Sweet Release, Truth and Tears

Before the Morning

Jesus wept. John 11:35

The situation was dire. His friend Lazarus had died. His arrival to save him was delayed.

I am thinking of a young woman who bravely told her story of domestic violence on social media.

Photos with captions of what was happening instead of what her posed by his side and pretty face portrayed.

Photos hard to look at for long, one dark purple encircled eye balancing the other’s vacant expression and her arm marked by a bruise from grabbing.

This young woman is from the place I call home.

She is brave, was brave.

Most likely very afraid.

I fell asleep with private tears puddled near my ear. I fell asleep with the acceptance of my own truth.

A truth I’d been over and over rethinking.

Certainly, there was good.

Turning Corners

For some reason, I just don’t remember it. Surely, your years all running together could not have contained that much hurt, that much fear, that much abuse.

I breathed deeply again and tried to rewind my life in my 20’s movie. I longed to believe the trauma had simply erased the happy like they say it does the hard,

As sort of our brain’s protective role.

But, that made and makes no sense at all. Why would the brain and its memory reservoir dry up the good, deny the times of love?

Two nights ago, tears came and my soul felt sad and then gently at peace, relieved.

Yes, physical and emotional abuse by a man who began as a date is a part of my story.

Being a captive and being brainwashed into keeping it secret is a chapter in my life.

Now, even more healing will have its chance to do what it has been preparing me for, what God kept me alive to do.

Mercy Every Morning

I see the waking up slowly of me and I see the tears that were not brought on by long ago pain, rather the welling up of hope, I see the beautiful things that have already begun and will now be free to finish.

As I turned the long clay lane to my granddaughter yesterday morning, a song came.

I crept up the winding hill, turned on to the sandy path we walk and hold hands. I careened in slowly to my place on the hill.

Safely I arrived and safe I shall be.

I hope you’ll listen.

Josh Garrel’s rendition of “Farther Along” makes me happy every time.

Makes me hopeful. Makes me content in not being all knowing.

Farther Along

Father, thank you for the honesty you allow, the truth of us you slowly guide into revelations with sweet, never bitter tears. Thank you for words, for bravery even if new. Thank you for helping me continue, to continue and believe. Thank you for my present love and safety, the embrace of family.

Because of mercy, Amen

Me.

I am thinking still of the young woman and her photos, meant to share her truth and to help others. I’m thinking of her bravery and the way I still hesitate to say that I was a victim of abuse.

I think of how some days, like yesterday, I’m still ashamed and afraid to tell. And I’m grateful for days like today when I choose “publish” instead of “trash”. I choose believing there is so much good to see.

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
‭‭John‬ ‭11:40‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m linking up with Mary Geisen and others at “Tell His Story”. This time we’re in has welcomed many quiet revelations. Read here: https://marygeisen.com/are-you-using-your-time-wisely/?

What Could Happen

Up early and uncertain whether I had again gratefully “woken up well”, I walk outside to see the pink sky in the distance, wishing our home was set either on a hill or not bordered by tall trees and houses.

If that were so, I could see the wide morning. Instead, I look upward and the half moon is above me, surrounded by the remnant of two clouds breaking thinly away.

I wished for a different sky. I had hoped the day would bring rain.

A rainy day that could give permission for thinking, make seclusion seem more pleasant.

On this day, nineteen years ago, destruction changed our country, altered our thinking of what could happen.

For years, the color code marking threat bordered our television screens.

For days on end I wondered when it would happen again, certain that it could. Another attack by people who hated us, another planned explosion in places where people congregated.

It could happen again.

For now, there are other “coulds”, the resounding murmuring amongst one another.

Rather than explosion, I sense a subtle threat to our togetherness, I fear we are imploding, a caving in.

Don’t get too close, she may be sick. Don’t touch the door, it could have the viral contaminated touch of someone else. Don’t forget your mask, don’t let your worn out mask shift and uncover your nose.

Don’t hug the friend you encounter that you’ve not seen in years.

You could get sick, you could make others unwell. You could cause pain to others.

This predisposition to high alert stances based on what could happen is much like a phrase I’m just now embracing.

Don’t borrow trouble.

Two hours ago, I woke up too early. I was thirsty and had what my grandma called a “dull” headache. I moved from my bed to the kitchen for water.

