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Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

Once, I found my father’s name in the Bible. An unusual name, “Ruel”, spelled Reuel in the Bible, was my daddy’s middle name. I read of this man whose daughters were saved from danger by Moses and I felt a sort of joy.

The paternal grandmother I never knew must’ve read her Bible.

My daddy had five brothers and a sister who died as a child. Daddy was the baby. The brothers’ names were simply normal.

I’m reading the Old Testament book of I Chronicles. Chapters, thus far are verses and verses of lineage, names interspersed with sister, brother, mother, father.

Until the fourth. A boy named Jabez was named because of his mother’s pain. I suppose she must’ve told him because when he got to praying age, he embraced his name’s baggage (born in pain) and he asked God to change it.

Doesn’t seem like he blamed his mama, brothers, daddy or God.

He just asked God to bless his life.

“Jabez was more honorable than his brothers; and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!”

And God granted what he asked.”
‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭4:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Not long ago, I heard something that surprised me. I heard that forgiveness relieves the torment of trauma.

This wasn’t new. I’ve made my list and I can see evidence of this truth.

But, then I heard that we’re supposed to accept that some of the wrongs done to us were intentional.

Words, fists, cruelty and all.

Crazy, I thought. The right thing to do is to see their trauma, their pain, their unrest, their unintentionally harmful behaviors as them being damaged and “doing their best”.

No, this person said. You gotta acknowledge that they were intent on harming you when they did.

Only then is forgiveness truly forgiveness.

Maybe Jabez wondered why his mama had to name him that, it’s bad enough you tell everyone how much pain I caused you.

Did you really have to make me be reminded every time my name was spoken?

I sure would like to talk to Jabez. I’d love to hear more of his story.

I’d love to know the benefits he saw of facing his handicap and asking God directly to change it. No pouting, no dwelling on old wounds, no triggers of trauma, only a life that was full because he had the courage to say.

Yes, this is bad.

God help me turn it around.

Daughter, you are healed, no longer bound to a yoke a slavery.

Words like these are for me.

Just as they were for so many who were both confronted and comforted when it was all on the table.

All the hurt, all the harm, all the hindrances to good.

All changed for better.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”
‭‭John‬ ‭21:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Their dilemma became their deliverance.

It’s the same with me.

I pray you as well.

Just Mercy

Abuse Survivor, bravery, courage, Faith, family, Forgiveness, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, wisdom

Many years ago an itinerant preacher advised me to “just pray for mercy” and I did.

I didn’t fully understand mercy as a new single mama to my children. I did pray for it though and my life has been and is the evidence my prayers were heard.

Consider mercy.

The punishment or consequence that you actually deserve being stopped from occurring.

I think of that quiet preacher man who stopped by and the brevity of his words, his wisdom. I imagine if he’d said to me, “Well, this is a mess and I don’t know how on earth you’ll be okay, but young lady…pray for mercy, maybe, just maybe you’ll get it.”

He’d have walked away and I’d have been more hopeless.

I thank God for the unexpected visit and the simple words He gave the country preacher. Also, for the grandma and grandpa in the black station wagon who pulled in the yard every Sunday morning to take my children to the white church on the hill pastored by this quietly wise man.

“Just pray for mercy”, the gentle man said.

Today I read again about the woman who sat at Jesus’s feet, her tears falling and her hair used to wash the feet of Jesus along with expensive ointment she’d poured out for him.

Her actions were questioned.

Had she been so bold to invite herself there or was it bold determination, bravery and humble hope for better?

I remember those feelings.

Jesus told the critics, yes her sins are many and her choice, to come here uninvited is a choice I welcome. His mercy met her extravagant gesture, her known sin.

“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:47-48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Consider the mercy you’ve known, will be given again and again. Mercy, unmerited favor, good things when bad made more sense.

Mercy that sees you fully, but never says no.

Today, when you encounter someone in need of mercy, I pray that you give it and that in exchange you sense in equal measure, extravagant love!

Grace and Pages

Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, grace, kittens, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

“Let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes…”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭27:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

This morning I wrote three pages worth of notes without lifting my pen. This practice, “morning pages” is something I’d heard about and thought maybe.

