I found out about Lisa when I moved to the Central Coast, mostly by her blog and jewelry line. I was perusing (In)Courage, a daily blog for women written by various bloggers, and she popped up. Fast forward a year or so later and, as God would have it, we're on a coffee date discussing blogging, friendship, marriage, brokenness and soul care.
Just like that.
It's not everyday you can get right to it with someone, but I felt that spirit-to-spirit connection with her.
Now fast forward another couple years and Lisa starts to pop up even more in my life. Literally popping in at Mission Thrift, popping up on the street the day after Mr. F and I got engaged and were walking downtown, popping up in Target...Pop! Pop! Pop!
And then when I went to church in Orange County with my best friend Lindsay and ran into Lisa's twin sister Chrissie, I just giggled. Turns out Lindsay is friends with Chrissie!? Haha, kingdom life intersection!
But God seems to do that, doesn't He? Certain folks pop in and out of our stories and when we have eyes to see we start to get curious. Lisa has become for me a walking, breathing, sister in the Lord, living image of the beautiful mess of God's creative intent for our lives. God's little nudge, "See Susie, keep creating....keep becoming...keep offering my artistry in you."
Ten years ago Lisa Leonard Designs didn't exist. It was, however, hidden in the heart of a young woman. Tucked away as a desire or maybe at the time it felt like a fleeting dream? And it amazes me, totally inspires me, what exists today. But isn't that how God does it, He takes the flicker and fans into flame something far beyond what we could have hoped for or imagined. All the while using ordinary lives that he turns extraordinary.
What is particularly lovely about Lisa is how she is quick to acknowledge the broken but beautiful in it all. She's be the first to say how imperfect it is but also the first to say how beautiful.
When Christians get "famous" (I've met a few in my day) there's a temptation to be "on" to forget the process and journey of becoming and begin to think they're the answer. They've got to have it together. That only leads to burn out and many major fallouts.
I think the way God does it is quite different. He takes the tender, vulnerable place in each of us. You know, the heart place that's popped up throughout our Storyline full of ache, sorrow, longing, disappointment and says, "Yep. There. That. Lift your head. Let me cup your face. Now look into my eyes...Yes, Beloved, here, even here, my grace is sufficient. This...this is the place of glory. The imperfect being made perfect in Me. This is what i want to offer through you!"
And l i f e goes forth. Suddenly the place of shame, fear, sorrow, rebellion becomes a place of creative good. Crazy things begin to unfold and we shake our head, "How on earth did I get here and get to be doing this and sharing this with others?"
Genius. He chooses the lowly places and in a kingdom flip-flop they become the high places, the places of g l o r y.
I've watched Lisa, she welcomes others, listens to the countless inquiries on blogging, social media, etc and does it with grace. She's living the flip-flop reality of Jesus' Kingdom! You can read more about how this has played out in Lisa's life on her blog.
So when our wedding plans were in full swing and the glory that is our dessert table was being imagined in my mind I had to have those lovely, shiny, whimsy cake toppers Lisa makes....
Paper & Cloth line.
Yes those sweet nieces are praying, and look at the little pewter wands they are carrying with their name hand stamped. Does it get more magical?
Mr. F and I get so much pleasure and joy when we think about friends like Lisa who offered out of their sacred deposit, their topsy-turvy kingdom entrustment. Just think of the pleasure Our Lord feels!?
Thank you, Lisa. Thank you for celebrating God's work in Mr. F and my story. Thank you for always asking about us when you pop in the shop. Thanks for celebrating our special day with us even when you were sick. Thanks for living out the beautiful mess of God using the imperfect and inviting thousands in through your blog and speaking engagements. Thank you for offering what you're learning, that the most important and valuable thing you may do in your day is change your son's diaper. All the "big accomplishments" fading away in a simple act of love.
The Fitlers thank you!