Look Up Here

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, eating disorder, Faith, freedom, grace, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Trust, Truth, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing
In Process

Friday night, two weeks ago, I sat in my friend’s den. We’d had a yummy and not without funny incident meal in a tiny town nearby. The night was cool. The Labrador and cats had been fed. My friend sat on the “Elvis” velvet green sofa and her husband faced me, each of us in the ivory armchairs.

My friend suggested, I “give my talk” as a practice for Saturday morning. This would be my third practice reading.

I made it through and my friend and her sweet husband approved. Then, she added,

“Lisa, it is beautiful; but, try to talk instead of reading. Look up.”

“Okay, okay.” I assured her and went to bed scared and vulnerable.

Tossing and turning but waking to a pink morning sky, I journaled and landed on the passage in II Timothy that tells us not to have a spirit of fear. I found another verse I’d only skimmed over before.

“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord.”
‭‭2 Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

We arrived at the gathering place, women preparing and chatting; I found a pen and reviewed the words I’d be sharing.

Added in places that I felt needed it

LOOK UP HERE

I’ve decided to share the essay/speech.

You’ll likely recognize the paragraphs or two that led me to choke up, lose my place and for the life of me not want to look up.

Places that caused me to stare in an awkward vacantness.

Still, I knew someone might benefit from my sharing. I didn’t know I’d be given such a gift of acceptance in their kind expressions that morning.

Your slightest pain finds response in his sympathy.” Handley C.G. Moule

Here are my words:

Of Lasting Value

Lisa Anne Tindal

Louisville Presbyterian Church, October 22, 2022

I suppose it was over six months ago. My friend called me by surprise which is her nature. The call is always genuine, the conversation always for my betterment. I have a friend who is closer than a sister. She is why I am here. 

This friend who is both soft and strong, hilarious and humble has influenced me towards courage all along the way. And so, this phone call from my splendidly southern friend was a gift and then, an idea shared in an unexpected request. 

I am here with you today because my friend believed I should be. She shared that she thought of me and my journey and felt I’d be the just right speaker. I told her I would think, I would pray, and I thought…

Well, I don’t have to worry about this now, October is a long time away. August came and then September and I began to be very afraid.

And the fear became heavy and close to paralyzing. I couldn’t be quite sure why or rather I couldn’t decide which was the most accurate reason. After all, I’d spoken publicly in many places, business, philanthropic or civic engagements and I’d spoke about much less pleasant topics, homelessness, suicide, mental illness. Why the fear over sharing about my life, my journey, and least of all, art? Why did I feel so deficient? Why did I regret saying “Yes”?

On a Saturday afternoon, just before dusk, I made a list. Lists help to organize my thoughts, give understanding of my worry, spur me on. This list with a column for opportunities over  the past year or so lined the left side and the right was absolutely nothing at all as I tried to respond to my mind’s question.

Why is this not enough?

What more could be proof? 

Will it matter if you’re in a gallery, a solo show, if all five paintings in the current Charleston show are sold?

My soul was sullen. My mind knew the answer.

It would not matter at all; you’d still be trying to prove to yourself that you are “enough”. You’d still be trying to win the next marathon, jump unhindered through the next circus hoop of culture and comparison.

You’d still feel unqualified. 

Later, I prayed before sleep and there were tears. The prayer, not one of request or providential goodness, instead I asked God to forgive me for trying to be anything other than his plan and his idea. I acknowledged I’d been striving to succeed, to fly on the wings of my own, wings that aren’t broken, no not broken at all…just marked by fading scars and not fully grown.

I sat in my morning spot the next day, recalling my cry. I reviewed the list and remembered a couple or three wonderful things I had omitted.

The list is long. The list is truly amazing; but neither sufficient nor satisfying on its own.

Actually, insignificant.  

As a woman, a little girl, a mama or wife, how do you measure significance?  Is it in the success of your children? The accolades in your profession or maybe in the longevity of your marriage that has endured some stress? Or is it smaller, more insignificant things that matter so much more? 

I am a woman from south Georgia, raised by a mother who loved through cooking and often masked depression with achievement, a father who was broken and as kind as a southern breeze on a humid day until he needed relief from whiskey and then he could express his brokenness and anger. It was hard many days, thankfully not all of them.

