See A Little Listening

I told myself feelings are not facts and I do believe it.

Add that little saying to all the others, Lisa Anne, over time your happy heart will override your frenzied mind.

Will cushion the knowing that’s gonna grow you, will soften the edges of you, will be a plump pillow for your head at day’s end, sweet rest for the soul.

I listen to a whole lot of stuff when I’m walking, wisdom and or lyrical voices.

I’m particular with my listening, not my favorite thing to learn from tones that are “chipper”.

Cut out the pretty words. I crave what I already know, just need a voice confirming on a firmer note.

I’m down to just a few now, podcasts that are good fits for me.

Yesterday, I silenced my phone.

I paused the voice that was the same as so many with a similar exhortation.

I already knew. I already know.

I’ve got extra blank space now. I’m not sure I’ve ever had so much room in my thoughts for things to grow.

I’m challenged to accept the void of activity. I resist the not knowing what may be next or not come at all.

I walked bored with others’ knowledge and I saw the geese behind their mama all swimming in a row.

But, first I heard them, the rhyme and rhythm of their following along.

I paused then walked on.

I turned the steep sharp corner carefully and hearing a rattling engine moved to the far edge of the high grass.

I was prepared; but, not to be startled, an old van, a bearded tank top man and a head down in the darkness passenger in his midst.

“I’m walking.” I answered when he asked if I needed a ride and then added, “I walk everyday.” wishing I hadn’t added that and hoping he didn’t hear.

He drove away.

I approached the place where the Labrador loved to sit and I heard the croak of a frog off someplace and I remembered the creek of my childhood and those simple and yet complex days.

We walked every day. We took off to our simple shady quiet place.

I turned towards home and saw the bright blooms of summer, found the hidden key, let myself in and then double locked the door.

Later, I told the neighbor, I’ll be walking a new way, find cut throughs through yards. She said okay, suggested I leave one ear without music.

I told my husband.

He listened and agreed on new ways to get to the cul de sacs, the neighborhood and finally the trail I love.

I mentally made a plan.

I expected to be afraid in my sleep, awakened by the encounter of the ones in the old tagless used and beat up van.

But I wasn’t.

I considered the possible intent of the man and I am responding accordingly, not afraid,

Just informed.

I’m changing, I’m listening. I’m learning.

Feelings do not write your stories.

Listen more to what you are seeing now.

Your story was written so very long ago by the one who knows you now and then and in all the days to come.

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:1-3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Notice the one who takes unending notice of you.

You, who God made fearfully and wonderfully well.

“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Clearing

Where are you going? Who are you becoming?

What scared you that is not so scary anymore?

Are you on the cusp of you, giving God the corner piece you held in your palm in your lap at the table, leaving your puzzle unfinished.

Were you afraid to give up the missing piece of your story because it’s been incomplete for so very long?

Being complete will be different, do you worry you won’t fit?

The unafraid puzzle of you?

Someone has trimmed the branches, removed the excess growth from the shrubbery.

The walking trail has clean borders, limbs and weeds are stacked in a corner on the curve pile.

I walk and hear the rustling, turn to see the bird.

Not like before, I’m not startled by the rustling, unable to know what was stirring in the brush.

I’d pick up my pace, oddly thinking I was being pursued and I walked as fast as I could from the source of the noise.

But, yesterday the clearing caused my turning, a small rabbit, baby bunny waiting to be seen and a trio of crows happy to have discovered a nest.

The squirrel in the undergrowth scurried up a tree, a cobalt blue butterfly fluttered past my cheek.

The elusive blue bird again made certain it had been seen.

I walked on towards the wide space grateful for the clearing.

In the evening I drove home later than I’d planned and the traffic was easy, the big trucks staying in their lanes.

I considered the wide sky, the 3/4 moon fuzzy from clouds to my left and drove straight into the place that kept me coming.

Beckoning me forward, causing me to want to call my daughter or anyone.

Have you seen this sky?

Knowing every person on earth should see it, the way God welcomes our notice.

The way He takes fear from our paths, the way He widens our walkways and calls us to see.

To see ourselves bravely and more clearly once we step into His clearing.

And continue.

Continue and believe.

“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:2‬ ‭NLT‬‬

linking up with other writers who are writing about goals.

My goal?

Faithfulness to continue on brave new paths.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/06/13/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-goal/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Ask for Awe

I’m prone to exploration of words and their meaning. I read a word and wonder,

Do I really understand this?

