God With Us

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, doubt, Faith, hope, Peace, Prayer, rest, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Before the eggplant, there are tiny purple flowers and day by day you can watch to see the transformation. Sometimes I say to myself simply. “Something good is coming.” It’s not that I’m just that confident, it’s that I can look back on my life and see this pattern. I worry about not seeing and knowing the evidence of good and then I decide to let whatever it is alone and unexpectedness of good surprises me. (again)

I made a list of ten questions this morning. I’m made this way, need to know if, when, how, why. I got to number 10, got choked up over the honesty of “How can I know God really knows me?” Sat with my own vulnerability for a minute and then looked over my list. I let God give me the answers. They came naturally.

Moments like this are personal. Like a hydrangea turning from white to lavender to purple or an eggplant blossom falling from the stem once the vegetable is full grown.

Transformation is a quiet process. It’s inner work of our God who knows our inner workings.

Make your list of questions, things you’ve been waiting and wondering over along with your raw questions of God.

Sit with them. The veil between you and God will be gently pulled back and you’ll see His perspective on your longings and you’ll have peace even if you don’t yet have answers.

Maybe, like me, you’ll realize you already knew the answer, you just needed to be reminded. I can be pitiful. I can be stubborn and envious. That’s my nature, God gently reminds me I am seen, fully known and loved regardless.

Faithfulness to each moment keeps me whole and humble.

God is everywhere.

Don’t forget to notice.

All Things Together

Abuse Survivor, Angels, Art, bravery, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, hope, mercy, Peace, rest, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder
A Quiet Life

I woke with a worry that made no sense really, quickly setting the tone for what was fighting to be a heavy day.

I have been referring to these type things as “the enemy”, thoughts that fight to sway my faith the other way.

I’m becoming accustomed to the strange looks or pauses that seem to say, “Did she say enemy?

Is she really talking about Satan? Is she buying into the talk of the tactics of the evil one, the liar, the conniving thief of peace?”

Yes.

I am.

It’s no different though than the responses of some when you begin to say “Jesus”, begin to call him your friend, begin to believe the truth of his gruesome sacrifice and live and breathe with the purpose of knowing this Savior intimately, personally,

realistically.

The Son of God, the God who created me, created you.

“You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:16‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God sees you growing in wisdom and bravery. The enemy does too.

Yesterday evening, I walked the neighborhood trail, talk in my ear about a book, “Gentle and Lowly” by Dane Ortlund

I rounded the curve, alone on the trail, a distant dog barking and a teenager puttering with a putter in a backyard. I waved and continued.

The stretch of smooth bordering the wildflowers caused me to turn and look.

On the edge of the woods, standing in the overgrowth, I saw it staring.

I stood still.

A fox was fixated on me, staring me down. Its old eyes considering me, I looked back.

It never moved and I was captivated.

Not threatened, simply moved.

Its body seemed old and exhausted, the copper color of its coat mostly overtaken by grey.

It seemed intent on making a statement although its presence felt met by a resistance it didn’t quite understand.

As if it had no strength to harm me, only make me know it was still there.

watching one

Dane Ortlund describes a loving Jesus who longs for us to remember He is with us, for us, we can stop striving to be good enough.

We can stop condemning ourselves, anticipating punishment for our behaviors. We can rest.

We can calm down.

The worry that woke me went away as quickly as I raised my weary body from beside my bed.

I prayed and my prayers were heard by my advocate, the one who came and lifted my head to say today is another new day.

You will see.

I searched for the symbolism of the fox. Found words like sly and conniving and some that reframed those words to skilled and thoughtful, able to get itself out of dangerous places.

Jesus used the word when he referred to Herod who was trying to halt his mission.

“Jesus replied, “Go tell that fox that I will keep on casting out demons and healing people today and tomorrow; and the third day I will accomplish my purpose.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Words in red in my Bible, relevant still today.

Jesus saying to us.

Tell that fox you still have a purpose.

The strange waking worry found relief. I saw a photo of a painting, the one above. As it happens on occasion, I saw shapes that weren’t intentional. Today, I stare at the painting in peace. Brushstrokes and blending it seems led to angels hovering near, protection and peace.

All things come together, the fox, the special painting that came with angst in completing.

Miracles to me, tiny things God causes us to see.

Because of Jesus, we have peace.

He holds all things together.

