Expectant Ground

Paths to Hope, #5

#5_Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay .jpgUncertain ground—barren, dormant, complacent. Ground that bores us, but sucks us in to its lethargic state. Unexciting and inactive, it is the place where vision fades and apathy takes root. Dead ground, dangerous ground, unproductive ground, forbidden ground.

I say forbidden because it’s not where God wants us…

  • He tells us to plant ourselves by streams of living water and yield fruit—even our leaves won’t wither (Psalm 1:3).
  • Jesus tells us to live in Him, the Vine, and bear fruit that lasts—much fruit and more fruit (John 15:16).
  • The Spirit produces fruit in us—love, joy, peace, and more (Galatians 5:22).

So move. Walk the path to expectant ground and replant yourself where green shoots push through watered soil, vines flower with promised produce, and popsicle sticks flaunt seed packets that proclaim an expected crop.

Let your roots dig deep, face the Son, drink Living Water, and expect the Master Gardener to do what you cannot do on your own—bring forth fruit in abundance.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” (Isa 60:1)

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Common Ground

Paths to Hope, #1

1_CommonGround_Image by Jim Semonik from PixabayWe set out on the journey to hope from common ground—our lives are mutually pocked with pits and scars, unpleasant memories and devastated dreams. Our brokenness marks us, whether it comes from shattered promises, damaged relationships, splintered plans, threatening health, or challenging finances. Whatever our unique challenges may be, we are rendered vulnerable and our hope is assaulted.

We must waste no time rescuing what little hope remains and fan a flame under its smoldering embers.

The problem is, bruised hope has blurred our vision. Our strength is sapped, our motivation maimed. But we must press on and engage in one more battle for hope—the alternative is too dreadful to consider. So we step forward.

Yes, step. There is no energy for a surge so we put one foot in front of the other and haltingly limp down a path that promises to renew our hope. But we don’t limp alone—before us we have the Spirit of God [1], beside us are fellow travelers [2], above us is a cloud of cheering witnesses [3], and beneath us is the well-trodden path they walked.

Don’t give up. Brokenness and pain do not end your story. There is more to be written, so let us press on.

Join me next week to embark on the H Path of Hope.

[1]  Isaiah 31:8, [2]  Romans 12:4,5, [3]  Hebrews 12:1
Image by Jim Semonik from Pixabay

I Was Broken, Too – launch party

I Was Broken, Too #5

Written to Celebrate

Image by Gerd Altmann from PixabayNow, there’s an oxymoron━brokenness and party. These words should not be uttered in the same sentence, unless you read the subtitle: Four Paths to Restore Hope━because this party celebrates hope that rises out of brokenness.

Hope can be restored, regardless of your struggle and it’s threatening finality. I invite you to change the punctuation. Erase that period and insert a semicolon. Periods are from a lying enemy who is destructive by nature. God sprinkles semicolons throughout our lives because there are chapters not yet written, purposes we can’t imagine, episodes we cannot dream. 

Hebrews tells us “faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1). Reading to the end of the chapter we realize it’s not the “what” we hope for, but the “Who” we hope inHe is together with us, making better plans perfect (11:40). We can trust Him and celebrate what we cannot see. 

Join me at the party━if not with your presence on Saturday, in spirit with faith in our God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Eph. 3:20-21).

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Copy of I Was Broken, Too

My Book will be Released July 8!

I Was Broken, Too #2

Written by Me

workstation-Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Who am I to write a book? That was another objection that contributed to my dawdling. I’m ordinary. I’ve not done anything outstanding, obtained qualifying degrees, or received accolades━so what do I know?

Well, I know pain, loss, disappointment, disillusionment, and consuming grief. I know how it feels to live in a dark place, unable to see one hour ahead. I know what it’s like to wonder how I could still breathe when I hurt so bad. I know the devastation of shattered dreams, untimely death, and the assault of personal worth. You know these things too.

I also know God’s mercy and have learned how to overcome, how to breathe and, yes, how to hope again. So I wrote I Was Broken, Too to tell you that God sees your brokenness, He cries with you… and He repairs broken hearts. 

I wrote a book to remind you that your focus matters, that shattered plans make room for new opportunities, that you can reboot your mind, and, mostly, that you can expect grace. These are four paths to hope I describe in I Was Broken, Too. Each one is supported by personal experiences, biblical truth, and the stories of others. 

