The Whisper Within

" Believing that God powers strange coincidences and the journey that lies ahead."


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Today, I walked Kipper around the park and wondered, What is my purpose, Lord?

As Kipper sniffed the grass looking for a critter, I stood in front of the fence and looked out far for answers. How do you want me to best use my energy God? My mouth twitched as I pondered the answer. I love my job and my clients. I run every morning. I swim. Hike. Do yoga. I am in book club, a movie club, a bible study… so why do I still feel unfulfilled at times? Am I just trying to fill a void?

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Kipper pulled on her leash so I walked away from the fence but my thoughts still lingered. I know! I should be grateful God but why today do I feel kinda empty? Discouraged?

We left the park and drove away. At a stoplight I asked, What do you want, God?

Then I heard a whisper. It was almost straight from a voice like Clarence the angel telling George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life. Lisa, you really have had a wonderful life.

I looked in the rearview mirror and caught the image of the mountain I just hiked and then the whisper continued. No, Lisa it is not about the beautiful place but about my people. How have you made a difference?

The light turned green and I thought about George Bailey in the Christmas classic. He had a wonderful life because of difference he made in his friend’s and family’s lives.

Later tonight, as I was getting ready to be a greeter as part of the welcoming committee for new residents who have moved to Santa Barbara, I thought, Maybe I’ll meet new friends? Maybe a love interest?

I looked at my reflection in the mirror and felt guilty as my conscience whispered to me. This isn’t about you.  It is about them, the newcomers. I applied some lipstick and looked in the mirror and asked God, then how do you want to use me?

I heard the whisper. Be warm. Be kind. Be inviting.

I headed out the door with a little bounce in my step and felt happy, purposeful.

So I am asking you… Do you feel discouraged?

What is your purpose? Have you made a difference like George Bailey?

Or will your life be just a scrapbook or Facebook record of all the things you’ve done, the places you visited, instead of the people you have touched with your heart.

I know I am constantly searching for my purpose and it changes with each season; frustrating at times that’s why just like today I look up and say, “How do you want to use me God?”

Ask that question and he will show you and bring you purpose. I am wishing that for all of you. I am challenging you daily before you get out of bed ask, “How do you want to use me God?”

“If you  want to know what God wants you to do, ask him and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give bountiful supply and he will not resent it.” James 1:5

 


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I am the silly, hopeless romantic who eagerly admits that Valentine’s Day is my favorite day. You have four more days to make someone happy, so get busy!

The Whisper Within

Happy Valentine’s Day, my favorite day of the year.

I remember as a kid decorating a shoebox and excited for it be filled with paper hearts. Yep, I am the biggest hopeless romantic. Just ask me how many Rom-Com DVDs I have in my collection, I dare you.

On Valentine’s Day, I am confident of this one certainty: true love does exist. It is extremely rare but oh, so, spectacular. I received my first lesson in love from the 1974 movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Robert Redford, need I say more. My heart was swayed at the mere age of seven.

“He knew when he kissed this girl… his mind would never romp again…”   Gatsby has ruined me.

 But honestly, I wasn’t feeling it this year. Don’t know why…

My shoebox was empty and so was my heart.

But then…I came across a…

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I gotta admit, I wrote this blog months ago but never posted.Why ? Because I would have to completely rip-off my band-aid and show my ugly scab. Well, today I am ripping off the band-aid. Let the bleeding begin.

I’m not perfect.

Let me say again. I am not perfect.

Yep, several times this week I was told that I acted,or tried too hard to be perfect;not showing signs of weakness or sadness.
Here’s the week recap:

My thirteen year neighbor girl came over for dinner. We laughed.We giggled and then she said,”I have to admit I was nervous coming over to see you. You seem so perfect. You are actually fun and easy to be with.”

“Perfect? Why did you think that?”

“I don’t know you seem so put together; like always taking Kipper, your dog, for walks at the same time everyday .Organized.”
“Oh,trust me I’m far from perfect .”

