Let Me Teach You: Called to more than grand gestures

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:29 


This has been a humbling year. I came back from the mission field. I stayed in the ICU. I cancelled our plans and cared for a sick baby. Slowly, I’m laying down my version of God’s calling on my life for His. 

Cody has shifted into his role with grace and purpose. He’s meeting a clear need and they’re so thankful to have him. But my life is full of cycles. Unending dishes, diapers, bottles, interruptions, laundry, potty training, soothing fussy kids at night, grocery runs, sweaty walks, and going over letters and memory verses with a distracted pre-schooler who’d rather be playing in the mud. It’s not as easy for me to wade through the work and see what we’re accomplishing. I thought I’d be flying to the rescue and making an impact on the unreached peoples of the world. Those are good desires, but man, has it been brutal to lay them down and figure out who I am without them.

Pride says “Why would you bring us home? I’m more valuable than this! I have trained so long and so hard and I could be making a difference!”

Humility says, “Jesus is the one that makes the difference. He can position me wherever He likes and give me any job He wants.”

I’ll give you one guess which one my heart tends toward. 

Humility doesn’t grasp for significance and recognition or strive to be important. But I do. Humility doesn’t try to impress other people. But I do. Humility knows that God’s calling is not just to the grand gestures, but to the every-day choice to die to self and love the people He’s put in front of you. But I don’t want to die to self in the ways I’m being asked to right now. I want to tackle big and important work, but Jesus was happy to let his big and important work be interrupted by little children. 

I read a story by Paul David Tripp about his early days as a young pastor. He was over it. He had figured out a new plan for ministry and given his resignation. But an older man stayed after the service and challenged him: “We know you’re discouraged and we know you’re a bit immature, but we haven’t asked you to leave. Where is the church going to get mature pastors if the immature ones leave?” 

We get mature pastors when immature ones stick with it. We get mature moms, mature missionaries, mature believers, when immature ones keep at it. So here I am. Recognizing, left and right, the indicators that my heart is proud and immature. But I hear my Savior saying “Let me teach you.”

Ephesians 4:1-2 says this:
 “…Lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

I desperately want to live a life worthy of my calling. I just didn’t realize how often that means “Be patient with each other. Be humble and gentle,” that it’s a calling not just to do certain things, but be a certain type of person. Hard work matters. But it matters more that my work flows out of a heart that is patient with other people. Big sacrifices matter. But it matters more that I make the sacrifices because of how worthy Jesus is, not because I am trying to be worthy. It’s good to want to teach people about Jesus, but I cannot forget how badly I need to be taught by Him.

He was equal with God, but He didn’t cling to that. He was the most significant human being on the face of the Earth, but He didn’t flaunt it. How I need Him to teach me to be humble and gentle. How I need Him to teach me to value people so much that I do not turn away from the mundane, inconvenient, and tedious work of loving them and caring for them day in and day out. 

Here’s the sweet spot. Pride is the source of so much wrestling and angst. But Jesus said, “Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Not only is He ready to teach me, his teaching brings rest. 

Are you frustrated with where He has you? Are you weary and discouraged and reaching for something different and more fulfilling? Do you feel like what you really have to offer has been passed over? Are you trucking through your work, but growing impatient with your people?

Me too. Let’s go to our teacher. Let’s run to our rest. He can teach us to be like Him. He can quiet our hearts. He can remind us that we are here on purpose, and that every second is worthwhile. He can change us so that what we do flows out of who we are in Him, and it is full of life and grace. 

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
John 15:4




Keep Knocking: He will be with us in trouble

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

Matthew 7:7-11



I have really struggled with this verse. I think any believer who’s experienced chronic illness probably has. I have asked a lot of times for things I have not received.

In fact, from the first moment Benaiah’s brain scans popped up on the screen in the hospital, my thoughts were not “Oh, well I’ll just ask the Lord to heal that, He can do anything!” To my shame, my heart sank. How many thousands of parents have pleaded with God for their sick child, only to watch them keep suffering? I thought. Why would He answer me?

Instead of recalling all the times the Lord has moved into my circumstances and heard my cries for help, I let myself dwell on suspicion: How could you let this happen to my child? We’re just trying to serve you with our lives and our family is getting hit with one thing after another! You could have stopped this, and you didn’t, so how can I expect your help?

I asked absolutely everyone to pray for our son. And I kept asking. Shooting flares into the darkness. But I braced myself for no help to come.

There in the waiting, a friend wrote this to me:

“I know that that’s the place you’re sitting. Terrified of all that could be to come. I feel so deeply in that for you and even if hope is too painful to hold right now yourself, that’s ok. I’ll hold it for you. I’m praying with hope and confidence for his healing. Many people held that for me with [my daughter] because I honestly just couldn’t. So I’m here. Holding hope and holding light if ever you need it.”


I felt so known. When it was for myself, I could hold onto hope. But when it was my brand new baby? How could I face all that was ahead if I let myself hope and that hope was disappointed? My faith felt fractured. I was reeling, and kicking myself for not standing firm, especially if what my baby needed was for me to pray in faith and confidence and I couldn’t muster it. 

But I think the Lord led this mom to gently write to me: “I’ll hold it for you.”

Person by person, a community of people messaged, called, showed up at my door. They were holding hope for me. They kept asking when my voice broke. They kept knocking when my hand fell limp. 

You hold that baby. We’ll hold your hope. We’re praying for him. We’re believing for him. God can change this. Don’t lose sight of what He is able to do.

A speaker at our church retold the story of the man with a demon-possessed son who asked Jesus to heal him, if He could.

“If I can?” Jesus had asked, “Anything is possible if you believe.”

“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” the man cried. 

Tears stung in my eyes. This had been my cry, too. The speaker lowered her voice, and gently said, “It was in this father’s crisis of faith that Jesus healed his son, not in his moment of strength.”

I sobbed. 

A few days later, I read this verse: “This is real love – not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his son as a sacrifice to take away our sins…We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in His love.

1 John 4:10, 16

I was despairing, breaking, fearful, suspicious. But patiently, through His word and His people, God was there with me, reminding me that it is a safe thing to wait on Him. That even when I fear what is waiting for me on the other side of the door, I must keep knocking. I must keep asking. Because God may not help me in the specific way I ask, but his help will surely meet me when I ask Him. His peace is found on the other side of that conversation. And there is no shortcut to it, because He is the answer, not any of the things I’m praying for. I know He will always give me good things when I ask, because He always gives me himself.

“The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them.”

Psalm 91:14-15

“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you…Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for Him to act.”

Psalm 37:5, 7

Four months later, here I am, marveling at how well my little son is doing. Rubbing my eyes and looking again, and slowly realizing that God is doing what I was afraid to hope for, in spite of how poorly I trusted Him. I wanted to stand firm with unwavering faith. But what happened is this: I went down, and God sent help. 

I am part of a body, and “all the members care for each other.” (1 Corinthians 12:25) Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking? It’s not just an instruction to the individual. It’s a call to a team. Pursue the Lord. Walk with Him. Plead with Him. Not just for yourselves, but for each other. Keep going after Him. And keep reminding each other how much He loves us, how faithful He is, that He’s a good Father who is worthy of our trust.

We are loved by a God who can do anything. He is with us in trouble. He is steady when we falter. It’s the message of the Gospel all over again. Not that we buckled down and made our way to Him, but that He stepped down into our helplessness and offered Himself. And it will probably not be my amazing example of faith that will win the world to Jesus, but my humbled heart, again and again, moved to awe by his amazing faithfulness.

So when He says to keep knocking, I will keep pounding at the door. Both for myself and for the ones who are going under. Because He’s not only testing our faith; He’s building it. 

“…We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us. And you are helping us by praying for us. Then many people will give thanks because God has graciously answered so many prayers for our safety.”

2 Corinthians 1:8-11


He Remains Unfailing: Puny Strength, Patient God

“But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst of sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in Him and receive eternal life.”

1 Timothy 1:16

After months of praying and holding our breath, another brain MRI is in the books for Benaiah, and it looks like slowly, very slowly, his ventricles are shrinking. No surgery at this point. It is so, so rare that a case like his can be managed with medication alone. We begged the Lord to intervene and He heard our prayers. I should be dancing for joy. I’m relieved. But it feels like the kind of relief at the end of long, tense movie where the suspense would not let up for a second and you’re exhausted from the adrenaline when it’s over. I feel absolutely drained.

He’s okay. He’s going to be okay. I’m so glad he’s going to be okay. I wonder if I will be.

We talked through some of the challenges we’ve walked through and are currently facing with our mission’s member care team and they pointed out that I use the word “should” a lot. They explained that “should” tends to describe our expectations and that constantly comparing reality to our expectations sets us up to feel guilt, anxiety, and discouragement over things we cannot and do not control. “Yes, that’s about the sum up of it,” I responded. We laughed. I cried.

Man, I am hunting for some new “should’s.”

Dancing for joy? Not so much these days. Begging for joy while I drag myself out of bed after a night of getting up with the baby to make breakfast for a high-strung toddler that will demand to have his eggs cut just a certain way? That’s happening a lot more often. Groping for joy when I feel spent after working like crazy to get ourselves set up to serve overseas only to watch all we’ve worked for get pushed further and further back on the timeline? You bet.

Is it enough, when you don’t feel joy, to bring your request before the source of joy?

Is it enough to ask for new mercies this morning when my heart is tired and teary instead of thankful?

My heart often tells me, “You should be handling this better.” But I think it would be more helpful to tell myself, “You should take this to the Lord.”

“Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.”

Psalm 37:5

He. Will. Help. You.

I do not have the promise that I will be strong enough. I have the promise that He will help me when my strength fails. When my joy fails. When my endurance fails. When my love fails. When my heart feels drained and I fall short of all the “should’s.” He remains unfailing.

“…For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness!”

Lamentations 3:22-23

One step at a time, one morning at a time, we are going to get through this. And when we look back, we will not be impressed with how I did what I should have. We will be blown away by how God was faithful and merciful to me when my “should’s” gave out. How He crafted a story full of things I did not expect, and worked through every detail of my disappointments.

I’m still processing through having to step away from ministry in Papua New Guinea for a season, facing one health crisis after another, a car accident, the loss of our trailer, moving from house to house, feeling at a loss with my toddler, and finding myself on my knees for my baby. I want to be over it. With the good news about Benaiah, I want to dust myself off and move on full speed. But there is some brokenness that’s taking time to smooth out.

Here’s what I’m working to remember. People are not necessarily drawn to the Lord because I serve Him so flawlessly and my life is so exemplary and I move through difficulty so gracefully. My faithfulness to Him is not the point or the power of this story. It’s His faithful love to me.

Oh Lord,

Thank you for having mercy on me. May others see in me the evidence of your great kindness and patience, and so be drawn to trust in you. Remind my heart that I am not the hero of my story, you are. When I am disappointed and aching over how I fall short; over my weakness, my issues, my wrestling to believe you, my self-centeredness, pride, impatience, and anxiety – May I remember that you are patient with me.

You are steadily working transformation in my life – the things that are pleasing to you. However it looks right now, as I gaze on you, you will keep changing me. I can have hope. Not because I am performing well, but because I am your work.

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For WE ARE God’s masterpiece. He created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:8-10

The Lord Helped: the factor that cancels out all my “although’s”

“Although the Arameans attacked with only a small army, the Lord helped them conquer the much larger army of Judah…”

2 Chronicles 24:24

Although…with only…the Lord helped.

May I latch onto these words for all I’m worth.

It does not matter what I’m up against, what the odds are, or what I’m going without. If the Lord decides to help me, I will overcome. His help and His provision: they are all I need and the only factors that matter. May I never lose sight of my need for Him. May my heart always be yielded to Him. 

Oh Lord,

Help me to trust you whole-heartedly. Let no disappointment, pain, hardship, frustration or fear ever be enough that I decide to abandon you. Strengthen me to believe you, to follow you, and to obey you.

You alone. You always.

I desperately need your help for these next steps. They are intimidating and big. They hold many unknowns and it is so easy for my heart to fill with worry. But here is my prayer in the face of it:

At the end of the day, may my story say “Although….with only….the Lord helped.”

If that were so, it would be enough.

The Finisher: who is our hope when the race stretches long?

“…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…”
Hebrews 12:2

Who is the finisher? Is it me?

No.

As I run this race and seek to endure, am I called to look inward to find what I need to finish? 

No.

Should I worry that I will somehow miss the calling and steps He has marked for me?

No.

The work before me has been prepared from long ago (Eph 2:10), and even when it is brutal and difficult, the One on whom this depends does not yield until it is finished.

He will finish what He has started concerning me.

The race stretches out before me, and it holds difficulty, darkness, precarious footing, an unrelenting incline, obstacles, and constant distractions.

But the Finisher lights a lamp for me in my darkness, enables me to stand on mountain heights, strengthens me to endure, helps me to scale every wall, makes my way perfect, and spreads the path wide before my feet.

He shows me how to run for the joy set before me, clinging to the certain hope that we will not fall short of the finish.

Psalm 18

27 You rescue the humble,
    but you humiliate the proud.
28 You light a lamp for me.
    The Lord, my God, lights up my darkness.
29 In your strength I can crush an army;
    with my God I can scale any wall.

30 God’s way is perfect.
    All the Lord’s promises prove true.
    He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
31 For who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is a solid rock?
32 God arms me with strength,
    and he makes my way perfect.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
    enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow.
35 You have given me your shield of victory.
    Your right hand supports me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You have made a wide path for my feet
    to keep them from slipping.

Just Keep Walking: learning to count on grace and help

“It was by faith that the people of Israel went right through the Red Sea as though they were on dry ground. But when the Egyptians tried to follow, they were all drowned.”

Hebrews 11:29

Even if the way is clear and the waters have parted before you, it takes faith to walk it.

The Egyptians following right behind drowned. As awestruck as the Israelites must have been, gazing at the newly dry ground and the towering walls of water before them, my guess is that at least some of them felt conflicted:

Yes, there’s a way forward here, but what if God stops holding back the water? That is not a path I can walk without an enormous amount of help! What if the help runs out before I’m through it? I’m committing to a bottleneck here.

I have shared some of these frightened thoughts, halfway through my own water canyon. I’m now in week 23 out of 40 in this journey through another hyperemesis gravidarum pregnancy. We’ve now been through over 40 rounds of IV fluids, a trip across the Atlantic, a hospital admission, cardiac arrhythmias…and I’m becoming acutely aware of how just easy it would be for me to drown here. I have a heavy sense of how slowly I’m moving forward and how much further I have to go until there’s open air around me instead of the threat of going under.

Just keep walking. Just keep walking. 

But with each step, I must remember that there are two ways to walk through this: in torment or by faith. The very One who faithfully held back the water until every woman, child, elderly straggler and wayward sheep made it to safety, marked their faith for taking the steps. He is the ever faithful One, and yet He cherishes my every moment and every move that banks on his trustworthiness.

Oh Lord-

Help me not to question whether you will keep giving me the help I need. Teach me not to ponder, in the depths, the frightening thought of whether I could ever be worthy of that help. Your grace, support, and rescue are given to me freely because of who You are; because of whose blood has purchased me; and I can walk forward confidently, counting on the grace I so desperately need to carry me to the finish.

“…better things are waiting for you that will last forever. So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all He has promised.”

Hebrews 10:34-36

Anchor Rope: untangling our hope from our plans for tomorrow

“Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year….How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?…What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.”

James 4:13-16
 

I’ve been under a lot of pressure this week, and the symptoms of that pressure have been messy. I yelled across the house and threw a pillow on the floor. I thought angry thoughts and spoke in harsh tones.


We’ve had a super busy schedule, some changing plans, and a lot of moving pieces we’re trying to keep track of, but I think what threw me the most was an email mentioning that there might be a problem with our paperwork.

We’ve applied for our work permits so we can serve long-term in Papua New Guinea. As far as anyone knew, we had prepared perfectly, but the requirements are changing and getting stricter. We’re working on it, and we’re hopeful that they’ll still let us come, but it’s a wait-and-see situation. It’s an at-the-mercy-of-someone-else’s-decision situation.

I have found that I have a lot of emotions toward this development. In short, it makes me want to pull my hair out. I’m already aching under the pressure every day, because I know we can’t possibly make it all work. We can chase every detail we know of down and something unexpected can still come up. Even if we knew what all the factors were, we couldn’t control them all. We can’t even change ourselves to handle it better.

My stress reveals that I have let myself start thinking my plans are a certain thing. Again.

Oh, how I love to decide that I know what will happen next. It’s pretentious and evil. And it is so, so easy for me to slip into. I love to plan all the specifics as if I’m the one in control. But I’m not. And when I’ve been nurturing my love affair with the planner, I hesitate to depend on the One I need so badly. Just because he might be allowing one of my precious plans to be threatened, I allow that hesitation and fear to make me miserable. And I throw pillows at the floor because I’m so frustrated.

And then there’s Cody, out mowing the lawn like everything will be okay. Just doing the next thing and waiting. Because everything will be okay. Our hope was never in those details.

Oh girl. You’ve got to go get your hope back. Pull it back and pick it up and detach it, strand by strand, from all those pretentious specifics you’ve let it wrap around. Lay the tangled thing at the feet of your Savior and let him braid it into something sturdy: an anchor rope. So every single thread leads to him and his faithfulness.

Then you will not be thrown when things do not go like you expect or when a certain course of action is threatened.

Yes. That plan might not work. But everything will be okay. You’ll be okay. Your family will be okay. Our God knows exactly what you’ll need for the journey you didn’t know to plan for. He knows just how to navigate every turn in the road and he is faithful to use our lives to do the work he is planning, even and especially when it doesn’t line up with what we’re planning.

He’s a good leader. He won’t drag us at such a breakneck speed that we have no option but to drown or let go. He prepares the path and walks it first and lends the strength so that we are surely able to follow the whole way.

Oh Lord,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for trying to take this back and make it mine. I can’t make these plans turn out. I don’t know everything we’ll need for what’s ahead, or if we’ll even get cleared to take the next step. Can you help my heart release the process to you?

Will you help me trust you to get us there?

I want to do a really good job at this and I want to look good doing it. And that leads me to a place where I obsess and get so upset over the lists and the timing and the unknowns. I’m yearning to be perfect, impressive, on-the-ball, ahead of schedule, all-knowing, prepared for everything. But these goals are only throwing me off balance and adding unnecessary pressure.

Help me unhook my hope from prideful ambitions and pretentious specifics. That kind of obsession does not honor you or the people I’m serving. A humble heart holds all its plans up to you as ideas that could be improved upon and takes on the changes that come with great hope for what you are about to do.

“When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!”

Isaiah 64:3-4

Let’s take it back to this simple, steadying truth:

There is no God like you.

I am not impressive. But you are. And its not up to me to make your plan work. I am not under all this pressure to see to every detail. I can simply look at, listen to, follow, obey, and be rescued by a God unlike any other.

Again and again, my whole life long, as often as I need you, you will be there. You will exceed my highest expectations, you will handle the things I didn’t see coming, and you will do incredible work as I wait on you.

Nothing surprises you. Nothing threatens your plans. So I will bring this problem before you and ask you to work on our behalf.

Lord, I believe you’ve led us here, to this point, and you are asking us to keep believing you, to keep watching, and to see how you will make a way for us. We trust you, so we can just go mow the lawn while we wait. Because our hope is tied to a sturdy, unchanging anchor, not to our idea of what tomorrow should look like.

“No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord. The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.”

Proverbs 21:30-31

Make Room For Mustard Seeds: on small priorities that aren’t actually so small

“How shall I describe the kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”

Mark 4:30-32

It’s easy, in our planting, to forget that small seeds become what fills the garden.

James 3 explains that peace-makers sow seeds of peace with their words. Galatians 6 warns that we will always harvest what we plant and cautions us to select our seeds carefully. 2 Corinthians 9 encourages us to give generously with the visual of harvesting what we plant.

With our words, with our thoughts, with our time, and with our resources, we are always planting seeds. Peace or conflict, life or decay, scarcity or abundance; what we plant will grow.

As we choose, the small seeds can easily be overlooked for something that appears much more impressive or urgent, even by the most careful planter. We can end up with the sparse coverage of a fast-fading tulip whose bulb looked so promising, or we can make space in our lives to plant the small seeds God draws to our attention and watch him cultivate a plant that fills and shades the garden.

The work God calls important, the way he calls me to use my time and go about my life, the things he values: they don’t clamor for my attention. They don’t promise to indulge my ambition or my desire for instant gratification. There is only a gentle prodding to make the time, to surrender the plan, to take the step; even when it seems like a costly, illogical, or ill-timed move. A quiet call to obedience. A small seed.

But what it produces in my life is so much bigger than the many things I tend to chase after.

Lord,

Teach me to ignore the approved garden plan of men and make room for mustard seeds.

For you are faithful with what I entrust to you, and small steps of obedience carry enormous potential.  

Not I: a daily diagram for how in the world to navigate this crazy life

“…I do nothing on my own, but say only what the Father taught me. And the one who sent me is with me – He has not deserted me…”
John 8:28-29

I read these words and they flew up against a hard bent within me. The always-trying-to-be-enough bent that drives me to over-achieve and prove myself and never disappoint and never need help and never fall short.

But here it is from his own mouth. The One who calls me to follow his example in all things did NOTHING on his own.

That whole passage instructing us to stay in step with him, abide in him, draw from his strength, LET HIM produce his life in us instead of trying to conjure up the willpower to be good? He lived it before he asked us to follow.

This crazy life where he faced hunger and insult, homelessness and heartache, betrayal and abandonment, loss and enormous pressure to compromise, weariness and stress. He didn’t do any of it on his own. He spoke the words he was given and walked where he was led and received everything from his Father. And it was a day in, day out diagram for how in the world we are supposed do this life.


He does not want me to try it by myself.

He wants me to ask my Father for what I need. To call on my Savior for strength to take on each thing, big or small. To lean hard on his Spirit for the wisdom and guidance for each choice, as enormous or inconsequential as it may seem.

In big steps, tense discussions, inflammatory situations, choking grief, huge risks, daunting unknowns where I have no idea how to move forward. And also in just the challenging, stressful days where a crammed schedule and not enough sleep make me fear that I will give in to my irritable, selfish, harsh flesh.

May I not live in fear of the damage I might do or the damage I may sustain, but may I step forward in confidence that He is with me, giving me everything I need to face what this day holds, and He has not asked me to know all the answers or to handle one single part of it on my own.

I need to remember. I need to remember because when I feel like I’ve lost my bearings, I hang on tight. I cling to my ideas, my ways of doing things, my expectations of timing.

Ugh.

Those are the wrong things to cling to.

Lord, help me cling to you. When I feel a wave of confusion or frustration, may I reach for Jesus rather than trying to rally in my own strength.

You are enough. I don’t have to be enough for this or for what’s next or for anyone else because here you are with me, just as your Father was with you, never deserting or abandoning you.

You are enough for this. You are enough for me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

“…It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

“God has said, “I will never fail you.
    I will never abandon you.”

So we can say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper,
    so I will have no fear.
    What can mere people do to me?”


Hebrews 13:5-6

Worry, Hurry, Scurry: on living in a quiet place of rest

“Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.

You said, “No, we will get our help from Egypt…So the Lord must wait for you to come to Him so He can show you his love and compassion…Then you will destroy all your silver idols and precious gold images. You will throw them out like filthy rags, saying to them, “Good Riddance!”

Isaiah 30:15-16, 18, 22

This week I have felt like this hamster. I worry and hurry and scurry in seven different directions. I stop in the middle of one thing to go work on something else. I am weary and frazzled and I am not alone.

Just today, I left the office to put Abishai down for his nap to the sad goodbyes of the adults we left behind asking if they could take one, too.

It’s good work, but it does not hold a good place in my heart if I have allowed it to rush me along until I am irritable. nervous, and fidgety. 

Something is off when my tasks feel so pressing that I cannot take a quiet moment to remember that my God is handling things quite capably, he is ready to help me when I ask, and I can go about my work from a place of patience and quiet confidence instead of rushing around like a mad woman and being so thrown off by the things that interrupt or derail my idea of how this day should go.

How draining or how life-giving the same task can be often depends on the state of my heart as I approach it.

All along, I could be resting, instead of craving those moments when the work finally stops so I can, too. All along I could be settled in God’s sure strength and his good plan. But how quickly I become impatient and rush off to craft my own solutions. How easily the words, “No, I will get my help from…” escape my lips.

When will I see that all the other things I turn to only steal my worship and waste my time? May I learn to see them as the useless detours that they are, leading me on an uphill treadmill to nowhere until I collapse, out of breath and defeated.May I gain the wisdom to say to them “Good Riddance! My only hope is the Lord!”


Lord, teach me to return to you and find my rest. You are the one who is patiently waiting to meet my needs. You are right there with me, ready to guide my every step, ready to set me in a place of quiet strength, unhurried, unworried, because my eyes are set on you. 

I am often scurrying off to my own version of Egypt in a panic to guard my walls and build alliances. 

But this is what you say:

“Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted. Unless the Lord protects a city, guarding it with sentries will do no good. It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.”

Psalm 127:1-2

Lord, lead me to a place of calm and teach me to live there, where I can say “The Lord is doing his good work and he is using me, but he does not require me to worry or scurry in this situation in order to do what He has planned with it. So I will rest because I trust in Him.”

In Isaiah and in Psalms there are echoes of a gift held out to an anxious people desperate for relief. A gift that is still constantly offered and often turned down because we are too busy and too worried trying to control our world, force outcomes, plan perfectly, and do God’s job.

But He does not weigh us down with heavy burdens and task us to keep up with an impossible pace.He asks us to let him take our burdens, trust him to carry our cares, and slow down enough to remember who it is we serve and what He is capable of.  

Our God holds out the gift of rest and patiently waits for us to take him up on it. 

See that sleeping baby? He’s on the same hike we are. He could be working just as hard, too, but it wouldn’t get him any further.

What a great reminder God gave us in little kids, who constantly outdo us in their willingness to relax and trust someone else to carry them.