Monthly Archives: March 2009

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part three)

Please join us over at Refreshmoments to read more Ruby Tuesdays’ posts. To read part one and two of my series, click here.

“She senses that her gain is good; Her lamp does not go out at night.” (Proverbs 31:18, NAS).
My lamp wants to.

Go out tonight.

But my heart refuses its dimming. Not because I don’t need it to; I need some rest. But rather because I have a stirring that forces my thoughts. A penned up feeling that has surfaced today; the first of its kind, at least as it pertains to this child. My second child. A boy who’s grown up too quickly and who, in two months time, will throw his cap into the air and declare his finish to his childhood.

I’ve been waiting for this feeling to surface all year, but for whatever reason, it waited until today to erupt. I was unprepared for its arrival and yet completely willing to entreat its sway over my mind and my emotion.


Flutters of worry. Flutters of anxiety. Flutters of anticipation. Flutters of exultation. Flutters of “what’s next” and flutters about “how I’m going to walk this one through.” Flutters of all manner of feelings, rolled up into a few moments of pause.

It brought me to my knees and my tears accordingly. To my prayers and my hopes for how this thing … this future that remains to be seen … is going to shift my season, yet again. Two years ago, I walked this road with my first son. It was different then. Harder in many ways. Time has developed my trust for the process, especially because that time has been seasoned with good decisions and good provision that have grown us all in very good measure.

My gain has been very good. All those years of seeding the soil of my eldest son’s maturation have blossomed into a budding harvest of manhood. I imagine the same for my second son. I hope for it; I pray for it; I long for it to walk in similar and smooth transition.

It seems that it will, at least for today. Today, despite my flutters, the future seems to be narrowing—to be falling into sharper focus as to where my son will further his growing over the next four years. Four of the five colleges to which he’s applied have laid some ample offers at his feet. Good offers. Financial packages that we couldn’t have imagined for him on the front side of this process.

On the front side, we couldn’t see a way. With an older brother already in college and with us living within the budget of our single-family income, we couldn’t imagine how we would be able to afford him the education at the school of his choice. So I didn’t.


On the front side.

Instead, I simply left it in God’s hands.

Good hands. Hands that are completely capable and willing to hold the trust and faith of our hearts.

And now, on the backside of a strenuous and lengthy stretch, it seems that we will be able to afford them all. And the mighty woman in me, a woman longing to be found worthy of a ruby’s bestowing, is sensing a very good gain through the hands of a very good Father who understands the needs of his children and of his provision therein.

God has moved on behalf of our household, friends. And when I discerned it today, when I began to see the prayers of my long and deliberate trust beginning to unfold in our favor, all I could do was fall prey to my fluttering. From one emotion to the next until I found my knees and my subsequent thanks.

God gave me more than an answer today. He gave me the gift of faith … of seeing how my believing Him on the “front side” of an unknown can be walked in peace and assurance until the answer arrives.

Rarely have I done that. Rarely have I fully trusted Him with my prayers. Rarely have I believed that He was truly and faithfully going to work it all out. But this time—this season of trusting God with my son’s college outcome—was my rare exception. This time, I chose expectation over doubt. Faith over fear. Peace over panic. And tonight, from the backside, it seems to me to be a very good way to walk a journey.

In full assurance of a good gain because a good God stands at the helm.

Long ago and many seasons before this one, God lit his lamp within my heart. I’ve spent the better part of forty years tending to that wick. Some years have walked brightly. Some dim. Some pure. Some tainted. But all have walked with the possibility of a brilliantly lit faith. Today, my faith burned with a radiance that surpassed them all.

Today, faith grew, and tonight, God’s wick within me is flaming with a peace that has rarely been my portion. God has stoked my heart with a night’s burning that will remain, despite this body’s need for rest.

I can take that rest because my Father is faithful to tend to my all in my stead, on the front side of tomorrow … on the backside of today. My times are in his hands. So are yours. And that, my friends, is a good gain all the way around. As always,




“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20).


We share an unlikely friendship.

He is twenty plus years my junior, having grown and currently living in a world that stands in stark contrast to mine. We don’t look alike, talk alike, or share any commonalities beyond the one that we shared over eleven years ago.

A classroom.

I entered it as his teacher. He entered it as my student. And while the year would roll a little rough at times, what emerged from our nine months of “doing life” together, was a budding relationship that continues to this day. Today, it doesn’t look so much like it did back then.

