31 Days, Freely – Close

Life and God are in constant intersection.

Places you find yourself standing other than you planned and in locations you’ve become accustomed to, you are close to God, when you take stock of forgetting and finding again, what is there.

You meet a little lady by mistake who is tiny like your grandma, neat as a pin like her and she smiles and forgives you for ringing her doorbell, going to the wrong address, she tells you she wishes you’d stop back by.

And you think, now if that’s not God, I have no idea what it is.

To see your grandma when you needed her kind of gentle assurance, yes, that was God!

Being close to God, being where He wants me to be and doing what He wants me to do.

With my being mama, wife, executive, writer, painter, friend and follower.

These are things I will know clearly and eventually, adjustments like shadows of color to accentuate an angel’s waist or taking away a showy word to be simple, succinct.

It is work. It’s okay, though. God is in it.

Never an anxious seeking, always a contented watching unexpectedly yet ever hopeful wait.

I heard the geese and thought “Here they come.”, the acknowledgment of my mama, her words when she heard them.

I slowed my steps as the V shape turned away and then smiled and watched as they turned back my way.

It was a small thing, to see geese fly over and remember my mama.

Remember God’s pattern.

I forget and I forge ahead making mental and pencil note of things to try, challenges I should continue and I take some off the list, cross through their name, thick leaded takeaway, giving myself permission to let that one go.

To keep taking small, deliberate steps and to know that when I jump in to pressuring myself to join in, to hurry up and finish or to feel afraid I might not catch up,

That’s anxiety talking, that’s fear and I feel it in the place that the counselor noticed my trauma liked to dwell.

Noticing now, let that go,

That will not serve you well.

Be still.

You are close now, close to what God wants you to know.

He is close.

We are His work.

“The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy; they are established forever and ever, to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭111:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Closing out 31 Days with some sermon notes from myself:

Write bravely.

Write from small sweet experiences.

Try not to veer back to pitiful.

Recognize when you do.

Write what you’ve been avoiding.

Follow through.

Notice God’s answers in your day.

Pay attention, you’ll know clearly, what to say, what to paint, what to write and

Where to go.

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice.

31 Days, Freely – Voice

Yesterday, I listened differently. One voice I heard was as smooth as the cream in my coffee and deliberate in its pauses. She waited between words. I got the impression that every syllable was special.

I joked and told her she should give training, her voice was so pleasant to hear. She explained it was just Southern and I answered well, I’m just as southern as you.

We were helping someone, one voice on the phone and the two of us trying to listen in light of emergent need. I wanted to ask hard questions, scold missteps in my concern for her condition.

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

‭‭James‬ ‭3:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Instead, I watched and waited and tried to line my parts up in the conversation with what she might receive as compassion not concern.

Her voice was quiet and it wavered. It was sure and then it was scared. It was willing and then it wished it had not spoken.

I listened as my colleague offered coffee and then calmly led her to talk about her boys, then at just the right moment as I turned to tell her, she voiced her agreement with me, assuring the young mother.

You can get back to the place of okay.

We saw her smile, softly repeat our belief using her voice and repeat it again, believing, I believe,

She will get there again,

Back to

The place of okay.

‬‬

31 Days, Freely – Song

waking thought today, October 28th…

“Jesus, lover of my soul”.

From some other worldly type place the thought came, these words I repeated in thought, two, three, a few or several times, uncertain of them being verse of a Psalm or a song.

The sun is pretty just now, the way it shadows my stack of morning table stuff.

I google the phrase and discover it is a song, an old hymn I must’ve flipped past in the thin pages, seeking backdrops for angels.

I open my journal to read what I wrote earlier, before church or anything at all.

Realizing my faith is a persistent faith, more persistent than resistant and that little things are happening, being evidenced in my soul.

Gradually sticking, this relationship of grace.

There could be no other explanation for waking up to the words of a song.

