A Morning’s Reminder…

What does an early morning obedience yield?


#1—My story is part of a bigger drama.
#2—There is coming a day when the graces and ills of said story will weave a completed and understood work.
#3—My full participation in that story has come with a costly price tag.

But for now, in this moment and on this day, I only see glimpses. I feel them in part. I hear them in fragments, but rarely do I fully grasp them. They are but reminders of an unseen reality that is working diligently on my behalf. Yours too.

And lest you think that you don’t need them—that your faith is so strong, so deep, and so mature so as not to look for them—then may I suggest that your faith bleeds weak? A faith that doesn’t look for reminders is a faith that poses little threat to the enemy and his many schemes for destruction. A faith that refuses its growing is a faith that falls prey to its burying. A faith that doesn’t need moments of breath-taking glimpses of God’s glory is a faith that expects little. Hopes little. Lives little.

I want a big faith. My today longs for it. I desperately need the hope of the faith that I so boldly proclaim. Why is today’s need more profound than yesterday’s? What prompts the search for faith?

Hurting hearts, that’s what. And mine is breaking today on behalf of a friend. The doctor’s report didn’t spin they way that we had hoped. The longed for conclusion was for remission. The reality spoke otherwise, and today, she is left with her questions and her decisions and with a heart in need of a few reminders that her God is good and that he has her in his watchful care. I am in need of a few myself.

Thus, I went looking for some of God’s sacred reminders this morning. First, in a book. Second, in God’s Word and thirdly, outdoors in God’s creation. I found them—my glimpses of hope; not because they weren’t there all along, but rather because my eyes and my heart were inclined toward perception.

#1—John Eldredge’s book Epic: the Story God is Telling, is a reminder to us that our stories are part of a bigger drama. That we were created with that drama in mind and that our individual parts are the central and key components in making the story come alive with a richness and depth that bring color and texture to the whole. Without our participation, the story reads with gaps. Your life and mine were meant to fill in those gaps. We were intended to be a part of God’s story. Epic gives us the permission to participate accordingly.

A gentle reminder of the bigger picture around 1:00 AM.

#2—Exodus 15 was the Scripture text for my morning devotion. A song of deliverance sung by Moses and the Israelites after walking their faith through on dry ground.

“‘In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling…. You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—the place, O LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, your hands established. The LORD will reign for ever and ever.’” (Exodus 15:13, 17-18).

God’s mighty and outstretched arms were more than enough to lead a people from captivity to freedom. This has always been his way. His arms and his stretch, reaching long and wide and high and deep on our behalf and for his kingdom come. His strength will lead us home. To the mountain of his inheritance where breath-taking glimpses of his glory will be viewed in their entirety, forever and for always.

A gentle reminder of the bigger picture around 6:30 AM.

#3—The F-15 Strike Eagles were out in large force this morning as I took to the streets for my usual run. They are hard to miss. Their noise makes it so. Living in a military community requires my frequent notice of these tactical fighter jets that are designed to penetrate enemy defense and to outfight enemy aircraft. They hold my wonder and my constant gratitude.

The F-15’s fly with a bird’s eye view of their below and with a breathtaking view of God’s above. The men and women who pilot these aircrafts are doing so on our behalf. For the freedoms we now embrace and for the freedom we hope to remain. It comes with a hefty price tag. That is the way of freedom.

It costs. It exacts a price. It requires a sacrifice. It is a gift undeserving, yet willingly given. As it is with the F-15’s so it goes with my Father who willingly paid the price for our spiritual freedom through the sacrifice and his one and only Son.

A gentle, yet forceful reminder of the bigger picture around 8:00 AM.

A book that weaves a story of Epic proportions. A song that sings a story of deliverance. A plane that flies a story of protection. Three sought-after reminders. One conclusion.

God’s still writing the story … with his deliverance, with his protection, and with the bigger picture in mind. And while I cannot always fully see his hand in the matter, I can see the tracings of a greater Epic. One that allows me a few lines of participation and a few minutes on the stage. And the stage, my friends, is always a good place for a few humble reminders.

