Bird on a Limb

There’s a bird on the branch of the old pine tree. At first it sat sideways on the fencepost. I turned from my coffee and it caught my eye, it’s belly so full and white,

I could see from the window. It waited it seems for my turning.

I stared.

It sat.

I walked outside and naturally it flew away and then it crossed my path to perch in the crepe myrtle. Again, until I got too close and it took up to the sky to rest on the thick limb of pine.

I just read what I know in my morning devotional, a confirmation that my contemplation over seemingly insignificance is never as I’m described “too deep”.

Nothing in our life is random or meaningless. Even when we don’t understand…

In Touch, Dr. Charles Stanley

The strangest thing it seemed occurred on Sunday. I’m traveling the interstate and notice what appears to be cloth of some sort, a red ribbon I decide.

I continue on expecting to see the breeze created by speeding cars lift it up and away.

Instead, I see a “red bird”, the bright red male of the couple, lifting itself frantic and fiercely hoping to avoid the white monstrosity of metal, my bumper.

With a loud bump the bird, failing to fly quickly enough meets my car and from there I presume lands someplace else most likely not surviving.

The thing is, it’s Mothers Day and my heart was looking for birds and feathers and such already, thinking of my mama long passed.

Melancholy over the void, determined to not be miserable.

However, I’m met with a bird’s tragic intersecting of my car.

“Ohhh no.” I moaned low and longing. My son’s reply, a knowing chuckle over my reaction, what other response could he give? Must be tough to be 20 with a mama who can be so thought-filled. Who knows, maybe he’s the same, my daughter too.

Deep thinkers us all, perhaps.

Surely knowing I’d not be able to let it go, this not at all happenstance happening to me on Mother’s Day, noticing.

Initially, I thought the worse, the vibrant male cardinal telling me disaster is near, someone’s passing is to be expected.

What a dreadful thought, an immediate conclusion, that “this is your sign” get ready for the taking away of someone you love.

Momentarily, we arrived and I entered the big sanctuary with my daughter and son having prayed prior, “Father, help me to be attentive to your presence, open my mind and heart to the Holy Spirit.”

The music was moving, the sermon meaningful. My eyes filled with warm tears to be reminded that I matter, when the statuesque young woman, oblivious to all the congregants opened her hands in rhythm with her soul and voice and sang and I cried quietly, understanding.

No one needed to know.

But me.

All these pieces

Broken and scattered

In mercy gathered

Mended and whole

Empty-handed

But not forsaken

I’ve been set free

I’ve been set free
Amazing grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me, oh

I once was lost

But now I’m found

Was blind but now I see

Oh, I can see it now

Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.

Broken Vessels, Hillsong

I can see it now.

“Pay attention.” I’ve decided the red bird was sent to say, from my Father.

“There are things you’ve stopped noticing as profound, the sightings of the birds and the sounds of their song, you’ve allowed them to be common, you’ve lost your keen longing to notice and be still in that notice.

You’ve considered like most, that it’s silly to believe this way.”

This morning, the bird with the fluff of fat white feathers for her belly and I had a staring contest. She sat, I watched. She moved and then returned and it’s not the bird who knows my need, nor anticipated my steps, impossible for that to be so.

It’s God who knew and knows.

Who reminded me to notice and made my pitiful and woesome imagining of the worst possible story into a reminder of what I’d lost, what I’d forsaken for other pursuits, distractions and decidedly doubtful dances with the devil.

A bird positioned in the middle of my interstate lane, mistaken for a ribbon, otherwise I’d have swerved to avoid and met God knows what.

Instead, it’s message so unavoidable and attention seeking…notice.

Pay attention.

Notice, again.

You forgot for a bit, needed to see.

God is everywhere.

The red birds and the fat mama birds and the voice of a woman who reminded me that He makes beautiful things of us.

God is everywhere.

Don’t forget to notice

His ways.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭55:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Happy Way of Life #8

I was outside literally two minutes or less, finally finished, I made my way to the spot I sit and watch the blue cool pool water paint patterns on my feet.

I’d been cleaning like crazy, Friday night instead of Saturday morning.

I was raised that way.

On Saturday morning, nothing happened until we cleaned.

My mama handed out assignments and by noon you’d have thought our house on the poor side of town was tucked away behind stately gates.

I adhere to her pattern, my daughter and son do too. We like things straight.

We like our places put together and pretty.

Now, it’s morning and I have Saturday’s day about to unfold. I’ve been awakened by a text, “You up?”

“In bed, awake”, my reply.

“Get ready.” her instruction.

Last night I tried to remember my mama’s particular words and I couldn’t. I tried to bring to mind her philosophical response, fashioned in blunt reply.

What I miss most of all are Saturday morning calls, coaxing me not worry…to let these two be, to know that they are good.

I can’t recall what it was, the thing I said just like her. I wanted to remember, tried so very hard.

I had to let it go hoping it comes back when I least expect.

Because last night, I sat in my spot, magazine by my side with a splash of wine in pretty glass. Relax, Lisa Anne.

Relax now.

Don’t stress. Let it be. Pick your battles. It’ll be fine. The truth always comes out and again, stress’ll kill you.

Momentarily, I heard the sound.

The arrival, I was ready.

Closer to me, at just the right time, I tilt my eyes towards heaven, and there are three.

The geese, the geese.

Mama always said, “Here they come.”

And yes, they did.

Again.

Happy Mother’s Day tomorrow in heaven. I’ll keep looking for you, mama, in my every single thing.

I’ll be listening for your reply.

Trusting More

I barely heard him over the crowd. He mentioned “trust” to her as she shared their big plans and hopes. “You know the place, Proverbs 3:5-6…” he said.

Mentioned trust, then looked towards me, and added, “Of course you do, you’ve got her.”

It was a gift, to be known as one who talks of God and trust and love to my children so that they know.

They know.

Such a pretty night, just the slightest breeze and the aura of a singer and a guitarist had me optimistic.

The singer’s voice gritty, heart and soul in his movements and melodies. The guitarist, honed in on his part; both, phenomenal talents.

Doing their thing, for us; but, seemed mainly for themselves, the satisfaction of sharing their souls’ song and string.

The vibe was easy, the night was soulful and my soul was full.

Leaving the day behind to happen upon a friend, see an acquaintance in the distance, people who’d otherwise be postured with just a nod of notice, reaching out arms for an embrace and saying more than ever before, glad you’re here.

I was taken to a place of letting go.

She took me there, my daughter. The night was splendid, turned my day around.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A mom stopped by yesterday to pick up a painting, a gift for her mother.

I’d leaned it against an empty chair and had two days with “her”.

Checked it over to be sure the paint and layered words were sealed, added a card denoting my life verse and contact info to the back.

Then, saw the place where trust had been revealed from under layers of paint.

And smiled, fascinated by my creation.

“I love this girl.” I told the buyer when she arrived and explained I love her not in an accomplished way or even satisfied over technique or tradition.

I’d realized earlier that whether it’s a paragraph or a painting, there’s a joy that comes that I’m not sure I can explain.

You step back, sit back and you know.

“This is me, this is mine. I’ve conveyed something that is sincere, genuinely me.”

Then you trust it more, you trust this thing God made you to discover.

You trust that painting, writing, singing or strumming unfettered and unfiltered are a part of His plan.

‘Tis so sweet…trusting more.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His Word

Just to rest upon His promise,

Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!

O’ for grace to trust Him more.

On Grace

Grace, when I get it all wrong, make it complicated and conditional

is like a too good to be true vacation won and they don’t tell you about your part, what it costs, the hidden fine print.

Grace abounds. I looked it up, “abound”.

It’s plentiful

Abundant

Exists in large amounts.

Reminds me of itself in the smallest of beautiful and sweet things.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Grace is much like the morning after the day you didn’t quite get it right or even got some things really wrong…from your harsh perspective of your own lofty expectations of self, at least.

Maybe grace is like taking the time to add some berries over the creamy oatmeal, a puddle of creamy cream in a pretty white bowl.

Maybe grace is just like that, is not in short supply, beckons us settle down, enjoy and embrace, taste and see the grace like berries in a bowl, so sweet and simply beautiful to sit and rest with.

To be savored.

Shame on me for complicating grace, making it what I can do for God instead of what I get to embrace from God.

Grace is a kingdom, with arms open wide.

Listen and walk in grace today:

Broken Things

If it’s true, you use broken things, then here I am Lord, I’m all yours!

Matthew West

It’s a melody of hope, an easy dance in our crazy, crowded and noisy rooms.

Our dance with grace, as if we’re the only ones of the floor, partners in a rhythm of content.

Grace is smooth, amazing I know; but, most often for me it’s subtle and settled. The way I see it, the way God knows me best and waits for me to see it again.

So, get up “Lisa Anne”. (I can hear my mama using my full name) from your list of bulleted to do’s and prayers and go, go with the abundant grace, with your day open all the more now to grace that abounds.

On grace, go.

What Privilege

Prompted to write for five minutes on the word “Privilege”, I remembered last night the privilege to understand other women, them to understand me. I was one of four who spoke of being a victim of abuse.

Then, I recalled a mama joining in our discussion on bullying at our suicide prevention meeting earlier in the day. I was moved by her memories. Her daughter, now a professional and an adult, was intelligent, beautiful, the top in her class; yet, she did not walk onto the football field in an extravagant dress to be given her crown.

She quickly changed into her cheerleader uniform to carry out her part on the team. She was, afterwards met by vulgar comments about how “special she thought she was.”