Listen here.

https://youtu.be/EIe0jOhopyI

Still There, Promises and Songs

Angels, Art, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grief, hope, memoir, Peace, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
morning balloons

I’m ushered forward by the sunrise a few days a week. The road is often mine alone, I’m on schedule for my arrival and with low songs surrounding me, I notice the changing borders, green growth, fields becoming food and trees dotted with coral peaches.

I’ve been tracking an object since I first glimpsed it on Monday. Celebratory balloons, a star and two others, silvery white and deflating, drifted to rest in the high grassy border.

I wondered where it had been, how it ended up here, how long it may be before it’s flat in the ditch or whether the wind might miraculously lift it to cross the road and be found in a better place.

It stayed in the same place and by now it’s likely flat, deflated and hidden.

The happy gesture of someone for someone on their birthday drifted away and deflated.

Maybe there was laughter when the ribbon escaped the grip of a little hand. Maybe the one who tied them to a porch rail tied them too loosely and, oh no they got away.

I wondered about the faces turned towards heaven that smiled as the balloons met the sky and then left them.

Left to wonder what happens now.

I thought of what waiting feels like, waiting for God to take our prayers and hold them for a bit as we long for permission to go safely in another direction or we linger in that place we’ve been kept with no answer, no escape, no clear resolution.

Waiting, I thought feels like hope slowing deflating.

Or it feels like rest.

The choice is ours.

Each day I write “trust” in the spot above the date in my journal.

I hope it sets my tone, positions my soul to be satisfied although waiting. Waiting to see if my words sent to another might be shared, waiting to see if the works of my hands, brushed on paper and canvas might move someone to purchase and move to their home.

I move a new painting into my living room, I want to get a sense of the colors, whether they welcome or comfort. Are there places I missed? Does it tell me the story I hope it tells others.

The Promise

Will someone see “The Promise” of an unclouded day in the same way the hymn came clearly as I decided the sky should be brilliant and cloudless?

Every picture tells a story.

Oh, they tell me of a home far beyond the skies
Oh, they tell me of a home far away
Oh, they tell me of a home where no storm clouds rise
Oh, they tell me of an unclouded day…(a hymn Willie Nelson sings, my mama’s favorite.)

Everything comes together, God brings all things together.

A verse comes to mind.

The soul at rest is peace.

Like an estate set aside for someone later, a trust to secure a child’s future, God must have things securely waiting for the right time in His sovereignty for me to hold them in my heart, see the reason for the waiting.

Trust is rest.

evening balloons

Like the birthday balloons trapped in the overgrowth and slowly deflating, I can choose the place I’m in as a place of settled trust.

I can wait for the next place God takes me.

I can see waiting as God knowing me.

I’ll take the country road again. I’ll glance with expectation towards the field to my right, the place with the resting balloons.

I’ll be expectant that I won’t see them, that they’ve been caught by the warm breeze of weekend and they’ve caught the attention of another.

Someone like me, feeling deflated by waiting and realizing there’s purpose in pausing and rest never means stopping.

To rest is to trust.

“Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭143:8‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Continue and believe.

Turn the Page

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, hope, memoir, mercy, Redemption, traumatriggers, Vulnerability, wisdom

“And if anyone doesn’t listen to you and rejects your message, when you leave that house or town, shake the dust off your feet.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:14‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I can hear it clearly. My mama would say “Turn the page.” and if necessary, repeated just those words.

Move one, let go, carry on kind of thinking, no need to linger here thinking of the wrong.

Waking Thoughts

I’ve learned to pay attention to waking thoughts. After filtering the crazy dreams (last night my mama was napping while someone else cooked supper, pork chops) I wait to see what resolution of yesterday’s woe comes to the surface.

A question came today, “Am I difficult to work with or were they?” An honest assessment of my part and another’s led me to realize, I’d done my part and they hadn’t. I could see this issue, unmet expectations in many areas of my life.

I’m not great at advocating for myself. It’s a learned behavior. I’m even less good at moving on past doors that didn’t welcome me.

I am learning this stems from unmet childhood needs and it’s a tough thing to identify, am I needy or are they not meeting my needs?

It’s a trauma wound and a trigger, a very good thing to know how it affects you and whether your appraisals of others are accurate or if you’re needing longed for acceptance.

“You’re very good at understanding your flaws.” someone told me.

Yes, I’ve gotten better and it has led to growth and wholeness. It has led to this truth and even more seeking:

“God will continue to bring people, circumstances, behaviors of others into your life until you consistently know the approval, acceptance, and applause of others will never compare to His love. Notice of others will never be enough, won’t last long, and often will disappoint. People who court you can’t always be trusted. People who promise may forget they promised and people will forget they knew you or might not open their door.”

