I have a basket of stones that I keep around to remember. Some of the most remarkable encounters I have had with God over the past years are represented by a stone with something painted on it. I got this idea from the Book of Joshua where, after the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River on dry ground, the LORD told Joshua to have the 12 Tribes set up stones as a memorial.
4“So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6 to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7 tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Why do I need a memorial? Because I’m just as forgetful as the Israelites. Don’t we often wonder how they could forget from one minute to the next all that God had done for them? Seriously, the plagues, the exodus, crossing the Red Sea, manna from heaven? It’s easy for us to read the account and wonder how they could forget such big events or the fact that God had promised to take care of them and proved it over and over.
I have seen God work on my behalf in small and huge ways. I have witnessed His hand in my life in ways that I absolutely know it’s Him. But still, when the going gets tough, the forgetful forget. Then I find myself wondering if He will come through on the next thing. I like to take time out on occasion and view my own Stones of Remembrance. Maybe this is an idea you can adopt in your own creative way by making a collage of photos or painting stones or scrap booking your memories. No matter how you set out to remember, just make sure you remember.
I’m in a yucky season right now, wondering if God will come through in some ways. Of course He will come through. It just may not look the way I want it. When my mind (and shaky faith) are in this forgetful place, I pull out my stones. I figured I would share them with you in the upcoming weeks. If I blog about them, that will keep them fresh on my mind and make sturdy my faith for this current season.
Many of you have heard my Stone stories at conferences, so I will begin next time with a new one. After that, you may get bored with a repeat, or maybe a fresh view of it will spark something you notice in your own life. To me, the little things can make just as big of an impact as the larger, jaw dropping miracles. Aren’t those the ones we often miss, however, the little things He does for us day in and day out. You have to keep an eye out.
Hope you enjoy the upcoming series.
Blessings to you,
Every time I read the words above from A Thousand Blessings, I am reminded of my own times of hearing the call to sacrifice and my refusal to obey. During one particular season of running, I took the worst fall of my life. Now, I can honestly say that when I hear, I obey. I would be a liar if I said that I always obey right away. Plenty of times I hear what God is calling me to do or not to do, and I drag my feet in obeying. The difference now, though, is that I do obey.
That ugly season that I’m reminded of left scars, so when I’m tempted to ignore God, I can look at them and remember what the fresh wound felt like. I don’t want that ever again. Even when I’m a slow listener, I do listen.
What I didn’t know then that I know now is this: Jesus can be trusted. Even when He calls me to give up what I am struggling to hold onto, I know there is a reason behind Him asking. For my good, for the good of someone else, for someone else’s growth, for the Kingdom good, there is something that I’m not seeing. But He sees.
You may assume that I create crazy scenarios and build a story around it. Well, sometimes that is true. Often, though, even when I have no intention of pouring myself into a character, it just happens. God has that planned long before I dream up a story. As I got deeper into Isabel’s story, I found I was writing out of personal experience in some ways. I spent many years feeling unloved in my marriage. Because of that, I tried to fill my empty places with everything but Jesus.
I came to a point where I had to decide that the love Jesus gives was enough – no matter what was going on in my marriage.
After giving up and giving in, Jesus has restored a marriage that I once believed was lost. I am loved by my husband. I never doubt that now. I never would have believed it possible, but after my obedience, after choosing to live in marriage that I didn’t believe in any longer, a new, deeper level of love surfaced for us both. God honored my obedience with a love I’ve never experienced before.
All that to say, love is complicated. Marital love is just flat out painful at times. As many times as I cried out, “God, get me out of this marriage.” The Spirit interceded by saying, “Father, save this marriage.”
If you are in a season of discontent in your marriage, or if you wonder if it’s even worth it, I urge you to hold on. I urge you to take all the needs you feel are not being met by your husband to Jesus. Not only will He meet them, He will sustain you and help carry you through rocky times in your marriage. I pray for you what the Spirit prayed over me: “Father, save this marriage.”
Look to Him. Pray to draw nearer to Him, especially in the toughest times of your daily struggles. He is close. All you need to do is reach out.
May the Lord bless you and your family,
This release has been a long time in coming since the book was written in the spring of 2016. With the current revisions complete, the stage is set for a short series.
Keep an eye out for A Deslan Tale and Promise Keeper. A Deslan Tale will be available in 2018 – Lord willing. 🙂
We will provide the link for presales later in the week.
