All Promises Forgotten

There’s a wide empty field there. An expanse of open where the sunbeams fall in different ways through the trees.

A sound sometimes catches me, a squirrel, a bird or so soft it could be just the movement of the weeds.

Yellow pops of joy on top of tall green.

I consider this midpoint on the trail, the level place before I shift to jog and then struggle up the sudden steep place of a curving hill.

Then round the corner, oh it feels so free!

I am effortless, I swoosh past the houses. I careen.

There is no easy stride without the one that requires an inward decision to keep going.

There is no bliss over arriving finally without the questionable continuing your journey.

Today is the day between the dark death of Jesus Christ and the glorious morning a mourner discovered the empty tomb.

Today is the middle day, the day marked by all promises forgotten.

Jesus told them it would be so.

A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me. Jesus, to the disciples. John 16:16

‭‭

Yet, it was so very hard to believe.

The miracle of it all.

I believe.

Much of life gets hard when we are in between. This morning I read that God keeps all of His promises.

I’m prone to worry over whether or not that could be true for me, that’s the human in me as was the human in Jesus.

In the garden he prayed, if it is possible for me to achieve what is your will for every human, the creative works of your hand, if it is possible,

Father, God maybe you have another plan.

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:41-42, 45-46‬ ‭ESV‬‬

In what ways have you suffered?

What memories have you that represent redemption, foster continued hope?

What years of depression and dismay have you survived?

Here’s an example from my Instagram on yesterday:

Why I believe in redemption. I open the mail thinking it’ll be just a copy of my diploma, instead it’s an emotional chronicle of about 10 or so years. I lost my art scholarship, came home to try Georgia Southern. Some things happened because of me and to me. In 1982, it ended, Academic Suspension. 10 years later, I began again and graduated “In Good Standing”. #thecolorsofmybible #redemptionstory #nevertoolate #beginagain

Everything is restorable.

Struggle yields hope.

What is meant to destroy, through Christ, seeking His will, pairing it with human discipline and determination, is a redeemable starting point for a story.

I’m not who I was.

Happy Easter weekend.

Continue and believe.

Known and Seen

“Garden Girl”

It sounds very clinical and not necessarily positive at all,

To think God views us in an “under the microscope kind of way”.

But, He kinda does ya’ll, if you consider He knows everything.

“But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Jesus

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:30‬ ‭esv

That’s a miracle in and of itself.

Confirmation that He knows.

He knows which leave will fall first to the ground. Which morning bird will be the very first to sing, initiating a harmonious chorus.

Miracle it is, we are known and seen!

Miracles are everywhere. You might remember a few, decide to see it this way if you believe every second of every day plays out like an orchestrated performance,

God as the maestro, your life the powerful selection of calming peaceful repose in string, or crescendo arrival of horns fading into acceptance on delicate keys.

Yesterday met me with sincere congratulatory conversations.

One led to the question of what now or next?

I was bold, said I’m hoping to combine my nonprofit skills acquired in some way with my faith.

Perfect timing it was, a fellow faith based professional needs a grant-writer. We will meet next week, come up with a contract.

I said something along the lines of wow and then rambled on. She allowed me and calmly, steadily informed me.

This is God’s confirmation. You are taking the right steps. J.

I smiled, chills making their way down my calves to my feet.

I woke this morning after a sleep that was preceded by a conviction.

I’ve let some of my attitudes and behavior steer off course, turn corners fueled by pride, trying to keep my hands in and on things that are not mine.

Dangerously close to misrepresenting who I say I am because of Jesus.

“Fools’ words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭18:6‬ ‭nlt

It’s a miracle!

Why so? It’s a miracle because I’m heeding what I heard God say over the voices in my world all in agreement with my bitterness, my resentment, my pride.

It’s a miracle that we get to hear God. There’s no other way to say it, God knowing me and saying so…

It’s a miracle.

I heard Him over the rallying behind me voices that say my attitude and pride are justified.

