Unfettered By Rain

Abuse Survivor, confidence, courage, Faith, freedom, grace, mercy, Peace, Redemption, Unity, Vulnerability, wonder

I saw myself in the kitchen window, the grey of rain darkened and made the glass a mirror.

I laughed, ha! surprised by my reflection. My hair was flat against my forehead, unattractive, like cafeteria lady or a shower cap.

I didn’t expect it, I thought it was just a misting rain, the driveway puddles barely rippled by the sprinkle.

I took a chance and the weather changed.

I was oblivious to the shower and ran without stopping all the way up the hill.

Ran with just a slight nod to the concerned neighbor who paused and the one turning in and braking, unsure whether I might be relieved by their allowing me to jump in.

I never slowed my rhythmic steps.

My face straightforward with the rain.

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

No change in the depth of my breath, no adjustment of my pace or my mindset.

No thinking of not go on.

The rain showered cold against my face as I tucked my phone in a pocketless place, steady sound piping through thin cords swaying as I pushed on through.

In my ears, a chorus, “Break every chain, break every chain…

Break every chain.”

Sloshing through the puddled grass, I was back home, burst back in

Unchained and wet,

unfettered by the rain.

Its breaking of my chains.

The Book of Luke, 24 Days of Jesus-An Advent Experience

Abuse Survivor, Advent, Angels, Christmas, courage, freedom, grace, hope, kindness, memoir, mercy, Peace, praise, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Trust, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability, waiting

Believe, Now

The 16th chapter of Luke’s book is not so gentle a read. It ends with Jesus telling a rich man who refused God that there’d be no need in a miraculous sighting sent to warn his family of Hell. Jesus tells the regretful rich man, they didn’t believe in Moses, it’s likely they may never believe.

“He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I stood holding hands with family yesterday and prayed. I was asked by my cousin to pray.

It felt a little awkward, family can be that way; but, also a sweet answer because I’d actually thought about it, thought about it on the drive to the gathering, what would I pray if I were to bless the food, to pray?

I consider this God. I consider the way this all fell into place truly sweet, a God thing.

I thanked the Lord for the tradition of our get together, for the good things he’s brought us over the past year, the good things he has brought us to and through, and for the food.

As we released our hands, a circle so wide it covered four rooms, intersected by a kitchen and a hall, everyone was quiet and then our Georgia Christmas meal began.

This morning, I’m remembering intercessory prayer. I’m thinking with certainty how God hears our prayers and how I most likely won’t know how my words offered up a little awkwardly will impact my family members.

Somehow and somewhere, they will.

God hears us when we say them, He always hears our prayers.

The rich man lost his opportunity. He ignored the needs of a poor man who inherited heaven as he focused on his wealth.

“And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:20-23, 25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I sat last night making lists and making plans, most of them revolving around money and the assurance over the lack of enough of it.

I thought of how I love giving, love listening and then providing, how I more than anything love giving what is perceived as a “way too generous” surprise.

I’ll review my list today, I’ll squeeze in a shopping trip this week, wrap some new boxes and rearrange them under our tree.

I’m hoping my gifts to my family will be an evidence of my faith, of my peace, of my hope and my finally really believing in mercy and grace.

Talking less about it, acting it out more.

As I sit in my spot, I’m remembering my family, the love, laughter, good fortune and misfortune in the room.

Family can be tough. Everybody knows. All coming from the same people and place, all knowing all our stuff and still, loving one another, even if skeptical over the bumps in our roads and how still, we grow.

I’m thankful for them. I believe I told Him and them so.

Thank you, God, that we are all here.

This year, my hope, my purpose is that my family sees more clearly, that they see me being who I say that I am.

That they see, Jesus.

That they see “why I believe”.

“For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬

31 Days, Freely – Common

confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Forgiveness, freedom, grace, happy, memoir, mercy, Peace, praise, Redemption, Stillness, Teaching, Trust, Unity, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

4:30, 4:30, 4:30!!!!

The blaring bong of bell, he stops it and I want to say you could have gone without.

Your wife could have just told you so, quietly and matter of factly, it’s 4:30.

Last night, I prayed the ABC’s 3 times, 78 letters lined up, mostly spontaneously and my prayers had a bend towards gratitude.

Not the same old worry, the correspondence God knows so well of me.

My brain must have been overloaded in a good way because it had stories it refused to leave hanging and they continued all through the night.

