There’s a wide empty field there. An expanse of open where the sunbeams fall in different ways through the trees.
A sound sometimes catches me, a squirrel, a bird or so soft it could be just the movement of the weeds.
Yellow pops of joy on top of tall green.
I consider this midpoint on the trail, the level place before I shift to jog and then struggle up the sudden steep place of a curving hill.
Then round the corner, oh it feels so free!
I am effortless, I swoosh past the houses. I careen.
There is no easy stride without the one that requires an inward decision to keep going.
There is no bliss over arriving finally without the questionable continuing your journey.
Today is the day between the dark death of Jesus Christ and the glorious morning a mourner discovered the empty tomb.
Today is the middle day, the day marked by all promises forgotten.
Jesus told them it would be so.
A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me. Jesus, to the disciples. John 16:16
Yet, it was so very hard to believe.
The miracle of it all.
Much of life gets hard when we are in between. This morning I read that God keeps all of His promises.
I’m prone to worry over whether or not that could be true for me, that’s the human in me as was the human in Jesus.
In the garden he prayed, if it is possible for me to achieve what is your will for every human, the creative works of your hand, if it is possible,
Father, God maybe you have another plan.
“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”
And when he rose from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow, and he said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray that you may not enter into temptation.””
Luke 22:41-42, 45-46 ESV
In what ways have you suffered?
What memories have you that represent redemption, foster continued hope?
What years of depression and dismay have you survived?
Here’s an example from my Instagram on yesterday:
Why I believe in redemption. I open the mail thinking it’ll be just a copy of my diploma, instead it’s an emotional chronicle of about 10 or so years. I lost my art scholarship, came home to try Georgia Southern. Some things happened because of me and to me. In 1982, it ended, Academic Suspension. 10 years later, I began again and graduated “In Good Standing”. #thecolorsofmybible #redemptionstory #nevertoolate #beginagain
Everything is restorable.
Struggle yields hope.
What is meant to destroy, through Christ, seeking His will, pairing it with human discipline and determination, is a redeemable starting point for a story.
A friend is praying that God would give me memory.
I’ve lost something I haven’t needed in years and I cannot find it, my college diploma.
Yesterday, my pregnant daughter asked if I remembered a certain pain and I didn’t, so I blamed it on one thing I did remember harshly…when it was actually another, my lack of memory,
Then told her it’s true what they say.
You don’t remember the pain once your baby is here.
I’m wondering if my friend’s prayers are stirring my memories as a whole, of all sorts of things.
I woke with first thought, prayer.
God, help me to know you more.
There are disjointed possibilities in my life, a new one popped up yesterday. I gotta circle back around, finish multiple things, my mind and plans chaotic over stuff begun and not finished
My thoughts are all over the place.
I make the coffee, open the door for fresh air and I remember.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
James 1:5 ESV
An elderly couple lived below us, my younger brother and me. We were not quiet apartment dwellers. We were single and in our 20’s. We frequented “River Street” in Savannah and found our way back home safely, how?
God only knows.
I watched them on Sundays, they’d come and go clutching Bibles, holding hands.
I avoided them in my comings and goings until one day in the stairwell, I came face to face with the husband, a sharply dressed gentleman.
I asked, “How can I know God’s will?”
He answered simply, “Know God.”
That was two decades ago and his answer left me hanging, left me lacking not longing. I wanted so much more than an answer so broad.
I desired a quick list or an easy plan.
I wanted it “one and done” for me, quickly fix me, God, I know you can!
Perfection, I yearned for, had no understanding of grace, God’s patience, His allowance of progression.
How in the world could we imagine God’s will as only quick when, after all, He has us and the whole world in His hands? He orders our seconds, minutes, hours and days. Their unfolding, He knows.
I understand the simplicity yet mystery now.
His pursuit of me is graceful and grace-filled.
There’s no end road to knowing God’s will.
It is a beautiful unraveling, a revealing of splendor and clarity and abundance as we go.
As we go unaffected by our daze and confusion only illumined by His spirit, His dwelling within us.
How do we know God’s will? I believe we remain quietly intent in our pursuit of Him.
He knows. Just ask Him.
God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice. me
Linking up today with others at Five Minute Friday who are writing on the prompt “Lack”. https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/04/11/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-lack/
“ …there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”
1 Kings 8:23 NLT
I would stand close by and wait, watch and contribute as I was told.
