Light, Your World

What’s the sunrise like in the world where you wake?

Is your view hindered by high building, hard structures or is your inability to see the light a barrier of your own making, a filter because of your unpleasant thoughts based on imperfect circumstance?

All of us, different and yet our days are lit the same way.

Distracted? Disenchanted? Less than optimistic because of imperfection or depression or hard circumstance?

How in the world are our lights supposed to shine when we feel so dull, uncertain or burnt out?

Burned down by our own dimming of our light or worse, someone once again making dark our days, heartbreak despite the glimmer we had of hope.

The country road I take is always busy early.

The curves are predictable now before I see the sunrise. Headlights approach and I steady myself, flip my lights to dim hoping they kindly reply in a soft nod.

Homes are popping up, close together or close to the road, some situated in a low down a path valley.

The road to my daughter’s, the road into town for many has become a community.

I notice the lights on the newest one I like, a modern take on country home. Sleek architecture with clean lines.

Christmas lights, a straight line across the front and one small new tree is curtained in loops of string lights.

I pause and remember my thoughts on such displays, Christmas lights on trees with no sense of order, no symmetry, no design.

No, I don’t want lights outside if we can’t do it right!

My husband asks and I tell him I don’t want lights outside if they can’t be just right, don’t want the display that says hey let’s throw these lights up in the trees and see how they land, see how they shine.

I have always been opposed to such a haphazard plan.

A home near ours has the new idea of lighting that appears to be perfect, fits neatly under the roof line and well, it is perfect. The one perfect tree wears Christmas. It is covered in a mesh overlay of sprinkle.

As neat as a pin, a very quiet display. Set for the season, perfect in a clean and closed fashion to me it seems.

The lights are in place and will shine unchanging til the new year.

A settled and set display on the outside, a view that is unchanging.

I thought of my longing for perfection, my determination to be splendid or nothing at all.

I wondered if the light I display has become so driven towards perfection that I appear unwelcoming.

Or maybe if I’m close to not shining at all.

The Book of Job mentions light twenty-seven times. Job wishes the light would just go away, the darkness made more sense and he longed for death. He wished he had never been born, never seen the light of day.

The light reminded him of his dark place as if to say if I can’t make sense of this time, this place, I don’t want to see it!

“Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain; may it never see the morning light. Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to see all this trouble.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭3:3-6, 9-10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The life of Job fascinates me, the way an undeserving man can suffer such bitter and destructive nonsense, question God, lose everything, experience despair and continue to consider that God might still be God and be good.

“God rescued me from the grave, and now my life is filled with light.’”

‭‭Job‬ ‭33:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Maybe we’ll string lights in all the trees this year, spread them out across the shrubbery, the bright orange extension chords undisguised in the day and our front yard a maze of electricity source.

For the glorious display when the darkness comes.

Maybe we’ll have lights again.

Imperfect but bright, this might be our display.

On the mornings I keep my granddaughter, I’m excited for the sunrise where she wakes.

We step onto the back porch all bundled and bright she is.

The rising sun is unobstructed there. The land is wide and the horizon only tops of trees.

Good morning, God! Elizabeth and I say.

The display is always brilliant, takes my breath away.

The same sun rose at home this morning, I almost ignored it.

Stepping outside with the puppy, I realize over my shoulder, the sky is ribbons of magenta, coral, powdery blue.

I snap a photo and then pause to admire the camellias.

I’m remembering the little lighted tree, the imperfect display, obvious in its sparse simplicity.

Simplicity keeps calling me back towards the “color story”.

Simply write it, keep it simple. You’re no theologian, Lisa Anne; but you do have a brilliant story.

Don’t we all?

“Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:15-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Hope and Strength 2020

I sometimes wish I didn’t love both.

Art and words.

I paint what I call “female forms”.

Some call them angels.

I’ve designed a 2020 calendar. Each month has a thought, a little nudge and a Bible verse.

11×17 on ivory, images large enough for framing.

More photos later and I’ll add to my shop.

For now….just writing about it here.

I’ve done something new.

Feels like a whim.

Is a whim a leap of faith?

Maybe.

Maybe.

More info on ordering this week!

Us With Others

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My Bible is open for the first time in almost a week and I’ve found the scriptures’ take on an expression I went to bed with.

I had been thinking of how I’m perceived, in a crowd of strangers who don’t know me, amongst artists and shoppers, women, their children.