Then, I woke up remembering what I wrote hurriedly and just let it be.

This 31 day thing feeling like obligation and nothing more. I could have trashed it, the one that was without flow and didn’t circle back around to make sense.

No matter really, I’m learning to grow.

Ironically, I wrote about not being “good” and the first thing that came to mind when my knees hit the floor in the darkness was.

I’m good, God. I’m good.

The reality of a sleepless night and a day that has the likelihood of stressful situations, wasn’t about to phase me, I felt sure.

Because I woke refreshed, unbelievably so and assured.

All is well.

I’m good.

God is so that way.

Oh, how I love His subtle ways.

All will be good.

All is well.

At the close of a meeting of minds trying to be correctly succinct and with draft three or four of some set of bylaws, there was a lull in the banter.

I looked down towards the gentleman who is in charge of the weekly soup kitchen.

Asked Jim, “How’s your friend?” He smiled and told me he saw him on Saturday, they all celebrated his 70th over soup.

“I still have the ring he made me.” I added, happily.

Remembering the day we were charged with counting the homeless and a pleasant man on a bike met us in the park to talk. He magically, meticulously folded a dollar bill and presented it to me, a ring!

Give me times like that Lord, more of these moments that set me back on track.

That remind me trials are common to us all, that we’re not different ever in your sight.

That your goodness is common to us all.

“The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭29:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬

31 Days, Freely -Share

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, Faith, freedom, grace, kindness, memoir, mercy, Peace, praise, Prayer, Redemption, Trust, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability, writing

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.

Oh, my soul

Abuse Survivor, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, freedom, grace, memoir, mercy, Redemption, Stillness, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability

Y’all, I can’t tell you who said this, but I heard it clearly.

My friend called this week a “thick” one with mucky mess making us feel like we oughta either be mad or “mad”.

Then we talked about our souls and the ways we know some stuff is meant to pull us back, keep us back, make us feel like we ain’t makin’ any progress at all.

If I don’t follow or fall back in am I less a warrior, more defeated?

What about the good, the good places we’ve found, come so far to find?

Was our satisfaction sanctimonious, are we any stronger at all?

But, oh, yes we so very much are ‘cause we know our souls and we know what stirs them rightly and what stirs them wrongly

and we decided for sure we’re better than before…just ‘cause we know how to care for our souls.

And we know where we belong.

Our souls stirred and satiated.

We continue on.

5 Years Old Now

Abuse Survivor, Faith, happy, memoir, sons, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability

I’ve just scanned through five years worth of blog.

Real reminiscing.

All about my “girl and my boy”, God, prayer, struggle, survival, His grace, people I’ve bumped into, causing me to think.

I’m surprised it’s been 5.

The only takeaway, I see since I’m not so tech savvy or SEO keen is that

I love my space.

I love it being mine and me.

I had no idea it was year 5 until I got the little WP trophy notification.

But, this morning after two days finishing a submission for possible publication of a personal, I suppose powerful piece.

I prayed a prayer that just came.

I love those.

God’s way.

Maybe didn’t make much sense to me.

Still, I prayed it.

God, thank you for letting me write, thank you for giving me words that I get happy over them feeling just right.

Now, I say thank you to people I won’t or can’t possibly name at all.

Who I imagine a whole lot more spectacular writers than me.

And for friends who tell me, “I’d read it, I want to read more.” when I cautiously hint the thought “book”…

You’ll never ever know how much you matter and…you know,

You know who you are.

Thank you so very much!

Happy Way of Life #15

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Salvation, Serving, Stillness, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability, wonder

There is always opportunity to choose peace in a world that gives more opportunities for stirring up over settling down, peace must become a choice.

A happy way of life, being an instrument of God’s peace.

“Lord make me an instrument of your peace

Where there is hatred let me sow love

Where there is injury, pardon

Where there is doubt, faith

Where there is despair, hope

Where there is darkness, light

And where there is sadness, joy”

Prayer of St. Francis

Everyone’s disgruntled over one thing or the other and it’s broadcast “nationwide” for us to see, lured in constantly by not missing out or being left out of some loop.

Social media, the not so subtle vehicle for gossip and inciting conflict and confusion.

So, look away I tell myself.

Look up, seek peace while it may be found, look towards the clear blue sky, an open invitation saying here, “See, there is still peace for those who seek.”