Today, I did not pray, “thank you God, I woke up well.”

But, now I am because I was sullenly anticipating dread. I was alert to what could happen because of it happening all around me, inundated with a sense of foreboding,

A man in the Bible, mentioned just a couple of times, Jabez confronted his predisposed “could happens” with a prayer that God answered.

“Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” And God granted what he asked.”
‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭4:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The mother of Jabez chose his name that meant pain and told him so, of all the brothers, his birth had caused her great pain.

Could it be so for us? That we acknowledge what harms could come our way and simply ask God to prevent them.

Knowing He can?

I’m not so naive to live the fairy tale that all pain can be avoided. This world, our country gets more angry and full of fear and evil every day.

Still, I can open my hand to heaven now and again later and say “Thank you, I am well. It is well. I will not fear. You are near.”

Like Jabez, I can set my intentions on what God can do not what could happen.

I love to think of other choices that could have been made by people in the Bible. Jabez knowing he was least likely to have a life without pain based on his name could have chosen to cower, could have accepted his position among his brothers, to be careful, to fear pain, to prepare for the worst case scenarios and so, to hide away.

He didn’t. He asked God for the ability to see opportunities, to be kept safe in his pursuit of them and to live a life from which we get the phrase, not just blessed; but, blessed indeed.

The purple flowers that seem to be summer withered have sprinkled petals heavy from humidity all along the border.

I bent over to try to see the sunrise in the distance and noticed a new thing.

The scent from the purple bloom. All summer long I’ve walked past and now almost mid-September, my attention was drawn.

The sweet smell of still hanging on, the still tint of soft indigo and lavender, the gift of finding beauty in my subdivided back yard.

The firm decision not to borrow trouble; instead to be aware of it and to ask God to keep me from it.

Then to remember, not knowing how or if or whether it was sudden.

God granted what he asked.

He will for us as well.

This truth I shall remember when I ponder “what could”.

Remember only the possibility of good.

Our lives are not what are circumstances say they are, rather they are what God says “could happen” if we trust Him.

If we continue, continue and believe.

This post was prompted by the word “could” from Five Minute Friday (I link up although I’m rarely five minutes or under in thinking or writing.) Read others’ words here:

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: Could {+ free training for writers}

Others Too

Last week I read about the longing for resonance. At least this was my interpretation, we long for resonance and for whatever we choose and how we use it, to resonate with others.

This idea made an impression.

Told me to write about the sky, the tiny roses, the way the baby laughs over a shared popsicle time.

God doesn’t want us to feel small, simply know we are smaller than Him.

me

You are loved.

You are seen.

You are not finished.

Yesterday morning, I woke with a longing to understand the “stuck in the middle” me.

So, I prayed about it, scribbled a sleepy question in my journal.



What is a calling and how do you know?

Me

It felt serious, the question like risk analysis of quitting or resuming. It was a question about why ideas feel so tangibly possible only to be set aside because of fear.

I’m thinking art again, and I’m thinking manuscripts. I’m asking God is this calling or is it just something good I love to do?

There seems to be (at least to me) a whole lot of pressure to call out to the world our callings.

Maybe, the calling is simply to be attentive to the call towards God and to keep getting closer.

Perhaps any other pursuit of calling can’t help but be tainted by selfish endeavor.

Maybe the call is to continue and I suppose see what develops. Crazy we can’t be content with that, we need to feel pressure in our pursuit I guess.

Unexpectedly, I received a request to contribute to a writing community. Out of the blue it would seem.

But, I know better.

Something about my Instagram resonated and this leader of the community sent an invitation.

The sky last evening told me stories, the sort of story I told long ago and had stopped sharing.

The quest for bigger calling made my sky stories seem odd and irrelevant.

The sky with the heart shaped window, the brilliant moon that saw me growing and the bend in the road that said, God is calling.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

A new question today, a prayer.

God, how can I resonate with others? Help me to see the calling as a calling towards you.

me

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Jesus
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭7:7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God Only Knows

The bystanders recognized the beggar up walking around. All of a sudden he could see and they began to dispute the truth of Jesus, they began to argue over the day of the week and were certain the beggar was mistaken in some way.

I’m wondering how he became a discarded one at all. Scriptures say he had parents. Had they given up on being his support system? He was an adult after all, he’d have to fend for himself.

