My Heart Overflows
My Heart Overflows by New Zealand author Rosie Boom contains 366 daily devotional thoughts. (See the bottom of the page for a few examples) The daily readings reflect the musings and yearnings of a young woman’s heart, whose greatest desire was to live a life of complete devotion to Christ. The author’s personal spiritual journey is traced through disappointments, hardships, the call to the mission field and serving God in Asia. Readers are introduced to the deep and thought-provoking writings of such authors as A.W. Tozer, Samuel Rutherford and Oswald Chambers. Biblical wisdom, heart-felt reflections and the teachings and inspiration from many Christian classics make this an uplifting and inspirational devotional. Perfect for an inspirational gift.
I wrote this devotional as a young woman in my twenties over a period of a few years. I later gave it to my husband Chris on our wedding day. Then last year I read a verse from Jeremiah which leapt out at me with a compelling message:
Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.” —Jeremiah 30:2 NIV. I immediately thought of this manuscript.
So here it is, just as I wrote it many years ago. My daughter Katie has lovingly transposed the original hand–written document into a typed version, and I’ve done some light editing. I’ve resisted the temptation to replace some of its entries with thoughts and wisdom from later years. I wanted to keep it as it originally was— the heartfelt musings and yearnings of a young woman whose greatest desire was to love the Lord with all her heart and soul and mind. It traces my struggles and pain after a broken relationship, the everyday challenges and joys of youth, and my call to the mission field.
I was an avid reader in my twenties and because of that there are many quotes in this devotional, most of them from Christian classics. I have always loved reading the journals and life stories of fellow believers. They have inspired and challenged me no end, and the wonderful thing is that their wisdom is still relevant even after hundreds of years. I realise that some of you may not have heard of such people as George Matheson and Samuel Rutherford, but perhaps the quotes from their books will introduce some of you to their writing. I hope so!
I’ve enjoyed retracing my pilgrimage as a young girl and feel inspired to continue my journey of faith. I hope and pray that the scriptures and thoughts written here will comfort, encourage and inspire you on your own pilgrimage.
My Heart Overflows is printed in soft Vivella cover with gold-foil lettering and ribbon marker. 287 pages. Pencil drawings and illustrated letters.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. —Psalm 13:5-6 NIV
I’ve just had a lovely time singing one of my favourite hymns—O Love That Will Not Let Me Go. It was written in 1882 by a Scotsman named George Matheson. He said it was one of the quickest hymns he ever wrote—it flowed from him in just five minutes, but it was born out of suffering.
Matheson was born with poor vision and later in life was told by a doctor that he would eventually lose his sight completely. When his fiancée heard the news she called off the wedding, saying she couldn’t cope with living with an invalid.
Matheson’s sister learned Latin, Greek and Hebrew to help him study. (What an amazing sister! I don’t think there are any books written about her, but imagine her reward!) He became a minister in the Church of Scotland and pastored for many years. He had memorized entire sections of the Bible, and his listeners were often unaware that he was blind.
Matheson records in his diary how he wrote the song:
On the evening of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age, I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s marriage, and the rest of the family were staying overnight in Glasgow. Something happened to me, which was known only to myself, and which caused me the most severe mental suffering. The hymn was the fruit of that suffering. It was the quickest bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the impression of having it dictated to me by some inward voice rather than of working it out myself. I am quite sure that the whole work was completed in five minutes, and equally sure that it never received at my hands any retouching or correction. I have no natural gift of rhythm. All the other verses I have ever written are manufactured articles; this came like a day spring from on high.
O Love that will not let me go
I rest my weary soul in Thee
I give Thee back the life I owe
That in Thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.
O light that followest all my way
I yield my flickering torch to Thee
My heart restores its borrowed ray
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be
O joy that seekest me through pain
I cannot close my heart to thee
I’ll trace the rainbow through the rain
And feel the promise is not vain
That morn shall tearless be.
O Cross that liftest up my head
I dare not ask to fly from Thee
I lay in dust life’s glory dead
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.
We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. — Hebrews 6:12 NIV
How easy it is for me to become impatient and wonder why the Lord “tarries” so long! I have a precious book, The Letters of Samuel Rutherford. He was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor in the 1600′s. It was said of him that he was “always praying, always preaching, always visiting the sick, always writing and always studying.” In 1627 he was exiled from his church in Scotland for nonconformity. In exile he wrote hundreds of letters to his parishioners. He was later called the prince of letter writers. His writing desk was said to be “perhaps the most effective and widely resounding pulpit then in Christendom.” Here’s a portion of a letter written to Lady Kenmure, on 14 January 1632—today’s date over three centuries ago:
Madam, do not prig (quarrel) with your frank–hearted and gracious Lord about the time of the fulfilling of your joys. It will be: God hath said it; Bide His time, wait upon His Whitsunday. His day is better than your day. It is enough that the Lord has promised you great things; only let the time of bestowing them be in His own carving. It is not for us to set an hourglass to the Creator of time. —Samuel Rutherford
Oh boy! I can just see myself turning over an hourglass in my impatience and telling the Lord, “Right, God! You have six minutes/two months/one year to answer this prayer.” I’ve done it many times. I’ve demanded that God do something within a certain time frame, completely ignoring the fact that his timing is not my timing. His day is better than my day.
Lord, help me to remember this. Let the time of the fulfilling of my joys be in your own carving.
It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. —Isaiah 65:24 NASB
Can you believe it? There was already a letter waiting here for me from dear Mum and Dad, welcoming me to Borneo! What a blessing! They must have sent it ten days ago. It makes me think of how the Lord is always ahead of us. He goes before us and also behind us. The Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard. — Isaiah 52:12 NIV. What beautiful promises! It reminds me of the verse Mum and Dad wrote on my going–away card:
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. —Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
Thank you, Father that you’ve gone before me. You know my needs even before I ask (Matthew 6:8). I feel so loved.
Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. —2 Corinthians 11:24-26 NIV
Of all the books I’ve read about different missionaries’ lives, the one which has inspired me the most is the biography of Adoniram and Anne Judson, missionaries to Burma. When Adoniram wrote to Anne’s father asking for permission to marry her, his letter wasn’t exactly a typical one:
I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring to see her no more in this world, whether you can consent to her departure and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life, whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to every kind of want and distress, to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death.
What a letter! And how amazing that Anne’s father agreed. Just as the letter intimated, Adoniram and Anne’s lives were marked by suffering. Their story sounds a bit like Paul’s list of trials. So many sorrows, disappointments and losses. It makes my petit douleur seem so insignificant. But their love and courage and steadfast work for the Lord are such an inspiration. Shortly after Anne tragically died of a fever, Adoniram received word that his best friend who was working in the north of Burma had also died. He immediately sat down and wrote a beautiful letter of condolence to the young widow:
Sarah, take the bitter cup with both hands and sit down to your repast. You will soon learn a secret—there is sweetness at the bottom!
I have huge admiration for Sarah. She was just twenty– seven at the time and had a young toddler. Yet she decided to continue in the difficult work among the Karen tribe. Three years later she and Adoniram married, and God blessed them with eight children.
Praise God. Their story gives me such hope, such confidence. God is faithful.