My parents were human.

A girl who was “daddy’s” who became a young woman broken by the weight of that label. A young woman who loved the quiet comfort of art and longed to love God but was afraid she couldn’t measure up.

A young woman who suffered harm, overpowered by strong and angry hands on more than one occasion. A college student who lost her way and began to starve herself to gain control.

A woman who became a single mother to two and found the wherewithal to support them through keeping Georgia’s children safe as a DFCS employee.

I am a woman who is now married to a man who understands me (although it was an effort) and the mother to two adult children I treasure, a grandmother to four, very soon five grandchildren.

What’s your story? Have there been debilitating detours or even small dilemmas? How have you tried to redeem them?

Has it been tough on your own?

I love to imagine being alongside women in the Bible who found themselves in places and situations that didn’t masquerade their disadvantages.

Their stories are ours.

They are in our Bibles. These women I call “Colors of My Bible”, figures that began to develop in the margins of a Bible gifted to me in 2016. I began to see myself in their stories, at times not sure the reason, and yet, as I continue, their stories, their colorful lives continue to change mine.

They are women who came to understand, it is God who decides we are valuable.

It is God who positions us in places to remember this and to add value to the lives of others by our embrace of this truth.

Of what value are you?

Maybe we are similar to the women with ancient stories,

We are strong and have value.

Esther, an orphaned young woman raised by her uncle found herself in an unlikely position. Her beauty, I suppose we could say was her ticket. More so, it was her commitment to her people, her family that made her courageous. I like to imagine her clothed in purple, diminutive in size and in the background are the other competitors for her place in the palace. I remember Esther for her bravery. Her allegiance to her family and her courage to protect them became her value. 

Martha, a favorite of mine because she did what I do. If there is angst, an unanswered prayer, a rescue or remedy I’ve decided isn’t coming, I have the answer. It’s control, cleaning, rearranging.

Once I painted the bathroom cabinets, replaced the mirror and changed out all the towels in the bathroom. I was waiting on a call from The Citadel to see if my son in his Freshman year first week would be coming home. I think of Martha and her plight of “needing to know” or being sure all would be well. I like to envision her finally sitting down to rest beside her sister Mary and being gently reminded things like a cluttered kitchen don’t matter. I remember Martha for her anxiety. I remember Jesus telling her to rest, all will be well. Her learning to trust and rest became her value.

The Woman at the Well, known by many for her lascivious ways, I relate to her story. Admittedly, I am not a theologian; but I’ve read that is was not unheard of for women to “serve” more than one man. This was the culture back then. This is why I love the approach of Jesus. He didn’t have to say to her “your secrets are exposed; your lifestyle is well known”.

Instead, he offered redemption in the form of I know, and I still care.

I like to build on the story of when she ran back into town to tell everyone she’d met the Messiah and he too knows all about me. Here’s an even sweeter part of this story to me, the townspeople knew her. They thought less about her messy life than they did the message she brought them. Her living past her shame became her value.

The Woman Caught in Adultery I believe was despondent. I believe she expected to die by stoning that day. I see her with eyes cast down, numbed by the reality of her exposure. Although she was prepared to be stoned, I somehow see her as suicidal. When Jesus confronted the accusers, she must have been surprised. I suppose he could have told her to hurry home, to go her way; instead he asked her to take notice…you are not alone, “Go and sin no more”. Her life was changed despite her imperfections, it was changed as she acknowledged her wrongs. Her humble admission in the face of punishment expected leaves me with a beautiful image of her walking away, eyes lifted up and shoulders strong in faith. Her humility although despondent became her value. 

Mary, the mother of Jesus, so young and unprepared. As I speak to you today, my beautiful treasure I call Heather Analise is ripe with the soon birth of her second child. I recall the first days of my granddaughter, helping any way I could and the preparations her parents had in place, things like schedules, feedings, monitors, sound machines and cradling swings that lulled her to sleep. Mary, surprised by an angel, simply believed and continued in her appointment arranged by God. I wonder about her questions, if she shared them with Joseph. She pondered ( a word I love) and I wonder if her ponderings were sometimes fearful worries over the mysterious and unfathomable delivery she was chosen for. Belief in what made no sense, confidence in what she couldn’t have predicted, and a quiet resolve to believe in what she did not yet see. Occurs to me now, the similarity of the life of Mary and the definition of faith. Her faith in a time of unknowns became her value. 

