My July newsletter is about hope. It’s more than just a pretty word.
Read here if you like!
My July newsletter is about hope. It’s more than just a pretty word.
Read here if you like!
The rain subsided enough to get a walk in.
I determined to pursue my daily unraveling.
The sky no longer threatening, the storm separating the colors and the background pale blue grew larger before me.
The grey only narrow stripes of color like paint laid down on a canvas, the palette knife technique.
Rain like water misted from the bottle kept to keep moist the canvas, the grey diffused.
God’s fingers like the biggest thick brush now blending, muting color.
At peace with the presentation.
The exhibit now open for my viewing.
The crepe myrtle petals are sopped like kitchen sponges and hanging low like bursting ripely fruits just waiting for my indulgence.
And it happened again.
What’s this lightness in my gait, the awareness of pep in my step and of belief I’ll take off running once I make it round the bend and just maybe take an extra hill?
Peace, I decided as I took the final home bound hill.
It’s peace that has taken the bricks from your feet.
Peace that says take your gifts and give them to whomever will listen, will read, will be curious over how you moved from burdened fighter to learner to victim no more.
A thought came clearly, I imagined myself confidently telling others.
I give God all the glory. Without God none of this would be possible for me.
Peace is possible.
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”
2 Chronicles 15:7 ESV
Continue and believe.
Linking up with others at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Take”.
I saw the early sun thinking it’s been awhile.
Not since morning stepping out the back door with “Colton Dixon” aka “big brown lab” aka “Colt 45” were my everyday thing.
Back in the day. Now he’s a big shot Charleston dog!
I have a puppy as of yesterday.
I named him Charlie but it seems he looks more like a cool name than that, I might call him “Char”.
Char like charcoal, short for Charlie, kinda hip, kinda retro funky.
So far not so bad as far as training.
He knows me and knows his my voice calling his name.
I know him, beginning to anyway, not speaking to soon…
We’re getting into a pattern, play, pee outdoors, poop as well, play, crate time, pee outdoors…
Simple things, simple changes.
Simple Friday mornings now and all the others with early sun and puppy.
Shall be about the same hopefully ’cause there’s something good about sameness, morning sun and puppy breath.
Where are you going? Who are you becoming?
What scared you that is not so scary anymore?
Are you on the cusp of you, giving God the corner piece you held in your palm in your lap at the table, leaving your puzzle unfinished.
Were you afraid to give up the missing piece of your story because it’s been incomplete for so very long?
Being complete will be different, do you worry you won’t fit?
The unafraid puzzle of you?
Someone has trimmed the branches, removed the excess growth from the shrubbery.
The walking trail has clean borders, limbs and weeds are stacked in a corner on the curve pile.
I walk and hear the rustling, turn to see the bird.
Not like before, I’m not startled by the rustling, unable to know what was stirring in the brush.
I’d pick up my pace, oddly thinking I was being pursued and I walked as fast as I could from the source of the noise.
But, yesterday the clearing caused my turning, a small rabbit, baby bunny waiting to be seen and a trio of crows happy to have discovered a nest.
The squirrel in the undergrowth scurried up a tree, a cobalt blue butterfly fluttered past my cheek.
The elusive blue bird again made certain it had been seen.
I walked on towards the wide space grateful for the clearing.
In the evening I drove home later than I’d planned and the traffic was easy, the big trucks staying in their lanes.
I considered the wide sky, the 3/4 moon fuzzy from clouds to my left and drove straight into the place that kept me coming.
Beckoning me forward, causing me to want to call my daughter or anyone.
Have you seen this sky?
Knowing every person on earth should see it, the way God welcomes our notice.
The way He takes fear from our paths, the way He widens our walkways and calls us to see.
To see ourselves bravely and more clearly once we step into His clearing.
Continue and believe.
“This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”
Psalms 91:2 NLT
linking up with other writers who are writing about goals.
Faithfulness to continue on brave new paths.
I’m prone to exploration of words and their meaning. I read a word and wonder,
Do I really understand this?
I read the word “awe” in a devotional about asking God for what we need.
I proceeded to search and found to be awed means to have an experience that creates a reverential fear, amazement or a word that sounds pretty to me, “wonderment”.
An observation or encounter that prompts the sound, “Ah…”.
As if awe, the experience has a sound all its own.
On Friday as I dressed for dinner with friends and dabbed a scent on my wrist, I told my husband, “I need a lighter scent.”
Then added, “You’re fortunate, you know. Most women don’t go without these kind of things.”
He grunted and added his comparable going without things like boats and such.
I made a list of things that do matter but don’t. Better clothes, better hair, new paint on our dated walls.
Less belly fat, better teeth, more art seen and sold, the courage to finish the book, the assurance that my children are okay.
Things on the periphery of my life, details of my days.
God pulled me close, caused me to ask to be closer.
I cried then prayed.
To acknowledge, I want a God experience, an occurrence with the Holy Spirit.
This morning, I asked for awe.
I asked God to show me His glory, like Moses who turned to the bush in the desert to be met by God in reply.
