Changing Contents and Adjusting Views

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, coronavirus, courage, curiousity, Faith, hope, memoir, mercy, Prayer, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

I changed it up today, wondering if anyone ever has oatmeal that’s not sweet. I woke early as if God knew I’d need a little extra time to combat fear.

Savory Not Sweet

Read my Bible, scribbled a prayer, and decided before sun up I was hungry. Boiled the water, added oatmeal and then changed from the usual cinnamon, raisins, etc.

I added cream cheese with veggies, taco cheese and bacon. I encourage you to try this.

You may also need carbs today.

Change a little thing, adjusting maybe the whole direction of your day.

Because twenty minutes before, the dread of our days took over, one post on FB by a well meaning and very kind friend…predicting we’ll be wearing masks through November and not as in next month, but November 2021.

My chest tightened. I looked away, shut it down and wrote a prayer.

Our Father, please end this fear that surrounds us, prods us, interrupts our mornings. Please come quickly and make us more fearless or in a mighty wave, remove completely this thing that causes us to fear we are wrong, to fear that you won’t make right all the wrongthat we are not really so courageous at all, after all. Remind us our strength flows through our closeness with you. We thank you that you never leave us even when our thoughts lead us away.

3 things I’ve learned this month:

Adjust.

Ask for help.

Tell yourself because of your kinship with God,

You can do hard things.

Adjust your perspective of what you hear, see, encounter. Change as it is necessary and at your own pace. Acknowledge you’re not everything and not equipped to do all things on your own. Be less stubborn and shamed by your inability and more open to others who are able and willing to help. Say to yourself on the regular “You can do hard things.” Say so not in a superpower or simply motivational way.

Say so because you remember the hard things you thought you couldn’t do but did.

Walking is an exercise in filtering my mind, conditioning it for better content, noticing what is correct from the perspective of my relationship with God.

Just A Tree

I walk with my granddaughter, eyes to the ground, back to her prancing stride and back to the ground again, surveying the surface, keeping her safe.

We pass this fallen branch every time and I pause and consider how it looks like a giant snake.

Then, I pause again and I am intentional, I unwrite my own dreadfully strange and scary story. I tell myself, it is true that tree branch decayed and fallen resembles a snake; but, it is not a snake.

I curtail the fear.

I adjust my thoughts.

We walk and sing, dig in the dirt, sometimes we both dance.

We notice God together.

With the autumn season comes a change in the woods. Leaves dance like twirling ballerinas in front our faces. Strange mushroom fungi affix themselves to trees, birds are happier it seems.

Beautiful Mystery

The earth is sprinkled with the mystery of little white veils lying themselves down overnight.

My granddaughter sees them, carefully approaches and looks up to me.

Her little hand reaches and with her one little finger she separates the mystical veil.

She lifts her arm for me to reach down then places the moist finger that touched nature’s mystery to my cheek.

We notice God together. It is clear, His nearness.

“But in the depths of my heart I truly know that you, Yahweh, have become my Shield; You take me and surround me with yourself. Your glory covers me continually. You lift high my head when I bow low in shame.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭3:3‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Know that God is still God. Adjust into the changes required of you, asking for help as help is needed and take a minute to recall the hardship you survived, you and God together, stronger than you could fathom.

Continue and believe.

Days Ahead

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, family, hope, Peace, Prayer, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom

The purple blooming shrub my husband transplanted from his mama’s generous garden has graced the fence border, I believe, for three years.

Now the petals are faded and in the process of brittle decay. Positioned next to the Rose of Sharon with its pods all dried up and closed like little wrinkled up grocery bags, the back yard is changing.

The pool will be covered, the chairs put away. The place for evening sitting will be just a couple of chairs in the corner and from time to time, the metal fire pit I requested.

We will watch Winter come and we will wait.

I pray we will rest.

Rest assured that the tiny purple flowers will explode with renewed growth, the rose bush will go crazy with magenta again and the pool will be reopened after Easter.

