Summer Psalms to Help Us Praise ( & Printable Scripture Cards)

Too many followers of Christ feel bad for displaying any emotion besides peace, gratitude and contentment. Fear, anger, resentment, and even grief are hidden and remain unexpressed. But the psalmists exhibit a completely different approach. They lay their hearts on the line. They experience (and share) a full range of uninhibited emotion and pour it out to God. They question, beg, wonder, protest and mourn. They celebrate, exalt and praise. They proclaim the power, greatness and worth of God. They come to Him honestly and with humility.

A Little Background

Written over a number of centuries (probably between 1440 BC and 586 BC), the book of Psalms is composed of 150 sacred songs. Created by numerous authors, they became an integral part of Hebrew rituals and worship. Although many of these songs are cries of disdain and pleas for help, the traditional Hebrew title of the collection is tehillim, meaning “praises.” 

In their raw emotion, the psalmists remember God’s character. They recall his generosity, forgiveness and faithfulness. They ask Him for grace and vengeance. And as they do, their awe and fear of God grows and brings Him praise.

Our Response

We want to model the psalmist’s praise and come to our great God with anything and everything on our minds and in our hearts. We want to trust that He is listening, that He sees, and that He will guide us to His truth. We want to grow in our love for Him and be reminded of His goodness.

Our very own Nancy Tauzer has created printable Summer Psalms Scripture cards to help. Commit to reading and meditating on an entire Psalm, then use these poignant passages to remind you of what you’ve learned. Memorize them, frame them, or send them to friends. Tape them to a refrigerator, bedside table, bedroom mirror, or anywhere else you’ll see them every day. However you use them, remember this: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalm 103:19). He already knows what you’re feeling and can handle your honesty. Trusting that He’s good enough to handle your emotions brings Him great praise.

With great expectation, 

Links I Love
  • Understand more about the history of the Psalms at The Bible Project and by clicking here
  • Pam Forster has a few simple studies that help unpack Psalm 37 and Psalm 103 using the inductive method. The title says they’re for “busy moms,” but I think they’re great for everyone and have learned a lot from them both.
  • I’m a huge fan of reading plans. They keep me organized, motivated, and are a great resource for studying alongside others. Try this 28 day plan. It doesn’t cover every Psalm, but I love the direct links to passages for easy access through the Summer. 
  • Psalm 34 is another great Psalm to Study! Use this resource to help, and read about my own experience with the Inductive Bible Study Method here. You can also download and print these GORGEOUS Psalm 34 Scripture cards from artist Anna deRoos.

 

About the Contributors

Lisa Da Silva – Author

I’m a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word.

A teacher by trade and passion, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity, I enjoy thrift store shopping and often have to convince people I’m an introvert. Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is my everything.

 

 

 

 

 

Nancy Tauzer – Scripture Card Creator

I am fond of trying new recipes and projects. I am a giver. Good listener. Softhearted. Loyal.

I’m a wife and momma of two boys who is probably drinking coffee and waiting for the laundry to fold itself. I enjoy hiking, dancing and organizing all things.

Growing up, I thought being a follower of Christ was only going to church on Sundays. Fast forward to today and I have an intimate relationship with God; continuing to grow in awe of his love for us.

 

 

Podcast 036 – “Trust, Passion & Perseverance” With 18-Year-Old Adventurer Lucy Westlake

 

 

Lucy Westlake has been climbing mountains since she could walk. With a deep love for the outdoors and a
the ability to push physical and mental limits to new heights, this 18-year-old adventurer has her sight set on breaking records for God’s glory. Join Lisa as she chats with Lucy about her quest to become the youngest female to complete the Explorers Grand Slam, her passion for making safe drinking water accessible to all, and how her faith in Christ is at the root of all her goals and accomplishments.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to see how you can support Lucy as she heads to Everest this month. This is a story you won’t want to miss!

Noteworthy Quotes

“During my travels, I’ve seen first-hand how many people don’t have access to safe drinking water. My goal is to become the youngest female to complete the Explorers Grand Slam. And with that I hope to gather the support needed to make safe water more accessible to those who need it. Raising awareness is key.”

“As I watched the daily procession of my pen pal and other women and young girls in the community walk
two miles to a hole in the ground, wait among hundreds of people and animals for their turn to draw water, and then carry the heavy jerry can filled with contaminated water back to their village on their heads, my heart was burdened. I heard a cry from millions of thirsty mouths and dying children that resonated deeply in my heart. This cry echoed across many lands, many cultures, and many beliefs, and I knew right then that this was my calling: to help solve our world’s water and sanitation crisis.”

