Posts tagged joy

Dear girls, Many years ago, God did a deep carving in my heart. He met me in a place of soul-churning anger and ugliness and despair. I was loosing my hearing and terrified of what my future might look like.

Just a few months before the real trial began, I had prayed earnestly that He would lead me to a place of satisfaction. I was a mom with 3 small children, a godly husband, a beautiful home— everything I’d ever wanted— and I wasn’t happy.

I didn’t know then what I know now— that rest and peace and real happiness are not found in a way of life. That only when I live curled up close to the Father’s heart, hid deep in Him, lost in the wonder of who He is and how He loves even me— only then am I satisfied.

In this series we’ve called He’s Not Your Prince Charming, I’ve been trying to paint a picture of a life of letting go of the things you think will make you happy— namely, that man who is supposed to ride into your life on a white steed and sweep you off your feet so that you will be happy forever— and grasp hold of the One who will.

And you’ve been listening, longing for more of Him.

I hear it in your comments and cries over relationships that aren’t what you wish them to be. In your uncomfortable attempts to settle into a skin that doesn’t fit.

I read the wonder as you begin to understand, to hold on tight to your real Lover.

For months now, my daughter, Elizabeth, and I have been talking about her own  uncomfortableness. I’ve rambled on and on and prayed and listened and hoped… because words from mom are not enough to settle the longing inside.

My story is mine and her story is hers and sometimes I can’t say what I mean in a way even my own girl can understand… you know what I mean?

But He can. The One who calls Himself the Word, He spoke words to my daughter’s unrest a few mornings ago and she sent those words to me. And she’s so filled with hope and joy at what He said that she’s allowed me to pass it on to you.

May the One who is your Prince Charming speak to you through Elizabeth today…


Dissatisfied— the emotion that has made it’s way deep into my life and is pulsing through my veins.

I am slowly dying, drowning in a sea of not enough, not good enough, not perfect enough. Grasping at every quick fix possible to fill my lungs with one more breath.

A clean home… only to be marked by toddler fingers and little boy shoes.

A new outfit to make me feel pretty… only until I venture out again and my eyes see something better.

An experience… only be found empty when it doesn’t fill my lack.

Joy comes and goes like the morning fog; thick for a moment, then quickly lifted and replaced by rain.

How do I move from this running wheel of ups and downs? This silent killer of not enough?

I don’t.

My efforts are temporary at best but my Father’s are forever; for the now and not yet.

He said He is the vine. To grow and thrive and produce fruit, all I have to do is stay connected to the vine. To Him.

Nothing can sever me from that life-giving vine.

No wind.

No rain.

No heat.


No bad day.

No messy house.

No un-answered dream.

The two become one… the vine and the branch. The striving ceases and God’s design is set into motion.

“I am the vine, you are the branches; He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Then the miracle of real life begins.

There is rest.

There is growth.

There is joy.

Joy that is not made by me… like a wind that touches my skin one moment and is gone the next.

Joy that is concrete. Unwavering in the big storms… and the small.

“These things I have spoken to you so that MY joy may be in you, and that YOUR joy may be made full” John 15:11

My joy. That thing I grasp at the clouds for until my fists can clench no more. That feeling I try to manufacture with all the tools I know… and am still found lacking.

It can be made FULL!

His joy in me makes my joy full.

No more searching. No more self helps. No more band-aids of temporary relief.

The real thing.




I choose His way today. And tomorrow and the next.

My joy is no longer missing— He has been found.

From a joy filled heart,


Choosing Rest

Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest..." Hebrews 4:11

For months and months and months my every-days have been filled to the brim with must-do’s.

I went to sleep most nights knowing the next day was too full to manage but knowing that if I didn’t manage someone would be mad.

Not as in really mad, but that sort of frustrated, somewhat annoyed mad that makes me cringe inside.

And I’ve been the maddest of all. Mad at myself for not keeping up— for the dog hair I didn’t vacumm, the empty fridge of not-home-made food, for not keeping up with running or weights or plucking my eyebrows or answering e-mails.

Mad at myself for the unkempt piles on my desk that hid invitations I couldn’t accept because I was too busy to go and didn’t even send a card to let her know I wish I could but I can’t.

What’s wrong with me?!

And every time I asked that question in frustration at another ball dropped, I knew.

What’s wrong with me is-- I’m doing too much.

More than I am made for.

More than I can do well… and still be nice… and happy.

Do you know what I’m sayin’?