Or was he so downtrodden by his lifelong blindness, he just grew tired of being their burden? He could beg others for money instead of his parents.

I love the Gospels, the Books of encounters with Jesus. There are many people who stir empathy in me. There are relatable stories to my healing by Jesus.

Jesus came along and he noticed the man blind from birth. The disciples, always looking to learn from Jesus, asked what had caused the blindness, were his parents neglectful, had they been bad people before they became parents, or was the little boy born with some sort of predicted worthlessness that led to him being born blind?

They wanted to know who or what was to blame.

Jesus told them it was God’s plan. The blind man would be an instrument for God’s glory to be real, for the mysterious to be memorable.

“Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:3‬ ‭ESV

Jesus made a paste of mud and his own spit, pressed it against the blind beggar’s eyes and then said go down to the water and wash it all off. The man did and he could see.

Everyone asked how, the man said I did what Jesus said and that’s really all I know.

His vision restored, the interrogations continued. The parents were questioned, they confirmed their son’s blindness as well as his current condition. Told all the skeptics to ask him, not us, he will tell you! According to scripture, the parents were keeping their distance because they were Jews and they would be disallowed from the synagogue if they acknowledged Jesus, if they acknowledged their own child’s healing.

These were the times I suppose even a parent of a son who was healed was careful about boldly agreeing and believing in Jesus.

Seems it was safer to be a skeptic, to know there are people who believe in Jesus because of their own healing; but, they were not ready to believe for themselves.

Maybe it seemed too impossible, too unattainable, too supernaturally “magical”.

Same as today really.

The man who could see could only speak for himself, hope with all his heart that his testimony mattered.

“So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:24-26 ESV‬‬

Centuries later, I sit in my mama’s covered chair with my Bible, the margin on the page has a pen and pencil resemblance of me, my face turned towards the words and a slight listening tilt.

I understand the blind man. I can relate to his dismay over Jesus initially. I can sit with my Bible and know beyond doubt that I too have been healed when many for valid reasons discarded me, left me to fend for myself.

And like the blind man who couldn’t explain mud and spit restoring his vision, I often wonder how me simply believing in a cross, the likeness of which I now add to my wrist could have altered my life so very significantly.

It is not my place to understand it all, to know every how or why God found me worthy of healing. It is mine to believe. To be able to rest in this:

But, you do know, God, You do.

We’re all in a state of not knowing now. On Sunday, I knelt in the place by my mama’s chair. I was distracted, I admit. Still, I joined in the prayer of Pastor Steve Davis with many others. I prayed and am praying in agreement with him that this time will bring people who don’t really understand God, maybe just hope in the possibility of Him being real closer to believing. The prayer closed with that very request of our Heavenly Father, that during this pandemic stirring panic, countless people will come to know God, will believe in Jesus as their healer.

I pray this as well. I know healing that saved not just my soul but my very life from risky, dangerous, threatening to kill me situations.

Like the blind man, I believe in Jesus.

“Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” He answered, “And who is he, sir, that I may believe in him?” Jesus said to him, “You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you.” He said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshiped him.”
‭‭John‬ ‭9:35-38‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe, moment by moment if necessary.

Acknowledge/Admit you were born a sinner. Believe in Jesus, God’s plan for us to be with Him in heaven. Confess your sin and begin to live healed.

My prayer for my not knowing readers.

Surely Goodness

I’m standing in the kitchen and thinking go snap another picture.

Instead I settle on the view, a room filled with tall windows and panorama, a telephone doesn’t suffice, for the glory and purpose of me saying to me.

You are here.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:2-6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

You get to experience this time.

This place. This grace.

This momentary hand of God that tells you, stop rushing. Stop trying to capture any more clearly than what I’m revealing gradually. The sunrise in the country with clouds sweeping up to the places you can’t see.

But you know are there.

Eternity is possible for those who believe. Life is more than earth and heaven more beautiful than we can conceive.

Stand still. Let that heart of yours rest easy. Now, the baby is rising. Open wide eyes and smile and exploration of every single crevice of her sweet life and pretty place.

Ready yourself! Life is worth discovering! You get to be an observer!

Now the grand sky has changed to pink. The window above the plant, the cookbook, the big letter of their last name offers me peace.