My mama, in her kitchen, I watched as she prepped the meat for the main meal to add a pound cake for later.
In the intervals of ingredients, she rarely gave a measure.
She’d answer with “that’s enough” or “a little more”.
Rarely did she let me add too much. She knew that wound spoil it all. The flour would be mixed with the sugar. It would be impossible to separate the two.
We would have to start over.
In all my years of helping bake cake, that was never the case.
The measure of the two ingredients was always enough to take the next step, to add in the eggs one at a time and the butter.
The cake came out right. Consistently moist with the sweet thick light brown crust.
This morning I made a list of three things I’d like to believe without interruption, three things that would never go away, be not enough.
“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?”
Galatians 5:7 NLT
Belief in possibility
Assurance of God’s love
Someone may be reading this and asking how is it that she doesn’t know these things?
I sat just now and countered each need with truth. Because see, in this world we live in the stuff that gets mixed in gets us mixed up.
Self-control is my decision. Every decision begins with a thought. God’s spirit will be my guide.
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”
Ephesians 4:23 NLT
All things are possible. This truth is for me. It is God’s desire that I allow my heart, not my mind, to lead.
“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
Psalms 37:4 NLT
God’s love is immeasurable. It is unwavering.
“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:39 NLT
I told someone yesterday I’ve been dreaming about my mama. I told her I think it’s because my daughter’s about to have a baby. She smiled and added she thinks that’s so sweet. I told her she’d understand one day, for her I hope it’s not soon.
Longing is immeasurable. Memories are a beautiful thing. God made me to remember us in the kitchen and her famous pound cake.
And he led me to consider the comfort of having enough.
Not too much.
He led me as if my mama and He had been in intimate conversation and they both decided.
Look now, she’s about to give in. She’s about to be pitiful again. She’s about to let doubt ruin the batter, she’s leaning closely towards throwing out the good ingredients and deciding she might never bake a good cake, create a story or a painting again!
Can I tell you one thing for sure?
He knows. He knows our tendencies and stands close by saying, let’s don’t go that way again.
I’m rising now from my morning spot on a day I am calling “sick” and I will get busy with the good things God has started in me and then I’ll go and try my best to get the ingredients for my mama’s unwritten recipe.
I have a cake to bake!
Thank you Jesus and mama, for teaching me.
Continue and believe.
I’m afraid I never follow the five minute rule. Still, I appreciate the prompt, so I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “measure”.
At least not to anyone other than my Heavenly Father.
Who, if you believe in things like fearfully and wonderfully made and a purpose and plan.
God already knew of me before any other knowing was possible.
God knew I’d be different than most, that I’d love words and their expression and that sometimes others might not know what to make of me and so they might describe me jokingly.
It’s odd to be so quiet and at the same time feel so very different, so different that your difference doesn’t go unnoticed.
Sometimes you’re awkwardly called out.
The bane of your introversion.
A very long time ago, this place where I walk, a trail encircling what is now a subdivision, was covered in beach, in sand.
I heard this in a historical account of my town, our community.
I walked this evening.
My steps had intent.
Outrun the mood before the mood takes you over, runs you down, knocks you off your feet.
I was tired. Had too much sugar and not enough sleep.
Walk it out, I told myself before the miserable mood walks all over you.
I had a good pace and then saw in the bramble and brush, a tiny little bloom, a blossom bursting through.
Solitary on the dead leaves, seemingly distant from branch or vine.
The bloom before the berries.
The promise before the fruit.
I continued on, self-talk declaring.
The rest of your life is yet to be seen.
Your bloom is just about to break through the cold decay of your ground.
The ground that bordered the sea before anyone other than God knew what beauty you are meant to see.
That same ground is just about to sprout bright bloom, the flowering, the growth,
the plan for good not bad.
Me before is
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
There was no inspiration in the sky above me, its color was thick and like taupe mixed with gray.
The color of old water left in the kitchen sink, murky from faded suds and dirty plates.
No music seemed to suit me. The podcast I was moved to hear again had strangely gone away.
I walked on with the bounce of a trendy and sort of tired old song.
Next one and the next the same.
They were not working, the songs that usually drive me, keep me distracted from the pain of my hips, my feet.
Songs about grace and Jesus too trendy for me today, too much like radio pop.
Twelve or thirteen minutes I told myself, just a brief bit, you can endure it.
