The “change-up”

Slowly, my perspective is changing.

Consistently, I am enlightened by God.

Finally, I am beginning to create a space for freedom to be true.

I heard a sermon from Lamentations last week, the highlighted passage was on the steadfast quality of God’s love. It’s well known, an affirmative promise.

My mind wandered, I admit.

I have a hard time in a room with noises that distract, so I’ll focus my attention on my little space.

I’ll buffer the outside and go inside, reading ahead, veering a few lines or a chapter away to the other verses, protective of my focus and intentional in my holding close what’s mine, what’s beneficial.

Same way in my daily readings. this morning, only a few words because of time.

Yet, timely, so timely.  Gone, going are the days of holding onto hurt like a treasure, a badge marking honorable mention for making it through.

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I’m adapting.

We talked about my story last week, my friend and I.

Talked about the possibility of a changeup.

“Change-up”, the phrase paints a memory for me and I digress. My son’s reaction when he got that one right, priceless was his joy! The batter befuddled by the sudden change in pattern, tricked by his expectation of the fastball or the curve, he couldn’t adapt.

He couldn’t throw it too often, the batters grew to expect it, prepared and anticipated and they’d connect, triumphant their expression, they adapted, adjusted and met what was thrown a little differently, refusing to be struck out, struck down and defeated.

My story is wrought with trauma and it made…makes me vulnerable, just the thought of its presentation and mostly, its lack of completion.

Beginning even.

But, a changeup is in the works, slowly the perspective is changing and my mind is catching up to the curve.

Not fear, not remorse, not hard heard recollection, rather an authentic expression of gratitude and hope in the midst of every stage.

I’m adapting. I’m hopeful, less hindered by my vulnerability and my striving towards redeeming my wrongs and the wrongs done towards me.

Adapting my story from a fearful perspective to more of a welcome gift of forgiveness to others.

Not about me, my fears or my falters, rather about those steadfast in their hope for me.

My life, an adaptation of God.

“I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit; you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’ You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’ “You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.”

‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:55-58‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Linking up with others, writing for 5 minutes, prompted by “adapt”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/05/03/fmf-link-up-adapt/

 

Book Review : A Place to Land, A Story of Longing and Belonging

I believe empathy should have another name, a word that’s descriptive without the clinical tone. I believe empathy, the word, should sound softer, a whispered acknowledging tone.

Empathy, whether you’re the giver or the receiver, an exchange really, is human hearts trading places.

I’ve finished Kate Motaung’s book and considered the technique of allowing the pages to fall open, deciding this is the place I should write of my connection with this story.

Still, each time I sought redirection, I wound up in the same place, the place we had in common, the place and time when grace filled the room.

Years ago, it was the most pitifully powerful memory I’d ever known.

Still is the most powerful, not pitiful or pity filled any longer.

The day was Christmas and the drive was three hours one way. My husband, the children, there was no discussion, we were going to see mama.

We arrived at the hospital and the nurse said, “She’s waiting.”

Her body was weak, her organs were weaker; but, she was expecting us. Her hair had been styled and she had on the most delicate of nightgowns I’d ever seen, more beautiful than any I’d ever known her to own.

She smiled. She “made over” my daughter and my son. She encouraged them, she reminded, she laughed a little, she gave them direction.

We gave her the gifts we’d brought and I remember that she thought my siblings might come later and my aunt had come and she had an expression of pure love and acceptance of whatever gift or not might be given.

She grew tired and it seemed we grew awkward, like clumsy adolescents not being sure what to do with our hands, none of us knew what to with our hearts.

A hospital room on Christmas Day and an hour or so with my mama and then three hours back home with little talk only uncertain sadness.

This was my mama’s last Christmas. I have never seen her more glowing, never seen her so resigned and simply open to come what may or may not.

I read Kate Motaung’s account of her mother’s cancer diagnosis and of her longing to be with her but, committed to stay on God’s course, a missionary in another country.

