The Desires of Your Heart

“Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” -Psalm 37:4

That was a verse from my last blog entry and I wanted to talk about it today because there is a lot of confusion and misunderstanding surrounding the promise behind it.

The Heart Wants What it Wants

Each and every one of us has a deep, intense, heartfelt desire. Leave a comment and let me know what it is that burns within you because I’d like to join you in prayer. Perhaps you have a family member you hope will get saved? Perhaps it is an addiction you hope to overcome? A goal weight you’d like to reach? A health issue? A destination you’d like to travel? For me, it is the yearning for a family of my own, a loving husband and children.

Trust in the LORD and Do Good

The surrounding context of Psalm 37 tells us to wait, have patience, trust in God, commit our way to Him, don’t worry, and rest.  It speaks about trusting God’s plan and waiting to see what He will do, aligning our will with His will. When our mind is united with His mind we are becoming more like Him. His desires become our desires. THIS is delighting ourself in Him.

Delight ~ Hebrew word עָנַג

de·light / dəˈlīt

verb

  • To please (someone) greatly
  • To be exquistely happy about
  • To make merry over
  • To give pleasure to

To delight yourself in the Lord is to serve Him with enthusiasm (Ephesians 6:7, Colossians 3:23). To have exceeding joy in your salvation (Psalm 51:12, Psalm 13:5). Letting Him satisfy your every need (Psalm 23:1, Philippians 4:19, Matthew 6:33).  To live contented with what you already have (Hebrews 13:5, 1 Timothy 6:6, Philippians 4:12) rejoice in the Lord always (Philippians 4:4) and be thankful (1 Chronicles 16:34, Philippians 4:6).

According to His Will

When we are delighting in God and submitting to His will, He blesses us with provisions, protection, deliverance, guidence, stability, and peace. But Psalm 37:4 is not a quid pro quo verse. Jesus said, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14). Notice He said IN MY NAME. He didn’t say, “Ask me anything and I will do it,” but only if it was according to His will.

There are many examples in scripture of unanswered prayer. For example, we read the story of Paul’s thorn in his flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9. Paul asked God to remove it three times but for one reason or another, God chose not to say “yes.”

Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane with droplets of blood pouring out of his sweat glands in complete anguish. He prayed earnestly, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me. Yet not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Obviously, if God had answered THAT prayer then all of us would be going to Hell!!!

Sometimes God chooses not to answer our prayers, even when we’re delighting ourselves in Him and trusting Him with our whole heart. But because we know and trust that He “works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28) we can praise Him and thank Him even when we are experiencing great pain.

Hillary Scott wrote this song right after she had a miscarriage which was the hardest trial she had ever gone through. She said in an interview, “Even when it hurts… God’s will is what’s best. Sometimes we don’t understand God’s promises until eternity. His ways are so much bigger than our ways. He sees the whole picture.”

When we are trying to pray but can’t find the words to say we can say these four words:
“Thy will be done.” 

Be Still and Know

James 1:2 says, “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials” but it is definitely easier said than done as Scott sings in her song. How do we delight ourselves in the Lord in the midst of trials? The secret is reminding ourselves that He is God… and we are not. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). God uses trials to remind us that we need Him and to increase our faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6).

It’s hard to count it all joy when we’re distracted by the noise. That’s why Jesus intentionally rose early before anyone else to have his regularly scheduled time to be alone with God every morning. Jesus disciplined Himself to do this because quiet time with God was of utmost priority to Him. We can’t get lost in the business of life and put God on the back burner. We need to be open to hearing His “still small voice.” Isaiah 30:21 says, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” If we aren’t listening, we’ll miss it.

Where is Your Delight?

It’s frustrating when we’re still single with verses like Psalm 37:4 laying around that seem to offer so much hope. Yet despite our unanswered prayers to the desires of our heart, God has a plan for “those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose.” First I’d like to ask you: Where is your joy? Is it in a relationship with a human being or is it in a relationship with the Lord? There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a relationship but our delight must be FIRST in the Lord. If time with God it is not a priority in your life then your joy is not in the Lord.

