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!


Softening and Delight

What if God desires my delight in Him rather than my sense of duty to Him? What if we love Him more by finding pleasure in Him than by proving ourselves to Him?


The thought seized me and trapped me. It locked me in an escape room and I’m still working my way out. This flash of an idea: My life has been a journey from duty towards delight. From law to grace. I’m growing up and out of a heart motivated by fear, into a heart compelled by Love. 

Perhaps this is every child of God’s journey.

But the theme of the journey that keeps ringing in my ear is delight.

Problem is, I’m not good at delighting.

My delight receptors are naturally filmed over with a thick layer of duty and fear. There’s no time for pleasure when I’m consumed with a try-harder and be-better life of proving myself to God, others, and self.

But slowly, oh so slowly, I’m learning what it means to delight in God and how to actually, practically do it.


I’ve heard riffs on this passage more times than I can count from speakers, writers, preachers, and peers. Usually with an emphasis on the second part. It’s one of those passages that’s so overdone I hadn’t given it attention in quite a while. But as I ponder delight, I can’t avoid it any longer.

Delight, in Hebrew awnag, in this passage means to be soft or pliable.

What on earth? What does softness and pliability have to do with delight?

Maybe there’s something tucked away in this Psalm that I’ve been missing.

We are warned throughout Scripture that hardness of heart leads to hardness and rebellion toward God.

But still, what is it about the softening of our hearts that God desires?


I’ve never made any type of pottery, but I learned (thank you internet) that clay needs conditioning before it is ready to be molded. That in it’s raw state it would crack and break and melt into an oozing mess in the furnace. But if it is conditioned and softened, that lump of earth becomes pliable and easy to work with, ready to be formed and molded into the manifestation of the artist’s vision, able to withstand the furnace and maintain its shape.

So the softened heart.

A soft heart is impressionable, moldable, formable. The soft heart receives the Artist’s touch with pleasure, humbly accepting and desiring the push and pull of the Artist’s hands, the smoothing strokes of His plan. This plan is a mystery to the clay, but a grand vision in the mind of the Artist.

And as the Artist forms the vessel He forms its desire as well.

He forms cups waiting to be filled and overflowing with refreshing drink. Vases longing for the adornment of cascading blooms. Dishes spread wide to be filled with sumptuous morsels.

Only after we are formed according to the Artist’s plan do we truly know our desires and God given shape. Unless I receive His touch and His imprint, I don’t know my own heart, my own desires.

But of first necessity is the softening heart, the delighting heart.

So I’m pursuing delight, not duty. It’s not so much my word of the year as the trajectory of my life. I’m softening, not stiffening.

I’m receiving His touch through The Word and creation and circumstances. Push.

I’m allowing feelings to rise to the surface rather than locking them up in dungeon places – and spilling them out in His presence. Pull.

I’m embracing trials as well as blessings. I’m tearing down self-made fortress walls between myself and everybody else. Smooth.

I’m allowing myself to be effected by The Cause. To rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Become.

God takes pleasure in our unrestrained delight of Him – a heart soft in His hand.



He desires our love rather than our lawfulness. Our delight rather than duty.

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:30&31

I’m beginning to realize that it’s delighting in God alone that will enable me to be what He desires and experience His love overflowing in my soul!

Maybe on the outside the results of this changing mindset will not be discernible. But The Discerner of Hearts, His is the opinion that matters. He sees the motivations and He is the Rewarder of those who walk with Him and produce fruit from His Spirit, not their own hands.

Hands. My hands make a mess of my heart. Only God’s can make it something beautiful.

I’ve wasted too much time trying to give Him worth-proving works with these dirty hands.

He’s reaching past my hands and taking my heart instead and whispering, “delight in Me, soften to my touch, enjoy My loving artistry in your life.”


Creator, Potter, Author,

I want to delight in You. And that is Your desire too.When I walk in duty, trying to be something on my own, shatter my hard heart with Your grace. And as I learn to delight, help me to soften and be transformed by the pleasant and refining touch of Your hand. Thank You for first delighting in me so that I may in turn delight in You. 



Delight is a heart attitude I am pursuing while Aiming at Heaven. I invite you to walk alongside me by signing up to follow the blog (see bottom of page). And as always, I love to hear from you and am often encouraged by what you share, so leave a comment if you’d like!

Confessions of a Prayer Failure

Short sighted. Short lived. Short tempered. Short range.


So often go my prayers.

It’s like taking vitamins, or exercise; a duty rather than a delight.

How easy it is to shrug off my lack of prayer as a typical human struggle.

Is it really, though?

I suppose if pride is a typical human struggle, then yes, it’s true.

Even after 500 years, Martin Luther casts a shadow. And some of his words haunt me.

“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” ― Martin Luther

These words at once stir up feelings of wretchedness and hopelessness. Never have I stared down a day with its details, deadlines and dreads with this mentality. And now I feel guilty because I know Luther is right, and I am wrong.

I read Isaiah and how in the nation’s wickedness they seek all varieties of counsel except the Lord’s. And God knows their ways and speaks to Isaiah, “should  not a people consult their God?”

Should not a set apart nation consult their King?

Should not a leader consult his Maker?

Should not a stressed out employee consult her Comforter?

Should not a weighed down father consult his Father?

Should not an overwhelmed mother consult her Rest?

So I ask myself, and I ask you, why? Why do we fail to pray and to take the day to Him?

Is it too bold of me to speak for all humanity here?

I will and I do. Because you are like me and I am like you. I speak for us all and declare pride the culprit. Pride keeps us from prayer.

Do I sound too harsh?

We may shroud it with words like forgetfulness, business, and tiredness. But each of these says, ‘my will be done, my kingdom come.’ Each declares, ‘I have the answers, I know the best ways, I give preference to my desires.’

Again, I read further in Isaiah:

‘Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria, asserting in pride and arrogance of heart, ‘the bricks have fallen down, But we will rebuild with smooth stones; the sycamores have been cut down, But we will replace them with cedars.'”

God chastises the nation for their disobedience, and they say, ‘don’t worry, we’ve got this.’ And this is how I know that pride is the disease at each of our roots. The stubborn pride of Israel persists in us all. The pride that declares, ‘I’ve got this.’

When I fail to pray, pride is winning in my heart. When I fail to pray I attempt to overthrow the rightful King of my heart, passively and aggressively. When I fail to pray I seize my burdens and strap them firmly to my back per recommendation of self.

Again, I read God’s word and His message to wise Solomon. He speaks of His stubborn and wicked people stuck in their pride, and calls them to humility: a humility of heart which produces a posture of prayer.

“…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek my face…”

Prayer flows from a humble heart. Praise, supplication, thanksgiving, cries, all spill forth from the heart that recognizes God as God and self as not. Prayer is a constant trickle from a humble heart at rest in the Yoke Taker and Bondage Breaker. Prayer rises from a humble heart, rejoicing in His presence and provision; especially when there’s a lot to do today.