Being Unknown

Advent, Art, bravery, Christmas, confidence, courage, Faith, fear, grace, hope, Prayer, rest, Vulnerability, writing

“We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭16:33‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Barely awake, I opened my email account. Scrolled past random messages from people, groups, companies I don’t know.

Rather than swiping to delete, I took a bolder step. I unsubscribed. Many of these emails are about writing, about platform, about getting published. They land in my inbox with the greeting of either “Lisa” or “friend”.

Naively, I once thought they were interested in me, my writing, my ideas.

Because, I’m a combination of starry eyed optimist and strategic thinker.

I’ve always believed if I follow the guide, if I understand the steps, the result will be whatever I pursue.

It’s just not the case and it’s disheartening to hope that a stranger who I gave my email address is going to guide me, be my advocate.

So, not with bitterness or any bad feelings towards these groups, I unsubscribed.

I’m going into seeking to be a published author sort of hiatus.

I’m gonna let my writing hopes get the underground growth in the roots of my ideas. I’m gonna pray more than voraciously read experts’ steps. I’m not shredding my draft or proposal nor my hopes.

Just letting them breathe on their own for just a bit.

Because it’s not rejection that I fear as much as before, it’s the striving to be noticed, to see results of my effort, to stand in Target beaming with my book in my hand in a selfie for Instagram.

Yeah, that’s why I’m letting it rest.

I’ve thrown the dice of my idea towards a few agents and publishers.

For now, I’m loving smaller ideas. Being influential in the lives of others albeit in obscurity in terms of what some of these now unsubscribed emails promised me.

Because, early this morning I got this message from a friend:

“I hope you understand how people see, respect and admire you.” Ray V.

I replied “Thank you.” thinking this is enough for now, more than enough.

Then I thought of coming Christmas and just like that, an idea, Advent prayer cards for either Christmas decorations, gifts, or for thoughtful meditation.

I sketched a pear, added the number 7 and referred to my Advent tradition book, “Waiting Here for You, An Advent Journey of Hope” by Louie Giglio. I saw that Day 7 asks us to consider the value of giving rather than receiving.

Found the photo of my granddaughter’s first Christmas and said to myself, these are things of great significance, waiting quietly rather than striving and offering what I can to others in hopes they do the same.

Please comment if you’d be interested in an Advent Set of illustrated cards. I need to know if there’s interest in my idea or just another of my many ideas. Cost will be under $20. If you’d like to view other art, visit here http://lisaannetindal.me

Tasting Mercy

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, eating disorder, Faith, freedom, hope, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Stillness, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing

Remember when you refused to say “diet”, instead lifestyle or good choices for my health? Maybe you’ve counted calories, drank smooshed up vegetables in a pretty glass, restricted cream and sugar in your coffee.

All in an effort to be well, to be satisfied with yourself, body and soul.

Yesterday, I gazed at the casserole dish of cheesy baked spaghetti my daughter made. I remembered the day I would’ve gone for thirds, if by myself eat the rest of it.

I let the memory help me, I let it fade into the shadows. I left it there.

I woke up early unnecessarily today. I prayed beside my bed that God would help me keep learning, keep listening, keep strengthening my spiritual health.

I see the word prompt for today is “taste”. Rather than think of passages like kind words being sweeter than honey or tasting and seeing that the goodness of the Lord is good.

I rested for a few minutes, soaking up a passage I never tire of,

The passage about the woman who’d been hemorrhaging for twelve years and had gone broke trying to get well, to find a solution to her blood saturated clothing.

The crowd was thick. She could get close to Jesus without being noticed. She did. She touched the hem of his robe and instantly everything changed. She got well.

Jesus knew it. Knew she was there. Knew she was desperate and called her out from her chosen obscurity, her hope to keep herself secret.

“When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your garment I would be healed.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭8:47‬ ‭TPT‬‬

All eyes and ears were on her then, Jesus didn’t just heal her, He gave her the voice to invite healing for others.

I haven’t thought of it this way until today.

Others see and hear us. See how we’ve changed and keep seeking to be healed.

On Sunday (isn’t Sunday always okay tomorrow I start the diet day?) I considered doing Whole30 again.

The diet that restricts certain foods as a way for you to learn what is specifically not good for you is work. It takes effort, makes you feel like a brave fighter or a competitive something or other.

But, there’s no cheese allowed, no cream in my coffee, no chocolate, no red wine, no bread, no sugar, no peanut butter (!!!). The “no” list is long.

Earlier this week, I embraced a friend in a funeral home. I didn’t expect to hear her words through tears. I just know they surprised me, sweetly and certainly she spoke.

“I’m gonna need you.” she said before I spoke a word. On the way to this visitation I almost decided against I decided I’d offer myself as a person to call.

