Place and Time

I exited the gym last night and was overcome by the sky.

Dark as if threatening a storm, I was captivated by the cobalt color, the veiled expanse of heaven.

I snapped photos with my phone unconcerned over who might be watching.

Said to myself,

The sky’s my thing. I see so much of God.

My interactions of late have been a little heavy, some surprisingly negative and a few tinged with murky colors of out of blue disdain.

But, it is okay. It truly is okay.

Through God and with God.

I’m good.

He has led me all the way, preserved my sense of me and more importantly, I pray left in my wake a sense of Him.

He has led me all the way.

To places that were difficult as well as places that were good.

Places where He kept me safe, kept me kind, made me able.

The coming months promise new places, new stages, new challenges and I’m sure the promise of blessings!

He will be with me still.

Under dark stormy skies as well as happy sunshiny days.

Jesus has been with me all the way.

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭69:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It has been so very long since I’ve joined FMF, writing for as close to 5 minutes as I can. This time, prompted by “place”.

Join us here:

Place

On Healing

POSSIBLY

Last week I told someone I just felt so “invalidated”. Now, I don’t know if the passage about the man held back for 38 years by his disability was planted in my mind OR if God knew on this day, I would wake up and read John 5 and understand it more clearly.

More clearly as in, it is time to stop taking on the burden of others’ behaviors and spoken words. It is time to stop owning the responsibilities of anyone’s choices other than your own. It is time to move on and sin no more, look on to new things. No if’s or buts like the man who said everyone either beats me to it or is blocking my way.

Jesus was ridiculed for leading this man to healing on a Sunday. Jesus wanted them to know that God is always working and so will be He. (vs. 17). The chapter continues with the questioning of his authority. Jesus told them even greater things will happen, things they will marvel over.

Chapter 5 is about Jesus doing His Father’s will regardless of naysayers and critics. It is still God’s desire that we be healed, changed, walk towards new life because of Jesus.

The Chapter closes with lines I underlined two or three times. About what I seek and through whom. Convicting for me!

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. I do not receive glory from people.”

‭‭John‬ ‭5:39-41‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We can’t wait for people around us to move us from our helpless places to the healing pool. We move from being invalids when we know our validity is through Christ. We can read every self-help book on our shelves and even daily sit with our scriptures. We’re surrounded by good and well meaning advisers who we may want to impress, gain their approval. We won’t know liberation from the oppression of our maladies until we seek the glory that only comes from God. At least, I believe God is saying, Lisa Anne…this truth is for you.

Maybe you too.

The Book of John is a powerful book, a great read if you want to be closer to Jesus.

#40daysoflent #newwineoutofme #continueandbelieve #faithful19

Battle On

In the Book of Luke, the 21st chapter, Jesus told of a poor widow having very little left to give.

Yet, she gave all she had, two copper coins.

And Jesus noticed.

He noticed her poverty and He noticed her commitment.

my girl and my grandma’s purple pansies

My days have been an absolute hodgepodge of diverse people and places this week.

All the voices loud and mingled together and pointedly expectant of me.

Who am I to have all the supposed answers?

At dusk yesterday I sat alone in the backyard. The clouds were clearing out, one lone puff of one resisting the drift, the last one to fade away.

I woke up today and told myself.

Don’t give up.

Don’t give up because the internal angst has blurred the external hope people read of, hear you speak of and assume you’re quite certain, okay,

It’s all good.

Yes, I say.

Everything gets messy before it becomes clear.

You’ll be super miserable before you walk away, that way you won’t feel guilty for leaving as you know is your typical sweet martyr way.

Or…as my sweet and ever sincere friend said the other day:

The peace you had in the beginning is still there, it is still leading the way. JM

The thing with the battle of the mind, the fight for the settledness of the soul is that it is insidious if we don’t know it is up to us, our own choice to refuse to allow its control.

To say, I know your motives, I know it’s your plan to make me weak from within.

Not happening today.

Today, I will see you in every face I see and I will battle on.

And maybe, just maybe even though not a single soul could ever know my battle, just as I don’t know the one that they own

They may see my countenance renewed and therefore, they may see you!

