Travel On

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, Redemption, Trust, walking, wisdom, wonder

Waze directed my ride from Georgia to Carolina down the prettiest road, asphalt with no yellow lines dividing lanes and railroad crossings that required me stopping to look, look and look again.

At a Crossroads

I loved every bit. Give me a backroad shaded by oaks, bordered by cotton fields and slow walking men checking their mail, glancing up to wave to random travelers like me.

Churches, white, small and seemingly vacant, but who knows?

Maybe a handful of congregants still gather and seal their togetherness with “Holy, Holy, Holy”.

I’d consider joining in. I’m braver now than before, I’d have possibly invited myself in to the Sunday service and been unbothered by the inquisitive looks over me, a stranger.

Somewhere near Wrens

On Friday, I was greeted by the women responsible for the Presbyterian Women’s Gathering. I noticed their welcome. I noticed their strong connection. I noticed them working together on their Saturday morning gathering.

Then, on Saturday morning, I joined in.

I was the speaker, the stranger needing introduction, the mysterious artist they’d been hearing about, wondering if I’d prove worth their time and worthy of my friend’s call to invite me.

I spoke, they smiled.

They listened. We communed.

Louisville Presbyterian Church

So, I left feeling like a companion of these women, all of us on roads that follow Jesus, guided by wisdom, grace and a conviction to serve one another simply by the extension of a heart and hand, loving one another.

Waze told me to turn right where the road ended, saying “not maintained by the County”. I paused.

I felt fear climb up the back of my neck. Left, I thought, turn and go back the way you came.

Then left revealed a sharp curve and a steep hill and a road with yellow lines,

A sign with the words to the road I remembered.

Confidently, I continued.

Continued and believed.

Surprised by the road that led me back home.

Keeps leading me on.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”
‭‭John‬ ‭14:1-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Continue and believe.

Travel on.

About To Bloom

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mercy, patience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

Everything’s about to bloom except my orchid. But, I’ll not give up. The leaves are bright green cushions comforting the base of the stalks. The soil is laced with the thin fallen blooms of before. I know the morning is soon. The morning I turn towards the sun striped wall and I see the buds fat with flora.

Blooming

Prayer and patience, I think.

The tiny grocery store hyacinth I bought to think of my Grandmother will be transplanted to the front yard. Spring, not this, but the next, I’ll look out my morning window and see the green breaking soil. I’ll wait then for delicate dainty hyacinths to bless the space around my “Angel girl”.

I’ll remind myself. I will remember. I waited and it was good to be hopeful, to be patient prayerfully.

The Valentine’s Day bouquet is refilled with fresh water. A day lily amongst the pink and purple will soon open, soft tangerine.

I’ll wait, not like snapping my fingers for things. I’ll wait and keep watering what God has planted in me. This is my contribution.

I’ll look towards the orchid and I’ll see its dust colored branches stretching and curving towards the window. I’ll see it going after what it can’t live without. I’ll know what is needed for growth and I’ll keep watering, keep writing, painting, praying and I will rest quietly because quiet waiting is always best.

I’ll be willing to trust, simply planted and willing. I’ll remain rooted and I’ll not doubt the nourishment I’m given from My Father. I’ll allow it to change me from the roots to the branches to the sharing my story.

I’ll not doubt possible blooming. I know it will come and not just for me.

For others too, weakness made strong, broken made unbreakable, redeemed with a story worth sharing.

I pray it’s the same with you.

Continue and believe.

“For there is hope of a tree, If it be cut down, that it will sprout again, And that the tender branch thereof will not cease.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭14:7‬ ‭ASV‬‬

I’m linking up with others, prompted by the word “Stretch”. What an interesting prompt,

FMF link up.

Grace, Even More

Christmas, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, grace, Holy Spirit, hope, memoir, Peace, Salvation, Stillness, wonder

There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

Let Him in.

Flipping through the pages of this worn book, I’ve been anticipating today. Before it was December 24th, my thoughts have been on this one verse.

There was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7

There was no place for Jesus to be welcomed, no place that could have possibly made space for him, Mary and Joseph. So, they walked on until they found an obscure place that would be suitable. Although no one would take them in, Jesus was born and Mary sat and pondered the majesty of it all.

Nothing could stop God’s plan, no earthly inconvenience or obstacle.

I think of “no room in the inn” as a metaphor for the busyness of life, the inconvenience of accommodating Jesus. That may sound harsh, but I believe it can be true. As hard as we try, we fill our schedules and our spaces until we don’t have space for our Lord and Savior.

There was no room for them in the inn.

Yet, he came and he continues to come, born in us as we continue to believe into our being born again

Or maybe you decide to let him in brand new today. Ask for his nearness. Believe he is God’s son who died for you. Confess your sin, the truth that you’re not able on your own.