I bought a yellow beach ball yesterday with a little face of a baby chick and wings on either side, $1.99.

I thought of next year.

Of laughter around May.

Prayer time this morning conjured up an expression used to make a point, to reassure, to stand firm in your opinion in an argument.

“Rest assured.”

I left the words on the page, under my supplications.

The words that tell me come what may I have assurance.

Assurance of God knowing me and my family. Assurance of them knowing Him.

Rest assured. I can do that today. Mountains move, seas roar, tragic untimely deaths happen, confrontations heighten, animosity threatens.

Rest assured, though. God still calms seas, moves mountains, protects us as He is able against the enemy’s influence, fights for us

Fights for us gently in the call for us to know Him, to notice.

When you see God today, hear Him, you’ll know.

He’s still here and He is still mighty.

Rest assured.

“Mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea, the Lord on high is mighty! Your decrees are very trustworthy; holiness befits your house, O Lord, forevermore.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭93:4-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Rest assured.

You will find Him because He longs to be recalled, to be called upon, to be found again and again by you.

Continue and believe. New days are ahead.

Morning Chairs

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, Children, courage, daughters, doubt, Faith, family, heaven, hope, memoir, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

It would be a stretch to say my parents were like Johnny and June. My daddy was small in stature and my mama although very wise, didn’t exhibit a tone of outward patience. Their tolerance for one another came and went, seems it was either battleground or preparing for the coming battles, a rhythm they finally mastered.

As a young woman, I had to move back home. Things happened that led to college being too hard for me. To an outsider, it would appear I gave up or wasn’t college material. Few people knew, most weren’t informed, college was interrupted by unanticipated harm. So, I lived at home in the house by the pond for just a bit, a young woman trying to figure what’s next and ignoring the need to heal.

Most mornings, I lingered lazily in my room. My fascination with art numbed by my sudden incapability.

My parents were in their chairs with coffee. Their singsong exchange in kind conversation captivated me. This is what made me think of Johnny Cash and his longsuffering wife, June.

“This morning, with her, having coffee.” Johnny Cash, when asked his idea of paradise

I cling to the memory of my parents having conquered hopeless days in their marriage and sitting in their morning chairs, calmly talking, planning for possibility.

It occurred to me last week as I thought of my own children, adults navigating marriage, parenting, career in a time such as this, I don’t remember my parents asking one another a question,

“How did we get here with Lisa? Where did we go wrong?”

And my tender heart is so grateful that I was never privy to those conversations.

Another thing I don’t recall hearing was panic over politics or very much talk at all about trouble to be expected here on earth, that earth is not my home, heaven is.

Surely, in different ways they felt similar fear, apathy and distrust of leaders back then.

There was Vietnam, there was integration, there was the President who had an interview in Playboy magazine and there were leaders assassinated and although we were grown by then, there was September 11th.

Funny story, my granddaddy purchased the said magazine and my brother and cousin found it, ran through the field and after enjoying it for a bit buried it in the sand.

I like to think that was one of my grandfather’s biggest and happiest moments, he probably yelled and stomped but I imagine him loving us all back then; but, especially the two rascals that sneaky and scandalous day.

There’s unrest, division, distress. It is palpable.

Someone told me; well, it was my daughter, “You sound so despondent.”

de·spond·ent/dəˈspändənt/ in low spirits from loss of hope or courage.

She called as I painted and repainted a piece. It was not coming together. I told her it was hard, this is new for me. I told her I have to finish so I can move on.

But, it wasn’t a painting for someone that was causing the mood she heard in my voice.

It was the piling on of other things, the dragging on of pandemic, the way the masked faces and isolation are destroying us all in our inners, depleting our reserve of hope.

So, I sit in my morning chair, a chair that belonged to my mama. The pines are dappled with morning sun, the same sun landing on the arm of my mama’s chair.

