Posted by: bellissimanh | November 26, 2015

My Thanksgiving Psalm – 2015


He has rescued my wayward heart and bound it to Himself…
His love endures forever.

He has supplied all of my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus…
His love endures forever.

He has given me grace sufficient to carry me through anything…
His love endures forever.

He has promised me a way out when I’m faced with temptation to sin…
His love endures forever.

He has given me victory over death though His resurrection…
His love endures forever.

He has used every bump, bruise and mistake in my life for my good and His glory…
His love endures forever.

He has taken my heart of stone and replaced it with a new one, tender and tuned to sing His praise…
His love endures forever.

He has broken the chains of sin in my life and granted sweet freedom…
His love endures forever.

He has promised never to leave me or forsake me…
His love endures forever.

He healed my marriage when I feared the damage was irreparable…
His love endures forever.

He has given me an incredible man who loves me for me, and loves God…
His love endures forever.

He saved the life of my daughter when she suffered third degree burns over 90% of her body…
His love endures forever.

He has grown my daughters into women of faith – steadfast and strong…
His love endures forever.

He has given me the privilege of raising an incredibly intelligent and compassionate son…
His love endures forever.

He placed me in a home with parents who consistently modeled what it means to follow hard after Jesus…
His love endures forever.

He has blessed me with a job that I love…
His love endures forever.

He has been faithful and held me in his arms when friends betrayed me…
His love endures forever.

He has surrounded me now with women who seek His face…
His love endures forever.

He has given me an incredible shepherd in my pastor…
His love endures forever.

He has given me an insatiable craving for His Word…
His love endures forever.

He redeemed my life from the pit…
His love endures forever.

He has taken my trash and replaced it with treasure…
His love endures forever.

When I place my burdens on His shoulders and learn from His example, He gives rest…
His love endures forever.

He has given me His Spirit with the power to turn the world upside down…
His love endures forever.

He has promised to complete the work He’s begun in me…
His love endures forever.

He has given me the protection of His peace if I will but leave my worries with Him…
His love endures forever.

He has prepared a place for me where I will worship Him for all my days…
His love endures forever.




Posted by: bellissimanh | November 25, 2015

Who is your everything?

disappointedI’m incredibly foolish sometimes. Although I know that God has promised to care for me, I still get caught up in trying to handle things on my own. I look to an abundance of other sources to meet my needs. At the top of the list is my amazing husband.

I put way too much pressure on him when I live as though he is responsible for my happiness. It’s not his job to make me feel secure and fulfilled. God didn’t intend for him to be everything for me. If Joel were able to meet every need I have, I would have no need of God. See, there are longings in my heart that only God Himself can satisfy, and if I look to my husband to fill those desires, I will end up disappointed and disillusioned… not because my husband isn’t an incredible gift from God to me (he is), but because even a great husband makes a very poor God.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in nobles. (Psalm 118:8-9)

Maybe you know what I’m talking about. It doesn’t have to be your husband, either. It could be a parent. A child. A friend. A pastor. Listen to me – nobody can handle the pressure of meeting needs in your life that God alone is meant to fill. If you’re feeling let down by someone who you thought was going to take care of things for you, maybe this reminder is for you too. Look to the One who has promised to be your everything. He will never fail you. And give those other guys a break… :)

Posted by: bellissimanh | November 24, 2015

Psalm 103:3-5

crownOne of the things I love the most about God’s Word is that it’s so personal. It is living and active and sharp enough to get right to the heart of the matter. Like a surgeon, sometimes it cuts in order to heal – but our God is masterful with that blade. He uses it to expose sin like a surgeon’s scalpel exposes disease.  A surgeon uses the sharpest scalpel to get to the center of disease to expose, cut it, and remove it entirely from the body. There is some cancerous junk in me, and I’m thankful that He uses the Sword of the Spirit to get rid of it. Meditating on Psalm 103 today, verses 3-5…

He forgives all your sin – from the greatest grievance to the least little thing, He has cast our sin away, as far as the east is from the west, and there is no getting it back. It’s done. Forgiven. GONE.

He heals all your diseases – sin makes us sick, but God has provided a way for us to be made whole again through the death and resurrection of His Son – Hallelujah!

He redeems your life from the Pit – I have seen some deep pits in my life. Wells that I thought I might never climb out of… and I didn’t. But He lifted me out with His sovereign hand. What’s more, He doesn’t just bring me out of the pit, He redeems the garbage that put me there. He wastes nothing. I love that! But it goes even deeper than the mud and the muck of this life. There is an even greater pit – the pit of the grave – and being rescued from that? It means everything.

