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.

Following Well

Abuse Survivor, Art, birthday, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, hope, memoir, mercy, obedience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

This is one of those posts that needs a disclaimer: Memoir type personal plus possibly all over the place rambling, one of those that simply recording it cements the value of it all coming together.

Oh, and about aging and accepting it and not being caught up in regret.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. II Corinthians 4:16

I made a scribbled list of verses that comforted and confirmed my hopeful thoughts. I read a familiar passage, one used to reassure or comfort others after a disappointment, tragedy or just acceptance of unexpected change.

“God will make good of it.” Christians are known to say.

I cried the night before in front of my husband, not a horribly uncontrollable weeping, more a soft release. Tender, it felt.

We were catching up on things, I needed a few minutes of his attentiveness. Earlier, I pulled into the driveway and he greeted me and the only reply I gave was, “That did not go very well at all.”

He asked for an explanation. I said “later” and realized I was worn out from sharing how this unexpected thing made me feel, exhausted over trying to have another person understand my needs, my secrets, my reasons for anxiety.

Psalm 107 caused me to say softly this morning, “Wow”.

I’d found one verse and it fit and then I turned to read the chapter entirely, the one with the header in my Bible, “Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So”.

“Some wandered in the wilderness, lost and homeless.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I still have things to say, the optimism of this truth met me.

I thought of my years of wandering, most of them not a misleading of my own making, but of being caught up, trapped, lost and to this day surprised to be a survivor.

I paused to pray. I thanked God for keeping me safe, for preserving my life.

Some things have happened in these pandemic panicked days that have triggered me.

Felt similar. There are requirements of this time that remind of control, of powerful demand, of being silenced; the mask I wear as mandated shields me for my health and others yet, reminds of being held down, told not to yell.

Last month, my dental woes began. A bridge that made up for four lost from damage teeth shifted and broke from one tooth that was an anchor.

I stood up in my art room, felt the slight change and it fell into the palm of my open hand.

“Bewildered” is a word my precious cousin used to describe me as a child. At gatherings she says she remembers seeing the expression in my preteen eyes and thinking, bewildered.

I was relieved that someone had seen it.

Here I find myself, a few days from 60 and bewildered again. Having to be reminded of the blows to my face and the hard slaps on my cheek over thirty years ago. The dental surgeon displayed the elaborate 3-D images of the jawline, the place where the cheek makes a little circle when I smile, the place that is now in resting mode as I prefer not to smile due to this gap of only gum because of broken bridge that covered missing teeth.

The surgeon seemed empathic, so I felt I should give an explanation as to why due to past trauma I was not a viable candidate for dental implants.

Why someone who looks pretty okay now at one time was not.

So, I spoke of my past. Soon after, wishing I hadn’t. It was not safe to share. Not that it was taken lightly or not heard, it was not safe for me to hear my own sharing.

It reminded me of being unseen and unheard in my past and deciding to stop asking, to change my expectations.

So, that night my husband sat and I told him how I felt in the dental chair and how the trauma of my past was being reborn and fighting to be thought and overthought. Saying this to him helped.

I cried a little and then decided to change my thoughts. I decided to resist the downward plummet into always a victim.

This is transformation, this intention to be aware of my safety, to begin to see that this is what Paul meant when he wrote all things God makes good.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance and He chose them to become like His Son. Romans 8:28 NLT

I saw this often quoted verse differently. It is not that God wants me to accept that the bad things were bad and somehow I am to accept that they will be made good. It is not that we don’t have sorrow, are expected to hide our longings for our mother and father who died before seeing a grandchild. It is not that we are naive thinking a crisis that leads to pain will magically feel better, be considered a good thing.

No, this passage is about the good that comes with acceptance of the bad and to continue to thrive, to continue to move towards a likeness of Jesus, to decide not to be pulled into misery over trauma, to be intentional in your speaking to your self, “You are safe. You made it and you have so much more making. You have still more story of redemption to tell.”

You can feel it. You are being called towards God’s purpose.

The purpose? Transformation

Your body is aging, shifting, even moving towards failing. All the while your spirit is blooming like a wildflower spread!

You were lost in a sad wilderness long ago. You decided on a different path, there were helpers but you set out at first on your own. You were and remain found!

A blind beggar lingered roadside as Jesus walked by. He and the disciples had just discussed which of the twelve would be most important of all. Jesus did not entertain the conversation as they continued on, only telling them not to be surprised that the last will be first.