Saying, morning has come with wellness again. They did what they could and you are well. You’ve done what you could do as well and those you love are well, will be well. You know this is God’s promise.

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your steadfast love in the morning, and your faithfulness by night,”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭92:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I did not hear my parents tell me that this world is not forever, there was minimal talk of heaven, even less conversation about our souls or salvation. We absorbed it I suppose from the sporadic other voices.

But, I saw and heard redemption when I laid quietly in the room that allowed me to be a temporary guest. I heard redemption in the conversation that was shared as they sat with coffee together in their “morning chairs”.

Imperfect love, grace and wisdom pulling me closer to living by faith because of mercy finding me, me finding God, continuously seeking, allowing every moment, my heart to be sought.

I pray your morning brings you the assurance that God is very near and that He is able to make good of all things, soften the hardest heart and redeem the angriest of relationships.

Continue and believe.

Joyful About

bravery, confidence, contentment, Faith, hope, Peace, praise, Prayer, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom

I was talking with someone about when we will be able to do things again. As in, freely go places, have conversations, be excited to mingle without reservation.

Maybe meet new people in crowded social settings, excitement buzzing spaces filled with possibility.

We are all tired I decided the other day. We are tired and we’re humble. We’re less inclined to invite debate, we aren’t so keen on giving our opinions on the mask or not mask.

At least I’m not.

Bordering apathy.

Some of us are. Walking helps. Telling our truth invites comfort.

Music or not. Music that reminds of the faithfulness of God or no song at all other than the feather flap together of a bird colored blue taking off.

Walking helps, the stride, wide and determined, a remedy.

This evening, I opened my palm toward the sky and I repeated a prayer, not like a beggar or to remind God what I’d said.

No, to remind myself. You prayed this. God heard.

The clouds looked like fresh whipped cream intermittently added to a trifle bowl.

I thought of my mama, the desserts she was known for.

Thin layered chocolate cake, red velvet and pound and her strawberry trifle.

I smiled. The clouds like homemade real whipped cream from heavy and sugar.

I felt lighter.

I walked on home.

God saw me, He knows.

My prayers for the ones I love are in heaven and I am here looking upward.

I am waiting.

Waiting for a time we’ll be joyful over one thing or another again.

A sky so splendid, most every single day, Lord, I promise I won’t waste it.

I’ll accept it as evidence, open my hand towards heaven to welcome it, welcome you and count on your promise as truth.

Continue and believe.

Grace and Intention

Abuse Survivor, bravery, courage, Faith, fear, grace, mercy, obedience, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, surrender, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

She told me a heartbreaking story and how she came to accept it.

She said,

“God said, ‘that was my intention’.”

I woke today and met rejection. An email quickly skimmed and moved on to the folder marked trash.

I’d told myself submit and if it is for you, it will be.

I wasn’t at all destroyed over it. The not being chosen for my writing was sort of an answer to some recent questions of God.

One in particular, do I just blog and let that be enough?

I don’t know yet.

But, I’m open either way.

Not on the edge about it. I know that God’s intentions for me are always good. I find it brave to believe this.

Wish I’d believed it sooner.

Wish I’d seen the verse with the words “returning and rest” the way my friend explained it.

“Daughter, come back.” is what she told me the prophet Isaiah wrote, as instructed by God.

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

My friend is biblically wise and I’d always felt the words about running away felt like chastisement.

She read farther back and told me God is just reminding me rest means closeness and confidence and strength are from staying near.

We talked a little more and we began to share worries over our world, the evil motivations of people and the bravery required to stand strong and speak up about God.

She became quiet. She shared of a high school classmate she’d heard through others had suffered a stroke.

She told me they weren’t close friends, hadn’t run in the same circles way back then.

Using the connection of another former classmate, she contacted the ailing friend and asked to drop off food, say hello.

The stroke victim said no at first and eventually allowed my friend in.