Later in the week at a doctor’s appointment my doctor asked, “How are you feeling?”
I quickly responded,”I’m fine.I’m staying in the joy.”

“Staying in the joy? Lisa, it’s ok to say you hurt. In fact it is healthy to talk about it .Why do you feel like you have to hold it together?”

I lowered my head,“I don’t know. I feel the need to not complain about my sickness .”

“Lisa,it is ok to say you hurt . You aren’t perfect.”

Then today I opened my manuscript for my book. My editor had comments peppered throughout about me being self-admonishing and prideful. Ouch ! This hurts!

I looked at the computer screen, “Am I?”
The whole reason I have wrote the book is that others may trust God no matter what is tossed at them…it’s not supposed to be about “look what I have done but what has God accomplished?”

Maybe memoirs just suck. MAYBE memoirs are self-absorbed.
I walked the beach and cried .
I am sorry. I am so so sorry, God.

Is this you God?

Did all the years of hold everything together as a single mom, did I have too much pride? Did I put too much emphasis on the “I ” in the  Bible verse,” I can do everything  through Christ who gives me strength,” instead of on Christ?

Was my Lyme disease sickness allowed to prick at my pride?
In the Bible, Paul was afflicted with some disease so that he would not get puffed up.His disease was meant to humble him.

I AM HUMBLED.

For those of you who knew “sassy pants ”, that girl is gone. I am leveled. I am just me. And yes, I hurt. I am messy, just ask my kids about some of my eating habits or ask my friends the condition of the inside of my Jeep; far from perfect. And like Paul in the Bible, sometimes I am lonely.

Yes, I still desire a husband but maybe,just maybe, I WAS (emphasis on was) too independent, too self-sufficient to let a guy take care of me. I wanted to keep control.
Well, that girl is gone! I am ready to relinquish the reins and have someone take care of me for a change. The Band-aid is off. I willingly expose my scab, ugly and all.
As I walked the beach tonight I heard God whisper, “Get rid of your pride. You are not perfect.”
So here I am. No filter. No make-up. Just me.

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God has humbled me and made make a softer and a more vulnerable girl.
What is God whispering to you? Are you willing to listen?

“For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (TLB) 2 Corinthians 12:10


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They say it never rains in Southern California but today it not only rained but stormed. I felt like I was back in Chicago, as the grey dark clouds hovered, the rain came down in buckets, and the power went out several times throughout the day.

Later this afternoon, I walked along a mountain path with Kipper, my German short-haired companion and thought of what a friend asked me.  She questioned, ” I haven’t seen you blog in awhile. Why?” I simply answered, “I am still talking to God but I am not hearing any answers.”

As Kipper and I shuffled along the path, I looked at the sun beaming through the clouds  and thought, I am not hearing you God. I am in pain. I want my Lyme disease to be gone. If you are going to fully heal me this year. Let me see a sign. Let me see a rainbow.

For the next thirty minutes, I dragged my feet  pass park benches, statues, and bridges. I pulled my baseball cap down to keep the sun off my face. I was nearing the end of the trail and the end of my senseless optimism.  And then it happened.  A sideways rain was hitting my face. I looked at the sun over the ocean and spun around like a little girl, with arms outstretched, looking for the rainbow. And there it was. A rainbow. Faint, maybe difficult to see if you were not looking for it. Kinda like God.

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I adjusted my baseball cap and quietly smiled and thought You do see me. You will heal me.

“If I have found favor in your eye, then show me a sign… ”  Judges 6:17(ESV)

 


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Tonight I walked the beach with my loyal companion,Kipper,and took in the spectacular view. The beach. The mountains. And even a rainbow .

I snapped a photo and texted it to my kids. Tarah quickly texted back. “That picture makes me so happy. You really did it mom .You achieved your dream.”

My mouth twitched and tears formed as I watched the tide roll in.

I texted back. “Aww Tarah! You are making me cry. I forget that I did . You are right ! This was my dream !”