Let him in.

He giveth more grace, astounding unmerited favor.

On this Christmas Eve as day turns to dusk and then clear starry night, give God room. Let his peace live in you.

Merry Christmas all!

He giveth more grace. Grace to those who refused space to a young woman pregnant and weary, she and baby’s father.

Grace was given those thousands of years ago as Jesus came and they with all the others, the innkeepers, the shepherds, the scholars, the wives and children saw Him, Immanuel.

With them, with us.

Surely, many believed firsthand in this grace, this light of the world.

Maybe some did not.

May it not be so with you.

Selah.

Choose Today

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, depression, doubt, grace, grandchildren, Holy Spirit, Peace, Redemption, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom
Love is Yours

After the sleepover, I discovered my granddaughter had placed the little heart in the little hand.

I remember being captivated by my grandmother’s things, wanting to hold them.

Longing to understand their worth, her little trinkets, her jewelry, her talcum powder and Jergen’s cherry lotion.

They were her.

I woke this morning with a few words

“Choose this day, choose life or death.”

Incline Your Heart

I found the passage in the Old Testament, the historical account of Joshua’s life.

The battle of Jericho, the passage telling us to be strong and courageous, God is with us.

And this one, with the last few words you may find in a home, often a gift for newly married.

“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell.

But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
‭‭Joshua‬ ‭24:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

These are strong exhortations to people in battle, to choose God’s way or the other gods of their history.

For me, they mean simply “choose life” today.

Choose love or fear. Choose trust over doubt. Choose bravery over insecurity.

Choose to not forfeit your day to anxiety or depression over uncontrollable circumstances.

Choose to be light rather than heavy.

To let be what will be with a satisfied spirit.

Grace is enough. The grace you’ve known and the overflow that is promised.

Choose forgiveness over fretting.

Choose Today

…incline your heart to the Lord. Joshua 24:33

The little heart still rests in the hand.

The heart left on my doorstep by my pastor as a love offering in sympathy of my mama’s passing tells me

Love goes on.

I notice my orchid, revived and repotted has tiny tissue paper buds this morning.

Life continues.

Choose today.

Choose to live.

Pray and Remember

Art, confidence, contentment, Faith, Holy Spirit, painting, Prayer, Redemption, Vulnerability, waiting, writing

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭33:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I’ve been searching for the best description in words for an idea for I’m guessing…years. I prayed this morning asking God a simple thing, not a God-sized problem, really just a task.

I have an Artist Market on Sunday. I don’t know what or how much to take for my display. I thought of asking the question in an Instagram story, a little poll. But, I’ve not had much success with this, I don’t think my graphics are fancy enough.

What would be wonderful is if I had a friend to help me say,

“Okay, this best represents you, so let’s decide what you should display so that not you so much, but your message is on display.”

See, here’s the thing. I prayed with coffee and a kitten on my lap. I prayed that very thing.

God, help me to choose what best represents your redemptive work in me and conveys that very grace to others.

I let the prayer rest, the one that came with such accuracy. The word I’d been searching for, “representation” came like a friend with flowers at the door, a “surprise” with her hello.

A representation, a portrayal of someone or something. May it be so, Lord.

May I be so.

And may I remember this chilly morning when an answer came quickly.

May I remember the one that came in the swirl of leaves at my feet yesterday. Even in the flurry of thoughts, a gift of clear comfort came.

May I remember your presence.

May I remember the one that came in reply to sullen surrender of a situation, with honesty over my muddling through the motions of trust. May I remember when I accepted what is not mine to change, a happy unexpected gift came.

May I remember the unrivaled power of the secret prayer spoken honestly with a friend.

My friend and Savior Jesus.

Oh, he knows and loves me so well.

Say your prayers.

Remember the answers.

Find Rest

Art, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, grace, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing

I designed a notecard from a watercolor. The cover is an abstract landscape with soft coral, blue, earthy green and a touch of thick gold.

My technique has been described as flowing, comforting and sometimes subtle, others vivid, the colors.

I like to say it’s “just giving and taking away”.

Inside the card are three words

“Return to rest.”

Today, the writing prompt is “effort”.

I thought of how grace isn’t effort based, us being the recipient of this gift, but relationship with God often asks us to continue seriously, our seeking and knowing more fully.

Yesterday, I stood outside and opened my palm and prayed.

I asked God to help me sense His Spirit, develop such a closeness to Jesus in me that I hear His gentle voice

That I heed His teaching, am sure of my direction.

That I give and take away in the same way that He does. In this effort, not a hopeful change; but in this serious attempt I will better know my Savior.

I will better know what to pursue and what to let fade away.

May my greatest effort not be a blank canvas that invites color, words spoken or on a page.