And I’m not sure how many visits there were, if meals were shared or if conversation became natural.

My friend shared that the woman she’d been visiting did not believe in God. She had her reasons.

My friend asked God to keep her alive until she could change her mind about Jesus.

My friend ached for that assurance. She is aching still.

The former classmate died too soon.

Tremendous pain prompted her to get any pill she could get off the street and my friend heard that the stroke victim who said there was no God, died while sending someone a text.

My friend heard later, the pill was tainted, a deadly ingredient added.

I sat and sensed the ache of question. I saw regret in the posture of my friend.

Months passed since the passing until one day in the shower, she longed to know why she’d not been able to help the former classmate believe in Jesus.

She looked over at me and said,

“God said, ‘that was my intention’.”

And the truth of God’s intention for my friend’s friend and for me caused tears to begin slowly.

Peace permeated the space between us.

“So, you have peace about her?” I asked and she nodded.

Then, I smiled and I cried and I told her something I don’t think she knew would be for me.

What that means is that those horrible things that happened to me were not what God intended, the evil just won the battle.

And maybe, just maybe the stuff I longed for that had not happened was not God’s intention for me.

Come back, daughter. Yes, I now see.

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What makes no sense to you if you believe in a God that is good?

My friend found peace when God told her, I was on your team, I was fighting alongside you.

You having more time with her was my intention.

Evil broke in. Broke in too soon.

On earth there is evil.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Heaven, though, is God’s purpose.

Our hope and future.

Come back. Stay near. My grace to you is intentional.

Be brave.

Continue

and believe.

What God intends is good.

Secrets Found

contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, grace, hope, Peace, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

Does your soul have a longing unnamed or one you’re afraid pales in comparison with bigger in proportion things of these days?

Is it so buffered you feel only the hint of needing its revealing or do you not fully know what calls for your attention?

Is there a secret you’d just as soon prefer keeping it mysterious, untended?

I thought of the way the tide pulled on my ankles, caused me to brace my feet, tighten my calves.

Of the way a weighted blanket felt the first time I tested it, strangely it gave me no comfort, its undeniable entrapment.

I thought of the struggle of heavy load carried on my back, telling myself stand up straight or like walking up a steep hill, leaning forward to make it and of remembering it’s better to let my legs do the work.

I longed to understand the unnamed source of burden, the vague melancholy on an ordinary and pretty pleasant Sunday.

I’d turned away from the few seconds of news, breakfast had been good, the worship music and message of the faithfulness of God was uplifting, exciting even!

A day filled with freely finishing paintings, three pieces sealed.

Yet, there was something I was keeping secret from myself, something longing to be revealed in a quiet conversation with God.

I prayed, hoping prayer would lead to nap. The quilt was cool, the whole house silent. Sundays are for resting, a day designed to nap.

Closing my eyes, it came, the invitation to surrender that secret longing, question, the wish for control I could no longer hold.

Then, peace not in a joyous way, just peace that invites the way to a settled soul.

The prayer I prayed, it will remain secret. The prayer you pray, that thing you don’t feel is suitable for sharing, ranting over or pleading for understanding, it can be secret for you, between you and God.

I wondered this morning if we’re all being forced to stuff down the sweet sorrows of our souls in light of the horrific strife and pain we’re inundated with.

I wonder if we all could use a silent place, a curling up to nap, a respite from the angry destruction we’re praying for God to heal and yet, sweeping under the rug our deepest hopes and fears.

A tender hearted prayer may be what you need. One that will surprise as the burden you’ve been carrying, the one that felt ominous and unnamed, will come to the surface for expressing and God will answer sweetly.

Sweetly, the well of just a few tears will puddle.

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭56:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And you will feel better, begin to be relieved. Your tears, the evidence of clarity and the proof of your Father’s already knowing.