Today I am humbled, even as I am hurting. I am reminded, once again, that the best is yet to be and that I walk toward that best with God’s deliverance as my cloaking, with his holy intention as my guide, and with his protection as my shield against the enemy’s plans to the contrary.

I can walk home with a bigger purpose in mind. So can my friend. So can we all. Thus, let us walk it with God’s truth as our song:

“Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure, you who carry the vessels of the LORD. But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:11-12).

Our covenant Father, Yahweh, sets our course as he leads the way. The Creator of the entire Universe, Elohim, guards our steps and keeps watch over us from behind. From beginning to end, we are nestled in between the Sacred. Find your rest in this reminder today.



Copyright © November 2008 – Elaine Olsen. All rights reserved

I was so blessed by my reading of John Eldredge’s Epic, I want to make a few copies available to my readers. Simply leave a comment, and I will pick the winners by week’s end. Shalom.

37 Responses to A Morning’s Reminder…

  1. Epic is one of my favorite books along with others by Eldridge. I also search for those reminders. Scripture says that Abraham believed God it and was counted unto him as righteousness. That’s what I also count on God doing for me…taking my little bits of belief, helping me in my unbelief, and counting it as righteousness as I keep seeking, asking and knocking.

  2. wifeforthejourney:

    We are indeed part of a bigger plan – a fact that often seems lost in times of trouble. There is something about suffering that can either sharpen or blur our perspective on life. When we hurt, most of us have that natural impulse that cries out “Why?” Where we are in our relationship with Christ has a lot to do with how we deal with our own questions of “why” and the “whys” of others.

    As always, your post is a vivid reminder of God’s presence and an encouragement for all your readers to go deeper. How I need a faith that goes beyond surface living.

    I’m looking forwad to being able to read John Eldredge’s book. Since I’m your husband, does that disqualify me from winng the contest? 😉


  3. husband for the journey:

    yes, you are disqualified to win the book, but well qualified to win my heart. You’ve already done so, and I would be lost without you. Your encouragement to me is a strong anchor to keep pressing on…to keep loving and to keep pouring my heart into the lives of others. So glad we’re walking home together.

    love~your wife

  4. Count me in on the contest! I feel as if I’m already a winner, though, because I am learning so much from you. Your insight and wisdom into the Word are an encouragement to me, helping me to examine aspects of my life from a different perspective.

    Blessings to you, my sis-in-Christ!

  5. Oh Elaine,

    I’m so sorry to read this news. I will pray for you as you gently and lovingly place the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness on your friend.

    Wifeforthejourney and husband for the journey work so beautiful together.

    Thanks for the opportunity to win such an awesome book!!

  6. Elaine, I am so sorry about your friend’s results. I will lift her up in prayer.

    My faith does bleed weak, and I so want it to be strong. But I am not always willing to spend the time with my Abba as I should. My priorities are not as they need to be. Thank you for this reminder.

    The book sounds wonderful. Even if I don’t win, I will find a copy :). I hope that after your night, today’s blessings have eased your tiredness.


  7. My faith does bleed weak to the point I find myself so anemic that nothing but a transfusion from the Universal Donor will replenish my soul.

    Elaine, your words are always like a kaleidoscope to me – with each twist and turn of life you are are able to take broken pieces and create a beauty of truth.

    I pray that comfort, peace and strength will cover your friend from head to toe – before and behind – within and without!


  8. Thank you so much for this post. They are words of encouragement to me.

    Selfishly, I would love to win that book.

    God’s will!


    P.S. I love the way your blog looks. Did you have someone create it for you?

  9. Elaine, this was beyond beautiful and hopeful. Epic is one of my fav books, and I actually did a study with my lifegroup on it. I dare say, I receive the same if not even more the depth of truth from your own words than the book. God has anointed your pen, and it writes passionately and purposefully.

    He feeds my hungry spiritual heart through you.

  10. Nothing like the well woven thoughts of a good teacher/author to take us where we may never have gone on our own.

    I love good reads, and often have 2 or 3 books going simultaneously. I may just have to add this one as well.