The color of love and peace.

I look down, look away and well, I could go on forever.

I’ll stop lest I start telling you about the birds, the trees, the wide open field shifting from brown to green.

The geese that are communicating.

Wherever you are today, I hope something captures your attention, something you can’t really capture, only believe.

Go and Keep Going

I walked although I didn’t feel okay, not okay enough to walk and believe it’d make it all okay.

Strange how a thought can be powerful and then have no truth at all, none.

On the way to church this morning, I decided I was strong back then, I just didn’t know it.

I decided I oughta be able to rewrite some things told me, a common trauma therapist response.

Meant to let the one bound by past trauma be excused, let off the hook…you couldn’t leave because you didn’t know you could.

“You weren’t equipped…you weren’t equipped to seek help. You weren’t equipped to leave.”

Strange how sure I was in my conviction that such a thing should never be spoken to one kept captive by abuse, medicated and numbed incapable.

Sure enough I decided that bit of therapeutic prescription should never be used, that instead we should be saying.

You are capable of change, have deep down inside a reserve of ability to run and not return, that you do have choices and at any given time you can strike out towards safety, towards love and your very own freedom.

But, something shifted, put me back in that beaten place, caused me to doubt my significance and for whatever reason I couldn’t shake it and I didn’t believe walking would help.

But, I walked anyway. I walked at an easy pace. I felt the ache of heavy legs, knees getting old and instead of being mad about it, I slowed.

I walked slowly.

The clouds, the sky, the dusk all spoke.

You are able. You are equipped.

Why did I suddenly out of the blue stop my believing in possibility?

And then believe again.

No telling.

No telling really.

Other than the sky saying it’s all okay and you’re right, you were right in your thoughts about strength and freedom and choice.

You are equipped. You always have been.

So, I walked into the dusk buffeted by clouds like bird feathers, swept up like open hands toward heaven.

Made me think of hope.

Caused me to know I am able.

Free now although not free then.

Free.

Continue and believe.

If I could say anything to one trapped by abuse or manipulation or addiction forced upon them at the hands of a possessive, abusive partner, I’d say with all assurance, “You are equipped, you are able, you do have a choice…now, go and keep going.”

This I believe and it’s making all the difference for me.

I believe now, I was equipped. I was able.

Still am.

I’m certain of it.

Very Sure

The sky this morning makes me certain.

Certain of God.

The sky, barely sunlit, so soft this morning makes me certain that God is intentional.

Look up, Lisa. Refer to me for the day’s instruction.

A soft beckoning, a reminder of grace.

Yes, I’ve decided, the way of creation is intentional.

The decay of old underfoot making what God’s nature intends for new.

The sky so big, so wide, so deeply open to interpret.

So soft this morning

On purpose.

Look. Look again.

And then again.

Grace is still for you.

Be hopeful today.

Look forward to the turning, the next bend in your road that’s not lonely at all.

Rather, open to optimal reflection.

Ease your mind, there’s still time.

The way of your steps bordered by steady and unrelenting grace.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

I made heaven and earth. I’ve got you covered, nurtured, safe and hemmed in by mercy. I’m everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.

God

Light Returns

“for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Light, Returning

Early morning drive and I look to my right. I say to myself

The light is returning.

I chase it down all day long, the view from the porch perched in a slightly sloping country valley.

The sunlight on tops of the leaves. My granddaughter and I walking together.

She doesn’t know or does she?

Her grandma is new.

Her grandma is breaking old cycles.

She laughs in the early morning, first thing every morning happy baby.

The dark had been pursuing me, dogged pursuit that left my soul and body ill.

Unrelenting in its battle, the enemy was allowing an encounter to trigger old thoughts old ways and old questions.

God, why did you allow this to happen?

This is a personal story, it may help someone, my sharing the surprise boldness of a conversation.

And what followed.

My response and my reconciliation. Brief parlay into dark and return to light.

I had to, darkness was not going to take from me all God had me tangibly becoming.

It was a Friday night, a rare date with my husband, “GT”.

Cool enough for jeans and long sleeves, a chance to wear jewelry, a time to feel pretty.

Downtown crowded because of a festival, we chose a sports bar and delighted in an old fashioned, made like your mama, cheeseburger. We split the fries.