Last week, I watched “The Shack”, a movie based on the book. There’s a garden scene towards the end. Mac is helping to tend the garden along with the actor representing the Holy Spirit. A tiny bottle is emptied of what represents all of Mac’s tears and the garden rises up, flowering in color.

I read the book years ago, three people suggested the movie. I thought it might be “hokey”. I found it to be tenderly redemptive, like a sweet secret prayer, a long and safe hug.

What is the source of your mysterious heaviness, maybe concealed by the “in our ears” worry and fear inducing content?

Get quiet. Allow God to help it surface and then listen softly with private tears.

You’ll feel known. Better. Lighter.

Loved.

What’s your secret wondering, your thing that compared to others seems a tiny trouble, so insignificant you don’t dare share it. God knows, he waits to help you be enlightened. He waits to surface alongside you the underneath things, the secret waiting to be found.

The one that begs surrender, to invite acceptance and meander towards peace.

I wonder how big is your bottle?

Continue and believe.

Linking up with other writers as we all move towards autumn with hope. We endured our Spring, our Summer. I have hope we can all move quietly into Fall as we welcome needed and long anticipated change.

Read here: https://marygeisen.com/august-musings-2020

Not So Far So Fast

Abuse Survivor, Art, birds, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, daughters, doubt, Faith, hope, memoir, Motherhood, obedience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

I thought of the words to describe myself and two friends last week. I smiled to myself knowing I’d not find these three referenced in my Bible, just an idea maybe of them.

unhurried finds

The words?

Spunk, Dainty and Floundering.

I thought of my friend who goes by “Mel”, of her unwavering devotion to those she loves. I thought of her allegiance to me, although unnecessary. I thought of her sorrow in the aftermath of the untimely death of her husband. I hoped for resilience to remain her strongest quality. I longed to hope she’d rely on the smallest bit of spunk she is known for.

Still, I knew the days ahead would unsteady her. I cried when I told her I couldn’t find the word spunk in my Bible. She listened to me struggling to articulate my lost for words rambling over her loss.

My friend, the merciful one. The one with “spunk”.

Another friend, as gentle as a dove joined me for lunch and we caught up. I shared the decision to publish the children’s book, the journey from looking at birds on walks with my granddaughter to deciding to say “yes” to the commitment for it to become a book.

She listened and faintly smiled, not with excitement, just acknowledging what she knew was significant. I noticed her hands as she listened, diminutive and folded. I thought oh my goodness, she is so dainty.

I wondered later if the word “dainty” could be found in my Bible. I looked and as expected, no mention.

My friend who has much in common with me, an artist, a quiet friend who is longing to see how far life will take her.

She asked me to guess what she’d taken a chance on doing. I gave no answer because she was giddy to tell me.

She told me she’d learned to paddleboard, no idea why, she just decided to try.

I imagine her balanced amongst the other lake people, her petite frame having lots of room on the board but I shook my head and asked, “How on earth did you do it? I guess you must have good balance or strong legs, I could never do it!”

I thought of how I’d always thought of her so dainty, so delicate, not physically strong, more emotionally fit…dainty.

She answered that it is not dependent on your strength or your being able to balance, it is about trusting the board, allowing your body to let the board be in control.

Trust more than skill.

Days ago, I watched my granddaughter pick up and put down her little pink shoe clad feet.

The land that surrounds her home is bordered by paths, some grassy, others a mixture of sand, roots, big rocks and pebbles.

We walk together. I allow her independence with reminders of “careful” or “hold my hand” when her excitement for living causes her to prance ahead and risk tripping on rocks or over her own precious feet.

I bring my hand down to meet her tiny fingers, “Hold grandma’s hand.” I say and she either latches on or with a big girl motion huffs and shoos me away.

I smile. I watch. Soon she turns towards me and finds my hand and then lifts up in a surrender to be carried by me for part of the way.

She is learning independence and accepting assistance, the play of the two.

We walk together. We scamper. We dance. We sing and we gather pretty things, no hurry. No pressure, a rhythm of acceptance, balancing independence and surrender.