May my most important effort be to know my God better and in this way

Know peace. Know rest.

Return to rest.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:1‬ ‭NLT‬‬

(Notecards and other art available at http://www.lisaannetindal.me )

Heart Like That

confidence, contentment, courage, Easter, Faith, Forgiveness, grandchildren, Holy Spirit, mercy, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Trust, Vulnerability, wonder

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Prayer and Patience

On Monday I happened upon this stack of rocks while out walking with my granddaughter.

I asked, “Did your mama do that?” She replied with an answer like a song, “uh-huh!”, a big smile and a tilted nod.

Then she commenced to rebuilding, working to rearrange the balance, to add a small stone to the middle and to substitute new rocks for what her mama had built. Satisfied after a few minutes, she left the rocks, similar but not her mama’s stack. She made a new one.

I thought of the joy of the simple activity, the modeling of what she’d seen and the way her perspective was a little different.

Pure.

Purest intentions, no comparison, not destroying what her mama built, only deciding…hmmm, I think I’ll try.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Earlier, I searched for this verse. God had awakened me to consider the condition of my heart, to understand why it’s so important to guard it. Why it is not always beneficial to rely on my thoughts born of an aching or angry heart.

Rather, to trust in the Lord with all of my heart, not to lean on my understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

A heart that is divided, split up into separate rooms inhabited by fear, anger, doubt, dread, jealousy, strife, bitterness, seemingly innocent suspicion or comparison.

A heart like that can’t bring clarity, doesn’t give God enough space to illuminate it, to defuse the dark.

A deceitful heart is one unchanged by Jesus. A deceitful heart is the heart of human intent, not one guided by the holiness of the invited Holy Spirit in.

The heart unchanged by the belief in and acceptance of Jesus Christ is hard and prone to conspire and conclude negative things.

A deceitful heart is a heart that’s forgotten goodness.

I sat in the Target parking lot eating Chick-Fil-A and noticed the shoppers arriving or leaving.

Two spaces over, a man sat alone. I presumed waiting. I could say he was sullen; but, maybe just settled. Waiting for someone, patient or maybe just not wanting to wear his mask.

A woman with green hair passed in front of me, short like mine but a neon pine green. She was dressed in shorts and nothing matched.

Earlier, the loud boom of speakers shook my car and others as we eased to the place where we’d be given our food. The young man had taken my spot in line and I thought to make his mistake known but thought to let it go.

I heard him remark to the cashier, “A girl like you don’t like tattoos…” and I watched her young face drop with an emotion I can’t name.

Maybe embarrassment or excitement, I can’t say.

My mind is not privy to what the heart of another might believe.

I sat and watched the Target shoppers a minute more, people of different races, different beliefs, different orientations, different longings, different fears, different staunch determinations.

It occurred to me then,

who are we to believe we can change people?

The heart after all is human, human in nature, not intended by God to be so, but bent towards sin.

Today I pray, “Change my heart in the places that are growing dim. Lighten my thoughts, my fears, my speculations. Remind me of your Spirit within. Guard this vessel of mine that before a single beat, you decided would be a precious place for you. Because of your great mercy, I say, Amen.

Guard my heart so that it guides my thoughts and responses to those around me.

John 10 ends with a verse of consolation. Following much dispute over the validity or blasphemous behavior of Jesus as well as the loving words He used to explain the purpose God gave him, to be our Good Shepherd, not the hired hand who’d mislead or neglect us. Chapter ends with “the one thing” that is needed, belief.

“And many who were there believed in Jesus.”
‭‭John‬ ‭10:42‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I pray it’s the truth you know today.

Continue and believe.

Sounds of Silence

birds, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, mercy, Peace, Prayer, rest, Stillness, Vulnerability

I remember the Paul Simon song that tells the darkness “hello” as he comes to talk to his old friend.

Unintentionally maybe, it sure sounds like prayer. Prayer, in the way the morning sounds soothe me, similar to nighttime solitude.

The Labrador is sprawled out in front of me, his legs lifted up in the air. I don’t disturb him. He’s circled the back yard and been fed and now reclining, a routine.

The ceiling fan whirs above me, the motor, the rhythm of the blades like a chorus of humming.

The birds are harmonious today, not just one or two near the window but gathered someplace in the periphery.

Their song is subtle.

It compels quiet pause.

Later, I’ll lunch with a new friend and attend a funeral.

I’ll listen. I’ll savor the words someone who reads my words without knowing me has to offer.

I’ll be teachable. I won’t see another’s wisdom as criticism.

I will listen to the words that will honor my friend. He was wise. He was kind. Words shared of him will be worth remembering.

I’ll sit a little longer here with plans to read John’s accounts of Jesus healing unlikely people.

I’ll savor the silence that’s not really silence, just a time of gratitude for mercy again this morning.