Moses who then told Joshua, keep telling the people to follow, to seek the Lord, to seek to be awed.
“the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Numbers 6:25-26 ESV
To have their countenance changed by grander things than food and water, to be aware of God.
Maybe discontent builds desire.
Maybe grander prayers bring my awareness of the grandeur of God.
I believe it to be so.
Lord, I want to be awed by your glory. I want to be drawn to notice you and to turn, my attention captured until I linger, I turn to see you longer enough to see myself through you.
Lord, show me your glory. I ask to be awed.
Because of mercy, Amen.
The hydrangeas are bluer this year. The blooms are so abundant that my house and my daughter’s are decorated by them.
The ground must be different this year somehow, the soil’s season somehow rich and new.
May I be new as well, may my soil hardened by hardship become more broken and opened to nutrition from you.
May my life yield awesome beauty, healed and healthy because of you.
“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.”
Hosea 10:12 ESV
Happy Sunday, ya’ll!
God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.
I am not a singer.
I mean I don’t ever sing with unleashed joy in the car or even in the shower.
I do love music and I’m fascinated by those who sing freely.
No surprise, music and lyrics just somehow seem to live in me.
Like most every single thing, songs become thoughts.
I sometimes wonder how there’s enough space for all the swimmers in my ever growing pool of deep thinking.
I wake with words lots of mornings, a hymn or an old Southern song…
Kinda crazy, ’cause you won’t find “The Gaithers” on my Pandora.
But, the room was cool this morning and I woke with ease and thought of
“What can I learn about myself today God, to help me see the Lisa you know?”
Then, the tune, a swaying sort of call…
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…there’s just something about that name.
So, I rose and began my day in search of wisdom.
A mind more aware of God’s helping and of me. This I seek.
I landed in Proverbs before the second Thessalonian letter and circled back to Psalm 120.
Proverbs gave me this kernel, my interpretation of verses 5-8 of the fourth chapter.
Wisdom comes when the dust of the lesson settles.
I’m fascinated now by the Enneagram, only vaguely interested before.
Once I realized I most accurately lined up with “4” I wanted to say, oh, no more.
It was too much me, too clearly conveying my responses to life and most everything.
I wanted to abandon the idea of me, the one who looks back not forward and the one who likes to play pretend in response to hard things and therefore, just sort of fairy tale them away.
Or write tragically stories with scary ending, never a mediocre story, always unrealistically happy scenes or worst case scenarios. Reading this truth of me makes me cringe.
But, acceptance is the first step to healing I believe.
Oh, so me, bravely honest in calling myself out.
Or the one who anxiously seeks to be known and understood, the one who feels most everything in ways that make no sense to anyone else at all.
Unless, they’re a 4.
I was unhappy with the spot on “fourness” of me.
But with understanding comes the prize of a well guarded friend named wisdom.
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her.”
Proverbs 4:5-8 ESV
Knowledge comes when we are quiet and willing seekers, open to learning more in every situation and in every day.
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me.”
Psalms 120:1 ESV
Who am I to say where learning comes from?
Intelligent researchers and compelled understanders who were open to learning created a list of nine personalities, perspectives called stances.
I am open to seeing myself from their perspective because I am open to becoming a student of me.
Strange it may seem that a book about numbers could bring clarity to what I consider my calling, that the progress I’ve made towards healing might be complemented by wisdom compiled by humans.
Not really, we’re all here on earth to be helpers one of another.
Helpers towards the place our creator will most clearly be seen through the works of our minds, hands and the peaceful countenance in our eyes.
Clarity in increments.
“…that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ESV
Heavenly wisdom and earthly knowledge working together to make me more of what God sees.
If you sense I’m still a little tentative in my Enneagram quest for knowledge, you’re quite right.
Still, as the prophet Isaiah taught, God places teachers everywhere to remind us that the bread of our adversity only serves to guide and teach us and that others on our road have insight we should know.
Learn every day.
Continue and believe.
Believe and continue.
Jesus, what can I learn today to be the Lisa you know?
I am open to knowing now.
To asking, calling, singing softly every day…
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus
Let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there’s something about that name.”
We walked in the heat and kept going until we found shade.
We didn’t stop to rest.
We kept going because we know the pattern. We know where there is sun there will be shade.
We kept walking because the grassy field borders the man made trail, the one where the strong roots are revealing their tenacity.
They’ve broken through as if knowing it will cause our steps to favor the earth, the grass.
To remind us, it is hard here; nevertheless, the soft places remain.
“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”
John 1:16 ESV
The old hymn with the sway in its notes
Reminds me of an old chair moaning as I rock.
I’m sitting on a big back porch and the breeze although warm too early this year is steady and sweeps softly on my cheek.
The chair is old.
I want to repair it, have it dressed in new fabric, have someone who knows how make the seat and back not so noisy from the pressure of its sitter.
Still, it allows my sitting, it allows me to settle there and it tests my tolerance for the noise unpleasantly necessary.
I could sit still, I could not encourage the back push and the forward pull of the place behind my knees that leads to the rocking.
But, I don’t.
I sit in my aunt’s old hand me down chair and I rock.
