Selling Our Wares and Our Ways

I’ve mentioned before, my grandma was an artist. She created bejeweled Christmas balls and sold them.

I suppose she did this for two or three years.

She had a following.

If it were today, it might be said she had a platform, her art at Christmas was known county-wide.

I’ve not sold a painting in a month or so and today I was rejected twice via email, my bravely written and submitted words.

My words, my fingers easy on the keyboard or messy in the paint.

I saw the email, didn’t want to read it, held my phone at a distance as I scrolled as if the yes or no might cause my screen to explode or illuminate in my hand.

So many submissions, thank you.

Not selected.

Okay.

Less than 72 hours ago I was reminded of a favorite Old Testament verse, I admit I pluck out just a portion, my favorite part.

Don’t despise the day of small things.

“For whoever has despised the day of small things shall rejoice…”

‭‭Zechariah‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭ESV

Someone called me asking about a gift certificate for a painting. I said, sure, okay.

$25

I heard a podcast interview that discussed the ministries of 30 or so years ago, sitting with others, talking about hard things and Jesus or helping someone on the cusp of not believing to believe again.

That’s what we called ministry back then.

Now we look at numbers, followers, visitors, and interactions.

Last week I quietly chastened myself. It stuck. I was changed more than momentarily.

My blog is my ministry.

My Instagram is my ministry.

My art is my ministry.

I felt like crap when I admitted I’d acted as if there had to be more.

Always more.

Almost three years ago I told a friend “I don’t want to be a cutesy trendy female Christian writer.”

It seems I’d forgotten.

I had made my readers small, the regulars who read my words, unimportant.

I realized all along and without me needing to know, my words are my ministry.

My words are always honest.

Are genuine, not prettied up hoping for selection.

These weekly, daily, maybe more are truly me, true me.

Brave and oh, the trendy word.

“Authentic”.

I prayed last week for some sense of direction to keep writing, trying or give up.

Specifically, I asked God to send someone to tell me keep going or settle.

Then I got the rejection of two pieces and I acted as if I’d never asked the above question.

God’s not saying quit writing.

God is saying quit chasing notice. Stop seeking acclaim.

Why are you trying to write anything other than what you started and can’t bring yourself to finish?

Because I fear rejection.

Yet, I fear giving up even more.

I’ll keep going, slow and with free speaking, thinking, praying and believing.

I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep painting and I’ll keep taking the same steps as before knowing I’m still headed towards forward, not the me of before.

Small things of my day today?

I finished a tiny watercolor painting, my three month old granddaughter on my lap.

We walked together, Elizabeth and I and when I mentioned the birds, her sweet face turned in their direction,

I prayed with my cousin and she with me and we helped one another.

Ministry.

Yes, I used what God gave me, small things.

My ministries today.

Tomorrow, I’ll wake up and God will lead my thinking. I’ll type a little something and someone might comment, “needed this today” and I’ll answer

“I’m just saying what God told me first thing.”

And I’ll sit and add colors to canvas and in my comforting of myself, I’ll make art for others.

I don’t know why I continue, rejection is a certain thing.

Small things, I won’t despise them.

Won’t despise the days full of them and what they are teaching me.

Rejection and joy, all in a day.

Towards What is Yours

A life lived reluctantly is not what God has in mind for any of us.

Paul reminded me this morning in a passage that’s a paragraph with multiple underlines from a time and times before.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.

But one thing I do:

forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12-16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Beckoning me to remember who I was before when I’m disappointed in who I am now.

Reminding me it’s not at all easy, otherwise he’d not have used words like “pressing” and “strain”.

Paul’s words are true and valuable, validation for me that I’m not who I was before.

He wrote that God will let us know when we think otherwise about what is most important, the “upward” call, the movement of our motivation based on our relationship with Him.

Look up, Lisa Anne.

Look up and move forward, learning even more than what you thought was enough so far.

Learn from the pressing, the straining, the uncomfortable rub of life that is making new wine from your bitter grapes.

Continue and believe.

Continue towards the goodness that is yet to be fully known.

Understanding and Tone

I don’t like to write about things that I feel I lack the understanding of.

I’d never write about the building of “the fence” or is it a wall?

Or on the subject of how the Democrats and Republicans differ and why one is more right than wrong.

Political discussions don’t ever hear from me, I’m uninformed, would need a middle school refresher on the different houses and representatives.

I apologize. I just don’t remember.

I just don’t know.

But, I do know that some things should be different by now, that there should not be hatred and discounting of another because of tones of skin color.

Today, I was piddling around, killing time until dinner in a little shop of old things tucked away.

There was some rearranging, I stepped over furniture and tables that were left out in the way.

I walked through the shop and turned back towards the entrance, the shop laid like a U.

I heard her voice complaining, the one with all the stuff left out in the way…put this here, no, that is wrong, just get out the way…

No, you know I told you to do it this way!

Her voice was sharp, critical and chastising, her tone.

I imagined him being her husband standing with head down waiting to be redirected, told next what not to do wrong.

Then she mentioned a “Mr.” so I realized I was wrong.

She, dressed in soft cardigan and her pearls, continued to correct and I heard her and I heard his surrendered tone, oh, okay, okay.

Then I saw him as he waited for her instructing. His back was towards me, he was a small and thin older black man.

It bothered me suddenly.

I thought, this is wrong.

It really bothered me so, the way she spoke to him, her overbearing tone.

She saw me see her and her face turned away.

But, too late, it didn’t matter now, her unnecessary mistreatment had happened all the same.

It shouldn’t be this way.

Not now, not today.

And I have no special words that might lead to once and for all reconciliation of race.

Only that someone created by God with skin tone like me saw my face and corrected herself, at least for then.

She’d either been caught or recognized her wrong and although I know there’d be likely many, many years to be undone.

For a minute today, I saw her and I believe she saw herself.

My only regret is that his eyes did not meet mine, I’d love my notice of his surrendered situation to have met the notice in my eyes.

To have him see, not all of us are the same, none of us the same.

Not in every way,

But thankfully, some.