Her mama said to this day she never talks about her Senior year of high school. So, I asked and her reply made me understand more clearly how I might be privileged when, honestly I’d struggled before to understand.

I asked, “So, your daughter was bullied by girls because she was beautiful and smart and because of race?”

“Yes.” she replied.

I understand more clearly what I’ll never understand fully.

But, this morning I’m thinking about another the privilege.

The privilege to take it to the Lord in prayer, the verse in the old hymn that talks about what a friend Jesus is and what a privilege to “carry everything to the Lord in prayer.”

Jesus, my friend seated right next to the Father is advocating for me, interceding on my behalf, surely I felt His presence last night as I took the stage before the sharing of “my story”.

I felt His presence, what a privilege,

The reason I add a little extra before my “in Jesus name”, a little extra closing to keep me ever humbly grateful.

“Because of mercy….”

Linking this post up on this blessed Friday morning with others who are considering “privilege”. Join us here: http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/02/08/fmf-link-up-privilege/

Closer to Love

I wonder if your first waking thoughts are placed there mid sleeping and waking by God as His way to say,

“Begin again, let’s go!

Follow my lead, follow your leader.

Follow your heart, your soul.”

I woke, thrilled to have slept past 7 and kept my eyes closed for a few minutes.

Did not reach for my phone.

I thought and thought again,

“Stop looking for likes.”

Then wrote it down, hoping it more deeply would sink in.

I’ve just spent almost an hour in between making breakfast and coffee and conversation about new cars with my husband, tracking down which blog post was most “liked”.

It was in 2014 and it was entitled “not knowing”. It was about my children and God and well, being okay with not knowing.

Stats show which day is best, which theme more enticing and I suppose which posts are so good that people click the little star that says “like”.

Actually, I don’t have a whole lot of “likes”. I do have a lots of views and viewers and some commenters who I always thank “for reading my words” and mean it, sincerely.

I was curious, then got weary of discerning my “likers” based on my stats.

What I saw was my life since 2014, I saw God’s guiding, his pulling me from the ditch of doubt, His rescuing me before I fall too far from the pit of pride and pedestal.

So, I’m more settled, less seeking and more set on seeing me as God sees me and

“likes” me.

Prayerful, this morning in my journal about writing for “Daughters of the Deep” and for Lisa Brittain’s “Saturday Shares” and other places my soul feels led and prompted by prayer and the Holy Spirit.

Places and people who I’d never encounter were it not for words and God, women like Nan Jones, women who write and women who don’t write; but, surely are praying. I am worried other making a list, it’s so vast, I’d surely forget one or two or three who make up my “community”.

This morning I read from My Utmost for His Highest and the thoughts are lingering and lined up, as did the other words and verses established for today.

I’m getting closer every day to the me God sees.

Not yet arrived, surely on my way though.

Noticing and embracing words like these, believing waking thoughts as God’s instruction and loving affirmation.

As you journey with God, the only thing He intends to be clear is the way He deals with your soul.

My Utmost for His Highest devotion

Closer to love.

Closer to God and speaking more bravely.

Two times last week, I believe my words came as a surprise to others (and me).

I’m so glad God brought you into my life.

Me, through God

The first time, a crowded restaurant and as a goodbye to our unplanned encounter.

The second, a parking lot after “so happy to run into you” send off.

Both times, I was sure in my saying so and both times, the ones who were with me, their smiles spread wide as the sky and we parted, all of us thinking of God.

So, if you’re reading this,

I’m so glad brought you into my life. So happy He brought us both here. me

Called “Precious”

Y’all, I often minimize things or maybe it’s my pattern of not getting too excited about the way my life plays out. It’s not humility, the good kind of staying meek and quiet; it’s truly being joy-filled to the point of oh, my goodness can’t believe I’m seeing this stuff happening in my life.

It’s quiet confidence making itself embraceable, tangible.

And to think,  I’ve only just barely begun to surrender!

 

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“Do not fear, only believe.”  Jesus  

 

You might find it small. I consider it God showing me more clarity every day and that I am loved. Nan Jones found my blog through another blogger. She asked me to write. She first asked me about what is happening in my life now, what are my prayers, what is on my heart. I answered by telling of my prayers for my daughter’s healing and she asked me to write about it.

At first, it was all fluff then I decided to be truthful about fear and believing, the lessons I’ve been learning in my listening.

She’s sharing my words and my art here.  I am so very grateful for yet another person God in his infinite wisdom “enlarged my borders” with, people who I never knew might be my teachers, my guides, my spiritual pointers of the way to walk, to write, to be unafraid.

We’ve never met, yet she says she sees me as “precious” and all I can do is smile and cry just a little to know that I am called precious. Finding God in Quiet Confidence

 

Thank you, Nan! Thank you so!