The Size of a Life

Anika and I have been reading the Bible story of Esther. I don’t know what it is that’s got me seeing it in a new light – if it’s the combination of thoughts in my head right now, or if it’s stopping to explain and trying to put ideas into words Anika will understand.

Whatever it is, I’m loving Esther right now.

I had never, ever thought about the fact that she was forced to go to the king’s palace.

The Bible says, “…Many girls were brought to the citadel of Susa…”(Esther 2:8). As I read that chapter to Anika, it suddenly hit me what it will have meant for Esther to have been chosen as one of the beautiful virgins brought before the king.

It would mean leaving her family, and never living with them again. She would have to spend the rest of her life living in the palace with the rest of the king’s concubines.

She would never be able to get married and have her own family, her own home, her own life.

And she was Jewish, living according to her people’s laws and customs, so I’m sure spending a night with the king was not an appealing prospect.

But she didn’t have a choice, so she went, and spent her first 12 months in the palace with the kind of attitude that “won the favor” of the people around her.

In our culture, winning a beauty pageant and chosen to become royalty would be seen as desirable and successful, but I doubt Esther will have felt the same when she was chosen to be queen. (I often find myself wishing the Bible included more details on the emotions people experienced in these stories we now read!)

So there she was, living the life of a queen, and God gave her the chance to save her people. She was scared to do it. She was human, she experienced fear, and she did not jump at the chance to be a hero.

But her cousin Mordecai said to her,

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)

So she had her brave and shining moment, and she saved her people. She was amazing.

But Esther was still human. She did not seek out the opportunity for greatness.

She simply lived her life, and did what she needed to do, when opportunities or expectations presented themselves.

That’s also very different from our culture. There is such a pressure to do great things, to build a platform for ourselves, to get noticed, and be great, influential people.

And those things can all be fantastic…if the opportunity presents itself.

How much do we pursue it? How much do we long for it?

And when we long for it, do we do so in a way that doesn’t breed discontentment for all of the simple, small acts of faith done on a daily basis, because we desire something big and more “significant”?

What about Ruth? Her great move was being loving and faithful to her mother-in-law. She left her home and family to go with Naomi, and showed amazing loyalty and kindness. But her big finale? She got married. And had a baby. And then turned out to be in Jesus’ family tree, but she never knew that while she was alive.

She was just living her simple, small life.

I live my simple, small life. I love my husband and our girls, and I look for joy in all the little things.

But I also dream of greatness, even though I know being a wife and mom is important, but sometimes I dream of different things – “bigger” things, that don’t involve quite as much laundry, or cleaning scrambled eggs off the floor.

What is my big, important, noble purpose, besides being a mom? Why am I here? How is God going to do huge, amazing things through me?

What will I do with this life of mine?

Well… I’m doing it. I’m living it every day, and maybe it doesn’t need to be great and glorious. I don’t think it’s wrong to dream about the future, but I do wonder if we put too much pressure on ourselves to want more than what we were meant to want.

Ecclesiastes says we should love our spouse, and work hard. And if we’re faithful in the small things, God will take care of the rest, right?

He makes some to be like Esther, well-known and in a position of power. And He makes some to be like Ruth, living a quiet life with family.

Both women powerfully impacted the world.

One knew it, the other didn’t.

Do I really need to know my purpose, or my impact? It might be revealed later…if at all.

God knows – is that enough for me?

Oh, to find joy in whatever circumstances come my way. To find contentment in the small, simple things, while always being prepared for the moments of courage He brings to me, whatever size they might be.

Who’s Dream is This, Anyway?

This week, we’re talking about dreams. Join in the discussion and leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of Heather Boersma’s book, Dream Big.


There was an incredible sunset at camp one evening, and I sat down there by the lake for a few hours, talking with a friend about dreams and love and God’s will.

He was trying to process a break-up, and nothing made sense to him, because he had been so sure this girl was “the one”. We sat there watching the sun go down, and it was such a contrast to me – the incredible signs of God in nature, on display for all to see, and this man’s confusion, pain, and doubt regarding God’s leading in his life.