She responded. “I can’t thank you enough for the life you created for me. You had the courage to better yourself.”

I focused on the rainbow and then texted her back.”Thank you for reminding me. Yes, courage. God gives me strength to walk in his faith.”

I watched the sunset and thought, “I may have Lyme disease but You brought me here God. You make me brave. You brought my dream. You will heal me.”

“Be strong and courageous and get to work. Don’t be frightened at the size of the task, for the Lord my God is with you.”

2 Chronicles 28:20


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Today was not exactly a good day.  I may not have children playing ball in the house but I do have Kipper, my rambunctious German short-haired pointer. Her energy definitely overflows her dog bowl and today was no different.

As I am working from home, I see her pacing the floor, stalking a small object, and then springing into action. I think to myself, What is she trying to catch? And then I see it. A fly.

My eyes divert back to my computer screen until I hear a crash. I walk into the next room and see Kipper’s eyes, telling half of the story. IMG_7241

Guilty!  I question my puppy thinking she can answer and then survey the room.

Ugh! A cracked window!

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I roll my eyes. Great! I walk back to my computer and quickly Google, window repair.

Within an hour, a glass repair man arrives, an estimate is received, and then a story.

“Lisa, you were so nice to work with. I am so thankful that God brought me to your house today. You see, I have six children and fifteen grandchildren. One was just born the other day. Do you want to see him?”

He scrolled through his phone and proudly showed me. “This is Samuel, named after the prophet.” He continued on, “Truthfully I don’t want to be doing this. I want to be a pastor, administer and pray for those with health concerns.”

I responded,”If that is your desire, God will honor it. It’s Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.(ESV)'”

The man openly started crying and then he grabbed my hand, and started praying, “Thank you God for Lisa. Please Jesus, I want to be a Pastor…”

The prayer was over. He gave me hug and headed out the door; leaving both of our hearts cracked open.


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It has been four years that I became sick with Lyme disease. I have tried to stay patient and daily stay in the joy but the last few weeks seem like a long, drawn-out Chicago Winter, filled with endless days, weeks and months of snow, gray, and bitter cold with no sunshine in sight.

But just like Groundhog Day, after a long Winter spent in a cave; this past week I saw some light. Yes, a new doctor.

She reviewed my new labs and uncovered some hidden new facts to work with.

Sitting in her office, I felt like a bursting daffodil popping through a light Spring snow as I lowered my chin and said, “I WILL get better. God loves me. He sees me. He will heal me.”
She responded, “Oh, Yes, Lisa. I love your faith.  I am a believer too.”

My lips sealed tight. “Ugh! My faith is all I have… My friends and my church in Chicago have all been praying for you ; let my doctor have wisdom.”

I saw her face become flush.” Wow, I am so grateful for you.”

My eyes watered, ” No, I am SO grateful for you.”

She walked me towards the door and hugged me .
I looked at her with soft eyes and said, ” I love that you hugged me .”

“I love hugs too, Lisa. First I will take care of your health and then I’ll help you with the husband.”

I backed away, cocked my head, and asked, “The husband?”

“Yes, the husband.”

I walked outside and made my to my car and questioned, Why did she say, the husband? 

And then tonight, as I walked my neighborhood I saw a quaint hotel setting up for a beautiful outdoor wedding.

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I wandered through the white chairs, bookmarked with lavender and ivy.  Wow, simply beautiful.

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As I a strolled through the adjacent garden, with tables adorned with white linens and peonies, I looked up the sun, Maybe this was why I moved to Santa Barbara … health and who knows maybe a husband?

I felt the wind whisper …
IT IS COMING! Health and a Husband.
I feel it. I know it. Patience.
God’s timing is perfect. He has the plan.

“Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble and prayerful always.”

Romans 12:12 The Living Bible


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This evening,as I walked the beach,I thought, “Wow, I can’t believe a year ago I put an offer on a house to move here.”

A quiet smile came over me as I surveyed the stretch of sand. I looked up at the clouds and asked “Why did you bring me here, God? Why Santa Barbara?”

