Morning Praise and Mourning

Abuse Survivor, bravery, courage, Faith, grief, hope, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, wisdom

…that my glory may sing your praise. Psalm 30:12

I paused here.

The psalmist, David, is speaking of himself when he speaks of glory. Our stories of overcoming are what contributes to our glory? I’m on day two of contemplating this.

Monday Morning

Last week I used Romans 8:28 as a password then quickly thought oh, you better not do that, you’ll invite trouble or sorrow to solidify the verse…all things work together for good for His glory.

This errant thinking is the thinking of one who sometimes forgets grace, healing, forgiveness and it is a ploy of the enemy of my soul.

I’m remembering now, a helpful self-thought.

Jesus would never talk to you this way, would never stir such fearful, worrisome, dreadful emotions. Be certain.

Twice in the past few days, my words have been few. I typed and deleted, moved pen from the paper, decided a little was enough.

A card with the words “Psalm 23” printed and underneath, “love, Lisa”.

I woke at 2:48 on Sunday night, the mystery of 3:00 a.m. again. My chest was heavy, but sorrowful, not startled.

There was no rapid beat, only a noticeable bearing down.

I was still as I acknowledged all the recent conversations that God was sifting in my sleep, helping me make sense and accept His peace.

I told a friend about a conversation with someone in fresh grief. They asked “How are they?”

I replied, “Well, when I left, I paused in my car, looked forward and saw that my face was lined black with mascara.”

Then I told them I don’t cry easily. This surprised my friends.

On Monday, I searched for a favorite Psalm, one I’d read aloud some years ago, tears not stopping the verses’ promised song, Psalm 30, a psalm of David.

Many are mourning. I’m only an observer touched by the sorrow of others.

I know the promise is true, the one that promises dancing from mourning.

I know it’s a long journey, one of patience with self because of our patient and loving God.

I know that healing comes. Quite often, I require a reminder.

Psalm 30 is that.

For me, maybe you.

“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me. O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

O Lord, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit. Sing praises to the Lord, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name. For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.” By your favor, O Lord, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed. To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭30:1-12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A second friend whose father was a friend and a father figure to me spoke of her grief in this season. I’m no expert on grief, I assure you.

But, she said what felt like truth and comfort and evidence of her patience with herself in her journey. I may not quote her exactly, just the gist of it.

Grief never goes away, our lives just become more full around its center.

Be easy on yourself. God surely is.

Taken Note Of

Children, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, family, hope, Peace, Prayer, rest, wisdom, wonder

I opened the tattered devotional to the pages marked Day 4 and found the list in faded blue ink. There are names of people here who aren’t here any longer.

The name of my pastor back then, other family, friends and I think a friend of my son from his middle school years, Will.

There’s the name of the little boy, Noah who was pretending to drive and put the SUV into reverse. He ran over and killed his mama.

There’s the prayer of surrender to and acceptance of outcomes. There is the word “thanks” for my home and husband.

There is the tender request for my children still children back then, I asked God to give them joy.

That prayer is recorded. My request is unending, no expiration.

Joy for them, joy unexpected.

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭56:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Recalling my restlessness last night I decide if there was something fearful to have play out in a series of dreams like short films, last night I dreamt an entire season.

No cause known, nothing unsettled, I decide it’s because I gave my mind no rest yesterday. I was on overdrive towards organizing all the tasks to come.

My second evening of adding running to walking, I came home to discover we had no hot water. So, no shower to help unravel the day.

All of this hurried unexpectedness led to no rest.

All is well. I am fully known and loved.

I shall move now into Thursday.

Remembering God.

He steadies me. I don’t have to take control.

The way ahead is safe as are my thoughts, questions and prayers.

Safe and sound.

Settled already.

“Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:25-26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A Calendar

bravery, confidence, Faith, hope, Prayer, rest, wisdom

The 2022 calendar started with a sketch and then replies to the question, God is…?

This led to the thought of the characteristics of a loving and sovereign God, a Father who instills us with His characteristics.

I have an artist website in addition to this blog.

The calendar can be purchased here.

I love it.

I have no other way to express this.

The sketches of thoughtful women remembering God and remembering their strength because of His.

It’s a work of my heart first, then my hands.

He keeps His promises. In a time of never or not knowing, I hope you know

God knows.

Jesus Beside Us

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, hope, Peace, Prayer, Trust, Vulnerability
With Us

Today’s prompt, 31 days of writing is “equip”.

I think of my education, my experiences and opportunities I pursued bravely or with naivety. I think of little expressions I use to keep myself grounded and at the same time a risk taker. Scripture like all things are possible with God often lead me to think any and everything is worth trying.

But, that leads to half-heartedness or worse, failure because of a lack of knowledge.

Then the decision to stay on the path set for me, the one I know.

Today, I’ll paint thick crosses gilded gold on small canvases to be Christmas ornaments.

I thought of venturing into something new, but crosses are what I know, what I do.

Did I sense God saying “stay simple, Lisa”? Yes, I did. Some call that wisdom, gut feeling, intuition.

I know it’s His Spirit.

A favorite bit of advice I give to friends and family in a new challenge, a scary opportunity for which they doubt their ability is this.

Write “trust” on the place in your palm just below the base of your thumb. Imagine holding hands with Jesus. Imagine his thumb wrapped gently in a loving handhold. Imagine Him beside you.

Trust what you can’t physically feel. Trust that whatever your assignment, God will equip you. Trust that whatever burden or hardship you are carrying, the load is easier when shared.

“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-30‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lord, help us to remember today that it is you who equips us for life. Help us quietly seek you in private and personal ways so that we can imagine the friendship of you, our helper, our strong defender and guide.

What’s Your Calling?

Art, bravery, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

“Follow on, and thou shalt never lose track of that light.” Edward B. Pusey, Joy and Strength

Art at Dusk

I sort of remember the first time I told myself that painting and writing are “my calling”. Several years later, I still question the label that leads to an assessment of whether my work represents such a strong word.

Once I called it my “treasure”, felt that was better. A “gift” may be even easier to accept as the description of what’s more than hobby but less than calling.

“Allow God to cultivate your calling.” Hosanna Wong

I heard these words while walking, having told myself to take a break from podcasts, that I once again had way too many voices in my ear telling me how to finally be at peace with me.

I am prone to quitting a whole thing rather than being patiently selective, giving up rather than testing the waters.

Not finishing things I begin for fear of failure.

The shape of a bird waits on a wood panel. Vibrant colors of green, azure, a little coral brushed boldly to complete the suggested work are only thoughts. Although I’ve painted these before, what if I can’t again?

What if I’ve forgotten how to paint and write?

black bird waiting

That would mean what you thought was your calling was wrong all along.

I consider the words of Hosanna Wong again this morning. Like a middle school diagram sentence, I broke apart the words.

Allow – give someone permission to do something Cultivate – to develop a quality or skill Calling – a strong urge towards a particular way of life

Allow God to cultivate your calling.

There is relief here, this freedom from effort, comparison, numbers of followers, readers, collectors and validators of my work…

Of whether it is or ever was “my calling”.

Because, I’m closer now to understanding

my calling is the calling of every single one of us, to let God lead, show us the way, place us in the places we are needed by others, not the esteemed places of what fulfills our needs

recognition, praise or even kind words.

The pressure is off.

I’ll adjust to this new understanding of calling. It may take some time. I may still fear rejection and thus, hesitate in offering my words and paintings.

Or I may settle in, paint and write because I love it and love the way God made me to love doing it.

Of the seven paintings inspired by Psalm 23, a Bible close by as I painted and breaks in between colors to comfort myself in reading, only one has sold.

Waiting and Trusting

A tiny one, “All I Need” will be shipped today.

I allowed my Bible to fall open in my lap just now. The margin sketch reminding of words from another day.

“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s so much I don’t know, don’t fully understand about God’s ways, His love for me, the places He has for me, my words and art to go.

I will follow. I will stay close beside Him. I will find my calling in the listening to His gentle, guiding voice.

I have everything I need.

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I am learning as I continue and believe.

Such a better calling, to just continue.

Continue and believe.

The Gift

Angels, Art, bravery, curiousity, Faith, hope, memoir, painting, rest, testimony, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

On Sunday, I felt the tone in my voice change to excited, the chance to tell again how it all started, women in redemptive poses, muses of my art.

The story of a new Bible for Christmas, the trend catching on of filling margins with notes, colorful stickers or maybe drawings.

I was reluctant. I remembered warnings of never let your Bible touch the floor, leave it somewhere safe, underline some things and write on little pieces of paper tucked away, the sins you keep sinning.

That’s what you need to remember most, I was raised to think. Keep track of your wrongs, only consider the tiny chance you are worthy of grace.

I was in awe of the mysterious unattainable gift of the Holy Bible for many years.

Gradually, when time alone brought comfort, I began timid sketches of women and stories I could see myself in comparable pain, joy, messes made or willingness to learn.

Willing to come nearer to God.

Brave enough to trust His love.

Love Binds

“And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:14‬ ‭ESV

I heard love in my voice on Sunday, felt it in the fluttery words lifted into the air as I stood surrounded by my art.

