Thursday, December 22, 2011


The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.

You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.

Even the darkness is not dark to you,
for darkness is as light with you.

In your book were written the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

~From Psalm 138-139

You are not here by accident.

Your existence, this season of life, these circumstances--none of it is by chance. God is the author of your story. You have been placed right where you need to be. 

Maybe you have a lot of questions. The stress and pain in your life is about to overwhelm you. Your fears once again are getting the best of you. You are crushed under the sting of rejection or abandonment. You are tired of struggling on. Perhaps you want to give up. 

Run to Jesus. He loves you more than life itself. He wants to hold you close, "hem you in," and keep you safe. He can see, even when you can't. 

He is overwhelmingly good. He has promised to make everything work out for good for those who love Him. He is completely trustworthy. He is absolutely able to do as He has promised.

Hang on. He's not finished. If it's not good yet, it's not the end yet!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Touch of His Hand

“He laid His right hand on me . . .”1
In the midst of the awesomeness, 
a touch comes, 
and you know it is the right hand of Jesus Christ. 

You know it is not the hand of restraint, 
nor chastisement, 
but the right hand of the Everlasting Father. 

Whenever His hand is laid upon you, 
it gives inexpressible peace  
and comfort, 
and the sense that 
“underneath are the everlasting arms,”2
full of support,
and strength.
And once His touch comes, 
nothing at all can throw you into fear again. 

In the midst of all His ascended glory, 
the Lord Jesus comes 
to speak to an insignificant disciple, saying, 
“Do not be afraid.”3 

His tenderness is inexpressibly sweet. "

—Oswald Chambers, "My Utmost for His Highest" 

1 (Rev. 1:17) , 2 (Deut. 33:27), 3 (Rev. 1:17)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Little blessings

My little sister with me - Fall '10
Sometimes you pray for God's blessings, for things you need, but overlook the obvious blessings right under your nose.

I've been concerned about some things lately and praying for God's provision. But tonight, He sent me a small Reminder to not worry about tomorrow, but instead to appreciate the beauty of today.

In the form of a little girl's plea, "Rissa, can you read me the Bible tonight?"

You see, if I'm around when my sister Elise is going to bed, I'll often read her to sleep, usually from the Bible, because, "Rissa, you make it interesting and exciting!

Tonight she snuggled into my shoulder as I read from Psalm 139, "You hem me in, behind and before, and lay Your hand upon me."

"Do you know what a hem is?" I asked her.

When she replied yes, I explained, "See, a hem keeps the fabric from being frayed and ripped. Something like that, God hems us in and holds us, so that we're safe from being ruined and torn apart. He protects us."

Her eyes lit up in her signature way and her smile widened. "That's so cool!"

We talked and snuggled for a little while longer, when she stopped and looked at me, stroking my cheek. "Rissa, has anybody told you you're beautiful?"

I smiled and felt my eyes tear up. "Thank you, darling."

I had just showered so my hair was an unruly mop of drying curls, no makeup or anything. I didn't feel all that lovely.

But in taking time to love her, to give her my undivided attention, to share Jesus' love for her, with her... I wasn't even thinking of my looks.

The Apostle Peter said that a gentle and quiet spirit was how the holy women of the past used to make themselves beautiful.

Not necessarily by spending extra time on her appearance. Not by having everything in life under control. Not by doing more, being more, spending more on herself.

No, her beauty lay in her gentle, quiet attitude. Her trust in God's safekeeping leaves her free to give of herself to love and serve others.

Sometimes, in my preoccupation with my own agenda and modern efforts toward making myself beautiful and successful, I forget it, but...

Perhaps the old-fashioned method is still the most effective.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Of plans, hope and love

I was encouraged reading this post over on YLCF recently, and I hope it might be a blessing to you, too!

Trust that [God's] plans are always good and filled with hope.
Trust Him.  He is good.  His love endures forever.
On the days where the father of lies whispers that you’re unlovable, undesirable, an unworthy failure, may you understand that he is the condemned liar.
He wants to deceive you into thinking that the Giver of all good things cannot be trusted just because you do not have a husband or a family.
Don’t believe the lie.
Remember—he’s condemned and defeated by the Jesus Who chose you.

—Nicole Merchant
(Read the rest of the post:  "Dear Single Sisters" @ YLCF )

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Expressing Worship

Sometimes I wish I knew how to dance.

Not that I'm especially graceful, but there are times when I feel like I need another way of expressing my heart.

When I want to sing along to worship music but have had a cold and lost my voice.

When my heart is overflowing with emotion and voice alone will not express it.

When my limited piano skills are inadequate.

But… I can raise my hands to my Maker and lift up my voice in praise.
I can move my feet in worship anytime I run errands and help others.

I can stretch out my hands to the needy or embrace with compassion those hurting.

This is all worship.

All of this can give a voice to my thankfulness.

And you know what?

I bet God's enjoying it, too.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Never Dropped You Once

Did you ever play on the swing as a kid?

Higher and higher you'd go, closing your eyes and grinning as the wind swept across your face, when you heard a voice in front of you, calling your name.

It was your daddy. "Jump," he'd beckon, holding out his arms. "I'll catch you."

There was never a question of whether he would.

It was safe to let go of the ropes with daddy waiting there, safe to jump when he called,

I'll catch you.

It was perfect security, knowing daddy loved you, that he'd never once dropped you.

Not once.

A few years have passed since then. You're all grown up now, trying to make decisions, maybe kind of worried. Then you hear a voice calling.

It's your Father. "Jump. I'll catch you."

His arms are up to the challenge. He's strong, and He's had a lot of practice. When He calls to you, telling you to jump, you can trust Him.

He will catch you.

After all, He loves you.

And He's never dropped you once.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Filtered Through Fingers of Love

“Joy, peace, and stability come from believing
that every circumstance that touches our lives 
has first been filtered through His fingers of love 
and is part of a great, eternal plan 
that He is working out in this world and in our lives.”

—Nancy Leigh DeMoss, Lies Women Believe

Whoever would draw near to God must believe 
that He rewards those who seek Him.

~From Hebrews 11:6

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Faith, Questions & 2010

This past year began with a lot of questions. It's been a year with seemingly no rhyme or reason, settling in at church and work, comfortable in who I am, while at the same time being asked to step out with faith in some ways that honestly scare me.

It's been a year of ups and downs, with time flying by sometimes, and other times dragging on, feeling like life will go on the same way forever. It's offered me a lot of decisions. Held a few awesome road trips, a bunch of great friends and plenty of new experiences. 

It's been a good year.

Christmas time '10
with my best friend and sister
Learning to worship God with all that I am, just because He is worthy, is an incredible experience. Praising Him just because I know He is awesomely faithful, whether everything seems to be going my way or not. Because I have tasted and seen that He is good. Seen Him provide time and again. Witnessed the amazing ways He takes what seems hopelessly broken and fashions something beautiful beyond imagination. Watched disappointments often turn out to be wiser answers to my prayers than my dreams ever were.

Some answers I'm still waiting on. But if I've come away from 2010 with nothing else, I know this: My God is greater than fear, pain or obstacles. Greater than my plans and dreams.

He is the Master Designer, who will fulfill His purposes for my life. He loves through every season of doubt or failure. Gives peace for today and brilliant hope for tomorrow. He doesn't give up on me.

I've mulled over this quote a lot, because it captures my thoughts better than I can:
“I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time.” -Timothy Keller, The Reason For God
I don't want to waste this Love, or keep it all to myself. I want to place the kind of value on each person that Jesus does, to not give up on them. I want to make a difference, to pass His love on. I don't want to live a little life. And I don't want to love just a little, either. After all, my God loved with everything He had, everything He was. Whether it was well-received or spat back in His face. He loved anyway.

That is what I want to do. These are my ambitions for the new year.

To know my God better. To learn to really love others. To step out of my "boat" when Jesus calls, "Come." Even when I'm scared to cross the sea in front of me. I know Who called me and that He won't let me drown.

I've still got questions. Lots of them. But I know God is piecing together this puzzle into a spectacular masterpiece, and I'm really excited to see what He's going to do in 2011!

Chris Tomlin's "Our God" would have to be my summary song of 2010.
Water You turned into wine
Opened the eyes of the blind
There's no one like You
None like You
Into the darkness You shine
Out of the ashes we rise
There's no one like You
None like You

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God, You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Nothing is greater than my God.

This is the God that goes ahead into this year.