Remembered By

Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, freedom, hope, Peace, Trust, Truth, voting, Vulnerability, wisdom

Do you make mental lists of things you’d like to be remembered by? Maybe that’s just what a sixty year old person does.

It happened again. Yesterday, my friend asked if my hair color was natural. It took a minute, I realized she was asking if I had happily resigned to go grey.

My hair is grey? Again, how did I miss this? I don’t spend a whole light of time on hair or makeup to be honest.

Makes me wonder if others say to themselves, well, Lisa retired and she just let herself go or

Maybe she relaxed into being herself.

We were outdoors on this beautiful day. I met my friend and her brother to take notes and hear the love story of the couple I’d be creating art for.

Ideas were shared, preferences in size and style. Mentions of things God has me doing through art and likeminded casual conversation about the goodness of God.

My friend’s brother listened as I shared the meaning of my life verse.

“In quietness and confidence is your strength.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NLT‬‬

There was a pause and he spoke up, “I want to see your Bible.”

I thought of my Bible and smiled.

This morning I’m thinking of the weight of his wish, I’m thinking I may be remembered by the sketches in my Bible.

No better wish.

On this crisp morning, full moon later, Halloween and time change tomorrow, the shift is building, the tension mounting, the crucial critical day of Tuesday, voting.

But, I sit quietly. I open my Joy and Strength devotional to October 31. I read the ancient words from Deuteronomy.

Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee. Deuteronomy 8:2

This portion of a verse in a chapter headed “Remember the Lord your God”.

Words used by Moses as reminders of the forty years of wilderness, the humbling and then the provision of manna.

Remember God.

The chapter ends with a serious warning, timely for our day.

“And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭8:19-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m not qualified to argue politics. I love people and I love God. Loving God, though, is my priority, my calling, my navigation.

I understand the sound of God’s gentle warning that He gives before He needs to speak more boldly.

I will heed the warning of Moses. I will take care lest I forget the Lord my God by not keeping His commandments and his rules and statutes. (Deuteronomy 8:11)

I will remember the wilderness He pulled me from and I will treasure an unexpected hope of another who reminded me of what matters when he sweetly said, “I want to see your Bible.”

Me too, Tommy,

Me too. I want to always be able to see my Bible. Even when my eyes are squinty and my hair fully silver. I want to hold my Bible in my lap, underline the exhortations, sketch in the margin faces of women like me, women God found. Women who remember.

Continue and believe.

Believe. In quiet confidence is your strength.

Sweet Release, Truth and Tears

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, freedom, hope, memoir, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Truth, Vulnerability, wonder
Before the Morning

Jesus wept. John 11:35

The situation was dire. His friend Lazarus had died. His arrival to save him was delayed.

I am thinking of a young woman who bravely told her story of domestic violence on social media.

Photos with captions of what was happening instead of what her posed by his side and pretty face portrayed.

Photos hard to look at for long, one dark purple encircled eye balancing the other’s vacant expression and her arm marked by a bruise from grabbing.

This young woman is from the place I call home.

She is brave, was brave.

Most likely very afraid.

I fell asleep with private tears puddled near my ear. I fell asleep with the acceptance of my own truth.

A truth I’d been over and over rethinking.

Certainly, there was good.

Turning Corners

For some reason, I just don’t remember it. Surely, your years all running together could not have contained that much hurt, that much fear, that much abuse.

I breathed deeply again and tried to rewind my life in my 20’s movie. I longed to believe the trauma had simply erased the happy like they say it does the hard,

As sort of our brain’s protective role.

But, that made and makes no sense at all. Why would the brain and its memory reservoir dry up the good, deny the times of love?

Two nights ago, tears came and my soul felt sad and then gently at peace, relieved.

Yes, physical and emotional abuse by a man who began as a date is a part of my story.

Being a captive and being brainwashed into keeping it secret is a chapter in my life.

Now, even more healing will have its chance to do what it has been preparing me for, what God kept me alive to do.

Mercy Every Morning

I see the waking up slowly of me and I see the tears that were not brought on by long ago pain, rather the welling up of hope, I see the beautiful things that have already begun and will now be free to finish.

As I turned the long clay lane to my granddaughter yesterday morning, a song came.

I crept up the winding hill, turned on to the sandy path we walk and hold hands. I careened in slowly to my place on the hill.

Safely I arrived and safe I shall be.

I hope you’ll listen.

Josh Garrel’s rendition of “Farther Along” makes me happy every time.

Makes me hopeful. Makes me content in not being all knowing.