Second, are you “trusting God and doing good?” I read a statistic that only 5% of people are saving sex for marriage. I don’t know the statistic, but many believers choose to be unequally yoked with unbelievers and live impure lifestyles. Sin grieves the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). God might choose not to bless you if you haven’t turned over all areas of your life to Him. When we repent of our sins and walk with the Lord, He removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 11:19). Then he plants His desires for us in our heart. As the old, beloved hymn goes, “Trust and obey for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus!”

Third, continue to pray, “YOUR way, not my way, Yahweh! Thy will be done. Make Your desires for me the desires of my heart.” Then be still and wait on Him. Waiting SUCKS but God tells us to wait over and over in scripture. Don’t rush. Be patient. He has His perfect timing.

Finally, delight yourself in the Lord! The Psalmist sings in Psalm 73:25, “There is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” Is that true in your life? 

There is a funny story I’d like to share with you. My roommate in college gave me a poem for Valentine’s Day. The last line of the poem reads thus:

Since from His bounty I receive
Such proofs of love divine,
Had I a thousand hearts to give,
Lord, they should all be Thine

I joked, “Can we just give God 999 hearts and save one for Mathew?” (At this time, my ex-husband was my boyfriend.) We both tilted our heads back with deep, belly laughter but then we both got quiet and serious. There is no room to give God 99% of our heart and keep 1% for ourselves. We have to give Him our WHOLE heart.

He is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20-21). He longs to bless us with good gifts (Matthew 7:11). But first He wants us to be completely satisfied in Him (John 6:35; John 7:37-39). When He is the object of our desire, we will have more of Him! Draw close to Him and He draws close to you (James 4:8).

Beauty, Loneliness, & Eternity

I never feel more lonely than when I’m surrounded by absolute breathtaking beauty such as gazing at the sunset over the Sonoran Desert from the top Mount Lemmon. Beauty has a way of reminding us of the Eden that we have never known but somehow always knew we were meant for.

“Every experience of beauty points to eternity.”

-Hans Urs von Balthasar

I know it’s not as lovely as hearing it in person, but if you’ve never heard the haunting, melancholy wail of a loon, please listen to this video clip.

Laying awake at night in the cabin on Bear Lake in Waterford, Maine where I spent every summer with my family, I would be startled by this long, wistful howl that awakened a mournful longing within me. Sometimes the beauty was so great it stirred me to tears and made me feel desperately lonely.

A deep pang of painful yearning similar to my experience in Maine has been pulling on my heartstrings as of late. I could not name the empty place inside me until I picked up the book “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, a birthday present from my sister.

“Our fall was, has always been, and always will be that we aren’t satisfied in God and what He gives. We hunger for something more, something other.”

-Ann Voskamp

Yes, this is exactly what I’ve been feeling. Instead of being thankful for all I’ve been blessed with, I start to believe the serpent’s hissing lie whispering in my ear that God must not love me enough because He’s withholding good things from me. I try to fill the emptiness by putting on my dancing shoes as often as possible, devouring poetry, and crafting pretty things but always, always I feel the ache.

It’s not really my fault though, is it? The gaping hole in my soul will always be there until I am restored to glory and present with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We were never meant for this dark, lonely world. We were created for a loving relationship with God.

Strangely enough, there is one person with whom I feel at peace. One person who makes the hole seem less cavernous. When I am in his presence, the hollowness melts away and I feel safe and able to rest. His company is inviting, nourishing, and comforting. I never want to say “good bye” but I am not allowed to be with him forever. It seems unfair that God would tease me with everything I’ve always wanted so close I could touch it but hold it just out of my grasp.

I think the grief I feel over this is natural and healthy. The sadness I feel because I am alone is due to living in a sinful, broken world where people don’t keep their vows and abandon their spouses. The sadness I feel because I am unwanted and rejected means I know my worth.

The wound of grief says, “This is not the way life is supposed to be. You were created to be dearly loved and cherished. You were never meant to be alone.” And the beauty in the world points me to hope. The loon’s cry sings, “There is still beauty in this lonely world.” It is an echo of what once was before sin spoiled its perfection. It is a mere shadow of the glorious beauty that will one day be revealed to us when Christ returns for His bride.

I am looking forward to that marvelous day.

I Traded My Business Suit for a Pair of “Mom Jeans”

The title of this blog entry was my facebook status update on May 14th. It received 56 likes (my new record I think).