This little building held a group of people called a coalition and while I differed from them in many ways, we began the meeting the same, a benediction, an invocation.

We stumbled over what to call it considering some there are offended by prayer.

And while I was once puffed up and offended over the avoidance of the name of Jesus, the verbal listing of titles and names of all inclusive beings and people

I listened. I didn’t know the one reading intended her words to be a prayer as in my head bowed down, my hands opened in my lap, an acceptance of heaven here on earth.

I listened.

My eyes were not closed, my posture not bowed down, more open.

I listened and found a tiny place up high in the beautiful old room to fix my eyes.

I listened quietly as did the others as she read, happy to hear that our “focus” she had chosen was peace, happy to be reminded to live peacefully with others and with our Lord of peace, Jesus.

He is with us.

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all. – 2 Thessalonians 3:16

Learned Yesterday

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, doubt, grace, kindness, memoir, mercy, Peace, praise, Redemption, rest, Serving, Teaching, Trust, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability, waiting

Before I forget, I must make a list of yesterday’s people.

A Board President gave the blessing before the meal at a gathering of grantees. He prayed for us, our work of love and for those who had yet to pass through our doors.

Before his “Amen” he paused as if the Spirit lingered long with Him and he longed to stay in that moment. Just as after his “Amen” his sense of God was so real he audibly acknowledged it, he kind of shook from the presence with an “Oh”.

Laughter with my friend/employee/spiritually wise one all the way to and from the gathering on the crazy construction mess of interstate.

We were safe.

A fellow grantee, selected as the spokesperson for her table and her response to the chosen question over our biggest obstacles in providing help to others. She, one by one listed needs that had been met for her Free Clinic simply by asking straight out and three times maybe four in beautiful oration, she paused and added:

Ask, that your joy may be complete!

Five women, separately but simultaneously because of the day, encouraged my writing after reading “Black Crow Mercies”.

One took the time to send an email, I only skimmed at first and read again before bed seeing the gift more clearly from God for me.

Thank you for who you are. This is not the first time God has used you to soften my heart. I am praying for your book. Just know it will bless.

Love from the camping ground,

Anna

 She has spoken hope for me, and dare I say, made reality, my writing of a book.

Later, two women I have written guest posts for sent me sweet words, one sharing my words, the other sharing my hopes and her hopes with me. She shared them in a podcast I’d never bothered to listen to.

I messaged her and wrote how her voice calmed me as she talked about peace, how happy I was to finally listen, to hear her sweet tone.

Even later, I went for a run and was exhilarated over how much this challenge of going a little farther has gotten hold of my heart.

Music in my ears, impressing me to continue.

Farther, farther along…

Farther Along

Running from the devil of depression, I allowed my acceptance of my truth.

I ran with new vigorous confidence and commitment towards my growing stronger, towards understanding.

Home, I announce to my son that I went farther. I ran farther this time. I head to the kitchen to finish dinner and it’s healthy, I’m healthy.

I think of a writer named Lisa, remembering I told her I’d guest post again and letting the ball drop on my end.

Then I see her comment from 12 hours before and my name in her post, my words, “Black Crow Mercies” shared for her friends.

I commented how unbelievably timely her sharing, for I felt she’d long forgotten me because of my forgetting her.

Two writers, males, commented as well. One in agreement with my realizations on being different, one affirming I’m “good, okay, different”.

People on my path.

Lord, you never delay too long. Thank you for showing that what I decided to believe once again will in fact be true.

In a little while, I knew I would see.

In a little while, I knew I’d again believe.

Because of mercy, Amen.

linking this post up with others at Tell His Story hosted by Mary Geisen.

http://marygeisen.com/foreigner-in-a-foreign-land/

Invocation Interrupted Realization, Different

bravery, Faith, memoir, mercy, Prayer, Uncategorized, Unity, wonder

It will not escape my notice and my notice will not let me let it go.

I’d love to say it didn’t matter. I’d like to be able to see differences and responses different than my own and be okay.

It bothers me that I am different.

Puzzles me.

Bothers me only because of the surprise of its realization.

That, when prior to “purposeful thought” and invocation, I had the courage to ask that we pray for the ones grieving, shocked and tousled by unforeseen tragic death of son.

And yet, we didn’t.

I’d love to not be bothered by this avoidance, this uncomfortable, unexpected and possibly, I suppose unnecessary sharing of my asking that we sort of go a little askew of agenda.

