No Wonder

No wonder I love this song. 

After having the lyrics, all day long on my mind, I found it, played it late as drive home, late after long day and realized why I loved it back then, preparing me for now. 

Beauty divine, life, a surprise. 

Does it ever catch your eye?

Believe. 

In case you wanna listen…

In an old man’s tears

A little girl’s smile

If it feels like a song

One that belongs

To you
Stop making sense

Your weakest defense

Just quiet your mind

Let the world unwind

See we’re not alone

He makes Himself known

In time

His own time
So breathe

Life will surprise you

Just Be

It’s what the world denies you

You see

The truth is all around you

Believe
We’re not alone

He makes Himself known

In time, His own time
Does it ever catch your eye

Blessing and Beauty Divine

I saw a canvas, the happiest tone of pink with what I believe may be poppies strewn across the surface. The paint, thick and creamy and a sporadic peppering of words like joy and in the corner was the page torn from a song book. 

This, I saw when visiting my sister after a long time, this canvas at the top of her stairs. I paused in the moment of gentle surprise of forgotten inspiration for my art.

I’ve got what my friend calls an “angel ministry”. I sit in my girl’s old bedroom and I sing in an empty house, lyrics of grace and peace, of gardens and of mercy and trust. 

I paint for hours. I am lost in the process of paint covered fingers and layering of color and expression. My angels are without facial features, I pray their figure brings a pleasing pause, a contemplation or comfort.

Like the pink canvas and I in my sister’s Savannah home. 

Little pages torn from old hymnals are the starting point to my pieces, just one of the many reasons lately I find myself singing praise.

I’m singing “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” a whole lot more, acknowledging His gift of grace. 

For he has heard my purposeful morning and intermittent recitation of the ancient prayer of a young man who felt he’d do well just to not be a burden. 

Every day, I pray in different form or fashion sometimes, thinking of  his expectation of nothing more than a life of hardship. 

I pray the words of Jabez “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not bring me pain!” 

And God granted what he asked.  

I Chronicles 4: 10

And I have blessed, I have been given opportunities I never expected. God has enlarged my border, extended opportunities.

I decided not to be afraid and I surrendered it to Him. 

This is why I sing a song from pre-Pandora or Spotify days, a CD my daughter made for me and my son and I sang along to sometimes…” Does it ever catch your eye…beauty divine? 

Believe, life will surprise you. Believe.”

Brandon Heath 

Made Peaceable 

We have meetings to hear all the sides and to keep pushing to a place of simply able to coexist, sometimes. 

Such is the environment of working in or  calling a homeless shelter a home.

Different dilemmas and dynamics all get together after nearly falling apart and landing like the big fairy tale egg at our doorstep.  Mothers, women, daughters and sons, different paths scattered by different ways.

I dreaded a meeting; but, knew it had to be and we all gathered, three of us who do the work and an objective listener. 

The agenda set with a plan of issues to clarify, I walked up on the big porch of the historic home now a shelter, steps flanked by lush ferns to greet our families coming home. 

I had not planned to do so; but, I used my sometimes negative attitude and demeanor as an example…spoke of how I’m sometimes prone to  stomping in and taking charge, of correcting whatever might be wrong. 

“I’m guilty of that.” I said, of being all puffed up because the ferns on the porch didn’t get watered. 

The three of them smiled and for a minute or two, I believe simply called to mind things and attitudes they know were theirs. 

Sometime ago I heard a sermon on the Beatitudes. The radio preacher, essentially said that the proclamations in these verses are how we as Christians should live. 

“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”‭‭ Matthew 5:3-11

These days we’re living in everyone knows most of how another is feeling and believing. 

Bandwagon faith or fault finding. 

There’s a big mindset I believe, toward declaring oneself a “believer ” of everything. We set the tone for loving all, embracing, all.  I suppose erring on the side of not finding any error at all. 

Far be it from us to question or debate one’s belief over ours, we fear being called judgemental or condemning. 

It’s a delicate walk for the Christian who boldly cherishes God’s word.

 Cherishes it, truly. 

Especially, the red words. 