And so today I start a quest for balance in my life. For rest in my every-days. For a pace that works for me, to match the timer God set inside of me, the heart beat that matches mine.

I’m asking Him to show me what He wants me to do. Not what I want to achieve or what others wish I’d manage or what might make me look better than I am.

What do You want, Lord?

And here’s what I keep hearing:

There is a time to pour out everything. To work hard, and be efficient, and say no to other things that don’t matter as much. To achieve is a good thing-- to achieve for the Kingdom, best of all.

Now its time to rest. To lie down in that green meadow beside the quiet stream. To be still. To breath deeply of God’s beauty and find rest there.

And so today I’ve rested in beauty.

I’ve polished silver teaspoons and clipped the first roses dripping fragrance on the arbor. After I gathered armfuls of peonies I walked… rambled really, with my face soaking in that soft spring mist I love.

And then I sat down in my big chair by the window and spent a while reading… a book I’ve read before… and need again. Her quiet words speaking life back into my tired soul.

In a few minutes my quiet will be invaded by five lively, full-of-fun grandkids. I’ll read stories and start a fairytale I’ve been wanting them to relish along with me. I’ll admire Lego creations and waggle my eyebrows with Sunday as we laugh at all those silly boys.

I’ll have all the time they need to be just me

And you? Are you too tired? Doing too much? Dropping balls and huffing and puffing and not sure why?

Want to join in me in this quest for rest?

I'd love to hear where you're finding that rest... how you're delighting in beauty... how you're learning to set the pace that brings you fullest joy... And I've a feeling there may just be more posts as we learn together to set His pace for our lives...

From my heart,



The Proposal 

Ruth 3v1-18 (Part One)

(Click here to listen to the fourth Ruth teaching)

As the fourth scene of our story opens, a light begins to dawn in Naomi’s heart. All these inexplicable events which “happened to happen” to her and Ruth begin to add up to a revolutionary idea. Maybe, just maybe, God is in control after all.

She sees that she has a part to play in this drama - an essential role. Whereas previously we pitied Naomi for her irritating passivity, now we watch as she plunges into her position as matchmaker. Naomi has found her niche and she revels in it!

Naomi’s perspective on Ruth’s role has changed seemingly overnight: from tagalong servant to treasured daughter. As Naomi scurries to undo some of the damage of Ruth’s backbreaking labor in the gleaning fields, she sets about to secure a home for her future. With explicit instructions, she directs Ruth in how to nab her man.

A bath?...Check...Lotion and perfume?...Check...Feminine clothes?...Check.

Naomi knows just what to do. And Ruth enthusiastically complies even as she adds her own imprint to the intrigue. What man could possibly resist the charming way in which Ruth “comes softly” into his world and invites his love? Boaz certainly offers no sign of resistance to Ruth’s overtures, blowing every book’s theory that men don’t like to be chased! He passionately welcomes Ruth even as he protects her purity and her reputation.

The scene closes in suspense. Will Boaz come through? Will Ruth be rescued? Is the home the women have been longing for about to become a reality or another dismaying disappointment?

This week, we will spend some time delving into the idea of rest and security and home.

Just as Ruth and Naomi threw off any vestiges of passive complacency, we’ll be challenged to actively cooperate with God to create a place of beauty for those He calls us to love.

Most of all, as we involve ourselves in this scene, we will fall head over heels in love with Boaz. He is the man of our dreams; the one we’ve been looking for our whole lives. Our protector, our provider, our Prince Charming…he’s the man!

Come along with me as we open the curtain on Scene Four of our story to reveal our Redeemer.



The Verse of the Week:

“…I will give you rest.” Matthew 11v28b NASB


More Words from the Father:

Matthew 11v28-30

Ruth 3v1-18

Psalm 116


From my Heart:

 A Rare Place

Outside the quaint cottage where we spent our honeymoon, a conglomeration of letters set in a beautiful mosaic had us completely stumped. Framed by planters and overflowing with cascading blooms sat the wonderfully curious phrase, “Resta bitfo rtisa ra replace tor estat.” At first we thought it an odd bit of Scottish poetry or some beautiful Gallic saying. But, as the days passed and our eyes adjusted to the strange configuration of letters, a message emerged. The message intended all along:

Rest a bit for tis a rare place to rest at.

For two glorious weeks we rested at that rare place. It became our respite from the real world - our own secluded island, far from the cares and chaos of life in the fast lane. Eventually, however, we had to go back. Back to work. Back to bills. Back to all the hassles and hurts that are a part of the reality of living in this world.

