Closer to Love

I wonder if your first waking thoughts are placed there mid sleeping and waking by God as His way to say,

“Begin again, let’s go!

Follow my lead, follow your leader.

Follow your heart, your soul.”

I woke, thrilled to have slept past 7 and kept my eyes closed for a few minutes.

Did not reach for my phone.

I thought and thought again,

“Stop looking for likes.”

Then wrote it down, hoping it more deeply would sink in.

I’ve just spent almost an hour in between making breakfast and coffee and conversation about new cars with my husband, tracking down which blog post was most “liked”.

It was in 2014 and it was entitled “not knowing”. It was about my children and God and well, being okay with not knowing.

Stats show which day is best, which theme more enticing and I suppose which posts are so good that people click the little star that says “like”.

Actually, I don’t have a whole lot of “likes”. I do have a lots of views and viewers and some commenters who I always thank “for reading my words” and mean it, sincerely.

I was curious, then got weary of discerning my “likers” based on my stats.

What I saw was my life since 2014, I saw God’s guiding, his pulling me from the ditch of doubt, His rescuing me before I fall too far from the pit of pride and pedestal.

So, I’m more settled, less seeking and more set on seeing me as God sees me and

“likes” me.

Prayerful, this morning in my journal about writing for “Daughters of the Deep” and for Lisa Brittain’s “Saturday Shares” and other places my soul feels led and prompted by prayer and the Holy Spirit.

Places and people who I’d never encounter were it not for words and God, women like Nan Jones, women who write and women who don’t write; but, surely are praying. I am worried other making a list, it’s so vast, I’d surely forget one or two or three who make up my “community”.

This morning I read from My Utmost for His Highest and the thoughts are lingering and lined up, as did the other words and verses established for today.

I’m getting closer every day to the me God sees.

Not yet arrived, surely on my way though.

Noticing and embracing words like these, believing waking thoughts as God’s instruction and loving affirmation.

As you journey with God, the only thing He intends to be clear is the way He deals with your soul.

My Utmost for His Highest devotion

Closer to love.

Closer to God and speaking more bravely.

Two times last week, I believe my words came as a surprise to others (and me).

I’m so glad God brought you into my life.

Me, through God

The first time, a crowded restaurant and as a goodbye to our unplanned encounter.

The second, a parking lot after “so happy to run into you” send off.

Both times, I was sure in my saying so and both times, the ones who were with me, their smiles spread wide as the sky and we parted, all of us thinking of God.

So, if you’re reading this,

I’m so glad brought you into my life. So happy He brought us both here. me

More or Less

img_7445

Tiny House

Off to the side, a brilliant flash of blue and I’ve given up on capturing the shot with my phone. 

I’ve learned the “momentary-ness” of the bluebird is in itself a message, there will be chances again, encounters with happy bird. 

I think of my cousin; she sits on her porch and thinks of life and loss and love and our Lord. 

I remember the bluebird resting on her lantern, she told me so.  

It meant something to her in that very moment, did me too. 

We’d waited to walk until after the rain, the labrador’s paws searching for shallow puddle and hoping for pond. 

I remembered the nest I found and I wondered if this is where the sparrow came from, the one who rustled the bushes, startled by my search for tennis ball. 

I thought of the sparrow all week, strangely contemplating the words of Jesus. 

“Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31

‭Because, most days I’m in the middle, more or less assured.

I  believe the middle must be me, must be that place of  humility that doesn’t look like insecurity. 

Days little things flit by like a bluebird. Little truths I must hold fast, must chronicle somehow.


My daughter, my guide, my wise gauge saying “too much, Lisa” or “Let, that go.” when I complained of lack of a thank you for a painting. 

Then she countered it with “your angel ministry has impacted so many people…”

She’d never called my art my “ministry”.

Oh.

I’d thought she thought that too much me.

Like blue or red bird unprepared to see, those are words I cherish. 

