Paths of Our Choosing

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, grandchildren, Peace, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’m remembering just now, my grandmother took us all walking. The cousin weekend retreat always included a walk on the curvy clay road.

How had it not realized the resemblance until now…the deep ditches covered in growth, the ditches we’d jump in and stand still like statues until the old truck passed by?

My grandmother commanding, “Hit the Ditch”.

How we remember becomes how we see.

I’m reading two new books, one fiction the other non. One discovered and one recommended, “Sugar Birds” by Cheryl Bostrom and “Your Stories Don’t Define You” by Sarah Elkins.

Barely into either, I am learning.

Ideas like telling your story to and through others and the power of memories we give ourselves permission to explore more deeply, building a better story.

When my granddaughter and I walk, we sing a little song about staying safely in the middle and we’ve made a game of jumping over roots instead of getting tangled.

Yet, when I walk alone, the neighborhood walking trail or the sharp turn on the busy road, I’m less cautious, in a way a stubborn walker.

The trail is disrupted by large old roots. I walk swiftly and keep on even though on a few occurrences the toe of my shoe butts up against the thick branch and I catch myself from falling face first.

It occurs to me it’s a stubborn resilience, this choice.

It occurs to me now I choose the dangerous path because I’ve decided it’s still my assignment to not be defeated by it.

Later, I’ll walk the trail and I’ll will myself off the broken up paved path and step aside to walk a few steps on the soft grass.

I can give myself permission to choose softer, I can decide to be welcome there, the place of choosing easy over hard, peace in regards to my past instead of handicap.

Be well today.

Enjoy your new path.

Being Still and Waiting

confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, fear, hope, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

On day 22 of the month of October I compare translations of Psalm 46:10.

Psalm 46 begins with a promise. I’ve begun saying, “God, you know all about this.” as a way to wait for resolution, acceptance or change in troubling situations.

Because God knows. God is in control. God is good even when we don’t see eye to eye on things.

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Another passage reminds me that God knows me, knows my questions, knows my thoughts, is aware of my waiting, even more so my worries.

I am reminded He knows me, called me to be near.

Summoned me.

Most translations of Isaiah 43:1 use the word “called”. The New International Version prefers “summoned”.

Imagine you being called back home from a distance. Maybe someone spots you in a large crowd, a concert or fair. You’ve gotten separated and your circles haven’t circled back.

You hear your name and you look to find the voice. Again, again your name is called, begging you to come back or at least let me know where you are.

That you’re safe.

Or imagine a child in a department store, wandered away as you look for a size or color. You look up and they’re gone. You call frantically, you rush from aisle to aisle, oblivious to the glare of onlookers as you call your baby’s name.

Finally, you’re reunited.

You try to contain your emotions, you try not to let your desperate fear be bigger than the relief of the sweet reunion.

I believe it’s this way when we forget God has the whole world in His hands, that He can be trusted, that He is for us.

I believe that even when all is not okay and there’s no changing it, we’re still better if we don’t slip away and try to rescue ourselves from sadness and distress.

Piling anxious questions on top of what’s already mysterious, forgetting He’s fighting for us, always has, always will.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I sketched a figure in the margin of Isaiah’s words. I added “Fear not.” to the words already pencilled there,

“But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭43:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Created me, called me, redeemed me.

Be still simply means wait.

Waiting with hope or with acceptance that I may wait without knowing all.

Waiting while believing.

Continue and believe.

Remember, He knows.

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

Unashamed

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, fear, kindness, praise, Prayer, rest, Vulnerability

“Be kind to yourself.”

Continue and Believe

In my career days of meeting with those bereaved by suicide, these were my words, “Take it easy on yourself.”

Same with women who acknowledged mistakes and were trying to move past them, without their pasts causing shame.

Years later, I’m still saying to others and mostly to myself, “Be kind to yourself.”

This morning my mind goes back to the ugly work of shame.

Shame, when you feel unworthy, humiliated, powerless is an internal emotion tied to a circumstance or behavior.

Strangely, it’s a feeling we decide on, either because we have the sense we shouldn’t feel a certain way or we’ve felt that way for what we decide has been too long.

I thought of a feeling, a sadness I was convinced I shouldn’t have and I told myself embrace it, acknowledge its understandable place in your life now and most of all,

Understand that acknowledgement brings healing.

Talking to God about it and at least one other listening friend is freeing.

Denying sadness, fear or hurt because we convince ourselves we shouldn’t feel them only adds injury to the loosely bandaged wound.

Pretending stunts healing, numbs the work and wonder of God’s purpose in our acceptance of the circumstances we wish were not ours.

The hard things we deny being still hard only harden us.

Don’t be afraid to be honest with God. He knows anyway.

Refuse to be ashamed of your feelings.

Last week, I communicated with a stranger about anxiety and depression. It helped me to offer help to her. It helped me to hear the familiar words, “I usually just keep this to myself.”

Nothing shall hurt you.
That’s a big, hard to fathom promise. It follows the reminder of the power within us, prayer and connecting with God’s spirit in us, even as Jesus saw Satan fall from heaven.

This morning, I got a text from someone I only know by phone, asking about counseling for anxiety and depression. I gave her a list of people I know and added “I understand and my weapons are patience with myself and prayer and more prayer and more prayer.”

Because, if we get tangled up in why am I depressed or anxious we’re only piling on more anxiety and depression.

When we pour it all out in prayer, the scary, sad or lonely question, we invite the power of God in.

We get better this way or we seek counseling and possible medication.

Either way, we grow when we know ourselves, can see it coming for good reason or out of nowhere. We employ our faith, we add to it as needed.

I found this verse by what I thought was accident this morning. No accident though, there are no coincidences or lucky discoveries with God.

He knows all about this.” is another phrase, a tool against anxiety or depression that I employ.


Continue and believe.

Be kind to yourself, unashamed.

“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:3-5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

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

Be Where You Are

confidence, contentment, Faith, family, grace, hope, Peace, Serving, wonder
Joy and Strength Enduring

This is the thought that came as I roused from sleep on this splendid Saturday.

Be where you are.

The writing prompt graphic for today’s word, “temporary” has a clock in the background.

How is it I’ve never thought of time as temporary, hadn’t considered just how temporary every unique moment, hour, day or month is?

Yes, be where you are today. Adding ribbons to Christmas ornaments, painting on paper the image of Jesus carrying a child, spending time with those I love.

Not just being there, being with.

Giving out grace and good in everything in a way that says

“Thank you, God it was and is and will always be yours. Amen.”

“Yours is the day, yours also the night; you have established the heavenly lights and the sun.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭74:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Toward The New Day

bravery, confidence, courage, depression, Faith, hope, mercy, Prayer, Stillness, Vulnerability, wisdom

But, as for me, it is good to be near God. Psalm 73:28

Morning Spot

Changing my morning spot with the season means I’m facing the morning sun. I’m not able to linger as long. I’m motivated to move forward, toward the new day, the give and take back cycle of surrendering its way to God’s control.

The longer I stay, the more unavoidable is the glare. My face looks towards my journal, the three words on focus.

Holiness

Health

Change

Waking today, to a one step forward and three back kinda feel.

So, I ask simply for more grace.

Look up again, the sunlight now dappled through the pines.

I pray.

Turn my face towards the sun, Lord. Empower me to let the shadows fade away. All knowing, Father, you are good and only do good. Settle my mind and heart on this truth.

“The day is yours, and yours also the night; you established the sun and moon.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭74:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Becoming Them, Becoming You

Art, bravery, Children, contentment, courage, depression, Faith, family, memoir, painting, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:20-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Calling Myself an Artist

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

I sketched an oak tree years ago, green grass water colored and a blue sky with the words above added in a sort of filigree.

I worked for the Department of Family and Children Services aka DFACS aka The Welfare.

I gave this sketch to my first real boss, the County Director back then, thirty something years ago.

Something in me has always understood the something in others that causes harmful, negative, risky behaviors.

Causes giving up or succeeding.

And so, I had work to do, very hard work, but I tried to be kind.

Because, I’m certain every single person in the world is battling something.

Many times it’s something they’re hoping to outgrow or to not hand down to their children.

As I age, I’m beginning to see the battle of becoming, either fear of what I may become or a greater fear of what I will not.

I knew a woman once who should’ve been a chef. Her meals were spread out like royalty when family came on Sunday. She retired from professional management type work and she immersed herself in cooking. She became the cook at a little campground type place where men shot dove. The tips were good, the encouraging compliments invaluable. She was on top of the world and then, she just couldn’t or decided she couldn’t anymore.