Farther Along

Father, thank you for the honesty you allow, the truth of us you slowly guide into revelations with sweet, never bitter tears. Thank you for words, for bravery even if new. Thank you for helping me continue, to continue and believe. Thank you for my present love and safety, the embrace of family.

Because of mercy, Amen

Me.

I am thinking still of the young woman and her photos, meant to share her truth and to help others. I’m thinking of her bravery and the way I still hesitate to say that I was a victim of abuse.

I think of how some days, like yesterday, I’m still ashamed and afraid to tell. And I’m grateful for days like today when I choose “publish” instead of “trash”. I choose believing there is so much good to see.

“Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”
‭‭John‬ ‭11:40‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m linking up with Mary Geisen and others at “Tell His Story”. This time we’re in has welcomed many quiet revelations. Read here: https://marygeisen.com/are-you-using-your-time-wisely/?

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.

How Long to Possible?

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, hope, memoir, painting, Prayer, Redemption, Teaching, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing

“O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭131:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Before I felt the truth of belonging there, I observed the setting. Twice in my life, a very long time ago, it was offered to me, possibility.

The high school art classroom, the teacher who spilled her very own love of painting all over the room, she started my believing.

She was less instructor, more demonstrator of art as a comfort, as a passion. She was evidence of the balm of creativity.

The English Honors professor who was a tiny force of expectation, a petite woman

She refused to accept my errors.

I remember the desk I arrived early to take, first row, third seat back. I hated my poor appearance, I avoided the walking across any classroom.

The room was so small, desks barely able to allow my thick to me frame. Classmates so close, it was uncomfortable to have another’s skin so near. But, my grades categorized me as Honors and I had no idea why, only that this class was significant, I was taken seriously. This exclusive group now included me.

The professor scared the mess of out of me until she convinced me, it was my writing that got me there, that qualified me. Not my parents, not my appearance. My writing was my how.

Four decades in between the idea of belonging and possibility are hard things, heavy losses and other type accomplishments.

Chronicling the years between what could have figuratively and literally killed me, the question of how is not of importance.

The answer of now is the result of believing I belonged in both classrooms and in what life and God knew were my possibilities.

“…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Hope and possibility, words we value so vaguely, minimizing their power.

Think of someone, some thing in your history that pulled you close enough to listen, to believe that tiny voice of ideas and dreams unsought, unfulfilled, set aside would always be there. Then, pick it back up again, unconcerned with how, knowing you’ll treasure the day in the very near future when you decided on the possible.

In us, is the glorious hope of heaven because of Jesus. When we will fully believe, the details of our how are no issue.

Only today will matter, the day of grabbing hold of our set aside possibilities.

I’m linking up with others in a time when the “how” question is heavy and complex. How did we get here? How can we fathom it ever getting better? How can I be a difference maker? I don’t provide answers to things I don’t fully know. I can only hold fast to hope and possibilities and to be more like Jesus in all my encounters.

FMF Writing Prompt Link-up :: How

Where You Are

birds, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, curiousity, daughters, Faith, grace, memoir, painting, Peace, praise, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

All my days are in you, God.

This thought, my waking one on a free Friday morning.

The Bible says we’re worth more than sparrows and that God knows the number of hairs on our heads.

Still, I find myself wanting to keep it all under control, worry over what I need to do to become what I’m not yet.

A trio of black crows gathered out by the woodpile on Thursday.

I pointed them out to my granddaughter, acknowledging their being so close, not flying above us anymore.

We talk about the birds as we watch from the windows cold to the touch of our hands.

Foggy mornings cold to southern girls like us, cooped up and positioned for curiosity.

We had three days like that.

Then the sun came.

I woke this morning thinking about the sovereignty of God, of peace and of that being a relief.

About realizing that every moment holds peace if we accept that in every circumstance, every craziness or every seemingly unfair lull in meaningful activity, God is in it with us.

Be at peace.

What a relief to accept every single moment as God’s orchestration.

Either of needed rest or of unexpected yet longed for relief.

I’ve often found myself on the edge of a forlorn cliff deciding to sit and be at peace or to jump for relief, either running from my anxiety or demanding evidence of God knowing me, finding me worth knowing.

Truth is found over and over in the quiet place. His Spirit is relief.

Yesterday, I was escorted back home from the winding roads bordered by overgrown splendid trees, bright moss clinging to clay ditches and a wide sky with soft brushstrokes of clouds like meringue.

I noticed the birds.

I decided they were the ones from Tuesday.

