How Much We Need

“ …there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I would stand close by and wait, watch and contribute as I was told.

My mama, in her kitchen, I watched as she prepped the meat for the main meal to add a pound cake for later.

In the intervals of ingredients, she rarely gave a measure.

She’d answer with “that’s enough” or “a little more”.

Rarely did she let me add too much. She knew that wound spoil it all. The flour would be mixed with the sugar. It would be impossible to separate the two.

We would have to start over.

In all my years of helping bake cake, that was never the case.

The measure of the two ingredients was always enough to take the next step, to add in the eggs one at a time and the butter.

The cake came out right. Consistently moist with the sweet thick light brown crust.

This morning I made a list of three things I’d like to believe without interruption, three things that would never go away, be not enough.

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

  1. Self-control
  2. Belief in possibility
  3. Assurance of God’s love

Someone may be reading this and asking how is it that she doesn’t know these things?

I sat just now and countered each need with truth. Because see, in this world we live in the stuff that gets mixed in gets us mixed up.

Self-control is my decision. Every decision begins with a thought. God’s spirit will be my guide.

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT

All things are possible. This truth is for me. It is God’s desire that I allow my heart, not my mind, to lead.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s love is immeasurable. It is unwavering.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I told someone yesterday I’ve been dreaming about my mama. I told her I think it’s because my daughter’s about to have a baby. She smiled and added she thinks that’s so sweet. I told her she’d understand one day, for her I hope it’s not soon.

Longing is immeasurable. Memories are a beautiful thing. God made me to remember us in the kitchen and her famous pound cake.

And he led me to consider the comfort of having enough.

Not too much.

He led me as if my mama and He had been in intimate conversation and they both decided.

Look now, she’s about to give in. She’s about to be pitiful again. She’s about to let doubt ruin the batter, she’s leaning closely towards throwing out the good ingredients and deciding she might never bake a good cake, create a story or a painting again!

Can I tell you one thing for sure?

He knows. He knows our tendencies and stands close by saying, let’s don’t go that way again.

I’m rising now from my morning spot on a day I am calling “sick” and I will get busy with the good things God has started in me and then I’ll go and try my best to get the ingredients for my mama’s unwritten recipe.

I have a cake to bake!

Thank you Jesus and mama, for teaching me.

Continue and believe.

I’m afraid I never follow the five minute rule. Still, I appreciate the prompt, so I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “measure”.

Measure

Wounded and Believing

Thank you, Jesus

There’s a sliver of a wound on the inside of my index finger.

Rather than take the clear path only a few steps away I stepped towards the corner.

Took the risky way, the rebellious path.

Awaiting the New

The asparagus fern from last summer had been put away, covered in pine straw, protected.

From a distance, I saw vibrant green peeking through.

I am impatient for the new season.

So, I squeezed up next to the porch and gingerly pushed about the branches of not yet blooming roses.

Then left the fern, after all, it may be too early, we’ve not yet had the “Easter snap”.

I looked down and saw the stream of deep dark red and felt the sting of the injury from the thorn that caused me to be cornered.

I paused to dab my finger against my shirt, only temporarily stopping the flow.

I continued on my mission, needing to get my pansies into the dirt.

Rain was forecasted, I needed them ready and waiting for the pour down from heaven.

Beautiful Belief

The blood continued to flow from the place the thorn broke the skin, now all mottled with black soil.

It was the dirt after all that stopped the bleeding. Dirt crammed beneath my nails and clogging up the gash of my finger’s wound.

I thought of Jesus.

Thought of how so often I am hesitant to speak His name in public. Thought of expressions like

Less Lisa, More Jesus

Thought of the power of the sound of His name and how I keep it to myself as if the magnitude of His name might upset our rooms.

Sometimes I only hint at the reality of Jesus.

Deciding others will find out on their own.

As if accidentally maybe perhaps or hope so

Someone will just know that we know Him and maybe ask if it is so and hey, tell me why I should know the one you know…

(Sermon to self here. Please just know.)

I thought of the thorns they placed on His head in a sarcastic cynical crown.

I thought of how eventually his blood became mixed in with his sweat, the grime of his sacrifice, the mixture of it all.

Love and death.

For me.

For us all.