Hagar, (Am I the only one who wonders, couldn’t God have at least given her parents a prettier name?) the mistress of Abraham and Sarah who met their needs and fulfilled their wish for family. A maidservant, who with the wife’s permission, slept with the husband so that in their old age could carry on the lineage with a son. Here’s where I used to find myself on “Team Hagar”, relating to her condition as a result of abuse and manipulation. Again, culture in these ancient days allowed this. Sarah resented Hagar and Hagar hoarded over Sarah the benefits she brought to her husband and to them, a child.

Jealousy between women has apparently been around for ages. 

Hagar ran away, not broken and afraid as I once believed. No, I believe she was just angry. She had enough or maybe the “maidservant with benefits” was not proving to be as beneficial as she thought.

So, she ran.

The angel of the Lord found her in the wilderness and confronted her fleeing. More than a confrontation though, it was an acknowledgement that you may not feel it but “God sees you.” Being seen by God changed her, not so much her living situation or positioning in life; but, knowing God saw and sees her strengthened her to carry on. Hagar’s words, the first to give God a name, “El Roi” has become her value, we too are seen and known.

The woman who spent over a decade in hiding, unable to be cured from her uncontrollable flow of blood, despairingly decided to simply give the healing of Jesus a try.  How many of us have had to leave work, tie our sweater around our waist or worse, agree to surgery to remove the source of flow? What a personal thing a period is. 

What a last resort to try anything for better. So, the crowd was thick that day, the scene perfect for her to go unnoticed and to simply be near this man who’d been healing so many desperate others. She touched the hem of his garment and she was made well, and Jesus felt the sensation of the miraculous leaving his body and he stopped in his tracks. 

He sought the seeker. 

When he found her, He called her daughter and she began to live unhindered and unhidden that day. She didn’t expect to meet Jesus, only hoped for healing. Her resolve to seek healing and to keep seeking. This is her value. 

Esther, Martha, the Samaritan Woman, the Adulterous, Mary the Virgin; Hagar and The Woman in need of healing, these are just of a few of the figures you may find in the margins of my Bible. What began as a tentative practice with color moved to canvas and from canvas to local shops and galleries. From galleries to pages on social media, articles in magazines, a website, a children’s book and an invitation to be photographed for a national exhibit.

I stand before you an example of a woman sort of lost and found. 

You see none of these accomplishments were solid enough for my soul’s standing as far as my value and worth to be unshakeable. It made sense to me that my childhood was so deficient in encouragement and notice that I’d set my mind on achievement and unrelenting aspiration in the confidence that one day, some way, I will believe I am enough. 

And yet, I had to understand, accept, on my own I am never enough.  

Rather, I am a work in progress, a sailboat shifting in the winds of God’s direction, a woman who asked God to cancel this event, deciding for God that I was not qualified, not attractive enough and not skilled eloquently as far as speaking. 

Hmmm, I wonder did Moses have a sister? 

Thank you for the invitation to choose the braver as Martha chose the better, as Esther chose the more courageous, Hagar chose God’s knowing, the three women defeated, scorned and or wrongfully living chose the joyous gift of living differently, Mary chose not knowing and yet, believing and because she chose our story continues, 

a life of value according to Jesus.

My prayer is that you know this choice, that you’re easy on yourself as you try to remember.

Your value is not accomplishment or acclaim. Rather, it’s a quiet thing, a life that leaves an example, one that is lasting even if often scary. 

Continue and believe.

You have value.

Look up.

On Grace

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, courage, doubt, Faith, grace, memoir, patience, pride, Redemption, Vulnerability, writing
“Of Lasting Value” (final edit)

Grace is a small, even fragile word.

So delicate I forget the unseen power in its protection and provision.

Offered up to and by those we love.

Given by those who don’t know just how badly we need it nor do we until we’re surprised by the extension of it.

Small places on our paths are seen before we trip into “Oh, no”.

Players in the drama of our lives are setting the stage of our next act, quietly and unknowingly directed by our God who protects us from mess ups.