I am often stubborn as a student, slow to be trained by the wisdom of others.

I’m learning.

Yesterday, the entire third page chronicled grace, the preceding two were questions of self and God.

Today, I expressed my confusion over my cat, “Georgia” suddenly and frantically obsessed with the water in my painting jars.

I tracked her movement as my pen moved swiftly blue. Committed to this morning pages practice, day two, I found a lightness in my thinking, a sweetness in allowing the freedom to write about my “just fine Georgia” cat.

She’s frantic and sneaky, moaning in her meowing to get my attention. I wonder if she knocked over the jar on my desk and drank the blue muddied water.

I continued to examine the meaning behind her behavior and transitioned to make it relatable to mine.

Unsettled seeking it seems we have in common. We have a frantic inquisitive nature and little patience with lingering question, longing for fulfillment.

I’d become apathetic about writing. Ambivalent, not just yet because I’ve not lost my love for creativity, just wondering if I’m still able.

Page three of three today asked God about delay, delay in the question I keep asking that remains unanswered.

The more I asked the question in all sorts of way, I began to feel attended to, I began to be okay with not yet knowing, instead continuing while waiting.

I settled down and ended page three wishing there were space for more.

Resting.

Pages lined with swirly words and Georgia settles. Help me to settle, God. Resting. Confident in your ability meeting my willingness.

Day 2, morning pages complete. Writing more like process than performance.

I’m learning.

A Better Fame

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, grandchildren, hope, memoir, mixed media painting, obedience, painting, Peace, rest, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

Who can you think of past or present who is famous because of their peace, the most indescribably unknown person you know?

“These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Bethesda”

I spoke with an author of three books recently. I sensed the ache in his voice as he told me about his writing after I talked about mine, the children’s book inspired by Matthew 6:26. We agreed to sell a lot of books, you must be famous, have a website with a bookoo of followers and be good at talking about yourself.

Just the conversation between us about self/book promotion was hard.

Before sunrise today, I thought of just how contradictory that seems. I’ve read lots of Christian books, some sort of trendy and insubstantial and some very resonant and worth returning to.

I thought of how we, as far as I interpret the words of Jesus, are not supposed to want to be famous.

When we say

“Make Jesus famous, not me!”

We’re supposed to be able to mean it.

And yet, an agent won’t return an email and a query goes unread because you have less than 5000 Instagram followers.

A few weeks ago, I had a skip in my step, a sense of a really cool possible art opportunity.

Time passed and it faded to “oh,well…”

I’ll reference trauma once here and that’ll be it.

If your needs went unnoticed as a child or young adult and you get well enough to try expression of your needs and talents again and nothing happens…

You decide it’s better to be invisible again.

Because invisible is what you know.

But, now this self-awareness feels less achingly deficient and more like

a better fame.

A realization of what I decided was my “treasure” was not my treasure at all.

Years ago, when I began writing, my heart set on a memoir about the possibility of hope, I was starry-eyed and optimistic and I told myself don’t be a chatty little woman who writes about Jesus.

Be authentic. Be real. Be truthful but not so truthful you hinder another’s hope.

And I thought I’d write a book about it all.

Now, I realize I may not.

Because the truth, my truth I am learning to be okay with is,

I don’t think I want to be famous. I think I’d rather be quiet.

That admission may be the kiss of death to being a published author or it may be the breath of heavenly fresh air to a weary striving soul.

Because writing, painting, being a published author are not my treasures, my peace and my peaceful sharing of my healing are. They are the treasures I hold and occasionally share in hopes of stirring curiosity over the same treasure for others.

I won’t stop writing and I won’t stop painting, often with crayon.

I’m just certain being a person who can be found by name on Amazon as an author or who has art that can be searched for and purchased has given me a taste of fame.

But never has fame made me famous, instead only made me wanting more.

Thirsty for recognition, parched for praise and aching for a dollar sign saying success next to something I made.

Eight years blogging. I suppose it’s fitting to write honestly today.

That feels like a quiet celebration.

Keep writing. It’s good to continue quietly and to believe.

Because healing is not dependent on fame, only on believing, believing like the lame man on the banks of the Bethesda.

“When Jesus saw him lying there, he knew that the man had been crippled for a long time. Jesus said to him, “Do you truly long to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there’s no way I can get healed, for I have no one to lower me into the water when the angel comes. As soon as I try to crawl to the edge of the pool, someone else jumps in ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your sleeping mat and you will walk!” Immediately he stood up—he was healed! So he rolled up his mat and walked again! Now Jesus worked this miracle on the Sabbath.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:6-9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Be well.

Possible Hope

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, Forgiveness, freedom, hope, memoir, mercy, Prayer, Salvation, surrender, Vulnerability, wonder

“He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Growing

Two passages have held my interest in August, my writing sparse because of a desperate longing to correctly understand one and to linger in the hope of the other. Plus, my brain’s been a bit fuzzy, like a dull swirling of what next.

Anyone else?

The passage about the man blind from childhood whose parents were interrogated by the Pharisees about the cause and the remedy has captivated me.

“His parents answered, “We know that this is our son and that he was born blind.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:20‬ ‭ESV

The other is the passage that contains the words to “carry your cross” used often in sermons or songs. It always intrigues me. More so now because I believe I’ve been believing it wrongly.

“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Once I heard a woman sing a song she wrote about her cross. Her voice was strong as she began and then wilted in weepiness towards the end. The lyrics told of her personal battles, her depression. These burdens she told us she had decided were her’s to carry, they were “her cross”.

I caught myself now thinking, “albatross”.

Mercy

I remember how hopeless it left me, her disclosure, and how I pondered the weight I’d be expected to lay across one shoulder for the rest of my life.

I’d be bent permanently by the burden of my traumas.

If my past was my cross I’d be like the aged and decrepit beggar on a back street barely carrying on.

Oh.

The road I often travel passes by the County jail. Men and women are leaving to walk towards town with paperwork in hand or they’re sitting at the exit, heads bent towards their laps, hoping soon their ride will be there.

I pray.

“Change their life for better, God, today.”

Last week, a young man I guessed to be in his late twenties stood on the corner waiting. He was dressed in clothes that didn’t seem to match a night spent in jail. He stood and then paced and I watched in my rear view mirror until watching was no longer possible.

I noticed something different. I sensed his deep contemplation and so I opened my hand to heaven and prayed, “Lord, let today be his turnaround day. Be near him in a new way.”

When Jesus passed the man who’d been blind from birth, the disciples asked him, whose fault is this?

Is he blind as a punishment for his wrongs or is he blind and it’s his parents’ fault?

Jesus told them no, it is because God wants others to see the possibility of hope, of healing.

“Jesus answered, “Neither. It happened to him so that you could watch him experience God’s miracle.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

And I See

Now I see.

“The healed man replied, “I have no idea what kind of man he is. All I know is that I was blind and now I can see for the first time in my life!”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:25‬ ‭TPT‬‬

And now I see, the cross I carry is not the cross of my past wrongs or wrongs done towards me. My cross is not a burdensome visible and invisible reminder of what Jesus healed me of and from.

My cross is the very cross Jesus died on, the sacrifice of surrender to His Father’s plan, the hope of eternity for all of us who would say like the blind man.

It was “the man called Jesus”. (John 9:11)

Who said , I can’t comprehend it all, I just know what I experienced and I won’t debate with anyone on how or why or if.

I’ll carry on healed and I’ll carry the cross that made possible my healing, the good shepherd’s brutal cross.

I will follow.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I most likely won’t know what happens in the lives of the prisoners who’ve been set free.

I know hope is possible.

Healing is a moment away for any and everyone. Jesus is still near and miracles are still the evidence and purpose of the cross, the cross waiting for us to carry in exchange for every weighty sin, shame or trauma.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭ESV

Continue and believe.

Pray the same prayer for others today.

Your Eyes Will Tell

Children’s Books, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, Peace, rest, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, waiting, wisdom, wonder
Mercy Every Moment

In the summer months, my husband questions my robe with pajamas.

I tell him I love it, I just like to wear it. I feel pulled together.

Before daylight, I’ve left home, left it hanging with soft pajamas on the hook.

Monday morning morning views are back. The sunrise to the right of me leads me on. I turn to see it developing, the new and glorious day.

The road towards small town has me meeting headlights and remembering a time the lights sparked caution.

Remembering today that’s better, the lights, the road, the earliness of day.

Everything an adjustment bringing acceptance.

This time last year I wrote a book I thought was for children.

It was God’s promise posed in a way of “maybe she’ll get it this way” kind of thing.

I matter to God.

You matter to God no matter what.

You’re seen, known and loved.

When I worked with women trying to decide whether to believe life was worth living and whether they could change life stealing patterns,

I’d say,

“Look in the mirror, look for more than a minute, you’ll be able to see how you’re doing.”

I’m not talking full length that helps you decide if you can walk on the beach without your shorts or whether the pants are too tight from behind, whether the dress fits good or is too matronly.

No, just the bathroom mirror.

Wash your face and gaze. Consider the condition of your soul through the look in your eyes.

You’ll see. You will know.

Look again, again and again.

Check yourself.

Are you wearing your righteousness? Are you dressed in the covenant of peace?

Your eyes will know and they will tell you so.

You’ll see restoration, you’ll be excited to keep seeing it.

Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Become friends with the morning mirror. Carry on. Remember how yesterday was different.

Your faith more certain, your chasing misplaced trust became an acceptance of it.

A robe embraced you, rested on your shoulders and covered your questions,

The robe of righteousness, the blanket of salvation.

Continue and believe.

Be faithful in your belief.

Faithfulness is God’s character and that same character is in you.

“He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Quiet About It

bravery, confidence, contentment, curiousity, Faith, family, Forgiveness, grace, memoir, Peace, rest, Salvation, Stillness, testimony, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder
Touching Life

“The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I wonder if anyone on a summer morning would pause there as well. Or just me, my eye drawn to nature, the way an old bent root is exposed through what once was the ground, now eroding to give way for the road.

For our morning walking.

We noticed the pillowy green moss covering the border and we’d never not touch it, the invitation to see new life juxtaposed with trees barren because of age.

We stopped and cupped the evidence of life in the palm of our hands, caressed the smooth earthen wall.

It was a small thing, gloriously small.

Like clouds thickly shifting, my thoughts are of the majesty of God’s hands swooping down to stir them up.

I am convinced of this actually and often.

Majesty

I’m in a group of women called “The Alabaster Girls”.

I joined this group of others I don’t personally know because I wanted to be one, one with other women who would if given the chance, pour out all I’d been saving up in my own vessel or jar and in the face of resistance, express my relationship with Jesus.

“…what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, the leader suggested members of this group share our testimony. I paused like I’ve paused many times before.

My testimony of deciding to believe in Jesus is really small, sort of private, sort of “not sure it took” because my path forward has been imperfect.

So, I typed it in the comments and I saw my salvation in the truest way.

I thanked the group’s moderator for asking me to tell the story of my salvation, the one I sometimes felt was too small.

The story of my quiet day, quiet choice and quietly steady faith.

Jesus came to me gently and I welcomed Him in, in a quiet way.

I sat alone in my home, a single mother with two children. My Sunday morning thing became watching Charles Stanley, In Touch. I decided to believe what I still believe, Jesus died for me so that I could have life. It wasn’t a whole lot of fanfare and so, many times I’ve questioned the simplicity of it…now, I know that’s the greatest gift and truth, the decision to believe in Jesus can happen anywhere and I should never discount my testimony…deciding to follow Jesus, alone on a Sunday morning with a journal in my lap. God knew me even when I was so lonely and lost and He met me the most gentle way, knowing I was afraid of “being pushed around”. Wow. I’ve never actually written this out until today. God is using you, sweet Nan Trammell Jones.

The seed was planted way back then although not always meticulously tended or consistently fertilized by choices, prayer and worship.

Quietly, quietly and persistently I have grown and in my often “quiet about it” way, the way God made me, He is using my story.