I thought last night about this love I am not required to earn.

Thought about Jesus fulfilling God’s purpose, Jesus obeying the Father, a sinless obedient Son.

I am thinking now of the miracle of me, the miracles I have seen, the ones I’ve yet to see.

The ones that I will never know.

That are yours! Not mine to see.

Way too many to comprehend.

Jesus let Thomas put his hand in the place where the spear cut open His side. Told him he was blessed because he believed.

Added how significant it is not to see and yet, believe.

The measures Jesus took and takes to get us to believe are simply too much to me!

Too much to fathom why sometimes I don’t believe.

And yet, like Thomas.

He is still there for me.

Still telling me,

Peace be with you. John 20:26  Believe.

The Book of John ends with a beautiful thought, the truth of the ever astounding and amazing love of Jesus.

“Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

‭‭John‬ ‭21:25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I understand. Yesterday, I thought of all my journals, all my haphazard prayers, intentional supplications, and all the countless recoveries and redemptive interventions Jesus has brought to my life.

I believe in Jesus, not because I’m educated in this way.

I believe because of all He has shown me because of my believing.

Like Thomas and the others, I believe because he gave me chance after chance to see.

The little slice of the wound from the thorn is still open today. Soon, it will be closed over, no sting or tinged color of pale red. Soon, the insignificant wound will be healed.

I’m thankful for the sharp thorn, the red flow that lingered.

To be reminded of believing.

To be less attentive to my wounds and more open to you.

Linking up with Mary Geisen and others at Tell His Story:

The Walk to the Cross

Change is Eventual

I’ve gotten as far as finishing my initial monthly newsletter. It is scheduled for this evening and Sundays the middle of every month to come.

“They” say that’s not the best day for sending. That’s the day that felt right for me anyway.

The initial one never went through.

Either it was confirmation of my deficient technical skills or was way “too much Lisa” not enough Him. I believe a combination of both.

I’m a work in progress. This blogging, writing thing is as much an enigma most days as me.

You’re an enigma wrapped in a riddle. my husband’s description of me

I have no idea where the form is supposed to be for followers to subscribe.

MailChimp almost got the best of me, still not a simple thing, at least not to me.

I will figure it out. Not now.

Eventually.

Crazy and Possibility

This is crazy I told myself.

Two hours in my work clothes, shoes kicked to the corner.

And the background music…on point. (I’m not sure what this means but

I like the sound of it!)

Painted soothing blue, planning on a marsh late summer but not quite right.

Paint on. Paint off.

Missing my girls. Add the shape of one I’ll call.

“Possibility”.

I want to keep on. I want to finish. I want to stand back and go “Yes…oh.”

Then I remember this little thing I saw today and I told myself you can come back and add layers or even paint over to start over.

Either way, you had two glorious hours of painting…and painting always, always gives you way more than it takes!

This piece, to be continued.

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

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.

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.

Exhibit One

Show me what to create, tell me what to say, I pray.

Seven paintings, canvases thick with mixture of medium, soft in color, sun, water, sky, trees, cloud, fields and an angel inspired by mama.

Seven paintings that will cover a small wall at our County Visitors Center.

Seven paintings that represent trying and believing it is possible and possibly not too late.

Seven paintings that were worked and reworked and almost covered over to be “girls”, but not because I stepped away, prayed a little, thought a little and let them rest a day to return to make more thick the colors, more evident the shapes in hopes that others might notice like me, notice God in them.

Not me.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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

Blank Slates and Clean Canvases

Many times Jesus spoke in a way that was so matter of fact, so very direct.

“The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said,

If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. Luke‬ ‭17:5-6‬ ‭ESV‬

I imagine them expecting some wisdom more than his reply of it’s up to you to embrace this powerful source, this thing you are to hold as evidence of me in you.

This mystery of a strength that no one can see, only can be known.

Jesus reminds me today as I read Luke’s recording of His words.

You know when your faith is waning, you know how to again believe.

You know you only need to begin, begin like tiny seed no one else can see; yet, can be fully and faithfully sort of secretively known.

It’s a thing between you and He.

So cup your little imaginary seed in the palm of your hand, Lisa Anne and then plant it on the blank canvases, open spaces and empty pages waiting for you to go and grow.