He knows the number of the hairs on my head.

He knows my ways. He knows and told me gradually yesterday and into now,

“Lisa Anne, get back to the place you are known. The place and temperament that I gave you and called you to use to show me to others.

Get quiet. Let your confidence stay quiet.

Ask forgiveness where it is needs to be offered.

Listen.

Because if you don’t you will miss out on the miracles I’m making in advance for you.

Move on, let go, accept that you are not in control.

I am.

Only control what you can, your attitude, your countenance that comes by staying closer to me and your willingness to retreat otherwise you will surely stumble, busting your butt on your pride.

You will fall flat on your face.” God, this morning.

What’s a miracle? Being known so well by my God, more than anyone will ever know.

Even more so, every single one of us is fully known the same.

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice. me

(And now my blog has a category called “pride”)

What Are You Hoping For?

I turned to Proverbs.

A thing I used to do, one a day corresponding with the date.

Proverbs 13 begins with talk of integrity and wisdom and continues to a verse I’ve heard and read before.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I stayed there a minute. I quickly underlined the verse then decided I’m not really sure I understand the word, “defer”.

I google to see.

I discovered I’ve been wrong all along, thinking defer is like an out of my control detour caused by circumstance.

Actually, it’s not that at all!

What are you hoping for? What are you heartsick over?

Hope deferred is a goal discarded, a dream, a treasure you’ve decided was not a part of God’s measure.

That maybe, after all, His provision of what it takes to follow through, He just ran out of that inspirational juice when He got to you.

What a crazy thought. His love never ends. His providence is immeasurable.

That’s not up for us to decide. Who can fathom the mind of God?

Hope deferred, postponed or cancelled like on the back burner plans,

makes our hearts sick.

I rise now and I shall go and sit at my desk rather than my morning spot. I will work on the pending words that represent just one of my hopes.

I won’t put off my hope today

Nor, tomorrow. My April newsletter will continue. (sign up form popped up here, hopefully 😊)

What are you postponing, forgetting, deciding “not God’s plan” when we really mean I simply don’t believe.

Don’t defer your hope.

Continue and believe.

Desire fulfilled is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

The Gift of Memory

A friend is praying that God would give me memory.

I’ve lost something I haven’t needed in years and I cannot find it, my college diploma.

Yesterday, my pregnant daughter asked if I remembered a certain pain and I didn’t, so I blamed it on one thing I did remember harshly…when it was actually another, my lack of memory,

Then told her it’s true what they say.

You don’t remember the pain once your baby is here.

I’m wondering if my friend’s prayers are stirring my memories as a whole, of all sorts of things.

I woke with first thought, prayer.

God, help me to know you more.

There are disjointed possibilities in my life, a new one popped up yesterday. I gotta circle back around, finish multiple things, my mind and plans chaotic over stuff begun and not finished

My thoughts are all over the place.

I make the coffee, open the door for fresh air and I remember.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

An elderly couple lived below us, my younger brother and me. We were not quiet apartment dwellers. We were single and in our 20’s. We frequented “River Street” in Savannah and found our way back home safely, how?

God only knows.

I watched them on Sundays, they’d come and go clutching Bibles, holding hands.

I avoided them in my comings and goings until one day in the stairwell, I came face to face with the husband, a sharply dressed gentleman.

I asked, “How can I know God’s will?”

He answered simply, “Know God.”

That was two decades ago and his answer left me hanging, left me lacking not longing. I wanted so much more than an answer so broad.

I desired a quick list or an easy plan.

I wanted it “one and done” for me, quickly fix me, God, I know you can!

Perfection, I yearned for, had no understanding of grace, God’s patience, His allowance of progression.

How in the world could we imagine God’s will as only quick when, after all, He has us and the whole world in His hands? He orders our seconds, minutes, hours and days. Their unfolding, He knows.

I understand the simplicity yet mystery now.