For the first time in the bulk of my years it wasn’t about my shoes, my hair, my jewelry, my purse, or even my perfume.

I’ve been without my favorite scent called “Happy” for a bit and so the scent on a not so clear and cool day? I’m hoping it was “Dove” laced clear and clean aroma.

Most of us want to be found “worthy” of good things, pleasant to be with, able to hold a good conversation.

We want to have comparable lives to the ones we are with.

We want to be okay being with most everyone.

Before sleep last night I followed a thought trail to the question of what it means to walk worthy of Christ.

What a life that throws out all other measurements of worth held by society and individuals and simply is focused, content, and well, really just happy to only have one assessor of worth so to speak.

Then I wondered how walking worthy would really look, not me looking at me, but others’ views.

The Book of II Corinthians has four chapters spread across two pages in my Bible.

On the left margin I’ve sketched what looks like a steep hill going up a curve and towards a tunnel. I must’ve been reading Paul’s words about how we may think we are irrevocably affected by our pasts.

But we have lives resurrected, we have hope.

“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There are some things I shouldn’t have survived. Before, I questioned how and why I made it through. Now, I’m quite certain my present life, the nearness of God, is the reason.

On the right hand margin, there’s a sketch of what I’ve begun calling “margin girls”.

This pencil sketch is an early one with no color and at her feet, I’ve drawn a clay pot and a beautiful rose.

As Paul continues his writing, Chapter 2 is about triumph over our pasts. This is the place where the verse lives that describes what our walk is when we believe, what our aura and aroma will be amongst others.

He also owns his own horrible and murderous past and writes that if we’ve been forgiven, the best thing we can do is to forgive others as well.

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭2:14-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It occurs to me now, I used the word “peddler” just last week as I described how I detest convincing, imploring someone through my own neediness that they need to purchase a painting.

” Peddlers”, I think of insincere and unconvinced vendors.

That’s not who I want to be, when I offer up my belief in Jesus as something others are open to believing.

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No, I share the meaning behind the layers in a piece and onlookers are captivated, drawn closer, decide they’d like to own what God has helped me create.

The idea of the painting, the aroma of Jesus in me, inviting curiosity, not unpleasant.

If I’m found worthy, I want to be found a gentle, confident, pleasingly consistent scent of grace and mercy, salvation through my belief in Jesus.

Years ago, two or three, I heard the Holy Spirit say to me

This is your treasure…your art and your writing.

I was thrilled to be found worthy of such a calling! Impressed that I had progressed to such a place, excited…okay, finally it’s my big break kind of thinking.

But, I’m learning slowly, a treasure is small at first and may never be grand or spectacular at all or in an earthly way.

Instead, the treasure only increases in worth when it’s given back through uncertain and timid hands to the one who made it after all.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:7-11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The thing about God and His teachings through the words of people like Paul is that we don’t understand it fully all at once.

Over time we ponder what is the aroma of Christ that those around me should sense?

What does it really mean to be clay in the potter’s hand waiting to be made into a vessel in which can rest our undeniable faith?

What does it mean to discard all self and others’ assessments of our ability and worth and walk only with one goal.

I want to walk worthy of the God who gave His Son and gifted me through grace to have the Spirit of Jesus in my own very soul. I want to live worthy of this, nothing more.

I suppose if their were a new scent, maybe the Clinique scent called “Happy” I loved so much before, I’ve outgrown.

I’d wear a new aroma, one called “Content” if I owned another pretty bottle.

How are your growing, measuring your worth and your worthiness?

Are you content?

Are you learning?

Content in not suddenly complete and completed?

Content in the balance of caring for the treasure of you, the treasured things you were created to share.

Continue and believe.

You are God’s treasure.

Keep learning.

Strong Standing

I ease up slowly and turn to plant my feet, sockless, on the floor that my husband warned of germs. I don’t sleep well in socks, have to have space for moving my toes, can’t be entrapped.

It is not lost on me that the day before I lose my footing, I listen to a podcast about trees, about God’s plan for trees to be meaningful, have significance for us like they do in the Bible.

To not be cut off. Like hope in God, rooted deeply, strong and reaching.

It is not lost on me that I’d been pondering how mysterious is our God, how necessary my dependence on Him is, and that for days I’d been encircling the word “Surrender”.

It is not lost on me that I’d become a little entitled, sure and pompous over my good and strong health.

Everything happens to have us consider the lesson of it.

Yes, I believe everything does happen for a reason.

