When the peace of Jesus finds us, it is a gentle collision. “Gentle collision” is how my morning words began, hurried and half asleep.
I wrote that faith meeting fear is and will always be a gentle collision.
Loosely but never unraveled is the tether that connects us to believing.
Never dragging us along.
Nor yanking us into attention in a sort of frantic wake up call.
A walk that’s never perilous, always patient.
Like a walk together when one is the older or younger one.
Not at all like my walks alone, the walk of a stubborn and wide stride stepping, a walk either going hard and proud or walking hard and fast away from something that keeps catching up.
This is not the walk of a child who wonders. Wonders not where or how we’ll go, only wonders as she wanders.
Before Jesus spoke of the gentle way of walking, of carrying the good things or junk we’ve taken as our own, he talked about little children, about their wisdom and their understanding.
Children who have a greater grasp on the divine, a more tangible understanding.
An understanding not garnered by incessant questioning.
The wind blew our hair yesterday. The sky was periwinkle blue and the warmth of Spring landed on bare arms and freckled our faces.
“Thank you, Lord, for the breeze.” she said.
We walked together. Me, occasionally pointing out of the hills of ants and noticing the ground as we went, scanning for baby snakes that might scurry close to our toes.
She, close beside or freely ahead, “let’s dance”.
Together, gently. I fell into the rhythm of a child with steps slow with going and then resting.
Waiting and then walking.
Going and then resting.
No rush, no worry.
“At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children;” Matthew 11:25 ESV
I handed her the yellow flowers and lifted her from behind to my back.
Shifting the weight until she laid her cheek on my back, her tiny legs belting my waist.
Then we walked together, her weight pushing me forward.
Together, we walked back home.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
A gentle collision it is, the meeting of faith and fear, of melded together walking, of simply saying yes to the soft beckon not to walk alone.
I stepped over the circled place in the sand where we’d stopped to dance.
“Ring around the rosies, a pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes…
The morning is grey with a veil of warmth shielding the pines across the way.
My grey cat is missing, meanwhile a pretty black one with a flash of white on its chest is slowly deciding I’m friendly.
But, I’m hoping for mine, the kitten I named “Georgia”.
I am waiting for the amaryllis forgotten and found to be vibrant again.
I’m waiting with sweetly surprised expectation, the Christmas of 2020 bulb potted and forgotten is now fat with rebirth.
Pray, trust, wait.
Despite the warning of afternoon tumultuous thunder, the choir of birds are singing a sort of suggestion just for now,
Lisa, this is heavenly.
So, I listen.
I’ll return to my place of painting and wait for my visitor, a mourning dove who danced for me yesterday.
Softly, it stayed longer than I’d have expected.
Strong in its message to me, a message of peace is what I took it to be because of its color, a blue grey white blend, acrylic mixture for the sky I may paint.
Hoping my landscape says “peace”.
Because of its visit, the surprise of its lingering
Then the cardinal, brick-colored breast, careening alongside longer than usual and I noticed God,
“Mama.” I thought and “it is well”.
Keep trusting. Keep waiting.
The Book of Luke, Chapter 13 suggests the same.
A parable about a fig tree about to be uprooted, tossed away because of its fruitless condition and then the one about the mustard seed. Luke shared the story Jesus used to help us understand that growth that starts small can become immeasurably large by trust and faith.
Persistence, a peaceful persistence.
Two trees, a barren fig tree and one that grew so beautifully that birds built nests and started families there.
“He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:18-19 ESV
The kingdom of God is here. It is us, all of us seeds of its faithful and kind growth.
A woman bent over for eighteen years because of “disability of spirit”, Luke shared her encounter with Jesus in the middle of the two parables.
I love the placement, it makes faith even more a promised instrument for change.
Jesus, the bringer of change broke the rules and healed this woman on the Sabbath.
“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” Luke 13:12 ESV
I’m fascinated by this healing.
Eighteen years of her life, this broken spirited woman walked bent by her load, face to the ground.
She was healed immediately and glorified God, according to scripture.
I wonder how.
Was she a seamstress?
Maybe a writer, maybe a helper of others, maybe she was simply a teller of her story.
I’d love to know if she worked with her hands, strangely, I believe so.
I guess because of the resonance for me of her healing.
She’s relatable. I want to believe she’s like me and I, like her.
Yesterday, I edited a painting I felt was contrived. Calm came as I changed what was finished, but after all, not.
“Spring” became “Birdsong”.
Like a seed of faith, a barren tree, a discarded and forgotten amaryllis bulb, and a woman disabled by a spirit that told her she was unable for eighteen years
We can grow, there’s planting, reviving, unearthing and thriving in every single soul.
Pray, trust, wait.
Participate in God’s healing.
“As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.” Luke 13:17 ESV
Many years ago an itinerant preacher advised me to “just pray for mercy” and I did.
