The Gift of Memory

A friend is praying that God would give me memory.

I’ve lost something I haven’t needed in years and I cannot find it, my college diploma.

Yesterday, my pregnant daughter asked if I remembered a certain pain and I didn’t, so I blamed it on one thing I did remember harshly…when it was actually another, my lack of memory,

Then told her it’s true what they say.

You don’t remember the pain once your baby is here.

I’m wondering if my friend’s prayers are stirring my memories as a whole, of all sorts of things.

I woke with first thought, prayer.

God, help me to know you more.

There are disjointed possibilities in my life, a new one popped up yesterday. I gotta circle back around, finish multiple things, my mind and plans chaotic over stuff begun and not finished

My thoughts are all over the place.

I make the coffee, open the door for fresh air and I remember.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

‭‭James‬ ‭1:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

An elderly couple lived below us, my younger brother and me. We were not quiet apartment dwellers. We were single and in our 20’s. We frequented “River Street” in Savannah and found our way back home safely, how?

God only knows.

I watched them on Sundays, they’d come and go clutching Bibles, holding hands.

I avoided them in my comings and goings until one day in the stairwell, I came face to face with the husband, a sharply dressed gentleman.

I asked, “How can I know God’s will?”

He answered simply, “Know God.”

That was two decades ago and his answer left me hanging, left me lacking not longing. I wanted so much more than an answer so broad.

I desired a quick list or an easy plan.

I wanted it “one and done” for me, quickly fix me, God, I know you can!

Perfection, I yearned for, had no understanding of grace, God’s patience, His allowance of progression.

How in the world could we imagine God’s will as only quick when, after all, He has us and the whole world in His hands? He orders our seconds, minutes, hours and days. Their unfolding, He knows.

I understand the simplicity yet mystery now.

His pursuit of me is graceful and grace-filled.

There’s no end road to knowing God’s will.

It is a beautiful unraveling, a revealing of splendor and clarity and abundance as we go.

As we go unaffected by our daze and confusion only illumined by His spirit, His dwelling within us.

How do we know God’s will? I believe we remain quietly intent in our pursuit of Him.

He knows. Just ask Him.

God is everywhere. Don’t forget to notice. me

Linking up today with others at Five Minute Friday who are writing on the prompt “Lack”. https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/04/11/fmf-writing-prompt-link-up-lack/

How Much We Need

“ …there is no God like you in all of heaven above or on the earth below.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭8:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I would stand close by and wait, watch and contribute as I was told.

My mama, in her kitchen, I watched as she prepped the meat for the main meal to add a pound cake for later.

In the intervals of ingredients, she rarely gave a measure.

She’d answer with “that’s enough” or “a little more”.

Rarely did she let me add too much. She knew that wound spoil it all. The flour would be mixed with the sugar. It would be impossible to separate the two.

We would have to start over.

In all my years of helping bake cake, that was never the case.

The measure of the two ingredients was always enough to take the next step, to add in the eggs one at a time and the butter.

The cake came out right. Consistently moist with the sweet thick light brown crust.

This morning I made a list of three things I’d like to believe without interruption, three things that would never go away, be not enough.

“You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth?”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

  1. Self-control
  2. Belief in possibility
  3. Assurance of God’s love

Someone may be reading this and asking how is it that she doesn’t know these things?

I sat just now and countered each need with truth. Because see, in this world we live in the stuff that gets mixed in gets us mixed up.

Self-control is my decision. Every decision begins with a thought. God’s spirit will be my guide.

“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT

All things are possible. This truth is for me. It is God’s desire that I allow my heart, not my mind, to lead.

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭37:4‬ ‭NLT‬‬

God’s love is immeasurable. It is unwavering.

“No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:39‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I told someone yesterday I’ve been dreaming about my mama. I told her I think it’s because my daughter’s about to have a baby. She smiled and added she thinks that’s so sweet. I told her she’d understand one day, for her I hope it’s not soon.

Longing is immeasurable. Memories are a beautiful thing. God made me to remember us in the kitchen and her famous pound cake.

And he led me to consider the comfort of having enough.

Not too much.

He led me as if my mama and He had been in intimate conversation and they both decided.

Look now, she’s about to give in. She’s about to be pitiful again. She’s about to let doubt ruin the batter, she’s leaning closely towards throwing out the good ingredients and deciding she might never bake a good cake, create a story or a painting again!

Can I tell you one thing for sure?

He knows. He knows our tendencies and stands close by saying, let’s don’t go that way again.

I’m rising now from my morning spot on a day I am calling “sick” and I will get busy with the good things God has started in me and then I’ll go and try my best to get the ingredients for my mama’s unwritten recipe.

I have a cake to bake!

Thank you Jesus and mama, for teaching me.

Continue and believe.

I’m afraid I never follow the five minute rule. Still, I appreciate the prompt, so I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “measure”.

Measure

Place and Time

I exited the gym last night and was overcome by the sky.

Dark as if threatening a storm, I was captivated by the cobalt color, the veiled expanse of heaven.

I snapped photos with my phone unconcerned over who might be watching.

Said to myself,

The sky’s my thing. I see so much of God.