It’s going to continue I’m afraid, so we’ll need to learn to be peacemakers. 

Be more peaceable people. 

We’ll need courage to say what we believe and we’ll need to check our attitudes. 

We all stumble in many ways. One leans over, we lean too and there we go falling down that slippery slide of holier than they. 

I told a friend yesterday about sitting with someone whose ideas and beliefs are different from mine, talking about fathers and how we loved. We talked about family junk, favorites, keeping score and grief. 

We both knew.

We found common ground and that common ground path led to my sharing how I came to a place of acceptance in the very similar struggle we share. 

I told her about prayer and God and she listened to me share the things that keep me sane, grow my assurance of and faith in God. 

It was a pleasant exchange, unprompted. 

Pleasant, because it came from her inviting. Her struggle led to my sharing, her listening led me to continue. 

This is why I’m certain Jesus taught peacemaking as the way. 

Judgement, avoidance or questioning our differences would not have led to our warm goodbye. 

I said, “I’ll pray for you.” she said. 

“Please do.” 

Maybe we listen for invitations to share, not kick open the doors to demand a listen. 

Lots of people say “love wins” or is “the answer”.

I’m telling you, though, I believe it’s peace. 

I believe it’s peace, peace they will see. 

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I’m linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee to share His Story. 

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/storms-raging-around-jesus-meets-right/

Other Prayers

I asked a fellow blogger, “Why do some of us notice, while others stay insulated by self?”

Yes, work was a little more than overwhelming today; but, I took paintings to work with me and arrived at 8:00 (Write it down! she said, you made it in early) because a reporter asked to talk with me about my angels, my paintings, she’s noticed. 

I consider it opportunity, I told her, an opportunity to have others feel comforted, maybe at rest. 

An opportunity to tell of the opportunities God kept for me, brought me to, knew were there all along. 

Regardless of notice or lull, I’ve been revived by found treasure, I’ll be painting. 

So, I did my best to tell her why I paint, why I know for certain it’s a seed that finally found a bit of light to cause its growth. 

We talked of life too, being without our fathers. Eventually resting in the love we gave them, no longer disputing who among us loved well or more. 

Resigned in our relationships with our fathers. 

An elderly man has been killed by a stranger for no reason at all.

I read that he loved his family, grandchildren, great-grands. 

Randomly, he has left them. 

A mama, pregnant with a daughter she’s at last decided to welcome was upset today, 

Her four year old pouted when she sent him inside our homeless shelter to talk about grown up things with us. 

Sometimes I forget about that grace thing I say…But, for grace I might have gone there. 

I need reminding.  

Thank you, Jesus for bringing me to reasons for pause, to notice others.

I struggled with explaining to a reporter why my angels have no faces.  

I’d never been asked. 

Told her they’re all around, waiting to be a comfort, the sway of the hip, the curve of a shoulder, the stance shaped by flow of gown. 

They are hopeful comfort, almost like quiet observers interspersed in our life and are without wings because they’re 

here among us,  not above

You and I. 

They wait to be noticed as they notice.  

I worked hard today and tonight I will sleep, having texted my son “Sleep well, SYP’s (say your prayers)”  and catching the dinging reply in which he says. “Thanks, you too.”

I’ll say them, my prayers for struggles I’ve not known, for things other than self…it’s a worthy discipline, you should consider its practice. 

To pray for tragedies and people wrapped up in them, that we don’t know or understand,

And tho’ I’ll not know the ones I pray for, I am comforted in the assurance of being heard, 

Like an angel without features, a quietly comforting presence. 

We are all standing in need of prayers.

How can we not pray? 

How can we not comfort? 

Before Beginning

Yesterday, I thought of the women in mourning. All day long, sort of tucked back and settled there, my thoughts were on the times in between. 


In between believing it was the end or I might see beginning again, again. 

I keep this on my desk, a little slip of paper.

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.   Louis L’Amour

I’ve had some of those. Not only mornings,  I’ve made it through a night or two when your mind finally decided to give it a rest, that real or imagined trauma.