Travel with Isabel as she journeys to an unknown land to marry Colin, a widowed king. Elias, the king’s trusted commander, accompanies Isabel to her new home. While faced with peril along the way, the greater danger is the fondness that develops between the two. Isabel must choose between her heart and duty, while Elias decides if he will fight for the woman he loves or honor his king and kingdom.
This fantasy kingdom setting differs from Lisa’s usual contemporary novels. No matter the time period, Lisa explores the complexities of relationships when we try to live with Jesus on the outskirts of our lives.
Other books by Lisa: Unmending the Veil, On 4/19, Beyond 4/20, and Deceiver – all available on Amazon.
Please note: If you purchased the PDF and would like the .mobi file to read on your Kindle for no additional charge, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are few books I can read more than once, but in this case, I hope you will give Unmending the Veil another read. There are new scenes included throughout the story. Also, due to the changes I’ve made, new ideas have begun to flow. I see a sequel in the future ~ Lord willing.
Also, I hope you will tell a friend about Unmending the Veil.
If you’re wondering how this all came about, continue on with my blog below.
These days, I’m trying to catch my breath from this past year, from this rocky, educational, soul crushing journey I’ve been on. Every step of the way, I was looking toward a destination that just won’t arrive. More and more, as time went by, I felt like a failure and genuinely considered giving up. Don’t worry, I’m not. I plan to give up at least once a year. I won’t. I can’t. There’s this line that I learned from Max Lucado. “If I don’t the fire will consume me.” It’s what he said in response when an older pastor asked why he wanted to step into pastoral ministry. Same with me – if I don’t write, the fire will consume me. I can’t quit. Believe me, I’ve tried.
Recently, God has been doing a peace-giving work in me. He has shown me that all along it’s been about the journey, about what He has wanted to accomplish in me. He’s been tinkering around inside of me in ways that I wasn’t even aware. Now, all the sudden I find new things about me that surprise even me. God has developed perseverance (endurance) in me for one.
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4
I’ve faced trials this past year for certain. In learning to take my writing to the next level, I discovered techniques that I didn’t even know I was supposed to be using. An example is to show not tell. In my books, I spend a lot of time in my characters heads, telling what’s going on through their thought life. I was supposed to be showing through scenes and the character’s interaction with others. Funny things is, I’m so relational, I love writing scenes more than narrative summary. I dunno. I guess I thought I was supposed to explain more. This new technique is what has led to new scenes in UtV.
Now, of course, that has led me to fret over all of my earlier books. I can’t stand the thought of knowing they are out there, not done right. Most readers don’t even notice what’s wrong, but I know now. It won’t let me rest. When faced with the idea of revising 600,000+ words worth of books – no kidding – I died a little inside.
For a while I was like, “No way, I can’t do that. I quit!” But this new me, the one who is ready to persevere (endure) is ready to dive in. I have two revisions behind me so far with three to go. So in the upcoming months, when you see revised editions popping out here and there, you’ll know why. I knew they weren’t my best work, and for me to do this thing right, I have to go back and do the work.
Now you: (I never want to leave you out.)
Our lesson in this is two-fold:
First, are you constantly looking toward some end goal, or are you focusing on what God wants to do in and through you along this journey?
Are you a woman climbing a ladder at work that never seems to bring you to your desired success? As a mom, are you frustrated with little kids and ready for them to be a little more independent? Are you trying to get pregnant, thinking that a baby is the end goal? Or looking for a spouse? We are all on a journey of some kind. And God has the same plan for each of us during the journey: to teach us, to grow us, to mold us, to show Himself faithful to us along the way, to make us more like Him so that we reflect who He is to others. (and more) Are you letting him?
My advice to you is this: Begin to have this conversation with God during your quiet time. Ask Him to help you see the importance of the journey rather than focusing on your end goal. Truth is, we may never make that destination that we think will make us happy. You may not. I may not. It simply may not be how our life works out. Still, He’s faithful and will make something good of the journey if you’ll let him.
A second thought for today: Are you thinking of quitting? Is your faith in some area tested beyond what you think you can handle? Hold on a little while longer. Talk to Him. Ask for direction. He has promised to give wisdom when we ask. Believe He will answer that prayer.
Many years ago I prayed this: Help me quit quitting!