His pursuit of me is graceful and grace-filled.

There’s no end road to knowing God’s will.

It is a beautiful unraveling, a revealing of splendor and clarity and abundance as we go.

As we go unaffected by our daze and confusion only illumined by His spirit, His dwelling within us.

How do we know God’s will? I believe we remain quietly intent in our pursuit of Him.

He knows. Just ask Him.

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice. me

Linking up today with others at Five Minute Friday who are writing on the prompt “Lack”. https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/04/11/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-lack/

Lace and Roses

“And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Pink Happy Morning

I’d love to know all the birds by name, be able to identify them by their conversation, their song.

A cardinal intruded politely on a catch up session with friends yesterday. We were laughing and agreeing on our take on things when it happened.

It flew in front of us, a brilliant display. I announced, “a red bird”. They smiled, knowing my story and because they both know I’d never say “cardinal”, not the proper way.

I woke this morning not as I planned, 5:00 a.m and I had it all mapped out in my mind, finish what you started last night when both you and your printer stalled.

Instead, three times slapping at the 6:30 bell, I slumbered well.

Prepared my coffee grounds to discover my French press is not going press the way it’s supposed to again today.

I turn towards the birdsong remembering my mornings before, let the Lab out, notice the coming day.

I miss him, I miss those days.

Touching the morning, allowing it to touch me.

So, I stepped out to pay attention.

I noticed mist, a lacy veil above the moist green grass, the sky, a pale pink horizon and roses are early bloomers, startling red!

Back inside to correct the coffee, I leave the door open to listen, allowing the morning to come in.

Settled in my morning spot with little time to sit, I think and say it again.

Lord, order my day. Amen

The geese are on their way to the pond. I hear them.

Hear my mama, “Here they come!”

Begin again, start again. Rise and walk new ways.

God knows your hopes, mercy leads the way. Follow the sure pattern, soar with ease and sure direction.

Faith.

Continue and believe.

Funny, sort of.

She found the recipe.

“Grandma Bette’s Pound Cake” and I shared the preparations on Instagram, adding I’ve been sentimental of late.

Someone asked what that means. I said it’s just another way to say lately.

I said I love words and she said okay.

She is my daughter and she’s a better cook than me.

Better at a whole lot of things.

I don’t know what’s next for me.

I wrote today, bought art supplies and redecorated some rooms.

The cake is in the oven.

The sun is almost gone.

I worried earlier about how I’m gonna make it without my job.

Then realized I have days like today to figure it out.

Finally, perhaps live in a way that looks like “my happy way of life”.

Possibly.

Yes, possibly.

Wow.

How Much We Need

“ …there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I would stand close by and wait, watch and contribute as I was told.

My mama, in her kitchen, I watched as she prepped the meat for the main meal to add a pound cake for later.

In the intervals of ingredients, she rarely gave a measure.

She’d answer with “that’s enough” or “a little more”.

Rarely did she let me add too much. She knew that wound spoil it all. The flour would be mixed with the sugar. It would be impossible to separate the two.

We would have to start over.

In all my years of helping bake cake, that was never the case.

The measure of the two ingredients was always enough to take the next step, to add in the eggs one at a time and the butter.

The cake came out right. Consistently moist with the sweet thick light brown crust.

This morning I made a list of three things I’d like to believe without interruption, three things that would never go away, be not enough.

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

  1. Self-control
  2. Belief in possibility
  3. Assurance of God’s love

Someone may be reading this and asking how is it that she doesn’t know these things?

I sat just now and countered each need with truth. Because see, in this world we live in the stuff that gets mixed in gets us mixed up.

Self-control is my decision. Every decision begins with a thought. God’s spirit will be my guide.

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT

All things are possible. This truth is for me. It is God’s desire that I allow my heart, not my mind, to lead.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s love is immeasurable. It is unwavering.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I told someone yesterday I’ve been dreaming about my mama. I told her I think it’s because my daughter’s about to have a baby. She smiled and added she thinks that’s so sweet. I told her she’d understand one day, for her I hope it’s not soon.

