I spent time this holiday season with my beautiful sisters-in-law—one of my favorite things to do. We ate, we talked, we played games, we brewed iced coffee, we washed dishes. As I scrubbed cereal bowls on Sunday morning, I saw hanging above Renita’s kitchen sink an index card with a Bible verse that immediately captivated me.

“Every morning
I lay out the pieces of my life
On your altar
And watch for fire to descend.”
Psalm 5:3 The Message

I couldn’t place it. “Hey hon,” I called over my shoulder to Ryan. “You got your phone? Look up Psalm 5:3.” He read it for me in two versions, and believe it or not, they pack the same punch. I just missed it before.

KJV “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

ESV “O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

“This is an unbelievable verse,” I told Renita. She knew it. And after a little, she led me to her computer and let me read why it had taken up a place on her kitchen window. Her words made me cry, and placed the verse in a sort of permanent shrine in my heart. With her permission, I’m sharing her thoughts today with you. Be blessed.



-Renita Petersheim

Did you ever feel like life was in pieces?
Or worse yet, in broken pieces?
Or at least in little blocks that Jumpman Jr. jumps and jumps to–forever jumping, leaping from one thing to another, trying to stay ahead… then suddenly slipping off a piece and falling into oblivion?

I feel like I have a huge pie, my life– but all cut into pieces that I’m always thinking about (more like worrying about). It feels like too many pieces to keep straight. Sometimes I realize about the time I figure out the worries about one piece, my mind has jumped right over to a new piece, and I can begin again.

I listed a bunch of the pieces of my life the other day.
Some broken, some not.

Only after this verse prompted me to.

“Every morning,
        I lay out the pieces of my life
        On your altar
        And watch for fire to descend.”          Psalm 5:3 MSG

I begin laying out the pieces, one by one.

  • my health
  • our desire for church
  • children’s future
  • husband’s health
  • financial safety
  • CD’s success
  • Daddy’s in PA
  • children’s health
  • etc….

I draw out each piece to the light. Occasionally,  I’ve hidden them, stuffed them down with my fears. But, with the encouragement of the psalmist, I bring them out, look at them for what they are–my hopes, dreams, desires, fears–and then lay them on the altar.

First it takes strength and humility to get them “out.” Next, the courage, determination, and surrender to “lay” them down. Will I pick them up again? Doubtless, but I lay them down again tomorrow morning. Only when I cling to the pieces do they stay broken. As I lay them on God’s altar, I begin healing, and the pieces are mended.

I’m still watching for “fire to descend.” I don’t know what all is involved in the fire. Fire can be further testing. Fire can be refining. Fire can be an answer. Fire can be to show God’s glory and power. Fire is God’s work.

My work began with the “laying out the pieces.”
Now I “watch.”


I think you know what she’s talking about. Am I right?


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9 years ago

You are right. I need to do this exercise – thanks for sharing

9 years ago

Yes, I know what she’s talking about. Very touching and speaks straight to my heart. Thank-you for sharing this, esp. Renita, as it put you in a vulnerable place but is so what I needed right now.

Mama Zook
9 years ago


9 years ago

Wow this is really good. Thanks for sharing. I think I need to go lay out some pieces.

9 years ago


9 years ago

This is the time of year that husband and I always make a list of goals for the coming year. I love goal lists, though when I look at last year’s list I see clearly that what I thought the year would hold and what God actually did this past year were very different. And God’s plan was so very good.

Thanks for the reminder to lay down my dreams and goals – and look for the fire.

And remembering that to the Israelites, God showed Himself as a pillar of fire – in the dark of night.

Not looking forward to dark times – but hoping to see God in there.

9 years ago
Reply to  homejoysGina

And remembering that to the Israelites, God showed Himself as a pillar of fire – in the dark of night.

Not looking forward to dark times – but hoping to see God in there
Appreciate these thoughts!!!!

9 years ago


9 years ago

This is exactly what I needed this morning! Thank you for sharing this! Renita, such a beautiful heart you have.–LaDonna

9 years ago

Interestingly…a friend just posted this very verse on facebook this week and it caught my attention. Now here I see it again on your blog. Good stuff!

Renee S.
9 years ago

Hmmm, powerful verse. I see it in a new light! I can so relate to Renita’s struggles. Thanks.

9 years ago

A beautiful devotional meditation. I’m proud of my big sister. And I also pray for the fire to descend. May the pieces become whole in your worship!

9 years ago

I don’t know you but this post touched my heart. Hope you don’t mind that I shared it on Facebook

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