Love Remains

“There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas ). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor.”
‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭9:36‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Last night, I saw the writing prompt, “Now” and thought there’s so much that word could inspire in this time, this time that feels like now is an open-ended question or complex algebraic word problem I’d likely give up on. So, I thought to write about the difficulty of now, the tough realization that we’re running out of distractions to fill up the time called now that feels so far away from “then” and even farther from “when”.

Instead, after making a very good to do list to help me feel a purpose, I lingered over a quote on my “In Touch Ministries” devotion, knowing this was pressed prior to Co-Vid and meant to turn us towards Easter.

“In loving with His whole heart, Jesus was willing to be turned down.” Dr. Charles Stanley

I turned back to my daily Bible guide and returned to Acts. The story of Tabitha, I missed before. She became ill and died and was surrounded by friends who wore garments she had sewn for them. Peter prayed and she was healed and because of her healing, many others believed.

But, I couldn’t stop thinking about the women who surrounded her, the lives that would remain in the room and that many would carry with them, wearing tunics made by their friend and remembering her acts of charity, her love for them.

I thought of the quilts my grandma and aunt made that lie folded across our beds. I thought of women everywhere who’ve learned to make masks for medical workers and others.

Love remains. The love we give, the love we’ve given. The love we decide to give today, regardless of it being well-received or going unnoticed. Jesus is our example of love giving, love that will remain.

We’re beneficiaries of His choice to love mankind through dying not knowing who or when or if we would receive it.

So, the prompt called “now” that caused me to be frustrated over its lack of borders led me to a story of a creative and what she left for others, love and beautiful garments.

Her love remains even today because of my discovery of her “story” and the way it made me feel worthy, feel hopeful, inspired.

What’s your story? How have you loved others, how can you continue elaborately even unknowingly in this time of openness in time despite closed doors?

Love now, knowing it will remain.

Linking up with other encouragers at FMF. You can read here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2020/04/02/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-now-a-gift-for-you/

Say So

The sky opened in the distant corner.

No podcast this morning.

Music.

A lyric.

You are not a taker, You are only ever
Giving and drawing, seeking and calling. “Over us”

It only took words unsolicited for my fear over words to make sense.

I did not use my words as a little timid girl.

As a middle child buffering the childhood fights. Staying quiet, not adding to the noise. Only one person has ever given a word to my existence back then. She remembers me as “bewildered”. What relief that was when she told me, to find out after so long, someone had noticed.

As the teen who discovered her body and then lost it with food.

As a young woman who just didn’t tell because it seemed no one would listen.

And an older woman who continued not to tell and then found permission but got all kinds of bogged down in not telling because that’s what she knew.

Yesterday I read something I should quote but won’t because it’s so rich I fear I’d dishonor the writer, water down her revelations

Lessen the gift of it being shared by a blogger who calls my writing “gentle”.

Because the article led to a realization, this is why you don’t step out in the faith you now have.

You still do not think there will be listeners.

It takes a bit, has taken a bit.

You begin to believe differently.

You believe you have listeners and you may have actually had them back then, you just weren’t certain so you chose the safer solution, don’t tell, don’t need, stay quiet.

But your stories remain.

As do your listeners.

Continue. Continue and believe.

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭107:2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Sky Writing Stories

This is my space, the place my feet take heavy steps now, more slow, less driven. This arena of sky all around me. I’m known, she keeps walking. The neighbors don’t interrupt only nod. I keep walking under God’s massive and ever fascinating sky. I take photos with a not up to date phone. I continue to chronicle my notice of God. Birds all in a cluster. Oddly, one, only one, a lonely goose flew over. I wondered why.

I noticed the birds all together and then separate. I wondered if the ones on the borders of the wide expanse were afraid they might lose the others.

I wondered if birds are that way. If they compare their flights to the flight of another.

Then I said to myself.

“You don’t notice the way you did before, don’t write quite as often about emotion stirred by evening walk, birds or feathers or the breeze that brushed your cheeks.”

