Today’s Musing is from Marlene McKenna.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13 NIV

Romans 15:13 has warmed me through many spiritual winters. Each time, God extends the roots of hope deeper into my heart, bearing fruit that is brighter and taller than the previous spring. This year, He has produced a bumper crop of beauty and healing that stands as tall as the tulips in my neighborhood that proudly flaunt their colors as they sway in the cool breeze and bring joy to all who pass by.

This “winter” was triggered by an overflowing plate of responsibility. The final straw was putting our house up for sale. The realtor’s checklist in hand, I tackled each to-do on the list with fervor until late one evening. Then I lost it.

“Why aren’t you helping me?” I asked my husband. “I still have to mop the floors, and I can’t until you vacuum. You said you would help. Don’t offer if you don’t mean it!”

“Uh. I was going to vacuum in the morning. The floor doesn’t have to be mopped tonight.” Apparently, my husband didn’t want a ride on my crazy train.

What a novel idea. It’s good enough, and it really doesn’t matter. Why am I doing this to myself? I found out the next morning.

My Bible was open to Romans as I digested the reality of a vow I had made as a young adult. “I will never be rejected again.” Six little words that have swung me around by my hair and slammed me into a wall many times. My compulsion for perfection is paralyzing, not to mention, impossible! Yet, like an abusive spouse, it rages and beats me up with “have-to’s”: You have to be a perfect friend. You have to be a perfect spouse. You have to be a perfect mother. You have to check everything off the list. You can’t make a mistake. And, the real kicker—you have to be a perfect Christian. This, my friend, is not a hopeful, peaceful, or joyful way to live. In fact, it’s hellish.

After confessing the sin in my heart that was disguising itself as self-protection, God reminded me of His promise in Romans. “I am the God of hope. I will fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Me, not in yourself or your abilities or your goodness. I desire for you to overflow with hope by the power of My Spirit because I love you—not because you are perfect, but because you are My child. You don’t have to earn My love because you can never lose it.”

This promise is so beautiful! But I have to sadly admit, I put a star by the verse, closed my Bible and went about my day without truly understanding how profound it was. That evening, I went to Bible study, and the leader read a snippet from David Jeremiah’s book, Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow. He suggests inserting your name into Romans 15:13. (Go ahead and try it now.) Mine looked like this: May the God of hope fill Marlene with all joy and peace as she trusts in Him so that Marlene may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. The next day, I opened a “random” devotional, and there at the bottom of the page was God’s promise—Romans 15:13. Later, it popped up on a website. Okay, Lord. I hear You! He was offering me a bouquet of hope. Not only certain expectation, but a confidence that the rug would never be pulled out from under me again. (That is an exact explanation in Strong’s dictionary for one of the Hebrew words for trust.) What a relief! [Whew!]

Since that day, I have rested in God’s promise. I am trusting Him to give me rest—and trusting Him because joy and peace are my inheritance as a child of God. I know I won’t always do it perfectly [Ha!], but His hope is poured into my heart and will produce fruit.

Just like those flowers I enjoy in my neighborhood that were planted on purpose (most likely caged in chicken wire so squirrels couldn’t dig them up), God’s Word needs to be planted on purpose too (and caged in chicken wire so it won’t be stolen)! These life-giving verses, captured and buried deep in our hearts will foster faith and bring joy and peace—to you and to all who happen to pass by.

Lord, You are the God of Hope! Fill me with joy and peace as I trust in You. Give me faith to trust You, Lord! Create in me a heart that overflows with hope by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Marlene is a wife, mom, and empty nester. Her passion is writing, but she also enjoys golf, travel, and walks on the beach. She loves teaching a discipleship class and longs for all her sisters-in-the-Lord to find freedom in Christ.

God is gracious,



Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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