Not a word spoken, awkward sideways glances to see my face.

More surprise over my suggestion.

More surprise than consideration or sympathy or even pause to consider the sorrow, the struggle, the sadness of another.

I wish this could be uplifting, that I could offer observation on compassionate one towards another concern.

Instead, I reviewed the minutes from the meeting and the order was quite wrong.

“Lisa shared a sad story” after invocation,when actually, yes quite intentionally, it was before.

Pray, I say pray one for the other.

Pray without ceasing and without boundaries, pray without pause, without notes and without reservation and open to interruption.

I pray I continue.

I pray I continue to pray this way.

I cannot imagine any way other.

Other than different, different in a way that doesn’t bother me after all.

Only surprised me, confounded me, caught me a little off guard.

Pray about everything. No notes required.

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” – Luke 11:1

I am different, I am realizing.

Different in an unwelcome bold and unafraid way, initially a surprise and now, after thinking, a sort of okay, yes, good, okay, acknowledgement of better way for me.

This world is not my home.

Moon and Sun Together with Message

Abuse Survivor, bravery, confidence, courage, Faith, grace, heaven, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Stillness, Trust, Uncategorized, Unity, Vulnerability, wonder

It’s a pivot is all, the motion of the body choosing one way over the other.

I open the door and pause, I’ll either go right or go left.

Either answer the bird call, the sky going blue or I’ll walk steady, coffee sat down on coaster and settle into the cushions, sort of sinking in and stuck.

Today, I chose the right and I remembered I love the morning and why.

Morning, most of all is to me without judgement.

Time briefly uncrowded, alone and without conversation.

It seems morning is worthy.

Worthy of such respect.

Morning, I believe the time most devoid of fear and fullest of perhaps.

The bordered sky, pink buffering to blueish violet hue.

Never a harsh beckon to come see, instead a call to step outside and to stand still,

To turn one side then the other and then discover before stepping through the door back in.

The moon still hanging,

the moon and the sun the same this morning, their calling of me.

Convincing me, be still, be still.

In this morning time, the moon, the sun they say.

Be still and know that He is God.

Momentarily, I turn to go inside then look back and see.

The two of them, together like goose and duckling or buck and a doe.

Two of them catch my eye, not typically together, usually one bright, the other with feathers tinted brown, they fly by, a couple.

Two females this morning, a cardinal pair catch my gaze and I’m astounded it has happened again.

Yesterday a friend shared something she’d been told.

…a cardinal’s presence represents a time to renew vitality through developing and accepting a new sense of our own true self.

Birds, red in color appearing almost always now. It’s extraordinary if you must know.

Back inside, I sit and write. I turn to read the guided passage in Timothy and in the Psalms.

The Labrador drops his tennis ball and waits at my feet. Morning, he knows.

He waits while I read.

Quiet every morning.

And the Psalm talks of birds and escape and how my hope is in the name of the Lord, how I’d once been held captive.

Now I’m free. So much more free.

“We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭124:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

And I know for sure this much is true. The maker of every sunrise and moon waiting to fade away and the red birds perched and parading are for me, not against.

The maker of heaven and earth, of morning and night, the maker of me

and of you.

I am so very certain.

Certain of his knowing my name.

Yours too.

God is everywhere.

Don’t forget to notice.

For I’m not sure how long, I’ve linked my posts up on other writers’ blogs. In the beginning, I felt uncertain, felt “Community” was beyond my place as a writer. I decided to join, a hard thing for me and my insecurities, my measure of me.

What began as a hopeful chance to be seen has now become, dare I say it, a community. Reading the words of likeminded writers and reading the words of those with different expression, I’ve been educated, am now certain that I’m the only one with my voice, my experiences and my tone even.

Last week, we were in Genesis in Sunday school, the very beginning of the book. The question for discussion was about how God’s plan of creation made us feel about Him. Some said that we should honor Him, others said He’s in control.

I kept my response to myself, shared later with some women. I realized just how intricately I am made and how purposeful God was in creation. This means no need for competing, no cause for comparison.

As if God has said all along “Lisa Anne, You be you!”

The Tell His Story Community is a place to see this truth, to honor it, to honor God.

I’m so happy it is continuing and I know I’m not the only one!

You’ll be great, Mary! You be you.

Linking this post with others here:

Tell His Story