Holding accomplishment in one hand and humility in the other.

“Floundering”, the word I assigned to how I’d been feeling, the third word not found in my Bible; yet, the perfect description for my confusion, my unsteady thoughts, my leaning one way and fearing falling or leaning too far the other and tripping over my impatience.

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Floundering thoughts, death compromised spunk and resilience, and assumptions about the fragility in our feeble dainty frames.

Each of those telling me, steady yourself, your heart, your trust.

Steady now.

Not so far so fast.

Continue and believe.

Enduring Fragility

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Stillness, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom
Mama’s Book

Were it not for the fabric mask over most of my face, my response would’ve worsened the incident.

I was browsing the big sale at the Target entrance. I heard a loud crash and a moan. I looked over to see the feet of an elderly woman in shoes like mine, except her shoes slippery with mud, had caused her to fall.

She laid there as the red shirt employees called for a certain code on their radio walkie talkie looking phone.

I turned the corner and looked away as the thin older woman insisted, “I am okay.”

Yet, she still sat on the floor near the entrance. I didn’t look her way. A crowd had gathered. Enough people were gawking sympathetically already.

I felt my knees weaken. I wanted so badly to cry. I felt the welling up and the ache in my chest. I suddenly needed to cry. I wasn’t sure I could change my heart’s mind. My eyes moistened at the thought of the lady on the floor.

I saw her walking then, carefully and with evidence of an ache, proof of fragility.

Earlier in the week, I’d thought of endurance, felt better about the current call to endure in that endurance is to be expected if one hopes to see more clearly, live more by faith.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I accepted endurance as transformative. I felt optimistic about my enduring.

I pulled a book from the shelf from a long time ago.

“What God Can Do” by Deborah Mathis is a compilation of stories of people who gave up on God and themselves and then, faith and prayers …God came through.

The author begins with her personal story. I remembered it wrong. Her father, a cancer diagnosis, he lived longer twenty or so years longer than doctors thought possible.

The author as a child had prayed it to be so.

I put the book back on my shelf. The book I retrieved from my mama’s house after her death.

Shame, I felt shame for giving her the book when she was very ill. There’s a handwritten note on the first page. I can hardly think of it, a note to my living mama telling her my daughter has written down a Bible verse and put it on the fridge.

“Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:50‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Then more. My friend is close by in a hospital with her husband. He has test results of a degenerative brain disease that means not hopeful.

One thought led to others. My daddy almost 20 years ago beat cancer but died because of a rare pneumonia type bacterial infection. My mama, trying to get well but unable to process all of the medicines, her pancreas failed, medication toxicity.

Yes, parents pass away. I know this. But, both way too soon and both of crazy rare turns of events.

No wonder I walked the aisles of Target thinking, “Soon, I will need to cry. I will need to allow the breaking of me because of my friend’s husband and for my parents.”

The heavy burden lingered, the longing to believe in the goodness of endurance, the hope that all things are eventually for good.

It lingered all day. I painted.

I completed a commission with the only insight, photos from the person’s home.

I looked towards the painting from yesterday. I’d been sitting at my desk. I made a new list, I read words from my Bible, I looked at the redemptive figure I’d painted on canvas. It reminded me of an abandoned woman in a wilderness of her very own making and of being seen and known.

The painting was named, “The God Who Sees”.

This evening, I accepted my own heaviness. I thought of how waiting brings clarity, brings redemption and peace.

I told myself waiting is necessary although it is not pleasant.

Waiting to feel less fragile.

Waiting to see God move.

It happened in an unexpected way, the way life circles back and weakens your knees again.

The buyer of the commission with a background of grey and blue asked if “God Who Sees” was still available. She has a sister who lost a son to suicide and she needs to know that God knows, God sees.

The feeling came. The evidence of God in everything. A stranger sees the “God Who Sees” just as I had seen.