My son encouraging me to “give it time”, this first real commitment to my health, the healthy way.  He sees me sweaty. 

He sees me trying, won’t let me be weak. 

Like mental bullet lists, this momentary really only “secondary”  stuff is making me brave. 

Making me believe I’m worth more than I believe. 

So, we ventured down towards the pond, Colt’s leash taut with the pull of high grass and cool water. 

The frogs were singing, the thickness of humidity making their song deep down and hollow.  

The lab tilts his head, meanders towards the sound, two, three times, comes from the water then goes again, a lazy dip. 

I don’t worry with sticks or retrieving, just let him dip down, then walk my way then go back to cool again, again. 

The hill back up feels steeper. Did we choose a different angle back home? 

Slowly, we reach the pavement and again, a thought.

So significant, I wondered if others have such thoughts. 

Thoughts so true and clear and with no one around, just you and the wide open whatever and wherever that all of sudden, 

You utter, “Ohhh.” as your thought becomes voice and makes a sound.  

A sound that starts up high like an excited revelation but, then drops to a sauntered fade of realization that says but, what if, not possible or “Oh, well.”

These are the moments, I believe, that 

God says, “I know, child. I know.”

I’d seen a tiny truck on the interstate, driving too slow, I passed and glanced over longing to see a handsome frame like my daddy’s; but, not so.

This, I remembered walking Colt back home. 

The thought of my father became a sound and it validated my longing. 

I touched it, not for long and I could let it go, acceptance again. 

It was beautiful in its comfort. 

Oh.

Confirmation like feather then, grace resting in His understanding of me. 

“I know it’s hard, hard for you to know,

To believe you’re worth more than the sparrow. 

Let me show you.

 You are. Fear not the voices inside that shout out to turn back from where I’m leading you.

Utter “Oh” but, never “Oh, well.”

Look at the sparrow, Lisa Anne; consider the lily.

Remember the writer, her message last week. “You were MADE for this.”

Remember these truths more, 

Your fears, less. 

Happy Father’s Day in heaven daddy. 

Linking up with The Mom Gene to share my Sunday Thoughts, a new group for me. Happy to find it. 

Believing the unseen, the untold

Pine cones and blue feathers

Pine cones and blue feathers

I’m journaling still, the prayer of Jabez.

Seated next to my little vignette of things I love.

Intricacies of nature…a pine cone from a mountain trip and two bluebird feathers found on a heavy day.

Reflecting on the detail of God’s handiwork.

Of God’s hand.

Quiet mornings are my spiritual discipline.

My soul craves this abiding.

I rest in this refreshing, this refining.

I am on Day 17 of my yearning to pray like Jabez.

I have been blessed by the simplicity of belief.

Jabez, the son whose mother declared he was born in pain, the meaning of his name. Yet,  was found to be more honorable than his brothers. More honorable because he decided and declared to trust God to change the course of his life, asking God to bless him, put good people around him, stay near, and finally to make sure he caused no one pain.

I long to know when  exactlyJabez came to God with his request.

A request of show me your glory, God.

Show them your glory.

I read further, hoping to hear the story of a little boy unwanted by family, yet cherished by God.

I hoped to open my Bible to I Chronicles and discover verses descriptive of a confident, glorious transformation.

Taking my Jabez prayer journey a little deeper, maybe more like my little girl story, who late in life has come to believe she is worthy.

But, just three sentences. A prayer is all.

And I’m left wondering about Jabez, the child who had to believe what he did not see…what he was not told.

That he was called by name, by God and that God was with him. Isaiah 43:1  That nothing about him was unknown to God.

There’s a little girl in me who longs to know the difference a name could make.

A little girl, I remember on her sixth birthday, wearing stiff, white collared dress and patent leather shoes, lace edged socks on gently swinging feet.

Little girl, surrounded in a circle of lounge chair seated cousins, under the lavender dripping wisteria vines.

Bobbed hair, smiling sweetly, shyly.

