Conviviality, Despite All

contentment, coronavirus, courage, Faith, family, hope, kindness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing

I follow an author, Priscilla Garatti, who lives nearby. I imagine meeting one day. There are a handful of authors, bloggers, artists with whom I feel kindred. Their creativity is like I hope mine comes through, with depth, honesty and a belief that we can still hope.

On this sunny Sunday morning, I wake groggy from cold medicine and I read Priscilla’s most recent post about a dream I’ve found to be teachable for me. It contains the word conviviality which I had to look up.

I’m glad I did, glad I can now hope for togetherness despite pain, angst, differences or simply changes in relationship.

Conviviality despite perhaps unkind words, taking into consideration the pain of others before distancing myself or adding to their distress.

I encourage you to follow Priscilla.

Priscilla K. Garrati

Happy Sunday!

Continue and believe

Time To Grow

Advent, confidence, contentment, doubt, Faith, hope, love, memoir, Peace, praise, Prayer, rest, surrender, Trust, wisdom, wonder

The orchid, delicately teasing me with the buds barely visible, has been nothing other than knotty branches since I (read the instructions) shook the dust off the gnarled roots and repotted it.

God will help her when morning dawns.

While the dollar store Christmas cactus is popping out fuchsia shoots.

Left alone, barely watered since a Christmas last year with no blooms even hinting.

I thought “cease striving” last week, worried over the decision to order an extra 100 calendars from the printer.

I told myself, based on your history, forget about it, let it go, it’ll come back around, the interest in the calendar with your art.

Today, I woke at 5:00 and thought again, “cease striving”.

Let come what may.

Let things grow in their own time and way, not yours.

These are words I tell myself with regularity.

I opened my Bible to find Psalm 46:10 to read the psalmist’s same recommendation.

It wasn’t there. Instead, the words are “be still” in every translation I searched for comparison.

Somewhere I, and I believe others decided we may need a tone more disciplined, more direct.

“Cease striving”…with perhaps, once and for all added for emphasis, at least for me.

Psalm 46 is about rest. It is an exhortation to remember the strengths of God, his handiwork and plans.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling.

Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns. The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Selah”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭46:1-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe.

Be still. Cease striving.

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
Thursday

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
Acceptance

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. https://www.lisaannetindal.me/

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
Trust

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.