Posts tagged rest
A Sabbatical of Silence

Hello! I’m finally back!

I had thought to take a break from this blog space for just a few weeks while my creative friend, Allie, updated and redesigned the website.

Before I knew what hit me,  the reality of my unacknowledged soul-exhaustion came crashing home and I knew I needed a good, long sabbatical of silence. Time to rest and remember, to take long walks and listen— to just be for a while.

These are the words from the Word that reached into my heart and led me to rest:

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

He leads me beside quiet waters,

He refreshes my soul.

 He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.

Psalm 23v2,3

 In these months away I have, in some mysterious and life-giving way, reconnected with myself. With Me. With my own soul.

Isn’t this the most amazing and beautiful way of God? He invites us into seasons of restoring, often before we even know we’re in need.

And now I am back: a renewed and wiser me. A quieted me. Sensing that release of the Spirit to write again, to scribble in this space what I am learning.

At the same time, Allie Rice has been doing her magic, taking my blog and making it more… me. A better reflection of who I am now.

Isn’t it beautiful?

I can hardly wait to get “talking” to you again! I’ve filled journals full of lessones learned about wearing out, and hope. I want to explore with you...

what to do about all this striving that seems to be driving so many of us into wearily distorted caricatures of ourselves.

I want to tell you about my family and my new granddaughter.  I've been learning so much about our need to celebrate with food and beauty and friendships rather than constantly setting impossible goals to achieve more.

More than anything else, I hope to keep writing about living and learning and delighting in the beauty of God and the ways He sprinkles our lives with His surprising, sparkly goodness… if we will only open our souls wide enough to receive.

My plan is to post just once a week. Maybe more if I have something I must tell you about RIGHT NOW.

And because I want to keep our conversation intimate— between friends, for friends, and to friends who in turn share with their friends— I am not going to spray an endless stream of words into social media. That's one of the things that wore me out, an invasion of the quiet that created too much noise for my soul to keep up with.

Instead, I hope that many of you will sign up to receive an alert to new posts via e-mail.

From my rested heart,


Away For A While


I will guide you along the best pathways for your life.

I will advise you and watch over you.

Psalm 32v8 NLT

Dear girls~

I nestle into the comfort of my cabin in the woods, savoring a pot of tea, staring out the window as trees emerge like silent sentinels from the dripping darkness of an early Northwest morning. A hint of the soon coming Spring in the midst of sodden green. Moss brightening trees. The faintest buds on climbing hydrangeas assuring me of life, of promise, of renewal.

Winter is waning and I listen to the rhythm of the seasons. If winter is a season of less: less sunlight, less activity, less gardening— it is also a season of more. More sleep, more scented candles and soft blankets, more fires crackling.

In the flurry of Christmas, the festivity of the book release, the study and speaking and planning and doing, I seem to have missed the quiet of these darkening months. All those joy-filled happenings have left me craving quiet. Rest.

Without realizing why, I have been running at a pace that isn’t sustainable for me to thrive and create and feel good about my life. All that doing what needed to be done, while writing about slowing down to listen, to create beauty, to hear God. Hmm.

At the same time, new beginnings are coming, people and callings that need space to flourish.

The most important one is a baby girl named Beatrice. I’ll be leaving in just a few weeks to await her arrival alongside Elizabeth and Brook, Duke and Scarlet. Staying in L.A. until she emerges into a world made ready for her story. While there I want to play with Duke and pretend with Scarlet, get a pedicure with my daughters, go to the beach and savor the days.

I want to be undividedly present in moments I will remember forever.

By the time I get back to Firwood Cottage, Phil and I will be launching the website for Intentional Parents— a place for parents to learn and be reminded that our first and highest calling is to create in our children a heart that beats for God. I’ll be writing a weekly post to moms who need what I needed thirty years ago: practical help in real stories from the Scriptures and from life. Eventually I dream of a place where many writers— experts in their fields— weigh in with wisdom about the how’s and why’s and what-if’s of guiding and growing the next generation of passionate, all-in Jesus followers and people lovers.

Which is why I need to quiet my voice on this space for a while, lest I fall into the trap of just adding more on top of more because something inside  says I must and should.

I’ll be back, of that I am certain. I plan to begin again in May… or early June, whenever I just can’t stand it anymore and need a place to spill my heart.

In the meanwhile it’s time for some redesign, some prettying up; implementing some of the features that appeal to my writerly love of words. Going forward I want to recapture the intimacy of this space, once again writing as a means of sharing beauty, of bringing my girls into my story, of listening together to the riches in the silence. Most of all, it is on my heart to practice the art of listening to God in the midst of real life.

If that sounds like something you’re craving too, may I suggest that you subscribe to this space? I’ll post no more than once a week, just a fresh invitation of what it looks like to love God with passion and to love people on purpose.

I’ll be sneaking frequent peeks into the comments and I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a note— I’ll be missing you!

From my heart,


DAY 12

I will also give that person a white stone with

a new name written on it,

known only to the one who receives it. 

Revelations 2v17 niv

And you will be given a new name by the LORD's own mouth. 

Isaiah 62v2 nlt

Yesterday was our Sabbath— the day Phil and I stop all work and reflect on God's goodness... all day long. A day set aside specifically to delight.

Sabbath is a day to place our lists and our pressures, our unsolved problems and our stressors in God's hands.  To just be with Him in gratitude and wonder. To rest.  To remember.

To remember whose we are.

We who have chosen to believe in Jesus belong to Him. He gives us His name and He knows us by name. And someday we will get a new name— one that He will place on each of us like a crown of knowing. Not just any name, but a name that signifies who we really are.

I can imagine Him presenting you with your name as all of us watch in wonder.

This is my child, (your new name here).  I love this one dearly. Welcome her home!

And then we’ll all crowd around you in unfiltered delight! I think maybe we’ll join hands and form a circle of dance around you, kicking up our feet in spontaneous hilarity.

You’ll be laughing and blushing and beaming with happiness.

For each of you who feel harried and hurt today, may you take just a moment to dream about that Day.

Imagine yourself with Him, tucked under His arm. Imagine how much all of us, each of usmillions of us--will love you. We’ll be proud of you. We’ll see you, not with eyes of judgment, but eyes of understanding and admiration.

We’ll see your worth.

From a heart delighting in a love that I can hardly grasp,


P.S. My list of names to bring on my walking, praying treks through these Pacific Northwest storms is growing. I am having a increasing sense of the importance of these soggy walks. If you’d like to add your name please tell me in the comments.


  This day has been chock full of delight. Overflowing with one thing— rest. Sweet, luxurious, delight filled rest.

The delight of this day did not happen because my list is all crossed off, nor due to an accidental twist of fate. In fact, unfinished chores are tucked behind closet doors and relegated to a tidy pile on my desk.

Today is our Sabbath.

I know, I know, it’s Friday. And Sabbath is traditionally either on Saturday (for Jewish observers) or Sunday (for Christians). Or not at all.