Turn the page. Walk away. Walk towards God’s call.

Carry on.

Jesus told his disciples to shake the dust from their feet, head to a new city, away from those who didn’t receive them or their message.

You will not be accepted by everyone.

Be smart. Be astute observers. But, be gentle. It may be scary to “put yourself out there”. You’ll feel vulnerable, being vulnerable is a sign of authentic faith. Doing things you can’t see clearly resulting in acceptance or rejection.

Be remembered as kind and gentle; but, exercise the accuracy and wisdom God gave you.

If you’re rejected, continue on another way. But, don’t give up. (my takeaways)

“Now, remember, it is I who sends you out, even though you feel vulnerable as lambs going into a pack of wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes yet as harmless as doves.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭10:16‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I write about what God brings me in my own process of healing from past trauma.

I write reluctantly often.

A voice on one side saying no one wants to hear that and another saying your honesty about your continued healing and clarity about your triggers and negative patterns may help someone else.

I write because I’m simply continuing as I believe in redemption through Jesus, a prettier story of hope and wisdom comes every single merciful morning.

I hope so for you too. Shake the dust of yesterday’s defeats off your shoulders and carry on.

Carry on today.

“He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭121:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Purposefully Believing

Art, bravery, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, hope, Labradors, Prayer, sons, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

Early morning Tennessee rain has changed to an aura of grey as we move towards another state.

Yesterday’s drive was different, big city construction on roads and a sense oh how and when will the traffic ease.

But, we made it and were welcomed by the quaint little house in the city known for music.

We didn’t venture towards the fame. We had quesadillas seated under walls with screens of baseball games.

And talked.

This morning the interstate is a soft ribbon through a border of trees leading us towards an arbor of even more.

I’ve just turned to notice horses in a field and a newly plowed place for seeds.

I told my son how I love how he loves good music.

Serenaded together, we are.

The Labrador door is sleeping well.

“We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it!”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Last night, we turned in early. Me earliest, allowing my son his own time. I paused a podcast at the place of it becoming annoying chatter. I closed my eyes and prayed myself to sleep as I heard the jet it seemed very close overhead.

I thought of flying. I thought of the comfort I felt and I slept.

Thinking I believe God’s promises. I believe the writers of the promises they saw come true too.

I believe God knew I’d be traveling across the country with my son and his dog and I believe He knew there’d be an Air BnB an exit away from the Nashville airport.

And that I wouldn’t hear the airplane until I’d finished praying.

I believe these things.

I believe I am fully known and loved.

I believe this way and when I do I am quite okay.

Continue and believe.

This way, purposefully.

Beauty and Complexity

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder
Things of Beauty

The space was filled with exquisite ideas for design, paintings covered every wall. Artisan made coffee tables and rich leather chairs draped in soft throws over the arms. I arrived with art as a prospective newly represented artist and departed with my paintings and a tiny bit of hope.

Big hopes were thwarted.

A happy voice greeted me and then asked to hear “my artist” story and then I heard hers. She loves working with graphite, she told me, and practices in portraiture. Her iPad with the shattered screen was her gallery that day.

With every sketch or painting, she asked. “Do you see where this went wrong, do you see the error?”

Then she told me. One watercolor she’d entered into an exhibit was of elephants, a mother and baby.

I was drawn to the painting and she explained she’d given it to her mother. As she explained her technique, again telling me where she botched the color and had to fix it and then decided to let the mistake of the pale blue remain, I was captivated by the wrinkles.

I told her so, the detail in the trunks, the layering of pencil and color, the beautiful wrinkles were perfect, touchable.

Last week, I prepared for an interview. I arranged myself and my laptop in a corner and having curled my hair and found a blouse with bright color, I turned my phone to selfie mode to get a glimpse of how I’d be appearing on screen.

I’m horrible at selfies. Do you smile? Do you pretend you don’t know you’re taking your own photo? Do you look at the ceiling? What’s that angle that’s said to be becoming?

I stared at the several shots. I hurried to the closet to change from one blouse to others.

The neckline of the first one accentuated the crepes in the stretchy place on my neck. It was unavoidable and too late to be concerned, too evident to be remedied.

The wrinkles could not be erased.

I sat and prayed and there was peace in my expression, peace with the production manager, the interview and in my responses to kind and unexpected questions.

God was with me.