As an early writer, I was shredded by every little piece of rejection or criticism. So I would quit for a year or more at a time. This prayer, that I quit quitting has been answered. All these years along the journey, He’s been toughening my skin to rejection and tendering my heart toward His direction. The outcome has been that I’ve quit quitting. You do the same. Don’t give up, believer, in the good Shepherd who is leading you down the path you need to go. Persevere. Endure.
I love you dearly and am thankful for the ways in which you constantly encourage me with your replies and messages.
Blessings on you and yours today,
As you can tell from the pic, my daylilies have seen better days. When they begin to bloom early in the season, I’m always happy to see the bright pop of yellow. By July, however, they have more brown leaves and dead shoots than I can keep up with plucking. All in all, they are just blah. Sure, there is some good left, a few blooms here and there, but by this time of year, the blooms seem to grow so near to the ground that they are hardly visible.
Last year my friend told me that her grandmother always cuts her daylilies back with good results. So this year, I’ve decided to try it. It’s been about two weeks now since I cut them back and so far so good. We’ve had some rain, so the new leaves are growing fast. (right) I just hope for new blooms at some point.
There’s a point to all of this besides daylily care. When I garden, God often shows me much about life. Some of my greatest revelations have come through gardening. This time, He was leading me to take stock of my new season, and to comfortably release what was once my main purpose. As a mother of now grown children, I’m in unchartered territory. It’s easier to know what to do and how to help younger children. Keep them relatively clean, feed them, help them with school work. In this new season of their adult lives, I find myself wanting to do more than I should. I want to fix things they need to fix for themselves. I want to help when my help will only likely hinder. They have to grow and learn – even from their mistakes.
As I cut the old leaves away, ones that were once beautiful and colorful, I saw myself. I’m not a young mom now. That causes sadness so real it’s nearly palpable. They aren’t little and gooey and cute any more. I’m no longer the center of their universe, and if I’m healthy, they can’t be mine.
Yes, being a mom of little guys was a wonderful season, but now there’s new work ahead of me, a new season of growth. I have to prune back the old to allow the new to breathe. I have to cut back what was once receiving all my energy in order to allow new leaves and stems and blooms to flourish. I still have much to offer my children, but it needs to be based on a healthy relationship, not one where I’m hanging on because I worry about them, or because it’s comfortable for me to still focus on what I know.
It’s scary to let God have their messes, but since I’ve seen me on even my best day, I know He’s way more capable of directing their future than I am. And it’s not just about them and wanting to “do” for them. You know what I mean if you have children who are getting older. For years they were your identity. You were Mom. Now, with children who need you less, who are you? That’s what the new season is all about, allowing God to show you and me who we are to Him and who He wants to transform us into. There’s no telling what’s there beneath all the browning old leaves. We have to allow Him to cut them away. You and I have a new season to bloom, older mom. Some of God’s best blooms can come out of this season. Don’t underestimate the plans he still has for you. He has better days ahead.
From one mom to another, no matter your season or if you are a spiritual parent rather than a biological one, I’m saying, it’s okay to step into a new season. Allow yourself to grow and blossom wherever you’re planted.
Many blessings and blooms to you,
In every situation we believe someone, either Jesus or His enemy. Those moments when I’m most anxious, I can trace the root back to a lie I’m believing. Peace tells me I’m believing Jesus. Anxiety is brought on by listening to the other guy.
This seems overly simplistic, but technically it is that simple. No matter your situation, you can follow your trail of fear, anxiety, anger, discontentment, or any other negative emotion back to some lie you’re believing. Maybe it’s a fear that a horrific diagnosis will come. In that case you are believing that God won’t come through for you. Or maybe you’re entangled by anger and resentment after a spouse or loved one lets you down. Often when our disappointment is due to the action or inaction of another, we are believing that our happiness rests in them or that God isn’t enough.
If you find yourself at peace, follow that trail. You are most likely taking God at his word in a matter – or maybe many matters. I’ve found that peace is found only in belief, belief that God is ever present and in control of it all: an unexpected diagnosis, the future of a prodigal child, the failing marriage, and money crisis. When we find ourselves believing Jesus, peace prevails even over difficult life circumstance.
I hope you will look at your own areas of belief. Whom are you believing? The presence or lack of peace will be your sure indication.
