You Have Done Well

Some days I pause to read God’s Word, expecting great new insight or encouragement, only to finish without receiving such things. Though I never regret investing my time this way.

Other days, I pause to read with few expectations, only to be met by the most intimate communication from my Creator. Such was Thursday morning – Praise the Lord!

On Thursday mornings we have three get-the-kids-to-school shifts. Lydia needs to be to school by 6:45 AM for orchestra; Ruth, Charis and Caleb by 7:40 for their school day to begin; Lukas to pre-school by 9:00.

Like many other early Thursday mornings, I made Lydia’s lunch and fed her breakfast, then my husband Cyrus took her to school and headed for the YMCA to get some exercise. Between their departure and the waking of the next round of kiddos, I had a few moments to dip my mind into the renewing water of the Word. I’ve been reading through the Psalms and Thursday’s chapter was 110. It’s a shorter Psalm, a messianic one too, but I honestly don’t remember much of it’s content even now. I figured it must just be one of those days where reading the Word was more of an act of diligence than an experiential delight.

After that initial dip in Scripture, it was time to reenter the reality of getting cranky sleepy kids out of bed and ready for the day. Then came more lunches and more breakfasts and a drive to school and back (all while still in my PJs). At home with only one child, I found a few moments to eat my breakfast, sip my tea, and drink in more of the Word. Mercifully, Lukas occupied himself quite nicely for twenty minutes or so – hallelujah!

Philippians chapters three and four were next on my agenda. Powerful messages can be found in those words, phrases, sentences. And powerful was the whisper of the Lord as I journeyed through these familiar pages.

Our great Author used two particular verses to speak to my heart in ways I wasn’t even aware I needed! And what He spoke to me in those heavenly moments, He may want to speak to some of you.

It’s a message for the mothers, the servers, the helpers, the caretakers. It’s a message for all who lay down their lives for another.

In Philippians 4:10-13, Paul reveals to us how he manages to be content with little or much in this life, and that the secret is Christ’s strength. But then he adds one more short verse, sort of a tagline to the paragraph: “Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.” (verse 14).

Those few words washed over my soul as a much needed affirmation, and tears of relief and peace began to trickle down my cheeks. It was as if the Lord was saying to me, “I see you, you are doing well!”

In my minds eye, I saw my husband, my children, friends, specific people whom God has called me to walk with through this life. And they were saying to me, through the movement of the Holy Spirit, “Thank you. You’ve been by my side. You’ve walked with me through shadows. You’ve shared my pain, my affliction. You have done well.”

Though most of the faces I saw in my mind may never actually say such things, God said them to me in their place.

And that’s the message I want to pass on to you too. How rarely we as moms or caretakers or counselors or helpers hear these words from those we give our energies to. But regardless of others’ recognition, God sees and He knows. God sees when we join our lives with the afflicted; whether it’s a band-aid on a skinned knee, a shoulder to cry on when pre-teen friendships wreak havoc, hours sacrificed to walk alongside a friend in pain, or money given to protect the ‘least of these’ in a foreign country.

Just as Paul recognized the great love of the Philippians toward him in their sharing of his afflictions, God sees you when you give of yourself for the sake of another. And you are doing well to do so!!!

But that’s not the whole message.

I grabbed a nearby napkin, dabbed my eyes, wiped my nose. Feeling enveloped in affirmation, I continued to read the rest of chapter four. And it only took a few more verses before the Lord struck my heart once more. I read, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (verse 19)

In my teary eyed, pajama clad moment with the Lord, this verse became a more personal promise to me than ever before. God knows I’m in need of His help as a mother, wife, and minister in His kingdom. And not only does He see and affirm my service to others, but He has and will continue to provide the love and wisdom I so desperately require in order to carry on.

As we continue to help, to mother, to care for, to stand with the afflicted, we can rest in His resource, in His rich supply. We can bear one another’s burdens because Christ has borne ours on the cross of Calvary.

So, my fellow laborers (pun intended :)), remember today that your God sees you, is pleased with you, and will continue to strengthen you! No matter what anyone else says or doesn’t say, you can rest in knowing Your Creator knows all.

May this truth envelop you in God’s love and affirmation the way it did me this past Thursday morning.

We can rest in God’s estimation of us rather than other people’s opinions when we work as unto the Lord. Our service to others is a means by which we ultimately serve God, so it’s His opinion that matters. In this, we are Aiming At Heaven.

Thank you for stopping by today and I pray you are encouraged by what you’ve read! If you’d like to subscribe to Aiming At Heaven and receive email notification of new posts and content, simply sign up below.

God Bless!


Do We Really Want the King?

Peace and Joy won’t come this Christmas in the form of kids who don’t fight during winter break, a spouse who meets all your needs, a perfectly decorated home, enough money to buy all the things you want, good health, physical comfort, a relaxed schedule, or a good night’s sleep.

True peace and joy will come through the King of Kings, the Prince of Peace.

But do we really want Him?

We celebrate the time when heaven came to earth, when the Word became flesh, when the Prince of Peace was born. We celebrate Christmas because the King of Kings and Lord of Lords bent low to rescue His creation.

But do we really want Him?

Most of us long for peace, joy, love, and hope this season; really, every season. But it all feels so elusive. We navigate broken relationships and broken bodies, deal with disappointment, feel unloved and fail to love others, and have our hopes dashed daily.

Do we really want the King?

We know there is something wrong in this life we live, in this body in which we dwell, in this earth we trod. And so we search and plot and plan: how to feel peace, how to be loved, how to have joy, where to find hope.

But do we really want the Prince of Peace?

Yet, all our searching seems futile. All our carefully followed ‘steps to happiness’ only lead to ultimate frustration and disillusionment. We grope around in a pitch black room, looking desperately for sunlight. We bury our heads, our hearts, our humanity under mounds of quick fixes, if onlys, vanishing hopes, and endless strivings.