For my husband and I, that place was magical. We found joy and peace and wonder and delight under the eaves of its shelter.

A rare place to rest at.

After months of misery, Naomi finally wakes up one morning and realizes that it’s time to stop sulking, time to “get off her duff,” time to stop making excuses and create for Ruth what she’d been longing for all along. A place of rest.

The Hebrew word used here and throughout Scripture is manoah. Naomi set out to find manoah for Ruth.



A home.

Naomi wanted more for Ruth than the cold cave they had found shelter in. She wanted what we all want. She wanted a rare place to rest at.

Is that what your home is?

Is your home a sanctuary from the storm? A cozy place to curl up and relax? A place of welcome? A place of delight?

What would your kids say…or your husband…or your friends? Would your roommate agree?

Maybe it’s time, like Naomi, for us to wake up and start over - to clear out the closets full of criticism and conflict. Time to smooth down some ruffled feathers and sing a soothing song of joy and acceptance. Maybe it’s time to get off your duff and get to work, rethinking, rebuilding, renewing, and restoring the ruins of relationships that have become anything but restful. Time to unscramble the letters and to plant some beauty there.

It wasn’t until Naomi stopped thinking about herself and started loving on Ruth that her own joy returned.

I can just see Naomi as she concocts her female scheme. Washing Ruth’s tangled hair. Hauling water for a long hot soak in the tub. Finding perfume for her to slather on. Rummaging through their clothes to create something appealing. Naomi is having the time of her life! Gone is the sour expression and depression that have characterized this woman since the first sentence of our story. Now Naomi is happy, and busy, and full of hope and creativity.

I don’t know anything about your home, but I know about mine.

I know that “if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” I know I set the tone of our home. When everybody is uptight, it’s usually because I’ve been on a rampage, trying to shape everyone up and quiet everyone down. On the other hand, if I welcome my friends and family into my home with peace in my heart and the presence of the Holy One shining through me, they respond with an inexplicable sense of rest.

Light a few candles, spray around some perfume, and they sink in and stay a while.


How about it? Should we try? Can we cheer each other on as we attempt, with Naomi, to provide a place of rest for those we love?

Let’s unscramble those letters. Let’s write with beauty. Let’s…

Rest a bit, for ‘tis a rare place to rest at.


From my heart,





A Type of What?

A type is a theological term referring to an event or person in the Old Testament which foreshadows its fulfillment in the New Testament. The idea of what constitutes a type and what it represents is fraught with controversy and confusion. It seems best to err on the side of caution when identifying a biblical type while recognizing that the Old Testament stories and prophesies inevitably point to the Messiah.

Three rules of hermeneutical interpretation2 lend legitimacy to types:

1. There must be an obvious resemblance between the type and the antitype.

2. There must be some biblical evidence that God intended it to be a type.

3. A genuine type must clearly portray, without any mystery, what is being prefigured.

Boaz is clearly and without controversy an Old Testament type of Christ. His role as the Kinsman-Redeemer who steps in and rescues Ruth is a provocative picture of Jesus. Many commentators, including the late J. Vernon McGee, interpreted the entire book of Ruth as a beautiful prefiguring of Christ. There is undoubtedly an underlying sense of double meaning throughout the story. It is, however, a genuine historical story involving people who actually lived, who loved, and who married in the town of Bethlehem.

Boaz was a man. Imperfect and flawed. In every way real. The story doesn’t show any of that. Instead, the author beckons us along to peer down the ages and imagine what it might be like when Jesus comes.

The original readers didn’t know what we know now. They couldn’t imagine Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, then paying the awful price for our redemption. But we know, and that knowing makes this story come alive.

While reading about Boaz, remember Jesus. You’ll find yourself falling in love with Him right along with Ruth.





When Naomi seeks a home for Ruth, she uses the Hebrew word manoah. It is a noun designating a resting place. The word does not indicate a freedom from hard work as much as it is points to a particular location where someone settles down and remains.1 Since this is not the typical word used to denote a house, translators chose a variety of English words to give its meaning:

ESV: rest

NASB: security

NLT: a permanent home

NIV: a home

This rest can also mean a spiritual place of rest for the soul. In the midst of difficulties and stress, the Psalmist cried out to the Lord and He answered with manoah, rest for his soul.

“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is compassionate. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul. For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116v7