In my own life, I’m discovering after a season of upheaval, that I wasn’t believing Jesus in a matter. He’s never let me down before, so I’m not exactly sure why I doubted this time. Like we all do, I allowed what I was seeing to heighten my unbelief and distrust. That whole “walk by faith and not by sight” thing was blown out the window. Before I knew it my mind was filled with what ifs and maybes. I’m back on track now and holding onto belief with both hands. Honestly, I still haven’t seen Him come through. I’ve decided, though, if He doesn’t, if I’ve missed what I thought I was hearing, then He still has my best at heart. The outcome will still be for my good. I simply have to believe He is good and loves me and has this all covered.
I guess we all have those moments when we need to take a step back from our overload of emotions and ask ourselves what we are clinging to, the Truth or a lie.
My best to you this wonderful 4th of July. Be safe. Have fun. Run fast once the fuse is lit.
Zoe makes the cut again this week.
Last night as Zoe was roaming around in her courtyard, sniffing out invaders, she got close to the fence. Where the ground is not level, there is a large gap between the fence and ground. I watched as Zoe got closer and closer to the fence, stretching out her neck as if tempted to crawl under, but she only sniffed and came back to me. In the four years since we’ve lived here, she’s only snuck beneath the fence once, and that was because a neighbor was on the other side talking to us.
The more I thought about, the more I considered God’s boundaries for us and how they are there for our protection. Just like we have Zoe’s courtyard fenced to keep her in and bigger dogs out, God has given us bounds of protection. It’s not that He wants to keep us from having fun or trying to find out if the grass is really greener on the other side. He knows the dangers that lurk out there on the other side. His heart is always to protect His children.
I’ve tested the waters on the other side and nearly drown. I’ve stuck my head beneath the fence and got it lodged there util He came and wiggled me back inside. I’m done with that now. These days, I’m happy to explore all that God has for me here in His courtyard. Since there are so many adventures waiting for me in the Kingdom, the world has lost its appeal. I guess that comes with maturity. 🙂 And maybe with a stiff neck from getting stuck a time or two.
All this to say, trust God’s boundaries and know that His motive is love. No temptation out there is worth the danger you’ll face if you go poking your head under the fence.
Love and blessings to you,
I have this sweet puppy named Zoe. She’s my best little friend and my favorite child. Ask my kids and they’ll tell you. Other than being with me and eating, she lives to go outside. Since she’s a tiny girl, not even four and a half pounds, she can’t go out and play like other pups can. Hawks watch for her and wouldn’t hesitate to swoop down and try to carry her away. Honestly, I have no greater fear for her than that. It doesn’t help that she hops through the grass like a bunny. Of course the hawks think she is dinner rather than someone’s little girl.
She’s now eleven, and in those years I’ve learned that early mornings before 8:00 a.m. and after dinner seem to be the safest times. Rarely is there a hawk present. Still, I don’t take any chances or let my guard down where she’s concerned. While we walk, I stay near, most times right by her side. I know that if I’m close a predator can’t easily get to her.
One evening recently, she and I were walking together and I could see my shadow cast over her prissy little body. It brought God to mind and how when we walk near to Him we are safest from the Predator. Even a little distance away from Jesus allows room for the enemy to swoop in and dig his talons into us.
It’s too easy to think that a step away won’t cause harm. But it can. Allowing this bad attitude here and that sinful action there can cause great harm to us and to those we love in the long run. I know for me, walking closely with Jesus daily by spending time with Him in prayer and through His Word matters. Even a few days away leads my mind to wander. I’m intentional about staying by His side. When I do, even a little bit of a bad attitude is caught and quickly addressed.
As for Zoe, she hasn’t figured all this out. She wants to run and hop and sniff no matter how near or far I am. I have to be a good mom and watch the skies for danger. I have to make sure I stay near enough to grab her up if I see a hawk circling. God is the same with us. Even when we are oblivious of the danger overhead, He’s there to grab us up at the first sign of danger.
My charge to you: Stay near to Jesus. Remain in the shadow of His wings. Danger is always out there lurking, but our good Father is watching the skies.
Blessings to you and yours from Lisa and Zoe!
Zoe sleeping on her back porch, dreaming of playing outside. Sometimes her feet wiggle as if she’s hopping around her courtyard.