I was overjoyed by her telling of her mother’s travels to visit. I envisioned her love for Kate and her family and her maybe stubbornness to be with her daughter, to welcome babies, to leave them with good words and wisdom.

I smiled as I read of the trips for ice cream and the times her mama, weak and unable to be strong on her own, had a zest for life and humor, I could see them together making memories.

The mother giving all she had until she could give no more all for the sake of her children. I understood.

I struggled to imagine being so very far away and then realized prayer has no limits. God doesn’t set parameters as if to say oh, no the prayer you said well it’s way too far for the one you want it to help.

No, God is Sovereign. A mama three days away is no different from one three hours away when our living Father hears the supplication of a loving daughter, asking for mercy for her mama, and grace for the times together.

Towards the end of the book, Chapter 20 is titled “Grace”.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There’s a surprise trip to visit her, to return from Cape Town, Africa to Michigan.

Her mama’s condo smelled of cookies. The machinery all around, sustaining her breathing and yet, there were fresh cookies.

I wandered then if her mama baked cakes and made pot roast and potatoes and I decided for myself, I believe she did.

The chapter ends with celebration; she, her mama and her sister, memories, more laughter, hysterical laughter.

And a realization.

And it was grace. Kate Motaung

“A Place to Land” is a comfort, it’s consolation and it’s a telling and retelling of a daughter’s unwavering confidence in God.

Mostly, for me it’s a beautiful gift of grace, grace her mother gave, and grace that surrounded her and guided her home.

Guided her daughter through grief to be able to share.

To have other “motherless daughters” understand, be understood.

This book to me, it was grace.

Empathy’s new explanation, I’ve decided.

It’s grace, grace from one who understands shared with another.

Thanks for understanding, Kate.

Purchase your copy here:

Closer Walking Words

It’s fitting I believe, that the morning outside is dreary, a dull gray film making my time feel like mercy and slow acceptance that all will be well, the atmosphere already has changed.

Holy Spirit reminding me, no fear in love.

Walk more closely.

Continue, speechless.

His loss for my words that come.

Good words on Good Friday,  the day marked by suffering.

His suffering for my words, words that come like mercy every morning.

Wordless

I follow my daily guide that gives words in my Bible, a passage about a husband and wife who allowed greed and insecurity to go against what their souls knew they should do.

They chose to hide the excess of what they’d profited from, hid it away possibly insecure over their future, doesn’t say why.

The husband and then the wife died. Makes me wonder if this is where we get the phrase, “can’t take it with you!”

Peter asked them why they’d not trusted the Spirit, why they chose to hide their mistrust, revealing their lack of belief in God’s provision.

“But Peter said to her, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Today is Good Friday, two days before Easter services, sermons and celebrations.

I open my Bible to understand its significance, longing for the perspective of ancient writers and recorders rather than countless commentaries and insight of others.

I long, thankfully so, to be closer to the heart and soul of the day, to glean more significantly my conviction and my certainty of the suffering for my sake.

I consider the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John before finally resting on the page that I penciled in my calculation of the time the world was dark for three hours.

Dark because God could not watch His Son suffer.

“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭15:33-34‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Observers felt surely rescue would come as the reply. But, it didn’t.

Jesus died.

“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”

‭‭Mark‬ ‭15:37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Good Friday, I woke again asking for mercy and mercy, again met me like so many days before.

Today, easing its way reminding me kindly to test the Lord less often, to trust His graceful provision.

To not hide away, insecurely the disguises of my fear.

To not cover my sins of doubt, of shame that lead to paths uncertain and unsafe, paths that might find me falling down, falling back.

So I rose to the dim morning light and He met me again; Jesus, a merciful advocate showing that indeed, Friday is good.

Not just this one; but, all of them Lisa Anne!

All of your Fridays are good when you live in light of My goodness and my grace.

And if you look you will surely see good in every waking day, every day that you choose not to hide your treasure from me, that you choose not to hide your heart away.

Every moment that you are bold enough to believe!

