Looking beyond the routine

Even in the routine, following Jesus is anything but routine.

Does that sound like just another catchy phrase to put on a picture and post on Instagram or is this a true statement?  I’m pondering this idea of routine early this morning before the routine of my life begins.

As I meet with Father in prayer this morning and ask this question for myself the examples of Jesus’ life on earth begin to pop like quick movie previews through my thinking.

Looking Beyond the Routine

When Jesus stepped into His ministry calling on earth, He also walked into the routine of many people’s lives.  His interruption of their routine was attractive and enticing.  Do you ever wonder why regular people in the routine of their lives would receive Jesus’ simple invitation to follow Him?

I think of the fishermen in their work routine, fishing to provide for their families.  They were simply doing what they knew to do and then Jesus interrupted their routine with an offer.  I imagine the encounter:

Follow Me, since you know how to fish, I will teach you how to fish for men.

With so many examples popping… tax collectors, prostitutes, a Pharisee, the beggar and the crippled spending their days lying on a mat…

Lastly, the woman at the well whose routine had become completely opposite the routine of the other Samaritan women.  Her shame caused her to choose a lonely routine until the day Jesus interrupted her routine at the well.  I wonder what she thought about a Jewish man asking her for water that day.  This was anything but routine and her experience with men was anything but the standard.

I imagine the encounter:

Woman trade in your routine of shame for the Living Water I offer, and I will give you a message to offer all the people of your village.  You’ll be restored to the routine with the women free from shame and helping them to live free as well.

So, Lord Jesus, as I head straight into the routine of this day, help me to see You interrupting my routine with Your presence.  Teach me to do Your Kingdom work right in the middle of my routine life for Your Glory!


What does this look like for you?  Would you like to see Jesus interrupting your routine?

Will you ask Him to do so?

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!


routine FMF-Square-Images-4Today I am joining Kate and her wonderful community of faith writers for some Five Minute Friday writing fun.  The word prompt for this week is {beauty}  If you’re in the least bit intrigued, come join us for the Five Minute Friday link up

All you have to do is ponder the word prompt, set your timer for 5:00, and start typing. When time’s up, publish and link up.  Oh so simple!

Saturday Share with Mary Geisen

Saturday Share coffee

Welcome to Saturday Share!  

The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide a space for regular people to share their real-life encounters with Jesus.  It’s about living in the middle – on the way to the finish line.  Our stories are not finished and that’s the main point!

I believe we sharpen one another and delight God’s heart when we testify of His great work in our lives.  Be encouraged to put one foot in front of the other.

So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.     1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT  

I am honored to introduce to you, my feature Saturday Share writer: 

Mary Geisen


 Sanctuary ~ The Home in my Heart

By Mary Geisen


Home is my safe place.

A retreat from the weary world.

My sanctuary, my quiet place, where I seek restoration.

I desire for my heart to feel the same way. The home in my heart becomes my sanctuary when I allow God to reside there with me.


Photo by Jamez Picard on Unsplash


Heart work leaves me weary. Allowing God to dig and prune pierces my hurts and leaves me panting from lack of deep breaths. As I suck in the air, the work God has already done in me feels the push of breath against my prickliness. I seek respite from the redirection and reframing of my perspective. But learn my only hope is in the breath of the Spirit who renews my soul as I crave sanctuary in Him.

Our hearts cry out in unison with Jeremiah in Lamentations:


But Lord, you remain the same forever!
    Your throne continues from generation to generation.
 Why do you continue to forget us?
    Why have you abandoned us for so long?
 Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again!
    Give us back the joys we once had!
 Or have you utterly rejected us?
    Are you angry with us still? Lamentations 5:19-22 NLT


As God continues the pruning, I cry out at the pain and hard work of it all. But I forget that each snip, pinch, and pulling away of what is dead creates new life. If I invite the Spirit into the process, I find the home in my heart. The place of sanctuary becomes the space where the Spirit provides renewal and restoration. My heart, even though broken, begins to heal. The broken pieces of who I am that I find scattered on the floor around me start binding together. Wholeness is but a deep pruning away.

MG I find the home 012718 SS

God desires to do a deep heart work in me. He gently pulls me toward Him and asks that I release all that is holding me back. God wants to create a healing space that allows me to find sanctuary in Him. My heart holds the key that God extends to me with all the love He has for me.


I stumble when allowing home in my heart. All the hard work needed comes to mind and I turn back to find the comfortable. God does not give up and reminds me through His word.


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30


I forget to lay down my burdens and receive the restoration that God promises. The solace of the sanctuary is near. I only need to reach out and grab the offering of grace God extends to me.

