I can’t remember exactly when I discovered her tribute, tucked away in the center of my Bible, but from that day forward I knew I wanted to be just like her. I made my to-do list and set out to be the best Christian wife and mom I could be. But all my efforts seemed to produce was a life that was far from “abundant” (John 10:10). It was completely exhausting.
Being like Ms. P was a noble goal, but the truth is that I had missed the point completely.
In the same way, the day I visited Angel Oak, I had overlooked a key fact. Underneath the soil I stood on were miles upon miles of root systems. The existence of those unseen roots made everything that was seen so exquisite and awe-inspiring.
In the same way, if we read to the end of Proverbs 31, we find the not-so-secret secret to her admirable qualities: “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.”
Underneath the strong, successful, secure, smart, and sympathetic woman everyone could see was something greater— a root system which fueled her every word and deed: fear of the Lord. This “fear” the author writes about is not the feeling of terror. When the Bible talks about “fear of the Lord,” it’s referring to an awe-filled reverence in response to who God is.
Ms. P rooted her life in Him. The Amplified version elaborates, “reverently worshipping, obeying, serving, and trusting Him...” As a result, her good works were not manufactured at the cost of her own exhaustion— they were simply the natural product of God’s work within.
Good works are meant to be the fruit of our relationship with God, not the root of it.
Friend, God wants to bless you, and make you a blessing to others. He wants the world to stand in awe “for the display of his splendor” (Isaiah 61:3). God never intended for us to strive. He longs for us to rest in Him. This doesn’t mean we quit trying. It means we put our effort into the right thing: shifting from the shaky soil of self-reliance to fully trusting in Him.
Are you thriving in Christ, or striving in exhaustion? Are you positioning yourself to experience God, or are you focused on production?
There is freedom when we remain in Him. We don’t have to have to have all the answers. We don’t have to will ourselves to be better. We don’t have to put on a happy-Christian-mom “mask” and pretend like we have it all together. When we couldn’t do anything for ourselves, Jesus came with a rescue plan. He is the Author and He will be the Perfecter of our faith.
Find rest in that truth, today, friend, and “let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on him.” (Colossians 2:7)
Getting too close to shore was a real concern. When the wind blew in the direction I wanted to go, sailing was easy-peasy. But tacking against the wind meant I had to adjust my lines, work the tiller, and continuously course-correct.
Actually, most of sailing is continuous course-correcting. And so, my friend, is life.
Life is a constant monitoring of circumstances, adjusting when necessary to aim at our destination and avoid crashing. The good news is Holy Spirit is always working in our circumstances, inviting us to course-correct when the winds of life change.
We aren’t sailing alone. We have a Guide, a Teacher, a Comforter (John 16:13).With Holy Spirit, sailing means working with the wind to make progress. Good sailing sets the sails to allow the wind to work for us. Holy Spirit is good at that.
God’s Word tells us that He ordained every day of our life before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16). The circumstances that life brings your way aren’t meant to fight against you like a strong wind— they are meant to work for you to get to your destination, your destiny.
What if, instead of fighting the winds of life, we allow them to work for us? They would catapult us into our destiny instead of delaying us.
We have a choice: We can either hold the lines of our sails and the tiller of our rudder with Holy Spirit guiding us, or we can allow the circumstances of life to keep delaying us, leaving us frustrated, angry, and discouraged.
That is how the devil wants us to respond. Jesus told us the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), and when we hold on too tight to the lines and tiller, Holy Spirit doesn’t have room to course-correct. We can let the devil steal our joy, our peace, our relationships, our destiny, or we can learn to sail with Holy Spirit guiding us, moving and growing in joy and peace.
David is a great example of someone who continuously invited Holy Spirit to course-correct him. In Psalm 139 he prays, “Examine me through and through; find out everything that may be hidden within me. Put me to the test and sift through all my anxious cares. See if there is any path of pain I’m walking on, and lead me back to your glorious, everlasting ways...”
David wasn’t perfect. In fact, he made a lot of terrible mistakes. But because he remained sensitive to Holy Spirit’s guidance, he was able to course-correct.
This is our model for life. God doesn’t expect us to do it alone. Today, let’s make David’s prayer the cry of our hearts, too. Let’s invite Holy Spirit to continuously course-correct us and lead us deeper into our destiny.
Think of a time when nature refreshed your soul. Maybe it was simply overlooking the ocean, maybe it was gazing at something as wondrous as the Grand Canyon, or Niagara Falls.
Just as nature is refreshing to our souls, God’s words are refreshing to our souls as well. God’s words shine His glory, and are trustworthy and true. They bring joy and hope in times of sadness or difficulty. They bring encouragement and life when we may feel helpless or empty. His words give us direction and guidance when we need wisdom. His words are so precious if we just take the time to read them.
As moms, we often have 101 things on our to-do list every day. It feels as though everyone is pulling at us to go in every direction. I know for me that when I allow my busyness to keep me from spending time with God, my words are often more negative and critical and definitely not pleasing to God.
In our memory verse today we are reminded to have words and thoughts that are pleasing to God. The more we spend time in God’s word, the more His glory will pour out of us. This happens by meditating on His word, not just while sitting and reading it, but by being intentional to think on it throughout our day. One simple way I do this is taping verses to my bathroom mirror, where I get ready. Instead of becoming stressed by all the things on my to-do list, I allow His truth to become buried deep within me.
The seeds of God’s Word we are faithful to plant will always produce life and bring refreshment, hope, and wisdom. May we be women who make spending time, not just reading, but thinking on God’s word, a part of our day.Go out and take a walk and meditate on God’s word and His goodness to us displayed through His creation.
It’s easy to shake my head at stories like this, but my surprise reveals a disconnect from my own sin.
The truth is none of us are exempt from sinful nature: not my sweet little girl, not even “a man after God’s own heart,” and certainly not me.
Minimizing my brokenness also minimizes my need for a savior. When am I unaware of the depths of my sinfulness, I am not singing psalms of praise and gratitude like David. I am not arming myself against both “respectable” and blatant sins. I assume this happened to David as well, and then he saw Bathsheba.
David was sinful all the days of his life. Sin dwells within us and, because of this, we are prone to wander away from the gospel. We pretend and tell ourselves we aren’t that bad, or we perform and try to earn God’s favor. Through this pretending and performance, we see that the root of all our more visible sins is not believing the gospel.
Our wandering hearts require frequent preaching of biblical truths and rehearsal of the gospel; to consistently recognize and repent of our brokenness and experience the vast holiness and redemption of God.
When the gospel is functioning correctly in our lives, our awareness of our sin grows; therefore, our awareness of God’s holiness grows as well. This is not in an unhealthy, shame-inducing sense, but in a way that recognizes our real need. As a result, our appreciation for Jesus’ death on the cross grows, too.
David committed gasping, jaw-dropping sins. Do you know who wasn’t surprised by David’s sin? God. He isn’t surprised by our sin either. (Not even when we stuff an entire bag of gummy bears in our mouth after He tells us not to.)
Even when our view of sin skews our view of God, He does not change, nor does His love. Search your heart and confess your sin today. As our memory verse tells us this week, God is faithful and just to forgive. Take a moment to reflect on your need for a Savior, then thank Him for His sacrifice.
When I examine this season of David’s life, there are many valuable insights: How he stood up to the taunts of Goliath when no one else was willing, or how he didn’t receive the doubt others tried to put on him. There was also the way he faced Goliath— not hiding behind Saul’s armor, but in his own identity. There’s also a lot to learn from his humility, and fierce love for his friend.
However, what calls to my heart most from our reading is the many times scripture tells us that David ran.
He ran to the front lines when Goliath disrespected the God of Israel.
He ran towardthe giant to slay him.
Time and again, David ran towardhis problems, throwing off all that entangled him...except for when he didn’t.
David ran from Saul, twice. His lies for the sake of self preservation carried severe consequences.
David was a runner. He either ran towards or away from the challenges God called for him to face.
The writer of Hebrews likens our Christian lives to a race where the runner is to focus on one goal: the finish line. If he is distracted, or carrying anything he is not meant to carry, it will hinder his freedom.
Like David, we also are runners. The question is, which way are we running?
When my faith is challenged, do I charge the giant? When others discourage me, do I continue to press on?
Do I run away when I’m tired or afraid? Do I make excuses, instead of running the race I know God has set for me?
Too often I get bogged down by the things of this life that I should be throwing off:
My own expectations
Fear for the future
The list is long.
In those moments, it is worth defining what the goal really is. Looking at David’s life, it’s tempting to think that his goal was the throne of Israel. While that was his anointing, it was not the prize to which he ran.
Scripture calls David a man after God’s own heart. He ran towards the love of God. He may have taken a few detours along the way, but always found himself running back to God’s arms with the faith of full surrender. It is that love that gave him the strength and character necessary for his calling.
Friend, like David, each of us has a calling. Are you running to it or from it today? Is anything slowing your race?
The Father is calling from the stands “RUNNNN!” He is cheering your every move. Run into His arms and receive His love, then run with perseverance the race before you.