My interactions of late have been a little heavy, some surprisingly negative and a few tinged with murky colors of out of blue disdain.

But, it is okay. It truly is okay.

Through God and with God.

I’m good.

He has led me all the way, preserved my sense of me and more importantly, I pray left in my wake a sense of Him.

He has led me all the way.

To places that were difficult as well as places that were good.

Places where He kept me safe, kept me kind, made me able.

The coming months promise new places, new stages, new challenges and I’m sure the promise of blessings!

He will be with me still.

Under dark stormy skies as well as happy sunshiny days.

Jesus has been with me all the way.

“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭69:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It has been so very long since I’ve joined FMF, writing for as close to 5 minutes as I can. This time, prompted by “place”.

Join us here:

Place

Where Words Go

A chunk of my day yesterday, a beautiful Saturday so warm I had to move from my favorite place.

To a library corner more shady and less distracting after all.

I tried my hand at something new, a thing God told me to do, told me so by giving me words that finally made sense as I sat in my morning chair.

I had found the Psalm circled, “memoir” written in the margin.

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭30:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

And I finished it, the bio and summary of my book proposal. It will need tweaking and parts of chapters added today.

I typed away until my laptop battery faded, dead. Thank you, family, by the way for the best laptop ever last year on my birthday!

Lunch on Friday included a friend who felt it was time for us to know one another more and that our mutual conversation and revelations deserved a special date.

It was special. She is special and together and separately we are strong despite our perspective hardship and heavy loads to bear along the way.

She told me to keep writing.

She said that I must.

I know her instructions are true otherwise I’d not keep doing this thing I do.

Sitting in a quiet space and hoping for new perspective or a gentle lesson.

God speaks to me and I share.

I pray the words go where they need to be read.

And I do thank God for words.

I do love them so!

Linking up with the Five Minute group. Writing with spontaneity and expanding my horizons as God continues to enlarge my borders.

https://fiveminutefriday.com/2019/01/31/fmf-writing-prompt-where/

Happy Sunday, readers. God is waiting to be found in it.

God is Busy

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Last night I told myself I needed to get with the times. I need to be aware of how they are truly changing.

I am now that person who is panicked over what the world will be for my children’s children.

I was not this way before.

My mindset was one of oh, it was bad a long time ago too, people have always been violent, issues have been challenging and intense. Children can adjust as long as they have the firm and loving foundation of family and God.

But, I got all worked up over something I saw on the internet about three year olds. Close to midnight and I’m wanting to research it more, prepare myself to protect my grandchild.

The thing is, influence is either worrisome or wonderful. It is unwaveringly committed and steadfast in whatever the influencer believes.

Children, I am certain, will be influenced by the ways of those closest to them and by those who make a commitment to stay close to God.

Last week in church the preacher asked “Who in your life most influenced your faith by their life?”

There are a few people for a few different reasons.

But, I cannot deny my grandma.

She was quiet and private with her Bible.

She was unwavering in her commitments and traditions for us.

She was industrious.

She was gracious.

My name is written in red in her Bible, all of the other names are there too.

A few weeks ago, my “Aunt Boo” reminded me of God’s control and of being sure He is working all for good in my waiting to know.

She reminded me of the refrigerator magnets at my grandma’s that were letters spelling out, “God is busy.”

God is busy. Doris Evelyn Peacock

I told the story to my daughter.

She smiled. She remembered and I promptly purchased a bag of plastic magnets because every single day I too need to remember.

He’s got the whole world in His hands.

God is busy making ways for us.

God is busy dispelling myths about Him, replacing them with reminders of truths about Jesus.

About His love.

God is for us, not against us and He is busy being sure we believe.

Linking up with others on the prompt of “influence” here.

INFLUENCE

Understanding Better

I wear a bracelet with a charm that encases a mustard seed in a little glass bubble.

A gift I purchased for me.

I need reminding. I need to continuously seek more understanding.

I need to allow my fingers to find and cling to it occasionally, my reminder of faith.

I’ve found a newness of a feeling.

It feels like a treasure, my new enthusiasm for understanding the kingdom of God here on earth and in heaven.

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field. In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:44‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Understanding of God that both fulfills my deepest longings and increases with assurance what I believe.

I believe more than before that heaven is better than here. The great mystery of it all confounds me less and absolutely intrigues me more.

The disciples asked Jesus why he spoke in a way that included illustrations, parables?

Jesus told them it was important to him that they see.

Jesus feels the same about you and about me.

He’s intent on the increase of our understanding of him, of getting us as close to heavenly thinking as we can be.

If we only and simply even just a tiny bit in the beginning believe.

“Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭13:31-32‬ ‭NLT‬‬

And then we allow our beliefs to grow, we anticipate heaven while we walk more closely to God here on earth.

I’m getting better at believing, believing in what I can’t see and in the fruition of my journey and the flourishing of my faith and the gifts of God in me.

Getting better at trusting that with quiet fascination and intentional nourishment, I will see my faith and the works of my hands continue to grow.

