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.

Notes To Self

contentment, courage, Faith, grief, heaven, hope, memoir, Peace, Prayer, Redemption, Salvation, Vulnerability, wonder

“I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭45‬:‭3‬ ‭NIV‬

Someone said to me, “Your Bible belongs in a museum.”

Sincerity was in the tone of the one who decided this.

Today, I turned to Romans and I found two pages almost completely covered with longings and lists.

In the margin, I added the word “indeed” to strengthen the words of Paul saying Christ is at His Father’s hand communicating my specific needs and hopes to Him.

Unfathomable? No. Hard to believe?

Maybe.

Joy and Strength, authors from the 1800’s

God! Thou art love! I build my faith on that!” Robert Browning

A couple of Sundays ago, I heard the word “perish” in the delivery of two different ministers.

We don’t talk much about Hell anymore, some about Heaven. As a child, I remember a favorite uncle telling my daddy that he went there as he lay on a hospital bed and that the smell of burning bodies was overwhelming.

Was he delusional in his terminal illness? Did he glimpse what perishing means?

I can’t know any more than I can really know what Heaven will be.

Both preachers explained Hell as “eternal separation from God” and I thought

I know what it feels like to be distant from God because of my own wandering mind and activities here on earth.

I know I don’t want to be separated eternally.

“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭24‬-‭25‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’ve just been interrupted by a call, a number I sort of know and so I answer.

The caller is a precious woman. A woman who’s name I used to scan the obituaries for, a woman I served in the best way I could until I couldn’t anymore. One, challenged by loss, addiction, incarceration, homelessness, loneliness and utter despair.

I felt I’d always be responsible for her well-being.

And then, I let her go.

She learned to fly on her own.

She’s with her mama this morning. Her mama hasn’t eaten in three days and “it’s her time, Miss Lisa, I just wanted to call you, will you pray?”.

I told her what I had just been reading and how I had added the word “indeed” in the note to self:

“Christ Jesus is indeed interceding for me, for us.”

Together, we imagined such a conversation.

Then I asked if she needed anything. She answered, “No, Miss Lisa. Just pray.”

And I thought.

Well, that’s one thing I can do.

The mysterious ways of God will never truly be understood by us here on earth.

Still, my hope is unwavering.

I pray it’s the same with you.

Believe.

Continue and believe.

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.

On Right Paths

Art, bravery, confidence, contentment, courage, Faith, memoir, Redemption, rest, waiting, walking

More thoughts and art because of the 23rd Psalm…

I woke with the thought, “Yet, not I, but Christ in me.” and began searching for the scripture. This is typical, it’s either a song or verse. This time a song by CityAlight. My friend texted me early another song by them. So my day started with the gift of worship.

I’ve been resting, revisiting and relishing Psalm 23 for going on three years. I could live and be led by the six verses.

Last week, as it often happens, I read verse 3 with a new clarity. I’ve been thinking/saying “God kept me for this time.” as an acknowledgment of the gift of being an artist and sharer of words.

Like most people, I can get tripped up on my own steps and I pray, less Lisa, more Jesus and little phrases like God, not glory. I gotta keep my steps in step.

Because when David wrote about restoration, he also praised the Lord for guidance and he remembered the most important truth:

This path of restoration and righteousness I am walking is for the making known the Lord’s name, not his, not mine, not yours.

Today has been the first day this week I’ve been able not to rush from my Bible to my to do list. Now, when I rise to do some things, prepare myself for obligations and the weekend, I rise lighter. I rise with a lifted spirit and a steadiness in my heart and steps.

Sermon to self, stay on this path.

Thoughts on Psalms and Paint

Art, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, hope, mercy, mixed media painting, painting, Redemption, rest, Vulnerability, wonder
Goodness and Mercy

A few months ago, I discovered an online publication, “Collected Magazine”. I connected and they connected in reply. The result includes some of my artwork and an interview about my Psalm 23 series. Here’s the link:

Collected

Goodness and Mercy is available

Girl on Whiskey

Abuse Survivor, bravery, curiousity, fear, grace, hope, mercy, Prayer, Redemption, suicide loss, Vulnerability, wisdom, wonder

“…where have you come from, and where are you going?” Genesis 16:8

If I inventory my speculations, judgments, concerned observations and exchanges in chatty conversation last week or so, I could fill a page of my journal, the pages that typically contain personal/selfish prayers.

Think of Others

Like the practice of contour drawing, I laid down names on the paper. A simple free flow based on things I’ve heard, concerns I know and mostly, worries and hopes others have that only they know.

You can pray for others without “needing to know”.

Some names of people who have questionable behavior, names of some who’ve told me their woes and a really random one.

Facebook clamored yesterday around a sighting of a pretty girl on the loose, darting in and out of, in front of cars on the most cluttered and crowded road in our city, Whiskey.

Comments became jokes, a few worried, a few diagnosing the addiction she was caught in and one or two sincere worries over why she was running.

Speculation.

When I worked, I did my best to support families and friends of those who lost someone to a suicidal choice.

I learned that we ask a lot of questions, those of us who don’t know this tragically unique trauma.

I wrote an essay and titled it “The Tragedy of Speculation”.

Because, I noticed I needed a reason to know this wouldn’t, couldn’t happen to me.