So, I picked up my pace and I listened to my feet hitting the ground and I know it’s not possible but I could describe the sound of my own breath coming up from my core.
And I felt it, the way my body changed as my breathing weaved up and past my ribs and into my particularly patterned exhale.
Control, keep control. Focus on the release.
I kept on and got to the place with the dangerous curve and the steep right bending hill.
The geese had congregated on the water and were conversating loudly.
I slowed and felt the wind sweep across my face making me realize the warmth I’d created on my chest, caused by my own private version of running my race.
For about a minute, maybe seconds more, there was this bliss caused by God’s grace.
In a less than spectacular sky I couldn’t find Him and so, grace found me.
And I ran up the hill, all the way this time.
Although I’d decided I might not be able, I kept running.
Last week, I sort of analyzed my life using the big chunk of moments, days and years that were either sorted and stacked as either joy or fear, as either mistake or reconciliation.
My husband and I recalled the dog adopted and where he peed, pooped, what he destroyed, and how difficult he was in the beginning.
I asked him to compare the joy of the Labrador being with us to the initial hassle and adjustment.
He agreed he was worth it.
Worth it to sit in your spot at end of the day to have a big dog plop down and prop his big face across your feet.
Worth it to be greeted at the door with his goofy eyes and happy tail.
If you look closely at your life, all the happenings that you know were true trauma, the interruptions that you remember and think that was it, that’s what totally blew my chances of being complete, you might be justified in never believing you should believe.
You might not take chances with new things.
Perhaps, the trauma that began it all has never been fully grieved, a grievous grey sky that you haven’t faced fully, haven’t accepted for what it is and so you’ve not felt it, not allowed the grace to be greater than the fear.
In college, my first year, I was raped.
I blamed myself. I hid in shame.
The big and grotesque figure of an athlete loomed behind me the next day in Chemistry lab, elevated just over my shoulder, he was enormous and so powerful in his seat.
I blamed myself because my sweater was way too tight and glaringly hot pink. I know better now; but, only recently realized this thing that made me live so very long in fear and defeat.
It was unresolved grief for the artist in me that died there that night, accepted the disbelief of me.
But, even better than the realization that this trauma was not invited by me is the realization that this incident makes up really only an hour or two of me…of my whole 58 years!
I don’t minimize the damage, I’m just choosing to line it up beside the other things:
I was the middle child, shy girl who went to college on an art scholarship.
I drove myself through Atlanta all the way to the beautiful mountains of Rome.
I tried something new and I made a great friend who was beautiful and statuesque and intelligent who still remembers me.
I learned to love running there, running uphill every day.
We dined at a splendid restaurant where my friend worked on Friday nights, my choice always, Chicken cor don bleu.
I won an award for a painting and my parents came up to see my blue ribbon.
I began, just a little, to see Jesus differently and it challenged me.
I was brave there even though interrupted in this horrible way.
I was harmed in many ways by that night at a party; yet, that’s only a tiny bit of my experience, of my life.
The greater experience is that I was held even then and I am still held by the grace of my Father’s hand.
I was His child then. Didn’t believe it but that didn’t matter.
So, I choose looking back only to be certain of my worth from His perspective and of the importance in believing there is always so much better I have seen and been given, even when I line it up to the most unjustified of my griefs.
I pray if you’ve known trauma you’ll see the freedom of deciding daily that you are more at peace when your recall is one of the evidence of grace, not a harsh gauge of resentment over someone who harmed you and thus, kept you from all that might have been.
There’s truth in that sentiment. It just won’t take us anywhere, certainly no new places.
You’re so much more than the stain of your pain.
When the cool evening breeze brushed my face yesterday it was God saying to me, I saw you keep going.
I saw you turn your attention to me.
Continue and believe.
Don’t let the pain of your past cut short your beautiful race.
Luke recorded the healing of a woman bent by her pain for close to twenty years.
For me, my frame of reference for all my defeats or my failures has always been the harm done towards me by others, the hurtful choices made for me and the ones I made.
Disabled for far too long by my pain until I decided to welcome a change.
Like the woman Jesus was criticized for healing on the Sabbath, I am free.
“And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”
Luke 13:11-13 ESV
Leave grief behind, notice the unrelenting grace of your God.
This perspective of forward not former thinking is the direction God is guiding me towards memoir. If you know someone who has lived hampered by harm, share my words. I pray God increases each reader’s awareness and embrace of His grace as He is with me, moment by moment, daily.