Posts tagged trust
DAD STORIES: memories from a man who got it right

I’ve told you about my dad— how, without actually meaning to, he’s shaped my faith in God.

(my daughter, Rebekah and my dad)

My dad has shown me in his own way— in his way with me, how the Father is.

How He loves…

How He welcomes…

How He wants to be with me on those early, intimate mornings.

Because of Dad, trusting God has been, if not exactly easy, at least simple for me.

One night, many years ago, when my old nemesis, Fear, started to choke the joy out of my daily life, the memories of my dad’s way with me broke those chains…

It was late and I lay in bed wide-awake. Alone and afraid.

My husband traveled as a part of his job in those days, sometimes for weeks at a time. On this night he was an ocean way, unavailable, unreachable, unable to calm me down or cheer me up. I’d suffered the insomnia of fear every night he was gone.

Too exhausted to sleep, too afraid to allow myself to rest, my façade of courage was crumbling.

My fear teetered towards terror.

A deaf woman alone at night with three children sleeping blithely in their bedrooms— every possibility presenting itself in colored array as I desperately prayed those demons away.

What if someone breaks in the house? Would I hear them? No.

What if there’s a fire? Would I hear the alarm? No.

What if someone big and mean and bad comes barging in the front door… no, no, no!

I can’t hear! I can’t protect my children! I can’t be safe!

I sat awake, hearing aids at full volume, baseball bat at hand.

I prayed, of course. 

Desperate liturgies for protection: for angels, for hedges, for walls and warriors to watch over me.

And I laugh a little now, but at the time, that helplessness felt immensely more real than any assurances of the safety of my neighborhood or the ridiculousness of my fears.

Yet still…in spite of the unreasonableness of my angst, God brought Himself into my runaway fears.

Instead of scoffing: You’re a grown-up, Di, get over it!

Instead of shame: Where’s your faith?

Instead of platitudes: Angels are watching over you…

He reminded me of my dad.

Every night when I was growing up, my dad walked through our house just before going to bed. He checked doors, turned down the heater, closed windows, peeked in on each of us kids.

Making the rounds like a night watchman.

Making sure I was safe.

Making me feel safe.

Never once, in all my years at home did I beg Dad to take care of me. I didn’t plead for protection from the invisible bad guys. Didn’t remind him to lock up. Didn’t keep a baseball bat close just in case.


I didn’t need to ask for protection because I slept close to my protector.

God, I realized, is just like my dad!

In fact, I began to suspect that all my begging might be an insult to Him. Of course He’s watching over me! 

Instead of desperate rituals of praying for angels to surround me, instead of walking through every worry, and making sure He knew all about how He should handle it, and why, and what I wanted Him to do…

Maybe I should just thank Him for all the nights He’d watched over me.

Just like Dad.

Years and years and decades of nights. No bad guys, no break-ins, no monsters under the bed.

Just my great big God watching over me while I slept.

I drifted off to sleep that night whispering thanks.

And every night after that, whenever the reality of being a deaf woman alone started to feel unsafe, whenever fear threated to keep me up, I felt that grip of safe assurance— of my Father being just like my dad—steady, dependable, present.

He loved me… just like Dad.

He was up to the task of taking care of me… just like Dad.

I could practically feel Him locking up tight, making the rounds, checking in to be sure I was okay… just like my Dad.

My dad spent all my growing up years watching over me. Sometimes in simple ways like locking up at night. Sometimes in harder-to-swallow ways like restricting my freedom lest my naivete leave me unprotected.

I wasn’t always grateful. I didn’t always understand. I wasn’t always nice about not understanding. In fact, he could tell you stories about me not being nice or grateful or understanding…

But that didn’t stop him.

Because my dad cared enough to take care of me… and so does my Father.

From my heart,



1.    He watched over me.

2.    He was there— down the hall, next to mom, no matter what.

3.    He didn’t mock my fears.

4.    He kept watching over me even when I didn’t think I needed him.

5.    He showed me what the Father is like.


P.S. Have you learned some things about the Father from your dad? Can you tell us what?