The longer I walk with Jesus, the more I realize how many un-mined treasures are still to be uncovered. Each year I discover something new about my Father. It may be an attribute of His that I “knew” about but one not yet experienced on a personal level. Until I actually experience something, it tends to remain in my mind rather than my heart. Encountering God in a fresh way and experiencing something new in a difficult season causes what I know in my head to drop into my heart and become my actual possession.
As I’ve spoken to women over the years, the one thing I’m most passionate about is for them to actually encounter Jesus on their own and stop taking others’ word for it. It burns like wildfire in my heart for struggling women to know the intimate relationship with Jesus that He’s led me to over this past decade. Still, too many settle for too little and never mine for treasure of their own.
I’ve recently come across a new speaker, a man who captures my absolute attention with his laid back, casual manner of communicating the truths of God’s Word. Before listening to his sermons, I did a little research on him – something I advise you to do before listening to any speaker. Know who’s teaching you. This wonderful man of God went home to be with Jesus in 1993, but he left a lasting legacy for believers through his online sermons.
I’ve only listened to a few so far, but these are such needed messages. There are so many available, something like 1500, that I wasn’t sure where to begin. So I just started at the top of the page with the Attributes of God series. The first one is invaluable to so many Christians. Dr. Strauss gives a concise and practical “how to” on reading your Bible. I read one article about him where the writer says, speaking of Dr. Richard Strauss, “He knows how to put the cookies on the bottom shelf.” What a great description of this pastor’s style. He takes what others complicate and makes it easy to reach. I love his style.
The next in the series is about getting to know God, something that seemed impossible for me during my early years trying to walk out my faith. Dr. Strauss’s message simply communicates truths that it’s taken me years to learn on my own. I hope you’ll listen. They are in text format as well, but if you walk or bike or garden, I strongly suggest you listen and absorb his sermons. I’ll add the link here.
As you see, the site is called spiritualgold.com, and aptly so. This fine man of God will help you mine in the areas that will most help you get to know God. If you check him out, I would love to hear your thoughts.
If it’s not this pastor who leads you toward truth, I hope you are continually striving to know your Creator better. Each day we need to be spending time in the Word and in prayer. No matter how deep we dig, we are still a lifetime away from knowing the depths of God the Father through our relationship with Jesus.
Blessings to you today. Go and mine for God!
The title, Timing is Everything, is a phrase I recently wrote in the margin my Bible. I was reading in Acts where Paul wanted to go to one place, but the Spirit blocked his path and sent him elsewhere. I considered that and wrote out the phrase above.
Little did I know that two days later I would be reading that phrase in my hotel room as I had my quite time. I just sat shaking my head. It was the morning after watching my granddaughter be born. It meant so much to me because I wasn’t supposed to be there at that time and Ellie wasn’t due for nearly two weeks more. The plan was for me to go to South Carolina when she was born in early May. After a local baby shower here, though, I decided that her mama, Citlalli, needed to be able to play with all of Ellie’s pretty clothes and blankies before she arrived, so I took off.
The night I arrived, we had dinner and did a little shopping with the swollen footed mama-to-be. Later that sleepless night, I prayed, “Lord, it sure would be nice if that baby would come while I’m here.” Little did I know, Citlalli was in labor in the next room. Timing is everything.
I left SC with a broken heart. I wanted to stay and help. I wanted to do for them all I could to make the transition with a newborn easier. I wanted to live closer so that I could watch Ellie grow. I knew that visiting every few months would never be enough to satisfy my need to hold that cutie.
Once again, I’ve had a recent plan that didn’t quite turn out like I expected. On June 2nd my husband, son, and I were scheduled to go for a visit. Less than a week before our departure date, I received a call. My son took a job that would require him to work out of town for a long period of time. Because of that, my June 2nd visit became a mission to collect mama and baby and bring them to TN to stay for a few weeks – maybe longer.
Timing really is everything. God knew all this would pan out so that this NaNee would have time with her grand baby. I’m over the moon to be so close to them and be able to pour into to Citlalli as she figures this mom thing out. I’m reminded of the Titus verse about older women helping the younger. It’s a privilege to do that.
More than anything, my prayer during this visit is for salvation for Citlalli. Pray that with me. She’s a precious, sweet girl and a wonderful mama. I’m praying for us to develop a Naomi and Ruth relationship. May my God become hers. If I accomplish nothing else over this summer, I pray that I live out the love of Jesus before her.
This little girl is a true gift.
Do you have a timing is everything story? If so, I would love to hear it.