Back then, he sat in the first row, front seat (a good place for a kid who is hard of hearing and even harder in taking instruction). Today he sits on the other side of a computer screen.

Back then, he could barely write cursive. Today, he’s mastered the keyboard.

Back then, he was mostly concerned with his being the class clown. Today, he’s mostly concerned about his being God’s man.

Back then, he was my third grade student. Today, he’s a college student.

Back then, he asked me about reading, writing, and arithmetic. Today, he asks me about more.

A bigger more. Issues that exceed the rudimentary. Things that surpass the boundaries of what’s “allowed” within the public school forum. Things about life and God and about how to write a mission statement for a ministry that he’s beginning with the focus of helping young boys in their becoming of Godly men. Things like that.

It is my privilege to enter into his need for my “more.” Not because I think that I am overly qualified to do so, but simply because I’m the one on the receiving end of his questions. To deny him my time, my attention, and my tutelage is to deny my responsibility in the carrying out the Great Commission—God’s mandate “to go and to make disciples of all nations.”

My young friend is but one life within that nation. One amidst many. I am called to that one. You are called to another one. Never is our “making” of disciples an en masse kind of production. Preaching en masse is appropriate. Teaching en masse all the more. But corporate discipling, I believe, misses the mark of God’s intention—God’s model for how this sacred shaping is to be done.

God’s theology of the one.

Hear now what the New Testament Lexical Aids have to say about the word “discipleship” (mathetheuo) as found in Matthew 28:19:

“The action of the verb describes much more than the mere academic impartation of information; one is doing more than simply instructing a pupil in a particular field of study or aiding a student in developing a certain vocational skill. Rather, the word suggests (in religious contexts) the deep shaping of character and the cultivation of a world-view through a close, personal relationship between the student and the teacher. The teacher is a mentor par excellence who seeks to stamp his image on his disciples and thereby enable them to participate in his life. For the goal of discipleship is not simply the attaining of information, but the experience and enjoyment of fellowship.”[i]

Jesus modeled this understanding of discipleship better than anyone. Yes, He would feed the crowds, teach the crowds, and even die before the crowds. But more than living his life out loud and in front of the crowds, Jesus’ life was lived within the context of the one-on-one relationships that were formed as he went and while on the go.

Those are the ones that we remember the most … the ones that stoke the fires of our sentiment and understanding. Why? Because when we see our Savior pause for the “one,” it emboldens our belief in his willingness to do the same for us … to come alongside and to disciple us accordingly. With his time and his attention, and with his tutelage about issues that extend beyond our rudimentary in order to root our lives in his sacred extraordinary.

To stay as we are … as we were at the moment of our salvation … is to miss out on the fullness of what it is to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Thus, through the power of his Holy Spirit, God comes alongside to mentor us. He places others in our paths to do the same. He then charges us with the gift and responsibility to seed the equivalent in others.

One life at a time. One phone call at a time. One e-mail, one letter, one conversation, one “interruption,” and one prayer at a time. It’s a one-on-one kind of mentoring that exceeds our sometimes, en masse, preferences. After all, en masse reaches more. En masse is the stuff of accolades and building resumes and of seemingly doing more for the kingdom. But what is the worth of an en masse kind of discipleship that walks away and isn’t available for a hug or a prayer or a further word on a further matter?

I’m not dogging en masse. I’m simply saying that en masse doesn’t cut it when discipleship is required. Yes, it seeds the soil for further work, but if we are truly to grasp our role in God’s Great Commission, then we must be willing to put aside our en masse in order to attend to the discipling of the one.

All of us should have some “ones.” We cannot be all things to all people, but we can be the shepherd to some “ones.” And if we think that our calling is all about the masses, then we think shallow. Many can preach the kingdom of God, but rare are those who are willing to disciple His kingdom living into the hearts of a few “ones.”

Pulpits come and go, friends. Stages tear down and move on to another city. But the classroom of discipleship is always in session. It has nothing to do with platforms and report cards and the counting of sheep, but has everything to do with our commitment to intimate and intentional relationship with a few.

God’s theology of the one.

