Tag Archives: hope

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. 

Don’t give up!

I complained to a friend about not finding the right story for a children’s talk. But my friend showed no sympathy. “Write your own!” she said.

I was taken aback. I had no talent, or even any interest in writing. My life was too busy anyway. But God used her comment, even though it seemed too crazy to consider…

Now, eleven years later, with forty-four re-writes, twenty-seven rejections from publishers, and an illustrator who marched on valiantly, this Creation book has finally come to life!

Yes, there were those who helped me get back up, again and again. There was also a Bible verse. “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” (Zechariah 4:10)

What is your seemingly-impossible small beginning? Accept every encouragement, and don’t give up!

***

Coming soon. January 2018. Thank you, Sarah Grace Publishing!

 

Are we alive or dead?

In the space of four days, opposite events occurred:

  • Someone said something with an intent to destroy.
  • A friend took me to the National Art Gallery in London.

I sat before a painting with my friend – The Raising of Lazarus.*  It mirrored my circumstances… Lazarus was dead, and I felt the same. But, four days later Jesus told the mourners to open to tomb. An awful smell poured out.  Yet, Jesus called out, “Lazarus, come out!”**

…I sat there. Lazarus was me. Jesus was calling. I lived! Lazarus tore off his shroud. I could tear off mine. I could be free!

You see, death-like words don’t have to hold us down. “Come out!” Jesus calls to each one of us. We can choose to get up and LIVE!

 

* Sebastiano del  Piombo, 1517-19     **from John 11

To wear it, or not

Derek bought me a hat, a green one with a bow in the back. We both like it, but others have not been so positive. “You look eccentric!” “You really look funny!” And the best one.. “Your hat looks like a lily pad!”

I appreciate the honesty. But… there is a wonderful verse in the Bible. It says that God “has made everything beautiful in its time.”* We don’t need to worry about opinions. God created beauty to stand out as different, for that is what beauty is. Each of us is beautiful, regardless of our peculiarities.

I still wear my hat, and when people meet me, they nod and smile. They even stop for a chat. My lily-pad hat might be eccentric, but so is God’s love.

* (Ecclesiastes  3:11)

 

Celebrating our Quirks Day!

A salesman telephoned a few days ago. “Are you Mrs. Leaf?” he asked.

My guard went up. “No!” But then it hit me. What was I saying? I am Mrs. Leaf. I have been for 30 years. “I mean, yes!” I said.

The salesman paused in that “Then, who are you?” kind of a silence.

“Mr.” I corrected. “I mean, Mr. Leaf. No! I’m not him. I’ll go get him.” The salesman started chuckling, but I sent up a prayer, right there on the spot. “God, why do I always say the wrong thing!”

An answer came back fast, just like a pingpong ball. “I made you this way. I created you for my glory.* Embrace it.”

Do you have quirks? Let’s celebrate!

*Isaiah 43:7

Trapped…

Sometimes what we experience is not understood. “But I do!” people might say. “I can totally relate! It’s just like when I got a bicycle puncture. Deflating.”

Our heart sinks. We fall silent. We feel like we are sitting at the bottom of a deep well. Alone. Unheard. If only someone understood. If only we could share our heart.

Yet, something good can come out of a well. There is a light, and it is up above. It makes us lift our heads. There is a person we can talk to – God.

Jeremiah also ended up in a well. He said, “I  called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You came near and said, ‘Do not fear.’ (from Lamentations 3: 55-57)

 

The silence behind our words

It hardly ever happens. Derek and I stopped. We stood in a beech wood. There was no wind, no noise, no people, just us. We watched leaves fall from the trees, one every few seconds. We heard the “plif” as each one landed.

Life is like that. We can’t hear anything until we stop. Today I heard an agitated voice. I listened to the silence behind their words, and I heard the “plif.” What that person actually meant was, “I feel so alone. No one listens to me. Please accept me.”

Jesus stops with us in the silence behind our words. He wants us to hear his “plif.” “I comfort all who mourn… I bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes.” (from Isaiah 61:2-3)

 

That surprising twist

The other day I told someone how I had royally messed up, but that God had used it get me back on track, and good had come out of it.  The person went silent for what seemed like a minute. “Oh no!” I thought. “I have offended them.”

When the person finally spoke, it was slow and deliberate. “That… is… exactly… what… happened to me… Thanks so much for sharing… It gives me hope.”

Isn’t this what God’s humour is like? It’s brilliant! The weak make others strong. The poor make others rich. The imprisoned set others free. Those who mess up, spread hope. God always finishes with a surprising twist. He says, “There is a… time to laugh.” (Ecclesiastes 3) Now is a good time!

Pushed away

You probably know how hard it is when those we love push us away…

  • If you don’t do what I say, you can’t be my friend.
  • If you love me, you will never disagree with me.
  • If you care for me, you won’t tell the truth.

What are we supposed to do? We are upset and scared.Stacheldraht

But God doesn’t push us away. He says, “I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men? … I have put my words in your mouth and covered you with the shadow of my hand.” (Isaiah 51:12,16)

God gives us his dignity. He gives us the wisdom how to respond. He protects us. We can move on.

Memories, not Masters

Memories can become our masters. When we have been broken and hurt, and don’t know how to move on, those memories enslave us. It is as if they take over our life.DSC_0011

In the Bible God’s people were enslaved as well. They knew they couldn’t escape the pain and suffering inflicted on them. God knew they couldn’t… He rescued them. He sent hope. “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Let God fight for your heart today. Believe him when he says, “Don’t be afraid.”