He had a beer.

I had a glass of Merlot.

It was memory making, the ambiance, the lack of concern over no fancy seating, no fanfare for my birthday, belated.

Content and enthused. That’s how the night felt.

img_7635

I’m Still Standing

A relationship of almost twenty years,

Content and enthused, a good place in a marriage.

We find our seats in the old restored concert hall. The music is good, the night continues as I watch my husband infatuated by the talent of the band, he leaned up in his seat, toe tapping and an occasional, “that was good” and rowdy applause.

It was my birthday gift, the Eagles tribute concert. He really wanted to go. It was his idea, his choice of “my” gift. He told me it would be good. He really wanted to see the show.

Me too, because there’s no call for pouting over such things when you’re eighteen years in.

Committed and secure.

Intermission came and we joined the mass of others. Selfies and restroom lines. He ordered a beer. For me, a wine and a bottled water.

I heard my name “Lisa, how ya doing?”

Puzzled, I turned. Vague recognition of the man but really no idea.

He identified himself. Small talk began, words with no relevance exchanged.

I was in shock. After 30 plus years, I encountered the brother of my abuser.

I was shaken. I fought against the feeling. I numbed it with downing my ice cold Dasani water, something to do with my hands. Help me feel safe.

Still.

I was thirsty and nervous.

I felt like I was drowning, still, so thirsty.

The concert continued. Two rows behind us was where they were sitting, the brother and his wife.

I’d been spotted like a sharpshooter, I was a target.

The enemy had a ready participant, this brother set on setting me off course of my recent and joyous healing.

The encore was done, we rose to go home. My husband’s hand on the curve of my back, I paused on the stairs.

I said his name.

I looked at him, his wife’s face unsettled, a little caught off guard and I said out loud.

You know your brother abused me…it was very bad.

He responded and his response made sense, so long ago, maybe we all were a mess back then. The conversation softened trying to make impossible amends.

I’m not sure. I backpedaled a little after seeing him try to reconcile his brother’s wrong.

I said I’m okay now.

Just wanted to be sure you knew.

But, that wasn’t my reason. I felt strong in that moment like a fighter or a skilled and confident hero.

This is your chance, take it, was my thinking.

It left me off kilter. I busied myself for the rest of the weekend.

Asked my husband on Sunday, what would be his answer about my confrontation,

Would you say that was strength or weakness?

Naturally, he said “strength”.

But, the real question I asked of myself, “was that the behavior of a survivor or a victim, the conversation of one reconciled with her past or one still hindered”?

Monday came and the trauma triggers were tightening their chains.

I fought it.

I fought in the quiet. I was physically ill, every joint and muscle ached.

I prayed.

It is not up to me, restoration, only God.

I knew the response for me. I wrote one note then tore it apart, a second more brief and not a word of defense, not a word about me.

“Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved!”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭80:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Briefly wrote, I apologize for my words, I saw they were upsetting for your wife. You’re not responsible for your brother. My behavior was not consistent with the place God has brought me. I wish your brother nor your family any ill will.

Then I mailed to an address that may or may not be his and left the corner blank that would have given my place.

Many would disagree with my choice to apologize.

The note was not necessary.

Or was it?

Many would say that I was weak, I had been victimized again.

I thought the same things.

I listened to God’s spirit and chose the less popular way.

img_7726

Reason to Believe

On Tuesday morning, I drove back to the country. I’d been trying to capture the crescent moon all morning at home.

Told myself, there’s a reason you love the crescent. When you were a little girl, someone surely told you stories about God and the moon.

You don’t remember the conversations.

Someone surely talked to you though, left an impact on your soul.

Someone cultivated the God in you, the one who chooses to ponder, to bravely pursue better things. Take chances when left alone your behavior would be forgotten, might be seen as acceptable.

The sky opened up with tangerine light and the clouds were like an evolution from under, all clustered together as if to say,

I see the light. I’m getting closer. I am so happy you found me and I, you.

I set out to write about hope after trauma, key word, “after”.

I asked God repeatedly over the past several days.

Why did you let this happen?

Over and over, I found myself thinking, you’ve come so far, this is a real setback.

Why such a setback?

Why after all these years would I be called out by this brother?

He didn’t have to speak, there was no need for friendly or otherwise reunion.