I must be getting closer to His spirit. It can be the only explanation – every morning I’m thinking of God and I’m not yet or quite yet awake.

Waking up with words like Jesus being the lover of my soul.

What a beautiful song!

What a beautiful

song.

31 Days, Freely – Whole

I kept working because I wanted to finish what I’d begun, I suppose.

Only partially complete, it would have maybe worried me all day as to what the ending might be, I needed to finish.

I needed to treasure the whole thing, the pleasant dream that blessed me with blissful sleep past seven.

Oh, joy, I’ve slept til almost nine!

I dreamt I was living in my grandma’s house and it was all mine, the whole place.

It was standing tall and mine for the taking, for the living.

The room across the tiny hall from my grandma’s room, it was exactly the same as before.

The hall, like a bridge we were warned not to cross, just a little hollow place between, its occupants, the phone on the wall and the gas heater caused crowded passing through to the little bathroom congregating.

I was there again and I could hear the long clangy echo of a ring and my grandma answering to talk to maybe my mama, my aunt or one of her sisters.

She’d pull the long curly cord around the corner so she could see. She’d talk a long time sometimes.

But, it was mine in my dream, the whole place, last night. The place not standing now was there for me.

So, I set my mind on fixing up my granddaddy’s room, the one that seemed such a secret, his “Chester” drawers all piled with loose coins, papers and cigars, I started and I cleared and cleaned and made it fresh, different than before, a place to lie down and rest, inviting and bright.

A place I’d been afraid to pass through, it was mine to make new.

To make whole.

31 Days, Freely – Moment

Prompted, on this day 26 of 31 to write briefly (I’ll do my best.) on the word “Moment”.

Sometimes I’ll take a moment to be sure I’m correct in my understanding of the meaning of a word, or look for the definition to broaden my perspective.

I took time just now to understand “abide” because I always lean towards it meaning something like living some place or staying put and settled somewhere.

It may be that I think it’s a relative to the word abode.

No idea.

a·bide
/əˈbīd/
verb

accordance with, uphold, heed, accept, go along with, acknowledge, respect, defer to

Yesterday, I met someone who began a conversation with questions of me from the other side of a table. The room was filled with women and the bustle of many conversations.

She asked me about my choice of the phrase “quiet confidence”, eventually moving to sit beside me. We talked. We laughed and we connected.

We were interested in each others’ stories from the moment we connected.

This morning, I’m remembering how I told her it can awkward for me to have an intimate and complimentary conversation, to receive positive and powerful feedback from another.

It’s as if it’s a challenge for me to agree with another’s words that are good if they’re about me.

She said something I loved when I told her I don’t like to introduce myself as an Executive Director, it sounds so lofty, so unappealing to me, doesn’t sound like who I ever wanted to be.

She smiled and told me to accept it, to be in agreement with God’s decision to place me in a place to lead.

This morning I’ll think of it as abiding with God in his decisions to bring me to a place of leading. I’ll abide in my executive role and demonstrate my confidence because of God’s confidence in me.

Moment by moment, I’ll abide, be in agreement with God as I carry out my role in His world.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I met someone yesterday who gave me an unexpected gift. I’ve decided to accept it, acknowledge her assessment of me.

Linking with others here:

FMF – Moment

31 Days, Freely – Capture

I’ve never seen such a pretty place as the porch that welcomed me this evening to my daughter’s home.

Now, I thought of taking a picture; but, it would be lost on most everyone.

A vignette of pumpkins resting on a bench, large lively fern and cushion sitting softly in big and sturdy rocking chair.

The way she can take a little something space and make it big something spectacular.

So pretty, my words fail and my description, to capture her ways, her simply splendid style.

I got the dogs all excited and situated and since I skipped boot camp I set out to make some laps around the big open farming field.

The dogs were confused, corralled and cavorting. I made another lap and rounded the corner to be met by the sky.

I’d decided beforehand it wouldn’t be so amazing, cloud cover and cold.

But, the sun found a low place and it decided I’ll settle down here.

“And God saw that it was good.”

‭‭Genesis‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So, I forfeited the made up workout of cardio for the perch on the porch and I did my best to capture what’s too spectacular to know, to keep.

The sky, the sun, the stuff of me showing up in my child’s decorative ways.

More amazing than words, more beautiful than we can ever know.

31 Days, Freely – Brief

No wonder I don’t want to leave, my morning time with God is always too brief.

This morning God told me,

Be brave.

It’s like He truly has me and He wants to keep me here, wants me to really know His keeping.

Yes, my morning time is too brief, I’m getting stronger at taking it longer into my day.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Because I slept well and long, my meet the day prayer today was brief.

The feeling followed me down the hall, the regret of my request.

I asked God for “opportunities” and chastised myself no sooner than the thought became a conversation. Thinking,

Oh, sorry let me take that back…I’ve already had enough and haven’t done so well with them.

I barely made it to the Keurig before I changed my perspective.

I remembered my pattern.

God reminded me.

When I don’t write or when my writing is rejected, I immediately believe it has nothing to do with my skills or my content; but, everything with my worthiness.

Viciously sensitive and cyclical is the dilemma of my endeavor. I will return once again, maybe this afternoon to the old desk where words have been written, pieces and parts and starts, because I heard God this morning.

His reply was quick.

Five words,

You have to write bravely.

Pointing me away from the obligatory or copycat attempts to be one of those women who write and towards Him and yes, back to me.

Back to brave.

Back to the story that won’t let go.

“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I bet you have a thing like that, a thing God told you was for you, the treasure you believed was there, slowly began to believe Him enough to dig it up.

Maybe you were afraid your treasure might not be treasured or that you’d be insufficient in your conveyance of just how glorious your God is for giving you the ability, the opportunity,

The unabashed bravery to pursue it!

Yeah, that’s the thing mostly. Something that God has told you is this huge a chance, a calling…oh, you don’t want to be responsible for it being any less.

I ramble, I get pitiful.

Forgive me. I’m surely no victim!

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What we see as hard, God sees as worthy of our doing.

What we see as unlikely, God sees as possible.

What we see as unexpected of our accomplishing, God sees as brave and intentional daily, momentous surrender.

We must be brave or we’ll never be fully seen, He will never be fully seen through us!

We must tell whole stories, not just give hints or glimpses of our rescue and redemption.

Otherwise, how will others know the story behind the things we say, the little expressions we throw out?

Afraid of telling the entirety of before.

One I’m prone to declare quite often…

Not me, but you Lord.

Jesus in me, showing through me, inviting others to have to the same hope of glory.

Glory, as in eternal life, a heavenly home.

I only hint at what that means, fully surrendered and cooperative, obedient to His plan.

I’ve no idea why this seems scary, why I must be brave.

It should come as easy as breathing and last way longer than my morning coffee.

It must surely be the most perplexing thing an uncertain or nonbeliever sees,

The meandering missteps of a believer. We’re confident and then we’re not or we’re complete and then complacent.

Yet, it’s that reality that tells our story, the recognition that we struggle, we’re not able on our own.

It’s also His mercy that sets our stumbling back on track, is kind in the giving grace for our once again, beginnings to see.

That we’re good and close to God every morning and day by day that closeness and that light go longer and brighter through our days and into our nights.

We press on even though the fear remains, we hear the voices of doubt saying stop…don’t go.

But, we hear the other.

We become good listeners and we hear The Father saying,

Bravely, bravely.

Now, go!

We get up again and we, with Him, bravely go!

Some time ago, a speaker suggested we read from beginning to end and again and again, the Book of Philippians.

My Bible is evidence of the difference it made, Paul’s personal expressions of the importance of humility, of loving Christ fully, being lights in our world, being brave communicators of the life and death of Jesus, of our lives changed because of His.

“Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

He’s not finished with me yet. Brandon Heath