    Be blessed,

    P.S. My not-so-sassy body is healing though the bruises have now taken on hidious color hues. The bike is parked, and I’m still laughing about your roller blades!

  11. Elaine, I love that Scripture from Isaiah 55, and, while my heart aches for your friend (and for a couple of mine right now!), I praise the Lord for His promise that “No one living in Zion will say, ‘I am ill’ …” (Isaiah 33:24).

    All glory to Him for the tender glimpses of His grace that surround us … when we take the time to look for them!

    Rejoicing in your epic journey this morning! 🙂

  12. Elaine, I will say a prayer for your sweet friend and for you.
    I’m so sorry for the bad news, but I am so thankful that God gave you all of the reminders of His ongoing story. His involvement in all of our lives. His protection over us, and His love for us all.

    God bless you, Elaine.

  13. So very sorry to hear the news about your friend. I will lift her in my prayers. I too praise God for the loving reminders He gives amidst the hard things of this life.

    Like the master tapestry He’s weaving — we can often only see the underside with all its knots and hanging threads, but from His perspective, it’s a breathtaking work of art.

    Beautifully shared, my friend.

  14. Elaine, thanks for your willingness to share some copies of Epic. So sorry to hear that your friend did not get the good news you all were hoping for. It DOES help to know that our Lord God is our rear guard, doesn’t it?

  15. Elaine,
    First, you and your hubby are so adorable together!
    Second, I can empathize with what you are going through with your friend…what you hoped for was not His ‘thought’…at least for now…my thoughts and prayers are with you and your friend…
    yet will I trust…
    ..would love to be entered for that book..

  16. John Eldridge is an amazing author – I’ve read most of his book and taken away with me insight for the long haul.

    I am praying for your friend. Praying Christ will meet with her (and you) in the midst of heartbreaking news.

  17. Elaine, my life too has been touched by the news of an unexpected diagnosis of a friend. The longed for is not the reality, at least not at this very moment, yet knowing God is still able.

    Tonight as we had our “Family Worship” time the devotional we read reminded us that we are invincible until God is finished with us here on earth. Our lives are in His hands, and truly there is no better place to be. Still, I struggle with understanding, accepting and the hurting heart that accompanies the pain of loss.

    Psalm 126:5, “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

    Looking forward to that harvest,

    PS. Always enjoy the comments between you and your husband – so very sweet – you have a gift my friend.

  18. The passage in exodus so brings me back to Beth Moore’s teachings from the “Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place” study and even mixed in with some of the teaching of Breaking Free. I am doing both right now, and I guess that is why I see elements of both in this verse.

    Thank you for sharing this and for reminding me that no matter what it is that we go through, even when He says no, it’s b/c there’s a greater purpose that we’re not seeing the “why’s”

    Thank you also for that scripture in Isaiah. I will so treasure those verses while we are on our trip.

  19. Father, please be with those who are sick, and with those who love the sick. Please grant peace beyond understanding, courage to face it all, and love to anoint it all with Your blessings. Amen!

  20. Weighty stuff for me this morning, as I too face some sad and heavy news. Sometimes it is hard to see beyond the current devastation…but like you said, there is a bigger picture and that is where faith comes in. How mine needs to be increased!

  21. Elaine,

    I have a co-worker that had a mastectomy yesterday due to this dreaded disease called cancer. It breaks my heart that so many are hurting spiritually, financially, emotionally and physically. But God is in control and he knows all and sees all. Praise be to him for every day even with the pain.
    Love you!

  22. God’s still writing the story … with his deliverance, with his protection, and with the bigger picture in mind

    Oh what a reminder to me this morning your words are. Your post brought tears to my eyes today because I don’t always remember the bigger picture and that we can find our reminders in our faith around us everywhere.
    I’m glad your friend has you.

  23. I have never read and Eldridge, but have wanted to. Your post brought tears to my eyes, and hope to my heart. Thank you, Elaine.

  24. I love to read John and Stacy’s books!!! I too have friends who are in need of miracles today, thanks for posting this, so that we are reminded that EVERY DAY COUNTS!!! My story, your story, their story… can all be used by a loving Father to draw us close to Him and give assistance to those on the journey with us!!!
    We are on the Road of Life together!!