She shares the loss of a nephew to suicide. I read her message. I stand still at the kitchen sink and I know I must give this painting away.

Me, now an artist, sort of writer although not so great blogger, a woman who counseled people who lost others to suicide, I have painted a painting which will now go to a mother who no longer has her son.

And so, I knew for sure, the painting will be gifted. The encounter via messaging that gave me cause to truly see endurance and gave me opportunity to think less of myself and give something, art to someone else.

And that was the tying the knot in this week’s regretfully melancholy and honest week, that was the evidence of good still to be done, the unveiling of the truth, even fragility is glorious.

Able to endure because of all we’ve endured with fragility already. Endurance is a peaceful settling for what happened unlike we had wished.

Prayed for.

So, I walked this evening and came home to see my “Savannah girl” standing strong in the changing air, the feel of Fall, the season we have not yet seen.

And the decision to put others stories of faith away and to just believe in the faith stories of my own.

Endurance is what we do because we know God is good. Fragility is the reminder unexpected of the humanity of us, the stories we thought might end differently and didn’t, the people God puts right in front of us to remind us we are okay.

We fall, we falter.

But, we’re not defeated.

Like the woman who fell on her way to pick up prescriptions, not in reply to anyone’s question as they circled around her to respond in the proper way.

“I am okay.” she said to herself first and then to them and she then rose up from the floor, adjusted her purse, steadied her walk and continued toward the purpose she was there for.

Continue and believe.

Endure, even if you feel fragile.

Addendum: My Georgia friend, the one who loves so well, the one I’ve assigned the color red, mercy, let me know this morning. She held her husband closely as died in her arms. Their’s was a great love, a crazy legacy leaving love.

“Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬

The Better

Abuse Survivor, birthday, bravery, Children, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, memoir, mercy, Redemption, Salvation, Stillness, surrender, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

A deer jumped from the field onto my path and I slowed. I expected another and then, yes, a young one skirted on wobbly legs all by itself into the woods.

I thought of the season, not being a hunter or having knowledge of why they were out walking so early, feeding I assumed, preparing for something, going some set aside place or looking for seclusion.

Later, instead of the regular “walk around the block” I saw an opening. A deeply wooded path, narrow with a valley and then a slight curve that made me curious about where it might lead.

I stepped in with the baby. Very quiet, very careful to watch my feet. We looked together up towards heaven in an enchanted gaze.

The brown ground was covered in seasoned oak leaves. I moved slowly with intention and walked unafraid.

Standing still to see a pair of cardinals and hear the rustling in the branches of others, I listened.

I thought. I am sixty-and a day years old today. It’s okay.

I saw God there and I felt him see me. Thinking towards the next things because of uncertainty of where the path may take me if I choose the more wooded way at the top of the hill.

I turned back, the peaceful way called my name. I chose to take the simple route, the one I had barely begun to know.

I turned and was greeted by the view of an opening like a garden entrance, a glow of gold and green that begged me to see.

You discovered a new way today, now step back into the old path forever changed by your seeing.

The settled way, the way without accomplishment, goal or agenda.

The trusting way, the way to allow God to show me instead of anxiety’s need of always knowing, forever second guessing and harboring remorse because they did and I didn’t.

The better.

Mary, the sister of Martha chose to be settled, to choose the better in a time women were expected to be fixers of things, holders of it all together, preparers of perfectly orchestrated outcome things.

Perhaps, I may be exaggerating here. Naturally, I didn’t live in the days of the sisters who had Jesus come to dinner.

But, I have lived in days of huge expectations and pressures and I am beginning to understand, allow, most of all believe in the better.

“There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:42‬ ‭NLT‬‬

To linger longer in the places God calls me, to slow down and believe he sees me.

Late in the afternoon, I watched from the windows. The trees that were far from me reminded me of a stormy ocean tide rolling on. The rhythm of their sway and the brushing up of the trees was a dance with the wind.

