The Whisper Within

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


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Today is Good Friday.  This past week, I walked by this cross several times and thought of Jesus and his ultimate sacrifice so that we, as Christians, may have eternal life. Jesus was the ultimate example of suffering for your friends.img_5258

The story while it is quite familiar, always amazes me, that even Jesus suffered so greatly that he could not carry his own cross but needed help. Simon, helped carry Jesus’ cross.

Who helps carry your cross?

Ultimately, we all have the opportunity to go directly to God in prayer but we also have each other to help when our sufferings are too much to bare alone.

Who helps carry your cross?  For me, I know. They are just a prayer or text away.

Are you willing to put the heavy cross on your back and carry it for a friend? Are you willing to sacrifice comfort to be a comforter?

Happy Good Friday! There is no Easter without the sacrifice.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 NLT

 

 

 

 

 


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About a week ago I wrote on my Facebook page:

“Sometimes you get your dream but realize, you are Dorothy and ‘..there is no place like home.’ I am moving back to Chicago.”

Within minutes the floodgates were open as I was bombarded with texts, private messages, and phone calls; pretty much all saying the same thing, “WHAT THE HECK? What is going on ?” Even my own children texted each other. “Has mom lost it ?”

What occurred to no one was the date of the post, April 1st.
Yes, it was an April fools joke, but was it ?

I have to admit, I love Santa Barbara. I always dreamed I would end my days walking on the beach, and most days, watching the sun kiss the ocean goodnight, does not disappoint. I did think however, I would be walking hand in hand with my husband doing this. Yep, not yet.IMG_7824

So in the past few weeks, something crept in my thoughts, kinda like the rain in Santa Barbara, unexpected and unwarranted. I missed home. I miss my parents, my family, and my friends. As I tied my running shoes this morning I questioned, “Do I really belong here, God? Umm, not sure anymore. I am not feeling it. Are you with me, God? What is your plan?” I grabbed Kipper’s leash and soon, my German short-haired running partner, and I were out the door.

A few blocks from home, a lady being pulled by her Husky yelled, ” Hey neighbor.” I waved and Kipper and I crossed the street. A few blocks later, a man stepped out of his parked car and  blocked the sidewalk and asked, “Are you, Lisa?”

Puzzled, I asked how he knew my name and he quickly explained that he met me a year ago when Kipper was just a puppy.We exchanged pleasantries and soon Kipper and I were back on our morning routine. As we neared home, another neighbor stopped to say hello and wanted to know my story. The short conversation ended with a gentle smile and her nodding, “We should go out sometime, Lisa and better yet, we need to get you out dating.”

I giggled and walked away.

The day went on. I worked and once again Kipper and I headed out the door for a walk. Just as we walked down my outside stairs, Heide from my Bible study group passed by my house with Cooper, her Golden Retriever, and she invited us to join them.

A quick walk and then a glance at my phone Oh! I gotta go. It’s book club night.

At the library, we sat in a circle, shared our perspectives and our insights on Less by Andrew Sean Greer. The hour was over and as I walking away,  Libby quickly tracked me down ,touched my hand shoulder and said, “Hey Lisa! It was nice to meet you. I hope you come back next month and since you’re new in town, if you need a friend, I would like to get to know you better, maybe hang-out.” I nodded, smiled, and walked away.

As I walked over to my Jeep, I received a group text from ladies I met outside my home the previous week while pulling weeds, “Free on Friday?”

As I recalled all the events of the day, I threw a smirk to the sky, and silently acknowledged, You do see me. You do hear me. I do belong here. You have provided friends.

Driving home I recalled what Brenda, another neighbor, another Chicago transplant, said to me a few weeks ago,”Moving ain’t for sissies, let alone as a single woman. But you did it! It takes work but you did the work and now have friends.”

I parked my Jeep and walked up the poorly lit staircase to my home, and I thought of my birthday a few months ago.

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I do have friends. Next is the husband .God has the plan.
Can you trust the plan even when you are feeling lost in the dark, walking up poorly lit stairs?
“ The Lord will accomplish what concerns me.” TLB
~Psalm 138:8

 

 

 


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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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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.