And it allows me to continue there.
Grace is that way.
Grace knows we might be annoyed by things and others that we keep responding to in the way that causes even more annoyance.
Grace waits for us to settle down, stop the thing we do that brings frustrations we could so easily let go.
Or accept them and notice less the noise and more the joy.
It never leaves us.
Continue and believe.
Linking up with other story tellers here:
These thoughts on fear are so very true!
A life lived reluctantly is not what God has in mind for any of us.
Paul reminded me this morning in a passage that’s a paragraph with multiple underlines from a time and times before.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do:
forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
Philippians 3:12-16 ESV
Beckoning me to remember who I was before when I’m disappointed in who I am now.
Reminding me it’s not at all easy, otherwise he’d not have used words like “pressing” and “strain”.
Paul’s words are true and valuable, validation for me that I’m not who I was before.
He wrote that God will let us know when we think otherwise about what is most important, the “upward” call, the movement of our motivation based on our relationship with Him.
Look up, Lisa Anne.
Look up and move forward, learning even more than what you thought was enough so far.
Learn from the pressing, the straining, the uncomfortable rub of life that is making new wine from your bitter grapes.
Continue and believe.
Continue towards the goodness that is yet to be fully known.
I believe God is pleased that we think of Him, ponder, consider His ways.
“Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?”
Proverbs 8:1 NIV
That’s just another example of His grace.
I believe God sees our gradual growth and celebrates rather than pontificates over why on earth has it taken her so long to arrive here, why can’t she stay in this place?
I believe God is simply happy to see our return, our return to believing that He knows.
I’m certain that morning is the most optimum time for gentle instruction.
I’ve not a clue as to why I woke up this morning with the question to myself.
How are you waking, with regret or redemption?
Why, oh why must I wake with such deep considerations?
Or maybe we all do, just keep them to ourselves.
Makes good sense, your brain filters your thoughts all through the night, transfers them to the place where the finished and important product, a lesson is delivered.
Voila’! Here you go! This message is just for you! God
Are you smiling now, imagining God saying “Voila'”?
I think sometimes I think the oddest things and then realize there is always a reason.
A secret waiting to be revealed.
To be researched, to be determined what it is exactly God wants me to know, to hold on to as my own.
Wants me to u-turn, don’t go back that way, you were progressing, see now…stay here.
Be at peace.
“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
1 Corinthians 14:33 ESV
Someone called this morning by accident. Her Bluetooth dialed the wrong Lisa. I knew her voice, thought Lord have mercy, did I call her and forget I did?!
But, I hadn’t and she reminded me of our relationship which led to me telling her what I’m doing now, hoping to use my grant writing skills to work with causes I believe in.
And that led to her telling me she had “chills” now because of an idea she has to strengthen the cause she is over.
We talked about it further and even longer about our faith, about how God wakes us to new opportunities every day and how none of them are accidents.
I considered her truth.
She considered mine as I shared with her my waking thought, regret or redemption, which will you choose to frame your day?
She said “Oh, that’s wise.” “Thanks”, I said and thought, thank you God for this confirmation of my next steps and direction.
Of letting some things go unattended to give my energy to what is new, even unseen, sort of brewing.
So, what is this state of mind and heart called “spiritual maturity”?
It is waking with regret less often in light of your redemption.
It is waking with the clear and attainable path towards peace.
It is recalling the stuff you felt God telling you to do afraid even if there’s fear in the room because there’s a reason you don’t know that God wants you to go, to be something He sees as necessary for others in the room.
He has us go places we don’t understand.
It is being attentive to a nudge that becomes a lengthy pause because you are still enough to become more wise, to receive either good or disappointing clarity so that your peace is not stolen and so that you grow.
That’s redemption, my friend.
Understanding what it is that is the taker of and opposing force of your peace.
Spiritual maturity is a splendid and secretly personal gift.
It is a fervent fire inside kept alive by your yearning to learn more, know more of God.
It is an acknowledgment of better days, contented minds, and restful nights because of your redemptive choice to forgo regret.
It is knowing you are still growing. It is glimpses of the secret place, the view of you through God’s eyes.
It is not always easy, nor is it difficult at all.
The secret for me, intentional choosing which thoughts I allow to write scary, hurtful and impossible to understand stories.
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
Romans 8:6 ESV
To set my mind on the awakening things of my mornings.
Lord, help me to stay quiet enough to know which way to stay my thoughts and which way my words and work should go. Because of your redemptive mercy towards me, Amen
Shall I attempt to paint you or no, simply rest in what you told?
Walking by with repetition and only glancing
yesterday stopping to see you
To listen, draw near?
Sense your saying,
More than enough.
Give from what is necessary,
Do away with what is not needed.
Sacrifice, give up the convenient empty fillers for fullness you only cautiously believe.
Empty yourself of excess.
To believe in more.
You have settled so long.
Believe now and join in
the cycle, the circle, the life lived in light of regeneration.
Bad to good, hope despite harm, trauma recalled only footnotes for mercy, references of grace.
Begin and begin again.
Like the petal cupping useful fallen carpels,