Synchronicity. I had said a quiet prayer, a pause and I opened my eyes and sat still.

I sat and rested my eyes on the horizon of dark cloudless sky, the gathering of trees.

Knowing it’s impossible to stay here for long, there are many things to do.

But, for a moment, and more moments later.

I can choose the new and the better, redemption this side of heaven.

Turning Towards Better

Abuse Survivor, Art, birds, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Forgiveness, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

God has more power than the forces of harm.

This thought became a decision this morning. I woke happily relieved of a restless night that included a horribly realistic dream.

I was pleasantly awakened by the slight sound of “ding”. It reminded me of a whisper, maybe a mama coming close, saying “Sweetie, it’s time to get up.”

Expecting a photo of my granddaughter, I reached for the phone, slid it under the covers so I wouldn’t wake my husband.

Instead of a photo, it was a message from someone who messages me each year a couple of days before my birthday. Each year, the message includes “Toward”.

I open it to enjoy a video of Schroeder from the Peanuts at the piano playing a classical version of the birthday song. Lucy barges in and wants to sit next to him. He says no and she huffs away complaining something akin to creatives needing their space!

I smiled.

I turned towards the glow of morning and opened my palm to give God today, to ask for His guiding.

The birds were uplifting in the tone of their chirping as I sat to journal. This too, I welcomed.

It was time to make sense of the nightmare, time to process it and take what good I could from a vivid story, someone trying to once and for all kill me and me imploring them.

“No, things are better. Things are different.”

I spoke those words to the evil in my sleep.

I woke and remembered the horrible parts along with the prayers I’d prayed just yesterday in my private place.

I’d listened to a podcast about miracles. It stuck with me that we can be bold in our asking; but, first we must let go any unforgiveness.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭11:24-25‬ ESV

I prayed that way yesterday, forgiving people and forgiving behaviors.

Forgive me for my failures as I forgive those who failed me.

The day continued well and then the inability to sleep followed by the scary reminiscent dream.

I steadied my mind and set my intentions on “toward” as I wrote a note to myself. “What can I take from this?”

In the quiet, God answered.

I have no doubt it was Him.

In the nightmare, my words were clear. I was not silenced by the offender.

I spoke firmly and said. “But things are better, you don’t have to harm me anymore.”

Hearing my own voice was significant, I realized and different than the nightmares of before.

Better is believing God.

Better is believing in my very own prayers, my voice. Better is being confident that God has more power than the forces of harm.

Two separate podcasts and a birthday message sealed the deal of this hopeful conversation between God and me.

A podcast on the Lord’s Prayer reminding me of God as my loving father, a podcast about deciding to be “with” God, a God of miracles in every endeavor.

Both were reassuring of the good God I love and who loves me.

My heart danced with joy when Allen Arnold (author of “The Story of With”) spoke of deciding on a dream with God’s agreement and beginning to flourish.

This was confirmation. This is the story of “Look at the Birds” a soon to be published children’s book about worry. A story God spoke so clearly one morning and then kept speaking, “don’t just let this go.”

But, I almost did. Yesterday, I found a note to myself. I almost gave up on the book. I’d added to my to do list, “just hang the bird paintings in Elizabeth’s room.”

That very day the publishing company called to discuss moving forward. I said “Yes, I’ve decided. I’m ready to publish.”

Knowing that there’s no clear measure of success monetarily or simply the book having readers.

However, the success is in the continuing towards a calling, the creativity of God in me.

The memories of last night’s terror have completely subsided. It’s midmorning and I’m looking forward to an early birthday celebration later. I’m thinking of another heron painting. I’m remembering the prayer I believe.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:25-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God, you have miracles unseen.

I hope you’ll believe this for you.

Look at the birds.

Continue and believe.

Here are the links to the podcasts referenced:

Susie Larson with Addison Bevere

The Thriving Christian Artist with Allen Arnold