Here’s a little evidence, a hint of the kindness of grace.

I wrote a story about a painting. I thought to add it to my talk for women, mostly to lengthen my presentation.

But, I folded it, decided this is not for sharing even though I treasure the words.

Days later, a publication I thought had either lost or tossed it reached out.

An unexpected email, the same essay is read by an editor and they love it, but suggest a different tone.

The editor tells me which part she loves and which are wrong.

Ouch, a tiny sigh. I let the critique sink in and see it (eventually) as unexpected grace.

Less about Lisa, more about others.

(A familiar refrain, I’m afraid)😊

Now, I’m sort of iffy about it altogether.

I fear I’ve forgotten how to write as often as I fear I suddenly don’t remember how to paint.

But, grace says the road is wide for your walking, your words and your colors, whatever the thing that is for you to do.

And grace is right beside you as you go.

Come on.

Let’s go.

Start walking.

“and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought your precepts.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭119‬:‭45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

You don’t have to go perfectly or suddenly.

There’s grace for circling back, rerouting, resting and letting “it” rest to come back to what has been patiently waiting.

Waiting for you.

Because it’s only grace, the grace of God that knows the true you.

Truly.

And that’s really cool.

I’ll sit and consider the edits to my essay. I’ll be grateful for the grace of course correction, for the opportunity to keep telling the story of “Blue Ribbon Girl”.

His grace will lead you in small things as well as great.” Jean Nicolas Grou

Continue and believe.

You be you, grace will lead.

It’s grace that’ll remind you, you’re not perfect; but, you’re getting closer.

Closer to the Father and His idea of you.

Value

Abuse Survivor, Art, contentment, doubt, Faith, grace, memoir, Redemption, Vulnerability, wonder, writing
Use Your Words, Canvases and Other Things

Last week, I asked someone “Are you hugging people?” Even typing that sounds ridiculous. But, she said yes and so, we hugged.

You probably know the research about hugs, how our body releases bad stuff, let’s good stuff take over when we hug.

Not, a cordial southern “how you doing? but an embrace; a hug that knows you need to be pulled closer and holds you tightly until they just know it’s good, it’s better, I can let her go.

If you know me, you know I love words.

I thought about strongholds this morning.

I’d dreamt of my mama and daddy traveling far for an art exhibit that didn’t go well at all, filled with criticism and two judges telling me in front of everyone what I’d gotten wrong. The fancy onlookers clearly reminding me, “Who were you to think you belong?”

Doubt is what you could call one of my “strongholds”.

So, I laid still and changed my thoughts once the dream was over. I remembered two essays I’ve recently written, I thought of the women I wrote about and their dilemmas, their deficit, their would be “strongholds”.

I will be the speaker for a women’s event very soon. The essay that will be my speech is written, the accompanying artwork is in progress on the easel. I’ve chosen several women from the Bible who left a legacy demonstrating a specific value, a value that is lasting.

On the Easel

Just now, I may have settled on what I am hoping mine could be

My value left long after me, that I never stopped remembering the gift of grace.

I heard a song that captured that hope with a substitutionary word for “saved”.

Your grace has salvaged me.

I hope you’ll allow yourself a few minutes to listen her and remember grace again.

Grace Song

Maybe you have a “stronghold”. Maybe it’s fear, anger, worry, resentment, sadness or maybe a default rescue you turn to as a way to dull them.

I share honestly.

I often wonder if I should. I hope someone who needs to fall into God’s strong embrace and linger there long reads this today.

Remembers where peace is found, our God’s soft long enough hug never just cordial that won’t let go.

“But the Lord has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭94:22‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Stories Told Lightly

Abuse Survivor, Art, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, writing

“And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭7:50‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Given the choice, I prefer the quiet space alone. I love words, but prefer writing over speaking and even more so as I’m older and it’s showing evidence in both my appearance and ability.

I saw the sun on Monday morning and I thought of passages of Jesus coming to the gatherings, houses, and rescue of so many.

Healing as they welcomed him, restoring as they let Him in. Something about the sun on Monday caused me to wonder if Jesus ever wondered or even went back to say, “Who have you told about your healing?”