I’d tell her “If you run out of friends to call or no one’s available, you can always call me.”

You see, we know each other but not dining together or visiting each other’s home sort of friends.

Her greeting me with “I’m gonna need you.” surprised me and then it didn’t.

This thing called blogging, posting what God tells me on Instagram, this sharing of sitting on the sofa sketches at night, this creative thing God so graciously made me to do.

It has an audience of listeners, seekers, “needers” like me.

It’s just me being vulnerably, being honestly me.

My “sermons to self” sometimes become hopeful words for others, I suppose.

I pray this anyway.

So, on this chilly quiet morning, I make myself breakfast. I don’t skip it thinking I’ll eat later. I am intentional with starting the day filled with possibilities and errands well.

I take the English muffin top and toss it. I like the bread, but I just choose the bottom. I add sharp cheddar to the egg white and turkey sausage and let the broiler make it bubbly. I add a dollop of cherry preserves to balance the savory. I place it on the pretty china.

I sit and enjoy it.

Like I told my friend who is grieving and I continue to tell others and myself,

“Take it easy on yourself.”

Offer as much mercy you’ve shown others to yourself.

Cease striving, seek wellness.

Be humble when convicted, but don’t punish yourself, don’t let bitter regret or self-hate simmer.

Continue and believe.

Believe you’re fearfully and wonderfully made and so fully known and loved.

Be well. It is well.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Thank you for sustaining me Lord, for keeping me well, for reminding me of what harms and what helps me, what makes me a beautiful offering, a vessel to pour out new life, love and listening. Thank you for showing me gently what limits my abilities, takes me from your Spirit. I am listening. I am learning. Thank you. Because of your mercy, Amen

Find Rest

Art, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, grace, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

I designed a notecard from a watercolor. The cover is an abstract landscape with soft coral, blue, earthy green and a touch of thick gold.

My technique has been described as flowing, comforting and sometimes subtle, others vivid, the colors.

I like to say it’s “just giving and taking away”.

Inside the card are three words

“Return to rest.”

Today, the writing prompt is “effort”.

I thought of how grace isn’t effort based, us being the recipient of this gift, but relationship with God often asks us to continue seriously, our seeking and knowing more fully.

Yesterday, I stood outside and opened my palm and prayed.

I asked God to help me sense His Spirit, develop such a closeness to Jesus in me that I hear His gentle voice

That I heed His teaching, am sure of my direction.

That I give and take away in the same way that He does. In this effort, not a hopeful change; but in this serious attempt I will better know my Savior.

I will better know what to pursue and what to let fade away.

May my greatest effort not be a blank canvas that invites color, words spoken or on a page.

May my most important effort be to know my God better and in this way

Know peace. Know rest.

Return to rest.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

(Notecards and other art available at http://www.lisaannetindal.me )

More Than Pretty Words

bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, family, freedom, grace, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, surrender, testimony, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, writing

It occurred to me as I thought of today’s prompt, “trust”, that so many of the words we use may be less powerful, more pretty, even cliche.

Trust is a word I write every morning, some days God follows with a bold period and often underlined.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Trust.

I start the day with this written commitment. Still, some days it’s nothing more than a pleasant hope, a halfhearted decision to remember God is my Father and I am His child.

I can trust Him.

Even if trusting humanly is a challenge for me, an established avoidance or cynical pattern.

I can decide to trust God.

Words like trust, faith, redemption, and salvation are powerful and unchanging words.

They are the fruit of our Creator’s character and intent for us.

They are God’s covenant.

“Promise”, another word we hold loosely when we consider it from human experience, is just as valuable, a weighty word.

Today, I will trust God. I will know and cherish words like trust, faith, mercy, grace, freedom, salvation, healing, and peace.

I’ll embrace these words tightly, held and certain like a child being cradled in the strong arms of a parent.

“I am carrying you.” God

He keeps His promises.

He gives joy, trust, patience.

We’re not able on our own to sustain these.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:22‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Treasures

Art, birds, Children, Children’s Books, Faith, grandchildren, hope, Peace, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing
Crayons and Cardinals

Today’s prompt word, “Treasure” was on my mind bright and early on the country road.

The humidity hanging on a couple more days made my windshield foggy and the road ahead a misty haze.

I switch from dim to bright, to see clearly up close or farther ahead but blurry, I kept trying to decide.

A little or closer to seeing all.

I notice few other morning travelers. I drive slowly, no obnoxious impatient people behind me. No approaching lights undimmed on one of the many curves.

I can’t decide if I’m old or more careful, more slow or more cognizant of what I’ve committed to, what’s required of me.

I chose music over words and a Pandora station different than other mornings.

A song I’d never heard nor the artist led my morning on. Simple words.

A treasure, the refrain.

“I don’t have much to give. But, I give you my beating heart.”

A song about what matters to God, how so very little is so very much.