On Tuesday morning, vertigo came like a hurricane.

I was leveled. Sick, panicked, scared. I was unable to regain my footing, I was swept away on the waves of nausea and sad, sad frantic anxiety.

You’ll maybe laugh over the simplicity of my conclusion.

I was humbled.

Two nights in the hospital to be sure the panic wasn’t cardiac related chest discomfort.

I fell asleep aware of my standing.

Across the hall, a man with dementia who kept prompting the nurses with the erratic pressing of his button.

He cried loudly through the night.

Maybe next door, or close at least, another loud shouter, violent and a threat due to mental condition, he prompted announcements across the hospital speakers of a particular code.

The man with dementia had a visitor with a peace lily in hand and then later a quiet uncertain visitor, looked to be his same age, he knocked timidly and then entered. A third visitor told the cafeteria people the door was closed because we were praying.

I listened. I considered my condition.

Somehow the other man calmed down eventually.

At night I pray for my family and friends. I recall them by using the alphabet and I include all the M’s I know for example, before moving to “N”.

It’s not lost on me that until the scary vertigo episode, I’d never included my well being in the “L” request.

I never pray for my own health other than in a way that always calls to account how I’m certain I don’t deserve to be here.

Or is it because I felt others needed it more? A bit of pride, a big mindset of control?

So, I prayed God would help me navigate this new condition and that He’d forgive my thinking I was “all that” because “I’m 59 and all I take is melatonin!”

Yay me!

Don’t you wish you were so lucky, so fortunate, so fit?

It’s not lost on me that for weeks I’d been getting closer and closer to really seeing that

I’m not able on my own.

Don’t you see it all comes together?

God has been weaving my path to this current understanding for longer than possible for me to comprehend.

You can be strong but you can’t stand alone. You can be stubborn in your perseverance but you’re not without vulnerability nor are you invincible.

You’re not completely well all alone, independence, a fault.

The sunrise on the second morning of hospital waking was so splendid I just waited. I postponed my experimental testing of my balance, my rising to stand and walk and I simply stared, gazed, considered.

You’re still standing. Still standing strong.

Even if you had to be shaken to attention.

God holds out as long as possible to teach an important lesson.

He’s more patient than I deserve.

The lesson? Rest and trust.

Slow down, Lisa. Your body cannot keep up with your erratic physical schedule and not enough rest mind!

In the book Reforesting FaithMatthew Sleeth, a former medical professional, atheist, carpenter discusses trees and their significance in the Bible. He shares his seeking and beginning to believe in God on the Annie F. Downs podcast. You can listen here:

Dr. Matthew Sleeth

I can’t decide if my favorite part of the conversation is that he stole a Bible and began reading with Matthew’s book or the quote that describes how God had been with him all along even when he didn’t believe.

If you don’t believe in God it doesn’t mean God doesn’t believe in you. Matthew Sleeth

I woke at home this morning having slept okay after falling asleep with a Proverbs verse.

“In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:14‬ ‭NLT

I walked with puppy, back on routine and I paused at my little spot with one chair under the pine situated in the corner.

I hadn’t thought of it until this morning, this not so grand pine is growing, enough for shade and to be the arm outstretched for a bird feeder.

This very pine, the source of me questioning my husband to myself. Why does he insist on replanting, why is he putting that puny little branch in the ground…I mean, the whole back yard is filled with strong pines?

Why can’t he stop adding new growth? Why does he insist on keeping every tree?

But, now, now this one is mine and it is still growing. It is not towering; but it is strong.

Strong standing, after all and welcoming the surrender to sun and rain and whatever wind might blow.

Strong standing.

Planted a long time ago and quietly surrendered.

Walking on level places, not stoic in the steadiness of my own feet.

Strong standing because He made me, kept and keeps me.

Continuing to believe.

Your hopes will not be cut short. Proverbs 24:17

Able, just not on my own.

God’s Peace, You are Free

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭30:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s exactly as surprising and joyous as they say, being a grandparent. Some may say, it’s what I’m learning, an infant requires of your attention, a full percent and it’s never a demand, it is a precious gift.

Complement it with an idyllic setting, open field, blue sky wide, leaves changing colors and a quilt on a back porch situated perfectly for a breeze.

I sing with abandon. She listens, smiles. The acoustics are so good. My voice carries. God is near.

Being a grandmother, big chunks of uninterrupted peace. My granddaughter is privy to God’s refining of me.

Perhaps, it’s her and God’s idea.