God leads the way to draw closer to Him in these words from James 4:


Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. vs. 7-8


God outlines the steps needed.

  • Submit to Him
  • Resist the devil
  • Come near to God
  • Wash your hands and purify your hearts


My soul senses the comfort God is providing. I hear the words, “come near” and am drawn into the circle of Jesus’ arms. My burdens begin to melt away as I realize God wants to hear the invitation to join me in the home in my heart. The safe place becomes secure with God and the sanctuary grows in my heart.

As my heart makes space for God to reside, I lean into becoming whole in Christ. My brokenness weaves together by God’s grace and the home in my heart is the place where I hear from God.

MG Deut 33 012718

Let these words wash over you as a prayer and a promise from God.


Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him,
    for he shields him all day long,
    and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders. Deuteronomy 33:12


May we rest secure in knowing the home in our hearts is one invitation away. Sanctuary is always found in the loving arms of Jesus.


Mary Geisen headshot

Mary Geisen is a lover of coffee and deep, soul-filled conversations. She is the mom of two married sons, a retired teacher, writer, author and seeker of grace in the ordinary. Several years ago, God called her to bravely step out by sharing her journey in written form. The power of God’s words has inspired her journey of healing and drawing closer to God through the power of grace. She continues to walk toward brave faith in her everyday life and encourages others to do the same.


Connect with Mary here:

Website  http://www.marygeisen.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/MaryEGeisen/

Twitter    https://twitter.com/MaryGeisen

Instagram    https://www.instagram.com/marygeisen/

FMF: How might I be intentional today?

This Five Minute Friday focus word is intentional.  My 5:00 timer is set and off we go!

When I think of the word intentional all I can think of initially is how far I fall short.  And then I choose to turn my eyes toward Jesus and realize He is the example of intentionality.

Father is the One who intentionally walked with His creation in the cool of the evening.  He talked with them and listened to their questions and delighted in their new discoveries.

Father is the One who gave away all the inheritance to the ungrateful son, watched him run off to fulfill his desire for pleasure, and still stood at the road watching for His son’s return.

Jesus is the One who stopped in a crowd to intentionally acknowledge the faith of the desperate one for whom His power went out to heal.

Father is the One who intentionally taught His son, Noah, to build a boat.  Father knew the rain, of which Noah knew nothing, would come to destroy all but those who would seek shelter in His provision.

Jesus intentionally called from the cross to His mother and to John so that she would be cared for while He intentionally went to make a place for her for eternity.

I have no shortage of examples in my Father, my Savior, and I count on Holy Spirit provision living in me to intentionally set my mind to focus on my next assignment of intentional love.

Eyes on Jesus… you’re shining!


fmf logo


Wisdom from Kate Motaung regarding the intent of Five Minute Friday:  It’s really not about the quality — it’s about showing up. It’s about sitting down, setting the timer, and doing the work. It’s about the discipline and the practice of letting the words flow. It’s about releasing fears and embracing imperfection. And we do it together.

So, now that you know how simple this is and that it’s not about perfection – join us!  Set your timer with me. 5:00 and GO!

Day 23: Is my life’s {work} defined by what I do or whom I serve?

Then all the people who were at the gate and the elders said, “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel.  May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give you by this young woman.”  Ruth 4:11-12


Work is a hard word at our house these days.  Every time my husband and I meet someone for the first time, he is asked, “So, what do you do?”  It’s a question which produces more angst, frustration, and sadness than I can bear to watch.  work

My husband struggles with how best to answer the question.  Should he say he’s retired or should he say he’s in between opportunities?  Should he open up the vulnerable place of stating his desire for another opportunity to work in his career field?  All the answers lead to more questions and ultimately reveal the length of time we’ve waited in this particular famine season.

We’re not farmers, but reading through the book of Ruth in this dry season on our journey, we have a new perspective on work – or the lack of it.  We have a new appreciation for the man or woman who desires to produce for their family, has the knowledge and skill, but at every turn finds the doors are closed.

The current work drought for my man feels much like the farmers’ in the time of the Judges who had land, seed, skill, and knowledge to grow crops in their fields, and yet they could not control the weather.  For all their effort, working hard to bring a harvest, the stuff of life beyond their control overwhelmed and a famine season was the result.

What {work} do you do?  It’s a question through which the core of our identity is revealed.  The question and the feelings it provokes for the positive or the negative can be a false sense of identity unless we are securely rooted in Whom we serve.