The little girl whose mama wanted to name her Libby.

But, daddy said ” No, that’s a can of peaches.”

The only birthday I remember

That day, I felt like Libby.

That sweet child was Libby.

Little girl Lisa Anne, a different child.

Staying hidden, quiet and hyper observant,

The one to cause no pain, no problems.

Quiet, non-existent. Wanting to be noticed. But, not be noticed.

A long, long, doubtful journey to now.

Lisa, now prayerfully thanking God for good and seeking good.

No more days of a God and a love I could never measure up to.

A Lisa who walks with an understanding of what wasn’t seen, wasn’t spoken…an understanding of a God with me, strong hand upon me all of my life….guiding me, reminding me, leading me to Lisa here.

Fearing not.

Doubting not.

Shaming myself not.

Because, I have and have had everything I need, fearing no evil, no unknowns…Surely goodness and love will follow me for all the days of my life. Psalm 23

Blessings all along, I’ve finally opened hands to receive.

With me and for me all the while

 

 

 

 

Day 29: looking for good- dirt road to home

digging potatos

Digging potatoes A hundred years from now…the world will be different because of moments like these, with my children, dirt road riding, potato digging, grandma visits.

The joy of my mama’s house, my grandma’s house was in the dirt.  There was a path, a cut through to the pond that stretched right down the middle of soybeans on one side and corn on the other. When the corn grew high we couldn’t see my grandma’s house shaded by chinaberry trees. Those days, we’d run through the field, green corn stalks and silky leaves swishing against our skin.

Every year, my daddy planted potatoes and when the weather turned cool, the days shorter it was time to dig.  All our hands diggin’ them up at harvest.  I remember my daddy holding the little new potatoes, caressing them, dusting off the dirt and then rubbing them smooth before tossing each potato into the washtub.

The Fall before he died was his last harvest.  Heather and Austin sat in the dirt, laid in the dirt tumbling around while my daddy, feeble, yet determined supervised the potato digging. The cousins sitting in the field, their bottoms cushioned by the cool, damp autumn soil.

Little fingers sifting through the sand, enamored by its touch.

The cool, smooth pieces of home.

We moved away after daddy died; but, came back to grandma’s most weekends. We’d pack up and make the trip winding roads from Carolina to Georgia just to be in the country with grandma.

To run in the fields, fish off the dock, play tricks on grandma’s scavenger dog, Sunny.

Mama kept telling us the County was going to be paving the road.  She’d say,  “These people have raised enough hell, and running up and down the roads driving too fast, I guess they’ll get what they want!”   But, months and years went by and we still walked to the creek run-around and picked blackberries in the deep ditches. Heather learning to drive as we explored the hills, curves and valleys on the dirt roads of Peacock Hill.

Mama warned us one day they had paved the roads. “You’ll see next time you come”.  She tried to prepare us, describe the way the road had changed and how there were no more curves but stop signs and markers for my granddaddy’s road, “W.D. Peacock Rd.”

So. we hit the road to Georgia, to the house set back on the pond, down twisting dirt road off the highway, following the path to grandma’s .

Making our usual turn off the Highway 80, it just got quiet in the car. Time stopped, the wheels turned and the car moved, tentatively as we mourned the road.  Usually, I’d switch drivers, running around the back off the car, skipping along, passing Heather on the way to let her take my place behind the wheel or Austin sometimes would plop in my lap, steering.

But, the fascination gone now, we drove on like good, city travelers on a busy highway, my children behaving like a trip to school or the Dr. or even to church.

Resigned to accept the change, the journey had lost its joy.

Not the destination though, grandma’s house…at the end of the rutted, filled with washed out gulleys from rain, bumpy slow going path through the soybeans.

We lingered on the dirt driveway, bouncing along, falling into each other with every dip, slower, more intentional than usual.

Our brief time on the dirt road…our glorious dirt road home

Prompted earlier to think of home, to write about home, http://jenniferdukeslee.com