Perhaps, there’s a lull or a rest or better yet.

Yes, better yet. You’ve grown.

The story that you’re writing now is not nearly as melancholy.

Not heavy. Not as hard to hear I’m hoping.

It’s more melody.

Harmonious.

Still honest. Maybe just busy with the grandbaby and too tired to notice feathers…

No, not that at all. Maybe your soul has settled. Either way. It is good. You’re still writing. You thought of a new title just last night.

One that includes remembrance.

You know you’ll continue either way.

Continue and believe.

Still. That’s the sermon to self that guides you.

Continue and believe.

Day Fulls

I miss random writing. I do.

I store up stories for later like today my granddaughter sitting at my feet, letting her play in the dirt she dug up, cool and moist from recent rain.

That was beautiful. Her little pink ruffled butt in the ground sprouting open for new Spring grass.

She held up her tiny hand and offered me dirt and I held it. I watched her return to the work of discovering.

But, painting, I’ve been painting.

I’m satisfied with this one, the middle of three “girls”, a commissioned triptych.

More stories to come.

Surely Goodness

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

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

You are here.

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

You get to experience this time.

This place. This grace.

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

But you know are there.

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

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

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

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

The color of love and peace.

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

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

The geese that are communicating.

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

Bible as Memoir

It occurred to me just now as I decided I love the Book of James, the gospels are essentially memoir, perspectives provided of what the writers knew and know of Jesus.

Hmmm, just like us. Our life stories left in piles of journals thought to be too personal for the perusal of others. Lord knows my journals tell all kinds of stories, my life stories. Some admittedly hard to reread, the coming to terms with life events, questions, agonizing hashing out of major decisions.

Thankfully, truly really, those days are over; they’re over because I finally learned to filter my days through the lens of redemption, not regret.

Still authentic, still honest but more gentle, more wise.

This is why the Book of James is calling my name. James, the brother of Jesus wasn’t quite sure of the truth of Him until He saw for himself the death, the resurrection. It became real then and the Book that bears the name of James is worth reading and reading again.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”
‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

I love this so much, my faith life being forced into the open showing I’ve endured some struggle and I’ve kept on believing.

Life is just that, continuous belief and knowing that faith is our preserver, our kind companion, our rescue in every storm.

The display of our many colors.

What’s your life looking like today? It’s cold and rainy outside my window. My house has me home alone and quiet. I’ll take my time reading, a half hour maybe and read the Book of James. Remembering, at one time it was believed he was uncertain.

RememberIng in words I especially love that he knew enduring, believing and not doubting wasn’t a given. Still, James reminds us that this is the way to sacred and true living.

We all stumble in many ways. We all get beat up and tossed around in life’s storms. (James 3:-4)

But, we hold on tight to what we believe is ours for the asking in faith.

We continue and believe. Our colors are beginning to show.

I’m linking up with others at Five Minute Friday here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2020/01/30/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-life-guest-post-by-heather-gerwing/

Enduring

I don’t keep track of when I began. I know I should. I just don’t know a whole whole lot about numbers.

I lose my “umph” when I get wrapped up with who’s reading, who’s buying a painting…who follows me, who’s interested! I wrote about this in this month’s Newsletter:

https://mailchi.mp/23b2252f56aa/believing-in-a-lasting-way

But, people are reading. People are seeing.

I am shipping art to a gallery in Greenville, SC called Me’lange.

I have an article in the current issue of Fathom Magazine. https://www.fathommag.com/stories/i-would-say-jesus?fbclid=IwAR3mruDC0Zb0FP_px_LxDto0i1PVDtBqUYdEMXYyovf_QYi9fhKen-5GiKA

My art was here in 2018.

Still, I know me and can’t let this be big. I am much more comfortable with small…doing small things and letting my God be big.

Here’s the end of a quote I’m loving.

“Do not be so eager in your vain desires, do not even be so eager in avoiding eagerness; go quietly in your own path … it is a good path.” St. Francis de Sales