May we never get too busy or too big for our britches so as to neglect the needs of the one. Whether that one is a child, an adult, a family member, a stranger, or a student from days gone by, all “ones” matter in the building up of God’s kingdom. May our hearts and hands and feet be found upon the path of such a sacred and faithful “going” this day. It’s what our Jesus came to do. He’s charged us with the same.

Thus, let’s keep to it, friends, for the kingdom of God is near … closer now than it has ever been. My “ones” coupled with your “ones” coupled with your neighbor’s “ones” are the makings of a good party. And I, for one, cannot wait to see what heaven will birth accordingly. There is coming such a day. Even so I say, come quickly Lord Jesus!

As always,


[i] Entry for “mathetheuo” from The New Testament Lexical Aids, NIV Key Word Study Bible (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1996), 1647.

Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen

PS: The winner of the Starbuck’s gift card from my UBP post is #38, Stephanie from Truthsharer. Congrats, Stephanie! Please send me your snail mail via my email. For all of you, may the truth and hope of Easter be present in your Sabbath rest as we draw ever closer to the cross and our remembrance of Love’s redeeming work! Shalom.

Ruby Tuesdays: A Mighty Woman (part two)

Please join us over at Refreshmoments for more Ruby Tuesdays’ posts. To read part one of my series, click here.


“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.” (Proverbs 31:10-11).

I earned my P31 ruby today. Not for my growing of the backyard money tree or my turning grapes into wine or even my spinning thread into gold. That’s child play on most days. No, today I earned my ruby for bravely going where few are willing to go.

My eldest sons’ bedroom.

It’s been a long time, friends, and the snack bar that has now collected beneath their beds amidst the mile high pile of dust is enough to make even Martha Stewart shudder. What started out as a routine vacuum quickly morphed into an hour long re-arrangement of furniture as I huffed and puffed my way through at least three months’ worth of left-overs.

Honestly, I don’t get paid enough for hazmat duty; come to think of it, I don’t get paid at all. But rest assured, my crown is ready and waiting for the polished ruby that is sure to come as a result of my weary and somewhat unwilling doing. It’s a doing I do because a mighty woman doesn’t let a lifetime supply of dust get in her way. She simply keeps to the task because she’s been given what she needs to do the task…

The full confidence and trust of another. Accordingly, I venture into a second contemplation about Mrs. P31.

A mighty woman is a woman who has a mighty backing. In the case of Mrs. P31, that backing resembles a husband—Ba’al in the Hebrew language carrying with it a variety of uses including “lord, husband, possessor, the title of a Canaanite deity (Baal), rulers, leaders, the legal owners of property.”[i]

To miss this fact, to assume Mrs. P31 goes it alone when it comes to her becoming, is to miss an important facet of her transformation process. Without the confidence and trust of another’s backing from behind and from the beginning, her road to rubies is, indeed, a hard road to hoe. And lest you’re thinking it all revolves around a husband, think again.

After all, not all of us are married. Even if we are, not all of us have the benefit of having a husband who invests his confidence and trust into our becoming. Thus, how do we make this one fit into our story? What role does a man play in the outcome of our P31 status?

Here’s what I think. Take it for what it’s worth … my thinking in the matter.

I believe that you and I can reach P31 status without a man in our lives. That being said, I don’t think that we will ever reach our intended state of rarity without the backing of the One Possessor who lovingly held us in his arms long before we would ever know the arms of any other.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13-16).

Our Father created us with rubies in mind. Nothing from his hands has been accidental or unworthy of kingdom status. God knew, even from our mother’s womb, just exactly what it was going to take for us to change our wanton estate into his rare intention. It would take his Son’s surrender on a cross. It would take a resurrection on an Easter morning, and it would further take a Holy Spirit’s indwelling at Pentecost in order for us to make the transformation.

By the time you and I came onto the scene of this world, Love’s redeeming work had been accomplished … finished and ready for the unwrapping some 2000 years ago. We don’t have to wait to take upon us, that which has already been done for us. It’s simply ours for the asking, for the receiving, for the shaping, and for the furthering of our becoming the “all” that our Father has intended for us to be.

His rare find. His ruby amidst rocks. His gem amidst gravel. His mighty amidst the meager.

God has equipped us to be his P31 women in this world. How?

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Indeed, a mighty backing—a holy and sacred trust—invested into our hearts and lives so that in return, we might begin to resemble something far greater than ourselves. Through the transforming work of God’s Spirit within, we begin to look like the One who held us first, loves us best, and who puts his full confidence behind our ruby becoming.

