Hope in hopelessness

In January I gave a talk on hope. I struggled in the preparation and went to Derek for help. He asked me one question: “What is the opposite of hope?”

“It’s hopelessness,” I said, and suddenly I identified. I understood. Hopelessness is a deep dejection that nothing will improve, a choking fear that it will always be the same, a desperate feeling of no remedy or cure…

I am still thinking about hope, telling others, and applying it to my life. I trust this ‘Hope Hand’ blesses you as it has blessed me. 

The positive side of children leaving home…


  • You get to sleep – no more 1am chats about life.
  • You lose weight – no more watching films together and snacking on tortilla chips.
  • You have time alone with your partner – no more interruptions.
  • You can do what YOU want every Saturday – no more taking them to lessons or launching water rockets in a field.
  • You face yourself – no more avoiding the question, “Who am I really?”
  • You encounter hope – no more little hands to hold. You can hold onto God.

      (photo by James Garcia on Unsplash)

That unpredictable word

On January 1st I always pray for a theme I can carry with me throughout the year. Most times I get a Bible verse, but three days ago a word came to mind: Magnanimous. I had a vague idea what it meant and I did a bit of research. The Latin root: “Great + Soul.” The definition: “Generous and forgiving of an insult or injury.”

my embarrassed face

I gulped, wondering what injuries I would endure… Then today (January 3!) I set up a Whatsapp and sent a friend two kisses, “xx.” But I got the wrong number and sent it to someone else! Oh, the agony! I felt SO EMBARRASSED!!

Sometimes our magnanimity (do try to pronounce it) must extend to ourselves. And if we can laugh at ourselves, we can laugh with others.

He has things in hand.

So often the Bible tells me the opposite of what I want to hear. When our house got trashed by renters, steam shot out of my ears. But then Derek drew me aside and we read the Bible. It said, “Rejoice!” God was in control. He had things in hand.

Or there was the time when someone made a decision that caused me a lot of pain. I stomped and cried in the private of my room. But the same thing happened again. Derek drew me aside. We prayed. A verse. Yes, it was, “Rejoice!”

Just today I was reading where Jesus healed the sick. “And people brought to him all who were ill… those suffering severe pain… and he healed them.”  (Matthew 4:24)

Sometimes, those of us who are hurt can’t seem to get to Jesus by ourselves. We need others to bring us close. And then we can hear that wonderful word. “Rejoice!” God is in control. He has things in hand.

Those unsung heroes

 

There is an influence that can sometimes be forgotten about war.

My dad as a teenager freeing a wagon outside a refugee camp. WWII

Even in peacetime, former refugees can still pass on the effects of war to their children. These parents experienced terrible things. It traumatized them, harmed them, and moulded them.

And, even though their post-war children were born into apparent peace, these children too became survivors of war. For decades they may have had to deal with the consequences of their parents’ broken hearts and minds. But thankfully, this isn’t the end of the story.

Ordinary people in ordinary walks of life have dared to step up and embrace those refugees and children. They have dared to get involved. So I celebrate an even greater army of selfless heroes, those who one hug after another, reverse the effects of war.

You raise me up…

Last night we took my eldest son to the airport. He has a one-way ticket to the States, to follow his dream of writing music for film. Before he left he played the piano in our house and I accompanied him on the violin. I was so rubbish, yet he played with me for quite a while, and one song in particular.

“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains.

You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.

I am strong when I am on your shoulders.

You raise me up to more than I can be.”

I have always prayed that song as a thanks to God, for taking me from being a broken young woman with no hope or future, to someone I never expected possible. Then I thought of my son. He has done the same, always pushing me to go deeper, think deeper, grow in ways I would never have grown. And yesterday he did it again just by playing with me.

Thank you, dear God. Thank you, dear son.

 

 

Make a splash!

Recently I scanned some illustrations I have been drawing, but the scans turned out awful. “What’s wrong with this machine?” I cried out. “They really do build some poor quality stuff!”

I blamed my paint and watercolor paper as well. I blamed my husband for not giving me wise advice. I even blamed God for encouraging me to go down this path, only to lead me into failure.

Then I remember a comment someone made: “When I was convinced that I was right, of course I thought everyone was wrong. But then one day it occurred to me, maybe I was at fault…”

I took the hit and looked at my life. “God, what am I missing here?”

It suddenly came to me. My illustrations reflected my heart. I felt like a fraud out there in the art world. I felt I had no right to illustrate a book. And how dare I go waltzing in without any training and think I could succeed.

“Boldness,” I felt God saying. “Boldness! I gave you this gift, and don’t downplay it. Use bright colors, strong lines, and make a splash!”

I did, and an amazing thing happened. The scanner worked!

 

Breaking through

Dear Friends,

Laurie Jean Sennott once said, “Every flower must grow through dirt.” It is so true… Over the last 2  1/2 years I have shared my attempts to push through the dirt of life that was stomped hard on top of me. I hoped it would help you break free as well.

The Bible makes another equally profound observation. When a seed sprouts, “God gives it the new body he wants it to have.” (1 Corinthians 15:38) No flower ever looks like the seed it was. It pushes through dirt into something new.

I feel like I have finally broken through, but I need time and space to embrace the next step. It might take a while, and I hope to be back… If you are in the same place, please join me in this peaceful space.

Until then,

Eva

 

 

Are we free?

Does this ever happen to you? The Bible says, “Do not fear,” and you still cling to fear in certain relationships. It says, “Be strong in the Lord,” and you still feel overwhelmed in certain situations. It says, “Rejoice in the Lord,” and sometimes all you can do is fight back tears at certain pains you experience.

It does to me. Then last night it hit me. I have been living two lives, with two opposing gods. I think I have to please certain people, yet, I also want to please God.

Last night I resolved to live only one life, to live for the God I love. I don’t know what it will look like, or how to even do it. All I know is that I set myself free. What about you?

The thing about dreams

They say that dreams reveal what is going on deep down inside us… Not long ago I dreamed that I was on a cargo train trundling through the desert. I found myself holding two snakes by the head, restraining them from doing harm. Then a woman came up close and pointed to the desert. “Throw them overboard,” she said. It hadn’t occurred to me.

God also speaks to us through our dreams. That same afternoon someone gave me a prayer by St. Anthony of the Desert… “Lord, help us to take nothing with us as we enter the desert and there teach our hearts to beat in time with yours.”

I finally knew what those snakes represented. In my prayers that evening I threw them overboard and felt freer than I had in years… Is something dragging you down as well? Sometimes it is as simple as throwing it away.