The blind man spoke out, shared his plight and asked for mercy. The onlookers told him to be quiet. Jesus heard him and told him to come near. He jumped up from the dirt and went straight to Jesus. Jesus asked him how he could help and the man, blind Bartimaeus told him he wanted to see.

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road. Mark 10:49-51 NIV

There are many stories of healing in the Bible with similar endings, people in need are made well. People who’ve been harmed are healed. People who have been wronged or been wrong receive mercy.

Their faith, our faith has healed us.

And so they move forward in that very faith as followers, not backward glancers filled with regret or question of why and how and what was that sorrow’s purpose anyway?

He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Psalm 107:14 ESV

Shortly, I will be back in the dental chair. I will begin the process to choose a partial (oh, that word!) over implants and I will accept what seems, feels and sounds so bad is best for me, is better. Better, than I expected.

I am safe. I am well.

I am still following. Continuing and believing.

Made good.

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.

Tell Me The Story

Abuse Survivor, bravery, courage, doubt, Faith, fear, freedom, grace, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

After 45 minutes listening to an interview with someone discussing the idea of “faith over fear” and her testimony, I encountered real fear.

The interviewee shared of loss due to cancer, her mother’s death and her own diagnosis from which she recovered.

She recalled those fears and the interviewer asked about her testimony. She laughed and shared her stable faith driven upbringing and the path towards believing in Jesus that seemed, some might say, a boring story.

I silenced the podcast as I took the main road when approaching the hill, a sedan cut it close at the curve and forced me to walk in the overgrown ditch.

I thought little of it, said to myself you shouldn’t be on the pavement, this is not a quiet road.

I walked on as the high weeds brushed above my ankles. Tired and almost home, I looked down to see my shirt wet with sweat and saw the waiting snake. The snake with the markings my daddy taught me, the snake with the metallic like tail raised up in the weeds. The snake with its eye focused on crossing the road.

I was scared.

And then I wasn’t.

I had not been struck by the car, the snake did not turn and strike me.

Later, I wrote my June Newsletter to include what I’m learning about fear and its part in my story. Read and if you’d like, subscribe here.

https://mailchi.mp/f57cb8777573/praying-fear-away

More than focused on what could have happened, I thought of how I’d been protected. I remembered what I was learning about fear in relation to faith.

This is progress for me. My husband had been so nonchalant, “But, you didn’t step on the snake, you are okay.”

I agreed to agree with him. I let the fear go.

Fear of everything has always been a theme in my story. Fear of catastrophe, of rejection by those I love, of illness. But, my story of redemption has no place for that old chapter, those old characters.

Which story will I choose?

Which ending?

Like being in the middle of a thick rope in a tug of war game, fear is strong with the brute force to pull me back. Redemption is a more strategically played strength, the pull more steady with necessary breaks and balance leads to a sustainable victory.

Redemption will win because it won’t wear itself out aggressively like fear that’s so angry, so unpredictable, so mean and devilish.

Fear is an emotion. Faith is a committed choice.

I woke this morning wondering why more of us aren’t telling our redemption stories, our testimonies. The timing is good. Our fear fighting redemption story may lessen another’s fear. The time is opportune for sharers and for listeners. Dare I say, our stories of Jesus are not only more important but more sustaining than yet another commentary on the virus or the heartache of societal unrest.

Fear is a distraction, these times are skilled at using it.

Dare I say that? I suppose I should be afraid. My faith says don’t be.

“Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious, sweetest that I’ve ever heard.” an old hymn

The woman in the podcast interview was raised in church, began to believe at church camp around age 11.

Me, at age 11 is a story I’d love to forget. My Jesus story, my testimony began when an elderly pastor told me, a new single mama, that all I had to do was ask for mercy, Jesus died for me and grace and forgiveness is a gift called salvation.

It was mine for the asking.

So, I asked and received.

I’ve never doubted God’s love for me through Jesus, only doubted I’d ever simply believe I deserve it. This is the never withdrawing pursuit of grace. I am redeemed because of it. God doesn’t see my struggle to believe, He simply sees my continued pursuit of a deeper belief and loving communion with Him.

I sent the newsletter last night never mentioning the reckless car or the rattlesnake. I could hardly believe it! A day spent focused on faith and choosing to fight off fear was ended with a walk at dusk and tangible fear.

But, I was kept safe. I am safe. I am here to tell the story of it.

More redemption stories must be mine to share.

Continue and believe.

.”.