Do we really want the Lord of Lords?

Advent means ‘coming.’ Christ came humbly through the womb of Mary over 2000 years ago. But a new advent is on the horizon – when Christ comes mightily with all authority to execute justice and mercy where it is due. When He comes to tangibly do what He has always been doing – reigning as King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Prince of Peace.

Do we really want Him?

We must live NOW like He is King of our hearts – because this is reality. This is practice for what will completely be in the future. We live NOW with all aims and hopes set on the King of Heaven because this is more true than what we daily experience.

Do we really want the King?

That peace, love, joy, and hope we want – the Ruler, Owner, Creator and Bestower of these experiences and truths is the Eternal Father. And He gives liberally to those who partake in His kingdom here and now. We experience these blessings of His kingdom when we submit to His rule, His perspective, His reign in our hearts.When we live according to self-rule, self-perspective, and self-reign, we only receive what we ourselves as ruler have to offer – imperfection, disappointment, and darkness.

Do we really want the Mighty God?

It’s not about our own set of rules and standards. It’s not about our circumstances or ease of life. It’s not about our bank account or beauty. None of these things will bring lasting peace because they are not God. If we hope in anything or anyone other than God it will fail us, because only God is faithful and able to do what He promised. And only God is the source of Peace. Abundance of peace and joy comes to those who “Seek First His kingdom and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33).

Do we really want His kingdom?

Peace and Joy will be yours this Christmas when you “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). The Peace OF Christ, not the peace of our own design. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (John 14:27).

Do we really want the King?

His rule may be uncomfortable to a heart that isn’t accustomed to it. His reign may require a complete paradigm shift in your expectations and hopes. His kingdom requires that His people do things His way. But He is a King who already did what we couldn’t; He lived perfectly, died humbly, rose victoriously, and reigns righteously. No other ruler is so loving or mighty. We can trust His rule. We can enjoy His reign. We can experience His Peace, Joy, Love and Hope this Christmas season.

Sandpaper and Confetti – What I Learned This Fall

In a span of six days, our family celebrated my son’s birthday, Thanksgiving, and my birthday.

It was fun!

But sprinkled in like jagged scraps of sandpaper amidst the sparkly confetti of celebration, were moments where I became frustrated, grumpy, and rude to my husband and kids.


One mid-celebration-week morning I was especially rough and scratchy – coarse grit sandpaper. My husband gently brought this to my attention and I couldn’t deny it.

Reality was, my unpleasant exterior was a manifestation of an even more coarse interior; one which had misplaced priorities and purposes.

I was prioritizing performance over people and purposing to achieve for the sake of praise rather than produce from a heart of love. I was grasping for control of the throne of my heart rather than delighting in the One who has given me a new heart.

Sometimes learning isn’t about acquiring new information, but comes from remembering. Remembering what you’ve already learned and know to be true.

And this I know:

The holidays aren’t about celebrating my delicious food or perfectly picked gifts or party planning skills (I’m not saying I’m great at any of these, I just have grand ideals). Celebrations aren’t for me to make or do special things, that maybe, hopefully, will earn me some respect or praise or accolade. This time of year isn’t a stage upon which we all must perform.

I’m learning more and more to receive God as the King of my heart and to stop trying to usurp Him. When He is on the throne, I delight in Him alone; He gets the glory when my skill and effort is bent toward serving others in love.

Maybe we all need to become like the shepherds and wise men of old who came to worship the Christ Child. Maybe we all celebrate best when we bow to the Creator and Savior of the world.


I want to let what God has revealed to me this past Thanksgiving help me to move forward into the even bigger season of Christmas with a posture of humility and an attitude of praise.

Will you bow your heart to the Lord and celebrate Him with me?

In addition to learning what it means to really celebrate, I’m reflecting on what else I’ve learned this Autumn.


Here’s my list:

I Need To Be Connected To Nature – Back in September, we experienced layer upon layer of smoke settling into the Mid Willamette Valley due to forest fires. We were told to stay inside as much as possible to avoid the oppressive and dangerous atmosphere. The sky was so filled with smoke that it looked like a thick fog. It was during this time, when it was advisable to withdraw from nature, that I began to ache for even a glimpse of the foothills to the East. Though I’m not a die-hard outdoors woman, I was desperate to dwell in connection with creation – to smell, see, touch, feel, and hear the fingerprint of God all around me. Part of me felt lifeless without it.


It’s OK Not To Finish That Book – This fall I learned to say no to finishing what I started. I was reading a novel that was entertaining in it’s own way, but lacked the depth and meaning I search for in literature. So, I stopped reading after the first five or six chapters. It’s in my nature to finish what I’ve started, so this was a difficult decision to make, but in the end I’m glad I did. Saying no to finishing an uninspiring book allowed me to say yes to more meaningful uses of my reading time.

Names – I’ve learned names galore this season! Three months we’ve lived in our new community and I still have more names to learn. The beautiful thing about all these new names is the story which lies behind each life that name represents. I’ve met so many precious people already and look forward to encountering many more!


It’s interesting as I consider my list of learning to realize that all of it has come partnered with something difficult or unpleasant. The smoke was yucky. Moving is hard. Quitting is against my nature. And it took God revealing some ugliness in my heart for me to learn a bit more how to walk in His ways.

It’s a good reminder that what seems bad or uncomfortable may be the very thing that is bringing about beauty and growth in our lives.

If you’ve been encouraged by reading my list, you may enjoy reading what other bloggers are learning and sharing on Emily P. Freeman’s website.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading and maybe learned something along the way. On this last day of November, maybe you can take a few moment to reflect too.

God bless you with His Peace this Christmas season!