He crowns you with faithful love and compassion – But God doesn’t stop at forgiveness, healing and redemption. He goes on to give us a crown, “studded with gems of grace and lined with the velvet of lovingkindness; it is decked with the jewels of mercy, but made soft for the head to wear by a lining of tenderness.” (Spurgeon) Our God is so extravagant in His love and mercy!

He satisfies you with goodness – Soul satisfaction calls loudly for heart praise.

Your youth is renewed like the eagle – He has made us new. Glory!


Posted by: bellissimanh | November 18, 2015

When Your World is Falling Apart

Parched earth

Environmental concept. Some images in montage provided by NASA (

Psalm 34 is one of my favorites. It’s filled with gems that I have often come back to again and again… so many blessings described, so many declarations of trust and faith. Those things alone are enough to make it amazing, but then there’s the backdrop. David wrote this Psalm during one of the darkest times of his life. He was chased out of his own country by Saul, and sought refuge in the very city where he had killed Goliath (great move, huh?) As soon as they discovered who he was, he was brought before the king and in desperation, acted like a mad-man so they would let him go. It worked, and they sent him away. From the dark recesses of a cave in Adullam, he penned Psalm 34 and gave us some of the most loved Scripture verses of all time, including these…

I will praise the Lord at all times;
His praise will always be on my lips….

I sought the Lord, and He answered me
and delivered me from all my fears….

Those who look to Him are radiant with joy;
their faces will never be ashamed….

The Angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear Him, and rescues them…

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and His ears are open to their cry for help…

The Lord is near the brokenhearted;
He saves those crushed in spirit…

The Lord redeems the life of His servants,
and all who take refuge in Him will not be punished…

I want to be like David. I want to be able to focus on the goodness of my God when the world around me feels like it’s falling apart. Paris. Lebanon. Nigeria. And even closer to home… streets in North Conway shut down as police chase after armed suspects. It’s craziness. But the Creator of the universe is not blind to the tragedy… to the brokenness.

Maybe you’re feeling it too, and maybe the desperation isn’t just from world events, but from something much more personal. A marriage that’s so fragile you fear it could be wrecked by a breath. Debt that threatens to suffocate you. A prodigal who hasn’t found the path home yet. A health issue that wears you down to the point of not even having the energy to lift your head, let alone fight for something better.

You guys, whatever has driven you into your Cave of Adullam, know this… the Lord is GOOD. He is near. He sees you. He knows you. He is FOR you.

And if you need a little help reaching out? Shoot me a message. I’d love to pray with you.

Posted by: bellissimanh | November 17, 2015

Ugly Secrets


Sin is ugly. David knew that there was even sin in his life that he didn’t know about, and so he asked God to forgive him for his unintentional sins. But then there’s the other stuff… the things we do when we know better. The things we’ve been warned about by others… by God. Heck, often we’ve often warned OTHERS about these sins… yet we get on with our bad self and do it anyway. That’s a scary mindset right there.

Who perceives his unintentional sins?
Cleanse me from my hidden faults.
Moreover, keep Your servant from willful sins;
do not let them rule over me.
Then I will be innocent
and cleansed from blatant rebellion.
 May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable to You,
LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.  (Psalm 19:12-13)

Here’s the thing about sin – it has a progression. David Guzik describes it this way:

•      It goes from passing temptation to chosen thought (errors).
•      It goes from chosen thought to object of meditation.
•      It goes from object of meditation to wished-for fulfillment.
•      It goes from wished-for fulfillment to planned action (secret faults).
•      It goes from planned action to opportunity sought.
•      It goes from opportunity sought to performed act.
•      It goes from action to repeated action.
•      It goes from repeated action to delight (presumptuous sins).
•      It goes from delight to new and various ways.
•      It goes from new and various ways to habit.
•      It goes from habit to idolatry, demanding to be served.
•      It goes from idolatry to sacrifice.
•      It goes from sacrifice to slavery.

That’s quite a list, isn’t it? But get this – all along that path, from the moment we are faced with a temptation to the place where we become enslaved to sin… we have a choice.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

If David – a  man after God’s own heart – needed to pray “Keep Your servant from willful sins”, my guess is it’s a safe bet my attitude should be the same.

Father, shine Your light in my heart and expose any darkness that lies within me. Open my eyes to the sins that are hidden – whether because I’m not recognizing them as sin, or because I’m trying to keep them private. Then there’s the other junk, Lord. The blatant sin that I don’t even try to keep secret. Gossip. Grumbling. Jealousy. Unforgiveness. Truly, I am a hot mess. I need You desperately, Jesus – squash all of this ugliness in me. Create in me a clean heart and renew Your Spirit within me – and may the words I say and the meditation of my heart be something that makes You smile. You have redeemed me, and given the price You paid, You deserve this and so much more. I love You, Lord. Thank You that I am no longer a slave to sin – that I have a choice. Help me to choose wisely, for Your sake. Amen.

