Today, Lisa speaks to us about an amazing place called High Point Village, finding the strength to be a parent to adult children, and lessons learned as a potter. So many gems. Don’t miss it.
Tell us a bit about how you grew up and your childhood: I grew up in a small town north of Dallas where my dad was a jeweler and shared a business with my grandfather who was a clock and watchmaker. From the outside, my life looked picket-fence perfect. (Family of 4, of which I was the oldest child to a little brother, popular in school, athletic, cheerleader, serious boyfriend, upper-middle-class, wore the latest styles and made great grades blah, blah, blah).
But inside my house and inside my heart was chaos! My father was abusive to my mother until I was in my 40’s, our fear of him was real, and nothing I ever accomplished pleased him. My heart was the same inside: it “abused” me and told me I was fat, ugly and not worthy. IT beat ME up. It told me I was not worthy to be loved by anyone much less my sweet, Christian, boyfriend, and I lived in fear. Fear that what my heart told me was true, fear that people would discover how our family truly was when the doors were closed and fear my accomplishments would never meet the standards of anyone.
My Christian grandmothers were my refuge. They both lived through the depression, wars, and had alcoholic husbands and difficult children; but somehow, their faith never waivered and their prayers for me never stopped.
“My Christian grandmothers were my refuge. They both lived through the depression, wars, and had alcoholic husbands and difficult children; but somehow, their faith never waivered and their prayers for me never stopped.”
Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: I know this will seem unusual to some who read it, but my favorite verse throughout my life has been Daniel 3:25, 28 and 29:
He (King Nebuchadnezzar) said, “Look! I see FOUR men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” See Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would not bow down the king, and he ordered them tossed into the fire; but not just any fire, a fire SEVEN times hotter than usual! So hot in fact, that the men who worshipped King Nebuchadnezzar (unbelievers) died just throwing their bound bodies in the furnace!!!
But in the fire with them was The Lord. He did not spare them from the fire, he allowed them to be tossed right in, AND He joined them. It made such a huge impact verses 28 and 29 state that: Nebuchadnezzar declared, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him…. For there is no other god who can deliver in this way.”
It is important to realize that God does not keep us from being tossed into “fires” in our lives, but He certainly does not leave us to bear it alone. If we remain faithful, others will see and come to Him in faith.
“It is important to realize that God does not keep us from being tossed into “fires” in our lives, but He certainly does not leave us to bear it alone.”
Spiritual growth focus at the moment: Life is tough. I am working on the fact that I have faith in God to get me to heaven, but I don’t always have faith in Him to get me through tough times here on Earth. (What a dummy I can be). Trusting Him at all times, no matter what is my focus each and every day. And there are a great deal of “whats” in my life right now. I am limited, my God is not! I used to be faithful in blogging, but 2018 and 2019 did a number on our family. We were blessed with my daughter’s beautiful marriage; but also deep depression and thoughts of suicide for my youngest, my oldest was nearly beaten to death and robbed, my husband had major surgery and my oldest had his second round of rehabilitation.
“I am limited, my God is not!”
Profession: I became a stay at home mom, and left my profession in the medical field, once we began having children. Now that they have left the nest, I have taken my hobby and made a small business out of it. I am a potter. Just not as great of one as The Lord. My business name is I64. “Isaiah 64:8 We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
I find so many lessons in what I do that are applicable to my daily life. When I execute my craft as taught, my pieces make it through the fire of the kiln. However, when I rush a piece and don’t follow my foundations of learning I sometimes open the kiln and the piece is shattered. Pottery is a humbling craft, and frustrating at times; but no more frustrating than I can be to God on occasion.
If you wrote a memoir, what would the title be? Through the Fire (I am finding upon answering your questions I may be obsessed with fire!) ha
When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? I was 13 years old and attending my grandmother’s church. I was active in the youth group, and I attended a lock-in one Saturday. (That is where you have activities all day Saturday, spend the night at church, and attend Sunday service) My parents had fought all week, and I did not want to leave my little brother alone with them, but my grandmother insisted I attend.
My youth pastor’s wife kept telling us about a Father who loved us, was proud of us, and never would leave us to face our fears alone. As a matter of fact, He loved us so much he sent his only Son to die for our sins so that we could spend eternity with him. All we had to do was believe. Well, I could not believe it. But testimony after testimony of others, I trusted allowed me to open my heart in faith that this Father was REAL. Real love. I became a believer that night! The next day after church, the fires at home were still raging, but this time it was different. I had a friend named Jesus, and a Father who loved me.
“The next day after church, the fires at home were still raging, but this time it was different. I had a friend named Jesus, and a Father who loved me.”