 I’ve made it through days moving through, sometimes falling into bed earlier than made sense just so tomorrow could come. 

I’d say, “I’m going to sleep, tomorrow will be a new day.”

And each and every time I’ve been face first on the floor or knees down, hands open and up, I have made it through. 

Sometimes I had no words, only my heart spread wide open to God. 

He knows. 

Many believe circumstances are designed by God to teach us to hold out hope, to walk by faith, not by sight. 

I know this to be true because I have seen newness of days after months of droughtful delay. 

Like childbirth or special times with someone you love after a too long separation, the hard stuff fades, the pain or consuming wonder over why is so insignificant when the day is new. 

Yesterday, the day in the middle of death and of life. God, I thank you for designing it to be this way. 

For such a time as this, that we worship or we contemplate or maybe question and wonder. 

We see now, Lord.

 I do, I know…more and more and more…age, wisdom and circumstance; but, mostly proof, mostly proof has made me see. 

Like the morning you weren’t there and they waited with heartache to see you again. 

Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace to you.” John 24:36

I’ve had my mornings, Lord and I know they are because of you. 

Mornings and long stretches of waiting. 

I see now, just the time and season before beginning.

I pray you know this peace unfathomable, yet true. With time and mornings, truth and life. 

Song and Story

Sometimes I sing songs to myself, quietly, affirmations. 

I may sing “Jesus Keep me Near the Cross” or “I am weak though art strong, Jesus keep me from all wrong.”


The other day, I spoke to a group of women philanthropists and in detailing data and outcome, I kept circling back around to story. 

I stood in front of them, some questioning, some listening, some disenchanted and some quite enthralled. 

I told them, “I am a storyteller.” and some smiled, maybe thinking “Yes, you are.” Because theres a touchable lightness, a clarity I know, I can feel, when I have an invitation to tell. I have a friend who calls this the “Aura of God” He is all around us when we are being who he made us to be, the aura of God, maybe you know too. 

“I love to tell the story of Jesus and His love. Tell me the story of Jesus, write on my heart every word, sweetest that I’ve ever heard. Tell how the angels in glory sang as they welcomed his birth. Living he loved me. Dying he saved me…oh, glorious day!”

I’d loved to have been there. To sit with the two Marys. I believe I would have had no need to question or speak , although there would be much to understand. 

I’d loved to have simply been in their presence when they mourned the horrible death of Jesus, when they stretched out their faithful allegiance to him for as long as they could, lingering where he’d been laid. 

I wonder how long they would have remained had he not risen and then walked beside them to reveal his resurrection to them, His presence. 

Oh, what a comfort that must have been. 

What joy, what a humbling privilege. 

I cannot imagine.


 I’d love to have been able to sit with them. I know they must have told the story to thousands and certainly countless times. Still telling it to me as I make markings of how I conjure them to have been. 
“Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to visit the tomb. Suddenly there was a great earthquake! For an angel of the Lord came down from heaven, rolled aside the stone, and sat on it. His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint. Then the angel spoke to the women. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28:1-6

I’d love to have heard their sharing, been captivated by their sadness and joy as they sat before me, women who told their Easter morning story of Jesus. 

I met Jesus when a country preacher told me to just pray for his mercy. So, I did and every single day I feel more forgiven and I have more new and amazing stories of his mercy towards me that tells makes clear, “Yes, Lisa you are worthy of mercy and grace.” 

That’s the way of my moment by minute walk, it’s a growing journey, this song I sing…

“Just a closer walk with thee” and let me ever be aware of you Lord, let me not get so distracted and independent of you Lord. 

Let me linger in the place where death held your battered body. 

But, only just a little while. Because you live. 

This is why I sing, “Jesus Keep me Near the Cross” 

May I be like the Marys, may I know where to stay. 

Tomorrow I’ll sing with our choir made up of women. 

I have a few lines to myself, a solo. 

“The love of God is greater far than any tongue or pen can tell. 

It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell…oh, how he loves you and me.”

What a story I get to tell because of mercy, unmerited favor. His death sacrificial. 