Mercy that keeps me teachable, makes me open to others and keeps my heart open to good change.

The sound of silence, my old friend.

The atmosphere that conjured morning prayer.

Lord, help me to listen.

I’m linking up with others prompted by the word “savor”

Five Minute Friday

You’re Welcome Here

bravery, Faith, fear, Holy Spirit, Trust, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

I found it amazing. I’m hesitant to use “amazing”. I read somewhere the annoyance of the word’s overuse.

But amazing it was and as I think of it now, still is.

Four people gather to pray and worship with music.

Four distinctively different approaches. Women of different ages, different churches, different journeys, different hopes thwarted, different ideas about some things.

No comparison between us, contrast was not our motive.

Together, all ended separate prayers in the name of Jesus.

Reverence, a unique response to each of us. At first, I squirm in my seat wondering if my worship should be more like hers.

Then I listen. I notice the difference, the difference in me.

Reluctant to gather because I’ve found comfort as an introvert lately, but, joined the others telling myself, listen and be willing.

Four people gathered to offer up prayer, listen to songs about the goodness and certainty of God.

Turns were taken, hands extended and raised, heads bowed, hands folded, common ground was shifted until we all were different

and yet sweetly and spiritually the same.

Responsive, no longer reluctant.

We gathered and the air shifted. Burdens were made lighter, shallow breaths became steady, even and deeper.

Together in a room with the Spirit of God.

I think of the differences now, no criticism or condemnation over preference of place or practice.

Four people gathered and God was with us.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Welcomed in because of Jesus.

Being Refined

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, curiousity, Faith, Holy Spirit, memoir, mixed media painting, painting, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, Vulnerability, waiting, wisdom, wonder, writing
Beauty Remains

There’s an odd tree near my home. Its branches are grey and twisted and it half stands half reclines in an empty lot.

It is solitary with only tiny tender pines trying to begin their lives nearby, bright green fan like needles on the skinniest of branches.

I’m not an arborist. I know this tree is old, “gnarly” comes to mind. It has pods of some sort and pale white tiny blooms in the Spring. I’ve yet to see it produce a nut or fruit. It still has a few crinkly leaves furled and scattered.

It has lingered long.

Planted in the empty lot or the lot owned by someone and long neglected.

A decade or so ago I began to notice, this leaning tree keeps staying, fascinating me. It is steady although it has no real reason, not attended to by anyone other than God’s good rain and sun.

I’ve just gotten word from a gallery telling me thanks for your submission, our walls are full.

We have enough for display.

I downgraded from a website for my art to Etsy. The decision surprised me with the ease, and the peace, the still today peace is keeping me.

The desire to be an artist feels like an ache, a wound that keeps reminding you to take it slow, slow movements bring lasting health and renewed fervor.

This I know. The change is internal. I am being refined. I am growing. I know because this time, I have told this change, welcome, come on in, stay a bit.

A crazy thing happened on Sunday morning. I heard a sound above my head and thought, an animal in the attic…a big one. At last, I’d convince my husband and he’d believe me, those squirrels are living above our bed.

Later, I went to make the bed and discovered branches curled against my window. The pretty poplar tree had been uprooted by nature and leaned in a precarious way against our home.

Home alone, I walked out in rain boots and pajamas to see the bulbous root upturned and the trunk resting against a patio table. The discarded table saved our windows and our roof. The tree is now cut into pieces by our sweet son in law and only debris remaining.

I am wondering what caused it to fall.

Today, I read a passage in a devotional referencing a verse about being refined.

I will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried. Zechariah 13:9

I thought of what it means to be refined, how I’d always equated being refined with having more polish, more finesse, what had been started becoming a final result that stood out from the rest. To be refined would feel as close to perfection as possible, a pleasing object to gaze upon, a showpiece worthy of applause.

I know the metaphor of life’s trials and traumas being a symbol of the fire of the silversmith, the heat melting the substance so that it shines smoothly.

Deep Roots, the Gnarly Tree

I’m realizing it’s not about shining, the refining God wants us to understand and allow.

It’s an inside transformation, a change in our souls that leads to changes in mindsets and goals.

A change maybe we and God only know.

To be refined, all impurities are removed from a substance, it becomes internally pure.

A Canon named George Body, born in 1840 describes it this way,

“His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment’s delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, it is when the image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as a mirror. Raise your eyes, then amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you.” George Body

Stand like the old tree, stronger because of the nature of its own depth and fiber and because of the refining hand of God.

The strength is inner, the strength that was brave when it said call yourself an artist.

Keep creating.

“Love Story” 16×20

Keep it quiet. Keep it confident. Keep it grounded.

Remember, your theme is redemption.

Redemption, not kept to yourself.

Find me on Etsy (LisaAnneTindal)