I thought of my neighbor Heidi.She said, “Lisa, why do you have to have a purpose for being here? After everything you have been through, maybe God just wants to bless you. Maybe this is just for you to enjoy.”

Later that night,as I was dragging the garbage cans to the curb,a neighbor asked,”How was your day?”

“ Fine.” I quipped. “ How was yours?”

She walked closer to me with her head hanging low, “I lost my job.”

My heart sank. I knew she was a single mom and had heard she just battled cancer.

I walked over and hugged her.

I told her that I knew her story and then shared my own. Then I asked if I could pray over her. I wrapped my arms tight around her and poured out my heart, begging God for mercy.

Moments later, she wiped her tears and said ,”I don’t know why I lost my faith in God but thank you for praying with me. Lisa, I’m so happy you are my neighbor.”

I walked away and thought, “Why me? I have spent a lifetime asking “why me” for the bad stuff; why am I questioning the good stuff, too?”

As I sat on my front deck, I thought about what Pastor Greg said to me years ago as I was leaving Illinois and moving to California and questioning the plan .

I remember asking,”How will I know that this is the right thing?”

With a gentle sincerity he offered,”Don’t worry.Don’t question the plan. God will use you where you are – you just have to let him.”

He was right and so was Heide.

Maybe God wanted to both use me here and bless me,by bringing me here. I just need to let go, stop questioning the why, and enjoy.

As I watched the sunset, I saw the beach in front me and a life with a purpose, to serve the one in front of me… and then heard the whisper “…or maybe just serve the next door neighbor .”

Moving here was HIS plan.

Are you open to surrender and wait for the best plan?

What is your heart whispering to you?

Live in the joy.Live with purpose. Live your best life.

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”


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Kipper, looks back at me as if to say,”Come on. Time for the beach.”

She knows the afternoon routine and doesn’t want to wait. Within minutes, my companion is buckled to my left and my Jeep is in drive but then a oil change light illuminated.

My eyes shifted to my left. Jiffy Lube.

Sorry, Kipper. The Beach can wait.”

I pull in Jiffy Lube.Hand the attendant my keys, and Kipper and I walk to a grassy area nearby.

A few minutes pass and a young man joins us.

“Nice looking dog .What kind is it?”

“German Shorthaired Pointer.”

“It kinda reminds me of my girlfriend’s dog. She has a Weinheimer.”

“They’re cousins. Both hunting dogs.”

A baseball cap lowered, ” I am really gonna miss her dog.”

I studied the fresh face. “The dog or the girl?”

His head sunk.” Long distance relationships can work, can’t they?… I mean with FaceTime and texting …”

I sealed my lips in a soft smile.”Ya, it’s not like when I was your age. I had to write a letter and wait a week for HOPEFULLY a response.”

His chin raised. “Ya. It can work.”

He paused and I saw him studying my wrinkles as he asked,”…but what happens if our beliefs don’t match?”

I cocked my straw hat at the sky Really God, the faith question at Jiffy Lube?

I stared at the white eyes of his eyes. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I am a Christian and want to marry a Christian. She isn’t. Can she change?”

My mouth twitched.” Umm, truthfully I don’t want to influence you but I was married…Have two great kids, about your age, from the marriage but we didn’t share the faith.”

His eyes seemed to study my wrinkles further.” So you weren’t equally- yoked?”

He took off his cap and combed his fingers through his hair and shook his head in defeat.”We aren’t equally-yoked either.”

“I am sorry. I have been single for fifteen years. I am waiting for someone who shares my faith.”

He smirked.” Your Boaz.”

I giggled.” Yes, I’m waiting for my Boaz.”

He put his cap back on.” As you should.”

I walked away. An oil change? Or a call for change?

What about you? Are you waiting for change or should you ?

As for me,I will wait for the Whisper Within.

But if we must keep trusting God for something that hasn’t happened, it teaches us to wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:25