Maybe moving, uprooting, or seeing unusual or unexpected shooting ups of new living and new life.

Begin with your little seed.

Begin again to grow, not to chase, only go in the way you feel the sway of His answer to your longing, your prayer.

Lord, tell me what to say. Tell me what to create.

Begin because you know you are able and that you were made me to be capable.

You know that we can, God, it’s just we are not consistently obedient.

We are not always willing.

Like the apostles asked you to do it, to increase their faith, we do the same.

We must be willing to believe and begin and then to see the evidence of gifts we doubted we’d ever see.

We must wait for it, anticipate your glory!

Luke opened Chapter 17 with a conversation about temptations toward sin. Jesus told the disciples that temptation is a sure thing. He told them to be careful that their lives didn’t lead others to sin.

Then He healed ten lepers and only one came back to give praise, to thank God for the healing.

In response to the question about when and how they would see God’s kingdom, Jesus cautioned them all in their trying to figure it out, told them to spend less effort on being informed of the mystery and more on being prepared for it.

For not all will see the Kingdom, only those who follow, leave behind their questions and simply continue on, those who don’t turn back to what they left behind, their lives before.

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭17:33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Choose to stay on your different way.

Be the one who holds tight to the faith like tiny seed.

Be the one who chooses moderation over selfish satiation. Be the one who turns back from yet again grace to honor the one who makes hope and healing.

Be the one who surrenders and believes God created you for more and that more starts often with the tiniest of seeds.

Be the one who knows it is okay to ask for help. To sit without words as the warmth of a tear puddles in your eye’s corner, to say, I am here again, God. I can’t find you nor can I find the words.

Change me from the inside, so that my outside is the one you know I was created to be.

Blank slates every morning, clean canvases waiting to bring you glory, Lord, let it be.

Let it be you through me.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:18-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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

Possible Impossibilities

I wake to have my interest peaked as I scan my emails. Try, try again or consider those kind of doors closed?

The idea of submission has captured me again.

Lord, tell me what to say.

Jesus had a captive audience. His presence caused men, women and children to be drawn towards him.

He was a teacher enthused over his lesson plan, he wanted everyone who listened to learn, to be changed by their learning.

He sat one day on the edge of a fishing boat, the fishermen must have called it a day and so Jesus perched himself on the edge and faced the crowd who had gathered on the shore.

Big crowds must have followed him all around, maybe pausing to answer others’ curious questions.

Where are you going?

Who is this man named Jesus anyway?

Why are you following him?

Isn’t he just Joseph’s son?

Do you really believe what they’re saying?

Have you actually seen him do the things people are saying he can do?

Could it be possible?

Simon thought he knew more than Jesus. Jesus told him to let down the nets, to put the boat back in the water, to go and try again.

Simon told Jesus we’ve tried all night and no luck, essentially “nary a bite” man!

Jesus told him try again.

“Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭5:3-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I have a paperweight on my desk that says “something wonderful will happen today”, another that says “you haven’t failed until you give up” and a solid and smooth rock engraved with one word, “soar”.

On occasion I notice them, rarely really.

Instead I recall unexpected rescues, kindnesses that correct my budgetary mistakes, staff who encourage me, endure my negativity and cynicism.

A family who supports my work, supports and stands by me.

I see God coming through in ways that come from my keeping on, keeping an even keel.

I know the bountiful catch is coming and I put down my net and maybe just wait. I do my part, I rest.

I listen to sincere encouragement, I discern in the faces and reactions and even the decisions of others.

Whether here or there or even anywhere, are the places I place my words and my art, the places I “let my net down” that came back empty before, now possibly to reap a joyful multiplication that will honor God, nudge others towards Him.

Jesus, God’s son came to earth to use earthly objects and experiences to teach us to hope.

Teachable moments like a burnt out and hopeless fisherman, expert at his trade who wasn’t having a good fishing day.

Jesus suggested he try again.

Advent, a time to prepare ourselves for the hope of Christmas.

Jesus, the Messiah.

He is our hope, the hope of all mankind.

We must do these things we think we cannot do, we must believe again in the possible impossibilities.

What will you try, try again that you thought you may as well give up?

Big things have small beginnings and small things with repetition and resolve come through.

Try. Try again.