Posts tagged protection

With my dad so recently residing in the presence of God, I’ve been thinking a lot about heaven. Trying to figure out what it means, this “going away” or “falling asleep” or “departing”. All of a sudden I want to know:

What is he doing?

Can he see me?

Who else is there?

What would he say to me if he could?

And then this morning my time set apart for listening in God’s Word took me from Colossians 1v1-6 to I Thessalonians 5v8.

Paul is commending his Colossian friends for their faith in God and for their obvious love for “all God’s people everywhere”. Which, he says, “spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven”…

The words strike me.

Faith springs from hope?  Hope in heaven?

Truth is, my faith seems so shaky as I worry my way through everyday life.

Do we have enough savings? Can I write the Intentional Parents book adequately or will I fail? Do I have time for everything I think I need to do? Is Mom going to be okay? How can I help her? How in the world am I going to find a home for their dog, Barney?!

And my love for “all God’s people everywhere” is more like a love for a few of God’s people right here as long as they’re nice to me.

How, I ask Him, did these people become people of great faith and generous love?

And how can I?

And how does hope in heaven have anything to do with my todays?

I stumble on the answer found tucked at the end of a sentence in I Thessalonians 5v8:

“… let us put on… the hope of salvation as a helmet.”

It dawns on me suddenly, this helmet metaphor: A helmet protects my head.

By purposely putting on hope- not just any hope, but hope in salvation, in forever, in what all of life is leading up to—I actually protect my mind from wrong thinking that leads to worry.

Wrong thinking which creates fertile ground for  fretting and frustration when all of life isn’t neat and tidy, just the way I like it.

Wrong thinking that convinces me God owes me more… more money, more time, more ease.

Wrong thinking that makes me self-protective and prickly with people who poke at me, or who express their disapproval of the way I do life.

I need this helmet! 

Because without one I wind up with a sort of spiritual concussion, with ringing in my ears that drowns out the sound of God in my soul.

And so this morning I purposely put on my helmet of hope.

I imagine the way life will be when a new earth replaces this one and God invites me to take part in life as He meant it to be.

I think beyond the deadline that weighs heavily on my day, to the coming day when my life begins again.

I choose to remember what I’m really about: Jesus and His kingdom, His work, His will, His way.

And suddenly everything changes. Hope fuses me with energy to complete the tasks assigned to this day, to do what needs doing while I look for signs of His coming— for signs of Him.

Those blossoms on the tulip tree out back remind me that He is unfolding this day and that beauty comes not from striving but from resting in His working.

Hope rises to turn my tasks into joyous work, to infuse my day with purpose. It won’t always be this hard, Someday is coming.

And in the meantime I’d better scurry because He’s called me to things that will last forever. And I’d better look closely at my lists lest I waste time on things that don’t matter in light of that Someday.

He beckons me towards giving and serving and worshipping and listening close to His words to me. He invites me to protect my mind by keeping Someday in sight.

And my dad is there. He’s stepped into the Someday that lasts forever.

See you there, Dad! Someday.

From my heart,


P.S. I’ll resume my letters to Matt and Simona about OUR HOUSE soon. For now I’m just letting you in on my mourning. Thank you for your beautiful messages of condolence to me. Your kindness soothes my soul.



Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Five)

Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)

The Verse of the Week




More Words From the Father

Revelation 22v17

Isaiah 53-54v5

Psalm 46

Mark 12v29-31

1 John 1v1-5

1 John 3v1-3



From my Heart 

Pages from the Past: September 1998 Memories Well Worth It

Yesterday, I took my son to college. With a quick hug and “See ya at Thanksgiving, maybe,” he turned to begin the next stage of his life.


Today, all I can remember is the past.


Just yesterday, it seems, he was born. Not squalling and screaming, but wide-eyed and silently staring at these two strangers who would love him, and discipline him, and teach him, and wipe away his tears for the next 18 years.


I remember the moments.


His hand resting on my breast as I nursed him. His first flinging steps as he raced from his dad’s outstretched hands to mine. His squeal as he ran naked down the sidewalk.

I remember the first time he opened his Bible and read it on his own. Listening as he led his little sister to receive Jesus. His ear-to-ear grin when he was baptized by his dad.

I remember playing army, dramatically dying, imitating machine gun fire, throwing waterfilled grenades. I remember playing hide and seek when he thought no one could see him if he covered his eyes.

I remember matchbox cars in the bathtub and G.I. Joe in my purse. Melted crayons in the car and rock collections in the washing machine.

I remember skinned knees and stitches, pimples and braces, loud music…and soft serenades on the piano as he waited for the carpool. Late night talks…and tears. Silly jokes with no punch line. Artwork on the fridge.


Eighteen years of memories.


One thing I know now - one thing I want to pass on to every mother of every little boy - all that work, the lost sleep, the worry, the spankings, the cooking, the cleaning up of little-boy-messes, the reading and rereading of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, the hours of listening, the carpooling, the cuts and scrapes and trips to the emergency room…


Every moment is worth it.


When you kiss him good-bye, when your job is done, when you send him off to his future, you too will remember the moments. And you will agree…


It was well worth it.


From my heart,




Saving Ruth

Redemption is at the heart of the story of Ruth. Some would say it is the whole point - the very premise of the book. It is more than a rescue, for Boaz lifts Ruth out of a precariously uncertain future and hands her hope. He rewrites the rest of her story by redeeming her from a life of poverty and rejection and loneliness.

In one breath-taking scene, Boaz concocts a plan to combine two ancient Hebrew legal institutions into one brilliant strategy. He takes the premise of property redemption by a close relative (Kinsman-Redeemer) and mixes it up with an entirely different concept which involved a brother providing for his widowed sister-in-law (levirate marriage).

Kinsman-Redeemer (go’el)

This was a way by which property would be guaranteed to stay within the tribal divisions set by Moses and Joshua as they divided the Promised Land. Families descended from the patriarchs in Genesis stayed together in an assigned vicinity within the boundaries of Israel. Further, families stayed together in close community, caring for and looking out for each family member in a sort of preemptive welfare approach.

When one head of a family died, the closest relative was required to buy that man’s land and take the dependents under his protection and provision. He got the land, but he also inherited all the responsibilities that went with it. The go’el took on hero status as he redeemed the land from the possibility of hostile take over by someone outside the family (see Leviticus 25v23-25).

Levirate marriage

This concept comes out of the latin word levir, which means husband’s brother. Simply put, it meant that when a man died without leaving an heir, a single brother or next of kin was expected to marry his widow in order to carry on his name and family line2 (see Deuteronomy 25v5-10).

Read the story in Matthew 22v23-33 when Jesus takes on a crowd of Sadducees (a group of religious scholars who refuted the idea of life after death) over this idea of Levirate marriage. Trying to trip Him up, they twist this simple concept into a complex argument. Rather than enter into the fray, Jesus urges them to see the big picture: God’s redeeming love for His people throughout the ages. In response, the Sadducees were silenced and the multitudes who were listening in “were astonished at His teaching.”





In Boaz’s response to Ruth’s proposal, he calls her a “woman of excellence” or “woman of noble character.” The Hebrew word is hayil, meaning a person of wealth, character, virtue, attainment, and comprehensive excellence. This is the same Hebrew word used to describe Boaz in Ruth 2v1, translated in most versions as “wealth” or “man of standing.”

Clearly, Ruth and Boaz had both gained reputations as people of integrity and spiritual strength.



An interesting note: The ideal woman described in Proverbs 31 is also named a woman of hayil.

“An excellent (hayil) wife who can find?

For her worth is far above jewels.”- Proverbs 31v10