“I knew God had given me this gift, but I didn’t understand why… When I let go of the resentment of Denali’s failure and truly learned how to trust God in every aspect of my life, my longing for the mountains returned, but this time, not for the summit or breaking records, but for pushing my limits and relying on God. So now when I climb mountains, I continually remind myself, “Your ability is God’s gift to you, what you do with it is your gift back to God.” So when the moments get really hard and I get really weak, God grabs my hand and keeps me climbing.”

“When I reach what I perceive as the limits to my physical, mental, and spiritual being, I can feel God take control and fill me with His strength and power. My flesh is weak, but He is strong. Alone, I could never accomplish what I have, but with God anything is possible.”

 “It’s not about breaking records. It’s about pushing limits.”

“Don’t look at the whole mountain. Just look at one step at a time, and trust God for the next.”

“Maybe you can’t, but He can. You aren’t alone. I could never accomplish what I have through my own strength alone. Many times at the beginning of a day with a long hike ahead of me, I look down at my backpack and I feel so hopeless. It looks bigger than me and I think “how in the world am I going to lift this, let alone carry it on my back for 7-8 hours.” But don’t let those types of doubts and fears creep in – those are the devil’s attacks in your mind. Even when it seems impossible, I lift my backpack onto my back and start hiking, and each step He gives me the strength for another.”

Ways to Follow and Support Lucy

To read more about Lucy’s failure on her first attempt on Denali, read Katie Arnold’s article in Outside Online, “Lucy Westlake Is the Grittiest 13-Year-Old Mountain Climber We Know.”

To learn more about Lucy and follow her adventures, visit her website and Instagram (@Lucy.westlake.22)  

By purchasing a sweatshirt on Lucy’s Etsy shop, 100% of profits go directly towards safe water projects she is personally connected to in Uganda and Kenya.

To help Lucy fund her upcoming Everest trip, consider making a donation on her GoFundMe page. She committed to this trip on faith that God would provide the funds to cover it. 

 

Podcast 035 – “Book Talk, Biblical Justice and Togetherness” With Tracy Daugherty – Part 2

Join Lisa DaSilva and director of The Freedom Challenge, Tracy Daugherty, as they talk about their new Bible study and what it was like to join forces and write it TOGETHER. This is the second episode in a two part series.


Get your copy of What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:8 and find tips and printable Bible Study Discussion Questions for leading your own small group here. Proceeds from the sale of this book will support The Freedom Challenge in its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom. Download your study calendar and join us live @ariseministriescollective beginning April 20th for weekly study sessions with Tracy and Lisa. Stay tuned for more resources and updates coming soon!


                                                                                                                          Scripture References

Ephesians 4:3-6 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” 

Psalm 133: 1 – “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”

 


About the Hosts

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Tracy Daugherty, the director of The Freedom Challenge, has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and church planting with her husband, Dan. Working for The Freedom Challenge combines the two biggest passions God has placed on her heart: to affirm the significance of women and to expand the biblical worldview of the church. Based in San Diego County, California, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker. She readily admits that her most fulfilling ministry has been as a mom and seeing her three children (and one son-in-love) grounded in their confidence and calling. Before being appointed director of The Freedom Challenge in 2017, she was friends with its founder Cathey Anderson (now in heaven) and a self-proclaimed “girly-girl,” but she traded in her high heels for hiking boots because she was drawn to the cause of championing women. Now, after hiking and flying countless miles around the world with The Freedom Challenge, she’s witnessed the power of women as environment changers, as culture setters and as forces of good in the world. Seeing the impact that she and her fellow Freedom Sisters have made has only further fueled her commitment to leading The Freedom Challenge to its goal: setting 1 million women and children on the path to freedom by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Podcast 034 – “Book Talk, Biblical Justice and Togetherness” With Tracy Daugherty – Part 1

 

Join Lisa DaSilva and director of The Freedom Challenge, Tracy Daugherty, as they reveal their new Bible study and talk about what it was like to work TOGETHER. This is the first episode in a two part series.
Co-authors Tracy and Lisa model togetherness and taking risks. Tracy applies ointment to Lisa’s inflamed bug bite at the end of a two-week mosquito infested mission trip.