This thing I get to do that leads to stories of a Bible filled with drawings, the word “trust” in dark pen to greet me.

Listening as a passerby stops to say, “This one speaks to me.” I listen and am grateful for the gift of their emotion, their interpretation of the canvas.

Thank you seems insufficient and to add “it means so much” seem like the reply of an amateur, not a “real” artist.

But, I tell them. I tell the ones who see themselves in my art that their purchase, their kind words are a gift.

Because, I mean it and rare is the occasion I say something I don’t mean.

Share your thoughts, words and trust.

You never know what a gift to them it may be.

The gift of you sharing “your Bible”, your life.

Open your Bible, let it speak then speak it through your story.

Stumbling Toward God and Good

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, hope, Prayer, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, who call you by your name.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭45:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Early Mornings

I could easily sleep an extra 30, instead I wake to the quiet ring of an almost silenced tone. It takes very little to rouse me. Early mornings have a ritual when work shifts allow my husband to sleep in.

I move to slide my phone to my palm, find my glasses, take a few steps to the bedpost for my soft robe, round the corner soft stepping to the door, I pull it towards me, towards the hall.

I walk softly towards the lamplight of the kitchen, glass of water then coffee with cream and honey.

The spot I call morning calls me and once again I open my journal, write the word “trust” and encircle the names of my children.

I find October 26th on the thin pages and I see the verse above. I sit and read commentaries from people of the 1800’s.

These are the things of my mornings, commitments that may seem to some a ritual.

But, it’s not what I read in the obscure dark of morning, it’s the epiphanies that come as I’m driving country roads and certain knowledge that comes as the daylight comes

Will come more knowledge.

More brilliance, power and a hand raised in the solitude of my car upon recognition and joy that there is power in prayer.

Power that can be shared and power that I’ve asked God to help others experience for themselves.

A car in front of me struggled this morning, driving noticeably too slow. I followed not to close and saw the little car’s tires rub against the curb and then correct. The car accelerated then and I decided I either startled the driver or shook their almost slumber. Finally, they turned onto the road I hope led home.

Another set of headlights followed me too closely and I maintained my course, did my best not to be annoyed.

Because I saw them in a new light.

I considered maybe they don’t like darkness driving either. Maybe my morning route seemed steady to them. Perhaps, they felt safe following me, so no need to speed around me or to hurry.

It’s this way with faith. When we’re steady when steadiness makes so sense.

We continue. We grow. We show others we’re not fully grown, we just keep walking, stumbling in the steps we’re certain keep us moving with and towards God.

Prayer walking, praying at all times and in every situation brings light to our darkness.

The light of the world to our own little worlds.

Continue and believe.

“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Believe in the power of prayer.

The power of a spectacular new day, the sunrise the color of zinnias.

The power of new perspectives.


confidence, contentment, Faith, family, hope, memoir, Peace, Redemption, surrender, Vulnerability, wonder

Every window called me closer, the horizon layered in a display of indigo, grey and powdery blue.

The clouds thick and volcanic in puffed up borders.

The Day 25 of 31 days of writing prompt is “think”. Rather than thinking immediately, “I got this”

I got nothing.

Other than the decision to continue learning that my thoughts are directly related to my feelings and my feelings have fault lines in the places they’re unavoidably connected to past trauma.

So, today when anxiety threatened over something similar to long ago, instead of bracing for battle and chastising myself and my thinking by saying to self “This is not that.” in a “snap out of it” tone

I elaborated by thinking, “No,

This is not that. But it is the same feeling.”

Then I gave myself permission to do a calm comparison.

I have feelings. But I’m not the actual feeling.

I can feel uncertain and still have a little self- aware conversation and become more certain.

Now, here I am at dusk. The clouds of morning giving way to night.

I’m still captivated.

Maybe I’m closer to viewing life this way.


The geese are now approaching.

I think of my mama, lovingly, longingly, loyally.

This evening not being the “that” of those before.

Nearer This Year

Christmas, contentment, Faith, hope, Peace, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder

“So now wrap your heart tightly around the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises!”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭10:23‬ ‭TPT‬‬

More than one person has agreed with me, “I’m putting up my Christmas tree early this year.”

Like the leaves changing and popping out brilliant colors, Winter comes and with it, Christmas.

With Christmas, hope.

Witt hope, peace on earth, in our homes.

Hope anyway and always.

Draws us nearer to Jesus in the quiet place of hoping for better, intentionally making the holidays more about God’s gift to us than whether we’ll have gifts for others.

So, maybe decorate early. Sit in the silent evening. Consider your tree as you remember the rugged cross.

“Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.” Fannie Crosby

Happy Sunday.

Continue and believe.