Continue and Believe

Truly, I can’t think of a word more beautiful than belief.

It is synonymous with so many good things.

Unbelief on the other hand pops up and asks ugly things like, Are you sure? What are you thinking?

What will people think?

How on earth will you be able? What makes you think you can?

I thought the oddest thought as I walked into the post office yesterday. It crept up and seemed sincere.

What you persist in will cause others to persecute you. What you continue to believe God is calling you to do will be doubted by others.

I googled persecution and I don’t think it’s quite that bad, the reactions of others, cynicism masked as concern.

I’m certain though, that it is meant to curtail my continuing.

Unbelief from others feels like a low grade persecution, a pointing out of faults, a resistance of acceptance and unbelief is really just fear.

Unbelief is insidious, Lord help me stop its spread.

Catch it quick, stomp out its embers,

Don’t let it let me burn only briefly and then slowly fade!

“The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭9:24‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Understanding Better

I wear a bracelet with a charm that encases a mustard seed in a little glass bubble.

A gift I purchased for me.

I need reminding. I need to continuously seek more understanding.

I need to allow my fingers to find and cling to it occasionally, my reminder of faith.

I’ve found a newness of a feeling.

It feels like a treasure, my new enthusiasm for understanding the kingdom of God here on earth and in heaven.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:44‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Understanding of God that both fulfills my deepest longings and increases with assurance what I believe.

I believe more than before that heaven is better than here. The great mystery of it all confounds me less and absolutely intrigues me more.

The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in a way that included illustrations, parables?

Jesus told them it was important to him that they see.

Jesus feels the same about you and about me.

He’s intent on the increase of our understanding of him, of getting us as close to heavenly thinking as we can be.

If we only and simply even just a tiny bit in the beginning believe.

“Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And then we allow our beliefs to grow, we anticipate heaven while we walk more closely to God here on earth.

I’m getting better at believing, believing in what I can’t see and in the fruition of my journey and the flourishing of my faith and the gifts of God in me.

Getting better at trusting that with quiet fascination and intentional nourishment, I will see my faith and the works of my hands continue to grow.

He’s not finished with me yet. Brandon Heath

Linking up with others who are prompted by “better”

Better

What Can Be

Peace is possible.

I almost interjected this possibility to one and then to another.

One distraught and rightly so, I listened and became exhausted over my lack of anything I may be able to do.

I sat and simply took it all in.

Her dismayed lack of peace.

Another so burdened by wrongs and unable to live without fear, so protective and unbelievably afraid yet so very ready for something to change.

Both unable to know what might change their directions, what might help them understand the unfairness of their fate.

I have no real answers other than the three words seemingly from nowhere that are clinging to me and I, clinging to them.

Continue and believe.

I’m prone to storing up my interactions, sort of disengaging emotionally as I am present in my professional role and yet, the stories linger and they don’t stay buried for long.

I believe that is God’s way, to not waste any exchange meant for me to grow, to continue on and give words to feeling, maybe help another to grow.

I wanted to tell the mother grieving and in dismay that I still believed God is faithful and that I believed she could have some peace. But, I didn’t. It wasn’t the right time or the place.

I wanted to tell the one homeless with her daughter, terrified of everything, that life can be simple, dependable, peaceful I believe.

But, I didn’t. It wasn’t yet time, it seemed best to wait until she begins on her own to see.

See, peace comes to us in different ways, in our own separate time and place.

Jesus was the object of speculation and of disbelief and disenchantment, much the same way was John the Baptist.

The disciples were learning as they followed while the onlookers and the intellects were set on deliberations of who they thought the Son of God should be. I guess much of who Jesus appeared to be was not their idea of a “prince” or one able to bring about peace.

Jesus essentially said and continues to say, just walk with me.

“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

I imagine me alongside Jesus. We are going forward, we are making clear the path through muck and mud and I am smiling as I am looking straight.

I am content in the steadiness of Jesus’ steps.

So, I walk with Him.

He is doing the bulk of the work of getting us through the rough places, keeping me out of the ditches, breaking up the ground for the goodness and growth that will rise up behind us.

Jesus and I together, we are breaking new ground.

Not settling where I am. He says come with me.

Peace is possible. Continue and believe.

Like Saturday Sunshine

There was no hurriedness only a little curiosity over the day. The open day with possibilities until evening and then a time to be guests with friends.

Quietly, I lie waiting and watching and saw the little clementine colored circle peaking through the sheer in the open space of the blind.

Saturday is here and it has something to say. Says you’ve made it this far now let’s get going today; but, let’s keep the same pace.