I wondered if the woman who had to stay home because of her bleeding happily began to sit and interact with others in the light of day. I wondered if the widow with the sparse amount of change she gave away kept living on little but with more happiness than any success could bring.

I wondered if the woman Jesus stopped the scribes from stoning spent all her days comforting other women who lost their way and needed to know life could change.

I’ve kept a piece of paper in my Bible since 2016, a sketch of an open book and a bullet list of why we all should tell our story.

Six years later, I’m surprised to even be asked.

But, I have and I have said “Yes.” The story is a more gentle one, not spattered with sorrow or bitter questions of why…it’s one of the tapestry of comfort in the form of art inspired by faith.

I’m grateful. I shared this morning as I move into this season of sharing and of learning.

Studying the lives of Sarai (Sarah) and Hagar is humbling me. Quick to be critical of Sarah and compassionate towards Hagar has always been my response to these women integral to God’s story. I even have notes in my Bible, all directed at mean old Sarah and as expected, feeling connected to Hagar, the one abused and shamed. I’m learning about culture back then, about many things.

I’ve got lots to learn as I prepare to follow through on a couple of requests I said yes to…neither of them sought by me. One in September and a second in October, sharing my story of how women in my Bible brought me back to painting and how their stories are teaching me.

I’ve got a whole lot more to learn, (I know I already said that 😊)how the love of God is not just for the beaten down women, but for the women who participated with words and actions against other women. It’s all about the power of God to redeem and the gentle call to us all…Come back, daughter.

There’s a bigger purpose for it all…pain, heartache, anger or regret. Hagar and Sarah experienced God’s love in equal measure. They were seen by God, completely.

I’ve got much more to learn and I’ve occasionally been corrected. That’s okay. I’m learning. But a sort of knock on my door came in the form of unexpected questions…can you guide women in your process of painting and speak on how connecting your art and faith has and is strengthening and changing you? Public speaking, live painting.😳

Honestly, it is frightening. I can write vulnerably about my journey and at one time I spoke quite often about the struggles of women, mental health and other things…it’d be a whole lot easier to keep sitting on the couch quietly drawing in my Bible or painting in the corner room in solitude or blogging occasionally.

But, maybe Jesus knocks and we let Him in and then He knocks again, saying come on out, let’s go and share, together let’s tell the story of the two of us in relationship. Let’s go and tell.

(I’ll be sharing more about the two events as the dates draw nearer.)

Continue and believe, learn and go.

Go in peace. You’ve been made well.

You have a story to tell.

Suddenly, I See

confidence, courage, Faith, memoir, Peace, Redemption, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Walking without music or podcast infusing things I already know

I prayed.

I’d made progress on a thing long packed away

And revisited, revived,

Rewritten

Still, it felt faulty

Too shaky, too true

More from the wound instead of the scar

So, I walked on.

Day settled down, storms faded, the sky turned to violet.

I prayed.

It came, the better.

God give me a better idea.

Suddenly, as soon as I asked

He did.

So, pray about anything, everything huge or small.

Be astounded by the sudden answer even when there are still so many others on hold.

God is not silent, but He is so very strategic.

Pray.

Trust.

Wait.

Continue and believe.

The Way We Were and Are

Abuse Survivor, bravery, grandchildren, hope, memoir, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wonder, writing

Warning, this post is maybe “too much Lisa”.

Leslie and I

I’ve been thinking about this photo all day. My college roommate and friend from the early 80’s sent this with a note, “found this today”. I was eating lunch with my granddaughter. We were talking about yummy bread and tomatoes.

I see I loved bracelets even back then and I remember how much she loved her VW. She was pink, khaki and green preppy. I see I must’ve been a little artsy. I notice the perm. I see my resemblance to both my mama and my sister, my daughter and son.

I see the tiny waist. I remember how little I ate, how much I ran twice a day.

I think of us, separately and together, how we both struggled, grew distant; but, she bravely began our new conversation.

I see me so tiny and remember I had such hatred for myself. I see her so bubbly and know only a tiny bit of not so bubbly days.

I see women now in their 60’s who know healing comes from forgiveness and more than forgiving others, it’s about forgiving ourselves.