How can I keep from singing your praise?

I welcome the unlearning of the traumatized me, I acknowledge it may take a bit.

I envision clarity like a treasure I bring up to my chest or it’s a tug of war, the big mean boy grabbing at what’s mine and me, scared of being overpowered.

I used to give it away.

Now, I’m angry over its thieves.

My little bit of peace and clarity jerked from my arms and the aggressor running away, turned back towards me, sneering and laughing his ass off!

I’d have used asterisks for the s’s but I decided not to veil the truth of this thought and image, the abusive act of my peace being stolen.

In the dim light of day as a way of escape, a rescue for my hurting heart came this morning.

The answer?

All things are possible with God.

I thought it over and over.

This! This is real.

Not with self-care, not a new counselor, not a community or “tribe”, not a webinar or self-help book.

Not some instructor, well intentioned but profiting from my naive determination shadowed by doubt and discontent.

These are the things that draw me in, make me prey to promises only God and I together can fulfill.

Bold revelation, you may say.

When I write this way, I’m a little worried and then I decide someone else may need to explore this, this self-handicapping behavior, this lesson in knowing our weak places, being uncomfortable with settling there.

The closer we get to God’s gracious idea of us, the more miserable we are wearing any other garment or expression.

Clarity came and may be the less traveled road to peace.

This leg of my journey will lead to peace.

A rarely talked about truth for victims of trauma, I’ve heard it spoken many times by my kind and skilled counselor friend.

People return to negative patterns because this is familiar, this is safe. The sometimes unhealthy behaviors are the most fail-proof remedy we know.

Thankfully not return to allowing physical trauma, more the insidious spread of subtle abuses to self, the power of our thoughts, our mindsets that

Sabotage our freedom.

Compile all the days you lived under the thumb of something or someone, succumbing to the control, manipulation or unfair, cast aside treatment by something or someone.

The undoing doesn’t just happen like the snap of a finger and thumb.

Take it easy on you.

Then do two things, Lisa Anne.

Now that you understand what you’re doing, be grateful not debilitated, give yourself grace.

Stop seeking validation, support, or yet another conversation in which you expect another human to fully understand your distress.

It’s not possible and it’s not their place or fault.

Your wounds and your beautiful hopes are far too deeply layered for another human being to understand.

Something about early morning, God always speaks as if to say:

I filtered your fears overnight, here’s what’s left, the sure thing you must now know. All things are possible with me.

This place God has brought me to, saved me from, kept me safe…how on earth could I think it’s possible to continue on my own?

I jot the “Jabez prayer” every morning.

“He was the one who prayed to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory! Please be with me in all that I do, and keep me from all trouble and pain!” And God granted him his request.”

‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Today, I added little check marks next the lines in the beginning: I’ve been blessed, check, I’ve had my territory enlarged, check!

The last two things, I am still very much in need of, keep your hand on me God, keep me from self-harm, the thoughts that betray me, so that I won’t revisit, get caught up in my pain.

You see, I spoke of newfound freedom, the choice to live with hope not remorse. I made it seem so easy.

Yet, I didn’t give a thought to the multiple layers of harm that very hope would have to fight daily with the devil to stay real every minute.

The one thing just a glimpse of freedom will give, a strong and renewed will to fight hard against repeated entrapment!

An awareness that it is hard not to be a victim when you were one for so long.

It is hard not to be who you were.

Almost impossible.

It’s easier to be weak and manipulated than to be newly strong.

I boasted of hope, forgot I am not able on my own.

God is my counselor, my advisor, my strong encourager of looking forward not before.

This is not a grim post, only honest. I’m afraid honesty’s in my bones, got that from my father, God rest his quiet soul.

I rise now to continue the things He started in me, blessed me, continues to enlarge my territory through happy brave opportunities.

I’ve designed a 2020 calendar, available soon, each month, an image of a woman strengthened by hope and God.

(Hope to share by next week, tell you more about ordering.)

Some told me they were proud of me, well intentioned comments and I suppose make sense.

What I’m doing though, is just following through on a God-planted seed, an idea, God’s work through me.

Please don’t be proud of me. Together, let’s be proud of God.

I rise now to clean my “art and writing room”, to ready it for what is possible today.

Are you a victim of trauma, physical or emotional abuse?

My thoughts…be strong, believe in your freedom; but, don’t walk it out alone, without the one who knows you completely, God.

“Jesus looked at them and said,

“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭10:27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Believe. Continue and believe.