The pace you gave a name to line up with your deciding to commit to being faithful.

Believe and continue, believe and continue.

Like the sunshine’s swaying smoothly shadows, it’s an easy feeling, like the Eagles old song it’s a “peaceful easy feeling”.

Believe and continue, no self-imposed pressure any longer, no succumbing to the doubt of others who may be intrigued by your continuing because all along they suspected you never would or could.

Believing God is with me, His Spirit, Jesus is for me, with me.

I am for Him.

It’s no longer about being worthy. It’s about continuing while believing.

It’s silently seeking and being met by something unexpectedly good.

The sunshine is splendid where I’m sitting, saying Come and see, come and see.

Eyes closed for a little longer and prayers added on, building one upon the other and then more and more that came to mind.

I open them at peace and find patterns now excitedly dancing on the blue places of the rug as if reverence has clearly met relief and together they have birthed belief.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Come and see what happens when you continue to believe…continue now with me.

True You, Letting Go of Your False Self to Uncover The Person God Created -Book Review

I’ve just finished a book that’s causing me to be more brave, to acknowledge my own unmet needs and my less than consistent motivation and faith.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I am hopeful for 2019! I’m rushing its beginning, my heart longing for change, helped along by a very important book!

My 2019 word, like a label, is Faithful. I’m believing more clearly that God is faithful, more importantly, I’ve decided it’s not too late for me to be faithful in a few things!

I considered deleting the opening sentence of this, it being characteristic of my brooding, possibly seen as seeking attention self, being pitiful. Too honest, too brave.

But, the geese flew over, a loud and harmonious chorus at the very second I felt regret and so I saw that as a sign.

Leave your truth there. It is time, use what you’re beginning to learn.

I’ve just finished a book I’ll read again.

True You by Michelle DeRusha

After reading about her “being called out by God moment” I was challenged to discover the true me, to label the labels I’ve worn all of my life, assigned to me because of circumstances out of my control and handicapped by some of my own mistakes.

But, I couldn’t do any of this suddenly, so I asked God, what are my labels, my idols, my self-handicapping behaviors?

And then I rested and returned to read more and to realize some of my behaviors, my default mindsets and choices are simply what I know as me, keeping me from becoming the me God sees.

I know how to halt my progress, derail the train as it approaches the life changing bend because I’ve not lived in the land of confidence and courage for long enough to extend my stay, to be welcomed in.

To believe it’s a place I could live.

In this book, I gained confirmation of this thing I do, putting limits on my blessings, selling myself short, minimizing my part in my arrival at the place of who I was created to be.

I make it less than it is, the good that’s come my way, through my own hands.

My grandson stood over me as I painted, finishing up pieces for my first exhibit. He sweetly said “You’re really good.”

I smiled and asked “You think so?” He replied yes and asked how’d I get so good at painting.

I replied “I just kept trying, I just kept learning.”

“No, you are a good painter ” he insisted standing so close beside me, captivated as I explained the use of palette knife instead of brush.

And I didn’t discount it, I didn’t insist that he was wrong. I didn’t minimize his sweet praises.

I didn’t do the thing I’ve done for so long, I accepted his assessment of me, I owned it, I believed it belonged.

He labeled me a “good painter”.

Crazy thing, I have been painting for so very long and until that little exchange I’d never felt I could be called an artist, “a painter”.

Always, oh well just the one who keeps trying, keeps trying, I enjoy it, it’s therapy, I had an art scholarship but I flunked out.

Strategically distracting from the accepting of just maybe I’m good.

In Michelle De Rusha’s book I was especially changed by Chapters Four and Five, the ones on brokenness and on dark and desperate periods she refers to as the “hard prune”.

In Chapter Four, I read of the emotional epiphany the author experiences as she comes to terms with her lack of intimacy and utters words to herself that must have surely broken her heart, that her heart was not as close to God as she’d believed.

I didn’t have clarity in my vocation, in my calling as a writer, because I didn’t know who I was in God. Michelle DeRusha

My thought? How brave and how very scary her self revelation!

I had to pause, knowing it’s for me quite the same.

Chapter Five describes seasons of doubt, depression, dark nights of souls.

Unbeknownst to the world until long after her death, Mother Teresa suffered from a long and relentless dark night of the soul. Michelle DeRusha

We’re conditioned to push through those times of dark abyss. We push through, we masquerade, self-medicate with substance and empty activity.

We keep plugging along when what we need most is to accept it, to settle into the solemn and to let the soul get quiet enough for long enough to know what it is it needs to know.