Chapter 21 of Luke continues with Jesus warning of persecution and it being an opportunity to bear witness of how we are different.

“Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭21:14-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I love the permission this gives me not to have to know every single thing.

Mostly I love the permission this gives me to not mull every encounter to the point of misery, rather, to trust I will know how to respond, what to say.

My responses will be different when I respond from the place of peace within.

Still, some may come against me, baffled over my demeanor and ready to push their agenda to topple my resolve and tip my trust from within.

This is earth, not heaven. This is to be expected here.

By your endurance you will gain your lives. Luke 21:19

I won’t give up.

I want to see the plans for my life I have yet to fully see.

Continue and believe.

This part is up to me.

Beautiful Things

Home too late for walking so I peddled as hard as I could and my arms worked hard, push, pull, push, pull.

The garage was dark and the airdyne was rusty.

I was hissy fit angry over something someone said and my litany of why was wasted on my husband.

Podcast tried to school me on something, I don’t know.

I stared towards nothing

peddling and pushing and pulling.

Until the fuschia caught my eye.

The crepe myrtle puffs of bloom bursting through.

Better

and life, my life I decide is beautiful.

He makes beautiful things.

He makes beautiful things out of us.

“You better?” my husband asks as I come through the door.

“Yes, I am.”

Telling myself,

He knows.

Trying to Swim

Colt’s first glimpse of the ocean, photo LT

I have an unfulfilled desire to be a swimmer, strong and freeing I long to be the one swimming laps at end of the day in our pool.

I long to be a singer too, one of those people with no concern over those around me or before me, just belting out a lyric from the bottom of my belly and resting my hand at my heart as I am fulfilled in the joy from within.

I’ve heard both are possible, with training and time and I tell myself it’s surely a crazy desire, Lisa Anne.

Clearly, you have more than enough on your plate! I’ll stick with art and words for now, come June I may try swimming again. I will.

Two things are pending, waiting for me to take a grand plunge and with time and training get them just right this time.

I won’t grow if I don’t continue to try. This one thing I do know.

I am the most ill equipped marketer when it comes to marketing me.

I’m embarrassed to ask for help and I get all bent out of shape when I believe people can’t believe I cannot figure it out on my own.

This is my perception.

When it comes to confidence in myself in this area I have none.

But, I am committed to trying.

I will update my blog today or tomorrow, keep my name on the front end, the uncomfortable place that says find her, read her words, and I’m adding a Sunday evening newsletter to all who want to hear my thoughts at end of the day, the end of a week. I know what I want to call it and I feel God leading me to what he wants me to say.

I may change my confidence, it may not say “quiet” or “confidence” at all.

I just need to continue. It may say continue.

I’ve deleted my art page. It had only three followers 😊 and I’ll incorporate hopefully a more professional look with links to connect interested buyers.

Yes, today I will begin, hopefully be complete by tomorrow.

I get confused over confidence the more I travel this writing and painting road. I make it bigger than it is, the challenge of trying and then following where God wants it to go.

Look it up, the dictionary says confidence depends on ourselves.

That can’t be so.

If it’s all me it becomes either reward or rejection and it goes back to being all about me, chubby little brown haired girl longing to be noticed.

I love the words to this song that keeps circling back to find me:

In Over my Head

Whether I sink, whether I swim 
Oh it makes no difference when I’m beautifully in over my head…Jenn Johnson

A song about abandoning fears and longing to see just how far we can go when we believe and allow God to lead.

Continue and believe.

Paul met Jesus and he knew where his life would go. Absolutely and unwaveringly he acknowledged his fear, his failures, his past violent offenses and he kept on, kept on walking the way He was called.

I don’t believe any of us should go through life without coming to a point where all we truly want to know is

God, where do you want me to go?

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

May my efforts be worthy of what continues to feel like my calling.

I’ve written for more than five minutes as I am inclined to do. But, these are my thoughts on confidence and I’ll share with others here:

FMF -Confidence

Where Words Go

A chunk of my day yesterday, a beautiful Saturday so warm I had to move from my favorite place.

To a library corner more shady and less distracting after all.