Longing is immeasurable. Memories are a beautiful thing. God made me to remember us in the kitchen and her famous pound cake.

And he led me to consider the comfort of having enough.

Not too much.

He led me as if my mama and He had been in intimate conversation and they both decided.

Look now, she’s about to give in. She’s about to be pitiful again. She’s about to let doubt ruin the batter, she’s leaning closely towards throwing out the good ingredients and deciding she might never bake a good cake, create a story or a painting again!

Can I tell you one thing for sure?

He knows. He knows our tendencies and stands close by saying, let’s don’t go that way again.

I’m rising now from my morning spot on a day I am calling “sick” and I will get busy with the good things God has started in me and then I’ll go and try my best to get the ingredients for my mama’s unwritten recipe.

I have a cake to bake!

Thank you Jesus and mama, for teaching me.

Continue and believe.

I’m afraid I never follow the five minute rule. Still, I appreciate the prompt, so I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “measure”.

Measure

Wounded and Believing

Thank you, Jesus

There’s a sliver of a wound on the inside of my index finger.

Rather than take the clear path only a few steps away I stepped towards the corner.

Took the risky way, the rebellious path.

Awaiting the New

The asparagus fern from last summer had been put away, covered in pine straw, protected.

From a distance, I saw vibrant green peeking through.

I am impatient for the new season.

So, I squeezed up next to the porch and gingerly pushed about the branches of not yet blooming roses.

Then left the fern, after all, it may be too early, we’ve not yet had the “Easter snap”.

I looked down and saw the stream of deep dark red and felt the sting of the injury from the thorn that caused me to be cornered.

I paused to dab my finger against my shirt, only temporarily stopping the flow.

I continued on my mission, needing to get my pansies into the dirt.

Rain was forecasted, I needed them ready and waiting for the pour down from heaven.

Beautiful Belief

The blood continued to flow from the place the thorn broke the skin, now all mottled with black soil.

It was the dirt after all that stopped the bleeding. Dirt crammed beneath my nails and clogging up the gash of my finger’s wound.

I thought of Jesus.

Thought of how so often I am hesitant to speak His name in public. Thought of expressions like

Less Lisa, More Jesus

Thought of the power of the sound of His name and how I keep it to myself as if the magnitude of His name might upset our rooms.

Sometimes I only hint at the reality of Jesus.

Deciding others will find out on their own.

As if accidentally maybe perhaps or hope so

Someone will just know that we know Him and maybe ask if it is so and hey, tell me why I should know the one you know…

(Sermon to self here. Please just know.)

I thought of the thorns they placed on His head in a sarcastic cynical crown.

I thought of how eventually his blood became mixed in with his sweat, the grime of his sacrifice, the mixture of it all.

Love and death.

For me.

For us all.

I thought last night about this love I am not required to earn.

Thought about Jesus fulfilling God’s purpose, Jesus obeying the Father, a sinless obedient Son.

I am thinking now of the miracle of me, the miracles I have seen, the ones I’ve yet to see.

The ones that I will never know.

That are yours! Not mine to see.

Way too many to comprehend.

Jesus let Thomas put his hand in the place where the spear cut open His side. Told him he was blessed because he believed.

Added how significant it is not to see and yet, believe.

The measures Jesus took and takes to get us to believe are simply too much to me!

Too much to fathom why sometimes I don’t believe.

And yet, like Thomas.

He is still there for me.

Still telling me,

Peace be with you. John 20:26  Believe.

The Book of John ends with a beautiful thought, the truth of the ever astounding and amazing love of Jesus.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

‭‭John‬ ‭21:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I understand. Yesterday, I thought of all my journals, all my haphazard prayers, intentional supplications, and all the countless recoveries and redemptive interventions Jesus has brought to my life.