He’s not finished with me yet. Brandon Heath

Linking up with others who are prompted by “better”

Better

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus – An Advent Experience

The Time of Becoming

Advent: arrival, appearance, emergence or occurrence, the arrival of a notable person or thing.

What are you waiting for, still?

What is the light at the end of the way that you keep pursuing, going towards?

Like the shepherds followed a star, is there a possibility you hope to see still?

My word for 2018 has been “still”. In the beginning, it represented a courageous decision to pursue a certain writing goal.

That I could still, it wasn’t too late.

I’m still writing; but, changes came my way and my book idea will never be the same.

I’m in the phase of stillness, resting and listening to know, which way God, do you want me to go?”

Tell me what to say, Lord.

Continuing in the Book of Luke today, another chapter full of guidance and illustration, historical retelling of what Jesus did before he died.

My spirit has been a little weary, thoughts around trauma trying to take over. I’m recalling today that this is the year I, with the help of some strong therapy, decided I could live healed, that I could let go and be healed.

The year it became my choice to forgive.

My friend said yesterday, that evil still comes back to try to play.

I think she’s quite right, it’s Advent, the season of light and peace, it’s only natural evil creeps in, shows up even louder, harder, mean and determined.

Has to, it is harder now than before to take my peace away. I’m no longer disabled.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Able to seek light and freedom, to not revisit the darkness.

To God be the glory for my emergence year, still.

Becoming me.

I’m linking up with others here at Five Minute Friday, prompted by the word, “Still”.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/12/13/fmf-link-up-still/

Level Places of One

Few chances come anymore to feel as if others are one.

Last week we had to bring in more chairs. People I had not seen in a good while and some who I had spoken to by phone but never met all arrived around the same time.

One person I had never encountered walked in bravely.

Alone, she entered a room full of strangers and found a seat cornered between two others at the corner of the table.

One other arrived a little late and I was happy he made it, told one of the regulars he’ll most likely “saunter” in.

This one elderly man, a father grieving his daughter, seated close to me smiled as if he and I shared an inside joke and whispered that was a good description of him.

I consider us friends.

The sauntering and kind gentleman called later to comment on the meeting, concerned over some of the new people, wondering if he can be available to them.

I told him I appreciate the way he helps guide the discussion and the way he’s both truthful even if hard to hear, his words as well as compassion and concern.

He thanked me.

I told him that the diversity in the stories that night, the circumstances that led to suicides and the contributing factors as well as starkly contrasting personal struggles and family make ups were evident.

But, not evidenced in any of the faces of the listeners, the words offered in comfort, comparison or even explanations possible.

It’s level ground, it’s like a mercy table, one meeting I am a part of that sees past differences and looks at the one thing.

The one thing of suicide.

One of many things I do not fully understand.

One thing I do not know.

And so I’m one with them only in my presence, one only because I am there and I’m one because neither do I understand.

I’m one with this group I lead, this group of solemn yet, steady and supportive encouragers.

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The man who sauntered in closed in prayer after asking permission.

In the pause of his, I presume thinking, two ladies added their supplication. I considered being the third and all my heart could come up with was “Thank you, God for bringing these people to my life.”

I knew God would understand what I meant. I was afraid they would not.

I sat silent and I listened as the gentle man closed out his prayer for the others around the table.

Bringing the support group for those bereaved by suicide, “a club no one wants to be a member of” to a close.

Today, I’m linking up with others here, prompted by the word “One”.

One

If you or someone you know has experienced suicide loss, our group meets monthly. You can find other groups in your area by searching afsp.org.

Tomorrow is International Survivors Day. Across the country people will gather to talk, listen, be one with one another.

Info on this can be found here:

International Survivor Day

I am thankful God brought these people to me. They’ve grown me, taught me that silence is good, that I don’t always have to give my insight and that we are all one in God’s eyes, all of us humans down here.

Have This Hope

Sometimes, I’ll pray,

Jesus, be my editor.

I want to be observant of Him, my life and my art and words, purveyors of Him.

I want to cause others to consider my present hope in light of my previous trauma.

No day is the same as any single day before. Our days might be framed and arranged with similarities, coffee, and quiet and an awareness of a bird waking up outside your window, but it’s never just the same.

Our days, never the same, the exact time the birds begin to sing, their type and from whence they have flown.

The words I write, the way I consider my schedule, I’m slow and achy or optimistic or something in the middle.

I repeated a tough time yesterday; but, only in my retelling of its story.

Very clear, the memory I shared to express a time of a prayer, a plea.

It was pleasant to tell of an unpleasant time, as if an accidental reminder to myself, you got through that, you are strong.

All is well.

Just the reframing of a recollection we’d never aim to repeat.

All of our regrets, our remorse, and resentment over wrongs done us or by us.

We need only repeat them as a reference, a reference of how different we are, how decidedly committed to reframing our trials in light of knowing God saw us then and sees us now.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Pressing on, not repeating old stories, only reading the chapters of our lives, rewritten, edited by God.

Prompted to write on word “repeat”, remembering times I’ve been brought through, times I don’t ever have to repeat but will recall them in ways to carry on.

Read other thoughts on “repeat” here:  http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/11/01/fmf-link-up-repeat/

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.