I read the word “awe” in a devotional about asking God for what we need.

I proceeded to search and found to be awed means to have an experience that creates a reverential fear, amazement or a word that sounds pretty to me, “wonderment”.

An observation or encounter that prompts the sound, “Ah…”.

As if awe, the experience has a sound all its own.

On Friday as I dressed for dinner with friends and dabbed a scent on my wrist, I told my husband, “I need a lighter scent.”

Then added, “You’re fortunate, you know. Most women don’t go without these kind of things.”

He grunted and added his comparable going without things like boats and such.

I made a list of things that do matter but don’t. Better clothes, better hair, new paint on our dated walls.

A dog.

Less belly fat, better teeth, more art seen and sold, the courage to finish the book, the assurance that my children are okay.

Things on the periphery of my life, details of my days.

God pulled me close, caused me to ask to be closer.

I cried then prayed.

To acknowledge, I want a God experience, an occurrence with the Holy Spirit.

This morning, I asked for awe.

I asked God to show me His glory, like Moses who turned to the bush in the desert to be met by God in reply.

Moses who then told Joshua, keep telling the people to follow, to seek the Lord, to seek to be awed.

“the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”

‭‭Numbers‬ ‭6:25-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To have their countenance changed by grander things than food and water, to be aware of God.

Maybe discontent builds desire.

Maybe grander prayers bring my awareness of the grandeur of God.

I believe it to be so.

Lord, I want to be awed by your glory. I want to be drawn to notice you and to turn, my attention captured until I linger, I turn to see you longer enough to see myself through you.

Lord, show me your glory. I ask to be awed.

Because of mercy, Amen.

The hydrangeas are bluer this year. The blooms are so abundant that my house and my daughter’s are decorated by them.

The ground must be different this year somehow, the soil’s season somehow rich and new.

May I be new as well, may my soil hardened by hardship become more broken and opened to nutrition from you.

May my life yield awesome beauty, healed and healthy because of you.

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”

‭‭Hosea‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy Sunday, ya’ll!

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.

Where You Stay

We choose where we stay.

We get back and we see.

Why did I not return sooner?

Why did I flee?

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pursued by everything others say you need, promising it will turn your door’s key to peace causing confusion, exhaustion until you return.

Return to the place that simply lets you be.

The place God says this is you.

This is yours.

The places with no parameters, expectation or restraint.

I stood in front of my new easel for three hours last night. I, thanks to the newlyweds, have a proper easel.

It stands tall to accommodate large pieces.

I painted a piece in a newly free way of layering. Colors in little prism like squares creating ideas of form and figure.

I’ll layer a little more later.

This morning I pondered the biblical idea of abiding.

Of remaining confident when there’s no reason to be sure simply because you know you are close to God.

You slow down long enough, briefly at first until you discover, I am okay, I’ve been at peace a little while now.

Of being where you are even though you can’t see clearly where you’re going.

“For we live by faith, not by sight.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭

Of starting and allowing God to lead, much like a blank canvas you approach and begin with a certain color to continue with sweet consolation.

I like what this is saying. I am content with what I’ve conveyed here.

I’m so glad I began again, taking away what was planned and letting another idea develop.

Mercy Mornings

Stripping away the too many perfect layers to leave the impression of a beauty, imperfect and spontaneous.

Yes. I cannot wait to be back there.

Abiding is simply staying in the place you feel most safe.

The place of the little corner room, soft songs about grace and love blending blue-grassy vibe with truth about staying here.

Where you belong, the place God made you for, the place of quiet confidence.

Present with God.

The place you sense most clearly that you are known, your longings have been observed by God, the place you believe you matter, you are a part of God’s story.

The morning story that reminds you, mercies are new all the time and His faithfulness has surely been great every moment.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:9

‭‭

Where do you go that causes you to wonder why your return was delayed?

Do you sit with your fingers on keys finding soft notes at first becoming clearly stronger as time passes, you and the piano, maybe a guitar or a horn?

Do you put your hands deep into the soil and seed of flora or bright vibrant leaves?

Do you allow them to linger when you realize your hands are mingling with growth, God’s glory?

Do you sit with no agenda watching the anticipated rain come in?

Linger longer in the places that mean abiding for you.

Rest for our souls, maybe long overdue.

Space enough to remember.

You are strong.

Stronger than you know.