I believe in Jesus, not because I’m educated in this way.

I believe because of all He has shown me because of my believing.

Like Thomas and the others, I believe because he gave me chance after chance to see.

The little slice of the wound from the thorn is still open today. Soon, it will be closed over, no sting or tinged color of pale red. Soon, the insignificant wound will be healed.

I’m thankful for the sharp thorn, the red flow that lingered.

To be reminded of believing.

To be less attentive to my wounds and more open to you.

Linking up with Mary Geisen and others at Tell His Story:

The Walk to the Cross

Me Before

There was no inkling of me then.

At least not to anyone other than my Heavenly Father.

Who, if you believe in things like fearfully and wonderfully made and a purpose and plan.

God already knew of me before any other knowing was possible.

God knew I’d be different than most, that I’d love words and their expression and that sometimes others might not know what to make of me and so they might describe me jokingly.

It’s odd to be so quiet and at the same time feel so very different, so different that your difference doesn’t go unnoticed.

Sometimes you’re awkwardly called out.

The bane of your introversion.

Notice.

A very long time ago, this place where I walk, a trail encircling what is now a subdivision, was covered in beach, in sand.

I heard this in a historical account of my town, our community.

I walked this evening.

My steps had intent.

Outrun the mood before the mood takes you over, runs you down, knocks you off your feet.

I was tired. Had too much sugar and not enough sleep.

Walk it out, I told myself before the miserable mood walks all over you.

I had a good pace and then saw in the bramble and brush, a tiny little bloom, a blossom bursting through.

Solitary on the dead leaves, seemingly distant from branch or vine.

The bloom before the berries.

The promise before the fruit.

I continued on, self-talk declaring.

The rest of your life is yet to be seen.

Your bloom is just about to break through the cold decay of your ground.

The ground that bordered the sea before anyone other than God knew what beauty you are meant to see.

That same ground is just about to sprout bright bloom, the flowering, the growth,

the plan for good not bad.

Me before is

Not

Me now.

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Subject: Prayer

I find my phone to stop the alarm then drift for a minute, catch myself before falling into the bliss of a half hour.

It is chilly. I reach for the smooth treasure of indispensable device and question where I laid my glasses. My hand smooths the covers searching and there, good, they are there.

Many mornings I can’t find them, they’ve either been knocked from the table or buried in the covers, haphazardly left wherever, when my eyes grow heavy from straining over bedtime words.

This morning was easy, there they were right beside me waiting.

I said, “Thank you, Lord, for how easy that was.”

Realizing there is more, will be more for which I will say thanks.

Maybe that’s why Paul told the people to pray without ceasing.

Maybe he didn’t expect them to linger without taking a break with their faces to the ground.

Because that is not possible, to stay prayerfully posed all the day through.

Maybe praying without ceasing means just saying thanks for seemingly unimportant and not so life affecting things.

Like finding your glasses without having to crawl quietly on the floor next to your bed with your husband still sleeping hoping you don’t wake him…

To let “thank you, Lord” be as natural in your thoughts in the little things, practice for the big ones that life assures us will come back around.

Gently triggered, prayer is an audible or thoughtful response.

Maybe praying without ceasing isn’t impossible or silly at all.

But, is necessary and natural, a good for you practice like sleeping, breathing, eating, running, working or thinking.

A spontaneous response, rising up from the uninhibited ever expanding wellness of our souls.

Thank you, Lord, for words and thank you for your mercy when I struggle yet again with brevity in my expression through prose.

Thank you big time for making me brave enough to continue.

For thoughts that are informal, even casual or a little comical.

That you help me turn into words.

Thank you for accepting my offering of them to you as prayers.

To continue and believe.

Thank you for everything.

For the subject this morning:

Prayer.

I’m linking up with others who enjoyed the wisdom of Michele Morin at Tell His Story today!

Surprise! God Has Your Best Interest at Heart- Guest Post