Glorious Things

I am growing and others see Jesus in me in the very way God made me.

Quietly like the persistent beauty of green moss covering the ground, the evidence of goodness, of peace, of quiet confidence in God, the earth and all things knowing Him made more glorious.

Decide to accept Jesus. You will never regret what can never be taken away.

Continue and believe.

Passion and Habit

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, mercy, Peace, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom

God keeps His promises.

I read or heard the other day, a warning, don’t let your “quiet time” just be an empty habit or a trendy phrase. I thought about my mornings, my most treasured time of all, of waking up early just to be quiet and alone with God. I’m needy in that regard. I’m needy in a lot of ways.

I need this “need thee every hour” commitment.

I returned to one verse that feels like proof of God really knowing the me I am lately. The Passion translation of the Psalms is tender, brave and honest. I grab ahold of the words, hold them close.

“You keep every promise you’ve ever made to me! Since your love for me is constant and endless, I ask you, Lord, to finish every good thing that you’ve begun in me!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭138:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I’ve long loved Psalm 139 and now I’m fixed on 138 too. Psalm 116 has a header “I’m saved.” I’ve been loving this too because most of all lately, I’m resting in the sweet reality of God’s love of me. Notice, I said “of” not for. God loves me, loves you.

“So now I live with the confidence that there is nothing in the universe with the power to separate us from God’s love. I’m convinced that his love will triumph over death, life’s troubles, fallen angels, or dark rulers in the heavens. There is nothing in our present or future circumstances that can weaken his love.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:38‬ ‭TPT‬‬

So, I’ll keep waking every morning God keeps me able. I’ll read. Not always everything and not always the same book or Bible. But, I’ll be quiet because I can’t make it on my own. I need to be reminded.

No one ever cared for me like Jesus. There’s no greater promise of unwavering love. To love others well, I need the reminder that I am loved. I need it every hour, every day,

every evening, every morning.

You are loved.

Continue and believe.

Warring for Quiet

confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, memoir, mercy, obedience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Stillness, surrender, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

Something in me longs to find a quiet old church with wooden pews and streams of sunlight in every hue laying down strips of color at my feet on old hardwood floors.

I’m listening, God.

To sit in the quiet. To listen to God.

I’m in the spot I call quiet in my home. It is very quiet, only the mockingbird mama’s protective song in the distance calling for my attention.

I woke thinking about being drawn to the wars others are warring as a distraction to what God knows needs my attention according to Him.

Yesterday, I grabbed a $5 pillow and dropped it in the cart. I sensed my daughter wondering where I’d put it. I’m not one to decorate my home with pillows adorned with trendy sayings. I think I mumbled.

I need to remember this.

See good in all things.

First on the loveseat, then between the bigger ones on the couch, then in my mama’s reupholstered chair, I centered it. It seemed too contrived, a pillow pointing out words I needed to remember, seriously silly.

So, I fluffed a pretty one woven with navy and added it as a background for my much needed words. I angled the pillow to meet my gaze from the place I sit in the evening, the place I begin my day.

The wisdom of a book of lamenting words lining up with mama’s and the embroidery threads on a pillow.

“The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.”
‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:25-26‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good comes from waiting, seeking quietly.

Listening.

Remember

Distracted by culture, conflict and confusion, it seems I have made lesser the most important things.

Grace, mercy, peace, surrender.

Attentiveness to God’s purpose for me.

Remembering the gift of redemption.

Living freely.

So that I can be a presence inviting question rather than spewing comments.

Understanding we all have wars within, we are all pulled astray by the personal battles and patterns that deter the transformation that is a witness to the light of God within.

A compelling cause for others to seek salvation.

The salvation that can never be taken from us; but, must be treasured with every breath of our body so that we don’t fall back into warring.

So that we don’t miss the glory of the quiet voice of God in the quiet places.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

May my quiet confidence in God be more evident than my constant questioning over what is not mine to understand, only be available when called to offer peace in the knowledge of my Savior.

Linking up prompted by FMF, Quiet (smile, Kate likes pillows too).

Read others here:

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2021/06/24/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-quiet/