I didn’t fully understand mercy as a new single mama to my children. I did pray for it though and my life has been and is the evidence my prayers were heard.
The punishment or consequence that you actually deserve being stopped from occurring.
I think of that quiet preacher man who stopped by and the brevity of his words, his wisdom. I imagine if he’d said to me, “Well, this is a mess and I don’t know how on earth you’ll be okay, but young lady…pray for mercy, maybe, just maybe you’ll get it.”
He’d have walked away and I’d have been more hopeless.
I thank God for the unexpected visit and the simple words He gave the country preacher. Also, for the grandma and grandpa in the black station wagon who pulled in the yard every Sunday morning to take my children to the white church on the hill pastored by this quietly wise man.
“Just pray for mercy”, the gentle man said.
Today I read again about the woman who sat at Jesus’s feet, her tears falling and her hair used to wash the feet of Jesus along with expensive ointment she’d poured out for him.
Her actions were questioned.
Had she been so bold to invite herself there or was it bold determination, bravery and humble hope for better?
I remember those feelings.
Jesus told the critics, yes her sins are many and her choice, to come here uninvited is a choice I welcome. His mercy met her extravagant gesture, her known sin.
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:47-48 ESV
Consider the mercy you’ve known, will be given again and again. Mercy, unmerited favor, good things when bad made more sense.
Mercy that sees you fully, but never says no.
Today, when you encounter someone in need of mercy, I pray that you give it and that in exchange you sense in equal measure, extravagant love!
“And Job died, an old man, and full of days.” Job 42:17 ESV
The dark age spot on my right cheek has garnered by granddaughter’s attention. She’s announced to her mama that I need to see her doctor.
She’s reached the age of noticing, good things, flaws and unspoken thoughts too.
Last week, I saw a little boy I first met in 2019. He remembered me. He announced to his mama, big sister and me, “She looks older!”
We laughed at his precocious behavior and I came back with “Well, I’ve been through some stuff…you know…Covid!”
Then we all just nodded towards one another and got back to the reason I was there, a family adopting this sweet and observant sibling.
A trip through my phone’s photos confirmed my aging. But, also how the world gone awry because of pandemic changed other things too.
Look back, see if your face and others’ seemed to see things differently back then.
2017, 2018 and ‘19 early.
Less vacant expressions as now, less steely clinched jaws in posing, less uncertainty in linking arms in photos and less open and freely given embraces.
More hesitance, more lost eyes seeking something, what…
Less of need to tout your faith that was bigger than fear. More sure of sure footing and solid faith.
So much more sure, it was less necessary to announce it. I suppose I should say what’s clear, these words are realizations of myself.
Someone will know maybe upon reading this. Was Job sitting in a pile of sorrowful ash-covered questions the entire book of the Bible marked by his name?
Job, a man who honored God was the chosen soldier of faith to see if he’d surrender the battle or hold on unwaveringly to his relationship with Holy God and faith.
Stricken by the trial and test, his life gone awry.
His wife told him give up and die; his friends hung with him for a bit until saying clearly it’s you that’s wrong.
“And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.” Job 2:13 ESV
I wonder if he just kept sitting, unable to stand when his friends became devoid of empathy, questioned his plight.
“But now it has come to you, and you are impatient; it touches you, and you are dismayed. Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?” Job 4:5-6 ESV
Monday was a dark blue day, I named it. By evening the blue lifted.
Tuesday, before breakfast, we baked a promised cherry pie and then “skipped to my Lou my darlin’” together.
Something’s happening, last month it was chocolate meringue. Little things, joyously small, sweeter than the cliche’, I’m doing them, I’ve decided.
Baby steps towards allowing joy, being less afraid something or some world event will snatch it away.
My wondering over the trials of Job came as we set out barefooted. The ground was cool and my granddaughter ran way ahead, stopping here and there to gather sticks.
I’m a lover of his story, longing to understand more is the pull of me towards my Bible. I’ll not find details of when he found the strength to stand up, but I can still wonder and I can allow his struggle and recovery to help me recover.
How long was his lamenting conversation with God and was his rising again gradual or all of a sudden…were his feet weak and prone to wobbling or was his recovery smooth and sudden?
I told my cousin yesterday, I feel like we’re all in recovery and we’re apt to slip ups, prone to dismay. We need to say so, if just to ourselves and wait, watch and know the fog will lift, we will see clearly how to walk again.
I’m growing, but not fully grown. I’m walking with strong stride and steady steps, but still not able to walk on my own.
We wound our soft sticks together into an oval, twisted the knotty vines and tangled branches. I carried hers and she, mine.
Laid them on the counter among the flattened wildflowers from our pockets and we drank lemonade on the porch steps together.
Singing a silly sweet song and talking to the crows
This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through and you belong among the wildflowers, Lou, Lou skip to my Lou
became our Tuesday song.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 ESV