If Not For Ideas

I sit with the puppy, my mama’s quilt turned to the side with color, the puppy ate a rubber toy, the red ink of duck lips I concluded.

I flip it over, will wash it today. It’ll wait.

I think of my daddy when I think the word, “Idle”.

This daughter of his was altogether unprepared for independence and yet, I could charge my battery with a jump and when my little blue Celica wouldn’t start, I knew where to spark its start using a screwdriver to beat on just the right wire.

Crazy to think.

Resilience began late for me.

It hasn’t finished just yet.

On a Monday following a post about time chasing after things, I’m happy to have put my pen down, new to do list complete.

I’m sitting on the sofa, moving slowly into Monday.

The puppy is in heaven, our bonding getting better.

Positive reinforcement, not negative, consistent reward and maintaining my cues. What a job! He’s smart and according to the trainer, he really wants to please.

Full disclosure, I wanted a dog but chose a puppy.

Everything in life, a lesson…

Stay at it.

Someone said to me yesterday, resisting change and decision.

“Let’s just idle a little longer.”

I wonder what is their fear of moving forward.

I remembered my daddy telling me before the days of daughters stranded on the interstate with cell phones…I remembered his instruction.

Once you get it started, let it idle but not for long, give it the gas and keep going…My daddy, gone 21 years, this month on the 11th.

Warmth fills my eyes at the thought of me on the side of the road just outside of scary to me Atlanta, remembering how to start my car with a flathead screwdriver.

Wishing this morning I had thanked him for making me see that I was capable.

Capable combined with ideas.

Not able to be idle for long.

I’m learning it’s true what they say about confident waiting, about taking your hands and heart from a situation.

To be surprised when God shows up, shows out or simply gives a nudge.

Because I love understanding words, I compared “idle” to “waiting”.

Found “idle” to be not such a good thing: doing nothing, wasting valuable time, inactive or avoiding work.

See?

Waiting lends itself to a more hopeful stance: expecting, anticipating, to pause or my favorite, “stand by”.

I can visualize “stand by”.

It is evidence of believing truths like God fighting for me when I stay still. It’s indicative of faith, you know the whole enduring in hope of what you haven’t clearly seen.

Like the screwdriver in the hand of a scared and naive young woman about to flunk out on her art scholarship private college…

Waiting only takes a spark, a connection, one thing affecting another

And your engine is started.

You don’t idle. You put your hand and heart to the tasks, you know your ideas are like the pedal to the metal in the dark journey all alone, back home.

Back to you.

I think of a quote, knowing I don’t read nearly enough, so very grateful for recall.

Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.  Mary Oliver

 

New this morning?

Dare I share that secret sweet hopeful maybe idea?

A coffee table type book of illustrations, my art, my “Bible girls”, each girl, a story about hope.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Maybe, I’ll wait

and see.

Course Change

Does not wisdom call?

Does not understanding raise her voice? Proverbs 8:1

I heard them off in the distance and decided they were traversing through the warm fog towards the expected pond down the road.

I stood as the puppy followed his pattern, checking out the corner shrub, sniffing at the dirt; he is so slow in the mornings to do “his business”.

The sound of the geese came closer and I expected to see them fly over the four homes down subdivision.

Instead they were sounding very close.

I stood as the sound approached and there they were, two sets of geese perfectly positioned over me. So very close, I could see the pattern of their feathers and their soft curved bellies, their beaks breaking up the fog.

Two sets of seven or eight or so in their arrow design making their way to must be a new destination, course change, following new directions today.

The puppy scurried towards me and was startled, his little face looking up towards the sky as he hurried.

This is new for him, I thought; he has to figure out if he should run away or be okay, trusting their kind and sweetly patterned arrival.

Being safe and simply noticing.

Noticing God.

Like the random occurrence of the dragonfly perched on my cup poolside, it rested until I noticed and because I noticed, I captured it on my phone.

Someone asked, “You’re taking a picture of a dragonfly?”

I don’t believe I responded.

Because I had no idea the symbolism and I didn’t know how beautiful it and its traditional meaning would be.

Until this morning.

Until the meaning lined up with my prayer.

The Dragonfly normally lives most of its life as a nymph or an immature. It flies only for a fraction of its life.  This symbolizes and exemplifies the virtue of living in the moment and living life to the fullest.

I’m back to bedside prayers in the morning. To be honest it’s sometimes more like a long low downward dog pose, hoping for relief in the ache of low back.