Every day you choose not to blur your visions, your senses, your walking in agreement with my will and way, not yours.

Just a closer walk.

“”Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭22:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

 

linking this post up with other writers who love to tell His story. Visit here:

Tell His Story

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The Sound of Sigh

It was audible. The whole house, empty and I’d heard it once already. A peaceful type awakening of thought wrapped up securely, held safely down deep.

The bottom of the soul’s well, causing a welling up.

That’s what a sigh sounds like, I believe. A bringing up to our surfaces, the soul’s regrets, letting them see the light and to leave us better, leave us in peace.

John was born for that, to show others Jesus as peace, Jesus as redemption, not regret.

Someone saying they had so much more to say and I remembered my regret.

My “ohh” came out all gravelly like the sides of my heart somehow roughed up the edges of my words and my voice was a sad sigh tarnished by memory.

I remembered regretting coming back home that night. And I remembered what I said by her bed.

I sighed, my understanding audible.

My voice muffled by the knot in my throat as my daughter shared what her friend said her husband said, his father gone before he had the chance to say more.

I sighed; but, not for long, I listened instead, stopped my taking of another’s grieving thunder.

My sigh changed then, from oh I know to hopefully more, I understand.

Same morning, I’m thinking of what I missed finishing the day before, good intentions stolen by circumstance and once again, I regretted not painting, not writing, not following through.

I opened my little book called “Joy and Strength” to the place chosen for the 2nd of March.

And again, the sound of sigh, this time a sigh of affirmation and of hope.

This one, “Ohhh”, more like “oh, my goodness, oh, my soul,

Oh, how amazing, oh, the love of God”

I sighed, “oh” again, the sound softer then, a validation.

I believe that love reigns, and that love will prevail. I believe that He says to me every morning,

“Begin again thy journey and thy life; thy sins, which are many, are not only forgiven, but they shall be made, by the wisdom of God, the basis on which He will build blessings.”

Thomas Erskine

“Oh”, I sighed, a prayer, again today.

Heavenly Father today I begin again.

Steady my heart, give me opportunity to remember and sweetly sigh, “oh” as I walk along the path of peace that you have made so amazingly free and possible despite my past sins worthy of many regrets.

In Jesus’ name and because of mercy.

Amen

I’m afraid I never can finagle all my thoughts into words in five minutes. I’ll link this post with the others though. I’ve already read so many very good posts on regret from others, I’m joining the conversation.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/03/01/fmf-link-up-regret/

If I Were

I was stern with someone last week. My discernment was laced with condemnation when it became a confront to what I’d noticed, what I’d found wrong.

Seconds ago, I texted an apology.

I pray it’s received, three days late, after all.

My work role requires confronting some days, and some days are hard. When work coincides with loss of a pet, worry over doctors appointments, and lingering concern over good things for grown children.

So, the balanced scales of the helper in the helping profession tilted heavy towards chastise, not guide.

I acknowledged it, was attentive to what the heart knows and the mind refuses to hide.

This morning, I read a writer’s truth that had the balance I need, just enough spot on conviction from God’s word to be sure it’s for me and then a tone of encouragement, a tone of “okay, now you know, do better”.

And then, I opened my Bible to read the little Book of Titus that inspired her reminder to me of how others should see me live.

But first, my Psalm for today, the 51st.

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And then, quietly pencilled my truth, my “if I’m honest” revelation…

If I were a speaker, a teacher, a preacher, I’d want to be a balanced presenter.

I’d want to encourage in a way that surely gives hope for those not fully and consistently living their potential as God sees, knows, and filled them with, their promise and purpose.

I’d want my instruction to be because of my own knowing, not my curt examination and self-righteous critique of another.

If I were a teacher, a preacher, a speaker

I’d long that my words be my brave and possibly shocking truth, not some occasional and wobbly walk, falling to waysides with regularity.

If I were a teacher, I’d hope I’d include a talk on how this meander in our walk is a part of our journey; yet, not the map God has designed and that that’s why He is merciful and patient

and clear in His giving of directions.