“You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb. I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭TPT‬‬

I thought of the elephant artist, the way she discounted the work her hands created.

I wondered if God felt that way. If God sees and saw me despising my appearance, expressing self-hatred over my weight, my sparse eyelashes, the intricate texture on the place where my necklace rests.

The necklace that has a small gold cross, the one a tiny girl reaches for to say, “I love your necklace, Grandma,

I love your cross.”

The magnolia leaves my daughter uses for decor will soon be replaced.

The verdant green is drying to a darker tone. The underside is curling and the veins are more evident, magnolia leave wrinkles now.

But, still a regal sort of beauty, a strength as a table display.

I’ve returned to the practice of the “Pause” app after growing bored with it.

I was required to start over because of a new phone. The old phone charted my listening and I had listened over 700 minutes.

As of yesterday, I’m at 11.

I listened again and the words of the prayer are now resonating new and different.

“I was created for union with you.” The Pause app prayer

God, my creator longs to be united with me, with us.

United in thought, in decision, in praying and in listening, God waits so close he could reach out His hand to mine, possibly soothe the wrinkles that now cover my hands, the hands of an artist, a creative who gets carried away by color and ideas.

The complexity of me, He knows completely.

Says keep learning, keep learning and discovering you according to Me.

The beauty and value of wrinkles, a display of me in you and you with me.

Heavenly Father, thank you for mornings and quiet rediscovering of you. You are with me. You spare me from harm. You give me courage. You calm me when I notice and you strengthen me when I feel belittled or unable. You’re the lifter of my head and the lover of my soul. You give me songs to celebrate my growing. When I feel cornered, you join me in that dimly lit place, you tell me “I am here.”

The interview went well. There was talk of art and there was talk of God.

A song stayed with me that afternoon.

Oh! Christ be magnified
Let His praise arise
Christ be magnified in me
Oh! Christ be magnified
From the altar of my life
Christ be magnified in me

A Book I Wrote

Angels, Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, contentment, courage, Faith, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Motherhood, Peace, Redemption, Vulnerability, writing

The subject line in the email was “I Wrote a Book”, and I attached a bio with background, art and a few words expressing I hoped the recipient and her family are well.

I’m remembering now my first years working with homeless families. She was our emcee and it was one of best fundraisers in history. Her beauty, poise and sincerity added to the success.

Over the years, she remained engaged with our agency and I had many opportunities to talk about tough things on her show.

This would be different. I “go by Grandma” now.

The morning of the Skype call, I moved slowly towards the time, I arranged the room and realized there’d be a toddler nearby. I thought of canceling. Instead, we talked about it, my granddaughter and I.

I moved her coloring pad and crayons to her parents’ bathroom. I changed from my uniform (exercise leggings and T-shirt) to a blouse in my daughter’s closet.

My granddaughter stood beside me as I curled my hair and then added mascara, blush, etc.

The interview began and she played with her “babies” close by.

I was worried about Skype, about the wrinkles on my neck, about my hair because my daughter had no hairspray, about talking too fast or too slow, or too much.

And some of these things are evident in the interview.

More evident though, is the graciousness of Jennie Montgomery, the peace God gave me, the joy over art and more than anything at all.

The surprise of my own voice as I spoke clearly of being loved by God.

The legacy I hope this book leaves, Lisa Anne Tindal is both strong and vulnerable,

she loves her story.

Look at the Birds interview

Not Small At All

Abuse Survivor, birds, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, hope, love, memoir, Peace, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability, wonder
little sparrow

This tiny bird is a keepsake from my daughter’s pre-wedding weekend. A small shop in the mountains filled with cute trendy things and I chose a bird as small as the cup of my palm.

A sparrow danced on the porch yesterday. Instead of hurrying my granddaughter outside, I watched through the window as it watched me. It rested on the ledge, turned to face me, and then flew away.

As if to say, remember.

You are seen and known.

You are cared for fully.

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
‭‭Zephaniah‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today, my devotional included this verse. It’s a verse you might see on a greeting card, a coffee mug or framed words written in pretty black flowing letters.

It occurred to me, not sure why not before.

God is not small at all.

His voice is mighty.

It calms me and calls me.

It protects me with warnings.

It soothes me with song.

God’s rejoicing over me may cause me to think of beautiful birds.

But, God is not that small at all.

Nor is His presence, love and power.

I pray you remember with me.

God is singing over us and His voice overpowers all other songs, all other voices that threaten or sing worrisome songs.

Look up. Notice God.