A trio of hawks led me back to the main road and I held up my phone thinking this is for you from God.

Saying good, see you’re seeing me, Lisa.

I wanted to remember the threesome, the hawks swooping and swaying above me as I turned from my third grandma day back home to paint.

I am learning to live aware of all my moments.

To live peacefully, momentarily.

To remember the things God is saying about His will being found by me.

Be where you are.

Notice God there.

I saw that the grass my daughter picked from the pond had faded and told her I loved it more, the softer color.

She paused, maybe she saw it.

Peace as a centerpiece.

The will of God is found when we accept ourselves in the places He places us, changes us.

When we give fully to every calling, each one of value.

Not anxious over what is unfinished or not even begun yet.

Be where you are.

Life and peace, this is your life and this will be your finding peace.

Life and peace.

Singing “Deep and Wide” to an eight month old and watching her eyes, seeing her awareness of love, her noticing God.

Allowing this captivating exchange.

Treasuring it.

Standing in front of the easel, taking time to nourish this calling. Creating from a closeness with my Creator, not worried over whether someone will want it.

God’s work through your hands, think of it this way and be sweetly, simply amazed to be an artist.

Writing without seeking acceptance, writing your one and only story.

Writing for those God knows need your words. Don’t consider that small, never see that as a small calling.

Listening to my husband who loves lyrics like not passing this way again. He’s so subtle. Aging is a melody, it is best done together.

Be what God has shown me to be for my adult children, available and unrelenting in my belief and God’s in them.

There’s no need for analysis or expert advice.

Keep being their mama!

There’s a peace here, it’s a heart and mind decision, sacred in relationship.

Be who God knows you’re on the cusp of becoming and look for His assurance, not others’.

Be who you are.

Relieved in that acceptance and aligned with the one who made you.

Soar.

See, you are loved.

“So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains. I bless you every time I take a breath; My arms wave like banners of praise to you.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭63:2-4‬ ‭MSG‬‬

What a gift, I decided.

Relief.

You, where you are.

Continue and believe.

Unhindered

Art, contentment, courage, curiousity, freedom, memoir, mercy, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder

I’m curious whether musicians, singers, sculptors and dancers do the same.

Find little pockets of chance to create unhindered by the approval of audience or observer.

“Elizabeth’s First Autumn”

I walked with my baby grandchild and we talked about the leaves. Her eyes told me she was listening when I stopped to gaze on the brilliant color against the still spring like green.

I asked myself,

How does God decide which colors become the most brilliant and in what order and why do some take longer to turn.

I knew the answer, it’s how the sun lays down its warmth on the leaves, how they position themselves.

Same with us, same with me.

I’ll turn towards the light to become God’s idea of brilliant.

If not past years, this one, something is saying to me.

You’re coming into brilliance!

Take your time, keep exposing yourself to me.

Let the change in your colors come naturally and without force or calculation.

Nurture your creativity.

It is your treasure to be shared.

I find I’m painting/writing in this way.

I return to the place of ease and flow whether it be pencil and pad or canvas and easel.

This way, I’m not painting or writing and all along pondering the possibility of rejection.

It’s a practice, this non-demanding creativity.

A worthy practice. Pure abandonment in process and completion.

Unhindered.

I take it with me today as I complete three requests for art.

Today is an art day.

What is your creative expression?

Be unhindered, get it down on paper or hands messy in the clay or paint or across the keys or strings.

God made us to make beautiful things!

Distance Pursuit

Abuse Survivor, birds, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, freedom, hope, memoir, Redemption, rest, surrender, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

The geese were all gathered on the new neighbor’s lawn.

Looking one to another, they sort of sashayed towards the water.

The newly laid squares of sod already thick like a 70’s shag, I watched their heavy bottoms shimmy as if to get their fins loose.

The water was near, the path was no longer tree filled, the pond was just down and behind the new build.

The environment had changed, still they were intent on their annual season of pursuit.

Same with me this morning.

I found an old photo from a seven year ago beach stay, with the quote by Mark Twain.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Thinking about the distance since then.

The space between what caught my attention and inspired my imagining to only beginning and recently tangible taking initiative.

That space is not seven years worth of big, not necessarily but sometimes true.

It is small. Small like making it through the uncertain woods to step gingerly over river soaked rocks to reach the other side.

The side that causes you looking back from whence you’ve stepped across and recalling the overgrowth, the rocky places, the spaces with sounds like sissing snakes underfoot.

You stepped over and you sense the importance.