But, he did.

I’m farther along because of it.

God knew I would be.

No setback now, only cause to move on.

For months I’ve written, prayed and thought about committing myself to a mindset I call “forward not before”.

What made sense to set me back has only beckoned me forward.

Because it wasn’t strength that led me to confront the brother, it was hurt and harm and opportune place.

The enemy had a hand in this. There’s no reason to believe otherwise.

It was weakness hoping to be strong by succumbing to weakness.

Strength, I believe, is recognizing the encounter as a lesson.

A lesson with a quiz I didn’t pass right away, took upon myself to initiate a retake.

Crazy choice, and uncalled for some might say.

But I’m better. I made right my wrong, the only behavior I can control.

The light has been shining in new places. I’ll not allow the darkness back in.

My part in my trauma story is now redemptive.

Redemptive and light.

Light that lingers, returns, dispels the encroaching darkness.

The light of believing and continuing.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

I’m still standing. I’m still here.

I could have been different, there were moments I’m surprised I survived.

Good, not harm.

Light always returns.

Elizabeth’s grandma and her restoration, her legacy.

Love one another.

But Jesus

Two pages of print so fine I resort to going without my glasses. My vision is aging, my prescription apparently needs changing.

Side note, 49 got me worse than 50 did and I’m thinking 59’s gonna hit me hard the same.

Still, oh mercy me…I’ve come along way in my most recent ten years!

Thank you Jesus!

At first I thought I might just focus on Ephesians, the second chapter.

I’ll take just a few words and I linger in my absorption of their meaning being just a tad different.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I felt the emotion of remembrance and I let it set in

But God.

Yesterday, I listened to a podcast that always welcomes the discussion of hard things.

A pastor, raised by his grandmother talked about his struggles and I won’t attempt to quote him, it’d be better if you listen in.

Derrick Hawkins on JOE

I’m out walking.

Fooled by the morning temps now hot, achy for some reason. I pressed on if for no other reason than to get back home.

And I listened.

At the end of this podcast, Lisa Whittle asks her guests an every episode question.

What’s the last thing you’d say about Jesus? Lisa Whittle

When Derrick Hawkins answered, I said “Oh” out loud and again “Oh, my.”

I’ll remember that like a Bible story, I’ll consider it significant.

When the woman at the house of the leper in Bethany poured out expensive ointment from her alabaster flask over Jesus’ head the disciples were indignant.

I guess they were maybe vying for his approval. Perhaps, they thought he’d find her behavior flamboyant or ridiculous.

They were haughty in their pointing out her behavior to him. I love it.

[bctt tweet=”Jesus said basically, let her love me. Let her be. ” username=””]

That she’d take it upon herself to worship Jesus unprompted and unexpectedly, she simply did what her heart led her to do.

She walked up behind the reclining Jesus and she honored him by giving away what was seen as precious, costly, not to be wasted.

She couldn’t imagine a better use for it.

The best of her given so unabashedly.

The best of what she’d acquired or been given, given away in a sense for the sake of worship, of remembrance of him, of believing what he’d been telling the others was about to occur.

Like a farewell offering, a worthy gift to a deserving recipient.

Maybe the disciples doubted the doom of his death. Maybe the woman at Bethany believed and was ready.

Because of her lack of concern for the disciples opinion, she will be remembered.

“Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭26:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Here in South Carolina on a balmy nothing spectacular morning, I turn to this story.

On the day I decide to open my Bible after two days of just phone found scripture, I sit and let my eyes fill with tears.

I am connected with her story as I was with the one of Derrick Hawkins.

In the mornings I go out barefooted and stand in the cool wet grass for a minute.

I look up usually.

Sometimes down, at the level place God has me now and I know clearly I cannot discount his mercy.

I made a list this morning of all things of me.

Changed artist to painter and writer to blogger, added roles most important, wife, mother, grandmother, disciple.

Told myself, let’s be honest Lisa Anne and celebrate that honesty being enough in your Father’s eyes and hands.

No need to demand my attention I feel God’s been saying.

[bctt tweet=”Stay aligned with Jesus, be unconcerned with who may be watching.” username=””]

I pray I’d not have been the disciple who said thousands of years ago, I don’t know Him or the one who couldn’t stay awake or the one who kissed his cheek as a way to show the killers who to take.