He is with you.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

His song is a freedom song.

Trust Over Dread

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, hope, Peace, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Psalm 107:2

The spaces I created for newsletter and blog share the word “redemption”. The idea was to share the gift of a closeness with God over time and to write honestly about it.

To embrace redemption as my theme, my guide, my breath of life.

re·demp·tion

/rəˈdem(p)SH(ə)n

noun

1.
the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.

Last month, and the ones before, I wrote mainly about art. I didn’t write redemption stories. Either I stopped believing in them or I felt I’d shared enough. I wrote and illustrated a book, I shifted my sharing to self-promotion. I was told it’s what I’m supposed to do.

It’s mostly an inside job, this enemy I fear called control.

I still get triggered by the mask. Lately, the shame of my “for now” decision against the vaccine is a causing ugly looks and a sense of judgment from others, all leading to isolation, a less obvious trigger.

If you understand, you understand. Otherwise, it makes no sense why you may think things that are not true.

I dreamt last night of bruises on my arms from being held down. My dream me disguised the bruises, made excuses to others about their cause.

I woke and shook off the thoughts, said to myself that is not true anymore.

Nobody held you tightly in their control, you are safe. You are not controlled by others.

Again, this won’t make sense unless you’ve known it.

Many of us fight an internal battle against control, decisions made for you.

We move closer to wholeness when we know peace comes with making decisions with God, quiet ones on your own.

We trust that tiny voice that’s God saying now you have the strength to speak up for yourself, to know your help is from me most of all, it is where you find rest.

Where your trust becomes unwavering faith.

“Faith over Fear” becomes

“Trust over Dread”.

It is awareness of the much to dread, not a whole lot of looking forward to happy according to all we’re told of our country’s condition.

It sort of feels silly to long for things. Some unexpected illness, sorrow or tragedy may knock on your front door or you’ll hear of another injustice and see the hearts of mankind broken and the trend towards true change a bigger obstacle than before.

This is why I’m building up my trust reservoir.

I’m remembering what never runs out, never says I’ve nothing more, never abandons my tender tired heart in need.

It is God’s love and grace.

I wrote 3 words in my journal today. All are distractions to my connection with God.

Distrust

Dread

Drudgery

Then, I added. “Pay attention to the way you approach life.”

Are you dreading the future? Has your hope been stolen? How is it that you know God and believe in Him, have for a bunch of years; yet, you don’t trust as much anymore?

Are you apathetic, exhausted?

Is it because you can’t be sure what life will be like where you are headed or because you’re afraid you won’t look at all like the person you hoped to be next year.

If you feel (with good reason) it is unlikely life will be any better, it is likely you’re incapacitated by dread.

noun

1.
great fear or apprehension

If you have the Bible app, search “dread”. You’ll find God’s conversations with Job, the words of Jesus and other gentle warnings about how it’s not God’s idea for us.

“but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.””

Proverbs 1:33 ESV

My granddaughter was teeny tiny when I first sang “Deep and Wide” to her. Her newborn expression was attentive and calm, enthralled.

“Deep and wide

Deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.”

There is a fountain for us. It won’t dry up, parched by sun or heat.

The river is grace.

It is wide and deep.

It is deep and wide.

Continue and believe,

Trust over dread.

Be attentive to God’s voice in your thoughts.

There’s nothing to fear when we trust God as the maker of our days, the lover of our souls.

Our deep and wide

Safe place.

Tiny Things

birds, Children, contentment, Faith, family, grandchildren, hope, love, Vulnerability, wonder

Outside the windows, the sunshine called our names.

Barely 10:00 on a Monday morning and I said, “We forgot to say Good Morning.”

I held her up to the window, the baby almost two, and together we said, “Good Morning, God. Thank you.”

Once outside, she ran ahead through the field and picked tiny yellow scattered all over wildflowers.

About the size of her finger, the pinky one, she gave them to me.

And I thought.

I could see myself living this way, no concern over fashion or makeup, no worry over whether I’m dressed according to trend.

How does a woman over 60 dress anyway? One who loves home most of all?

Silly but serious thought…I could live a simple life.

My food, the occasional PB&J and lots of fruit and for breakfast, cheesy scrambled eggs with bacon. Tomatoes and a little lettuce, crackers, Ritz, a splurge.

I am considering the ease of it all.

I could live this way out in the wildflowers under the cloudless blue sky.

I could seek this, I decided, as she beckoned me this morning, “Hurry, hurry!”

And I did.

And I will again.