A Great Affection

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, grace, kindness, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing
It is My Story

Twice I saw the man with the cross. Once on the southern part of town, the busy places, the reckless and impatient drivers, the scurrying about grocery shoppers in the days before Easter Sunday.

Then again downtown, on the northern side, blocks from the pretty shops, the sidewalk strollers, he was at an intersection.

The first time, he walked with the wooden cross, a display of his allegiance. He carried the beams joined together and he’d decorated the center with Easter colored florals. I seem to remember he himself was dressed in a jacket and was intentionally put together in a way that seemed to be his best.

At an intersection, two days later, he stood next to a bicycle. The bike, the big cross and this man.

I’d never seen him before.

I waited at the light and glanced to my left. Waiting as well to cross was a man in shorts, unshaven and gazing down at his work-boot clad feet, a faded backpack slipping down from his shoulder.

I didn’t recognize him either. In my years of homeless work I’d seen many like these two, just not them. I thought of their condition, I assumed mental illness and addiction.

I woke with regret over that supposed reason for their condition, their behavior and decision.

I drove downtown and across town yesterday hoping to see one or both.

I didn’t.

The Book of Mark’s introduction in the back of my Bible tells me that the writer is possibly anonymous, theological experts say he wrote his gospel based on Peter’s teaching. I love the tone in Mark’s words. I’m certain I would have been fixed on the words of Peter preaching too.

I read Mark’s description of John the Baptist and I immediately thought of the man on the bike with the flower adorned cross.

“Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.”Mark‬ ‭1:6-7 ESV‬‬

John the Baptist, the son of Elizabeth, the unborn child who was moved by the presence of Jesus while in his mother’s womb.

It was his purpose to go first and then point to the one others like me should follow.

Maybe the man with the cross and the man crossing the intersection began a conversation as I drove home.

Maybe the assumed “crazy” countenance of the one honoring Jesus that day led to questions and then to answers.

Maybe the one I assumed would speak of Jesus was all wrong, maybe the man without the cross was the giver.

Maybe the man worn and weary, walking alone from somewhere had a story to tell.

Maybe the two shared their affection for Jesus.

Andrew Peterson has a voice of comfort, a call to consider love and understanding in most of his songs. Honestly, he beckons us to understand ourselves and then better understand others.

This song, this morning beckons me to consider the ways I don’t understand Jesus’ love for me and then to decide it’s not for me to understand completely, only to accept and believe it.

“And even in the days when I was young
There seemed to be a song beyond the silence
The feeling in my bones was much too strong
To just deny it. I can’t deny this. I’ve been seized by the power of a great affection
Seized by the power of a great affection.” Andrew Peterson

I took time to listen this morning, the song Pandora plays for me often. I remembered telling my first real boss that I chose to work in careers that helped others because of a little girl decision. I remembered being certain that I understood the burdens of other children and as a little girl, I knew I’d be called to help them.

I had no idea back then, that was Jesus calling me tenderly towards today, the notice of other tender hearts, the prayers for people as I see them on the street or downcast in the grocery aisle. The sharing of a book filled with birds for children that closes with the assurance of Jesus.

Not just for children.

I hadn’t thought of that shy little girl that I was for a very long time until I listened.

Listen here: The Power of a Great Affection

Days ago, a conversation sparked a reply from someone. I can’t even recall the reason, only the confident answer.

“That’s not my J-man.”

Some might find that irreverent, casual, or cocky.

Like the man walking the streets of my town bent by his cross, me comforted by a song that brings peace, Jesus is a personal Savior.

We call to him and he answers, answers to even “J-man” I believe.

He loves us just that way.

Personally.

Secretly, He knows us intensely and individually.

Loves us with a great affection.

It has no end.

I pray you know this great affection, that His story becomes yours too.

Continue and believe.

Sunday Words

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, hope, love, memoir, Peace, rest, Salvation, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

The following is an essay submitted for consideration. It was not accepted. I, because I am me, decide it was too vulnerable, not uplifting enough, grammatically errant or biblically inaccurate. Or, maybe it was meant to be here, maybe rather than trash it from my desktop, someone may feel a little resonance with these not chosen words.