But I am some days, I falter.

He finds me.

Says come back now, your unique worship is welcome, nothing is wasted.

Give me what is you.

How will I be remembered?

Will it be in ways of significance or simply small by our culture of comparison and cutesy competition and Instagram celebrity standards?

I don’t believe this satisfies Jesus and I’m beginning to believe it doesn’t satisfy me.

My seeking of recognition.

Not my anxious counting of followers, rather my calm obedience to my content consistently representing my hope of causing curiosity over Jesus, my possible never knowing how my story might change another.

And that being okay, the not knowing that one day a grand or a great-grand or even a stranger might say oh, I love the way she wrote about life and love and Jesus or I love the way she laid down color on canvas.

Letting Jesus decide the direction of my blog, the worth of my story.

The image and images I leave.

Time is not a factor in the impact of our stories and our brave acts of sharing.

The alabaster flask anointing story of Jesus causes me to be certain of my mercy story.

Causes me to know I’m a child of God and that Jesus will always be my defender.

The story of Derrick Hawkins and his last comment about Jesus got me good.

I’m sure he didn’t plan it, my connecting with him.

But God did.

Got me thinking I understand mercy more now.

Mercy that’s rich.

That doesn’t chastise or refute me.

[bctt tweet=”Mercy finds me and says, that was then, this is now.” username=””]

My Heavenly Father saying

Yes, I know Lisa Anne but, Jesus.

And me in agreement saying, I’ll continue.

Continue.

Continue and believe.

“For we are his workmanship…”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Church on Sunday

I’m happy for the secluded corner, shady under the crepe myrtles.

How was church yesterday?

Were you moved?

Were your hands lifted high, even if only internally lifted?

Did you sense the spirit through the words of a Spirit filled messenger?

Did you cling to the assurance, God is faithful?

Did you sense the same elsewhere, in the simplicity of small earth underneath big sky?

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭19:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Barefooted and with a whole day to fill, I walk out with the pup watching to be sure he pees.

I plop down on the moist grass, thinking adults don’t sit on the ground in the shade, not usually.

But, what a gift. Because I decided church would be via my laptop, I sat and just sat, no hurry, just wait.

Warm breeze, birds singing, nothing much else.

I said my prayers there.

And left them.

This Monday morning, up early with puppy, my husband pauses groggy with his coffee and turns to ask me, “What you ponderin’?

I answered, “Nothing, just dozing.”

Which wasn’t totally true because I’d been wondering about the word “faithful” and whether that was true of me and whether it was attainable in the way I believed it to be.

Looked it up and confirmed by its definition, “loyal, constant, committed, steadfast” that I’m only faithful sporadically or truthfully just momentarily.

I walked outdoors, the pup and I, saying “Go potty” and standing at a distance to confirm that he pooped.

I waited. Looked up and waited.

The heavens opening up, clouds spread thin like marshmallows melting or foam of tide going out and leaving the fluff of the stirring sea.

I laid down on the grass in the same spot of my prayers, thinking no one my age lies down on the ground to see fully the heavens.

But you do, Lisa Anne you do.

Because you’re the pondering kind and you’re not concerned over being caught being childlike, sitting with your hands resting in your lap to pray or looking up lying down because that’s the only true spectacular view.

Church on Sunday was backyard prayers in pajamas.

Church on Monday was being captivated by heaven and realizing my faithfulness is to such activity as this.

Childlike lingering to ponder unashamed out in the backyard.

Yeah, I’m faithful to such things as this.

Listening for birds, hurrying to see the geese, hoping for intermittent promptings to pray prayers that are not spectacular and yet, flow like sweet supper conversations.

Monday morning findings of just one tiny rose bloom left for you to view.

I am learning, these are the faithful sought after traits God knows are mine and are mine to honor Him.

Be faithful in.

Noticing Him.

Being certain of heaven.

Less performance for God and more contemplation of Him.

More learning of acceptance and less calculative striving for answers.

Because the greatest answer is not a reply that says you’re worthy, we chose you, you’re our selection or show us more!

Maybe I’m only meant for little based on human definition.

For now, little consistently and faithfully is feeling much like much.

Thinking of heaven while still on earth, I’m faithful in this.

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:21‬ ‭ESV‬‬