Posted by: bellissimanh | November 16, 2015

For the Lord is GOOD!

psalm 100November is a month of thankfulness. I love scrolling through my facebook feed and seeing all of the things that my friends are thankful for. There’s something about focusing on the blessings that gives perspective to our lives – in a world that can be mean and cold, it warms the heart to remember that no matter what is going on around us, there is always – ALWAYS – something to be grateful for.

Psalm 100 is a call to worship. It speaks of being glad. Joyful. Thankful. It’s a wonderful and well loved Psalm that many of my friends can quote by heart.

Today I’m focused on the last stanza though… “For the Lord is good”. See… that little word “for” can’t be skipped over. It provides the foundation for our thankfulness and praise. We can make a joyful noise… we can serve with gladness… we can come before the Lord with thanksgiving… we can do all of this BECAUSE the Lord is good. Because His steadfast love knows no end. Because He is faithful, to all generations. I love that.

When we know that He is God… when we know that He has made us… that we are HIS, we truly get the depth of His goodness, and we will never get over it.

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!

Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!

For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.

Posted by: bellissimanh | November 12, 2015

Wide Open Spaces

I’m a valley girl. I love being surrounded by mountains and I’ve always said there’s no place I’d rather live than right where God has me today. Even still, there’s something cool about a big wide open space too. In a big field, it seems as though you can see forever. You can run without bumping into things. You can feel… well… free.

God’s grace is like that.


“He brought me out to a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19

David spent a heck of a lot of time in prisons and caves before God brought him to the throne. He knew what it was like to live in tight spaces, and the joy that comes with being granted freedom. Contrast brings perspective. I love what C.H. Spurgeon said about this…

“Sweet is pleasure after pain. Enlargement is the more delightful after a season of pinching poverty and sorrowful confinement. Besieged souls delight in the broad fields of the promise when God drives off the enemy and sets open the gates of the environed city. The Lord does not leave his work half done, for having routed the foe he leads out the captive into liberty. Large indeed is the possession and place of the believer in Jesus, there need be no limit to his peace, for there is no bound to his privilege.”

God gives grace and brings us to wide open spaces because He delights in us. Let me say it again… the God of the Universe delights in YOU. His love is deep and high and long and wide and beyond comprehension. He gave the life of His Son so you could know what it’s like to experience true freedom. All of the tight, closed up spaces that threaten to close in on you and suffocate – let them cause you to appreciate His grace all the more… when you know the Truth, the Truth sets you free. Jesus is that Truth. Embrace your freedom.

Posted by: bellissimanh | November 11, 2015

Be Still and Know… (that means you)

Sometimes I struggle to be still. When I have poured out my heart to God about a particular issue, I get impatient. If I don’t see Him at work immediately in the situation, I tend to… well… fret. I wrestle with things myself and my worrying invariably leads to my trying to DO something about the circumstances. And there’s the trouble… because when I take things into my own hands, running ahead of God, nothing good comes from that.

It’s easy for me to get frustrated, especially when it comes to my kids. I see the influences they are faced with every day and it can be overwhelming. Evil seems to be everywhere and there are a hundred different voices telling them to do and be something completely different from what God wants for them. It’s enough to make a mama sick with worry. How can I possibly compete with all of that when I have only a few short hours a day with them each day? How do I balance my responsibility as a parent to train them up in the Lord with the need to let them work out their own salvation with fear and trembling? Is my “guidance” nurturing, or is it bullying? I’m constantly stressing over whether I’ve said enough… or too much. Seriously… I can obsess with the best of them. And into the chaotic frenzy of my mind, He says to me, “Be still and know that I am God.”

Today, I’m choosing to heed His words…

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:3-4)

I know that this desire of my heart for my children to have a deep and abiding relationship with Christ is from God. He has promised that if I’m delighting myself in Him, He will align my wants with His will. This verse is packed with promise.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!
Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (Psalm 37:7-8)

The last line of verse 8 is speaking to me this morning… “Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” I’m guilty of focusing on the enemy, instead of rehearsing the faithfulness of my God… and when I do that, I am putting myself in a dangerous position. Matthew Henry says, “A fretful, discontented spirit is open to many temptations”, and I know this to be true. Much better to trust… to be still and know – truly KNOW – that He is God, and more than capable of handling the things that concern me.