Get your copy of What the Lord Requires: A Six Week Study of Micah 6:8 knowing that all proceeds from the sale of this book will support The Freedom Challenge in its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom. Download your study calendar here and join us live @ariseministriescollective beginning April 20th for weekly study sessions. Stay tuned for more resources and updates coming soon!

 


About the Hosts:

Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. With an M.Ed in Curriculum Development and a teacher by trade and passion, she writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen. As the director of Arise Ministries Collective in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, Lisa believes every woman has a voice. She longs for the day when they find freedom to use it for the glory of God and the furthering of His Kingdom. Lisa is a recovering striver, lover of simplicity and thrift store junkie. She often has to convince people she’s an introvert. Just a loud one. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Tracy Daugherty, the director of The Freedom Challenge, has more than 30 years of experience in pastoral ministry and church planting with her husband, Dan. Working for The Freedom Challenge combines the two biggest passions God has placed on her heart: to affirm the significance of women and to expand the biblical worldview of the church. Based in San Diego County, California, she holds a bachelor’s degree in theology and is an experienced Bible teacher and speaker. She readily admits that her most fulfilling ministry has been as a mom and seeing her three children (and one son-in-love) grounded in their confidence and calling. Before being appointed director of The Freedom Challenge in 2017, she was friends with its founder Cathey Anderson (now in heaven) and a self-proclaimed “girly-girl,” but she traded in her high heels for hiking boots because she was drawn to the cause of championing women. Now, after hiking and flying countless miles around the world with The Freedom Challenge, she’s witnessed the power of women as environment changers, as culture setters and as forces of good in the world. Seeing the impact that she and her fellow Freedom Sisters have made has only further fueled her commitment to leading The Freedom Challenge to its goal: setting 1 million women and children on the path to freedom by 2030.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What the Lord Requires” – Our New Bible Study Book!

What would it look like to act justly, love kindness, and walk humbly with God? How would this change the way we interact with one another and further Christ’s Kingdom here on earth? 

If you’re weary of all the sadness, contempt and division in our nation and world right now, you’re not alone. 

I am, too. That’s why I spent nearly a year studying, praying, dreaming and writing alongside the director of The Freedom Challenge

The Study

What the Lord Requires is a six-week (5 days per week) labor of love and conviction. It uses an inductive approach and invites participants to do the wonderful work of observing, interpreting, and applying Scripture while gaining the skills to understand other passages the same way. Whether you’re new to the Bible, a seasoned woman of the Word, have young children running around in the background, or are just trying to hold it together, expect to:

  • Spend 25 minutes a day studying the Word in a way that reveals God’s truth
  • Hone your Bible study skills by exploring cross-references, determining context, making lists, marking the text, paraphrasing, and more!
  • Commit to FINISHING and create an action plan to apply what you’ve learned
  • Glean from all the extra material we’ve included in the Appendices of the study
  • Be transformed by Micah 6:6-8 as you seek to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God
  • Check in with Tracy and I weekly via Instagram beginning with an introductory session on April 20 (stay tuned for more details along with additional resources to help you study)
  • Know that your purchase is saving lives! ALL proceeds from the sale of this Bible study will support The Freedom Challenge and its mission to set more women and children on the pathway to freedom
The Team
Tracy and I (along with some other Freedom Challenge sisters) in a Muslim nation teaching the Bible and visiting programs that prevent and free women and children from oppression.

 

The dream of doing it together came from a sisterhood between Tracy and I – A trusted exchange of shared hearts, experiences and purpose. Our intention and desire is that you see this modeled in these pages: a powerful unity from the Arise and Freedom Challenge teams that truly represents the oneness of the Kingdom at what we believe is just the right time. 

How we hope that with each turn of the page comes deep understanding of the Word and the commitment to live in its truths.

I can’t wait for you to hold this study in your hands and work through it alongside us.

 

 

{available NOW on Amazon}

 

 

He is Love: More About Lent and Some Interviews with Sarah Bulkley

 

The season of Lent is just around the corner, and we want to be prepared. Christians around the world practice Lent as a way of drawing close to God and remembering Christ’s sacrifice in preparation of Easter. It’s not something we are required to do, but are invited to do. Below are some helpful insights, practical ideas, and more from author Sarah Bulkley about her book, He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond).