Or are you just now learning that the Father is different than the way your dad was to you? That He loves in a way your dad was not able to love?


(image by Bethany Small)

He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. 

Psalm 107:29

The boys in the boat were in their element.

Fishermen raised by fishermen, these guys lived, breathed, worked, played, dreamed to the rhythm of the lake. So when a squall came up suddenly, surrounding them with gargantuan waves, swamping their boat, heaving their bellies… they knew enough to be legitimately afraid.

Hadn’t they heard the stories?

Of men lost at sea, bodies washing to shore months later, of widows wailing beside the graves of men too young to die?

They knew enough to be afraid. Desperately afraid.

In the front of their boat, Jesus seemed impossibly unaware of their troubles. Curled up to keep warm, his head nestled into a pillow, He slept right through— oblivious.

This week, I have been just like those fishermen.

Storms threaten to swamp my boat. Hard things: squalls, upheaval, unrest. Too many things coming too fast and I feel swamped, overwhelmed, afraid.

Afraid for my father, whose body is fighting too hard to breath. How do I live and laugh and joy while my dad, this man who has been my refuge, my picture of the Father, faces agony?

And then all the other minor waves which, alone, are entirely doable, but added together, swirl into a deadly undertow.

How do I do this?

I keep coming back to these men, boys really— rough and tough, confident in that swagger of strength that comes from a life well lived.

They know it all. They can do it all.

They’ve set goals, figured it out, worked out.

And then the storm hits and all they know to do doesn’t work.

And so they panic. And so do I.  And so do some of you.

But Jesus doesn’t get mad at our fear. He doesn’t slap us down, shame us, trade us in for someone braver and better.

He doesn’t even rebuke these guys for their audacious shouting in His ear.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically, they woke him up, shouting, ”Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?”

When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!” 

Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm. 

You’d think the next words out of his mouth would have been lined with disgust at these wimps. After all, they’d been with him long enough to know him as not only a miracle maker, but as a man with a message of a kingdom yet to come. Of God’s upside down kingdom where everything is not as it seems.

They were supposed to know by now that life is about more than success and tranquility and hunky-dory dreams come true.

And so should I. But sometimes I forget. And then I panic and get overwhelmed and frantically fearful.

But listen to what Jesus says,

Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?

I hear his words and my soul stills.

There are lessons here for me, for us.

These men saw the waves and panicked.

I do that. Anything out of the ordinary mixed with a little bit of too much, thrown in with a cup full of liquid gunk and suddenly I’m sinking.

The key, I am coming to see is to trust God before hand.

To live as if difficulties are normal. To live unafraid of loss. To live unafraid of death.

And the only way to do that is to let go of my Christian bumper sticker view of life, instead, soaking my mind in Jesus’ words and stories. 

Jesus didn’t panic because He lived at peace with the imperfect.

These men saw the waves and assumed the worst.

And so do I. Give me enough waves; enough conflict, enough stress, enough bad news, and I assume the worse. I’m going to drown.

Two plus two equal the end. Woe is me. I can’t do this.

But it’s not true. I can do this.

I can do whatever He allows in my path because He is in me and He has overcome all my not enough-ness.

These men saw the waves and got mad at God.

I do this too! Don’t You care that I am going to drown?

There He is, all curled up comfortable, blissfully unaware of their sinking ship—  and they get mad. I mean major mad. Shouting in God’s face mad.

Can you relate to their reaction? Do you do that? Shout in anger when really you’re scared witless?

These guys knew His power, they knew He could save them, so why didn’t He? There He is, seemingly passive and unaware while their lives sink into despair. Right when they need Him the most, He falls asleep on the job.

Is it any wonder they got a little miffed at Jesus for sleeping through the storm?

But, I am coming to learn, sometimes storms are needed. And I don’t know all the reasons why, but I do know that He uses those sinking kind of circumstances to bring me in close, to draw me near.

Jesus didn’t always understand either.

And the not-knowing hurt. And yet, still He chose to believe— not in fairy tale endings, but in the great heart of His Father.

He chose trust.

And that’s where I am today. Done with the panic. No longer waiting for the worst. Believing and trusting because I’ve been doing this for long enough that to not trust Him is just... wrong.

Today I chose to believe that He is good and He knows and He cares.

Today I chose to believe that He calms my storms with His whispers…

From my heart,


P.S Are you facing some storms that threaten to do you in? Can I pray for you? I would love to hear both your fears and your trust… 


(image by  Bethany Small) 

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 6:19

The Message

And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding…

Hebrews 6:3


Dear Dad,

There is so much I do not understand. So much that remains a mystery to me, veiled by a mist of what I don’t know, can’t grasp, don’t like.

I don’t understand why you, of all people, would suffer.

Why every breath comes as a gasp, why talking ends in spasms of body wrenching, back heaving coughing, why you must remain tethered to that tube of oxygen in order to breathe at all.

I don’t understand why we have to say good-bye.

Why, after having you always there; my stability, my fixer of broken things, my logic-minded advisor— why soon I won’t.

You, who have spent the better part of your life explaining why, showing how, teaching me over and over again the way to do life in fine, ordered, rightness— won’t be with me anymore.

I don’t understand why life ends in death, why you have to go away soon, why you can’t stay and watch my grandsons be like you, why you can’t keep holding my hand and squeezing it just so I know you’re with me.

I don’t understand why Mom will be alone.

After all these years of sticking by your side, or figuring it out, of learning and growing so that your differences are all ironed into one workable weave of cloth like a blanket around these generations to follow. Why will mom have to end life alone?

And what’s more, I don’t like it, not one bit. I want you to stay. I want you strong, hiking in your mountains, taking me with you, talking to me about my dreams, telling me I can do this, telling me I’ve made you proud.

Oh Dad, I do not understand. 

And maybe that’s okay. Maybe I don’t have to get this right.

Maybe having you all these years as my dad has shown me that I don’t have to understand, that I can hold on and trust. That clinging is okay because the Father does understand even when I don’t and He can be trusted because He is like you… or maybe it’s that you are like Him.

Maybe learning to trust you has taught me how to trust the One you trust.

And maybe someday I will understand. Maybe someday I’ll smile and nod and even laugh at God’s audacity to take the incomprehensible and make it good.

I don’t understand, Dad, but I trust the One who does, and for that, I will be forever grateful.

From my heart,




If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. Proverbs 24:10 KJV


If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!

Proverbs 24:10 NLT


Dear girls,

Just a couple of weeks ago when the pressures of packing and sorting and moving collided with news of my father’s failing health, I faltered… fainted… imploded in a great revealing of the smallness of my own strength.

And ever since that day I’ve been afraid of doing it again.

The chest tightens up.

Heart speeds up.

Worries well up.


And some of you know exactly what I’m talking about:  fear of fear.

Once unreasonable fear has wrapped you in its grip and pulled you under to a place of panic, you will forever fear the fear.

The fear itself becomes more frightening than whatever it was that scared you.

And it leaves you weak. Small of strength. Faltering. Fainting.

Just the woman, just the way, I do not want to be.

And so I have set out on a quest for wisdom from the Wise One who promises wisdom if we’ll only ask. (James 1:5) Every morning I’ve been up early, asking for Him to show me the way out this chest tightening anxiety that is so fearsome, so weakening, so… not what I want.

I’m filling my journal with scribbles and stories of His words to me about the how and why and when and what-to-do when I worry too much.

It’s time I pass some of those lessons on to you. Because you worry too. Too much. Too often. And you’re being weakened by the worry.

Here, my girls, is

Lesson #1 About Worry: 

Anxiety starts with that first socially permissible step called fretfulness.

Intense anxiety is not, as some would lead us to believe, purely biological in basis.[1] No one falls into a full-blown anxiety attack out of nowhere.

And anxiety is not some sort of guerilla tactic of the Evil One that hits us out of the blue. Instead, the enemy of our souls sneaks in to exploit our weaknesses, hoping to render us ineffective and weak.

Though the dark spiritual and the physical may need to be examined, that is not where anxiety starts.

Anxiety starts with fretting— those socially permissible comments we toss out in conversation.

What if…

I’m worried about…

I’m afraid that…

And instead of taking those first alerting signals to the Father we try them out on other people. What’s been silently brewing inside comes bubbling up and we hand the words to those who care about us, hoping they’ll make it go away.

They, in turn, often dismiss our worries and say something inane like, “Don’t worry, you’ll be fine.”

Which makes us go underground again. Only now that we’ve put all those jumbled thoughts into words we know what we’re worried about.

So we pray about it. After all, we’re told to pray about everything, right?

Well, sort of. But I’ve learned that there is praying… and there is praying. 

How many hours have I fussed at God in the name of prayer? Gone on long rambling prayer walks where I worried out loud at Him the whole way. Telling Him what to do, how to go about doing it, when He needs to get on it.

That, my dear girls, is not praying. It is spiritual fretfulness. Just the kind of thing that shuts out His voice and shuts in the worry.

Do not fret. It leads only to evil doing.

Psalm 37:8 NASB

Fretting, we are warned, leads not to solutions, but to doings. Evil doings. Bad stuff.

The frightening, weakening, embarrassing episode of intense fear I experienced a couple of weeks ago did not start with whatever it was that tipped me over the edge.

I began that walk to the edge of the cliff with a slow meander onto the pleasant path of acceptable fretting.

And that is right where I must stop the worry if I’m going to be free of it. Fretting cannot be tolerated. Like an alcoholic who dare not take a sip, I’ve been warned now about where worry leads.

It is time for me to take that slightest tightening of my chest and turn it into a question for my Father.

“Why am I worried Abba?”

To talk to Him. To listen. To confess that… I am afraid and short on trust and taking on too much and wishing I hadn’t and what’s wrong with me?

And then to let Him do His redeeming thing on me, in me, through me, to me.

It’s just a small lesson, I know. But it’s a start. A realization that I am weak. That worry has weakened me. That it starts with fretting. That apart from Him I’m a mess.

That He loves this mess that is me enough to get to root of it so He can get rid of what weakens me.

Isn’t that just amazing grace?

From my heart,



[1] That said, a check up is wise when experiencing the physical symptoms of anxiety. All it takes is a few out of order hormones or a broken down thyroid to slip some people over the edge from ordinary worry to panic attacks.


Dear girls,

Sometimes God gives us a task that is just too big for us. It starts, most often, as an idea. A spark.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if…

And somehow that tiny spark starts to light us up. We glow when we think about it. The idea warms us. We find ourselves wanting to flame it into something tangible and real.

We dream.

Someday I’d like to…

As the dream grows and takes shape we who walk and talk with, and listen to Jesus are in constant conversation with Him about this idea. He is, we believe, the One who sparked the vision in the first place.

Lord, is this from You? Might it be Your prompting? Are You behind this dream?

That’s when we let others take a peek. Tentatively, protectively, we share the dream. Or part of the dream. At least the part that doesn’t involve us.

Somebody really ought to…

We hope our closest people will jump up and down and tell us they’re with us. That they’ll point out that we’re capable. That they’ll give us the courage to go for it.

You were made for this moment… I can see it….

That rarely happens.

Usually, people who love us caution us.

What if? You know that time you? Be careful? Have you thought of?

And the dream falters. Those doubts and fears and insecurities we’ve ignored like buzzing flies land on our skin and burrow deep.

Or for some, stubbornness sets in. We set our jaw and feel sorry for ourselves and resent the ones who love us enough to tell us not to try that thing they don’t dream about and wonder why we do.

Why doesn’t she understand? Why does he always have to throw cold water on my ideas?

And sometimes we just let the dream die right then and there. It was ours for a moment but now its not. We go on with what we’re supposed to do but the spark is gone from the day-to-day. The burdens we carry seem a little more burdensome. The boring must-do’s a little more wearying.

The next time that sparks tries to ignite way back wherever it is that dreams are born, we snuff it out. Immediately. No use dreaming. That’s for other people, not for ordinary, less-than-amazing people like us.

Our dreams, we’ve been told, are selfish.

What about the kids? The house? The future?

And as we grow older, that daring, adventurous, BIG part of our soul just shrivels up and dies. We’re not heroes-in-the-making anymore.

We drudge. We crank. We grumble.

And that, my dear girls, is what happens when we squelch the dreams of those we love.

When we caution our man about all the things that could go wrong…

When we insist we know it’s not for him or for us or for our future together…

When we point out the obvious— that nobody dreams that big except the somebodies.

And we don’t let him be a somebody because… well, I don’t really know why.

When my wants clash with his dreams and I get squeamish maybe its just because I’m afraid. And maybe instead of trying to talk him out of it I should just trust him.

Or maybe not. Maybe I can’t trust him because I think he’s selfish and foolish and just wrong. Maybe that idea is just no good. Or no good for me. Or for the children we have or might have someday.

But what if we decided to trust God?

To say Yes.

To dare to let him dream and maybe even fail.

And then be there to tell him he’s not a failure, but a man brave enough to dream and you love that about him.

And then to pick up the pieces and let him dream again because you really do.

You respect a man who dreams and does because dreaming and then doing that dream is heroic.

And rare.

And worthy.

Girls, I think it’s time we dare to let our men dream.

It’s time to let him know we’ve got his back even when we’re scared. That it’s okay if it doesn’t work out because we’ll still be there to let him dream again.

I think it’s time that we realize that He’s Not Your Prince Charming but he is a man with a need to dream. And if we’re the ones to squelch the dream he’ll never get to be that knight in shining armor he needs to be.

And if you think so too, I’d urge you to read Sarah’s story. It’s found in Genesis, chapter 12. Her husband had a dream and she chose to follow it with him through all the messes he made in the process. She risked, she endured, she laughed and she cried and she lost and she gained.

And she learned to trust God even when her husband failed.

I think it’s time we choose to be like Sarah. 

From my heart,


PS: Sarah made some not-so-nice mistakes in the process of trying and so do we. But we can give each other courage by telling our stories- both good and bad. Would you tell us yours?



Fearing people is a dangerous trap,

But to trust the LORD means safety.

Proverbs 29:25


Doesn’t it always come back to this?

To put my hand in His and let Him be the one to lead.

To trust His judgment.

And don’t we all struggle with just this?

This need to learn how to purposely choose to look at His face whenever I worry about what’s maybe right and what might be wrong?

To look to Him for approval instead of letting the approval of people be my guide?

Just a little while ago I was in Albania sitting across from a new friend, a woman being braver than most, willing to go against the grain that constrains the women there.

She told me about all those years when communism reigned and having nothing was normal— no beauty, no luxury, not enough food, not enough of anything.

And so women just cleaned. Because their homes were not pretty, they made sure they were clean. Cleaner than anyone else’s. Women mopped and shined and wiped meticulously, endlessly. And then they apologized for anything less than perfect and limited themselves, lest anyone see so much as a smudge.

And they’re still doing it now while working and buying and saving and educating and cooking the most delicious and time intensive meals I’d ever eaten.

And my friend has decided not to go along with that pressure. She won’t be defined by the hygienics of her shower.

She has stuff to do, important stuff. 

So she’s writing instead of scrubbing; children’s bible stories, a blog for young mothers, another for Albanian families, an online magazine. And she’s gathering women to study Scripture, to search for wisdom about raising their children in post-communist, still-atheist Albania.

Edi is my hero—she’s bold, she’s beautiful.

She’s safe.

And Edi has mastered something I’m just beginning to learn— that to fear God we women must deliberately ignore the disapproval of our sisters and mothers and magazines and friends.

We must choose instead to think long and hard, to ponder all alone just what it is that the LORD is asking of us.

To wear the clothes that fit, and toss out those wishful thinking styles that bind our souls too tight.

But how? Other than letting ourselves get all hard and cold and defiant, how in the world can we act on this?

Here’s my list for me…

  1. To not try to do it all.
  2. To tell the truth.
  3. To be satisfied with who we are and then be free to enjoy our sisters who aren’t like us at all.
  4. To do what only I can do and not try to do more.
  5. To smile and have fun and hole up in quiet corners all by myself just because I crave that.
  6. To wear glitter when grey is more the style.

I am learning… slowly. And so are you. We’ll get this eventually.

From my heart,


Isaiah 51:7… so much wisdom

repost from Nov. 2012 


Ruth 4v13-17

Ever After (Part Four) 

(Click here to listen to the sixth Ruth teaching)

Verse of the Week




More Words from the Father

Isaiah 35v3-10

1 Thessalonians 4v13-18

Mark 7v31-37

Revelation 21

Isaiah 25v6-7



From my Heart



Someday all sorrow will be gone.


The hurts and pains and grief that mark our lives will be but a distant memory. Instead, delight will come bursting into our hearts and minds. We’ll giggle and dance and laugh out loud, unable to contain our joy.


Someday all worry will be gone.


The stress, the worries we push to the corners of our minds. The prayers we pray in panic for people we love. The underlying anxiety. Poof! Gone. And in place of all those nasty peace stealers will be trust. Absolute, unerring, unwavering trust in the One who holds the world in His hands.


Someday all fear will be gone.


Fear of the future. Fear of the past. Fear of people. Fear of pain. No longer will fear be the architect of our plans. Instead we’ll dream-and dream big. Walking with the Creator of the Universe, we’ll be so free from the fear that held us back that we’ll expound our ideas and expand on His to the delight of us both. Can’t you just see it? Arms waving, faces alight with the possibilities. We’ll be free!


Someday all anger will be gone.


We’ll never again hear it or sense it or see it in others. And we’ll never again feel it ourselves. No more seething silently. No more exhausting explosions. Grace will blanket everything and everyone. Love will be so palatable then, that we’ll forget what rage feels like. We’ll scratch our heads and wonder what happened back then, before this place.


And someday I’ll be able to hear again.


The tinkling of bells. The fall of raindrops. The whisper of the wind. Birds will sound beautiful. The full-throated croak of a frog will send me, no doubt, into peals of laughter. And a creak of a cricket - crisp and clear over the morning air.


I’ll never, ever again pretend to hear someone. Never watch lips move and wonder what to do - ask again or nod my head and hope for the best? Words and sounds will float to me, enveloping me in their music, enrapturing my whole self.


And I’ll sing. Yes I will! Loud and unabashedly proud, I’ll sing when I’m alone and when I’m surrounded by singers. No worries about missed notes or monotone. My voice will carry over the waves in rich, lovely tones of praise. Maybe I’ll even grab a microphone just so everyone will know it’s me!


Someday. Someday soon.


I know, I know…I know that the now of my life matters. I have work to do. My Master has called me to walk a while here, to keep my eyes off my troubles, fixed firmly on His face.


I know.


But still, someday beckons. I’ll be home then. Reveling in that place He meant for me all along. And I’m going to hear those hoped for words, I know I will. Despite my failures, my gross inadequacies, and my horrendous hypocrisy - I’m going to hear Him say,

“Oh Di, my good and faithful servant…Come…enter into Joy!”




From my heart,








“So Boaz took Ruth…”

The Hebrew word laqah is translated brought, acquired, selected, took, or marry. The word itself changes meaning with its context. Here in the context of a wedding ceremony, it takes on the meaning of marriage. Boaz married Ruth. But it means more than that. Boaz selected Ruth. The entire story romances his selection of Ruth as his bride. Of all the women he could have picked, Boaz sought out and selected Ruth.

This is the same word used in Deuteronomy 4v34 to describe God’s choosing of the people of Israel out of all the other nations to be His own people. The concept of being chosen by God reverberates throughout the book of Ruth and spills onto the pages of the entire Bible. Boaz’s selection of Ruth as his wife is a beautiful picture of Jesus’ choosing of us to be His bride.

For reasons we will never fully grasp, God sought us and bought us, and brought us into His protection and love. In a very real sense, God laqah you!


Ruth 3v1-18

The Proposal (Part Four)

 (Click here to listen to the fourth teaching of Ruth)



The Verse of the Week 





More Words from the Father

1 Peter 2v19-25

1 Peter 3v1-19

Psalm 34




From my Heart

Home / Not Always a Safe Place

Some of you are “making your home” amongst difficult people. You feel afflicted and picked on; judged and found wanting. No Walton family reruns, where everyone kisses each other at the end of the day and tucks them in with kindness. Instead, you absorb sarcasm and criticism, harsh words which poke and cause pain.

Oh, I’m not talking about abuse here, but about that every day brand of meanness that is so prevalent in our society today - so seemingly acceptable in its boundaries.

Not one of us is immune to the wounds received when living in this fallen world. And though it ought not to be in our homes, the reality is that sometimes it just is.


What’s a woman to do?


Some of us protect ourselves by putting a hard shell around our hearts. Others withdraw, keeping a safe distance from anyone who might lash out and hurt their tender souls. Or sometimes we fight back, returning meanness for meanness in an attempt to turn away the flood of negativity, giving them just what they deserve for hurting us so.


It doesn’t work, though, does it?


We end up feeling as ugly as we sound, or bound up and cold hearted; unable to pour on people the extravagant affection that makes a woman truly beautiful.

I have found Psalm 34 to be an invitation into the shelter of the Almighty during those trying times. This is David’s answer to those afflicted (NIV), discouraging (NLT), and humbling (NASB) realities.

Let’s walk through this Psalm together to discover how David found shelter from what he so poetically called, “the strife of tongues.”


Psalm 34

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly sing His praises.

I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart.

Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness; let us exalt His name together.


It sounds to me like David is having to pull himself out of his discouragement one painful handful at a time. By turning away from his detractors and determining to focus his thoughts on God, David’s sore heart is being healed.

Sometimes it takes herculean effort to pull yourself away from the pain of hurt feelings. The only possible way to do so is to praise God, to boast about Him, to open your mouth and sing  out loud to Him. The out-loud part is important. You can’t stay down in the dumps for long when you are singing about God’s greatness.


I prayed to the Lord and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears.


This is just what you will need: freedom from the fear that life will always be this way - that strife and conflict instead of “goodness and mercy” will follow you all the days of your life.


Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; 

no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and He heard me.

He set me free from all my fears. 

For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear Him, and He rescues them.


Just like Ruth, you and I need a Rescuer - someone who will tuck you under His wing and guard your fragile heart. Rather than step in and rescue yourself by fighting back, what might happen if you, like David, chose instead to simply cry out to the Lord and wait? What if, instead of acting out your hurt and anger, you chose to bow low before the Father and honor Him with your tongue?


What if we so feared Him that we wouldn’t dare lash out?

Here’s what He says would happen:


Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Oh, the joys of those who trust in Him!

Let the people show Him reverence,

for those who honor Him will have all they need.

Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,

but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing.


To taste is to experience, to relish the flavor of God’s goodness. When you get a taste of God, especially in the face of difficulties, you take Him in and are filled with His joy. When you honor Him in spite of how you are being treated, He will see to it that you have all you need. That hunger and that longing for love will be satisfied by God Himself.


How do I know this is true?


By long, hard experience. Too often, I have taken things into my own hands, determined to stick up for myself when feeling underappreciated, or ready to sass back when someone’s irritation interrupts my peace. My face wears a frown, and filled with “righteous indignation,” I let‘em know not to mess with me!


But that is not the way of Jesus, nor is it the way of beauty.


On those all-too-rare occasions when I have chosen to follow His way of dealing with difficult people, I have known a peace and a joy and a deep-down satisfaction that puts me in instant intimacy with the Father. There is nothing like it!

If your home is not an easy place to rest, and you find yourself longing for the love and acceptance that Ruth found with Boaz, perhaps you should follow the example of Jesus…and of those “holy women of old” in our Scripture reading for today. Read over those verses again. Ponder them in the light of your own circumstances. They are loaded with wisdom, full of keys to staying safely tucked under the wings of the Almighty.


And while tucked into that safe place, look around. You just might spot Sarah…or Ruth, maybe even Esther.


From my heart,





Fear Not


“…and now my daughter, do not fear.” Ruth 3v11


If this phrase sounds comfortingly familiar to you, it may be because it is something our God says over and over again to His far-from-courageous chosen leaders. Men and women who seem invincible when we read their stories were in fact terrified at the time. Yet they didn’t stay that way. As they watched Him at work, and as they listened for His voice, they gained the temerity to trust God to do what they knew they couldn’t. Ruth was one of them.


Maybe it’s time you were too.


Read up on their situations and ask Him for the kind of faith that banishes fear.


“Fear not…


Abraham  / Genesis 15v1

Isaac / Genesis 26v24

Jacob / Genesis 43v3

Moses / Exodus 14v13

Joshua / Joshua 8v1; 10v8

Jehoshaphat / 2 Chronicles 20v17

The RemnantIsaiah 41v10, 13, 14; 43v1, 5; 44v2

Ezekiel / Ezekiel 3v9

Daniel / Daniel 10v12

Joseph / Matthew 1v20

Zacharias / Luke 1v13

Mary / Luke 1v30

The shepherds / Luke 2v10

Paul / Acts 27v24

John / Revelations 1v17


“Thus Sarah obeyed…and you become her children if you do what is right without being frightened by any fear.” 1 Peter 3v6



Dear Matthew,

Last week I told you a story about your sister, Rebekah. I described to you a story of a man who took his responsibility to protect the purity of a woman seriously.

This week I want to tell you how.

Every movie, every TV show, every story you see in public is rife with impurity because our culture sees impurity and immodesty and immorality as manly… and sexy… and cool.

What you never see is the shredding of trust, the feelings of insecurity, of being used and abused and abandoned. That stuff.

You know a better way because you have read The Book.

Words like:

You shall not commit adultery. Exodus 20v14


You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5v27-28


It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. I Thessalonians 4v3-6

So here is a mom-made list of how to protect a woman’s purity:

  1. Tell her right up front exactly why you intend to keep your relationship pure. (That way she won’t wonder about the weirdness of a relationship that doesn’t get all hot and heavy)
  2. Make rules for yourself. (As in 'Do Not Touch' except for fondness and affection)
  3. Do not spend time all alone together. (You’ll be less tempted to go too far if you always have an audience)
  4. Tell some trusted friends that you intend to keep this relationship pure. (Just the ones who will face this battle with you instead of laughing all over Facebook)
  5. Invite people to question you. (Make it easy, don’t be defensive, they’re not saying they don’t trust you… just that you’re crazy to trust yourself)
  6. Don’t look at pornography! (It’s the fool who thinks he can feed a fire and not get burned by it)
  7. Be honest with her when it’s hard. (But please do not make this a frequent topic of conversation!)
  8. Assure her often of your feelings for her. (Women are conditioned to think that men who paw at them actually love them— and they can get insecure unless you tell them otherwise)
  9. Date for a long time to get to know each other well, then be engaged for a short time. (There is something about that engagement ring that can make it really hard to stop)

It takes a man to follow this kind of advice.

It takes strength, determination, moral muscle.

It takes a man who is so passionate about Jesus that he chooses to curb his own God-given passions.

You are such a man, Matthew. May He give you all His grace.

From my heart,


And girls… do not settle for anything less.


Dear Matthew, Today, instead of writing you a letter about who you should marry or how you should act,

I’m keeping it simple.

Because what I want to talk about today has nothing to do with her and a whole lot to do with who she will become...

if you will be this kind of man.

And you’ve watched this all your life. This being— this doing that leads to being.

Since 1975 your dad has made a choice every single day that has led him into a life rich with wisdom. Count that, son, 38 years!

I’ve posted this before, but am absolutely certain that this needs seeing again. You and your Jesus-following friends who have set your faces to honor God, to know Him and love Him and lead others to do the same—

you need this.

This is not just another rule to follow.

This is a decision your dad made and stuck to… for a long, long time.

It is why I trust him. Why my respect for him has grown over 34 ½ years of marriage.

Why that respect turned into love so great I can’t see the keyboard as I type these words to you…

And why you need to read this again.

I love you!