Continue and Believe

Sunday morning woke me with new content for my story God has been editing. The message, that His thoughts of me are far more important than my own. Recent years of angst over when things will be better again led me to define my emotion and it presented itself as dismay. I searched the dictionary for its definition, and I sat in my morning spot for a minute, both enlightened and ashamed. The meaning of dismay is “a loss of hope”. The accuracy shook me and then I sat and wrote a note to myself, recording the clarity and truth that this certainly did not define me nor describe my present life. I thanked God for the timeliness of the morning message.

I hoped this time I’d believe it past noon.

Timely, because I found my thoughts overtaking me again, revisiting trauma of childhood and of longing to understand. I told myself a lie one morning, prompted by the silliest of reasons. I needed a new printer, some socks and we needed oranges. I stood in the checkout line and gazed into the buggy. I am an artist and I needed the color printer; the other items were trivial. The line was long, forlorn faces glancing my way and I glanced again into the cart. I turned and abandoned the cart in the women’s department, and I walked away. I told myself I hadn’t asked my husband; I should do that before buying.

I left the store and pulled through and got myself the biggest cheeseburger I could and devoured it. I drove clouded by sadness and I allowed my belief to speak. I had left the shopping cart and walked away because I believed,

“You don’t deserve it.” and I let that lie the enemy planted linger for several days. I ached to erase the conclusion that began as a little girl who made certain not to bother her parents and led to a teenager who excluded herself from all possibilities and an adult woman who settled for abusive relationships because, “you don’t deserve a good man.” I found myself step into the foray of a fight to never win the battle against my past and I hated it although it felt so very true. After all the years, I figured out what held me back, the belief that I don’t deserve good.

I am letting the revelation change me now with God’s help.

Not long after the Sunday trip, one miserable evening I drove home from another shopping trip meant to comfort. The heaviness lingered like the thick grey clouds about to erupt into a storm. I paused. I asked myself,

“What does God say you deserve?”

Grace, mercy, love, freedom, peace.

Grace.

What a beautiful question, a breakthrough began! God woke me with new hope the next morning and I woke with the words to a hymn about the name of Jesus being written on my heart, the hope of earth and joy of heaven.

I made note of this day in my journal, listed the things I had been wrongly believing:

You didn’t deserve love as a child, didn’t deserve relationships that didn’t include abuse, don’t deserve now to be finally, all God designed you for. I realized the burdens I carried daily were never meant to be achingly carried alone. I deserve the help of Jesus walking in tandem with me and my woes.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15: 4-5 ESV

I sensed Jesus telling me to stop walking all alone, to believe in possibility again. However, to understand I will always strive when I try to be His idea of me on my own. I decided I deserve hope. I deserve joy.

I deserve peace.

Peace, in spite of cultural concerns, fears over our world’s future, anxiety over illness all around me and another that’s heavy, guilt over your own wellness when so many are suffering.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”Matthew 11:29 ESV

Sunday woke me with a word. I lingered in a state of rest I hadn’t experienced in weeks, the sheets soft and the weight of the covers safe, I allowed the thought to sing,

“The mind at rest is peace, the mind at peace is rest.”

I moved through the morning with coffee in hand towards my morning spot. Using my Bible app, I searched and hoped to find the words to make even stronger God’s message to me about being at peace. Was this scripture or just a thought? Either way I knew it was God continuing to connect things for me, like a seamstress following a pattern, scissors cutting away the unnecessary, God is creating a new outfit for me.

The garment he sees me wearing is one that is light and airy, allows the freedom of His love to move through me. My new garment is a pleasure to wear, unrestricted and quiet in color, a confident statement.

This is God’s design for us, a life of rest and peace.

I wonder what your waking thoughts are. I’ve begun to see them as a gift of God’s presence to set the tone of my day. Admittedly, my afternoons are often cluttered. My evening time is either a deep breath to welcome an indulgence of something that comforts or an endeavor to finish a painting or other endeavor I started. Just as I believe I do not deserve good, I often succumb to another lie, the one that tells me at sixty years old, it is too late. 

To allow quiet to come is to allow peace. To recognize the constant plot of the enemy to hijack our thoughts is simply smart.

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. Proverbs 14:30

My Father knows I compare myself to others. He knows this has long been a stronghold of a little girl who grew up poor and afraid and became a woman who compares herself to others in an attempt to dispel the lie that says it will not happen because you don’t deserve it. I now recognize this as untrue.

New ways of thinking are ours to embrace. I hope you will consider when asking yourself what God desires for you, what it is that Your Father has decided you deserve.

Along with redemption, it is love. It is freedom, it is peace.

I treasure my morning meetings. May you find time, sense the Spirit of God in and with you and be renewed as you listen and begin to think in new ways.

May we all linger here a little longer.

May you discover the big lies you’ve told yourself are true of you and may you believe only what is true, only what God says of you.

May you and I continue to believe.

Once More

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, love, Peace, Redemption, rest, Vulnerability

I wear a T-shirt quite often, lots of times under a sweatshirt. Soft in color and fabric, across the chest are the words, “known and loved”. Wearing it feels like my little secret, the one thing I want to remember once more.

Known by God

Once my life was different than it is today. Once there were reasons to fear. Now, there are reasons to embrace not being afraid.

The woman caught in adultery found herself on display, a crowd had shown up to see her stoning. She waited. She knew the law of Moses. She anticipated the punishment.

The men invited Jesus into the discussion, into the abuse. He invited them to consider their own wrongs and sins of a sexual nature.

Telling the group, the one of you who’s never committed such acts, you can go first, I give you permission to commence the stone throwing.

Jesus waited. He wrote in the sand as the tension must have surely risen and the onlookers waited to see which among these men was perfect.

Jesus knew.

“And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The men turned and walked away, maybe the crowd dispersed. Jesus asked the woman if she realized what had just happened.

Her sin of adultery was known and yet, she escaped death by stoning.

He made sure she understood that she was known and loved, not known and condemned.

Once my life was different. Now I am known and loved.

She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
‭‭John‬ ‭8:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Walk in the way of forgiveness. Know your heart in light of mercy. Who we are now matters more than who we once were.

Linking up with others prompted by the word “once”.

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Once

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.

Love, Said the Sky

Abuse Survivor, birds, Christmas, confidence, contentment, Faith, family, freedom, memoir, mercy, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“We will enhance your beauty, encircling you with our golden reins of love. You will be marked with our redeeming grace.”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭1:11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Pink Embrace

I returned to a book in the Bible yesterday, read all eight chapters of the odd one, the complex one I avoided, the one that confused and confuses, the one that felt oddly sexual and therefore, made me feel dirty, caused me to withdraw, decide it didn’t belong.

The timing of the reading was brought on by something unintentional. I’d been scurrying around, doing busy Christmas things, avoiding the onslaught of bad news and stuffing down my frustration over Christmas not being the way it should.

For no real reason I began to wonder how many of us really believe God loves us, not in an occasional way when a song makes it seem so or in the touch of a loved one, the smile of a baby, the surprise of a special gift?

My sister in law gave me a present wrapped in thick paper sprinkled with holly berries. We weren’t supposed to exchange I told her, just the crazy “white elephant” thing, that was the plan.

I looked across the room at her, the distance of the living room rug and she said,

“Your mama told me to get you that.” And our eyes met, both puddled and the room went silent.

Inside a box, a cream colored canister adorned with a “red bird”, a cardinal.

She added, “because of your book.”

Two days later, I’m recalling my waking thoughts. I wondered how often my thoughts of God’s thoughts lean more towards correction, self-loathing, self-condemnation and whether I believe the ugly of me more often than His love.

Whether I believe God thinks these ways of me too.

I wondered again how many of us really believe we are loved, are longed for by God.

“It is you I long for, with no veil between us!”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭1:7‬ ‭TPT‬‬

In comparing the two, how much of our thoughts are devoted to measuring up, second guessing our pasts, taking inventory of our wrongs or not yet good enoughs?

What amount of our time and thought is devoted to being embraced by God, truly believing you are loved?

That God is love.

That love fully believed will bring peace, will model, actually exude peace and strength.

The cardinal canister is on my kitchen counter with a little ceramic sparrow resting on top, resembling a knob, a daughter memory.

I’ve decided it will be a vessel for answered prayers and things God causes me to see, I’ll scribble onto strips of paper, leave them there forever as love’s legacy.

Because I didn’t think of it on Saturday, today I’m certain.

My mama knows about the book I’ve written, about to be published, called “Look at The Birds”. It is she who always told me “don’t stress”, not to worry.

Her hands and God’s made me brave, made it possible.

On Saturday, the family who travelled a couple of hours, the ones who felt safe in coming and were able, headed back home.

Me too, traveling the road from my daughter’s and buffeted by the most glorious pink aura.

No one around, country roads empty, I took my time to see clearly, God had been with us and He will continue to be.

He loves us so.

I believe and my believing will lead to peace and strength.

Now, I turn to the words of the Song of Songs, a poetic book of the Bible, an allegory written by Solomon.

“This divine parable penned by Solomon also describes the journey that every longing lover of Jesus will find as his or her very own.” Introduction, Song of Songs, Passion translation.

I find the place I read last week, the words that didn’t make me question, didn’t cause me to shut the book, confused over the passionate tone.

I’m instead, more certain of God’s extravagant love. A tear forms in my eye as I understand love.

My season is coming.

“The one I love calls to me: Arise, my dearest. Hurry, my darling. Come away with me! I have come as you have asked to draw you to my heart and lead you out. For now is the time, my beautiful one. The season has changed, the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone. The rains have soaked the earth”
‭‭Song of Songs‬ ‭2:10-11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Closer every moment to victorious.

The bondage of winter will end.

Continue and believe.

Believing or Not

Advent, Angels, Art, Christmas, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, grace, heaven, Holy Spirit, hope, mercy, Peace, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder, writing
“Nativity’s Child”

I sat with one last piece of watercolor paper in the pad, a pencil sketch of a woman’s face I had started was faintly there, not completely erased.

I added oval shapes of angel faces, a few more realistic and scattered to give an idea of angels all over the page, floating above the baby Jesus with his mother, Mary in the corner.

I’d had a moment earlier when a friend wrote about the “multitude” of angels and I couldn’t stop myself from the thought

Could it be? It seems so unbelievable, there are angels, they are real and as much as I prefer not to borrow a song’s lyrics, “there are angels among us.” (The band, Alabama)

And now I’m inspired again. It’s just that simple, no it is splendid, this new fervor.

“The Multitude”

My beliefs in such things mysterious to me are easy to hold as hope and not as reality.

Someone used the word “resplendent” in a message contrasting their feelings and faith as tender and yet, resplendent.

What a beautiful word, an adjective meaning brilliant, shining, impressive or magnificent.

I again thought of that unbelievable night, the night that Jesus was born.

I am thinking now of its significance.

The significance of seeing and believing in a way that is so much more than a poetically written ancient story of a mysterious man born to a young virgin.

The weight of believing or not. Faith that is not fiction.

“Redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus must be considered fact, a deeply personal unwavering belief, otherwise that very gift of mercy, redemption will never be fully experienced, only vaguely hoped for.” me

So, I cradle the ceramic baby in a basket and I see it more than decoration, I see it truly, fully.

An old man in the Bible, Simeon had been waiting for the prophesied Messiah. He met Jesus with his parents and he worshipped, praised, and acknowledged.

“Lord and Master, I am your loving servant, and now I can die content, for your promise to me has been fulfilled. With my own eyes I have seen your Word, the Savior you sent into the world. Simeon cradled the baby in his arms and praised God and prophesied, saying:

He will be glory for your people Israel, and the Revelation Light for all people everywhere!”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:28-32‬ ‭TPT‬‬

An elderly woman named Anna, both had been waiting their whole lives to see the Jesus their God had promised.

“While Simeon was prophesying over Mary and Joseph and the baby, Anna walked up to them and burst forth with a great chorus of praise to God for the child. And from that day forward she told everyone in Jerusalem who was waiting for their redemption that the anticipated Messiah had come!”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭2:38‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Resplendent, the aged faces of these two must have been, like the sight on that angel and starry filled night of Jesus’s birth.

Resplendent were the colors, brilliant and vivid on another evening, the rich reds of the Son of God’s blood covered body, the darkest daytime night before the curtain was torn and God illuminated for all the reality of what occurred, a death for our sins, the reality of God’s offer of mercy. A vivid scene that must be believed and remembered.

Many doubted, many still do, honestly admitted needing proof.

“Then, looking into Thomas’ eyes, he said, “Put your finger here in the wounds of my hands. Here—put your hand into my wounded side and see for yourself. Thomas, don’t give in to your doubts any longer, just believe!”