More About Lent

Observing Lent is not prescribed in Scripture, but is part of a centuries old Christian calendar beginning and modeled in the Bible. Fasting, meditating on God’s Word, repentance, prayer and sacrifice are not American traditions, but disciplines that are an integral part of our walk with Christ. Access our recommended resources for practicing spiritual disciplines here and here

  • The word Lent comes from the Anglo-Saxon words lencten, which means Spring, and lenctentid, which can be translated as March – the month in which the bulk of the lenten season falls.
  • Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (March 2 in 2022) and ends on Resurrection Sunday (with Palm Sunday, Holy ThursdayGood Friday, Silent Saturday between). While we refer to this season as 40 days of preparing our hearts and minds for Easter, Lent takes place over 47 calendar days. Sundays are traditionally considered days of rest and celebration rather than days of observance.
Ways to Observe Lent

Practicing Lent prepares us to celebrate the wonder and promise of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday. Search your heart and ask God to reveal ways that will help you draw close to Him this season and give yourself wholly to Jesus.

Here are some ideas to consider:

  • Sacrifice – Fast or abstain from types of food, technology, social media and/or sources of entertainment. When you crave or miss the things you’ve sacrificed, reflect on Christ and His great sacrifice for us. By voluntarily carving away comforts, distractions, or conveniences, we make room to focus on God.
  • Give – Live simply for the 47 days of Lent. Keep track of the money you’ve saved and donate it to a cause or person. Simple living allows more time and resources for others as we declutter and live intentionally. Consider serving somewhere on your own or alongside friends or family. 
  • Repent – Repentance is the act of turning to God and turning away from sin. Ask God to reveal sin and confess it to Him and a trusted friend or mentor. Seeking reconciliation with Christ and others is another way to celebrate our salvation through Christ’s death and resurrection.
  • Remember – To remember during Lent means we reflect on God’s sacrifice for us and His gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Keep a gratitude journal where you record things you are grateful to God for. Commit to writing in it daily over the 47 days and review it with a spirit of thanksgiving on Easter Sunday.
  • Focus on Scripture and Prayer  – Make Christ the center of your lenten season by adding rhythms of daily Bible reading and responsive prayer. Use He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) to reflect on  foundational passages and respond in prayer. Use the pages in the back to begin writing your own personal prayers.
More About Our Lent Resource, “He is Love”

The first 11 days of He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) focus on others and include prayers for our community, leaders and loved ones. The last 36 passages draw our attention toward God’s character and seek to help us grow a deeper and more personal relationship with Him. 

At the end of the 47 Scriptures and prayers, there are 7 extra days of passages with space to write your own prayers. You are encouraged to spend time meditating on each one and then respond to God’s Word by writing a personal prayer to Him. 

 

Interviews About He is Love With Author Sarah Bulkley
Printable Scripture Cards 

Cultivate a rhythm of reflection and gratitude with Scripture memorization cards created by artist Anna DeRoos. Each of these passages correlate with our He is Love: Daily Scripture and Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) devotional and are a simple and beautiful way to incorporate the Word into your Lent journey this year. These 4×6 cards can be framed, posted on a refrigerator, tucked into your Bible nightstand, or mailed in a note to a friend. Try memorizing them on your own, with family, or alongside other women.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Above all, may this season of repentance and reflection yield sweet communion with Christ. And in the sacrifice and practice of Lent, remember, Easter is coming!

 

About the Contributors

Sarah Bulkley

Sarah is a wife, dog mom and pediatric dental assistant. She loves spending her free time meditating on scripture, listening to old sermons, practicing yoga, and antique shopping. She fell in love with Jesus at a young age, but her passion for women’s ministries and Bible Study really began when she joined her first Bible Study group in 2010. She loves encouraging women to know and love the Bible.

 

 

 

Lisa Da Silva  

Lisa is a wife, mom of two teenagers, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She writes, speaks, and teaches the Bible to anyone who will read or listen.