So, skinny me no longer, maybe it’s time to stop rushing past the mirror and stand still for just a bit to consider, look where time, loss, grief, babies, defeat, trying again, fear met by bravery that said “continue” has brought you here…

Grace thus far has been the grace you’ve decided you can finally give yourself.

I never thought a thrown away art scholarship because of uninvited trauma (I still don’t like the “R” word) and eating disorder would have been so mercifully generous to say it’s not too late, paint.

You’re an artist.

I never thought a friend I haven’t seen since 1980 or so would keep a photo marking our bond.

Believe it, redemption is never ending and there’s nothing our loving God can’t make new.

Today, I met an artist in her home. She grew up in the landscapes of my favorite artist, Andrew Wyeth. She lives alone. Her husband is not well.

She invited me in.

I accepted.

Old me wouldn’t have.

But, tea time was at 3:00 and so, she, my granddaughter and I had tea and cream cheese pound cake.

And an almost three year old sat between two artists, two women who might’ve given up on themselves, but we’re not…and never ever on our art.

And she was listening.

To our encouragement of each other

Create, keep creating.

You’re not finished, only just beginning.

By faith and grace.

Redemption is a thing.

Noticed on Tuesday

bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, happy, hope, memoir, painting, patience, Peace, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing

Isn’t it predictable that I’d love the phrase “noticing God”, incorporate it into bios and hashtags and yet, catch myself off guard when a phrase of truth and clarity comes

And I decide to hold on to it?

“God is always paying attention (to me).”

Followers and collectors, listeners, potential buyers of my art and my words

Caused me to be weary over compiling them, the not yet thousands enough.

So, I left that little compilation of numbers alone

And continued to go on

On my own.

Noticing highlighter colored rye fields and yellow flowers becoming fluffy dandelions.

I noticed and celebrated the simplicity of a simple notice.

“Thank you, Lisa Anne Tindal!

I appreciate all your inspiration and insight!” M.H. (a brilliant author)

A gift given to me on her birthday.

“Isn’t it ironic?” A.M.

Or maybe not.

Maybe it’s God.

The same God who provided water to a slave girl trying to escape and a woman enslaved by her patterns with men.

Same God who notices my need to be noticed and says “I see, see with me.”

“Then God opened Hagar’s eyes, and she saw a well full of water. She quickly filled her water container and gave the boy a drink.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭21:19‬ ‭NLT‬

“But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water?”
‭‭John‬ ‭4:11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

It’s not popular to be weary over popularity.

I wonder who else feels the exhaustion of self-promotion and longs to simply keep finding, sharing and creating…

To be thirsty not for notice.

Being light.

Because

God is paying attention to you.

In the sweet spot of knowing you’re noticed so that you’re not thirsting for notice of others and more often than before not as thirsty.

Fill my cup, Lord.

I lift it up to your pink sky Tuesday morning telling me I’m seen loved and known.

Noticed on Tuesday morning,

The Calming

anxiety, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, love, memoir, patience, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, rest, Vulnerability, waiting, wonder, writing

The morning fooled me with its horizon.

Thick clouds bordered the pine tops like hills, like in the mountains.

Crescent moon to my left.

I remembered smiling, remembered the now distant idea, “Look at the moon, precious child. It’s called a crescent. It reminds me of your smile.”

The idea still near, I drive into Monday.

Radio boring, and podcast unnerving because of the cadence and tone in the guest’s voice.

Found a second episode and found the same. A conversation on attention and I couldn’t focus because of the speed of the exchange, the “chirpiness” in the voices.

Was the listening speed wrong in my app?

No, it’s me. I’m afraid I’m a bit particular about voices, quick to silence those that are pushy, perky or peppy.

Maybe it’s a southern thing.

Maybe simply timing.

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
‭‭Esther‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Last week in the same number of days, I was told three times by a trio of different people, one a total stranger.

“You are calming.”

“Have you been on the radio? Your voice is so calming” and “Talking to you calms me.”

A friend, a former colleague who’s an executive and a young stranger.

This morning I noticed the coming day coming slowly as if the earth had decided to stay under the soft covers.

No sound now, music or podcast wisdom.

I enter Monday with full attention as I pause for the passing family of careful deer.

I feel the weight shifting as I turn, the road narrow with a picture perfect view.

I am quiet, quiet as Monday morning mostly sleeping.

I’m calm. I’m easy.

I’m hearing my voice again, patiently waiting my turn to use it.

“Prayer and patience…prayer and patience.” Aunt Boo

Tiny Seeds

Art, birds, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, Peace, Redemption, testimony, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder, writing
Blooming Again

The morning is grey with a veil of warmth shielding the pines across the way.

My grey cat is missing, meanwhile a pretty black one with a flash of white on its chest is slowly deciding I’m friendly.

But, I’m hoping for mine, the kitten I named “Georgia”.

I am waiting for the amaryllis forgotten and found to be vibrant again.

I’m waiting with sweetly surprised expectation, the Christmas of 2020 bulb potted and forgotten is now fat with rebirth.

Pray, trust, wait.

Despite the warning of afternoon tumultuous thunder, the choir of birds are singing a sort of suggestion just for now,

Lisa, this is heavenly.

So, I listen.

I’ll return to my place of painting and wait for my visitor, a mourning dove who danced for me yesterday.

Softly, it stayed longer than I’d have expected.

Strong in its message to me, a message of peace is what I took it to be because of its color, a blue grey white blend, acrylic mixture for the sky I may paint.

Hoping my landscape says “peace”.

Because of its visit, the surprise of its lingering

Then the cardinal, brick-colored breast, careening alongside longer than usual and I noticed God,

“Mama.” I thought and “it is well”.

Keep trusting. Keep waiting.

The Book of Luke, Chapter 13 suggests the same.

A parable about a fig tree about to be uprooted, tossed away because of its fruitless condition and then the one about the mustard seed. Luke shared the story Jesus used to help us understand that growth that starts small can become immeasurably large by trust and faith.

Persistence, a peaceful persistence.

Private maybe.

Two trees, a barren fig tree and one that grew so beautifully that birds built nests and started families there.

“He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:18-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The kingdom of God is here. It is us, all of us seeds of its faithful and kind growth.

A woman bent over for eighteen years because of “disability of spirit”, Luke shared her encounter with Jesus in the middle of the two parables.

I love the placement, it makes faith even more a promised instrument for change.

Jesus, the bringer of change broke the rules and healed this woman on the Sabbath.

“When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m fascinated by this healing.

Eighteen years of her life, this broken spirited woman walked bent by her load, face to the ground.

She was healed immediately and glorified God, according to scripture.

I wonder how.

Was she a seamstress?

Maybe a writer, maybe a helper of others, maybe she was simply a teller of her story.

I’d love to know if she worked with her hands, strangely, I believe so.

I guess because of the resonance for me of her healing.

She’s relatable. I want to believe she’s like me and I, like her.

Yesterday, I edited a painting I felt was contrived. Calm came as I changed what was finished, but after all, not.

“Spring” became “Birdsong”.

“Birdsong”

Like a seed of faith, a barren tree, a discarded and forgotten amaryllis bulb, and a woman disabled by a spirit that told her she was unable for eighteen years

We can grow, there’s planting, reviving, unearthing and thriving in every single soul.

Pray, trust, wait.

Participate in God’s healing.

“As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭13:17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Unearth what you buried or locked away.

Contribute your tiny nourished seed today.

Continue and believe.

“Birdsong” is available here: https://www.lisaannetindal.me/new-products/8fhgfywxizgjv7e4sxv8zkvwoj85qo

Slow To Sing

Abuse Survivor, Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, doubt, Faith, grace, hope, Peace, Redemption, Stillness, Trust, wisdom, wonder, writing

I fear the fog is heavy so I refuse to look.

With my back to the day, I fix my gaze on blanket wrapped feet,

toes circling, curling, clinching.

Habitual.

The birds are slow to sing.

I wonder why.

I had feared it was already morning at 2:00.

Frantic I’d forgotten my days, Thursday? No, it’s Friday, sleep a little bit, Lisa.

Sleep, please sleep.

I want to try.

I gathered my coffee, my bag, books and new fresh paint for Elizabeth, opened the door and saw it.

Whispered, wow

the moon.

Drove slowly.

Soft songs, no close followers.

Plenty of time.

“I want to try.”

The morning that follows the night of our lonely trial would, if we be faithful, find us new…” Henry Scott Holland