Then the words spilled out of his heart—“You are my Lord, and you are my God!” Jesus responded, “Thomas, now that you’ve seen me, you believe. But there are those who have never seen me with their eyes but have believed in me with their hearts, and they will be blessed even more!”
‭‭John‬ ‭20:27-29‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I suppose the choice is up to us, us earthly people. We can choose to believe or not.

A life of faith only faintly evident or one fully committed, resplendent!

Thankful today for the angels, the believers, the doubters like me.

Very surely grateful for redemption, for mercy unmerited, for grace.

Thankful for words and the peace of mind, presence of the Holy Spirit gently nudging my using them.

Continue and believe. He’s not finished with you yet.

Remembered By

Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, hope, Peace, Trust, Truth, voting, Vulnerability, wisdom

Do you make mental lists of things you’d like to be remembered by? Maybe that’s just what a sixty year old person does.

It happened again. Yesterday, my friend asked if my hair color was natural. It took a minute, I realized she was asking if I had happily resigned to go grey.

My hair is grey? Again, how did I miss this? I don’t spend a whole light of time on hair or makeup to be honest.

Makes me wonder if others say to themselves, well, Lisa retired and she just let herself go or

Maybe she relaxed into being herself.

We were outdoors on this beautiful day. I met my friend and her brother to take notes and hear the love story of the couple I’d be creating art for.

Ideas were shared, preferences in size and style. Mentions of things God has me doing through art and likeminded casual conversation about the goodness of God.

My friend’s brother listened as I shared the meaning of my life verse.

“In quietness and confidence is your strength.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There was a pause and he spoke up, “I want to see your Bible.”

I thought of my Bible and smiled.

This morning I’m thinking of the weight of his wish, I’m thinking I may be remembered by the sketches in my Bible.

No better wish.

On this crisp morning, full moon later, Halloween and time change tomorrow, the shift is building, the tension mounting, the crucial critical day of Tuesday, voting.

But, I sit quietly. I open my Joy and Strength devotional to October 31. I read the ancient words from Deuteronomy.

Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee. Deuteronomy 8:2

This portion of a verse in a chapter headed “Remember the Lord your God”.

Words used by Moses as reminders of the forty years of wilderness, the humbling and then the provision of manna.

Remember God.

The chapter ends with a serious warning, timely for our day.

“And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m not qualified to argue politics. I love people and I love God. Loving God, though, is my priority, my calling, my navigation.

I understand the sound of God’s gentle warning that He gives before He needs to speak more boldly.

I will heed the warning of Moses. I will take care lest I forget the Lord my God by not keeping His commandments and his rules and statutes. (Deuteronomy 8:11)

I will remember the wilderness He pulled me from and I will treasure an unexpected hope of another who reminded me of what matters when he sweetly said, “I want to see your Bible.”

Me too, Tommy,

Me too. I want to always be able to see my Bible. Even when my eyes are squinty and my hair fully silver. I want to hold my Bible in my lap, underline the exhortations, sketch in the margin faces of women like me, women God found. Women who remember.

Continue and believe.

Believe. In quiet confidence is your strength.

Sweet Release, Truth and Tears

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, freedom, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder
Before the Morning

Jesus wept. John 11:35

The situation was dire. His friend Lazarus had died. His arrival to save him was delayed.

I am thinking of a young woman who bravely told her story of domestic violence on social media.

Photos with captions of what was happening instead of what her posed by his side and pretty face portrayed.

Photos hard to look at for long, one dark purple encircled eye balancing the other’s vacant expression and her arm marked by a bruise from grabbing.

This young woman is from the place I call home.

She is brave, was brave.

Most likely very afraid.

I fell asleep with private tears puddled near my ear. I fell asleep with the acceptance of my own truth.

A truth I’d been over and over rethinking.

Certainly, there was good.

Turning Corners

For some reason, I just don’t remember it. Surely, your years all running together could not have contained that much hurt, that much fear, that much abuse.

I breathed deeply again and tried to rewind my life in my 20’s movie. I longed to believe the trauma had simply erased the happy like they say it does the hard,

As sort of our brain’s protective role.

But, that made and makes no sense at all. Why would the brain and its memory reservoir dry up the good, deny the times of love?