Our culture is contradictory to that response, the letting the sadness and the times devoid of tangible hope do God’s work.

I don’t think I’ve ever thought to welcome seasons like these, I’m quite sure I’ve never thought them beneficial, the blah absence of growth or motivation or meaning.

I never realized they have a reason, there must be a settling into stagnancy, an acceptance of lull in blessing or breakthrough so that we seek Him and find authenticity in our faith again.

We have to let go of the self we created in response to hardship, to circumstances and we must not be pulled back there, to the places we know because we’re afraid of good, it’s too unfamiliar.

We have to allow and own our uncovering of our souls.

Our deepest, truest, most essential self has been waiting all along for this opportunity to be uncovered and exposed to the light, waiting for the invitation to grow into its fullest, richest, most beautiful potential. DeRusha

This book was not easy for me, it was true in ways I hadn’t expected its truth.

Occasionally, I pencilled and tabbed and then set it aside. I feared I was not ready to see some things, afraid to be called out of my past and current patterns.

I was afraid it would be too scary and difficult and even unfair to my messed up me to consider thinking new possibilities of me.

Early one morning I had clarity in making my list of labels and it occurred to me that yes, all of these were decided for you, assigned to you, expected of you.

You simply played along, sat in your corner, came out only when called and never having any inclination that right now you’re still wearing them, really have all along.

God’s seen you quite differently and patiently and consistently is calling you towards His idea of you.

So, my labels I’m letting go of along with their clutching and anxious handhold?

Victim

Misfit

Big girl

Black Sheep

Lost Child

Throwaway Child

Shy Child

Hidden One

The One Without Needs

Addictive Personality

Pitiful

Failure

Dreamer

Middle Child

Quitter

Too Deep

What labels have you lived with for too long?

I signed up to help launch this book and I remember commenting to the author

“Something tells me this book may change my life.”

And it has, it has been a beginning towards change.

I’ve only scratched the surface here.

If you’re ready to live freely, openly and be pruned of unproductive, dormant and decaying parts of you, your “tree”, you should order a copy.

If you order by midnight tonight, there are extra encouraging good things.

I’m so grateful Michelle De Rusha experienced her coming face to face with her self defeating behaviors that hindered her knowing God fully and truly.

Her story is important because she is closer than before to her “God You”.

Me too, hopefully you.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

My morning will not be boisterous with unwrapping, celebration won’t come until later.

Children are adults and we’re laid back and flexible, open and accepting. I’m anticipating the day, anticipating spirited appearances, nuanced moments of Jesus in it.

The angels told the shepherds not to be afraid when God’s glory illuminated the sky, an announcement of a Savior.

And Luke ends his beautifully researched compilation with the words of Jesus, again saying fear is something you should never feel.

Of what are you afraid today?

Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt? Luke ‬ ‭24:38‬ ‭NLT‬‬

What are you doubting on Christmas morning?

Everything changes at Christmas except for Jesus.

Jesus stays the same, do not be afraid.

Merry Christmas to you.

Do new things, you can and you will, I’m remembering now my mama, she came to me last night in a dream.

Angelic, she was as she waited for me and without a word guided my continuing, gave approval of my plans.

Finally fading into the distance after nodding, smiling, giving her okay of who I am.

A beautiful vision, angelic it seemed.

Do not fear, Lisa Anne. Do not be afraid.

Merry Christmas to you.

Merry Christmas to me!

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

The 21st chapter of Luke opens with four verses about generosity, about giving more than you might think you should or can.

“Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The remainder of the chapter is like a warning, a warning of how we should watch ourselves and not grow weary. Jesus told all who would listen about how we should live in the world without him until he returns.

“There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.” Jesus Luke‬ ‭21:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Verses like these often prompt sermons about our worldly life in light of eternity. Speakers and preachers ask us to look around, notice the events that could be warnings, ready ourselves for either eternity through our passing or His return.

Mysterious it is, another mystery of God’s plan in making us and earth; it’s up to us to know with all our hearts it doesn’t end here even if we can’t imagine how heaven will be.

Like the widow who gave her only coins without concern over how she might live, we are to believe in what we can’t be sure of, in what our human minds are too limited to comprehend.

We are too live with eternity in mind, both with anticipation and with self-examination.

Last night my grandson surprised me, called me over to the tree. He added two ornaments, pointed them out to me. The red and white candy canes are not at all consistent with my theme.

But, I’ll let them be, cause me to think about the red, the blood shed by Jesus for me, and the white representing salvation, peace, redemption. I’ll hum the old hymn, “Whiter than Snow”.

I want to live every moment mindful of your mercy Lord.