inventory of all his good he reminds God of in these chapters. It was to me a couple of verses I think may have been his lasting peace.

His memories of the way he was with others. This cherished. What Job remembered being, doing, believing it was good.

“I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and the light of my face they did not cast down.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭29:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What a beautiful thing, to have changed the environment or lessened someone’s pain by being near.

Yes, this is enough.

More than.

My friend and I talked about the enemy yesterday too.

How revelations like the one above will try to be dulled by gossipers, questioners, disputers and even our own doubts about your heart and soul’s intentions.

We are human, we get drawn towards bitterness and hurt. We learn as we go, hard times increase our faith.

It’s the soft light of our faith that will remain in the same way it did in other former places.

God’s light is ever slow to dull.

I am so thankful for Job. He teaches me every single time. God is always good.

Always.

Always faithful as we endure for the sake of His plans not our own.

Linking up with other FMF bloggers on the prompt of BACK

Five Minute Friday

#thecolorsofmybible #butforhisgrace #faithful19

Mystery and Secret

One translation calls it a secret and the other a mystery.

Both talk about glory.

It happened again.

I woke with words from a verse. It’ll either be a verse or some lyrics and it happens quite often.

I’m listening to “Remember God” by Annie F. Downs now.

She writes of a desperate time in her life. One morning she woke with lyrics. It was significant for her.

I see.

I like her conclusion as to the reason, she says it must be because her mind is at rest when she’s sleeping and her soul can contribute to the conversation.

She didn’t say it just like that but, I see.

I’m such an imperfect follower of Jesus and yet, I’m still so very called to listen.

It’s the following that brings me words and lyrics.

Today’s?

“Christ in me, the hope of glory”

I thought about it, the minimization of this truth that I do.

Christ in me.

Must’ve been from talking with my cousin about how we want to live and be seen and known in our living by others who see.

See the peaceable of me, just see it, not needing any telling.

Just showing.

Like it truly is a secret or a mystery, the gradual change in the joy on my face, the ease in conversation, the letting be and letting go what are not matters that are to matter to me.

Glory, I longed to know what it is that I’m aching for, leaning towards, committed to and convinced of.

Of all the synonymous words,

I’ll stick with splendor.

I’ll keep my eyes peeled for the splendor that says to me,

There are beautiful things waiting with your name on them. This is hope, mysterious believing in splendor to come.

The tiny roses are blooming again even after being clearly overly pruned.

Oddly, the thorns are minimal and ones that are appearing are cushioned by tender green.

Little baby teacup like flowers are showing up amongst the leaves turning darker colors.

As if to say.

There are seasons even in the midst of a season, there are plot twists and mysterious yet to be seen glories.

The thing you’re waiting for, your assurance of ordering your days is taking its bittersweet time in arrival.

You just feel so scattered, you keep saying.

In the process, you see a settling, you sense a bit more comfort in the not always knowing.

And you know why your reply has been on repeat in various conversations related to your transition.

God is growing me in this season.

And you know for sure there’s no visible evidence and you know that’s okay.

It is true, you are growing.

There’s no need for notice or big “to do” over you.

What matters is the soul of you, the shift of your spirit, the incremental transition to the you known by God.

To peacable you, peaceful and at peace you.

Oh, I know it will happen again, likely tomorrow.

My first thought groggy but awake.

It will be of God.

Either song or scripture.

“And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.”

‭‭Colossians 1:27 NLT

And I’ll chase it again, want to own it.

I’ll chase down that glory and I’ll say thank you Jesus for your persistence in chasing down my soul, wearing that thorny crown, causing me to wonder, leading me to follow.

Thank you for the secret, the mysterious hope of you.

Encumbrances

I like words that make you feel their meaning, words like “encumbrance”.

Words that cause pause, make you want to be sure you honor their meaning.

I told my husband what to say to the puppy and how. “Good Boy” or “No”.

Same tone I told him.

“Don’t make him cower.”

“Cower?” He paused and then understood.

I like words. That’s why I like that he calls me an enigma. It’s descriptive, a little mysterious.

Me.

I landed in the word encumbrance in devotion this morning. Accurate and timely in a time I find myself intentionally less burdened and more aware of useless stories of shame.

When I read encumbrance, I can almost see myself bent over and trying to trudge on exhausted and hopeless with my carried way too long bag full of bad choices and less than certain trust.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Where I walk has lots of hills and turns and the steps back home are up a final steep hill. I push myself til I’m done, sometimes try to jog it. Rarely do I just ease back home. I want to finish strong, get all the benefits of the exercise.

I like the message it teaches me, yeah you made it back home, you finished today’s walk; but, your walk has only just begun and so the steep hills and the struggle causing curves, keep taking them, they are good. They are teaching you to endure and to throw off the heavy holding you back things…the thoughts that say oh, it doesn’t make a difference anyway and the physical choices that make you not fit, lazy and unable, body and soul.

God wants us to be able to keep climbing higher, he knows we gotta be lighter, we gotta let go of our encumbrances, our heavy loads.

Less us, more Him. Less heavy junk like shame and worry and more freedom from constant prayer and trust. He wants endurance from us, finished races and joyful victories are what He purposed us to see.

#finishwell #thecolorsofmybible #quietconfidenceartandword