May you act worthily in Ephrathah and be renowned in Bethlehem, and may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, because of the offspring that the Lord will give

I love this blessing on Boaz from his neighbors, friends, and family in Bethlehem.  Though Boaz most certainly was a landowner, a farmer and it seems clearly a man of good reputation and high status in the community, he was blessed to build a home and to bear offspring to bring glory and honor to the Lord God Almighty.  31 days gleaning bushel of wheat

I wonder when I am able to ask Boaz, “So what did you do for work back in Bethlehem?” what his answer will be.  Somehow I believe knowing he acted honorably as a kinsman redeemer, married Ruth and became the father of Obed and eventually the great-grandfather of King David all greatly overwhelmed the satisfaction received from working his job.  Maybe?  I look forward to asking Boaz this question.



  • This is my ponder today…  Is my life’s {work} defined by what I do or whom I serve?
  • Chewing on this Scripture from Colossians, I’m asking…
    • Lord Jesus, what do You want me to know about my life’s work?
    • How do You see me in my life’s work?
    • Will You teach me how to best honor You and serve You in my life’s work?
    • How do You want to shape my identity as a Christ follower through the work I do?  Would it change my perspective if I recognized my true calling is an Ambassador for You no matter the daily grind of my day to day activities?
  • How might I pray this prayer for my husband and others who are in a famine season of their life’s work?

we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;  Colossians 1:9-11 esv


Day 20: How can we {discover} streams in the desert?


Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!  How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways!  Romans 11:33 hcsb


What does it mean to discover?

To search out. To seek to find.  I think of Christopher Columbus.  With Thanksgiving coming soon, I think of the Pilgrims.  A people looking for something not known before, not understood before.   discover fmf

In a legal sense, discovery is researching a situation, the details of a transaction or a business to unearth, bring forth additional information for disclosure in the public arena.  The purpose is to add meaning, clarification, and context for deciding, concluding, or coming to an agreement between two parties or with a third party mediator on a legal matter.

This sense of holding court is what I see as I read and ponder with Holy Spirit as my guide in these first six verses of Ruth 4.  See what you think…

Boaz went to the town gate and took a seat there. Just then the family redeemer he had mentioned came by, so Boaz called out to him, “Come over here and sit down, friend. I want to talk to you.” So they sat down together.  Then Boaz called ten leaders from the town and asked them to sit as witnesses.  And Boaz said to the family redeemer, “You know Naomi, who came back from Moab. She is selling the land that belonged to our relative Elimelech.  I thought I should speak to you about it so that you can redeem it if you wish. If you want the land, then buy it here in the presence of these witnesses. But if you don’t want it, let me know right away, because I am next in line to redeem it after you.”

The man replied, “All right, I’ll redeem it.”

Then Boaz told him, “Of course, your purchase of the land from Naomi also requires that you marry Ruth, the Moabite widow. That way she can have children who will carry on her husband’s name and keep the land in the family.”

“Then I can’t redeem it,” the family redeemer replied, “because this might endanger my own estate. You redeem the land; I cannot do it.”  Ruth 4:1-6 nlt

I am in awe as I ponder the true meaning of what is being discussed by Boaz and the man who is a nearer kinsman to Naomi and Ruth.  All throughout the book of Ruth I’ve had a feeling of such desperation, the depth of loss and hopelessness for Naomi.  Certainly, Naomi and Ruth both suffered terrible heartbreak and grief through the loss of their husbands.  There’s no denying it!pablo (70)

The agricultural truth of the famine seems an appropriate metaphor for Naomi and Ruth’s lives until they settle back home in Bethlehem.  The famine has ended and the Lord has brought a harvest to feed His people and remind them of His great love and mercy.

And there it is for Naomi and Ruth, too.  As Boaz explained in the public square, the women are not without hope or resources.  Naomi had a piece of land to sell.  She had resources, but Naomi needed someone to speak up for her – to plead her case and to bring the transaction to fulfillment.  Boaz, not the nearest kinsman, was willing to bring the matter into full discovery on Naomi and Ruth’s behalf.

Please don’t misunderstand.  Don’t let the enemy deceive with lies.  There was no amount of property, possessions or money, which would ever replace the lives and relationships lost.  And yet, we see God taking ashes and bringing forth beauty.  He has taken mourning and is bringing into discovery for Naomi and Ruth – JOY.


Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
    the thirsty ground bubbling springs.  Isaiah 35:6-7

I wonder friend, in what wilderness place are you currently traveling, which might cause you to seek God’s face for the discovery of a stream?  In what scorching desert scenery, where bones dry and become weary, do you find yourself wondering if all has been lost?

