Monday, February 28, 2011

God beholds

Where to begin? There is so much I would like to say, and I do not know if my words will do my heart's feelings justice. 

I just finished reading One Thousand Gifts. It was by far the most life-changing book (other than the Bible) I have read in quite some time. Each chapter challenged and encouraged me in such a beautiful and specific way. What has been such a wonderful treat is the opportunity to watch the book club videos that are posted each week so that I can go back to what I have already read and remember the ways in which the Lord was speaking to my heart as I read.  

In the very first chapter, Ann talks about her name and its meaning. Ann means "full of grace," and she vulnerably admits that she does not always live up to her name. Upon finishing the last chapter a few moments ago, I decided to look up my name. In my room back home in Georgia, I have a picture frame that has my name and its meaning. It says that "Jessica" is Hebrew for wealthy. I did a little more research on (obviously the most reliable source for these inquiries) and found that "Jessica" means "God beholds."

God beholds. Wow. I had always thought that my name meant "wealthy," and I was contented with that. To think of oneself as wealthy is to realize what grand blessings the Lord has given. But to bear a name that means God beholds is pretty special. At least to me. To behold is "to observe, look at, see" (according to So how does that meaning have significance for me in my everyday life?

Well, for one thing, I know that I am never forgotten by God. He made me, chose me, and loves me. He beholds me, which means that I am precious in His sight and He knows me. How wonderfully powerful yet intimate is that? 

Last week, I went to the ladies' meeting after school after hearing that they were having food  so that I could be encouraged by the other women here on the field. The guest speaker for the day was a woman named Faith Arnold, who is mother of another tribal missionary here. She used to work here with her husband and was here to take care of her grandkids as their parents were out of town for a few weeks. That afternoon, she spoke about God's sovereignty. The one thing (among so many other wise nuggets of truth) she said that stuck with me was that Joy is a choice. This truth is what I have been learning as a result of reading One Thousand Gifts and through my Tuesday night Bible study with friends. The Lord always speaks clearly to me through repetition so that I can get His good truth through my thick skull. And what I have been learning is that joy is a choice. You do not just wake up joyful one morning and live in a fantasy world of temporal happiness. Joy is so much better than that, in fact it is delightfully unspeakable! Joy gives you peace and fills your heart in ways that temporal happiness never could. I pray that you find that joy, friends. 

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. 
-Romans 15:13

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