Sometimes, I’m asked in these days of either anxious anger or languid depression, how I stay motivated, how I keep painting, I wish I could be like you, have a calling and purpose.

And I’m honest. I say,

I’ve seen what happens when you stop doing what feeds your soul. I’ve seen how quickly you don’t leave your house, grow weak and weary and weaker and worn out.

I’ve seen how becoming what you longed to be only lasts for a minute. I’ve seen how one sweet hope that gets stolen or is forced to be given up because of hardship or loss can break a strong soul.

I keep painting because like probably you, I want to become the mama who lived life fully not the one who decided she couldn’t keep on.

Feed your soul. Cook. Write. Paint. Sing. Dance. Plant your roses.

Every bit of you is the beauty you’re becoming.

The battle we all fight, the hard one?

The battle not to let ourselves quit, not to let our hopes go.

Continue and believe.

Secrets Above

Children, confidence, contentment, courage, Uncategorized

I saw the white of crescent moon against the azure blue at dusk yesterday. I began today looking up and knowing a photo could never capture the beauty of the current constellation.

Now the place in the back corner is orange fading towards grayish blue.

“Good Morning, God” we will say.

I read last night of someone being uncertain of life after death, of eternity meaning Heaven or Hell, of thinking only what we do in the present matters. The good we do towards our neighbor is more to be believed in than Hell or Heaven.

I felt a tear begin, I sat still on my mama’s old chair, sad that others don’t believe in heaven and tender because I do.

Tender, because I didn’t always.

I understand.

It’s hard to imagine. I think of loved ones long gone. I want to imagine how it will be when I see them in heaven.

I believe, even though I don’t fully know how heaven will be.

Lately, that feels like courage and I’ve never really thought myself to be courageous.

Courageous enough to know everything I’ve prayed for, prayed about, prayed broken and burdened has been heard.

Jesus, seated beside God the Father has seen my sorrows, successes and haphazardness in belief.

It’s almost impossible to know it’s the same for every single human who has decided to be courageous is to simply believe.

Even when believing doesn’t take away the hard, the bitter, the devastating circumstances.

It’s hard to believe in heaven, easier to believe “above us only sky”.

I look up. We hear the breeze in trees, call out to the birds, examine the clouds and occasionally close our eyes in a silent, listening prayer.

A toddler and I.

Above me are my sorrows surrendered, my questions presented, my likemindedness with Jesus.

If heaven is hard, even impossible to imagine for you, try picturing all your secret sorrows, anxious questions, angry disputes, and tender moments when you prayed and you felt certain something bigger than you knew what no one else was allowed or could.

Imagine, above you only mercy, only grace, only strength to endure.

Only love.

Imagine your secrets being safe.

Endure.

“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. In those days when you pray, I will listen.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

For the joy set before us, we endure.

Well Done

“God is breathing on me.” a two year old, her face turned towards the trees

Time, Seasons and Shalom

contentment, courage, Faith, grace, grief, hope, Peace, Redemption, Salvation, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Every morning now, I open the back sliding door. Like a chef waving his hand over the skillet to invite the aroma upward, I invite the changing season in.

I step out and feel the change on my bare feet. The flowers drying to brittle fragile brown while others are vibrant still.

I read this morning about “Shalom”, an invitation to seeking peace.

Shalom, a greeting or a farewell in ancient days, “Peace”.

Priscilla Garatti

It’s a thing I can’t fully understand, how peace was established for us and how we’re supposed to believe it, cling to it, trust it

When it makes no sense.

The page in my Psalms and Proverbs book has faded names from a decade ago.

“Ginny”, a mama whose teenage son died by suicide. I wonder now how she and her husband are doing. If they’ve found moments of peace.

I woke to see that a friend has suffered the loss of a grandchild.

Nothing to do, but pray.

Pray for peace in unfathomably sad things.

Prayer comforts. It was long established for us, the way to peace, the place to seek.

A quiet room, standing still with the changing grass cushioning bare feet or with a friend with Jesus too, holding hands, being held.

“Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble. Cry aloud to me, and I will be there to rescue you.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭50:15‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Shalom.

Continue and believe.