I stepped into this new full-time role with only four days to prepare myself spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I had no idea that I would have to make such important decisions so quickly like, “am I going to play ‘the tooth fairy’ tomorrow morning?” This is actually very important to me because I don’t want to deceive the children or confuse reality and fantasy, but I also don’t want to dash their hopes and spoil the magic that their parents wanted for them. Another small dilema is that my two girls asked if they could call me “Mom” today. I’ve only been their parent for four days and already they’ve wiggled deep into my heart. If you would have told me one week ago I’d be caring this much for four little munchkins, I might not have believed you. Who knew there was a Mama Bear inside me all these years just waiting to come out? Moms-Night-Out-Quote-400x400

Being a parent is hard work and stressful at times but I feel blessed and honored to have this job. God placed me here for such a time as this. These kids needed a parent and I happened to be in a season of my life where I’m all alone and don’t really have much else going on… so why not? I felt led to ask for the opportunity and the Lord granted me my desire. Psalms 68:5-6 says, “Our God, from Your sacred home You take care of orphans and protect and defend widows. You find families for those who are lonely.” He truly uses broken people to serve other broken people This job was a match made in Heaven for me. I love serving these kids and they’ve touched me in ways I can’t describe and gave my life new purpose and meaning. To think that one year ago I was crying myself to sleep every night and thinking my life was pretty much over.

“They that sow in tears shall reap with songs of joy. They that go forth weeping bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5-6

ordinaryI have to play the “bag guy” sometimes to get the children to bed on time and I have to be firm but I’m new at this and I’m so thankful for tons of co-workers who live near me with their own house of kids. The campus is like a big family who’s always there for you. I hope I may emulate those who seem to run their households so smoothly.

I have been graced with respectful, obedient children (most of the time) and they all have big, bright personalities. I wish I could post pictures but since they are wards of the state, I’m unable to but here’s a little bit about them:

My tweleve-year-old boy is full of laughter and is very helpful with the little ones. He is on task and listens well and has a smile that lights up the room.

My nine-year-old girl can be a little down on herself with low self-esteem but she’s fun-loving, energetic, patient, and just wants to be accepted for who she is. I tell her every night that God made her special and everything about her is exactly as He planned and that she is dearly loved by Him.

My eight-year-old girl is a ball of liveliness! Life is a musical in which she is the star who sings and dances through the day. I wish I could just remember everything she says and write it down in a book to make me laugh later because it’s just so funny. She’s also a bit of a flirt and I’ve got to keep eagle eyes on her when she’s around the boys. She keeps telling me she needs deodorant and a razer… she can’t wait to grow up.

My youngest is a six-year-old boy who has night terrors every night about an hour or two after he’s gone to sleep. He’s very sweet and good-natured and extremely helpful with chores. He always wants to pray at mealtime and is a joy to watch at play. Everything seems exciting to him, and he likes to jump up and down at even the simple little pleasures of life like getting to eat popcorn or going for a ride in the van to the store.

When my husband abandoned me, I was left shattered. However, what the enemy intended for evil, the Lord has used for good. I feel so much freedom- like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I think I finally know what God’s plan for my life is and I’m in just the right place now to take on this adventure.

10313042_685191368208431_6674958256683601713_nBeing abandoned broke me. I felt like a zombie going through the motions of day-to-day living. But I still knew God was good and worthy of praise. I praised Him as though the healing might never come. (But of course it did… it always does. God promises that in His Word: Psalm 147:3).  I prayed and prayed for my husband to come home but the Lord chose not to answer my prayer. And you know what? His worthiness is not dependent upon the outcome of my prayer. He is good and His faithfulness stretches across the skies. If you’re going through a crisis like I have been, I promise you there is Hope after devastation. There is hope even when our prayers aren’t being answered. Maybe it’s because God has something even better for you in store than you could ever have imagined for yourself!

So let go of all your fears, insecurities, and self-doubt and place them into the capable, loving hands of the Heavenly Father. Worrying is just a big waste of time and keeps you busy doing nothing productive. Don’t let anything stop you from doing what you want to do and being who God called you to be. Every good and perfect gift is from above and God wants to give you good things! Keep asking Him to bless you and He will not only bless you but use you to bless those around you!