I think it’s time to shut up and look up.
be stil and know

Posted by: bellissimanh | June 27, 2014

Hello, My Name Is…

Hello-my-name-isBut she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.  I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” Ruth 1:20-21


Rather than judge her circumstances in light of her great God, Naomi made the mistake of judging her God in light of her circumstances. And while it might be easy (and tempting) to criticize her response, I have a soft spot in my heart for Naomi, because I get it. I really do.

I will never forget looking out over the night lights of Boston with my heart pounding one cold January morning. While the city lay in quiet slumber, anxiety was coursing through me like a runaway freight train. My four-year-old was in the midst of a 12-hour surgery that could either kill her or save her life and I was a hot mess of emotions. Fear, anger, grief and guilt all tangled up together in my demand to know why… why her? Why me? Why, God… why?

I could have gone by Mara just as surely as Naomi did. I confess to dealing with some pretty intense bitterness throughout the course of that 24-hour period. Yet God is so gentle and tender, and He lovingly reminded me that He not only was in control, but would work all things for my good (and the good of my little girl) and His glory, and that somehow – some WAY – He would bring beauty from those ashes… both the literal and figural ones.

See, we can name ourselves all kinds of things when we start to view this life through the lens of our circumstances. Victim. Wounded. Outcast. Persecuted. Forgotten. Unloved. Focusing circumstances can even lead us to judge the One who never changes by the temporal situations we find ourselves in… but Jesus… He calls us to something different. He’s in the business of changing names.

Jacob the schemer, became Israel – triumphant with God (Gen. 32:28).
Abram, the high father, became Abraham – father of a multitude (Gen. 17:5).
Simon, “God has heard”, became Peter – the rock (John 1:42).
Solomon, peace, was given the name Jedidiah – beloved of the Lord (2 Sam. 12:24-25).

See, it didn’t matter what Naomi called herself… she would always be who GOD said she was, and in the end, she discovered it to be true.

When I was walking through that difficult experience pictured above, I called myself lots of things… Afraid. Angry. Sorrowful. Guilty. BUT GOD…. He calls me:

Redeemed and forgiven (Eph. 1:7).

Brand new (2 Cor. 5:17).

Free (Gal. 5:1).

Blessed (Eph. 1:3).

Chosen, holy, blameless (Eph 1:4).

His child (John 1:12).

His heir (Gal. 4:7).

Friend (John 15:15).

Righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21).

Beloved (Rom. 9:25).

Most importantly, I am HIS (Song of Songs 6:3).

And what HE calls me? That should over-ride any label the world might throw on me, and anything my foolish heart tries to call myself.

Who are you?

Join the She Reads Truth community as we explore this and more! :)

And tell me this song isn’t running through your brain right now…


Posted by: bellissimanh | June 9, 2014

To Jasmine with Love, on her Graduation

jazzyTo Jasmine, With Love

My precious girl, I’m at a loss to find the words to say
Exactly how your mama feels on this, your special day.
The years have flown by quickly, I can’t believe we’re here.
I know that you’ll forgive me for shedding a few tears.

You have a thing for fashion, of this we’re all aware.
The coolest clothes, the makeup queen, and of course (of course!) the hair.
This love for music, tell me please… where did that come from?
But seriously, getting to sing with you is something I truly love.

You have such a heart for others, it’s always been your way
To love those who are hurting and brighten up their day.
From children in the hospital to friends who feel alone,
You’ve always seemed to find a way to make them feel at home.

I doubt you fully realize the impact you have made
On those who’ve shared this life with you, whether for years, or months, or days.

You throw yourself wholeheartedly into everything you do.
And that passion, I know, will serve you well, whatever this life leads you to.
Please don’t fret that you’re still not sure of just what that might be.
Your Father God will lead you through. He has great things planned, you’ll see!

This life has thrown you challenges that none should have to face,
And with each one I’ve watched you grow, in courage, strength and grace.
What others see as obstacles you view as from above.
They see the scars and think “how hard”, but for you, they’re marks of love.

They’re reminders of all God’s brought you through, evidence of His healing power,
A token of just how faithful He is when we trust Him hour by hour.

I can’t express how proud I am of the woman you’ve become.
You’re beautiful, smart, strong and FIERCE. That’s a whole lot of awesome in one!
It’s all part of the package that is uniquely you,
But as a Mama what my heart loves best is seeing Christ shine through.

I’ve watched your grow in your walk with Him, seen your faith become your own…
And this? This is the stuff that matters: living for His renown.
Take His hand, step forward in faith, and in Jesus alone make your boast.
Don’t ever forget to Whom you belong, and Who loves you best, and most.

Love, Mama

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