The Whisper Within

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


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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 ,her hand touched my 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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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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Happy Independence Day! Are you taking advantage of your freedom?

Happy Fourth of July. As I walked by flag-adorned lawns this morning, my thoughts brought me back to our forefathers. They fought for independence and to not be held hostage to England. They wanted a fresh start, to escape. My mind jumped like a cricket on the grass as I recalled a time I wanted to escape.

This was fifteen years ago:

As a single mom,with money being tight, the kids and I rarely ever ate out. But tonight I did not have the energy to cook, so I took the easy way out for a change and ordered a pizza. Parking the car in front of Jake’s Pizza Parlor, it should have been a routine pick-up, but it was anything but routine. Walking in with Jake and Tarah, looking at the cashier, I said, “Hi. I’m picking up our pizza.”

“Okay. I’ll be right back.” Then I saw it on the wall. As the man walked to the back of the store, I saw it clear as day—a flyer that read:

“ John, a thirty-seven-year-old police detective, is paralyzed from the waist down after a February snowmobile accident in Wisconsin. He is a fourteen year veteran of the department, battles escalating medical costs from his permanent spinal cord injury.

On April 6th, a benefit will be held.

Smack dab in the middle of the flyer was John’s picture in black and white. As the pizza guy laid the pizza on the counter, Jake, tugged at my jeans and pointed at the flyer, and asked, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture on the wall?”

Suddenly, I lost my appetite.

As I was fumbling through my purse trying to pull out my wallet, I caught the pizza guy looking at me, dumbfounded. His face was stone cold. He glanced down at receipt outside the pizza box, then looked up at me.

Jake always demanding answers to his questions. He tugged at my jacket and once again asked, this time a little louder, “Mommy, why’s Daddy’s picture up there?”

The pizza guy looked at the picture then into my eyes. I did not say a word. He quickly covered his mouth with his hand and closed his eyes ever so briefly. Looking down at Jake, then at me, almost right through me, his eyes offered condolences. He then pleaded, “Please just take the pizza. It’s on us.”

I did not know what to say except the obvious, “Thanks.”

By nature, I don’t play needy, but needy was being dished my way and it was a very deep dish, indeed.

Back then, I felt held hostage to my life in Schaumburg. I needed to escape. I hated that my life, my story, was plastered around town. The only escape I could afford as a single mom, was a short ride around the bend to South Haven, Michigan. In Michigan, my monkeys and I were free and happy.

That was my story but I like our forefathers I opted for a different ending. I decided to dump the bitter “tea” and start drinking coffee. Are you free or are you held hostage to your “England” and to your past? Is it time to dump the tea and start drinking coffee?

Don’t wait until you hear the loud boom of fireworks to claim your freedom. God’s loudest directions are through his whispers. What is God whispering to you? Believe and trust the Whisper Within.


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judy-and-marjiIt’s 4 am. I am awake. Sleep has not been my friend. I am not sure if it is because I am visiting family for Christmas and sleeping in an unfamiliar bed or if it simply dreaded menopause. My thoughts are twisted and tangled; mirroring my legs and arms caught in a web of bed sheets.

I could try to break free from this misery called insomnia but I have learned a different method.

“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

I have learned my best answers come when I don’t think but listen. As I lay still like a wrapped mummy I say, “Quiet my thoughts so I can hear yours.”

As I reflect on 2016, I know many have posted on social media of their unhappiness in this world. They are distraught but what are they doing about it? Are they asking God for direction?

God has the plan. You just have to listen. DAILY.

As I stare at the ceiling I recall what my pastor said to me five years ago,” I don’t think your husband is here – he is where you will be “

I asked, “Where am I going?”

He responded, “I know how much you love the beach. I think you are moving to the beach. He is there.”

After fifteen years of being single and raising the kids by myself, God brought me a new plan, new friends, new life, new hope. Yes, God brought me to California and … the companionship like I prayed for.

Here’s a rundown of the gifts God brought me.

My hiking girls; Judy, Marji, and Anne. My small Bible study group, Jeanne, Lynn, Bea, Hilda, Jamie, and Susan, My Tuesday night homeless meal friends, Marlys, My Centennial Guild friends – LA Children’s Hospital Group and my Lyme friends

Judy and Marji joked, “You prayed for companionship – you thought God would bring you a husband instead he brought us. You have to be more specific or next time he will bring you a dog!”

I am so thankful that God told me to leap and not look back. So what is God telling you?

I’m challenging you to do two things . One if you have insomnia,lay there and say, “ Quiet my thoughts so I can hear yours.” And two, before your feet hit the floor, say this, “Tell me what you want me to do it and I’ll do it.” God will give you answers but you have to be brave enough to not just listen but DO IT.

“ If you want to know what God wants you to do ask him and He will gladly tell you but when you ask him – be sure that you believe that he will answer you , otherwise you will toss and turn like a boat on the sea.” James 1:5-6

No more tossing and turning.

Grateful for my life. Grateful for new starts. Grateful to the one who whispers to me. Happy 2017!

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