I won’t despise the day of small things. (Zechariah 4:10)

I thought of a surprising conversation yesterday. I’d asked an agent in a zoom call whether self-publishing a children’s book gives credibility to an author seeking to publish adult nonfiction traditionally.

There was no “Oh, tell me about your book” or an approving nod that says you’re on the right track.

No, neither of those, none of that.

Only, “only mention your book if your sales have been 5000 books.”

Oh.

Well, good to know, I suppose.

I love “Look at the Birds”, every single word, every color on the pages, every thought that clicked to birth the story and illustrations.

I felt a mixture of naivety and betrayal. Familiar thoughts.

This is when I remember my husband says I’m prone to believing life is a fairy tale.

Maybe or maybe just hopeful.

My heart beat a little faster yesterday when I saw a friend had my book on her coffee table. My soul welled up this morning when my granddaughter said “my Jesus, your Jesus too.”

Like the foggy barely lit road of morning, we see just enough to know the smallest treasured thing is the thing that brings the flutter of a heart well known, well loved and treasured.

Follow your heart for direction more than your misguided ideas of being known, seen or valuable.

“For your heart will always pursue what you esteem as your treasure.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭6:21‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Know what matters. Songs in the early private morning, a crayon in the hand of a child, a conversation with a friend who sat close by, listened and understood.

Treasures. All of them.

Continue and believe.

Your Power is Your Peace

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, family, hope, memoir, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

Day 9 of the 31 days of writing prompts caused me to groan.

Power.

I turned to weakness, my default or maybe not so much my fragility, but the preference not to lead, not to be involved in anything that requires power, assertion or influence of others.

Those days are done.

Afforded me time to take the blinders off, the struggles and strengths of others for way too long buffered what God needed and needs me to see in me.

It’s been long overdue and good.

Power?

Can we call it strength instead?

Then, I remembered my waking thoughts I framed with prayer.

Lord, help me know what those I love need from me.

The answer came eventually.

The strength I’ve been certain of going on a year.

Peace. I need to be peace. Not a peacemaker, interventionist or conflict resolver.

No, simply, I need to be at peace.

To be peace.

“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:9‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I need to “make peace” in others’ lives by example.

With this comes strength. With this comes a power that enables me to do for those I love or simply encounter.

Surrender is a big requirement, but one that brings ease. Clear vision of your own issues leads to change.

Peace is not getting what I want or want for others. Peace is giving whatever perplexes me continuously to God.

The result?

I grow stronger. I have peace.

I am peace for others.

Your not so secret power?

Peace.

My Encouragement to You

Angels, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, testimony, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

Suppose I post this little graphic on social media today, maybe add one word “please” in front of “pray”.

There may be a flurry of questions, curiosity over what in the world is wrong with Lisa?! (now).

Or maybe others would think…

there she goes again, talking about things she should keep to herself.

Either could be the case.

But, it is encouragement.

Pray.

The tattered book I’m revisiting has no dates beside the entries of my thoughts. There’s a smiley face beside a verse, dog-eared corners from not sure when. There are prayers, quite personal on the pages.

Prayers that have been heard, met with either answer or with growth, changes in me and situations.

Peace in the form of acceptance.

My prayers were heard.

They will be today.

Whether they’re the confident gratitude that thanks God for knowing or

The bewildered surrender that finds me face down and allowing tears. No words, just flow.

Or simply, again.

Thank you for today. I woke up well.

Recently someone likened “thinking about it” to “praying about it”.

Said it’s the same, just semantics.

I can say with certainty it is not. We can not know everything and so our thoughts are incapable of changing our conditions.

I’ll be careful here. I’m not a theologian and I’ve begged God for things I’ve yet to see.

But, oh the things I have been shown. It astounds me all the times I’ve prayed and resisted the urge to take action.

God has sweetly surprised me.

A phone call longed for that pops up, a request for Jesus to put his healing hands on a family, a plea for knowing more clearly than ever His nearness and protection.

Three very recent answered prayers.

A pleading soul is the soul at peace, at peace with its position in this universe.

“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the Lord is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭34:4-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lord, thank you for changing my understanding of prayer, of bringing me to here, a place to boldly say to others, “my encouragement to you is that you make prayer a priority.” Help me to help others see the powerfully available connection to you, the one who fully knows us.

Lord, keep teaching me to pray. In Jesus Name and because of your great mercy, I say

Amen.

