April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
This year I finally read Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts. In the book she journeys through life’s blinding disappoints to the dust of mundane life that all cloud our vision of God. It’s hard to delight in Him when we can’t see or feel Him. It’s easy to miss Him with all the noise that presses in against our soul. Anyway, in one of her anecdotes she shared about discovering delight over God’s beautiful provision in a plate of grated cheese and how she was embarrassed when her husband popped in the kitchen to catch her recording her delight with her camera. He said she shouldn’t be embarrassed over her joy because he was filled with joy over her delight and gratitude to God. I began thinking quite a lot over that.
My husband so often just wants me to be happy. When my eyes flit back and forth over our life, our church needs, our ministry, it’s easy to always see the holes and what needs doing next. It’s easy to miss the opportunities to record the provision, the faithfulness, the healing, the hope, the fingerprints of God. It’s easy to miss delighting in God when there’s just so much to do. And then I saw how much that attitude affected my sweet husband. A wife who can’t be satisfied, no matter how noble her pursuits, isn’t easy to be a husband to. Oh. dear. That was me. A wife who is seated in praise to her God brings a spirit of joy and rest with her. She is easier to walk with through life. That’s what I wanted for my man, to have a joyful, delighted-in-her-God wife. And truly, that’s the woman I want to be for myself and mostly, for my Lord.
To delight is a simple choice. Yet it’s not always an easy choice. The last few years have brought some unusually difficult circumstances in our lives. Sometimes my ability to be delighted feels so weighed down under the heartaches or the need to simply put one foot in front of the other and trudge on. If life feels that way for you, take heart! (Knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 1 Peter 5:9 NAS)
Regardless of whether your journey is smooth, uphill or rocky, right now, in this moment each of us can choose to find delight in God. If He’s blessed you with the people, places and things that bring joy to your soul, lift your eyes to the One who gave them to you. If you feel the dreams of your heart have slipped out of grasp or have been broken, in that empty place God is near. Sometimes we have to be stripped of all else to see that God really is all we need, all we could want, and more than enough. It’s a hard place to be though and a hard experience to wrap our hearts around. Yet even in the most empty places, delighting in God is possible.
What places, activities, things stir up a heart of delight toward the Lord in you?
Listening to Christian music while I work directs my heart to praise. Starting the day in the Word and covering my world with little post-it note Bible verses refreshes my pursuit after Him. While these daily sort of activities maintain a heart direction of delight, sometimes it’s really good for me to take some time to engage the creative side of my heart and hands.
I keep a “Thank You, Lord” scrapbook (that badly needs attention) of all the picture-take-able ways the Lord has provided, cared for, and directed our life. I usually pack it up with me to work on in the wee hours of the night at our annual women’s retreat. Working on it and looking back through the pages sets my heart to delight in the Lord. I also love photography because it’s capturing the God glimmers He’s left for me to see and delight in... like a treasure hunt of sorts. My hubby and I are head-over-heels in love with Yellowstone and I utterly wear the both of us out hunting down those God glimmers of beauty and majesty when we are able to get up there. Sometimes it’s cooking a great meal full of beautiful colors and flavors for my family that causes my heart to delight in the precious way the Lord provides for us. Recently, I had some health issues and I couldn’t stand up long enough to cook a meal. I’m thankful to be on the mend and feel that my renewed health has been a gift that turns my heart to delight in my Lord in a new way.
It’s easy to get caught up in seeking the Lord for stuff... seeking Him for guidance, provision, the Sunday school lesson preparation. Or sometimes we lose intimate touch with Him in all the comings and goings of the carpool, the swim lessons, the cookies we bake for the missions’ fund, the VBS craft kits, and all the activities. It is good to come before the Lord for nothing more or less than to simply delight in Him.
A friend once shared that in her BSF group the leaders were instructed to pray for 30 minutes without using any personal pronouns (I, me, we, us, etc) in an effort to prayerfully worship God for only the facets of character instead of asking Him for things or thanking Him for things.
Maybe this week you’ll add a new notion to your prayer life like my BSF friend, maybe you’ll reconnect with a creative side of your heart while praising God with it, or maybe it’s keeping a list of ways God has blessed you instead of focusing on all the yet-to-be-met needs. Whether it’s cooking with a joyful heart, snapping photos, writing a poem or praise song, filling pages of a scrapbook, or whatever sets your heart to delight in the Lord, I hope this week you will find yourself wrapped in delight over our Lord.
For those of you participating in our Summer Refreshment Series, we've got a pdf. download of Bible verses centering around the theme of delighting in the Lord. Enjoy! Sign up for the weekly Summer Refreshment series here.
This week's give-away is the best-selling book by Ann Voskamp: 1000 Gifts. Post a picture or share your quest for stillness with the rest of us on facebook, twitter or on the pinterest group board (directions for how to be added to the group are on the first pin).