Lisa is a teacher by trade and passion, recovering striver, and lover of simplicity. She enjoys thrift store shopping and often has to convince people she’s an introvert.  Just a loud one.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

 

Anna of She Letters Truth Co. – Creator of our Lent Scripture Memorization Cards

Anna is a visual artist and high school Senior living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves creating for God’s glory, and finds joy in all things pretty. You can find more of Anna’s printable scripture cards for Arise by checking out our Resources tab. Visit She Letters Truth Co. on Etsy to find more of Anna’s creations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He Is Love: Our New Book & Other Resources to Help Celebrate Lent

Christians around the world set aside the six weeks before Easter to prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection. This season of surrender begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Silent Saturday – About forty days of remembering, fasting, and giving. ⁣

This Lent, we want to cultivate a rhythm of Bible-centered meditation, reflection and personal response. Our new book, He is Love: Daily Scripture & Prayer From Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (and Beyond) provides a simple and practical way for us to do just that. Using carefully chosen passages that are foundational to our faith and propel us to live in ways that honor Christ’s sacrifice, author and Arise board member Sarah Bulkley has partnered with her artist mom and designer brother to give us over 40 days of  Scripture and prayer. Each day leads readers through a countdown to Easter, with additional space for crafting our own responses to key passages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A set of six FREE printable Scripture memorization cards by @sheletterstruthco correspond to the book and are available through this link. They’re the perfect size (4×6) to frame, post on a refrigerator, tuck into your Bible, or mail in a note to a friend. Commit to reading them, meditating on them, and memorizing them on your own, with your family, or alongside other women as you move through this season of Lent and the He Is Love resource.

May this season of repentance and beginning again yield sweet communion with Christ. Our sacrifice for His glory.⁣

 

 

 

**Note for readers in the greater PDX/Arise area: Feel free to contact one of us if you want to save on shipping and do a porch pick-up. Suggested donation for local copies is $10, but let us know if this doesn’t fit your budget. As always, our goal is to get Scripture and resources into as many hands as possible. We should have hardcopies available locally by the last week of February. Just send us an email or PM via social media. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“He Will” – An Advent Bible Study

Preparing for Christmas

There are trees to decorate, lights to hang, stockings to stuff, cookies to bake, gifts to buy, and special meals to cook. In all of the excitement, rushing, and overwhelm we may wonder what the fuss and hustle is really about. Many of us long to soak in the real reason we celebrate.
For centuries, Christians around the world have set aside the four weeks before Christmas to prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. We call this Advent (meaning “the arrival” or “coming”), and embrace it as a season of anticipation for both the birth of Christ and the glory of God still to come – A time to ready our hearts and honor God’s gift to us in our Savior, Jesus.

About the “He Will” Advent Bible Study

We hope you’ll experience this Christmas season with a fresh and renewed perspective as you participate in this four-week study either individually or with a group. Expect the following as you journey through the first two chapters of Luke using the “He Will” Advent Bible Study:
  • A guided plan organized by week rather than day so you can use your own judgement and schedule your time accordingly.
  • Dig deep and glean new revelation from this well-known gospel story.
  • Better understand the prophesies, context, and events surrounding Christ’s coming.
  • Discover and cling to the character traits of God revealed in both the Old and New Testament.
  • Utilize an inductive study method by making observations, marking key words, and interpreting  the text.
  • Remember that in His great love and mercy, God has given the gift of salvation, just as He promised.

 

The Bible is for Everyone

We believe that the Bible is for everyone. You don’t need to be a scholar to start growing! Our heart’s desire is that this guide would be a useful tool for you, and we hope you will learn some new things and practice studying the Bible for yourself. While it’s suitable for both individuals and groups, we strongly recommend asking others to learn alongside you. Invite some friends and meet each week to discuss new revelations about the text and our amazing God.

Join Us

While November 29 is the official start of Advent this year, go ahead and start a week early (November 22) if you want/need to be finished by Christmas. We simply hope you’ll come alongside us as we prepare our hearts to celebrate what amazing things the Lord has done.
Be sure to subscribe on our website to receive free printable scripture cards containing key verses from this study, check us out on social media for a short IGTV video to encourage your learning, and listen to our “He Will” podcast with special tips and guidance after you finish Week One. 
With great love and affection for our sisters in Christ, 
Authors Eryn Kesler, Mary Straker, and the team at Arise Ministries Collective
Get your copy of the He Will Advent Study by clicking here or on the image below.

About the “He Will” Co-Authors

Eryn Kesler has been married to Matt for 20 years – the best thing that’s ever happened to her. She’s mom to 5 amazing kids, a recovering over-scheduler, and a wedding & portrait photographer in Brush Prairie, Washington.
Mary Straker is wife to her loving husband, Derek, and a stay-at-home mama to three sweet and busy little girls. She has been changed by the study of Scripture, and longs for other women to abide with God through the treasure of His Word. Mary lives in Ridgefield, Washington. 