Continue and believe.

This piece is a mixed media collage using acrylic, paper and oil pastel. It is 20 x 38. Comment if interested.

Retrospective Perspective

I can’t stop loving the little tiny yellow petals that fell easily from the sturdy lantana stem.

I don’t think lantana is meant for little jars or pretty vases.

It must be meant to spread its growth and simply keep growing in the ground in which it lives.

But, I needed bright for pale hydrangea and it wasn’t intentional to have the discarded pieces there, still it was to me so beautiful, the falling away and remaining a bloom.

If you pay attention to the answers you give to others, the words you offer in a conversation, you’ll see that these are the truths that God is revealing in you.

I am growing.

On more than a couple of occasions I’ve offered up “God is changing me. I am growing.”

June’s newsletter will be about just that: How redemption isn’t fully experienced until we believe we are worthy, until we believe our lives can change from victim to victor.

That we are certainly redeemed by our acceptance of Jesus; yet, we are still walking around in our sorrowful and afraid stances until we begin to see…life can be good for me, I can live and breathe redeemed.

Redemption becomes more than a word from a verse in your Bible that you only say you believe.

Redemption keeps growing until it brings healing.

You can subscribe here: Visit our page: https://mailchi.mp/8aace4f5e35a/redemptionseries

(Maybe you or someone you know is ready to move from sort of believing to knowing fully that life can be hopeful, forward not always focused on before.)

Maybe we have similar stories.

What will you do in June or maybe, what will June do in you?

Maybe you’ve started growing in some way and you are sort of excited over the possibility of new views of you, seeing yourself in a new way.

Maybe less striving and more sitting back to see.

Maybe it becomes easier like an all of a sudden realization of “Oh, it’s been a while since I felt my old way.”

I didn’t expect the past three months or so to teach me so much. I never expected to be so optimistic over my future with really no tangible reason.

Maybe it’s because optimism and hope are inward things.

Yes.

Paul wrote letters about how Jesus changed him. His only hope was to be as certain what he left behind changed others. His words are for change, for growth, for grace.

“May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I pray June brings continued growth as I intentionally pursue it.

May it be the same for you.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. II Thessalonians 3:18

#quietconfidenceartandword #hellojune #thecolorsofmybible

Knowing More

I am not a singer.

I mean I don’t ever sing with unleashed joy in the car or even in the shower.

I do love music and I’m fascinated by those who sing freely.

No surprise, music and lyrics just somehow seem to live in me.

Like most every single thing, songs become thoughts.

I sometimes wonder how there’s enough space for all the swimmers in my ever growing pool of deep thinking.

Seriously.

I wake with words lots of mornings, a hymn or an old Southern song…

Kinda crazy, ’cause you won’t find “The Gaithers” on my Pandora.

But, the room was cool this morning and I woke with ease and thought of

“What can I learn about myself today God, to help me see the Lisa you know?”

Then, the tune, a swaying sort of call…

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that name.

So, I rose and began my day in search of wisdom.

A mind more aware of God’s helping and of me. This I seek.

I landed in Proverbs before the second Thessalonian letter and circled back to Psalm 120.

Proverbs gave me this kernel, my interpretation of verses 5-8 of the fourth chapter.

Wisdom comes when the dust of the lesson settles.

I’m fascinated now by the Enneagram, only vaguely interested before.

Once I realized I most accurately lined up with “4” I wanted to say, oh, no more.

It was too much me, too clearly conveying my responses to life and most everything.

I wanted to abandon the idea of me, the one who looks back not forward and the one who likes to play pretend in response to hard things and therefore, just sort of fairy tale them away.

Or write tragically stories with scary ending, never a mediocre story, always unrealistically happy scenes or worst case scenarios. Reading this truth of me makes me cringe.

But, acceptance is the first step to healing I believe.

Oh, so me, bravely honest in calling myself out.

Or the one who anxiously seeks to be known and understood, the one who feels most everything in ways that make no sense to anyone else at all.

Unless, they’re a 4.

I was unhappy with the spot on “fourness” of me.

But with understanding comes the prize of a well guarded friend named wisdom.

“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:5-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Knowledge comes when we are quiet and willing seekers, open to learning more in every situation and in every day.

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭120:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Who am I to say where learning comes from?

Intelligent researchers and compelled understanders who were open to learning created a list of nine personalities, perspectives called stances.