I tried my hand at something new, a thing God told me to do, told me so by giving me words that finally made sense as I sat in my morning chair.

I had found the Psalm circled, “memoir” written in the margin.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭30:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And I finished it, the bio and summary of my book proposal. It will need tweaking and parts of chapters added today.

I typed away until my laptop battery faded, dead. Thank you, family, by the way for the best laptop ever last year on my birthday!

Lunch on Friday included a friend who felt it was time for us to know one another more and that our mutual conversation and revelations deserved a special date.

It was special. She is special and together and separately we are strong despite our perspective hardship and heavy loads to bear along the way.

She told me to keep writing.

She said that I must.

I know her instructions are true otherwise I’d not keep doing this thing I do.

Sitting in a quiet space and hoping for new perspective or a gentle lesson.

God speaks to me and I share.

I pray the words go where they need to be read.

And I do thank God for words.

I do love them so!

Linking up with the Five Minute group. Writing with spontaneity and expanding my horizons as God continues to enlarge my borders.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/01/31/fmf-writing-prompt-where/

Happy Sunday, readers. God is waiting to be found in it.

Stepping Out to Wait

Thomas asked Jesus where on earth they were going and how can we get there if I don’t know the way and Jesus answered saying stay with me, go with me, I’ll show you.

I am the way, the truth,

the life. John 14: 6

Last week one gentleman told me he was proud of me for “stepping out” and that our paths may cross again. He’s a retired magazine publicist.

Another who was formerly my boss; but, always my friend listened as I shared my current “leaps of faith” and later ended his kind note with “I admire your faith.”

Both of them I sat with and shared my coming changes, my uncertainty of what will be and my peace that I am choosing rightly, to move into a new season and allow God to develop the rest of my story.

Be patient til your wings are grown. St. Francis de Sauls

Kate Motaung and Shannon Popkin have responded to the question agonized over by me and other writers hoping to gain an audience, hoping for eventual publication.

Their new book is an important one for naive and introverted women like me, ones who are known to be quiet.

Influence, Building a Platform that Elevates Jesus, Not Me

How to navigate the work of making yourself known so that others will know what you know of Jesus.

Some time ago I was on the launch team for Kate’s Book, A Place to Land, a Story of Longing and Belonging.

I knew of Kate because I participated in her 5 minute Friday link-ups as a way to conjure up words for writing and deep down inside, hope somebody, just anybody might notice me, my words.

Occasionally they did and occasionally they still do.

I’m not really the “community” type one, I keep to myself. I’m known for saying I am so tired of “peopling”.

I am believing this will be different in my new season people.

I have continued to read Kate’s work, posts and the helpful encouragement in my mailbox. She responds to my questions about writing. She responds so promptly! (Something I personally love)

I’ve gone from yearning to have a writing life similar to hers (sorry, Kate, for a little bit, I was jealous) to believing her advice and seeing I can have a writing life of my own.

Kate Motaung has influenced me.

But, back to the question over putting myself out there or just cowering in my corner hoping somehow some reader might stumble upon me, my words and pronounce me worthy of reading…

This is the imprint of my childhood. Do not ask for anything, pretend you can do life without attention or recognition, don’t seek to be noticed or noteworthy.

In a time when we are inundated with attention seekers, social media places becoming outlets and a grasping for just one other person to know, there’s new pressure of deciding to stay quiet, to stay in “our own lanes”, at least I feel it is so.

I am learning slowly, the best way, not everyone cares about what I say.

And that is okay.

Some do and tell you so, adding comments like “please don’t stop, you’re the first thing I read everyday!”.

But, the curious, voyeur-type readers of my instagram or my blog who scope me out and quietly slink away…

These are the ones that hinder me.

That cause me to question my goals.

These are the ones that read and I imagine are saying, “Why does she think she is supposed to write this way or who is she to think she has something important for others to know?”

I’m afraid these are people by whom I am personally known.

Is it this way for others? I wonder.

They’re probably just busy; but my little girl unnoticed feels insignificant so often, the imprint of insignificance trying to hold on.

Less often and increasingly so, I have readers leave comments or people who say “I needed that.” or “How did you know?”

They thank me for being brave, honest, for saying and writing about a pain they may have known or know.