I tumble from my bed to the floor determined to at the very least start well.

Start surrendered.

I think of the invalid who’d been so very close to healing waters but waited over half his life for someone to help him get well, help him from the ground into the water.

He waited to be noticed, for maybe someone to care and he used the excuses that well everyone else is beating me there, the line’s too long or perhaps, he felt the waters had lost their strength because of all the help they’d given everyone else…

Could there still be healing enough left in the water for me?

After all those years, he was paralyzed, not only his limbs but his mind and his soul.

Oh, man! I understand.

Stay where you are, settle in your place of thinking you can but never will.

“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”

‭‭John‬ ‭5:5-9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s no coincidence, the geese flying over, the visiting dragonfly and my different prayer this morning.

Lord, can my life truly be different? Help me live today in pursuit of the difference in me that only you know. Help me to be moment by moment today instead of rushing towards this evening, tomorrow or even next year. Can my life really be different? I’m willing to see.

I don’t think we know at all, even an ounce of what God might have planned if we are patient, persistent and willing.

I don’t think we see the magic and power of getting up from our “mats”… our places on the ground or the floor and embracing the change and changes God says are possible when we forget all the barriers, the doubts, the distractions and the pull of life backward or in unhealthy directions.

It may be slow. I’ll try to be steady.

I’ll go slow.

I’ll follow unknown paths perhaps.

Moment by moment, change will come and I’ll find myself in small yet surrendered places.

Positioned with Him because I moved from my worn out tattered and sad place and into the healing water.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

Changed.

Testament?

My husband described it as a “testament”, my description of my day.

And I didn’t correct him. I knew he meant testimony. Hey, that’s progress for me, the not correcting of word mistake.

He wasn’t there on Sunday, he had been called to work. I shared with him once I settled in back home standing in the kitchen.

He was at a loss for words.

If I’m honest, he and others sometimes are surprised by me and so, I leave them with a task, figuring out what it is that Lisa wants them to say. (Enneagram 4 indeed, me) 😊

So, I texted him the copied post from my Instagram, expressing the joy of my “beautiful day”.

Here you go:

So, today was baptism Sunday at True North. I’d forgotten about it. I usually try to prepare myself for the emotions it stirs. I watched people publicly professing their Savior, Jesus and my gut began to stir, asking myself when, why not already? Did that this morning and then actually “took my thoughts captive”, thinking it hasn’t been the right time yet, you don’t need to know the reason. I’d told my family, I’m going to get baptized, I am…the first time I was a little girl, scared to death of God, knew who Jesus was, didn’t know Jesus!

Thank God for mercy and a country preacher, I gave my life to Jesus when my children were little. My path hasn’t always been straight; but, I’ve known him beside me. Grace has kept me and grown me beyond all expectations based on my past and the human in me.

So, today I knew I’d be baptized soon, I would and because of God’s great kindness it would be the right time. I was at peace.

The pastor surprised the church today at the end, the baptism waters welcomed me and close to twenty others. I, as you might know, love words. But, words failed me other than “beautiful day” “can’t even express it”…God’s powerful timing.

I don’t anticipate anything now other than God’s continued provision of His plans for my life. I’m no more perfect because I was baptized today, I’m still a learner. I’m still a listener. But, oh my goodness thank God I’m not who I was, not last year, last month or even…before church this morning.

Early morning, it felt like an odd prayer, I asked God to help me understand obedience. He answered in my Utmost devotion. Obedience is simply knowing we were created to live a life in pursuit of God, to choose holy every time the choice is ours. Today, I told HB when the surprising opportunity to be baptized was given “I got to do this.” I believe she said “I knew you would.” I can’t be sure. My emotions were high, the Holy Spirit was powerful, it was to be honest, overwhelming.

Thank you to those who came to greet me, who smiled from your seat, called from Charleston when you heard.

Thank you, Jesus.

#beautifulday #madenew #faithful19

A “Testament” he said,

Wow, what a testament.

I’m googling testament, curious over its meaning.

I find he may have been correct.

I was wrong.

tes·ta·ment
/ˈtestəmənt/

…something that serves as a sign or evidence of a specified fact, event…

Yes, my testimony of last Sunday is indeed a testament.

A story worth retelling.

The Five Minute Friday prompt today is “testimony“, so many stories, one loving God.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/09/05/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-testimony/

Light Remains

Has your path left a long shadow behind you of late?