That, my friends, is what I think a “husband” has to do with my Mrs. P31 status. Accordingly, my God is worthy of my best efforts at becoming his gem. Even when it means I must boldly go where others are unwilling to go … dust mountains, snack bars, and a little huffing and puffing included. I want to be my Father’s mighty woman, thus I pray…

Back me up, Father, with your confidence and your trust for my becoming more than I currently am. You, alone, hold the power to shape me into a rare find. Thank you for keeping me on task and to the road, even when my “want to” is lacking. If there is any good living in me, it is You, Lord. You are the reason behind my ruby red. Thank you for entrusting me with its humble carrying. Amen.

Copyright © March 2009 – Elaine Olsen

[i] Baker & Carpenter, entry for “ba’al,” The Complete Word Study Dictionary OT (AMG Publishing: Chattanooga, 2003), 151.


Ultimate Blog Party 2009!

I heard there was a party going on in town.

Not wanting to miss out on the fun, consider this my official RSVP to the largest blogging party of the year. For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome to peace for the journey. For those of you who are regulars, consider yourself invited. Hop over to Five Minutes for Moms to offer your RSVP and join in on the fun.

The only thing that would make this party better would be to have you, my blogging friends, with me at the table, sharing a cup of mocha and surfing the blogosphere alongside one another. Alas, I think I am the lone blogger in my neck of the woods, so I’ll manage the party hat and coffee by myself … sort of.

Blogging for me has never been a solitary undertaking. Instead, it has been an open canvas upon which to paint the words of my heart. And just in case you haven’t heard, my heart belongs exclusively to Jesus. Yes, my heart is also crowded with love for my family and friends, but my God reigns supreme. He holds the title to my “now” and my “next.” Thus, when I take to the pen via a blank computer screen, I cannot help but bring his truth alongside. There is no other worthy boast of these lips than that of Jesus Christ and him crucified.

I could try and pretend otherwise; lighten things up a bit so as not to offend anyone who might be stopping by for a peek. But in doing so, I would denying the essence of peace for the journey. Peace is not a concept and cannot be accomplished via a prescribed measure of steps. No, peace is a person, and his name is Jesus Christ. He has radically and profoundly interrupted my life with his grace and has allowed me his leading companionship for the road ahead.

I am undone with the gift for I am unworthy of such a lavish expression of eternal love. Still and yet, I humbly and gratefully hold out my heart for the receiving. Time and again, because of God’s overflowing love for me and through the life changing work of his presence within me, I endeavor to pen my thanks and his truth via this blog. To hold it as private … to hoard God’s love and his truth in selfish reserve … is to walk in isolation from the gift’s intention—a ministry that was always meant to be shared.

A Gift that was meant to be given away, not hidden away.

Thus, the impetus behind peace for the journey. I give it to you, my readers, as the best offering that this heart will ever make. I don’t always get it right; I am fragile and yet young in my understanding of all things eternal. Still and yet, my heart is in the right place, and my deepest desire is for my words to bless and honor the one true Word—Jesus Christ.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14).

He’s the one Word who has made all the difference to me as I pilgrim this earthly sod. Because of Jesus and his sacrificial surrender on the cross over 2000 years ago, I understand that this journey—these days of weary walking and a sometimes difficult hard—is but a passing through to my forever. In a time when things around me seem uncertain, I cling to the certainty of my God.

He’s real. He’s alive, and his Peace is available for the journey. Yours and mine.

May you always find Him here … through my words and in my life. You are welcome at this table anytime, and I consider it a privilege to walk the road with you, my friend. As always,


I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment to receive the chance of a $15 Starbuck’s gift card. My prize isn’t officially registered on the UBP 2009, so I will be doing my own drawing at the end of the week from the comments on this particular post. Make sure and check out all the fine prizes over at the UBP 2009! Shalom.

If I am chosen as a winner by the UBP, my top three choices are:

#19 — $50 Target gift card from Shoot Me Now; #21– $50 Target gift card from Agoosa; #22– $50 Target gift card from Beginner Baby Blog.

If not chosen for these, I would also like #68 ($30 gift card from CBD), #91 ($25 Target gift card), and #123 ($20 Kohl’s gift card).

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