A Kind of Light

Out in the country, in the little place my daughter and her hubby call home, the sky is big, very big.

I’m always looking to see the light, the play of color, the hue falling on the high grass or the crimson “sour” weed.

I go outside, the rain being done for now and the sun is setting.

The softest light I’ve known. I’m in love with the sky, can’t get enough of the view.

Yesterday morning, I received an apology from someone and I wasn’t quite sure of its need.

There’d been some tension in our exchange, an agitation in his voice, seemed some sort of struggle unrelated to the topic being volleyed across conference room table.

I’d decided early on that my go to all day was gonna be kindness, intentionally to go the way of accepting another without making their manner of speech, attitude or action about harming me, hampering me.

I must’ve carried that resolve into the meeting because when I’d have typically said “not dealing with you” and rejecting another person all together, I sensed something else and I said to self, “Be kind.”

Thought of that quote when I read his apology, not knowing what horrible thing was hidden in his typed asking forgiveness, I thought of “be kind…there’s a hard battle here you don’t know.” Something you can understand.

“He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:8

I blogged my second piece as a contributor at Daughters of The Deep about being light wherever we go.

Light in a dark world that we sometimes get wrong I think, we sometimes feel as Christians we have to burst forth into every room and like a blinding presence that can’t be denied, we can’t and won’t be denied.

That’s not God’s expectation, I don’t believe.

Who ever thought of love or kindness or mercy as a spotlight piercing in and causing us to shield our eyes, our souls?

Moses even had to turn away and it was God who drew near him. Surely, we know our lights are a significantly different version, His Spirit in us, minuscule but, still mighty in its meaning and message.

Love, it’s the much softer light that we should bring, a subtle difference nudging others to know more of why.

Our light, a kinder light.

Mostly, kindness, just choosing kindness.

In this recent post, I wrote about the women who were with Jesus because they’d had their lives changed by His healing. I wrote about their hard sorrows before and their light infused afters.

I wrote of the beauty we see when we choose to see others through eyes changed, through a softer light, a light that doesn’t blind in its sudden sizing up of others.

The Beauty We See

A light that’s warm and welcoming in and in illuminating rightly my impression of others, not begging their notice or impression of me,

a kind of light, kinder.

Trusting More

I barely heard him over the crowd. He mentioned “trust” to her as she shared their big plans and hopes. “You know the place, Proverbs 3:5-6…” he said.

Mentioned trust, then looked towards me, and added, “Of course you do, you’ve got her.”

It was a gift, to be known as one who talks of God and trust and love to my children so that they know.

They know.

Such a pretty night, just the slightest breeze and the aura of a singer and a guitarist had me optimistic.

The singer’s voice gritty, heart and soul in his movements and melodies. The guitarist, honed in on his part; both, phenomenal talents.

Doing their thing, for us; but, seemed mainly for themselves, the satisfaction of sharing their souls’ song and string.

The vibe was easy, the night was soulful and my soul was full.

Leaving the day behind to happen upon a friend, see an acquaintance in the distance, people who’d otherwise be postured with just a nod of notice, reaching out arms for an embrace and saying more than ever before, glad you’re here.

I was taken to a place of letting go.

She took me there, my daughter. The night was splendid, turned my day around.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

A mom stopped by yesterday to pick up a painting, a gift for her mother.

I’d leaned it against an empty chair and had two days with “her”.

Checked it over to be sure the paint and layered words were sealed, added a card denoting my life verse and contact info to the back.

Then, saw the place where trust had been revealed from under layers of paint.

And smiled, fascinated by my creation.

“I love this girl.” I told the buyer when she arrived and explained I love her not in an accomplished way or even satisfied over technique or tradition.

I’d realized earlier that whether it’s a paragraph or a painting, there’s a joy that comes that I’m not sure I can explain.

You step back, sit back and you know.

“This is me, this is mine. I’ve conveyed something that is sincere, genuinely me.”

Then you trust it more, you trust this thing God made you to discover.

You trust that painting, writing, singing or strumming unfettered and unfiltered are a part of His plan.

‘Tis so sweet…trusting more.

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,

Just to take Him at His Word

Just to rest upon His promise,

Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!

O’ for grace to trust Him more.

What Privilege

Prompted to write for five minutes on the word “Privilege”, I remembered last night the privilege to understand other women, them to understand me. I was one of four who spoke of being a victim of abuse.

Then, I recalled a mama joining in our discussion on bullying at our suicide prevention meeting earlier in the day. I was moved by her memories. Her daughter, now a professional and an adult, was intelligent, beautiful, the top in her class; yet, she did not walk onto the football field in an extravagant dress to be given her crown.

She quickly changed into her cheerleader uniform to carry out her part on the team. She was, afterwards met by vulgar comments about how “special she thought she was.”

Her mama said to this day she never talks about her Senior year of high school. So, I asked and her reply made me understand more clearly how I might be privileged when, honestly I’d struggled before to understand.

I asked, “So, your daughter was bullied by girls because she was beautiful and smart and because of race?”

“Yes.” she replied.

I understand more clearly what I’ll never understand fully.

But, this morning I’m thinking about another the privilege.

The privilege to take it to the Lord in prayer, the verse in the old hymn that talks about what a friend Jesus is and what a privilege to “carry everything to the Lord in prayer.”

Jesus, my friend seated right next to the Father is advocating for me, interceding on my behalf, surely I felt His presence last night as I took the stage before the sharing of “my story”.

I felt His presence, what a privilege,

The reason I add a little extra before my “in Jesus name”, a little extra closing to keep me ever humbly grateful.

“Because of mercy….”