These readers encourage me to continue, to grow.

To grow in ways like joining Hope*Writers, being brave enough to be with others.

To believe the words God gives me from my experiences and my perspective are mine and mine alone; but, they are words someone else may need.

That someone might have a similar heartache, a breakthrough type epiphany on grace or even may find a new way to connect with Jesus through my interpretation of a parable or passage something to which we both relate.

Kate wrote of her mother’s death.

She and I have a similar story although vastly different.

My mother passed away nine years ago yesterday. I was in a fairly new position and living two hours away. Kate was in another country, airline flights away. We both set other things aside to be with our mamas.

Gut wrenching and emergent interrupted days, we held onto the time we had left even though our hearts longed for more. For me, at least, I always longed for and thought there would be more.

I treasure our bonding through her words, her description of the drawing of her heart to be beside her mother, the angst over not being able to be constantly near and the utter helplessness and surrender to our lack of control.

The realization of this lack when I had returned home too early and I got “the call”.

Others may have read Kate’s story and gained so much more or been impacted in a different way.

That’s the power of our stories.

Today, I am trying to lean in to where God wants my writing to go.

The balance between letting go and continuing are much like my battle of being known and staying in my place.

Much like stepping out to wait.

I know that if I continue I won’t even look the same because my heart will be open to where God takes me, the story He is developing no longer hidden.

I’ll be different, I’ll be the me that God has always seen, has kept purposely through so much trauma and self-destructive “dis” grace.

My note to self of late?

Continue and Believe. me

A good starting place for a newsletter or a book title, I perceive.

For now it’s for stepping forward to see what God has for me to share and to increase my believing so that others will believe.

This, I believe, is what God means by influence.

I’m linking my thoughts up with others on this topic of thoughts and childhood labels and hindrances to pursuing platforms so that our writing voice might grow.

join in here: Thoughts on Platform Building

Thanks so much, Kate!

The Tiny Light Ahead

Yesterday, I told someone something in a way that only slightly conveyed the real thing I tried to say.

I told her that I believed it is impossible to imagine what my life might be if I began to believe only in possibility.

We paused and our quiet faces wondered, how on earth do we do this, how do we not stray or get swayed by criticism, cynicism or just the crazy negative noise of our hectic days?

I looked into my precious cousin’s face and I answered that I’d walk with imaginary blinders on both sides of my face.

I’d need to stare intently at the tiniest of light, like the dot of a pin off in the distance, move forward with intention towards hope, off quite a ways.

Avoid the garish glare and naysay of others and other things on my way.

She listened and I gazed past her and through the little tables lining the restaurant. I looked out onto the busy bustling downtown lunchtime street. People passing by, others stopping to speak, I thought of me a year from today, will I be changed by possibility, a soft contrast of me today?

Would my face be lit by possibility, will I carry my hopes in a more confident frame?

Some things I think, must be pursued in a solitary way.

I told her I was certain my life would be different if I became unafraid of possibility and if I just continued towards the tiny light growing brighter as I near.

I would be different if I believed in possibility, if possibility was seen as an option for me.

I think we rarely really live this way.

Pursuing possibility in a peaceful way, a waiting way.

A know as I go quite certain with God kind of way to what God has to show me.

Possibly possibility.

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Whether it be work or money or art or writing or relationships, I am saying to me:

Do nothing out of desperation.

We continued talking about our longing to be hopeful after life has given us so many reasons to be afraid, to be so silly and naive to think we should be hopeful only to have past experiences slap us back to reality as if to say, “Hope’s not for you, surely, you should’ve known.”

The plot can shift though, we decided, the story line is our story line and we can change the paragraphs and flow.

We can surprise ourselves, readers of our own books by creating a different ending, we can believe in the hopeful development of our life stories.

Believing can come natural, just as naturally as we regularly disbelieve.

If we don’t allow fear to destroy our stories.

How different I would be, we all would be, if we took leaps of faith, if we walked on whatever represents deep waters towards the light that is meant to illuminate our days.

To bring clarity to God’s ways.

God, help me to be an example of someone who has faith.

Stay faithful.

Continue and believe.

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