At one point, he said, “She is the desire of my heart. I know the Bible says that God will give me my heart’s desire!”

It seems to me that this is one of the most common break-down points for a lot of Christians when it comes to dreams and desires of the heart.  “I desire this person, this thing, this goal, and so therefore, as I ask God for it, He will honor my request.”

Like a Sears catalogue, perhaps?

I read once that what the verse REALLY means is this: “Ask God to put HIS desires into your heart, and as you learn to want the same thing He wants for you, you will be able to see all things as a blessing.”

That’s great.


I would LOVE to have God’s desires in my heart. But sometimes I don’t even know which desires are mine, and which are His.

And for some reason, I usually seem to think the best course of action would be to analyze, stress about it, and agonize over it, when really, wouldn’t it make sense just to …ask Him?

“Father, which of these desires are mine, and which ones are yours? Purify my heart, lead me, guide me, give me your wisdom, show me the way I should go. Remove any desires that are not of You.”

He can do that. It is almost like magic, except better.


There was a time when I was ready to leave camp, and Ben was not. I was going through a rough time in my life, and was nearing burn-out, for various reasons. I convinced myself that all areas of frustration and unhappiness would get better, if we would leave camp. I still loved camp, but I decided the challenges of being there were too much for me to bear.

Ben said even though he didn’t want to,  we could leave camp, if I really felt I couldn’t make it work any longer. We could move closer to the city so that all of my appointments, and all the trips in for health reasons would stop wearing me out.

But he really felt that God was not done with us at camp yet.

We discussed the situation back and forth for a long time.

I kept praying (and praying and praying!) that God would put His desires in my heart. Because I wanted my own way so badly, I was very scared I wouldn’t be able to hear God speaking to me.

But one night, Ben and I sat down to talk, and of course, the topic of “When Should We Leave Camp?” came up yet again. And for some reason, that night, as Ben was sharing what was on his heart, I felt my own heart change.

It was so strong, it was almost a physical feeling – everything inside just kinda “flipped”, and I knew, in that one instant, I was ready to stay. It was not time for us to go yet.

I went to bed, completely expecting to experience some kind of emotional struggle with that one for a bit yet, but I woke up the next morning with absolute peace in my heart. My desire to leave had been removed, completely…just like that.

When we did end up leaving, it was with the feeling of release and completion. I will always, always be thankful that we stayed until “the end” – not my end, but God’s end.


I know, I know, I KNOW that God can remove the desires that are not from Him. But for some reason, I still forget to regularly ask Him to do so.

I want my dreams to be clearly labelled and organized, I guess. I want to know which are His, and which are mine. I’d like to know which ones are for now, and which are for later, once these girlies of mine have grown up a bit. (Or I’ve grown up a bit!)

But in my head, I know these answers don’t usually come quickly or conveniently.

So how do you know if your dream is from God? I think you just wrestle through it until it shines with the obvious touch of God.

Sometimes, that is a long time coming.

Often, I slip into thinking of spiritual wrestling as a bad thing. And true, there are times when it is unnecessary. Sometimes more faith in God could eliminate the wrestle. But I think of Jacob wrestling with the angel in the Bible, begging for his blessing. And God touches him.

Oh, that God would touch me! Who cares about the confusion and doubt I felt? Who cares what my future holds? Those moments, when I’m truly, completely connected with God, that is all that matters. I have no worries that He will do what is right and best. Just that He would touch my life and do with me what He will.

I think the worries of this world need to be wrestled down until Jesus is all we care about, all we see. I think we need to ask Him to purify our hearts, our dreams, and our desires far more often than we do. I think we need to ask Him to completely remove the heart’s desires that don’t come from Him, and replace them with His desires.

And when clarity doesn’t come right away, we wait.

Has He ever not shown up? If not, it means your answer is still coming….


Have you ever experienced God removing a desire from your heart that was not from Him?