I am open to seeing myself from their perspective because I am open to becoming a student of me.

Strange it may seem that a book about numbers could bring clarity to what I consider my calling, that the progress I’ve made towards healing might be complemented by wisdom compiled by humans.

Not really, we’re all here on earth to be helpers one of another.

Helpers towards the place our creator will most clearly be seen through the works of our minds, hands and the peaceful countenance in our eyes.

Clarity seekers.

Clarity in increments.

Helpers everywhere.

“…that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

‭‭2 Thessalonians‬ ‭1:11-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Heavenly wisdom and earthly knowledge working together to make me more of what God sees.

If you sense I’m still a little tentative in my Enneagram quest for knowledge, you’re quite right.

Still, as the prophet Isaiah taught, God places teachers everywhere to remind us that the bread of our adversity only serves to guide and teach us and that others on our road have insight we should know.

Learn every day.

Continue and believe.

Believe and continue.

Jesus, what can I learn today to be the Lisa you know?

I am open to knowing now.

To asking, calling, singing softly every day…

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there’s something about that name.”

Towards What is Yours

A life lived reluctantly is not what God has in mind for any of us.

Paul reminded me this morning in a passage that’s a paragraph with multiple underlines from a time and times before.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.

But one thing I do:

forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Beckoning me to remember who I was before when I’m disappointed in who I am now.

Reminding me it’s not at all easy, otherwise he’d not have used words like “pressing” and “strain”.

Paul’s words are true and valuable, validation for me that I’m not who I was before.

He wrote that God will let us know when we think otherwise about what is most important, the “upward” call, the movement of our motivation based on our relationship with Him.

Look up, Lisa Anne.

Look up and move forward, learning even more than what you thought was enough so far.

Learn from the pressing, the straining, the uncomfortable rub of life that is making new wine from your bitter grapes.

Continue and believe.

Continue towards the goodness that is yet to be fully known.

Secrets and Growth and Peace

I believe God is pleased that we think of Him, ponder, consider His ways.

“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭8:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬

That’s just another example of His grace.

I believe God sees our gradual growth and celebrates rather than pontificates over why on earth has it taken her so long to arrive here, why can’t she stay in this place?

I believe God is simply happy to see our return, our return to believing that He knows.

I’m certain that morning is the most optimum time for gentle instruction.

I’ve not a clue as to why I woke up this morning with the question to myself.

How are you waking, with regret or redemption?

Why, oh why must I wake with such deep considerations?

Or maybe we all do, just keep them to ourselves.

Makes good sense, your brain filters your thoughts all through the night, transfers them to the place where the finished and important product, a lesson is delivered.

Voila’! Here you go! This message is just for you! God

Are you smiling now, imagining God saying “Voila'”?

Me too.

I think sometimes I think the oddest things and then realize there is always a reason.

A secret waiting to be revealed.

To be researched, to be determined what it is exactly God wants me to know, to hold on to as my own.

Wants me to u-turn, don’t go back that way, you were progressing, see now…stay here.

Be at peace.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:33‬ ‭ ESV

Someone called this morning by accident. Her Bluetooth dialed the wrong Lisa. I knew her voice, thought Lord have mercy, did I call her and forget I did?!

But, I hadn’t and she reminded me of our relationship which led to me telling her what I’m doing now, hoping to use my grant writing skills to work with causes I believe in.

And that led to her telling me she had “chills” now because of an idea she has to strengthen the cause she is over.

We talked about it further and even longer about our faith, about how God wakes us to new opportunities every day and how none of them are accidents.

I considered her truth.

She considered mine as I shared with her my waking thought, regret or redemption, which will you choose to frame your day?

She said “Oh, that’s wise.” “Thanks”, I said and thought, thank you God for this confirmation of my next steps and direction.

Of letting some things go unattended to give my energy to what is new, even unseen, sort of brewing.

So, what is this state of mind and heart called “spiritual maturity”?

It is waking with regret less often in light of your redemption.

It is waking with the clear and attainable path towards peace.

It is recalling the stuff you felt God telling you to do afraid even if there’s fear in the room because there’s a reason you don’t know that God wants you to go, to be something He sees as necessary for others in the room.

He has us go places we don’t understand.

It is being attentive to a nudge that becomes a lengthy pause because you are still enough to become more wise, to receive either good or disappointing clarity so that your peace is not stolen and so that you grow.

