His faithfulness and ours.

Great is Thy faithfulness, and oh, is that ever true! A rock, a narrow path, a guiding light appearing in my soul’s night, a vine full of life-flow, a consuming fire. Captain of the hosts, Intercessor, Shepherd, Father, Word alive forever, Peace, Truth. Defender, Deliverer, Lamb silent before the slaughter. Righteousness like mighty mountain, Love like depth of ocean. My rest, my hope, my salvation.

He makes me stand firm. Makes my arm strong so that I can bend a bow of bronze. Makes my heart soft and my tongue lie still.

His love becomes truer. Is this the reward of the man who perseveres under trial? Truth becomes knowing.

This is how my life goes right now: soul deep in meditation, hands and feet and lips busily serving the precious people God has given to me to steward.

Great is Thy faithfulness — change the sheets from last night’s accident. Oh God my Father — scramble to find red ribbons for 4th of July hair. Search me, oh God, and know my heart — dive into sewing lessons for four eager daughters. Purify in Your refiner’s fire — grab chubby hand for an impromptu adventure in the woods.

Yesterday for a brief moment, I had only two little girls. They were dressed in flowy summer dresses from our outing earlier, and we prepared lemonade with mint and big red strawberries and a vase of flowers, and we sat out under the umbrella and chatted while waiting for our guest. It was special. And they tumbled about a bit while Guest and I talked of things that are heavy in adult hearts but are lost to little girl minds.

God is able to stretch us, to give us hearts to serve by trimming little toe nails and watching “cool tricks” while also entering into the labor of hard spiritual warfare. Faithfulness is a great weapon of ours, and the action of one foot in front of the other is an offensive attack on an enemy whose great aim is to sideline and isolate us. Great is Thy faithfulness — and because He is faithful, I, too, can be faithful. It is my act of worship, warfare, and a declaration of trust.

one small life

Happy July, fellow citizens of Planet Earth. We are living and breathing here in July of 2022, something millions before us have not done. Those of us living and breathing the new life of the Spirit are doing even more than simply taking our turn, populating the planet. We are the remnant of God, His representatives and own special people. We bear His light to the world, a world He desperately loves.

These are strangely big thoughts for a middle aged woman, sitting along at a picnic table, listening to leaves rustle and birds sing. My eyes are puffy from summer allergies, my back creaky because age + sleep somehow does not = refreshed. My planner has exciting things like, “[eradicate] spiderwebs; chicken out; laundry.” I will shower and dress, my energy will continue for a few hours before I begin to flag, and within a quarter turn of the earth’s rotation, I will already be thinking about making it till bedtime.

And yet, somehow, my life matters. It matters not because of what I will do — although that does, indeed, matter as He has prepared good works for me, and that is such a comforting and exciting thought — but it matters because of Whose I am. His breath fills my lungs. His praise stirs my soul. His voice becomes the thoughts in my head. He directs my path.

I’m not terribly bright. My mind is like a sieve. My talents are so mediocre it’s hard to see them as talents. If I think too far ahead my imagination flatlines. If I look around too much, I get overwhelmed.

I am not special or remarkable.

Except, somehow, I am. My soul is loved, held, shaped, washed, restored, purified by a holy God, the eternal King, the Father of all. His eye is on me.

This is my somewhat private rumination. Private because I’m putting this out there, but without any social media accounts to push it, I’m suddenly feeling under the radar, back to 2004 before I had any accounts anywhere. Did I even have an iPhone? Not sure. I’m back there. I can’t even get my current somewhat broken phone to upload pictures except that one, that sweet moment with Enid’s grubby fingernails and little 4 year old fingers, holding up a treasure for Beatrice to capture with a camera.

So, July 1st, hello. It’s a quiet life in many ways, a small life. But it’s a called-forth-by-God life, where every word spoken has the opportunity to bring grace and power, my eyes have the ability to see according to the Spirit, and my every breath can be a praise to the Lord and Father of all.

lean on Him.

Snow day on a February morning. Wind blows, snow piles, schools close. Light candles, breathe deep, plan for slow.

A favorite verse from childhood, a melody I’ve sung hundreds of times in moments of fear, anxiety, and overwhelm:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength. (Isaiah 26)

Keep: to keep, guard, watch; preserve, guard from dangers
Stayed: to lean or lay upon, rest upon, lean against; to support, uphold, sustain; to sustain, refresh, revive
Trusteth: to trust in, have confidence, be secure; to feel safe; bold, secure, confident, hope, sure

The God who is wants to guard you — you! — as you lean completely upon Him. You can trust Him.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

love what you do.

Once in awhile I’ll have a kid observe me performing some menial task and ask, “Mama, do you like changing diapers/washing the toilet/matching socks/cooking dinner/making the bed?”

It’s always a funny question because on the one hand, most often it’s asked in relation to a chore that no one in their right mind would list as their favorite activity. But it’s become an increasingly funny question over the years because I generally find myself trying to explain why YES, in fact, I do kind of like doing this boring or dirty or endless job.

You know what the secret to living a fulfilled life of purpose is?

Love what you do.