When you look back at before do you see only the grey, the narrow thinning of your best days?

This is not the case.

We rarely see the places our light remains. This, I believe is always always God’s intent, we don’t have to see it, see Him to know the light in us is never dimmed.

We don’t have to know the places the light he gave us remains.

Maybe that’s grace that says this is humility.

Maybe it’s mercy that says there’s new every morning, let’s move forward.

Some days I skip the Old Testament passage my guide tells me is for today.

Not today.

Job 29 and 30 is Job’s defense, his argument with God. I suppose you might say it’s sad.

But, it’s honest.

Job is recalling his standing amongst others, the way people responded to his walking by, the commitments he made to others and followed through. Maybe you’ve been in a similar place. Yesterday, God positioned me with a woman of faith, we caught up and she assured me she’d sensed some recent changes had been uneasy.

We were in agreement, God grows us up in those seasons, helps us not fight for our reputations, to sit in silence and let Him lead.

While I’d never compare my life to Job’s, I learn something new each time I turn to his book. Today, it wasn’t the inventory of all his good he reminds God of in these chapters. It was to me a couple of verses I think may have been his lasting peace.

His memories of the way he was with others. This cherished. What Job remembered being, doing, believing it was good.

“I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and the light of my face they did not cast down.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭29:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What a beautiful thing, to have changed the environment or lessened someone’s pain by being near.

Yes, this is enough.

More than.

My friend and I talked about the enemy yesterday too.

How revelations like the one above will try to be dulled by gossipers, questioners, disputers and even our own doubts about your heart and soul’s intentions.

We are human, we get drawn towards bitterness and hurt. We learn as we go, hard times increase our faith.

It’s the soft light of our faith that will remain in the same way it did in other former places.

God’s light is ever slow to dull.

I am so thankful for Job. He teaches me every single time. God is always good.

Always.

Always faithful as we endure for the sake of His plans not our own.

Linking up with other FMF bloggers on the prompt of BACK

Five Minute Friday

#thecolorsofmybible #butforhisgrace #faithful19

Job, the 5th Chapter

I forgo my regular pattern of following my daily Bible guide and I go back to Job.

I am curious as to whether I’d have been as intrigued by Job twenty or so years ago as I am today.

An Old Testament book that reads like a novel to me, not one with lengthy lineage lists of unpronounceable names or one that details all of the practices and laws, I love the emotion of Job.

The emotion of God in this book.

Would I have felt the same many years ago, years when I felt forgotten by God and others?

I don’t know.

Because God knows, I didn’t really know God back then.

But, He knew me.

He surely knew Job.

In Chapter 3 Job laments. Chapter 4 and then 5 are the first of the attempts to comfort, redirect, to talk about the perceived unfairness of God by Eliphaz, his friend.

Life includes the expectation of trouble he told him then told him to complain, God would understand, would intervene.

“For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭5:6-7‬ ‭ESV

Eliphaz is confident of Job’s innocence and so he tells him essentially, tell God how you feel and since He knows you’re a godly man, He’ll come through.

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty.

For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭5:17-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And so the chapter ends on a good note, a friend hopeful in his advice to a friend.

Chapter 6 of the Book of Job is 30 verses in the words of Job, a valid and lamenting complaint to God.

A plea for redirection, for rescue.

“Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭6:24‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As far as the rest of the story, (after a long while) God restores Job in new ways. Job’s old days of integrity, of blessing, of beautiful things, those no longer remained.

But, God gave more and He gave even greater understanding to a man who stuck with Him.

I suppose this is why I consider the Job story so important and uplifting in between the lines of damage, death and destruction for no reason other than one.

Trust God.

Trust God in smaller ways.

Trust God in your present day, your past is only a reference for all the goodness, the rescue from what could’ve, should have killed you.

Trust God in your unknown.

His hands hold your beautiful future here on this evil tainted earth and your unfathomably sublime and peaceful heaven.

Job, Chapter 5, a chronicle of the advice of a friend who eventually tossed him aside, named his “wickedness great” and joined in with Job’s wife saying throw in the towel, “curse God and die”.

Leaving Job with one sole friend, advisor and listener, God.

Lord, thank you for Job, thank you for his trials that were unmerited and for his decision to stay aligned despite confusion with You.

May I learn even more from him and from you. Because of mercy, I pray, Amen

Linking up with others here, prompted by “Five”.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/08/01/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-five/

Happy Anniversary, FMF!