You’re being distanced from the you you once only imagined being brave enough to pursue,

The landscape has changed.

You pursue it, the brave world of being, seeing, living…

different!

Continue and believe.

Go the distance.

“This is the way you should go,” Isaiah‬ ‭30:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Linking up with others on Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, Distant.

Peace Takes Courage

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, hope, kindness, love, memoir, mercy, Peace, praise, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

The rain subsided enough to get a walk in.

I determined to pursue my daily unraveling.

The sky no longer threatening, the storm separating the colors and the background pale blue grew larger before me.

The grey only narrow stripes of color like paint laid down on a canvas, the palette knife technique.

Rain like water misted from the bottle kept to keep moist the canvas, the grey diffused.

God’s fingers like the biggest thick brush now blending, muting color.

At peace with the presentation.

The exhibit now open for my viewing.

The crepe myrtle petals are sopped like kitchen sponges and hanging low like bursting ripely fruits just waiting for my indulgence.

And it happened again.

What’s this lightness in my gait, the awareness of pep in my step and of belief I’ll take off running once I make it round the bend and just maybe take an extra hill?

Peace, I decided as I took the final home bound hill.

It’s peace that has taken the bricks from your feet.

Peace that says take your gifts and give them to whomever will listen, will read, will be curious over how you moved from burdened fighter to learner to victim no more.

A thought came clearly, I imagined myself confidently telling others.

I give God all the glory. Without God none of this would be possible for me.

Peace is possible.

Take courage.

“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭15:7‬ ‭ESV

Continue and believe.

Linking up with others at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Take”.

Read more here: https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/07/04/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-take/

In the Waiting

Abuse Survivor, bravery, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, memoir, mercy, obedience, Peace, Redemption, rest, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

The irony of waiting is that it does not mean doing nothing at all. It means not doing things you know are not yours to do, things like anxiously putting yourself in places that might bring notice, like checking to see if a painting sold when you know you’ll find out at the already established time, it’s not calling four times when the caller shouldn’t be you but from the one you’re set to hear back from.

What waiting is, is knowing God is working and you keep moving you don’t sit still.

You move unburdened because you know He knows.

You left it with Him.

It’s a glorious walk that becomes a free run on a day all of a sudden you notice you’re not as heavy as before, oh, again you can run.

And so you run with music in your soul and your ears. You run. You run as you wait for your triumph to unfold.

He’s in the waiting. Take courage. Stay steady.

“Slow down, take time

Breath in He said

He’d reveal what’s to come

The thoughts in His mind

Always higher than mine

He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart

Stay steadfast my soul

He’s in the waiting

He’s in the waiting

Hold onto your hope

As your triumph unfolds

He’s never failing

He’s never failing.”

Bethel

#takecourage #hesinthewaiting #quietconfidenceartandword

Grace Awaits

confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, family, grace, hope, Labradors, memoir, mercy, obedience, Stillness, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, waiting

We walked in the heat and kept going until we found shade.

We didn’t stop to rest.

Colt, my “grand dog”

We kept going because we know the pattern. We know where there is sun there will be shade.

We kept walking because the grassy field borders the man made trail, the one where the strong roots are revealing their tenacity.

They’ve broken through as if knowing it will cause our steps to favor the earth, the grass.

To remind us, it is hard here; nevertheless, the soft places remain.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

‭‭John‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The old hymn with the sway in its notes

Reminds me of an old chair moaning as I rock.

I’m sitting on a big back porch and the breeze although warm too early this year is steady and sweeps softly on my cheek.

The chair is old.

I want to repair it, have it dressed in new fabric, have someone who knows how make the seat and back not so noisy from the pressure of its sitter.

Still, it allows my sitting, it allows me to settle there and it tests my tolerance for the noise unpleasantly necessary.

I could sit still, I could not encourage the back push and the forward pull of the place behind my knees that leads to the rocking.

But, I don’t.

I sit in my aunt’s old hand me down chair and I rock.

And it allows me to continue there.

Grace is that way.

Grace knows we might be annoyed by things and others that we keep responding to in the way that causes even more annoyance.

Grace waits for us to settle down, stop the thing we do that brings frustrations we could so easily let go.

Or accept them and notice less the noise and more the joy.

Grace awaits.

It never leaves us.

Grace stays.

Continue and believe.

Linking up with other story tellers here:

https://marygeisen.com/lights-out-when-fear-is-like-a-switch/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lights-out-when-fear-is-like-a-switch

These thoughts on fear are so very true!