For us, the ancient practice of Sabbath is brand new. Pastors work harder and longer on Sunday than on any other day of the week. And as two people who came to faith during the anti-traditional days of the Jesus Movement of the ‘70’s, we grew into our faith believing that the Sabbath was a law that didn’t apply to us. Somehow we’d been taught that of all the Ten Commandments, that was the one we were allowed to skip.

Fast forward to this day.

I woke up early as I always do, but instead of getting out of bed, I allowed myself to burrow under the down comforter for another hour.

It’s Sabbath-- bliss.

When I finally felt wide awake and ready to face the cold, I sauntered into the kitchen, switching on all the sparkling strings of lights, and made tea. I wrapped myself in a thick shawl and carried my tea tray out to my cabin where I spent as long as I wanted curled up in my big white chair reading and listening and writing and learning.

It’s Sabbath— bliss.

No rush. No hurry. No chores or work or lists or worries.

By late morning we were getting antsy to do something so we drove a couple of miles to a delightful Scandinavian café where we relished rich coffee and baked eggs with a griddle cake topped with linden berries and crème fraiche.

It’s Sabbath— bliss.

We talked, we laughed, we planned Comer Christmas surprises, we caught up on conversations cut short during the work week. By mid-afternoon all that delightful resting made us sleepy so Phil dozed in his chair by the fire while I read a really good story. It’s Sabbath— bliss. 

We went on a walk just as the sun dipped below the horizon, rambling in our dark, forested neighborhood past cottages brightened by Christmas lights. The night is cold and wintery, mysterious and quiet. Stars in the sky reminding us of that first Christmas when Shepherds first heard the news we celebrate.

Now we’re rummaging around the kitchen heating up left overs, getting ready to watch a Christmas movie. Cinnamon candles lend softness to the inside of our cozy home.

For one whole day we have stopped. We have rested. We have worshipped and consciously chosen not to indulge in worry or work or anything that might take away the wonder of this day.

It’s Sabbath. One day in seven for worship and for rest. For bliss.

From a heart quieted by the delight of Sabbath,


P.S. Have you yet responded to the invitation to Sabbath? If you want to know more, I highly recommend my son’s book, Garden City: Work, Rest, and the Art of Being Human. He details his family’s Sabbath rhythm as well as unpacking what the Scriptures teach.


It’s Not Your Fault

“the sound of a gentle whisper…”

I Kings 19:12

This morning I woke up to worry— again.

As per my usual pattern, all my worry was about me: what I need to do, what I should have done, how inadequate and undone I am. Should have’s, ought to’s…

But on this morning, as I padded out to my place of refuge with my pot of tea, my plain white china cup, my fluffy blanket, I heard something strange and…beautiful in the middle of my self-shaming tirade. Words so soft, like a gentle whisper.

Shhh… hush Di! You are Mine and I love you. Shhh! 

All those discouragements, the conflict and criticisms— those are on Me. 

My breath caught, from You, Lord? 

From Me.

In that one phrase all my angst swooshed out and relief lifted a load from my tense shoulders I hadn’t known I carried. I felt lifted, like those silken hot air balloons, launched into the quiet sky, far above the fray.

From Him. The One who loves me just for me, all the way through— always. My hard days and sleepless nights weren’t simply because I am inadequate. Nor were they because someone else is. The truth is, He used those disruptions to do something wild and wonderful in me, for me.

And, dear ones who read my words, He does the same for you. I think He wants me to tell you that:

It’s not your fault.

That people will blame you, that your enemy stands ready with those fiery darts to afflict you, that shame and heaviness will weigh you down and keep you from soaring, but…

It’s not your fault.

And we’re laughing now, my Father and me, chuckling together in shared joy. Because He knows these words are for me too, for me and every other woman who wallows in blame.

He loves you! He isn’t blaming you— that’s not Him.

And get this: He even…likes you.

I sense His arm around me as I sit curled up in my cushy chair in the corner of my cabin in the woods. We watch— together— as branches bounce in a haphazard dance as one of His creatures— a squirrel? a chipmunk? It’s moving too fast to see— leaps from limb to limb setting the forest asway.

It’s not your fault.

I’m grinning big, seeing His hand in the unexpected, knowing now that He knew what was ahead. He knew and let it be. Not because He’s mean or distant or giving me my just dues, but because He knows I need Him. That only tucked in tight to Him can I do what He needs me to do. And that, more than any other way, it is those hard days, those difficult weeks, those just lousy moments— that cause me to scurry in close, to abide.

I don’t know why or if your weeks are hard. Maybe your kids are squabbling their way through these hot summer days. Maybe you’re the one squabbling. Maybe you’ve stubbed your toe one too many times and the soreness is causing you to limp. I don’t know.

I do know that He wants me to say it again and again:

It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault. It’s not your fault.  Even when it is.

I think He wants to remind you— and me!— that He has taken our burden and placed it on His back. That He’s got your back. That He loves you and He likes you and that’s really, honestly, the only thing that matters.

Soaring now, way up high in the summer sky where everything looks… beautiful.

From my heart,


P.S. Do you blame yourself for every troubled day? Feel as if you must work harder, do more, be better, in order to earn God’s favor?  Are these words: It’s not your fault! for you?



THE QUIET: time management 101

… He dismissed the crowd.

Matthew 14v22

In my quest to learn the Quiet Life— that daily living tucked into God’s presence, being who I am made to be, doing what I am directed to do— I am mulling over the ever popular topic of Time Management. 

For years now, God has been opening my eyes to the way He uses time to His purposes. Maybe someday I’ll gather all those pieces in one place and post them here where everything going in me seems to eventually come out. But this morning, these words about Jesus won’t leave me alone:

He dismissed the crowd.

These were people He cared about. People who were hungry for His story, desperately thirsty to know the Father. They were not nuisances, time wasters, hangers-on. These people were His mission.

And yet He left them. He demanded that they leave. He dismissed them.

Sometimes— often— we must dismiss the crowd. Just like Jesus.

If you are a mother (dare I say it?) that may mean your children. I shudder when a mother proudly boasts that she’s never left her kids overnight. Really? As if that is a badge of honor for Most-Needed Mama. It’s also a citation for a much-neglected marriage.

Sometimes, for the sake of sanity, a mother needs to dismiss the crowd.

If you are well on your way to win the most successful employee of the year award at your work, you may well need to dismiss the List Of One More Thing To Do. One more call to make, one more evening spent organizing for productivity, one more schmooze after work with the boss.

To work and work and work makes for some twisted brokenness in any of us. Nobody is as impressed as we wish they were by our constant pushing of ourselves. Especially when it leaves us prickly and crabby and hinting that if only everyone else would work this hard then we wouldn’t have to.

Sometimes, for wholeness, hard working do-ers need to dismiss the crowd and (gulp!) do less.