No, that’s not a typo and I didn’t get it backwards. While everything around us (and our carnal hearts within us) screams, “Do what you love! Settle for nothing less!”, we find ourselves transformed by the Holy Spirit until one day we’re confessing crazy things like, “I delight to do YOUR will, oh my God!”

His will becomes a delight. He calls me, and enables me, to love what I do.

And what is His will?

He shows me. He shines the light of His Truth on the shadows of life, and suddenly daily acts of service are seen to have meaning and worth. Nothing is beneath me, because nothing is beneath His notice. Making a name for myself starts to seem a bit like vanity when I see the incredible value of the people around me. Better is one day in His courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked. Wherever His presence is, there I find joy.

What has God called you to today?

Maybe it’s not your dream job. Maybe you feel like a square peg in a round hole. Maybe you’re hoping this is a stepping stone on the way to somewhere else.

But maybe it doesn’t matter.

Not in the equation of purpose and joy. Those things exist in nowhere and in nothing else but Jesus.

Maybe you’re raising babies and feeling like you’re not cut out for it, and overwhelmed by the never ending cycles of mundane work that are not what you were picturing. Maybe it’s older kids who are giving you a run for your money.

Maybe you were born a woman and that mere fact chafes against your soul.

I’m telling you: the secret to a life of purpose and meaning is found right here, right in this moment, right inside the lines He drew for you. You can love what you do when you realize it’s the thing He’s asking of you. “I delight to do You will, o my God!”

Do you? Do you delight in that?

Oh, many times have I paused and confessed in anger, in weariness, in frustration: My soul is freaking out and I’m not good at this and I hate it. God, show me Your ways. Let me see this in Your light. Set me free from selfishness and striving. I want to delight in Your will!

And He answers. Through His Word, by His Spirit, He washes me with truth and leads me in paths of righteousness.

And somehow, years later, a kid asks me, “Do you like making dinner every night?”, and I pause and realize, there is delight in this task because I am doing it with Jesus, for the people He’s asked me to give my life to.

Pretty much, kid. Pretty much I love what I do.

listening

It is early and yet dark.

The rooms are heavy in silence and I, the mistress, tiptoe as if intruder, hoping to pass through unnoticed, preserving the unbroken sound of nothing.

I raise light with an unspoken apology to Sleeping House, sliding dimmer slowly, barely, silently begging just enough glow to do my usual things.

Candles lit and set by the tree, Bible raised to their light so I might see the red letters waiting on page.

Still silent.

Glow of tree, flicker of flame.

And then, from deep within House, a stirring. Furnace moves air, warming this winter morning, wrapping my sleeping Babes in comfort, guarding between us and frozen chill.

That bulk of ancient metal parts, somehow it speaks poetry in the morning. I hear its low hum and swell with gratitude. I am cared for. I am covered. I am sheltered. I am warm. My soul fills with mercy of provision, gladness of thanks.

Listening, not merely hearing, and a soul catches Word spoken. Eternal wave of sound, echoing Life through the ages, if we would but still. Low hum stills my heart this morn, and in tender moment I cry silently: Oh, to hear the Word and catch it gladly, receive it readily, treasure it forever.

pleasant places

When I was 14 or 15, or maybe 16 (what a blur), Andrew Eastmond recorded an album that was on repeat for an entire summer, and made a regular reappearance for many years after. Beautiful songs that were more than just songs — lines of scripture that did exactly what the Word is meant to do: bring life. I’m laughing at the memory of extension cords strung together so that we could listen to music while weeding gardens or painting front porches. Clumsy technology, but it worked, and so did that Living Word. It divided, like a sword, my emotions and motives. It lit up shadows, exposing garbage and imparting the grace to toss it out. It renewed my mind, washing away false ideas and leaving behind the strength of truth. And it became Rock I stand on, am defined by, decades later.

And all to beautiful melodies that I’ll never forget. Music is such a powerful way to memorize scripture.

The one that stands out, that has hemmed me in so beautifully through so many moments of my life, is from Psalm 16.

“O Lord You are — you’re my portion and my life
You’re my inheritance and cup.
You maintain my lot,
And the lines have fallen to me
In pleasant places, oh my God.”

When I was 14, 15, 16 — the oldest daughter of 8 (at the time), called upon to serve every day. A young disciple making decisions to follow Jesus, regardless of what others chose to do.

When I was 18 and trying to discern which way to go, which path to follow.

When I was single, in my 20s, following a step at a time on a unique journey.

When I was in labor with my first baby, trusting that life is a gift from the Lord and He would walk with me through every step of this endeavor.

When seasons of pressure and difficulty came, and it was tempting to wish for their lot rather than mine.

Over and over, when things went differently than I’d imagined or anticipated, instead of wondering why, there was this bedrock in my soul: “You maintain my lot, and the lines have fallen to me in pleasant places.” And not only is He governing the days of my life, creating something unique and beautiful through my surrender to Him, but — how wondrous is this! — He is my portion!!

God Himself. My portion. My life.

And now I am raising another generation, lives formed and created by God, just as I believe mine to be. Called to love Him and serve Him, whatever path that may lead them on. But not just someday — now. I can look at each of them and confidently say, “The lines that have fallen to you today are good, and Jesus is here to be found.”

Oh Jesus, You are and always will be enough.
“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”



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