Two nights ago, tears came and my soul felt sad and then gently at peace, relieved.

Yes, physical and emotional abuse by a man who began as a date is a part of my story.

Being a captive and being brainwashed into keeping it secret is a chapter in my life.

Now, even more healing will have its chance to do what it has been preparing me for, what God kept me alive to do.

Mercy Every Morning

I see the waking up slowly of me and I see the tears that were not brought on by long ago pain, rather the welling up of hope, I see the beautiful things that have already begun and will now be free to finish.

As I turned the long clay lane to my granddaughter yesterday morning, a song came.

I crept up the winding hill, turned on to the sandy path we walk and hold hands. I careened in slowly to my place on the hill.

Safely I arrived and safe I shall be.

I hope you’ll listen.

Josh Garrel’s rendition of “Farther Along” makes me happy every time.

Makes me hopeful. Makes me content in not being all knowing.

Farther Along

Father, thank you for the honesty you allow, the truth of us you slowly guide into revelations with sweet, never bitter tears. Thank you for words, for bravery even if new. Thank you for helping me continue, to continue and believe. Thank you for my present love and safety, the embrace of family.

Because of mercy, Amen

Me.

I am thinking still of the young woman and her photos, meant to share her truth and to help others. I’m thinking of her bravery and the way I still hesitate to say that I was a victim of abuse.

I think of how some days, like yesterday, I’m still ashamed and afraid to tell. And I’m grateful for days like today when I choose “publish” instead of “trash”. I choose believing there is so much good to see.

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
‭‭John‬ ‭11:40‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m linking up with Mary Geisen and others at “Tell His Story”. This time we’re in has welcomed many quiet revelations. Read here: https://marygeisen.com/are-you-using-your-time-wisely/?

The Better

Abuse Survivor, birthday, bravery, Children, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, memoir, mercy, Redemption, Salvation, Stillness, surrender, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

A deer jumped from the field onto my path and I slowed. I expected another and then, yes, a young one skirted on wobbly legs all by itself into the woods.

I thought of the season, not being a hunter or having knowledge of why they were out walking so early, feeding I assumed, preparing for something, going some set aside place or looking for seclusion.

Later, instead of the regular “walk around the block” I saw an opening. A deeply wooded path, narrow with a valley and then a slight curve that made me curious about where it might lead.

I stepped in with the baby. Very quiet, very careful to watch my feet. We looked together up towards heaven in an enchanted gaze.

The brown ground was covered in seasoned oak leaves. I moved slowly with intention and walked unafraid.

Standing still to see a pair of cardinals and hear the rustling in the branches of others, I listened.

I thought. I am sixty-and a day years old today. It’s okay.

I saw God there and I felt him see me. Thinking towards the next things because of uncertainty of where the path may take me if I choose the more wooded way at the top of the hill.

I turned back, the peaceful way called my name. I chose to take the simple route, the one I had barely begun to know.

I turned and was greeted by the view of an opening like a garden entrance, a glow of gold and green that begged me to see.

You discovered a new way today, now step back into the old path forever changed by your seeing.

The settled way, the way without accomplishment, goal or agenda.

The trusting way, the way to allow God to show me instead of anxiety’s need of always knowing, forever second guessing and harboring remorse because they did and I didn’t.

The better.

Mary, the sister of Martha chose to be settled, to choose the better in a time women were expected to be fixers of things, holders of it all together, preparers of perfectly orchestrated outcome things.

Perhaps, I may be exaggerating here. Naturally, I didn’t live in the days of the sisters who had Jesus come to dinner.

But, I have lived in days of huge expectations and pressures and I am beginning to understand, allow, most of all believe in the better.

“There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:42‬ ‭NLT‬‬

To linger longer in the places God calls me, to slow down and believe he sees me.

Late in the afternoon, I watched from the windows. The trees that were far from me reminded me of a stormy ocean tide rolling on. The rhythm of their sway and the brushing up of the trees was a dance with the wind.

Synchronicity. I had said a quiet prayer, a pause and I opened my eyes and sat still.

I sat and rested my eyes on the horizon of dark cloudless sky, the gathering of trees.

Knowing it’s impossible to stay here for long, there are many things to do.

But, for a moment, and more moments later.

I can choose the new and the better, redemption this side of heaven.