Take Courage

The crescent moon reappeared after a week of enormous full one. Its beauty is subtle, causing the eye to be discriminant towards the heavens, the evidence of cycle, of God in a quiet and sure way.

If courage had an expression I wonder what it would be.

If someone had the inability to hide their thoughts from their facial expressions.

What would the face of courage reveal?

Would courage look like tragedy, would the countenance of courage be downward glances, forlorn faces or broken distressed mouths formed in a grimace to convey the pain that courage represents?

Would it be like the joy of a love for another that’s met in an equal exchange or like the glee of a surprise causing a wide and spontaneous smile.

Not that way, I don’t think the expression of courage would show in that way.

Courage has a countenance more solid, more settled, more internal.

Steady, a secret formula.

Courage keeps a record of profit and loss and has tallied up the cost.

The value is underneath the layers, immeasurably personal and for the most part.

Courage is secretive.

Is a secret.

I sat on the pew marked for friends of the deceased. Family on the right side and us on the left, we were a sparse group.

Five of us spoke. The summation?

Courage.

Each of us in our individual ways remembered this individual as courageous.

If courage had words to share, I wonder what it would say.

Not very much, I’ve decided.

Courage is just that way.

Not a braggart or an instructor.

Courage is more.

Courage is a quiet conqueror who given the chance will tell of the agony, the distress that brought them to bravery.

Give its testimony.

Otherwise, courage stays quiet.

Stays quiet as a way to cherish and guard this inner resolve and immeasurable source.

Courage is the evidence that we know and believe in God’s love.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:35-37‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The cost of courage?

Impossible accounting, irreplaceable, its value and the places from whence it comes.

Individual trials, personal triumphs.

Take courage.

Take love.

Continue and believe.

I’m linking up with others, prompted by the word “cost”.

Join us here: Five Minute Friday

Deeper Still

I kept my promise to myself this summer although the plan for the big reveal just didn’t come true.

I feared the worst thing that made absolutely no sense.

What if I can’t feel my way back to safety? What if I hit bottom and lose my breath? What if I’m left to figure it out on my own, panic and struggle and cause my own deadly distress?

I practiced in private. Well, just the instructor/husband and I. The scenario I planned, on my birthday my children would come over and we’d grill burgers and then I’d surprise them as they sat by the pool.

They’d see I was able. I had overcome my fear of diving into the deep end.

Other plans played out, my birthday was good but not the “big reveal”.

The accomplishment was more private, I believe it was better that way. Mine to treasure.

Now, it’s Autumn and the kitchen window is open to welcome cool air as I sit with my Bible, thinking about God’s call to deep.

There’s a verse in the Book of Acts that describes this beckoning I’m feeling.

This quiet acceptance of slow growth after my baptism, like roots spreading underneath, necessary for solid strength, I sense the preparing of this stronger me.

This one who is going deeper still in the sharing of my story, my perspective on this often discussed Jesus, the Son of God, waiting for all the skeptics, doubters, intellects and risk takers to dive in to the simplicity of grace.

To feel their way towards heaven.

There must have been masses of deep thinkers bent on proving Paul wrong back then.

They listened and he kept speaking.

He knew his place was simply to share his story of change. His understanding of God, of Jesus.

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us.”

‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭17:27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Aren’t we all just “feeling our way” towards the unknown and knowable God?

When I stood on the edge of the pool, my toes gripping the edge, body bent towards the water and practicing the rocking type motion that would give me the push

I was scared.

Scared of the same irrational thing, what if I get to the bottom and I can’t come back up.

“What happens when I am that deep?” I asked my husband.

He always answered, same way, he gave me step by step instructions and I followed them and he says it wasn’t pretty; but, I did it.

I jumped/fell in and I did it again and again until I was satisfied.

I met my goal before my 59th birthday!

Symbolic for me, although I didn’t know it.

This has summer changed me, grown me.

Still growing. Letting the roots of assurance of what happened to me in the water take their time in spreading wide, making plans and breathing life into what may have otherwise dried up and withered.

My branches are reaching wider.

Feeling their way towards God.

To the water, the deeper end, bottomless pool filled with mercy and grace for those who take the chance, step from the edge, finally trusting we’ll be drawn up, face beaming, pure joy as we pop up!

Hallelujah, I have felt my way towards God!

Linking up with other Friday writers, prompted by the word “Deep”.

Read others’ take on it here:

Deep

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.

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

Joy, Complete

I don’t typically have tea and certainly not when it’s still so hot here. The air conditioner not working so great in my office and a deadline looming on top of disappointing decisions, I decided on tea.

I was lingering over an encounter from earlier and the nearness of our conversation making both of our disclosures so very palpable.

I wished I had a pretty cup, I’ll fix that tomorrow, heated the water anyway and washed the Christmas mug.

Opened the little envelope and understood.

Understood why I chose to have tea, the message I needed God knew. His love for me is unlimited, His ideas and plans for me are incomplete.

I have time still, no limits.

Can you imagine how differently God sees you than you most of the time see yourself?

I start and stop things because I can’t imagine the shame of not finishing so I’d just as soon not begin.

Just as soon settle for the label of just a dreamer over an accomplished doer.

I don’t think that is God’s desire, that we decide to derail His plans for us or that we doubt the possibility of their completion.

The three Books of John are brief, 2nd John having only one chapter, 13 verses.

He wrote letters, compelling them to walk in love and the chapter ended with him saying, I’m leaving you with these guidelines; but, I’m coming now to sit with you, to be with you, to look you in the eye, because I want to be sure you understand, want to be sure that your joy will be fully and amazingly complete.

“Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.”

‭‭2 John‬ ‭1:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I don’t think he wanted them to take lightly all of the goodness of God, the way to live fully.

I wonder if he’d struggled too to imagine a life complete and he “got it” and wanted to tell them all “you got this too…with God, the possibilities are unlimited! Believe and your joy will be complete.”

Your joy will be consistent, wait and see, you will see redemption this side of Heaven.

Your joy can be complete.

Linking up with others on the prompt from Kate Motaung “complete” as she writes about 7 years and her joy over recording her mom’s passing in her beautiful memoir, A Place to Land. I understand, Kate. I understand.

http://fiveminutefriday.com/2018/09/20/fmf-link-up-complete/