If I were a preacher, a teacher, a speaker or advisor

On many days it’d be best that I’m wordless, my words depending on my ways, not His will, His way.

It’d be best I keep quiet.

Because on those days, I am prone to judgement, frustration and feel my efforts are futile.

On those days, those mornings like this morning.

Oh, it’s so very good to be made right, to listen, to apologize, to examine my heart and invite, simply invite the clean slate of new day made new with my repentance.

Reconciliation, that’s it, morning is sometimes simply reconciling the day, the week, the moments of before.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭51:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Profit and loss-like, losing the excess of self and gaining God through His holy deposits into my soul.

Balanced to begin again.

Teachable, more and teacher less

and hopefully differently.

On Grace

Grace, when I get it all wrong, make it complicated and conditional

is like a too good to be true vacation won and they don’t tell you about your part, what it costs, the hidden fine print.

Grace abounds. I looked it up, “abound”.

It’s plentiful

Abundant

Exists in large amounts.

Reminds me of itself in the smallest of beautiful and sweet things.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭9:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Grace is much like the morning after the day you didn’t quite get it right or even got some things really wrong…from your harsh perspective of your own lofty expectations of self, at least.

Maybe grace is like taking the time to add some berries over the creamy oatmeal, a puddle of creamy cream in a pretty white bowl.

Maybe grace is just like that, is not in short supply, beckons us settle down, enjoy and embrace, taste and see the grace like berries in a bowl, so sweet and simply beautiful to sit and rest with.

To be savored.

Shame on me for complicating grace, making it what I can do for God instead of what I get to embrace from God.

Grace is a kingdom, with arms open wide.

Listen and walk in grace today:

Broken Things

If it’s true, you use broken things, then here I am Lord, I’m all yours!

Matthew West

It’s a melody of hope, an easy dance in our crazy, crowded and noisy rooms.

Our dance with grace, as if we’re the only ones of the floor, partners in a rhythm of content.

Grace is smooth, amazing I know; but, most often for me it’s subtle and settled. The way I see it, the way God knows me best and waits for me to see it again.

So, get up “Lisa Anne”. (I can hear my mama using my full name) from your list of bulleted to do’s and prayers and go, go with the abundant grace, with your day open all the more now to grace that abounds.

On grace, go.

Silent with Wisdom

It’s gray and slow moving here. I love it so, a day that falls open waiting for me to fill, sans obligations.

I looked in the back of my Bible to direct me to the next words for today. First though, my thick book covered in cobalt blue fell open to the Book of Job.

Job always teaches me.

His condition, his surrender in the beginning, his confusion, his loneliness, his distress and maybe, eventually surrendering and accepting the life he knew will never be again.

I always learn from how he is battered by the abandonment and loss and yet open to learning from God, knowing God is still not just God, but His God!

Chastised by friends, cajoled to curse God and then having a discussion with his friend about God essentially saying tell God how you feel if you’d like because you don’t belong in this pit, you belong in the light.

I’m glad I have a couple of friends who pull me out of my pits, tell me I don’t belong there.

The verses towards the end of Chapter 33 are underlined in thick ink and have asterisks next to them and this is where my Bible fell open on this foggy, thoughtful morning.

This place and then Luke 1, the words of the angel to Mary reminding me the things I feel are impossible are possible with God.

“He has redeemed my soul from going down into the pit, and my life shall look upon the light.

Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times…to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.

Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; be silent, and I will speak. If you have any words, answer me; speak, for I desire to justify you. If not, listen to me; be silent, and I will teach you wisdom.”

‭‭Job‬ ‭33:30-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We were not created for the pit, the pit may be a place we go, wallow in, get trapped, either by choice or circumstance.

We are not meant to stay there, meant to emerge clearly wiser and more softened by His light.

Thank you, Heavenly Father for thoughtful thick mornings and for causing my Bible to open in the places I need reminding, need to be silent and grow more wise.

In Jesus name and because of mercy,

Amen