31 Days, Freely -Share

This morning I’ll make a little video, less than a minute or so of Michelle sharing the story of our shelter, Nurture Home.

She smiled when I described the time she’d done this before, the way she spoke so smoothly like honey and her pauses and the slight tilt as she spoke in a way sharing like a sweet, sweet song.

I love the storytelling part of my work, hands down my favorite part, I abhor the budget, can’t stand the asking for money.

The asking, the putting oneself out there always comes with the risk of rejection.

Last night, I ran risky past sundown because I left the gym without ever going in. Checking email, there it was, another no, another rejection in a string of three.

I cranked my car, turned down the radio and said ok, ok, adjust your sails, you’re not out here in this big sea all alone.

I drove back home and planted pansies for my grandma then ran real hard with good solid songs in my ear.

Running from the dark, I decided and posted on Instagram. A friend commented and I shared what was causing my darkness. Her reply was so sublime!

“Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

She understood, she was so very kind.

In this great big world, we all have a story and a story to tell. Today, it’s a work story I’ll tell; but, it’s my life story too.

God placed me in this position for a purpose.

I’m so glad he lets me help to change some stories and then to tell them, hear them, celebrate them too!

And later, I’ll let go of my ideas and ideals for my writing. I could stop altogether or I could continue more surrendered and less striving.

I could remember, let go and let God and like my mama said, be the passenger, let God drive the train.

Telling my story, His way, His time and place.

To God be the glory.

31 Days, Freely – Why

Day 4 of 31 Days of Writing, trying to be brief and light and think about “my why”. I remembered why in an old hymn, just the chorus.

“Let others see Jesus in you…”

It’s simple but it’s hard, I’m either focused and feeling faithful or I teeter on my own inconsistency to come back around and hopeful again, once again.

What is my why? …a provoking question often used to motivate or continue something begun hopefully or associated with a personal goal.

Why do I write? This one I’ve been pondering lately. Does anyone really care, isn’t my life quite fine without it?

It’s not at all necessary, not as noticed as needed to go someplace grander, more visible, more esteemed.

Someone suggested I write fiction, perhaps people are sick of the sorrowful stories of women who’ve been restored, redeemed, renewed. I was perplexed, set off course and wondered why a made-up story instead of my truth?

Maybe I could, I’m not sure I should. Maybe I will; but, only after I’ve written on why, why I believe, why I have hope now when I was so very hopeless before.

Why you should too.

Have hope.

In the back of a worn little book of Psalms and Proverbs, pages missing and places with corners turned down, there’s a note among other notes:

If I wrote a book it would be a long letter explaining why I believe in Jesus, in His love and in His mercy.

There are countless versions bound into books with more significant stories than mine.

Still, my why is mine.

Why I pause to pray when I could easily turn and go the other way. My knees find peace and my soul finds rest in the personal and private moments I am intentional and I choose to pray.

Why I open my mind to learn from His word, finding new understanding in ancient recordings that develop slowly, requiring discipline and distraction-free commitment of time.

Like the verse about the yoke and rest, I can see it now. I couldn’t take the steps designed for me by God if I didn’t stay in a simple and steady rhythmic walk, I can’t follow God’s path on my own, can’t carry my stuff for too long.

Why I’ve come so very far because of His mercy, yet realize I’ve so much further to go and why I am blown away that He considers me worthy of the cross.

Thank you, thank you for the cross.

Why I am astounded that He prompts me still to pray and that answers come and each time I am moved, so very moved by His splendid and sweet mercy.

Why I think the most important thing about me if there’s anything at all are in the words to this song:

Your life’s a book before their eyes
They’re reading it through and through
Say does it point them to the skies
Do others see Jesus in you?

I understand others seeing Jesus in me differently now than before, more a gentle light causing need for others to come near, to know more, to see a difference in me, my art, my words, my everything.

31 Days, Freely – Believe

My mama never kept a journal or to my knowledge, wrote thoughts in a Bible.

So, I can’t say I “get that from my mama”.

She’d rather speak her truths to you, long conversations with time in between her phrases to let what she’d given you sink in. Look you in the eye or leave something with you and look away, walk away like that’s it, now I’m puttin’ a period there.