“Oh how he loves you and me…if we with ink, the ocean fill and we’re the skies of parchment made, if every stalk on earth a quill, and every man a scribe by trade…

to write the love of God above

would drain the ocean dry.”

“Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree

Bending beneath

The weight of his wind and mercy.” 


In Jesus name and because of mercy

I pray, 

Amen.  

“This is my story. This is my song. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.”

Through the Woods: the Place where They are at Rest

The only way I’d ever know would be to take off through the woods, haphazard but determined. 

There’s an open field between two county lines and I slow down and submit to its calling. 

Every single time. 

There are not many cars, I press the button, lower the window and randomly, but with intention, I hope to capture this place. 

There are photos on my phone.

Today, I decided the sky more magnificent here, the red tipped wild spreading weeds that convince me of flower, they are more special here too. 

This place that sits in the middle of two county lines, Bulloch and Jenkins and Screven, a border, I realized on the other side of the field that turns my head. 

Because I drove on towards the turn towards Rocky Ford, thinking I should go, travel about seven or so minutes then turn right then another right and then a left to the place at the bottom of the clay slick road. 

The Hendrix Cemetary, where my mama and my daddy lay and rest. 

I don’t turn. I don’t know why or I do know; but, I feel horrible to say I don’t. 

They are not there. To visit the stones marked by name and date, I suppose feels obligatory, an act expected.

So, I consider the turn, plenty of time; yet, I decide it is better to go home. 

So, I go on, for only a bit feeling disloyal or unfit and hours later, I’ve decided, the field that causes me to look, I believe it leads to that place. 

If I might set out one day, I believe it would be true. The open field that slows my travel is the one that sits in the shadow of the high hill and the tall cedars that shade the graves of the ones who made me, me. 

Yes, this is why the sky seems more ready to meet me, the field more inviting and the road less long and never ending. 

Because of the nearness, the nearness of them. 

I prefer to notice the clouds, full to the point of bursting and the wide open field beneath that beckons me every single time I travel on my path from Georgia back to Carolina 

And underneath what  I’ve decided now is just a walk through the woods that makes and has made sense all along. 

I felt them; yes, I felt them near and I paused to be sure. 

To be sure. 

Knowing Grace

I wasn’t looking for this book, went in search of another, one more purposefully instructive.  I found grace though in the pages and if it weren’t the library’s there’d be little gray asterisks throughout. 

When we go from rashly and clenched to grateful, we sometimes get to note the experience of grace, in knowing that we could not have gotten ourselves from where we were stuck, in haste or self-righteousness or self-loathing (which are the same thing), to freedom. The movement of grace in our lives toward freedom is the mystery. So we simply say “Thanks.” 

Something had to give, and I don’t have a clue how to get things to do that. But they did, or grace did. 

Anne Lamont 

Help Thanks Wow – The Three Essential Prayers

Yes, grace thus far, but fit grace. 

Grace, grace, grace. 

May 

Mercy, peace and love

Be Multiplied. 

To you. (Jude 1:2)

 

Palm Sunday Sundown 

There’s a wide open field sitting catticorner as I turn down the last turn towards home. 

If I stay for church after choir, I’m affirmed in my choice because this field always causes me to stop.  No one around, I let the window down and I pay homage to the display, the sun is going down in a splendid way for me. Always does here. 

Tomorrow will be a new day. 


I consider it all together; the day, the words, the verses showing themselves as I waver over my thoughts and questions, lately enigmatic, where do I go from here? 

Maybe nowhere just yet. Linger, Lisa. 

He makes everything beautiful in His time. 

Become not overwhelmed with lofty what if or when. Let not the discernment of your thoughts be based on anything other than the loudly clear truth that comes when you get quiet and still. 

It’s then you notice what matters, not the validation of others; but, the undeniable notice of one, my Heavenly Father. 

 It happens by surprise, your thoughts lovingly taken captive. 

I cried in church this morning. 

My thoughts drifted during the sermon. I noticed the tiny little footnotes marked by teeny tinier numbers interspersed with scripture. 