 

God of Wonder by Julie Delamarter

I’ve never looked forward to a broken heart. Have you? Psalm 34:18 says “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” If we saw our broken hearts, our trials, our tears as an opportunity for His nearness, would we view our trials differently? Would an opportunity to be near HIM in a different way change how we function in that trial?  I’d venture to say that when we witness the nearness of God when we are hurting, it changes everything.  

A Mother’s Heart 

It changes everything, especially as a mother. If you are a mother, chances are your heart has broken. It probably started the moment your son or daughter was born and you realized this “love” they talk about regarding a child is something that cannot be described; only experienced. I think from that moment on, our hearts break on different levels as we guide, direct, and ‘mother’ our kids through this life. The scraped knees morph into broken hearts over relationships, misunderstandings, not making a team, or even bigger losses. The tears over a ‘boo-boo’ somehow become harder to wipe away when it involves their hearts. As moms, we cry out to the Lord on behalf of our children.  Whether it be a friendship gone awry, issues with mental health, a diagnosis, a decision or string of decisions that you know is only leading down a dangerous path – The difficulty of toddlerhood somehow pales in comparison to the raising of future adults. 

In my 17 years of motherhood, I feel like I’ve had two choices: 

One – Believe that God is just a bystander in my life and the life of my kids and He steps in only when necessary.

Two – Believe that God is actively involved in every heartache, every loss, every surprising turn and He desires to be near in very tangible ways. 

I believe He desperately wants to give us ‘good gifts’ as we walk through this life as parents and as individuals. The pain that we experience as we watch our kids find their way is an invitation to see the tangible hand of God at every turn and be near Him. It only requires one thing: That we ask.  

“Ask? But I ask all the time,” you may be thinking. You pray, believe, and know that God is faithful. He is good like all the Bible stories say He is. In your own life, you know He is there, but out of fear of disappointment we may not ‘ask’ for specifics. I believe God does not want us passively waiting for Him to show up; He wants us LOOKING, asking, pleading.  We can ask boldly and wait in expectation for the God who wants desperately to give good gifts to those who ask (Matthew 7:11). Especially, when our hearts are broken.  

A Beet Salad

I remember the moment. We had just received news of a life altering diagnosis for our oldest son. At the time, it completely derailed all his hopes and dreams and quite literally put him on the sideline for the foreseeable future. Because the diagnosis is genetic, it reframed our whole family. We felt like we were being suffocated.  All that we knew had just been taken in a moment. I remember hearing of God’s tangible goodness in people’s life when walking through trials, but had never experienced it myself. The kind of undeniable, “Wow” moments that could only be described by a good God who orchestrates every detail. When we say “He is good.” What is our proof? So I decided to ask. I decided to ask for a tangible ‘gift’ not knowing if it would be in the form of a miracle in his health situation, a person on the street, or a shadow on the sidewalk that communicated something specific to me. 

I had specifically asked the Lord to show up in our brokenness that day. I said, “Lord, I need a gift to know you are near.” My husband and I met at a local restaurant to decompress and process after the trauma of the few days before. Not a minute later, a server came by and said, “Here is a beet salad. It is extra. It is a GIFT. Would you like it?” I looked at my husband and said, “Did you hear her? She said it’s a gift.  It’s from the Lord!” I think the Lord’s sense of humor was coming through when he gave me the beet salad and the server said, “It is a gift.” I think He was saying, “You want a gift, I’m going to give it to you.” I like beet salads, sure, but as a gift from the Lord? One could say that would be questionable. It didn’t matter what anyone thought, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was meeting me in that moment in a big way. It was quite literally an opportunity to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)! We laughed at the way God showed up that day but that simple moment was a catalyst to viewing God’s faithfulness actively in our lives rather than passively. I now refer to all the ways God shows up for me as my “beet salads.” 

The Wonder and Awe of His Nearness

The next few months were filled with doctor visits, tests, hospitals and all the things you don’t want to be doing with your child. I filled a journal with the big and little ways God showed up for us during that time and as my eyes shifted to the beauty of my God who loves us, the trial was filtered through a new lens of awe and wonder of God in the midst of our broken hearts. Our son’s diagnosis was not the end of trial in our lives. We’ve had countless opportunities to trust Him to be near in the years that have followed. What is different is when the waves come, we ask and expect Him to calm the storm with his nearness.