I needed to justify the behavior of another from a distance, so that I could have assurance. In my time there, doing the work, the foundation of me living by “but for the grace of God, I go there” became solid, steady and strong.

I am grateful.

So, I rounded out my list of praying, with “girl on whiskey”, gave the page a header.

pray without ceasing

trust in the Lord.

I hope the pretty girl gone crazy on Whiskey is better today. I pray she finds her way and that it is safe.

Steady.

And I pray for others who were the subjects of my speculation, snarky comments masked as concern and I open my palm to heaven remembering it’s God who knows the way I go.

Also, knows where I came from.

Now time for page two, I just remembered more names.

“pray continually,”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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

Wonderfully Colored

Art, Children, confidence, contentment, courage, curiousity, daughters, family, grief, hope, memoir, painting, Redemption, Vulnerability, wonder

“On different days, I’m different too, You’d be surprised how many ways.” Dr. Seuss, “My Many Colored Days”

Someone commented on Sunday, her love for the colors in my paintings. I smiled to myself. My palette has decidedly changed.

Formerly, I had a bend towards neutral, bland in conversation and tone. My aim was ethereal. I now see it was timidity.

Yesterday, I watched a tiny lizard fade from black to green to gray. I convinced my granddaughter to let him go as she clutched the caught creature, tiny thumb and forefinger keeping “the baby safe”.

Once set free, it scurried with a whip of a long tail into the sandy ground overtaken by green.

There was a time, I turned all the books exposing only the pages, clean and pristine, no color showing. My husband asked how we’d know the titles, I answered, “Pull it from the shelf and look and keep looking until you find one you like”.

Explore. Truth is, I felt comfortable with the quiet untouched arrangement.

It was safe, not noisy with color, uncluttered, avoidant of engagement.

Now, it appears I’m becoming vibrant, creeping towards but resisting crowded clutter.

Discovering wonder in tiny things again.

Like sunlight landing on spines of books I love.

Morning greeted me that way, touching the den’s corner and I saw the beauty, I saw the gift of a perspective change.

I lean my paintings against my mama’s white chair, the backdrop a mixture of blue speckled paintings and a splash here and there of yellow.

I’m layering color more boldly these days, still soft and easy, fluidly filtered but not at all shy.

Ebony paint fencing in water, creamy white shadows only slightly dulling the grasses.

Verdant green, velvet like a cool cushion.

Happy pinks and confident blues.

October 11, 2022, I paused to see if my memory was correct.

Then I tallied the years since my father passed away on October 11th, 24 years ago today.

I remembered the room where the decision was made and thought of how it seemed to be a circle of voting, “what do we do?”.

Hang on or let go?

I wondered, this afternoon, what might have been had we decided differently and for a minute I felt lonely. Then, a thought that might not be true for others; but, for me it quelled the useless wondering question.

Don’t waste your wonder over what might have been, only and always open your heart to the wonder of now and the wonder of them.

A cousin I haven’t seen in over twenty years wrote to me today. She said my daddy would check on her when he was in Savannah. It was always unexpected; but, sweet, so sweet when my daddy, her uncle came by to be sure she was okay.

I found myself like a child, filled with wonder and my day, one of many colored, was bright yellow dancing with indigo.

Not murky grey like regret, nor blah with grey from the dirty jar needing brushes washed.

No, blue like the eyes of a girl like me, filled with wonder. Coral like kindness, turquoise the assurance of hope for tomorrow.

These are the colors on this day, just one of my “many colored days”.

I have so many more.

“a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Visit https://www.lisaannetindal.me to view available work.

Enough

Art, contentment, courage, curiousity, Faith, family, hope, mercy, patience, Peace, Redemption, wonder

A noticer of people, on Monday I watched from my car in the Hobby Lobby parking lot. I noticed the clothing of others; vibrant yellow, a too long skirt on a woman, a man who walked beside his wife dressed as if accompanying her to the craft store was a hot date,

A young girl with black boots, arms covered in ink and every accessory a display of matching energy as she danced by, like a little bird on a mission.


A woman dressed completely in drab black, long skirt, shirt and too big cardigan, I watched her shuffling in orthopedic/athletic shoes that were so big I could’ve put my fist in the spot for her heels.

For a minute, I was sad, felt it was my place to fix her.

Should I offer to give her my shoes or give her money for a pair that fit? Thinking, here I sit, about to go and buy more paint as I enjoy my Chick-Fil-A and she needs shoes.

Or does she?

Who am I to know what defines “abundance” for her?

I thought about her all day. My thoughts went from sympathy to more of “I think she’s okay”.

And today, I wake to Job’s words again coupled with Ann Voskamp’s email, reminding me that I’m not the maker or measuring tool for abundance, only called to do what God created me for and to notice in places less obvious.

To see it in me, the abundant life through Christ, to quietly consider every moment just how abundance looks, feels, is expressed through me.

To see my little deposit of abundance in the faces of others.

God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭28:23-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Creator knows us, us as artists, executives, teachers or skilled fixers of things…as creatives, makers of families, lovers of the beautifully crafted earth around us.

Notice today.

He knows the way.

Abundance is in and around you.

Don’t miss it, don’t miss a thing.

Notice God today.

Say a little secret prayer,

“Abundance, God…show me the way to it.”

You are loved.