  • I’m there with you.  Walking a dry, wilderness walk on this part of my faith journey, but it is in this very place we are prompted to seek, to search out the Living Water of Jesus.
    • What does your desert wilderness look like?  Will you write about it?  Take a walk with Jesus and tell Him what you see with human, veiled eyes?
    • Will you join me in making Isaiah 35:6-7 our prayer of anticipation – our prayer of hope?  Will we turn our eyes toward the Lord and ask Him to unveil our earthly eyes and see with spirit eyes He is near?
    • Will you join me in asking Holy Spirit to give new discovery today through the Word of God?  Through experiences with people?  Through conversation with Him and listening intently for His loving direction?
    • What have you discovered today?  What unexpected treasure has He unearthed with you today?  Will you share it with us here?

Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining!





Day 6: How do I know my {story} has significance?

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.  I Thessalonians 5:11 msg

The book of Ruth is full of individual people simply living their lives while under God’s direction, and in His Sovereignty, their life circumstances became stories of experience.  And it was through the sharing of their stories a woman was introduced to the love and redemption of God, another was redeemed from hopelessness and a family name and lineage was preserved and ultimately became the lineage of Christ.

Just in the first two chapters of the book of the Ruth, it is evident sharing stories brought hope and encouragement.  Naomi heard.  Ruth heard.  The people of Judah heard.  Boaz heard.  As they heard, they were each moved to action.  Naomi heard the famine was over and went home.  Ruth heard and chose Naomi’s God for herself.  The people of Judah heard and welcomed Naomi home and embraced her foreign daughter in law as one of their own.  Boaz heard and offered safety and provision.{story}.png

Truly amazed once again, as I glean again in the harvest fields of God’s word in Ruth this morning, at the power of our story.  And freshly encouraged by what I already know is true, I am inspired (I hope you are too) to persevere in sharing my story as it is pertinent and the door of opportunity is opened before me.

I’m embarrassed to confess this, but sometimes I am tempted to believe my work doesn’t really matter for the Kingdom of God.  I’m just a receptionist, you know.  It seems surely I could make a bigger impact if I was a real writer of books or a speaker to groups gathered to hear Truth.  (I know, believe me, I am so embarrassed to confess this in public)

And then I hear myself at work sharing my life story with person after person standing in front of me seeking an answer to a question.  I have begun to realize God has given me a place to share my story – a hundred different snippets of mothering, marriage, aging parents, time management and priorities in faith, work, family, and so on and so on.

I realize just this school year, I’ve encouraged countless mothers with pictures and stories of my own two sons, who attended this same school years ago, with the truth – “Yes, they do grow up.”  I’ve laughed and pointed to the trendy gray streaks in my hair as evidence it hasn’t been easy, but “You’ll get there, mom, I promise!”

Recently, I rejoiced with someone whose family member came out of a coma and offered condolences to those who are grieving and encouraged someone to enjoy their aging mother more than worry about getting work done.share your story

God set this stage for me.  I realize even as I type this, He has given me what I’ve longed for all along – a place to interact with people, their stories and mine shared together to create community.  It doesn’t look like the stage I would have designed for myself, but I receive it as a true gift from God.  May I be faithful in stewardship over the position and privilege He has given me.

Our life stories intricately woven together by God become the beautiful, colorful pattern of His-story.  As we glean from Ruth, our story in His story has an eternal impact.

May he restore your youth and care for you in your old age. For he is the son of your daughter-in-law who loves you and has been better to you than seven sons!”  Naomi took the baby and cuddled him to her breast. And she cared for him as if he were her own.  The neighbor women said, “Now at last Naomi has a son again!” And they named him Obed. He became the father of Jesse and the grandfather of David. Ruth 4:15 – 17 nlt


  • Do you know your life is a significant story?
    • What does Jesus want you to know about your story?  Will you ask Him for His view of how your life impacts your corner of the world for His Kingdom purposes?
  • What aspect of your life story are you most likely to share?
    • In what format or setting do you most enjoy sharing your story with others?  Do you find that others open up and share too when you begin to share your story?
  • Do you avoid sharing your life story because of a difficult chapter or two?
    • Are you able to identify the reasons why you feel your story can’t be shared?
    • Are there feelings of guilt, shame or unworthiness tied to your story?
    • Since the word of God tells us we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony –
      • what might Jesus want to reveal to you about
        • the power of His blood to redeem any story – even yours
        • the importance of your story
        • the power of your story redeemed as a result of His sacrifice
    • Would you be willing to ask God to open the door of opportunity for you to share your story?
      • What’s the worst thing that could happen by sharing your story?
      • Is it worth the risk?