I believe every single thing she ever said.

Lots of times there was no acceptable reply, either she’d put me in my place or I had to just keep my mouth shut and let the sometimes unwelcome truth sink in.

She was resilient.

She believed in the possibility of everything working out for good despite so much wrong she endured.

She rarely quoted scripture, just paraphrased God’s truths in her own no holds barred way. Some would call it irreverent, her language was generous with cuss words.

I don’t think she aspired to write and I rarely recall a book in her lap, she’d rather be one with people, one with life.

She talked about books in a different way, telling me “turn the page, Lisa Anne.” when I kept mulling over some misdeed or misfortune.

She was quick to give her commentary on all that might be wrong or someone’s crazy choices or just mean motives.

She’d say “They’re not reading the right book or they’re not on the same page.”

I know she had a Bible. I know because it was mine and towards the end of her days I noticed it moved from the stack of old Southern Living magazines to the place in front of her where she’d fall asleep with the noise of Fox news.

I know she believed. I know she wanted us all, the four of us to always believe.

To pray, believing more often than beckoning or begging.

To smile, thinking how far we’ve all come and how far she and daddy got to see us go and grow.

Yesterday, I had an encounter with someone who has changed. A distant person who acknowledged her resistance towards relationship, she stopped by to give me a book.

She had a cold, I’d had to same one, I shared. She let me hug her and she hugged me back.

We walked out and I told her she’d reminded me of a new favorite word, “countenance”.

She was puzzled, said she had never heard it before and I told her I thought it might be biblical but that it’s such a beautiful word, a beautiful thing to see.

I explained that it means to me, your sweet soul is shining through, the change in expression showing so pretty on your face.

She thanked me twice, and more.

I thanked her for stopping by.

Thanking her and God now for reminding me of my mama.

Reminding me to choose believing.

Believing God is so very good.

“Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.””

‭‭John‬ ‭16:32-33‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And to “live life today”, and then tomorrow live and believe again as you “turn the page”.

My mama’s stubborn resilience and God’s unwavering and believable peace and grace, I’m believing in both today.

31 Days, Freely – Afraid

I see the cloud, I step in. I want to see Your glory like Moses did. Flashes of light and rolls of thunder. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid. Jesus Culture

Somewhere between the nightstand and the hallway, I misplaced my glasses. I want to turn back and look again, my hand unable to find them in the dark before the day.

My husband is sleeping, I’ll get by without them. Stepping into the air of day, the sky is pink behind the pines and I squint hoping to get an unobstructed view.

It’s not possible. I long for a wide open space, an expanse of empty field.

Like the place of my childhood, room to roam, to run, to see for miles to come.

I look up and I am welcomed. Little cotton ball clouds all clustered and I can’t get enough and yet so much more, always more.

The slow shifting sky above me, more and more to see.

The morning after deciding I might never be enough, this rushing into making up for lost time on wasted days and jumping into every chance for fear there will be no more!

A rejection, the fifth or six and I said to myself, well you’re not an encourager really, you can’t write an encouraging submission. Encouragement is not your voice.

I bet God just loves it when I talk to myself that way, it’s always either fear or truth. One way or the other, it’s growth.

Maybe Moses worried he was running out of time, afraid the calling and the task might not be complete.

He prayed and asked God to show Him the way, to show him His glory.

“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.””

‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

God assured him, I’m gonna be with you and you’re gonna know without a doubt you’ve been in my presence, but I can’t show you everything, you won’t see my face.

God told Moses that he would lead him and that mercy would be shown along with goodness. Moses saw God walk away and nothing was ever the same.

Moses was not afraid.

Not afraid to be led and to lead.

Or that he would run out of time or provision.

The measure of my success is often skewed by my fear of not being enough, fear I won’t have the time or won’t choose to go on.

A futile mindset, until I was reminded by the sky and the glory and later, discovered my glasses at the foot of the bed and carried on, carried on anticipating the next time I’ll be reminded to notice God in my presence,

His glory reminding me, I am not afraid.

Linking up with others who are writing for 31days. I can’t say I’m following all the rules or that my presence is share-worthy encouragement, I’m just writing…Freely.