 Author Priscilla Shirer once shared, “Those who don’t expect to see God, won’t.”  We have to change our vantage point to see God’s fingerprints on what we are walking through.  When we shift our focus from the pain to the God who wants to do abundantly more than we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), the trials we are walking through with our children or in our own lives become an opportunity to see God in exciting, awe-inspiring ways. Our trials become an opportunity to shout His glory from the rooftops because of how He has showed up. Job 5:9 tells us that God “performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Our trials become our worship because we serve a God who always comes through when we ask. It may not be how we expect. It might even be through a beet salad, but however He speaks to you, it will be with wonder. Being near to God in His wonder, might just make that broken heart a miracle over a burden.    

Scripture to Ponder

Psalm 34:3 – “Proclaim the Lord’s greatness with me; let us exalt his name together.” 

Psalm 34:8 – “Taste and see that the Lord is good.  How happy is the person who takes refuge in him.”  

Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit.”  

Psalm 33:20-22 – “We wait for the Lord; he is our help and shield. For our hearts rejoice in him because we trust in his holy name.  May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you.”  

 

About the Author – Julie Delamarter grew up in Southern California, met her husband who is from Pendleton, Oregon in college, moved to the PNW, and never looked back! She has been married for almost 20 years and has three amazing kids. She is a behavior therapist for kids with autism by day and a carpool driver by night! Some of her favorite things include country music, lots of sun, food, friends, and adventure. Passionate about many things including youth, the special needs community, and mental health. God has shown Himself real to her and she prays He will use her however He sees fit! 

 

You Are God’s Masterpiece

“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 has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” -Ephesians 2:8-10, (emphasis added)

 

 The greatest artist of all calls you His masterpiece. The very one who took a desolate void and created light, separated land from sea, and spoke abundant vegetation and livestock into being then stood back in pleasure (Genesis 1) looks at you with the same admiration.

Take a moment to let this sink in, sister. Close your eyes and imagine yourself just as you are—every mistake, every joy, every heartache, and every scar. Now picture God in all His glory and perfection stepping back to admire each bit of you as His newest and most beautiful creation. He is the artist and the potter. You are His canvas and clay.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The Apostle Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus to take action. Understanding that each was exquisitely formed in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) then birthed into a new creation upon belief and surrender to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:10) was just the beginning. These masterpieces were not meant to simply hang on a wall, be placed in a cabinet, or set on a shelf to be admired.

They are masterpieces with a purpose.

There are things God planned and ordained for them to do.

 And while the Ephesians were created in that space and time for particular purposes, so were you created for this time and for specific good works.

It is not a mistake that you are alive and living in this season. It is not a mistake that you bear particular burdens and scars. It is not a mistake that you are unique and sometimes feel different and out of place. It is not a mistake that you have the neighbors, sphere of influence, gifts, talents, circumstances, and experiences that you do. Our great God has purposed and ordained you for such a time as this. A masterpiece designed to do “good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).”

Take a moment to be silent before the Lord. Let images of past experiences, joys, traumas, or sorrows flood your mind and heart. As they do, lay them before your Father, and praise Him. Each and every one of those experiences has prepared you for the work He wants you to do right now. In this very moment. For His glory.

Ask our great God to reveal the specific role He has for you today and in the days to come. Wait quietly and listen to His voice. Make note of the people, places, and situations He brings to mind. Who needs to know Christ as their personal Savior? Where can you serve and bring the light of Jesus? How can you be the Church, and who can you invite to come alongside you? What do you need to say or do to bring glory to God and make His grace and truth known to others?

As you begin to process God’s particular purpose for you in this season, be assured that He is raising up your fellow sisters to do their own good works for the Kingdom. The author of Hebrews reminds us to “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works (Hebrews 10:23-24, NLT, emphasis added).”

While Scripture is clear that we have the same Missio Dei—the mission of God to bring Him glory and make that glory known to the world (1 Corinthians 10:31, Matthew 28:16-20)—the way He uses us as individuals to manifest that calling will be different for each (1 Corinthians 12). We must rally around one another and spur one another on as we seek to love the lost, love the Church, and share the gospel.

Prayer and Worship

Close your time today by listening to this song. Use it as a prayer and resurrender your life for His Kingdom purpose. And then, sweet sister, take a step down from the shelf and let Him take you where He wants you to go. Start living as the unique masterpiece you are.

“Sails” by Pat Barrett

“Canvas & Clay” by Pat Barrett

About the Author – Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, a teacher, and an advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul, and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

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