How has your relationship with Him changed you? In every way! I still have times of fear and doubt, but I am a better wife trusting my marriage built on the foundation of God’s love. I am a better mother because I have patience and gentleness through God. I am a better friend because of the joy that Christ gives to me. I am a better sister because God showed me peace in the turmoil of our childhood, and a better daughter showing kindness vs. bitterness and resentment because that is what God gives me. I know my worth, I am the Daughter of a King!
I know my spiritual gift, service, and with it, I am His hands and feet showing kindness to those in need. In addition, with all the addictions in my family, I was able to view them through the eyes of self-control when I became a teenager. I am not perfect, nowhere near, however, God does not expect me to be. My relationship with Him continues to grow daily. On occasion, when I trust myself and not Him, He allows me to feel a little “fire” as we walk through it together.
What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? I recently told a friend that there are many mental health diagnoses. But there was one that needed to be added to the list of anxiety, depression, etc. And that is motherhood. My oldest son is an alcoholic. He has been in and out of bad relationships and through rehab twice. But God is faithful and he has been accepted into PhD school for audiology! PRAISE JESUS! (12 years of difficult times for all of us)
Our youngest son discovered his best friend and roommate dead a few years ago and now suffers from PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Our daughter has bouts of depression and anxiety as well, not uncommon to most of us. But in this season, I have grown knowing that I will only survive this if I allow Him to lead, not me. If I consult with God before anyone else, I will grow in my faith. See, it has taken a while, and many tears, but I know God loves these adult children more than I ever could. He has got this, and if I don’t have faith in that, I am going to go crazy. #motherhood
“But in this season, I have grown knowing that I will only survive this if I allow Him to lead, not me. If I consult with God before anyone else, I will grow in my faith.”
Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): Joseph: A Story of Love, Hate, Slavery, Power and Forgiveness by John C. Lennox. It has strengthened my faith in God and His creation of the world. It has taught me that we are all unique with special gifts. I have learned that EVERY family has problems, but God can use even revenge for good, but that love and forgiveness will reap the greatest benefits. I also learned that reconciliation through God is beautiful beyond belief.
“I have learned that EVERY family has problems, but God can use even revenge for good, but that love and forgiveness will reap the greatest benefits.”
Top three essentials: Prayer, the Word, faith.
How did God speak to you recently? Sometimes, bad circumstances bring us closer to God, they give us greater faith and in greater faith comes peace. Our youngest has some really dark days, and if I am not careful the darkness can consume, too. When we get closer to God we see His sovereignty, high and lifted up, on His throne, in control. And if He is in control we can let go! That is such a great feeling when the devil has you doubting and afraid.
“When we get closer to God we see His sovereignty, high and lifted up, on His throne, in control.”
Hobby: Pottery, reading, gardening, and cooking.
Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says it best: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in ALL circumstances.
Favorite person in scripture? Obviously, Jesus. But next to Him is Ruth. Think about how great she must have been to have lived in such a time when women were not so revered, but she had a book named after her! She accepted the God of the Israelites as her God, she was widowed and stayed with her mother-in-law to make sure she was well, even though Naomi said she could go… still Ruth replied, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
They went through fires together! (The loss of husbands and the loss of both sons for Naomi). All the time Ruth served, provided for and listened to the wisdom of Naomi. Her journey and faithfulness led her to a great love in Boaz, and they would become the great grandparents of King David. King David, The Tribe of Judah, the lineage of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior! God has a plan for each of us, just as He had a plan for the faithfulness of Ruth. She trusted and obeyed, and what a beautiful story. You should read John Piper’s A Sweet and Bitter Providence.
“God has a plan for each of us, just as He had a plan for the faithfulness of Ruth.”
What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? He is able. Period.
“He is able. Period.”
How do you engage with your community? Outside of family, hobbies, and church, I love High Point Village. It is a place where adults with special needs can go to work, play, learn, and worship. As their families get older, they wonder what is going to happen to their “children” with special needs and High Point is working to provide a place where they can someday live and work.
Favorite holiday? Duh! Christmas
A goal you have? I write all the time, and I would love to publish a children’s book.
A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: Christmas is full of a lot of traditions for us, but one of my favorites is for us to keep Christmas cards and pray for those families each day after Christmas and then toss the cards until they are gone. Now that we are empty nesters, I do it alone with my husband.
Question you will ask when you get to heaven? Why mosquitos?
Thing you want to raise awareness about: Adults with special needs live to ripe old ages, and 15% of the world’s population are special needs. What are we going to do to care for them? Where will they go when their parents are gone and they have no one else?
What does your morning routine consist of? Prayer, diet coke, reading the Word and wrinkle cream!
What is on your nightstand? Reading glasses, books, phone and water.
Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is believing that Jesus Christ, the one and only Son of God, out of love died for our sins, was buried and resurrected and now sits at the right hand of God interceding to the Father on our behalf in order that we may disciple and serve others until he returns.
For more Lisa:
Facebook: Lisa Faith-Gregg
Until next time, keep witnessing!