If you are, like me, driven by the compulsion to keep everyone happy, you may need to do exactly what I need to do. I need to dismiss the expectations. I need to face the fact that the cost of pleasing everyone will bankrupt me. That I’ll have nothing more to give if I’ve turned myself inside out to try to be more than I am.

Sometimes, people-pleasers need to have the courage to dismiss the crowd.

The other night, Phil found the movie Chariots of Fire on Netflix. He insisted that we watch it together because he had a point to make. It’s in a scene where Eric Liddell is explaining to his sister that he cannot yet go to China where he is going to spend the rest of his life as a missionary. She’s disappointed in him and clearly disapproves (my worst nightmare!). This is what he says: “I believe that God made me for a purpose--for China-- but He also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure."

Because after writing a post about The Rhythm of Slow, my husband affectionately twisted that memorable line to encourage me to say,

 I believe God made me for a purpose... but He also made me slow. And when I mull and think and read and learn and write, I feel His pleasure.

He was reminding me with all that charisma that makes him able to say hard things well, that I am best when I am who I am. That when I try to be like someone I admire or someone I think I should be, when I hurry at a pace that is theirs and not mine, I inevitably stumble.

But when I’m me— when I dismiss the crowd of unrealistic expectations— when I plod at my own pace, that’s when I am the me I am meant to be. 

I don’t know who or what is your crowd to dismiss. Who you need to get away from in order to come back and love them more and better. What you may need to turn off in order to be content with who you are. (hint, hint, your iPhone!)

What I do know is that Jesus dismissed His crowd to be alone with the Father for a while. He needed to reconnect, to remember, to think and pray and rest in His presence.

After He had dismissed them,

He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.

Matthew 14v23

I think that’s what He is whispering to me today. That managing my time means going at my own pace and being okay with slow. Dismissing my own expectations of me. And being okay with those who aren’t okay with that.

He is showing me the way to freedom to do what I need to do. And He is giving me permission to do what it takes to be more with Him, so that I can be more who He wants me to be— more at rest in the quiet.

From my heart,


P.S. Is the Father whispering in your ear? Is there a crowd to dismiss? I would love to know that I’m not alone in this…




THE QUIET: the rhythm of slow

I had big plans this morning.

A long list of to-do’s on a project I want finished in the next few days. To get it done I’ve been up extra early every morning, focusing on what needs doing, falling in bed at the end of the day so tired all I feel is numb.

I thought I needed to work this relentlessly… for God… for my husband… for the ministry to parents we lead together.

I’ve pushed away Phil’s hints that maybe it can wait, that I’m trying too hard, that this pushing isn’t worth what it does to me.

Surely, I thought, God wants this now. He needs this book to inspire parents. All these interruptions just need to be managed better, I need to be more organized, move faster, push myself just a little harder to eek out a little more.

Then this morning something changed.

A friend had sent a homemade candle in a canning jar along with a bag full of fresh greens from his garden. This friend is under real pressure, the kind that only a single dad with a heart full of love for his children can understand.

Me, I’m under pressure because I chose it.

As I lit that little candle and watched it flicker in the shadows of my cabin in the woods— its fragrance reminding me of lemons and verbena and salads fresh from the earth—I couldn’t help but wonder how he’d found the time to make something beautiful for his friends.

A song of my childhood sounded like the tinkle of a music box to my ears that hear nothing,

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine…

let it shine, let it shine, let it shine. 

And then His words filtered through the lingering melody and I heard,

In Him was life and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… those who were His own did not receive Him…

John 1v 4,5,11

His own had missed His coming into their world.

And for just a moment so had I. Caught up in serving Him, I’d somehow forgotten.

I’d pushed myself past my God-tuned rhythm and tried to be better, faster, more disciplined and committed and… I’d become tense and uptight and too tired to be who He made me to be.

I am not a super-achiever. I am not a multi-tasking, amazing spinner of many plates at the same time. When I try, I leave a trail of broken china and love-deprived people behind.

God made me slow. A ponderer. A delighter in beauty. A relisher of words. A tidier of cupboards who finds wonder in small things.

That’s who He wants me to be— the true me.

When I rush and manage and go faster than I can, I deprive Him—

and my people— of me. The one He likes just as I am.

I stare outside my window and see the glistening of silk strands in the spruce tree. A spider’s trail.

My dog lies waiting for his walk, his limpid eyes letting me know he’s willing whenever I am. Soon the day will radiate the heat of the almost—summer sun and neither of us will want to go.

Could my list wait? Might He bring inspiration on a platter of trust? Might slowing down to the rhythm of God-in-me be just the way to what He wants… for me, for mine, for the work He’s assigned for me to do?

Everything changes with that love-made candle. Such a simple thing. I am righted once again, smiling, listening.

Maybe I won’t get my project done on my self-imposed timeline. Maybe it will take longer and end up better just because I listened to the tune of His song for me.

Maybe I’ll go on a walk right now and listen just a little more.

From my heart,


P.S. What are you learning about your own pace? Are you slow like me or a sprinter who loves the feeling of rushing between rests? I’d love to hear.





… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.

I Thessalonians 4v11

Several days ago my heart caught on this phrase and grabbed hold of someplace deep in my being. A place that longs for a quiet life.

I read the words over and over, looking for context, searching for clues. Like a blinking marquis, I cannot tear my thoughts away from what I know are words meant for me. I am convinced that the Spirit is whispering these words to me, that the longing I feel is His allure.

Not so much a command, as an invitation.

I sense a beckoning. A tantalizing summons into a life freed from this seemingly incessant pattern I keep falling into— of stress and conflict and fret-filled worry. Of angst and uptightness and all the confusion that comes from that feeling that, as busy as I am, I am doing nothing well.

For a long time now I have sensed this summons into life that isn’t about catching up or getting ahead or striving for better. A life of rest, of peace that comes from keeping to a pace that works for me.

It is a life of beauty that I crave.

Of not needing to apologize every few moments for bumbling and fumbling awkwardly once again. For being me. I want to go to bed at night satisfied with the way my day unfolded and what I accomplished… and what I didn’t cross off my self-imposed to-do list.

I want to know that every part of my day mattered, that I stuck to the path laid out for me by God, the One who says:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go:

I will counsel you with My loving eye upon you.

Psalm 32v8


The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him;

Though he may stumble, he will not fall,

For the LORD upholds him with His hand.

Psalm 37v23,24

Sometimes I know that quiet. Early every morning when I cozy up in my chair by the window, as I watch the sun peak tentatively through the woods, with steaming tea and my bible open… that is for me a quiet place.

It is there that I realize how un-quiet I march through the rest of my day.

Especially if something or someone interrupts my list. Or if I cannot manage to do all I think I should. Or if I am not as there  for someone who needs me because I am working hard to be present in my work.

What I long for is a consistent sense of rightness about my days, and my weeks, and my months and seasons and years.

A life of sweet balance between achieving and loving well.

My bookshelf tells the story:

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle,

Keep A Quiet Heart by Elizabeth Elliot,

The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan,

Choosing Rest by Sally Breedlove.

These are books I relish, reading the words over and over, barely scratching the surface of what I know I want… and what I know I do not yet own in my every days.

I dare think that my own longing is yours as well.

I do not have pat answers for living this Quiet Life. No ten steps guaranteeing that I’ll never get upright again. But I have picked up some treasures as I’ve tried, as I’ve brought my longings to this One who promises to direct my steps just because I delight in Him. I want to share some of those jewels with you in the coming weeks in the hopes that some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned from others will make sense to you.

And I invite you to speak into my life the wisdom you have acquired in yours. I want to learn and I think you do too. And I am not so naïve as to believe that there is one magic formula, which, when followed, produces bliss. Or peace. Or rest or quiet or calm in the crevices of my soul.

I hope that you will share some of your wisdom with me.

For now, let me leave you with this:

“If God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called to His purposes… you can relax.

If He doesn’t… start worrying.

If God can take any mess, any mishap, any wastage, any wreckage, any anything, and choreograph beauty and meaning from it, then you can take a day off.

If He can’t, get busy. Either God is good and in control, or it all depends on you.”     

From The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan


From a heart yearning to stay in the Quiet,



For mothers, moms, and mamas:


… I wish I’d known

 “For all who enter God’s rest will find rest from their labors…”

Hebrews 4v10

‘Come to Me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,

and I will give you rest…”

Matthew 11v28

“let Me teach you.”

Matthew 11v29

I sit, this morning, in my snug cabin in the woods. It is early, the day just arising—still crisp and cool. I am alone in the quiet, welcoming the day in the presence of the One who bids me come.

I flip the pages of my bible to these words, given me long ago when neither alarm clocks nor discipline were enough to pull me from my bed:

… He awakens me morning by morning,

wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed…

Is 50v4

Here in the silence I quiet my mind and still my soul. I lean in to listen, to wait with the intensity of another seeker from long ago,

I waited intently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry…

David, in Psalm 40v1

And I remember how I got to this place of craving Him so much that neither discipline nor alarm clocks are necessary anymore. How I slipped in the muck of my own ugliness, how I couldn’t find my way out, how I raged and wept bitter tears of despair at the unfairness of life, of my life.

And then I remember how He rescued me, setting my feet on solid rock, washing me clean, inviting me into this place I love. A place of surrender, of satisfaction, of genuine, all-the-way-through-to-my-heart happiness.

This place of Rest. 

I wish I had known about this place when I was a mother of little ones.

I wish I had known how to hide from the chaos and the neediness and the incessant conflict that sucks the life out of a young mama’s world.

But I didn’t. Instead, I tried. All the time, every day, I tried.

I tried to be patient… and failed.

I tried to be happy… and wasn’t.

I tried to be good and kind… and ended up irritated and mad—

and tired, just so tired.

I wanted so badly to be a good mama—the best—but I couldn’t be who I thought I should and wished I would be.

And this, my dear tired out mamas, is what I wish I had known then:

That trying harder is not the solution to your inadequacies and ineptitudes.

That the way to be the woman, the wife, the mother you wish you were is not found in books or podcasts or seminars or blog posts—but in Rest.

His Rest— God’s.

I wish I had understood that discipline is not what gets me there. That I will never deserve it… or Him… or any of His benefits. That being better and trying harder just managed to entangle me hopelessly in great knots of uptightness. And anger, and impatience, and self-pity and… shame.

I wish I had known that the Father is so madly in love with us— with me and with you just-as-you-are-right-now-in-this-flaw-filled moment— that He stands at the door and invites us to enter this place we all crave.

This place of Rest.

The key to this place? Not trying, not striving, not ten steps to a better you, but simply…

Belief.[1] Which is trust, entrusting yourself entirely and without reservation to God.

Entrusting your children to Him.

Entrusting your worries to Him.

Entrusting your failings, your past, your future, your wishes and dreams and happiness— to Him.

And then doing it again. And again. Over and over every day, every hour until your head begins to believe what your soul tells you is the truest truth:

That God is trustworthy… that He is good… that He is able… that He is beautiful and He brings beauty and He makes you—and your children— beautiful.

Just because He loves you that much.

And so my one wish for you this Mother’s Day is this:

That you would cease striving and know… Rest. 

I’ve offered no solutions here, no formulas. Because I have come to see that every single one of us has a different story… a story that urges us inevitably towards this place of rest.

I cannot tell you how (exactly) to get there, but I can and will pray for you if you will leave me a hint of who you are, of what you want and need from Him.

From my heart,


[1] For more, read Hebrews, the end of chapter 3 and all of chapter 4


We spent our honeymoon holed up in a cozy inn on the edge of the sea. Every day we walked the winding road that led higher into the hills, rambling past the stone house we dreamed of owning someday, along the stream framed by lush ferns, to a bend in the road where we could overlook the whole world. And there we stood, breathing in the greatness.

Then we’d ramble back, filled full from that sight of something bigger than ourselves. As we walked, we talked and listened and discovered and dreamed— about the future, about what might be, about what we might do and where we might go.

In that suspended part of our lives we didn’t stress or strive or write lists or assign tasks. We just walked… and hoped.

And as we tarried in that two week time between the rush of the wedding and the press of what our lives would soon be, we puzzled over a sign tucked into the flowers on the fence:


The owners of the inn wouldn’t tell us what it meant, just laughed when we asked and told us we’d figure it out. They seemed so sure.

And so we’d cock our heads and sound it out and shrug our shoulders in that way of two lovers on their way to more loving. Probably Latin… or Gaelic… or just a pretty piece of nonsense put together to add a bit of quaint.

Until the day we saw, with opened eyes, that by adding spaces and maybe a comma or two, the mystery was made clear:

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

That refuge overlooking crashing waves and sparkling ocean was indeed a rare place to rest at. A place to love and discover and receive… and now a place to remember— how to rest.

Because real rest is rare.

And being a woman at rest is rarer still.

And I’m asking myself… and asking my Father, how to be this woman at rest. And here is what I’m hearing…

That rest— soul deep rest— is found only in God.

Not in a pretty place, not in an expensive vacation, not even in having all my hopes and dreams realized… but just in Him. Because He is the only safe place. He is the always-faithful One. Only in Him am I really, truly happy and at rest.

But how do I find that place? How do I reach that spot where I can see the whole world at my feet and open my arms to full, unhindered joy?

Here, my dear girls, is the beginning of a list. And I’m hoping you’ll add to it so that we can learn and grow to be women marked by restfulness. But for now—

Four Ways Into Rest

1.  Rest yourself in God

The most rest-filled moment in any day is that set aside time when it’s just me and God. My Bible is open, I’ve a notebook just in case, maybe a book filled with wisdom and insight… and I’m alone with Him.

This is where worry turns to waiting. This is where all that troubles me is laid at His feet. This is where I am at rest.

2.  Set aside a place to rest

While I was writing these words, my sistas were texting messages to each other early in the morning. I think it was Jules who sent the first picture. It was her spot in the window where she waits to hear God, with her Bible wide open and her heart surrendered. Then each of us started texting pictures of the place we find that rest from all that harries us.

Because place is important. Whether it’s a favorite chair or a corner by the window, fill your place with beauty. Make it a place where your soul responds to God.

 3.  Find people who bring you back to rest

In an old book, written to a woman whose life was filled with the unrest that comes from living among people who were conflict driven and unkind, I read these words:

“Do not hesitate to solace yourself with the society of some congenial, pious friends.”

My “congenial, pious” friends bring me back again and again to that place of soul rest. They remind me of what I know and need to hear over and over. And they do it in a way that is congenial. Those are friendships worth cultivating.

 4.  Ramble in a restful place

Getting outside into the place God fills with His created beauty is the surest way to rest that I know. Breathing deeply, opening my eyes to beauty, feeling the rain on my face or the sun on my back, while I ramble in the woods by my house… I hear Him there. To go a day or a week or any length of time without getting outside to purposely pursue His created world makes my soul stressed and leaves my thinking kinked into uselessness.

We need the garden He placed us in.

In a few weeks Phil and I will be returning to that little inn on the edge of the sea where we started our story.  We’ll rest there, and remember. We’ll amble along the road above and pass the stone cottage, the hidden stream, the oaks hung with moss, and we’ll come to that place where all the world lies under our feet.

We’ll breath deep and dream…

From a heart still learning to rest a bit,


P.S. Okay, can you add to my list? How do you find that place in your soul where rest fills you full of the Father? We learn from each other, “congenial friends”…

(image by Bethany Small)



Yesterday, I fell apart.

After a whirlwind week… at the end of a whirlwind month… following a whirlwind season, I just caved in.

I couldn’t make decisions, form complete sentences, or remember where I put my phone. Or my sunglasses. Or the boarding pass that would get me on the plane to take me home.

And I know that real life gets busy, that even Jesus worked to the point of exhaustion at times. He was harried by crowds who wanted too much, pushed by men trying to control the uncontrollable. He, too, got tired.

Yet I see a pattern in my own life that cannot be healthy—does not feel like His way:

First, I work way too hard, too fast, too much. My shoulders tense, the clock ticks. I work harder. I wake in the mornings to the press of hurry. I can do it. I will.

And if I’m honest, sometimes I crave the addictive rush of planning and crossing off and getting all that doing done.

But it’s not sustainable. Before I should, before my list is marked all through, I drop. Like a pricked balloon I leak. And then, like every woman I know, I look for someone to blame. I resent the unseen enemy who made me work too hard.

Poor me.

Then, zombie like, I rest by doing nothing. I withdraw into myself. I sleep too long, do too little, hide too deep. All the while feeling guilty and slovenly and shamed.

Even my rest seems too… much.

Yet as I read through the bios of Jesus, those stories recorded by always busy Matthew, and excessively dramatic Mark, precise Dr. Luke, and friend-of-God-John, I cannot help but see that He did life different than I do. There was a steadiness to his rhythm, a calm amidst the chaos.

He didn’t rush.

And so, I propose that we follow in His footsteps.

I propose that for the month of November we refuse to rush through our days leaving our people neglected, our space demolished, and our souls depleted.

I propose that we institute No Rush Novembers into the rhythm of our lives.

And maybe we is just me, but I dare to think that I am not alone in this need to slow down, to do life better… to intentionally take more time to engage.

And so, this morning I have been talking to the Father and asking how to be a woman who embraces life at a pace that allows me to live and love and work and accomplish… from a place of rush-less rest.

Instead of a list of what I will not do, I’ve found a strange urging to make room in my life for doing more… living better, steadier, more bravely.

Here is my list for me, things I am going to do this month on purpose:

I AM GOING TO… walk in the rain.

Living here in the Northwest, it rains a lot. As in nearly every day. Which means that to go outside at all is to get wet.

Most days a mist falls, a gentle leaking from porous skies. But some days the clouds battle unseen forces, lashing rain on the world, throwing branches to the ground in a fierce show of fury.

Those are the days I stay inside, safe, protected— and limited.

Not this month. During No Rush November I am going to walk in that rain and let it soak into my skin, and with it, this truth: that He is Living Water, Master of Storms, Soother of Seas. That to hide is to limit His use of me.

I AM GOING TO… build a fire in the fireplace.

Even though it’s messy. Even though I don’t need to. Even when I don’t have time to clean it up or pick up pieces of pine needles and bark that follow sodden footsteps from the wood pile to the inside.

Because I do have time. Not for perfection, but for rest, for warmth. And I am going to take time to draw near to the fire of a love that is all-consuming.

I AM GOING TO… make a big pot of chili and let it simmer all day.

Hot and red, spicy and rich, I am going to breathe in the scent of home. And then I am going to fill every bowl for friends and family, and a few more besides. To celebrate our not-aloneness. To relish those relationships that chase the chill of loneliness away. To open my arms and my kitchen to souls who hunger with the want of a shared bowl of goodness.

I AM GOING TO… clean out the garage.

You’re laughing now, but hear me out. That garage has been bothering me and shaming me and confusing me and making me feel like life is too busy to live well. Every time I open that door I see chaos. I feel the defeat of disorder.

My messy garage has become symbolic of a life hassled by hurry.

In no great rush I am going to finish sorting through the excess. I will keep only what I use, what I need, giving away the dishes I haven’t used in forever to someone who will.

I will lean into the whisper I heard months ago— to SIMPLIFY FOR THE NEXT SEASON. To actively choose to live with less so that I am useable, available, free.

For this one month I will recalibrate. I will re-think and re-order and remember. I will rest. I will create. I will make room in my life for surprises.

Will you join me?

From my heart,


Show us how you’re engaging in Now Rush November by taking a picture and posting on Instagram.

Use the hashtag #norushnovember so we can all join in the fun.

And check out our new Instagram account, @hespeaksinthesilence for more ideas on how to live at rest in the midst of real life.

I’d love to read your own ideas in the comments. Let’s keep this conversation going all month!




Jesus Christ is the same




Hebrews 13:8


Today is the first day of Wedding Week at my house.

WW has been the endpoint on our to-do list for months. Actually, that’s not completely true— WW has been the focal point of my to-do list. Even with all my hints and reminders and notes and suggestions, it has not entered Phil’s head that Wedding Week is the deadline when everything Must. Get. Done.

And maybe that’s why he’s positioned to have fun this week and I’m up ridiculously early, uptight and anxious because of all the to-do’s not crossed off The List.

I know that if I stay up late tonight and get up early tomorrow and work like a crazy woman I can still do it. The garage that resembles the aftermath of an earthquake, the books still in boxes that crowd my creative space, the guest room comforter that I haven’t replaced with that charming crisp comforter I saw in the catalogue— that catalogue that followed me to Firwood Cottage as if to say,

“Uh, Di… you really need newer, better, brighter, nicer stuff… let us help you! And we’ll offer you a discount so you can feel like you got a deal! Then you can put the old one that’s too-good-for-Goodwill in the garage…”

In just a few days everyone will see my not-doneness.

My sister, who is the best decorator in the world—the one whose Pinterest page I copy shamelessly, whose garage has never, ever been messy.

My daughter who been hearing stories about our new/old, way smaller, and more charming home but still hasn’t seen it and probably imagines it is nicer than it is.

And the rest of my kids whose eyes grew round with incredulity as they watched the process of turning what was a stinky, ugly 1969 ranch into a home their perfectionist mom can find rest in… and still cannot quite believe that I’ve really adopted the minimalist mentality they embrace.

And oh— I need to wash my windows! Add that to my list of not-dones.

Or… not.

Maybe the garage will wait for a day when I have time to dawdle through memories before I give the rest away. Maybe the rain is coming in a couple of days to wash the dust off the windows. And maybe I like those little hand prints silhouetted on the door to the patio— because when baby Scarlet comes this week she’ll see those markings of her last visit and feel right at home, right welcome at Amma and Pop’s house.

Maybe my list needn’t drive me. Maybe I am more than the sum total of what I haven’t got done. Maybe clean windows don’t define my worth as a woman.


And maybe it’s time I do what I’ve been learning. Because starting last spring and all this summer I’ve heard the wind of the Spirit whispering rest to my striving. I’ve been in a sort of remedial school of the Spirit— hearing, feeling, sensing an invitation into a new way of experiencing His love.

Of living fully in the present, of listening to Him in the moment— this moment.

A way of being that unchains me from my self-imposed obligations, setting me free to be aware of His speaking to me now, not later, not when my list is done, not when I have time.

All summer I’ve been going on worship walks. Not to be confused with power walks or prayer walks or the-dog-needs-walking walks. These are more like rambles, strolls through the woods near my house. No watch, no phone, just me.

And I notice.

How the wind cleans the firs and cedars of excess needles, blanketing the ground with pungent softness. The freshness of the sky, the pokiness of blackberry bushes, the spinning of spiders.

Mostly I notice Him; the maker of beauty, redeemer of wrecked things; this One whose specialty is bringing order to chaos and beauty to brokenness.

And on these rambling forays He has been teaching me to notice the now. What He is doing now, what He is saying now, who He is wanting me to love on right now.

Now is so entirely unnatural for me. I am a dreamer; a woman who lives in her head, who thinks up ideas and possibilities and plans. I live by lists, all those things I want to do in the hopes that I can capture that elusive sense of completion. Of dreams achieved.

I live, not in the now, but in the when.

When the children grow up, when the cottage is finished, the bills are paid, the book written, the garage organized…I’ll be done: happy, complete, and at peace.

And some of you live in the then. The happy days of how it used to be. You fill your moments with memories of a time that seemed less stressful, better, fuller, more satisfying and safe. You’re thankful… for the past, for what used to be.

When your belly didn’t bulge, when children didn’t bicker, when you were being pursued. You mourn days lost, a way of life you will never have again.

You live, not in the now, but in the then.

I think God is all for memories, and certainly all for dreams. But those are places to visit- occasionally. Take a vacation into the past. Go on an adventure into future possibilities. But…

Live in the now.

And so, I tuck The List away this week. I file it under “later”, close the drawer, and look up. I catch His grin and smile back.

He is here and He’s been here all along. He loves this family of mine, loves the way they laugh and tease and shed tears so easily and have to apologize so frequently. He loves their passion and their personalities, relishes their genuine, rare, flawed-but-faithful love for each other. And so do I.

I am drinking it in, great gulps of now.

Will you join me?

From my heart,


P.S. I am loving your comments! I felt welcomed back all week as I read your words and heard your hearts once again. Thank you. I feel richer when we’re talking.

P.S.S. If you want peeks at my week, I’ll be posting pictures shamelessly on Instagram. @dianewcomer is my moniker there, a fun place to notice the now. 











still trying to reconcile my list with my reality


the one whose minimalist message has tugged at my too-much sensibilities long enough to convince me to learn to live simply.



For the next few weeks we will be reposting from He’s Not Your Prince Charming, reaching way back in the archives to remind and reteach and rethink what we’ve been learning together. I have asked my blog team to help choose their favorites, and I am hoping you will add fresh comments to shed new light on these posts.

In the meantime I will be writing ahead for the new series, studying, reading, thinking, and praying about what to say and how to say it. Any suggestions and thoughts about what you’re wondering about will be most welcome— after all, you are my girls! 

From my heart,


Dear girls,

Last week I ended my letter to you with a sort of wish… a prayer… a benediction:

May this be the time of our lives to tell a different story, a story of a love so great we overflow it onto that man who cannot be enough.

May this be the year we learn what it really means to find all that emptiness filled up with Him.

And one wistful comment, left by a woman willing to be honest, caught my heart:

Oh if I could have internalized this lesson years ago… I hear it over and over and over, from so many women. Jesus is enough and should be enough, so why isn’t he enough for me? I want him to be enough, but the flesh screams more.

And then another one, from a woman named Anna, in response to a post I wrote about my dad last week:

Diane, this is a beautiful story. Almost one a child dreams about. But what about us who didn’t have this kind of Father?

I so desire to be this kind of woman but have failed over and over and that has left me defeated. The word “Father” also has never set right with me. I know we are to see God as our Father, but I have never known what a real Father looks like.

How do I get to this similar place as you or do I just accept that this is not the woman that I am?

And here is what I wrote in response…

Oh Anna, do not swallow the lie that you are not this woman! Because it’s not about you… or me… or even my dad.

Meeting God early and with delight-filled expectation is about Him!

And I’ve been wondering what to say to all the Annas of the world ever since.

How do I describe the rest my uptight-self receives every morning when I wake to His presence?

What words do I choose to open my heart wide enough for real women to peek into this mystery? That He comes to meet with me in a garden so rich, so beautiful, so home, that I cannot stay away.

Because that is why I wake up early. And that is why all throughout the day I run back into Him, relishing quiet moments to hear. That is why the silence is my friend.

Because He is there, bidding me to come, to listen, to know.

And I want all the Annas of the world— wounded, shame-filled, wishing for more— to see the way back to that garden.

To Him.

And so, for the next little while, for however long it takes for me to stumble out the words, I want to write about the how. Because even though I don’t believe in formulas, and even though 10-steps have not gotten me anywhere but frustrated, I know you need more than theory.

You need to know how.

How to find so much peace in His presence that you no longer demand life all lined up just so.

How to stop trying so hard to be more than you are, and instead losing yourself in who He is and finding to your own surprise that just being with Him begins to make all your ugliness beautiful.

How to fill so full of Jesus that you no longer crave the attention of a man who would devour you with his own need. And how to then overflow the love you find there onto a man who doesn’t deserve it any more than you do.

And so, if you will allow me to, I’d like to take you by the hand, as a woman older and maybe a little further along the path, and lead you to that place where I have found the satisfaction and rest my soul— your soul longs for. We'll keep talking about relationships- about loving a man well and about being well-loved, but I think we need to talk more about the how of finding all of your enough in God.

So please come on over next Monday. Bring your friends, your honesty, your wide-open heart. Brew a cup of tea, settle in for a good, long conversation for the next few weeks. Let’s find this thing we’re craving together.

But before then, here is what I told Anna about how to begin every day relishing the presence of the One who satisfies every need:

Here’s what I suggest (way too simplistic, but all that will fit here)

1. First ask God to make you want to… really, deeply want to experience intimacy with Him.

2. Ask Him to begin to wake you. Really! He will, I know by experience. But you’ve got to be ready to listen, to do that hard choice of getting up on the faith that there’s something for you.

3. Thank Him over and over again when He does. Fill your mind with recognition of how great He is and how much He loves you, reminding yourself how much you want Him.

4. Go to bed every night with Him on your mind and in your heart. (a short Psalm works wonders to put you to sleep with Him tucked all around you.

5. Then… start all over again.

I know that, given time, mixed with many failures, and more time, you will someday LOVE your mornings with Him.

That’s a strong way to start, girls. But there’s more, so much more to talk about.

And remember, your stories really are giving the rest of us hope. I keep hearing it— that by sharing your brokenness and your wantings and the ways God has met you with His amazing grace, more and more women are finding hope. Keep those comments coming!

From my heart,


P.S. Want some really great Scriptures to ponder while you wait for next week? I love this one:

Hosea 6:3  

Oh, that we might know the Lord!
Let us press on to know him.

He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn 
or the coming of rains in early spring.

And this is worth pondering long:

Hebrews 10:22,23

Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.

For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean,

and our bodies have been washed with pure water.

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm,

for God can be trusted to keep his promise.



Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives.

We are no longer slaves to sin.

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

Romans 6:6,7


I've been swimming since Sunday in the warm waters of Romans, chapter six. Dave Lomas, a friend of John Mark's preached a breath-taking message on what it means to be in Christ. One phrase has taken hold of my mind and just won't let go. He said,

Be who you are.

And by that he wasn't referring to 1990's pop-culture ads. He wasn't talking about individuality or giftedness or feel-good-about-yourself best sellers. He was talking about our identity- who I am.

Am I Diane, wife of Phil?

Or Diane, mother of John Mark? and Rebekah? and Elizabeth? and Matthew? Amma to five kids who love me  because I never say no?

Am I Diane, writer of a blog, teacher of women? Or am I Diane, cleaner of my house, cooker of meals, walker of my dog, Jackson?

Who am I really?

And this morning it dawns on me that  first and foremost I have chosen to be a slave of God. That is who I am- on purpose.

But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God.

Romans 6:22


So why in the world do I worry?  Written in my journal this morning are these words:

It strikes me this morning that all my tense worrying is ridiculous! Why would a slave worry? Or strive? Or fuss about not doing it good enough and now-no-one-will-want-to-read-it-and-oh-dear-I-don't-know-how-to-do-this...

 After all, as a slave of the Most High God, all I really need to do is check in with Him and make sure I'm doing what He wants. I don't have to be perfect- I'm a slave. I don't have to hurry- my Master is kind. I don't even have to prove myself- He liked me enough to buy me with His blood.

And that's why worrying is ridiculous. Because the truth about why I worry is this: I worry because I forget who I am.

I am accepted. Romans 8:1

I am loved. Romans 8:35-37

I am enough. Romans 8:15-17

I am forgiven. Romans 8:3

I am sought. Romans 8:30

I am free.  Romans 8:2

I am His. Romans 8:33

And so this morning I've rolled all my worries on my Master. I've let go control and asked Him for a chore list: What do You want me to do? Say? Write? 

I'm reveling in this rest that comes from letting Him lead me. Wondering why I keep slipping back into the old worrying-way. And I'm writing it down so I remember and so you remember... that all you and I really need to do is...

Be who you are.

From my heart,


repost from march 2013

I know I'm not the only worrying, fretting woman... how about you? What are you worried about? Dare you write it down and give it up? Dare you be who you really are? I'd love to know if you'd be willing to leave a comment.



God has told his people, “Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.”

Isaiah 28:12 

Remember the Sabbath…

Exodus 20:18

Fog wraps the morning in magic.  Shimmering like a woman’s gown, sheer as finest silk, it hides the world beyond the trees.

And I sit wrapped in warmth, watching the Artist create. Soaking in His beauty, soul filling with wonder.

What was it I was worried about?

All those frettings seem silly now. Petty, unimportant.

So what if I don’t get it done? Isn’t this more important? This watching, waiting, listening?

And so again this morning He speaks to me.

Hush, Di, I’m working. This is My world, not yours.

Just watch a while.

Listen in the silence.


And so I choose rest today instead of striving, peace instead of churning, less instead of more.

I choose to notice God today. All day.

To stop all my fussing and just make space for Him in this cluttered soul of mine.To push aside the messiness of my needing to do more and allow my body and my mind and my imagination to simply stroll today.

I’ll walk through His woods, crunch leaves underfoot, breathe deeply, notice the faintest fragrance He leaves behind.

 I’ll sabbath.

From a heart needing rest,


repost: december 2013

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


Notes from my week in Italy:


We are merely moving shadows,

And all our busy rushing ends in nothing…

And so, Lord,

Where do I put my hope?

My only hope is in You.

Psalm 39:7



One thing I am coming to love about Italians is their seemingly peace-filled coexistence with imperfection.

These are people dedicated to beauty. Artists, creators, storytellers, masterpiece makers. They have spent centuries improving this Eden they call Italy.

And yet… nothing is perfect.

Bricks crumble, houses lean, tiles crack, weeds grow. Life happens.

And instead of scrambling to fix it all and paint it all perfect, these people just settle comfortably into their sun-drenched skin and live.

They raise less-than-perfect children in their less-than-perfect houses where they cook less-than-perfect pasta with freshly picked less-than-perfect tomatoes.

Nothing goes to waste.

Who needs massive box stores when the tiny Farmacia down that twisiting lane will sell you 1 roll of skimpy, scratchy toilet paper at a time? And why bother with wash cloths? Or daily showers? A quick rinse of who-knows-what in that thingy-ma-jig in the bathroom and we’re good to go.

And yet beauty is everywhere. Ancient beauty— worn and lived and survived and thrived and lived-a-little-more kind of loveliness.  So different from this gotta-have-every-scratch-covered-over kind of plasticity that drives my life.

I rest here. Breathe a deep sigh of relief from all my striving, my lists, my worry about getting it all done in time to do more…

And this morning while I sit on a cracked stone bench in an untended garden of imperfect artistry, my soul sinks into silence.

List-less. Sun-filled. Quieted.

Cease striving, He whispers.

All your rushing, fixing, improving, redoing, list making, achieving is simply wearing you down, rendering you useless to Me.

I don’t require perfection...

I make beauty in your brokenness when you simply soak Me in.

Of course.

I forgot.


And so I’ll spend this day remembering that all this less-than-perfect world I relish is just a backdrop for His beauty.

And I’ll soak… and cease striving… and know Him.

From my heart,



RUTH: week five



James 1:5

Colossians 3:1-17

Galatians 2:20

Philippians 4:8

Psalm 16

Psalm 127:2

Psalm 139:23,24


PAGES FROM THE PAST:  February 1999

Dwelling There

Satisfaction and rest. The world searches frantically for both. I search for both.

If only I had…

If only I were…

If only I could…

Lasting satisfaction is not filled by people or places or things.

And rest. Where do I find that? A perfect vacation? A beach house? A lighter schedule? Less work to do?

No. Rest is found in only one place. Deep-down, daily soul rest is found only in the Shelter of the Almighty.

I know the satisfaction and the rest to be found in the Shelter. I’ve been there. It is a wonderful place to be. The problem is, I tend to just go for a visit. I pop in when the hassles of life get to me, when I feel restless and dissatisfied, when things don’t go my way.

Rest is for those who live in the Shelter of the Most High. There is a big difference between living there and taking a quick visit when the need arises. This Shelter is not a vacation home. It is a place to move into permanently - a place to get comfortable in, to hang some picture memories, to snuggle down deep.

I have known the Shelter as a hospital room. When I am hurting or grieving it is the first place I want to run to. I have known the heart-healing of that place.

I have known the Shelter as a refuge. When I am worn out and weary I seek a respite there. In that Shelter I have been refreshed and renewed.

I have known the Shelter as a library of sorts. I have gone there seeking solutions, answers for questions too big for me. I have come away with a heart full of His wisdom.

I have known His Shelter as a place of pure joy. I have worshiped there alone and have celebrated in His presence with the family of believers. I have touched His throne and been transformed again and again and again.

And yet with all these wonderful visits, I have yet to consistently dwell there. I move in and out. I don’t know why. I just sort of drift out until another crisis or an especially beautiful quiet time reminds me that this is where I want to be. I don’t want to be so foolishly fickle. I love it there in the Shelter.

I am coming to realize that the act of dwelling there, really living in the Shelter of the Most High, is a daily decision. No, it’s more like an hourly decision, a moment by moment awareness of the Father.

I can choose to live there when things are good and when they are not. I can live there when the kids are squabbling, when I am a taxi for the teenagers, at the drizzling soccer field, and at the crowded grocery store.

I can live there from the moment I wake up to the time I go to sleep and every moment in between. The Bible tells me that He will keep on giving to me even in my sleep!

But the decision to stay there is mine. The Father will not force me. I must decide if I want to seek Him with all my heart. I must put aside, at times, thoughts and words and actions that do not belong in the Shelter. Just like I make my kids leave their muddy shoes outside in the garage, so must I leave my filth at the altar before I can enter into His presence. He is not expecting perfection-He knows me too well for that. But when He whispers in my ear I must listen and obey lest I push away His Spirit and push myself out of the Shelter.

From my heart,




Elimelech: My God is King

Naomi: My pleasantness

Mahlon: Sickness

Chilion: Consumption

Ruth: Satisfied

Orpah: Fawn-like

Boaz: Strength1

What’s In a Name?

The most popular names given to babies in 2008 include: Matthew, Ethan, Olivia, Emma, and Alexander.1 One hundred years earlier, in 1908, the top list included names like: Henry, Albert, Harold, Mildred, and Gladys. Only two names made the top ten in both years: William and Elizabeth.

In the United States, names are linked to the era in which a child is born. But in the ancient Middle East, names invariably signified the circumstances under which the child was born. Thus, Rachel, dying in childbirth, named her youngest son Ben-Oni (“my painful son”)2 which her husband quickly changed to Benjamin (“son of the right hand”). Sometimes children were named as a result of his or her parent’s hope for their future. At other times, God Himself stepped in and announced a name before the parents could come up with one of their own (See Isaac’s story in Genesis 17 and John’s story in Luke 1).

Thus, in Scripture, the meaning of someone’s name often sheds light on the significance of that person’s life. Keep that in mind as you read through the book of Ruth.

RED, GREEN, YELLOW: how marriage is supposed to work

I received this delightful note from one of our women who is a teacher in a school in Salem. I was struck by the wisdom of a child. I’ve added a few comments of my own to his essay… not that it needed one bit more! I think this little guy pretty much says it all.

Hi Diane

I have so enjoyed reading your blog on marriage lately.  I’ve also been listening to Mars Hill’s sermon series on marriage.  And then yesterday, I came across one of my middle schooler’s art projects while grading.  The assignment was to create a sculpture that represented a human relationship, emotion or attribute.  He chose marriage.  And he is in 6th grade.  My heart was so glad, after reading his essay on his sculpture.  I don’t work at a Christian school, so to hear this from a child was priceless!  Just wanted to pass it along to someone who appreciates what God does through marriage as much as I do!

Art and Primary Spanish Teacher

Abiqua School

The reason behind this sculpture is happiness or marriage.

This is a feeling that first time marriage people will never forget. This feeling for most people is the best feeling they will ever feel in their lifetime.

In the painting you may see that if you picture their faces together as one,

they look half and half.

That is what married people should commit to.

I chose red as a color because red represents all of the arguments and problems and miscommunication that will be a part of marriage but the two people will stay strong and carry on.

I chose green as a relaxing color because you now work as a team and everything you do is now one.

I chose yellow as a color because it represents how much you want to do this and how enthusiastic and happy you are about your decisions.

Red, green, yellow.

Red because conflict is a reality when two people choose to become one. Because becoming one takes a whole lot of dying to self and forgiving and covering over all those irritants that threaten to undo us. And because for most of us it’s an embarrassingly messy process. And life intrudes and things go wrong and we have a million opportunities to choose- grace and mercy or disapproval and rejection?

Green because a great marriage creates a space that is so restful and refreshing that a whole family- and indeed an on looking world- can find peace and hope and rest there. And because green is a symbol of growth and newness and that’s what a God centered marriage between two people creates in this whole crazy process of becoming one.

Yellow for the sheer joy of participating in a miracle. Like my daffodils blooming in the midst of a dreary day, a marriage done right brings delight to everyone who gets to glimpse this outlandish idea of God’s.

And I think that’s enough said…

From my heart,