Here’s the book I’ve cherished, full of praise, wisdom and prayers of desperation. http://Words of Wisdom: A Life-Changing Journey through Psalms and Proverbs https://www.amazon.com/dp/141439943X/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_MJRAV5Y5AWZKE0A9D19M

Grace Like Change

contentment, courage, Faith, grace, Vulnerability, writing

Years ago, a novice at blogging and a dreamer of sorts, I participated in 31 days of writing in October. Here I am on the 2nd of October giving myself grace and deciding one day late is okay as long as you simply write. That grace towards myself is a decision towards change.

not “sun” flowers

From my kitchen window I see the geraniums have given up and the thick brittle stalks with yellow flowers are going crazy again. Reaching way up like tiny trees they’ll stand tall until they can’t anymore.

One already laying across the grass, soon others will bend and the path towards my sitting spot will be a maze of these yellow flowers that are not sunflowers, only a cousin of them.

Last year, and years before I stepped outside in a huff and I’d stomp on the branches or move through them loudly as if it was my assignment to destroy the nuisance of a late summer flower gone crazy.

Today, I let them be, these all of a sudden crazy come back every September weeds. (I do believe they’re invasive weeds.)

I’ll not protest the lingering into November dead on the bottom flowers with the happy yellow tops that just won’t give up.

I’ll watch them stay. I’ll allow them their season. I will be content in considering there must be a reason they linger.

I’ll respond with grace. True, the flowers won’t know. My husband likely won’t notice.

But, grace, the giving of it is a practice. Maybe a way to embrace it.

Either way it’s change.

This grace that becomes like breathing, natural and all over the place.

Grace like flowers not giving up. Grace is change.

I’m here for it.

Today’s prompt?

Content. I’m content in the grace of change.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain,”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

A Better Fame

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Forgiveness, grandchildren, hope, memoir, mixed media painting, obedience, painting, Peace, rest, surrender, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

Who can you think of past or present who is famous because of their peace, the most indescribably unknown person you know?

“These are treasures no bird of prey can see, no falcon’s eye observe.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

“Bethesda”

I spoke with an author of three books recently. I sensed the ache in his voice as he told me about his writing after I talked about mine, the children’s book inspired by Matthew 6:26. We agreed to sell a lot of books, you must be famous, have a website with a bookoo of followers and be good at talking about yourself.

Just the conversation between us about self/book promotion was hard.

Before sunrise today, I thought of just how contradictory that seems. I’ve read lots of Christian books, some sort of trendy and insubstantial and some very resonant and worth returning to.

I thought of how we, as far as I interpret the words of Jesus, are not supposed to want to be famous.

When we say

“Make Jesus famous, not me!”

We’re supposed to be able to mean it.

And yet, an agent won’t return an email and a query goes unread because you have less than 5000 Instagram followers.

A few weeks ago, I had a skip in my step, a sense of a really cool possible art opportunity.

Time passed and it faded to “oh,well…”

I’ll reference trauma once here and that’ll be it.

If your needs went unnoticed as a child or young adult and you get well enough to try expression of your needs and talents again and nothing happens…

You decide it’s better to be invisible again.

Because invisible is what you know.

But, now this self-awareness feels less achingly deficient and more like

a better fame.

A realization of what I decided was my “treasure” was not my treasure at all.

Years ago, when I began writing, my heart set on a memoir about the possibility of hope, I was starry-eyed and optimistic and I told myself don’t be a chatty little woman who writes about Jesus.

Be authentic. Be real. Be truthful but not so truthful you hinder another’s hope.

And I thought I’d write a book about it all.

Now, I realize I may not.

Because the truth, my truth I am learning to be okay with is,

I don’t think I want to be famous. I think I’d rather be quiet.

That admission may be the kiss of death to being a published author or it may be the breath of heavenly fresh air to a weary striving soul.

Because writing, painting, being a published author are not my treasures, my peace and my peaceful sharing of my healing are. They are the treasures I hold and occasionally share in hopes of stirring curiosity over the same treasure for others.

I won’t stop writing and I won’t stop painting, often with crayon.

I’m just certain being a person who can be found by name on Amazon as an author or who has art that can be searched for and purchased has given me a taste of fame.

But never has fame made me famous, instead only made me wanting more.

Thirsty for recognition, parched for praise and aching for a dollar sign saying success next to something I made.

Eight years blogging. I suppose it’s fitting to write honestly today.

That feels like a quiet celebration.

Keep writing. It’s good to continue quietly and to believe.

Because healing is not dependent on fame, only on believing, believing like the lame man on the banks of the Bethesda.

“When Jesus saw him lying there, he knew that the man had been crippled for a long time. Jesus said to him, “Do you truly long to be well?” The sick man answered, “Sir, there’s no way I can get healed, for I have no one to lower me into the water when the angel comes. As soon as I try to crawl to the edge of the pool, someone else jumps in ahead of me.” Jesus said to him, “Stand up! Pick up your sleeping mat and you will walk!” Immediately he stood up—he was healed! So he rolled up his mat and walked again! Now Jesus worked this miracle on the Sabbath.”
‭‭John‬ ‭5:6-9‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Be well.