That’s redemption, my friend.

Understanding what it is that is the taker of and opposing force of your peace.

Spiritual maturity is a splendid and secretly personal gift.

It is a fervent fire inside kept alive by your yearning to learn more, know more of God.

It is an acknowledgment of better days, contented minds, and restful nights because of your redemptive choice to forgo regret.

It is knowing you are still growing. It is glimpses of the secret place, the view of you through God’s eyes.

Smile.

It is not always easy, nor is it difficult at all.

The secret for me, intentional choosing which thoughts I allow to write scary, hurtful and impossible to understand stories.

“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To set my mind on the awakening things of my mornings.

Lord, help me to stay quiet enough to know which way to stay my thoughts and which way my words and work should go. Because of your redemptive mercy towards me, Amen

Magnolia Muse

Shall I attempt to paint you or no, simply rest in what you told?

Walking by with repetition and only glancing

yesterday stopping to see you

Up close.

To listen, draw near?

Sense your saying,

You are

More than enough.

Give from what is necessary,

your surrender.

Do away with what is not needed.

Sacrifice, give up the convenient empty fillers for fullness you only cautiously believe.

Empty yourself of excess.

To believe in more.

You have settled so long.

Believe now and join in

the cycle, the circle, the life lived in light of regeneration.

Bad to good, hope despite harm, trauma recalled only footnotes for mercy, references of grace.

Begin and begin again.

Like the petal cupping useful fallen carpels,

proof.

Continue.

Believe.

Continuously Believe

I’m in between assignments, never had this much time on my hands.

I have, perhaps never been so quiet, so quiet I can almost hear God’s plans.

At least more than even before, though not fully I am sure.

The spaces in my mind occupied by busy and angst are uncomfortably new.

I must fill them with something, I thought, then waited and in tiny incremental steps, did one thing knowing God will do the next.

God is always working behind the scenes.

3:45 in the afternoon yesterday and I’m found with time to fill.

I sat poolside with a book and my husband until I’d had enough and three hours still until I’d need to get ready.

I’m goin’ for a walk, I told him and struck out like I do.

Happened upon a feather and I kept it although it was grey, not white or blue, oddly it was habitual, my picking it up, not my typical “totem discovered” enthused.

My music skipped annoyingly so I walked without a beat, a solitary robin above me, lifting in a rollercoaster rhythm through the trees.

I found the camera icon and flipped my phone around only to break the cycle, the fat robin never came back into view.

As if it say, that was just for you, no documenting our time together for others required.

Okay. I see.

This morning I remembered last night’s silent prayer.

Driving home later than usual, I’m in the passenger seat and we’ve been with people and chatter and both agreed upon what my husband calls a “conversational hiatus”.

Big semi-trucks are parked in their resting places in both directions of the interstate.

Their big red lights are dim like a soft sleepy glow. He comments, they’re required to pull over, somehow their stopping to rest is kept track of.

Oh.

I lean back, close my eyes and pause.

I pray remembering the bold request earlier today and then later a subtle satisfaction that the outcome will be okay either way and what I want and asked to come sooner than later might never come at all.

I settled it with God and myself then, okay.

Another person came to mind, someone I’ve no real attachment to, only aware of the seemingly futile reply to her prayers.

Someone I love hurts for someone she loves.

I prayed in a “Why not?” way for them, asking God to intervene, intervene in a way they’ve yet to see, a way that will seal the deal for an end to their anxiety.

For real I prayed, long and it seemed ridiculously up front, for real evidence of stability.

Prayer is a response to a nudge from God, so much more than seeking results or answers.

Prayer, the kind where it seems you’re sleeping, pausing, resting, prayer that comes because you notice God with you.

With you, a peaceful presence.

Pray more I tell myself now. More often, more spontaneously, more aware of God’s nearness and when someone comes to mind.

That’s a prompt, an invitation to conversate with our loving Sovereign God.

Pause to mention the person God brought to mind, ask God to see others more than He sees you.

The bluebirds don’t linger although they come close.

The tiny sparrows perch on the rusty barbed fence. I approach and they dart on their way.

The place that grows the flowers from a newly rain soaked ground is littered with egg of baby blue.

A new bird is learning to fly, leaving behind evidence for me.

For you.

To pray sans ceremony or setting, to pray and be changed and to pray for change to come true and be seen.

To pray continuously.

Continue and believe.

“pray continually,”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV