Tag Archives: happiness

Genesis 28-29; Mark 11

I don’t know a lot about Leah–just these few things: older sister, no sparkle in her eyes (and later, she is an unexpected bride, child bearer, and her words lament). Leah, didn’t you see you were part of a plan?

I think about Leah and wonder what happened in all the years that stole her sparkle. Her words groan, “Notice me.” “Hear me.”

She doesn’t see how she fits–mother of nations. She doesn’t even know.

***

I imagine Jacob, young, with a head full of hope and promise, setting out. He has a dream:

13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” Genesis 28:13-16, NLT.

Jacob knew there was a plan and he was a part of it. His father sent him off with a blessing. And knowing he was part of a plan (or maybe it was just love!) makes the years and waiting fly by.

18 Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”

19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. Genesis 28:18-20, NLT.

***

Did Leah always feel unloved?

Her pursuit to be noticed, accepted, and loved leads her to praise.

***

The reality of broken relationships, love or friendship disregarded and unreturned–they wound. There are situations I can’t fix, or don’t know how to fix, and if I focus my thoughts there, it drains.

Father, I want to focus on your presence and your plan–that whatever the role it is you give me is a piece you selected just for me. Let me praise you for your love, and let me walk this path knowing that you are with me. You are father, you are friend. You are in this place.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Old Testament

Isaiah 59-61; 1 Thessalonians 4

lemon birthday cakeWe celebrated my oldest daughter’s twelfth birthday last night with lemon cake (so yummy that everyone wanted a second piece). The kids took off, sufficiently sweetened, and played. My husband and I sat at the table. A discussion on happiness ensued. And he’s either a patient man or a forgetful one, but he listened to me, as he has for years, tell the story of shame and God’s redeeming, restoring faithfulness.

I’ve heard snippets of these verses before, spoken to me or others in trial and mourning. In context, they were spoken in a different time, to a different people facing very different circumstances. Yet these very words are ones of hope and comfort to generations after–how can we grab hold of messages meant for others?

I told a friend once about a scripture in Deuteronomy that I felt was like a love note slipped to me by a Savior. I was timid to accept it, could I really be so bold to apply the promise to myself? How did I fit in that context?

“I wouldn’t put God in a box,” he said. “Who can know how God will use his Word?”

Living and active.

To all who mourn in Israel,
    he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
    festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
    that the Lord has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3, NLT

For his own glory.

Instead of shame and dishonor,
    you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours. Isaiah 61:7, NLT

My husband and I sat and talked about happiness and shame and freedom. My chest felt tight from emotion and gratitude for the journey. This morning I read these words, spoken to a different people in a different time and out of context of my own life. But I sort of wonder if I hear the Lord saying, “See, I told you so.”

Ashes exchanged for a crown. Shame replaced by honor. For his own glory–because he is that big.

Thank you, Father.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

1 Kings 13; Philippians 4; Ezekiel 43; Psalm 95,96

I tell my kids: loving your neighbor starts at home. And today, I am reminded: it starts in me.

The house can be clean or dirty. The yard can be tidy or covered in leaves. The laundry can be clean or in piles to do. But I only get this day once, and while I can’t stop the leaves from falling, I can take my thoughts captive.

Note to self: tell your kids as clearly as possible that you’re on their side; working with them, not against them. Let your kids hear you praying about things, so that Christ is the center of your life and not your worries. Fill your mind with God’s treasure, so they will see and seek it too.

4-5 Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. Philippians 4:4-9, The Message.

Thankful for mercies new, every day …

And spectacular sunsets (aglow through the dining room window), southbound flying geese, socks for my feet, a blanket around my shoulders that my dad made, gray skies, a bubble-blowing six  year old, dinner together at the table …

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan