Light of Heaven

Abuse Survivor, Angels, confidence, contentment, daughters, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, heaven, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder
Certain of Heaven

I wonder if we’d talked about Heaven would I have been better at it.

There’s a memory of my pre-pubescent days that lingers, leaves a lot of questions.

Saturday morning, my older brother and I and maybe the baby brother reported for duty.

(Here’s where I note, the memories are my own, my siblings’ are sometimes different, less or more.)

But, we’d arrive at the church and there would be a little preparation, pep talk, bellowing prayer sort of meeting.

No pants for girls were allowed, only skirts or culottes. I was shy, I was uncomfortable in my female skin. I wanted to do right, be loved and accepted.

We were transported to some big parking lot of a store and we paired up or if we were bold, we approached strangers alone.

We gave out the gospel tract that may have had a ruby faded flame depicting Hell on the front or a big bold question mark, prompting us to confront others about their salvation.

I don’t recall being very good at it. I hoped somehow I was good enough.

Last week or the week before, I felt afraid again. Someone mentioned the rapture. Another wrote about being certain those around you are certain of heaven.

I felt my spirit crouching, looking for a safe corner. Fear rose up.

I thought about why.

“The faculty of memory is particularly exquisite. I think there’s a secret to why God provided it.” John Eldredge, “Get Your Life Back”

I am certain of heaven, talk of it doesn’t scare me. It was simply the Saturday school of witnessing to strangers that scared me, a subtle trauma.

I began to think of a better approach. Although we were young people, little soldiers, what if we had begun our conversations with heaven?

I envisioned us all being schooled in a circled gathering. Inquisitive ones, looking towards our teacher. I see myself captivated by the hope of heaven, inspired, uplifted, casting off my despair.

Excited and at peace simultaneously. God smiling.

What if, way back then I had been trained in hope instead of fear?

Some things may have been different. My story not as meandering to be where I am today.

“Your story matters. Your story will not be lost.” John Eldredge

Angels Near

Years ago, I bought a Bible from an estate sale. It bothered me that it had been left so long. I decided I would find the family of this woman, I was confident they’d be thrilled to be discovered.

No luck.

I’ve kept the soft worn leather Bible that belonged to a young woman who was an art teacher and became a school principal.

Treasures in her Bible are her membership card as a National Educator, her PTA card, a litany for children, a lesson plan on color, a newspaper clipping announcing her promotion and a photograph of my mama at my wedding I decided belonged here.

A Red Cross membership card

In 1939, Angela renewed her Red Cross certification. My mama was born that year, January 30th.

I’ve read all the notes Angela wrote about her journey of faith in the pages of her Bible.

“We have to open our hearts to the workings of God.” Angela

Heaven is restoration. It is no longer needing to revisit old stories. We don’t see yet; but, in heaven we will see them as God intended. God, both the author and finisher of us.

“Lest we despair, God has given us a “future and a hope” and to be quite specific, it includes the restoration of every precious day of our lives. Heaven is not a memory wipe.” John Eldredge

If I had a do over from my childhood evangelist days, I pray I’d have the courage to look another in the eye. I pray I’d have the sweetest soul penetrating eyes and that my voice wouldn’t quiver a bit.

I pray I wouldn’t be wearing culottes.

And I’d say “Hey, how are you…wanna talk about heaven?”

Today marks the year eleven since my mama went to heaven. Too soon, I’m nine years away from that age.

I’m certain she is joyous. I’m sure every pain and heartache she experienced no longer remains.

I thought of heaven in a new way yesterday. I pray I continue.

I envisioned the reunion with someone who harmed me, brought havoc and years of pain.

I saw us seeing each other and I heard myself say.

“I’m so very happy you’re here.”

Angela’s Bible

“For the Lord himself will appear with the declaration of victory, the shout of an archangel, and the trumpet blast of God. He will descend from the heavenly realm and command those who are dead in Christ to rise first. Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in clouds to have an encounter with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord. So encourage one another with these truths.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I am certain of heaven. I believe in the rapture because I believe the pain and redemption of Job, of Paul, of the woman caught in adultery, the short man who stole from others, the flooding of the earth and the obedience of Noah, and the gracious decision of God to make heaven possible by giving His Son as a sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.

So, I believe in the rapture. Believe in Jesus. I am anticipating heaven.

I’m aware of the angels today, Angela and Bette. I see them celebrating my choice to see hope and no longer despair.

Wanna talk about heaven with me?

It would be great joy. I want to know you’ll be there too.

Promises Fulfilled

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

“Then Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith in me has given you life. Now you may leave and walk in the ways of peace.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Bursting Forth

I cried twice yesterday morning. Both times I welcomed the soft tears, both times considered them a sweet acknowledgement of God.

Alone on a dark morning, just before my set destination, I turned off the podcast and tapped “FM” to listen to “Evidence” by Josh Baldwin.

https://youtu.be/Q6jD7N1HvbI

The line I love?

“I see your promises in fulfillment”

I sat alone in the silent house and prayed along with the new meditation on the “Pause” app, the guided prayer I’ve tapped in to about 600 minutes of based on the book I’m now in my second reading of, “Get Your Life Back” by John Eldredge

Two times I welcomed tears before my day had hardly begun. I felt better because of them.

The day was full. It was good and late last night I took mental inventory of it all, all of the promises fulfilled and the ones sure of fulfillment.

My granddaughter and I visited our County library, a first for her. We had the big open room with art on the wall and every other space books on shelves. We settled with a few and then she’d excitedly go for more.

An older lady came in, found a few for herself, smiled at the baby and said “Precious” and the baby lifted her little hand and said “Hey”.

Next on the agenda, a grocery pick up of needed diapers and the person who showed up at the window.

A daughter of a friend, I was happy to see her. She smiled when I told her just how powerful her voice is. I believe she only recently decided to sing. I was moved by her talent shared on social media.

Her mother had asked to purchase a 2021 calendar and then didn’t get back to me. So, I said “Hey, tell your mom to send me her address and she can just use PayPal to pay, I’ve marked them down, just $20 now.”

Then I changed my mind and told her to open the back of my car and just grab one, tell your mother it’s a gift.

She smiled and we headed to pick up our Chick Fil A, the baby still content, taking it all in.

All morning I’d been calling my friend’s pregnancy care center, no answer and I’d hoped to drop off a donation. Oh well.

With our lunch and after lunch plans, we headed for home; but, on the way saw the cars outside Life Choices and decided now they’re here.

In the parking lot, a gentleman turned from the door, confused I guess as to why they weren’t open. I lowered my passenger window and asked.

His eyes met mine, a similar blue with a little more sparkle. He introduced himself as a retired pastor and a friend of the Director and I smiled and said “Me too, I was hoping to drop off a donation.”

I asked if he had someone in his family who might like a calendar. Told him I had lots left over, I guess this year wasn’t the year for calendars and my donation is what I have left of them.

I didn’t tell him what I’d decided, the calendars hadn’t done very well because I was wrong, I wasn’t good enough.

He took a calendar for his adult daughter who had to move back home along with her baby as I explained to him the inspiration for the illustrations.

He offered to pay for it. I said no thanks and we talked a little more about art and the children’s book about to be available. I gave him the big stack of calendars and he assured me he’d deliver them.

His presence of peace for my granddaughter and I was evident as he offered and I accepted his offer to pray.

Last night, I settled down and recalled the day. A thought came, God’s presence was evident. I told myself, remember the times of today, these are the places you should be focused…making art, writing about Jesus, talking about it with others.

Front Porch Feathers

I thought of the calendars and how they weren’t successful. I remembered my angst over getting it wrong, the text on the back cover. I’d written a little note telling those who bought the calendar why I loved the passage about the alabaster vase. I referred to the woman who showered her affection on Jesus as immoral and later, for some reason, I decided you were wrong to say that, you’re not a biblical scholar and what if you assumed she was immoral, you just wanted her to be relatable, took liberties with her story to sell your calendar.

My thoughts went back to the God who is critical, not comforting, the one who points out wrong until you’re right enough for grace.

While the baby napped, I read the passage for the day, Luke 7.

The recording by Luke of the woman with the alabaster vase is here and I read from the Passion translation, a Bible I only recently purchased. The words are more vivid, descriptive, different.

Here I am on Wednesday after very good restful sleeping.

The amaryllis bulb I bought as a gift for myself is rich in color, leaning slightly towards the window and I wonder if I sat here all day, would I witness its bloom?

Instead, I’ll conquer a few things peacefully today without hurry. I’ll tackle the tasks that seemed made no difference anyway.

My Tuesday closed with “This Is Us”, the most beautiful depiction of God restoring broken hearts and long held hard sorrow I have ever seen. Tune in if you haven’t.

I’ll see again today and tomorrow the evidence of God’s goodness all over my life. I will not fear and I will not dread. I’ll not decide I’m not worth it.

I will continue and believe in the possibility of victorious days.

Peace Resolution

bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
New Year’s Eve Thought

In a year that was “novel” in so many ways that robbed our peace, being at peace was my solution, at least my constant reset.

I didn’t and don’t watch the news, I stopped scrolling when something was being proclaimed about Jesus that contradicted what God’s word said. I avoided conflict and although I shared my opinions and beliefs at times, I ended up realizing people who disagreed would counter with comments that hurt.

At some point, I decided that people who disagreed and spoke up were just trying to maintain control. I mean, in a year that meant so little control, being ticked off and being outspoken was, I suppose the one thing many people could control.

But, in conversations with others, only just one or two, I kept going back to “being at peace, so that I can be peace for others.” And I learned this was something impossible on my own.

Today, the last day of 2020, God brought it all together. Peace is accepting your present knowing God is protecting you from being damaged emotionally by revisiting your past, saving you from stepping back into it, and trusting that He knows your tomorrow, that your future is providentially good, better than you could create without Him.

So, be at peace in your present. Look for evidence in nature, happenstance and the faces of those you love that say…Jesus is here.

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank you for encouraging me this year. Be certain of one thing, the things God tells me to share here quite often astound me! Also, feel like way “too much Lisa”.

Still, someone needs peace too, otherwise God wouldn’t give me words about it.

Happy New Years Eve, be at peace.

Continue and believe.

Think less of what you didn’t accomplish, follow through to completion and more on the things that surprised you as givers of peace picked for you.

I love a vignette! Here’s the third word in the trio of “yearly words”

Victorious2021.

Makes sense although it feels mostly only like “I hope so.”

Tying up the words, “hopeful2019” and “endurance2020” with a stronger faith, one I’m cooperating with towards “victorious2021”

A victory that has no lofty goals, only peace.

Turning Towards Better

Abuse Survivor, Art, birds, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Forgiveness, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

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

Abuse Survivor, bravery, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, Homeless, hope, kindness, mercy, Prayer, Redemption, Trust

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

Abuse Survivor, birthday, bravery, confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, grace, hope, love, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

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

confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, happy, hope, Peace, praise, Vulnerability, wonder

“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

Abuse Survivor, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, Faith, family, Forgiveness, kindness, memoir, Peace, racial reconciliation, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder
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

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, coronavirus, courage, depression, doubt, fear, Forgiveness, freedom, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, rest, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder

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

Abuse Survivor, Art, contentment, courage, Forgiveness, freedom, heaven, mixed media painting, painting, Redemption, Uncategorized, Vulnerability
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