Linking this post up on this blessed Friday morning with others who are considering “privilege”. Join us here: http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/02/08/fmf-link-up-privilege/

Surrender

Sometimes I joke about my culinary skills. I’ll say it “skipped a generation” and add that I’m quite okay with not being a great cook, proclaiming “There are other things I’m good at.”

It takes a whole lot of years to learn to be you, I’ve learned, “to do me”.

Letting go the idea of being someone who takes pleasure in meal prep and satisfied tummies and guests who are impressed.

I’m okay to continue with other things God made me to love, to love doing.

Self-acceptance, much like surrender. Quite okay with come what may, my way.

Surrender and acceptance, a balance, an ending to the sentence, the story.

Learning too, that patience is courageous like surrender is acceptance.

“my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Waiting is not timid, not tentative and not at all for the tender hearted.

No, surrender is strong and to be patient is to be courageous, quietly and assuredly courageous.

Prompted by Five Minute Friday, “Surrender”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/01/25/fmf-link-up-surrender/

The Gift

He came to us with much speculation, much unrest, not an exaggeration to say strife.

A decision that seemed right because it all just fell into place. My friend found him, had not listed him as available and she called.

I’m quick to say yes when things happen this way. Some say meant to be and I say providence.

Because, this dog, my son’s dog, a rescue we now know had been hit by a car at some point which left him with a slight tilt of the hip and a “wonky” walk, this dog is pretty brilliant and he loves us.

We love him back.

We all do now, miracle of miracles. Impossible not to love him, not to accept freely his invitation.

Like a baby, we only vaguely remember why the screen porch has yet to get a new door and if you visit you’ll see a clever armrest I designed to disguise the chunk gone from chewing.

We don’t remember the early, early morning trainings except for the sake of knowing they were what he needed.

“Good boy” he is and this morning this boy is up on Christmas morning and like a child, he’s pondering the gifts under the tree and waiting as if he knows, it’s not yet time, the others will be here tonight.

And now I must go and I must find a gift, because I’m not a natural at being a dog’s grandma…but, it appears Santa forgot to leave a gift under the tree.

Merry Christmas from our home and this sleepy-eyed boy, “Colton Dixon, Colt 45, Good Boy”.

A crazy and questionable choice for a Christmas gift for a son who’d be leaving for college, a dog who understands, listens and waits. Oh, is he good at waiting!

Even better at welcoming, he’s giddy and goofy and well, a little boy on Christmas morning full of energy and awkward, lanky, exuberant love for this family that he now calls his.

Cats, Cards and Christ

Christmas cards fastened by clips to twine looped like a garland and no idea why, but I left this little kitty cat on the shelf.

Except it’s where it’s always been and I believe I brought it home from my mama’s or I picked it up when we all went “junkin'”.

I pulled a piece of greenery from my centerpiece and decided the cat should wear it around its neck.

Made a little circle, too small and decided oh well, I’ll add some twine, make it fit.

Now the black cat with polka dots who lives on my shelf looks different, looks like Christmas.

This morning, I read a verse from John. Lots of people know it, children can recite it; it’s a simple one that has another that follows and expands its meaning.

So many times I read only part, retain only a portion, there’s always more for me to know, more to surprise me by my knowing.

About God’s ways, His love, His wants for me, for us all.

This verse is best left simple, best brought to mind at Christmas. We may revisit Luke or Matthew or Mark; maybe Isaiah, looking for the story of Christmas.

We might remember the prophecies of old or cling to and listen more with an idea of hopeful truth that yes, a baby was born a long time ago and it was a sweet, sweet story, so spectacular it seems a fairy tale.

But, simply not so. Spectacular yes.

But fairy tale, no.

Our lives are changed because God made it possible for them to be changed, made new.

Because God loved the world He created.

And since it all got and gets a little sideways still

And He knows it. He gave His Son, His only Son.

Jesus.

Christ.

So, we could have eternal life, not perish in the mess we’ve made of what He created.

In the Book of John, Jesus explains his purpose to a Pharisee named Nicodemus who was a ruler and had a very hard time believing what Jesus made so simple to hear.

What is still so simple to hear. But hard to believe for some, hard to accept.

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

‭‭John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I sent a few cards this year, not nearly as many as I should.

Small and simple little cards with a sweet tree on the front unadorned with lights, just a tiny tree.

I added to the message of Merry Christmas

only the beginning,

For God so loved the world…

And then I signed, “love in Christ, Lisa”

Hoping I’d left room for longing to know more or that I reminded all who already know and like me can always, always use reminding.

That God is love and that Jesus was born to save all who will believe.

believe, life will surprise you…

Brandon Heath

(lyrics I rest with)

Different Days

We held a “gender reveal” something my Aunt Boo said no one did before and yet, she said “Come on!” and we all got together in the place of our “get togethers”.

A white tree, sweetly decorated, we counted down from 10 and the lights were plugged in, sparkling pink.

“It’s a girl!”

The addition of a baby, hope opening its arms wide, wide, wider.

We gathered all the family and friends. Festive lights, food, little messages all around. The cousin number would be increasing.

A baby changes the shape of a room.

My brother about to be grandpa, I told him so, your life is about to change forever.

And I couldn’t say because I knew; but, I could because I saw.

My older brother, I met his grandson, finally.

Sweet baby boy, pouting at first then was content as I held him; I had the hip sway down pat; my body surely imprinted from the days my children were tiny.

Little bright eyed baby in my arms, observing a room filled with strangers to him and his grandpa comes up next to us.

He speaks. The baby smiles and slightly jumps with excitement.

“Oh, he loves you.” I say and my brother says, “oh, yeah me and him, we’re tight.”

Yes.

A baby changes everything.

Everyone.

Writing prompt: “Different”