I read ahead a little of the sermon on the three crosses and the thieves and skipped to the place marked “The Death of Jesus”. 

“It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:44-46‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I was curious about the explanation marked by footnote, so I looked more closely to understand. 

The time of day was noon, the sixth hour. 

The sun went away leaving what I imagine a large expanse of fear and darkness, of troubled minds, hearts and souls. 

It was dark until 3:00, the ninth hour, the middle of a day. 

Darkness marked the time and day,  Jesus died for the sins of us in between a man bold enough to be humble and believe and the other too proud, angry and defeated to accept the possibility of grace. 
I cried in church this morning. I read about the dark and sunless sky and I cried. 

I thought of Mary, his mother; but, mostly I wondered about God. 

I wondered if maybe God decided it was just too difficult to watch. 

Now, I’ll tell you that’s not scriptural, still I wondered if that may have been His reason. 

And I cried in church this morning over the darkness that marked death.  Had I not recorded it here, no one would know, that I sat next to my husband, looking down at my Bible and I cried. 

My tears were tender. They were soft and not for show, as if my reading of the black sky rested in my thoughts until a hand reached down somehow and clutched my heart, gently prompting a reaction I’d not let be forgotten. 

I’ve been journaling about the people who met Jesus. Women caught, found out, brought out and yet, redeemed. 

The intellectuals made to tuck their tails and turn from places in the sand preventing stones hurled at “sinners”. 

I wrote about the woman at the well who met Jesus and then went about thrilled over all the bad he knew of her yet loved her. 

She told every single person about her encounter at the well. She was astounded in a joyously unabashed way. 

I cried at church today.  I cried to think of how God took away the sun in the middle of the day as his Son died for me and you. 

How could I not tell you of it, my tears and my redemption? 

How could I scarcely keep it in, the way the sun escorted me home the day I mourned its going away? 

Everything, beautiful in its time 

He makes it.  Darkness only lasts for a time, long enough to remind me of what matters most. 

This “calling”, this thing I call my treasure because God led me to name it so, it will flourish and it will grow to whatever size and benefit God decides will serve the purpose of his glory. 

I know some things grow best in the dark. 

Faith, especially, the strength our eyes do not see. 
Linking up with Michele Morin as she talks about her fears and a blind man who responded when Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do?”

Imagined Lives and Enough

I saw the prompt first thing, Five Minute Friday’s link up/join in on the spontaneously impulsive writing.  I always go over the time limit, still I like the idea of free flow.

And I love, loved it, a word already settled in my heart. I’ve finally found the place of enough, goodness, I hope I stay longer.

 


The word is “Enough”.  I thought, Yeah, I’ve been thinking about that, even made a proclamation of its value and convincingly told myself that enough is well and good and is well, enough.

Like the little corner in the room I call “writing”, I had lofty ideas for its design; but the Labrador has taken over the bed and I’ve yet to order the gallery pictures for the walls. Still, I made a little corner more special and I believe it’s enough.

Enough is a mindset easily tainted by comparison and imagined lives causing me to feel less than enough or mostly, lately…”How on earth would I find enough time to do the things they do so very well and smoothly?  Every place I gaze upon, I see helpful hint overload, guidance, encouragement like coursework on a syllabus to be followed. Do this, that, keep going, keep trying, keep writing. ”

Steals the joy of it really, sometimes, the joy of pretty sentences looked back over to cause my nod slightly when no ones around.

Yes, this is me, this is brave, these words match my thoughts. I imagine the lives of others having seamlessly designed days of basking in the satisfaction of completeness.

I imagine them more joyful because of it.

So, I’ve decided this and will do my best to stick to its conviction.

I will write a few words, eventually chapters and upon sending the words into the world, I will say to self and listen to self as I offer up prayer:

Lord, let this land in the face of one looking down, looking for connection, for reason and relating. Let me not reach to grab back for show or measure what I’ve given to you for you to give to another.

Lord, remind me of the joy of enough.

Linking up with Kate Motaug for Five Minute Friday.

http://katemotaung.com/2017/04/06/five-minute-friday-enough-plus-a-giveaway/

enough