Welcome. I’m Lisa Maria: a garden-variety Midwest girl, wild at heart, rooted in Jesus, blooming in the one place I never expected to be planted: the Arabian Desert.
After years of wandering the world, seeking rest, I traded in my FREE spirit for a FREED spirit—and discovered a life more healed, abundant and adventurous than I ever dreamed possible.
Don’t ask me how I got to the Middle East, or how I manage to stay here. I don’t really know the details. (Okay, actually I do—but it’s such a wild story full of “God moments,” that sometimes even I still doubt the series of events!)
I’ve also given up trying to define myself by what I do. But here are some things I am:
– An incurable creative who’s always experimenting.
– A curious explorer of nooks, neighborhoods and nations.
– A spiritual midwife helping women birth their divine purpose.
– An exuberant improviser inventing my best life as God directs my steps.
I chose sunflowers as the motif for my blog, because they hail from my native North America—and for me, they are a powerful symbol of strength, radiance and joy.
It’s been said that though a sunflower may not be as beautiful as a rose, it’s so much stronger. That’s how I feel. I may not be a “classical beauty” with the perfect life, but everything I’ve been through has made me stronger, and hardier, and unafraid to keep my face always turned toward the Light.
I love to wear bright “sunflower yellow” to remind me to shine!
But I wasn’t always so confident or willing to be seen.
For most of my life, I would have called myself a go-getting global nomad, a free-styling artist and one of those laptop entrepreneurs you always see on Instagram, following the road less traveled. But though my life looked good on the surface, I had no idea just how chained down my “free spirit” actually was—emotionally, spiritually, financially and physically—with a lifetime of accumulated hurt and pain.
All that changed in 2016, when I got divorced unexpectedly.
I never saw this huge life change coming until it was too late. And in the process, I lost most of what I had worked so hard to “build”—including my carefree ways.
But in the emotional fallout afterward, God began to speak to me. I heard the voice of the Holy Spirit for the first time and began to learn how to follow Him step by step. In July of that year, while still reeling and raw, I had what I now describe as the “six day heart attack” (really, more of a barrage of divine love in my spirit).
At the end of it, I was face down on a rug, bathed in sweat, unable to eat, drink or sleep. Begging God to end it all.
Instead, He spoke to me deep in my spirit. It wasn’t an audible voice, but the words were clear and undeniable:
“You do not know how to receive love.”
Instantly, I recognized this was true, it was from God, and it was also the root cause of both my divorce and the lifetime of emotional pain I had secretly endured.
That day, I agreed with God that I did not know how to receive love, and as a result, I was not really free. I asked Him to put me in “The School of Love.”
Almost immediately after that, the most intense period of God-directed teaching and healing began in my life. There is no other way to account for what I experienced in those years, except to say, “God brought it, and it was my school.”
Through this process, my free spirit gradually and miraculously became a freed spirit. And that’s when I really began to step into a life that, while by no means perfect, is one I’d happily call “my best reality.”
Around this same time also, a believing woman came into my life who had a strong prophetic gift and recognized the characteristics of a prophet in my life also. She mentored me in my new calling.
Eventually, as a culmination of this phase of “school,” I followed God’s instruction to release everything I owned and reboot my entire life by wandering the world for a year with no home, no role, no agenda and (yes) no money.
If I had not been a “freed spirit”—at this point—I would not have survived or thrived in this challenging God-given gift of total uncertainty.
Six countries and 20,000 miles later, I crash-landed in Dubai in August of 2018 with one suitcase and a small envelope of money. This was everything I had left in the world. I had no route home and no Plan B if living in Dubai didn’t “work out.”
Long story short … it did. And it continues to, by God’s grace.
Since then, as I’ve continued to root deep into God, I have discovered an amazing new life in the Arabian Desert that I believe He was preparing for me (and me for) all along. Not to mention finding new wellsprings of joy, radiance and, freedom that are my birthright as a woman and child of God.
Today, even though I am an ordinary woman living totally by faith in one of the world’s most expensive cities, by God’s grace, I flourish. Total financial, physical, emotional and creative freedom are mine on a daily basis—even though I have frustrations, hurts and bills like everyone else.
It’s now my joy to be a “spiritual midwife” and creative mentor, as well, for other women on this journey.
Though I blog here mostly about the road to freedom that is (as Martin Firrell said), “bordered with sunflowers,” you’ll also find musings here on art and creativity; the gifts of femininity; the feminine body, mind and spirit; natural healing modalities; life in the Middle East; and the practice of a cruelty-free lifestyle.
You’ll also probably also see more photos of my Devon Rex rescue cat, Sima, than you ever wanted to. Sorry-not-sorry!
Reach out to me anytime or read more of my story.
Root deep, stand tall and shine, Sunflower.
May your spirit always be free.