  25. Elaine – another good post. I have quite enjoyed mulling over all of your posts since we have recently re-connected. I have also passed on your site to a lot of my friends. Bad thing is, you leave me crying every morning before I leave for work, or crying before I head to bed!! Thanks again!!!

  26. Count me in!! Our internet has been “updating” and I have been without internet connections for a couple of days. Is there a limit on how many times I can win?!?!

    You are a blessing!! I am always so inspired and convicted with each visit.

    In His Graces~Pamela

  27. Hey girl…I am so sorry for the pain caused by the doctors words.
    I am so thankful that our God is not sitting in the heavens unconnected from what we are going through. That He loves us gently and holds our tears.
    It will be amazing one day to stand with Him and Know as He has always known. Till then….Yes, visions of His glory keep me going too.
    And that He has a plan….it does bring peace to my mind when I can’t understand why.
    I pray that during this time you will all feel His presence in a mighty way.

  28. Peace Elaine,

    I love how He speaks. And I love how you listen. You know His voice, beloved. What a precious thing that is. I have not read this one by Mr. Elderidge, but it sounds worthy. Loved Captivating, that he wrote with his wife. They see poetry in this life story. That is a beautiful thing and makes for a beautiful read.
    Have been thinking of you and praying for you. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend. I will pray…

  29. Elaine, I have come back this morning to catch up on your your postings which I have missed for the last few days due to my computer problem. My heart aches for you and your friend and so I do what I know best…pray. I pray for His peace and His love as you both walk through that journey of your friends illness.

    In His Graces~Pamela

  30. Bless you for this. I’ve found that God has reminders available every second, everywhere we look, if we have but ready eyes.

    Blessings on your friend and you, as you walk alongside her. I’m in the same place right now.


  31. What a great reminder that things look different from God’s perspective…we only see in part!

    I loved…”A faith that refuses its growing is a faith that falls prey to its burying. A faith that doesn’t need moments of breath-taking glimpses of God’s glory is a faith that expects little. Hopes little. Lives little.”

    So true! I, too, want a big faith…I have a very big God, so anything less would be insultive to who He is!

    “Oh, ye of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Good question, Lord, increase my faith to fully trust You!

  32. Thank you for loving my mom-in-law. I just finished blogging on God’s bigger perspective too….that is where comfort and hope are only found.

  33. Elaine,
    Your words ministered to me even more today than usual…or my heart was in a place to truly receive. Life can be so difficult and confusing, even without the added suffering we experience. But, without faith, from where does our hope come? How can we make sense out of the unfairness, brokenness and suffering of this world?

    Our sovereign God is the One. He is our coming and our going and our in-between. In Him is the only place we find true hope and assurance.

    Thank God for His word, where despite our external circumstances, He shows us His goodness and love and protection. Thanks for your pointing out the powerful passages in Exodus and Isaiah. They are like a balm.

    BTW, I would love to win the book. 🙂

    Blessings and prayers,

  34. I’m sorry for your friends’ news. Even with a heart that knows God’s sovreignty and trusts Him with our temporary circumstances in view of the permanent, He still allows us the freedom of responding with human hearts and the fullness that can be felt therein. Prayers for His peace for both of you.

    On an unrelated note–it makes me laugh how you and I seem to follow one another around the blogosphere–whether we mean to or not! I just saw that your interview at 5 Minutes for Mom was just posted along with mine (and mine has been lost in cyberspace since July!)

  35. I’ll be praying for your friend. When things like this happen they do slow me down as I began to shift my focus.
    I love how you and your husband comment back and forth here…I have to be honest those are the little things that I notice that help me cling to the hope of having the same thing in my life one day….Blessings to you~

  36. I have always felt that if God could lead a whole people from captivity to freedom then He could lead me to the best place for me. It’s hard to hold on to that belief in the face of heart wrenching news. But we’ve only to trust Him and He will show us the way. blessings, marlene

  37. I love how God continually shows me that He is a BIG GOD. He is Mighty, He is Sovereign, and He loves deeply.

    And He still performs miracles, big & small.


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