My prayer is that my journey back to hope will inspire your journey and, as you walk the paths described in I Was Broken, Too, you will renew your hope.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

My Book Release is coming!

I Was Broken, Too #1

Written for You

writing-Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

It would have been easier to keep my pain private, locked away, not out there for all the world to see. I dragged my feet (or rather, my fingers) and resisted revisiting tearful, painful places. I didn’t want to reopen the wounds and feel the grief anew. But then I thought of you. 

I thought about you living━no, merely existing━in that place of brokenness that drains hope and devastates the heart, a place familiar to me. And then I started writing I Was Broken, Too. For you. 

I had to let you know that you will survive, that although you don’t see a glimmer on the horizon, it is possible to hope again. Rejection, loss, and pain do not have the final word. They are not the amen to your life!

Then I thought about your friends━those you cry with and pray for and want to comfort. I Was Broken, Too is a gift that tells them you care and are with them on their journey. 

And I kept it short because I remember how hard it is to do anything when broken, how the simplest task appears gigantic. 

Life isn’t easy━let’s walk it together━and find hope along the way.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

 

Where IS that Hundred Acre Wood?

Just when I think I’m pretty clever about reading caution signs and carefully walking the path in front of me—Bam! Blindsided. Bewildered. Awake at night. Tears.

After watching Christopher Robin last night, I really want to climb through a hole in a tree trunk and find a 100-acre wood and talk with Pooh. Astutely he warns us, “Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake.” It’s that piece of life that feels left out by mistake (or should be left out) that throws us.

MapI’m sorry. All this morose Eyeore-like blather comes from focusing on earth—on wishing for an imaginary hole through which to escape and discover a fantasy forest where bears hold your hand, piglets do your worrying, and donkeys mirror your glum attitude. It’s silly and nonsensical until you stop to consider…

Actually, I do have a mysterious path to embark on. It’s not imaginary and it leads to a 100 billion, trillion, quadrillion acre land of peace and joy and beauty. I will enter that path, possibly sooner than I expect, and find wonders beyond what I imagine. The heartache and disappointment I grapple with will pale, replaced by glorious wonder.

Until that day, fellow travelers and Hundred Acre Wood wishers, in Pooh’s words, “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” If a bear with little brain can say this, how much greater is the bravery, strength, and intelligence available to those of us who walk with the King of Glory, possess His Spirit, and own His promises?

“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.” (Deut. 31:8 NIV)

“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Cor. 10:13 MSG)

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isa. 41:10 NIV)

 

 

…Who is in Heaven

in_heaven

Did you find peace in bringing your prayer concern to “Our Father” last week? Today, let’s take that same concern and give it to our Father “who is in Heaven.” The phrase is my update on “who art in heaven” from the King James, but I love these words too much to omit them as the modern translations do.

“Our Father who“ tells us that father is more than a role, a statement of paternity, or a genealogical designation. It reminds us that our Father is a who—a person—with feelings, thoughts, emotions, hopes, plans, disappointments. At first glance it hardly seems necessary to mention but when we focus on the person-hood of God, we realize that the burdens we bring Him are met with empathy and love. Being made in His image gives us some understanding of His emotional investment in us. The depth of feeling that brought us to prayer is more than matched by our Father who hears that prayer.

This wonderful Person, God the Father, feels our pain, aches with sorrow, receives us with love, listens with patience, and cares more than we imagine. He is more than the God who created this wonderful world for us to inhabit and more than the King in Heaven who will one day welcome us home. The God of our past and future is also the God of our present.

Our Father who is. At times I stop right there and savor the fact that He is. He’s here, He’s real, He’s God. “Lord,” my heart cries, “You are!” I am overwhelmingly grateful. Someone bigger than me sees and cares about this weight in my heart, this confusion in my mind! God is with me—and He is in heaven.

It’s sweet to know there is a place from where He rules over the affairs of earth with unchallenged authority. It’s His home. It’s my home. When I contemplate that, my perspective changes. The concerns that brought me to my knees are quieted in the recognition of heaven’s reality.

Today, let’s be especially grateful for our Father who is in heaven, knowing that He embraces the concerns we bring, He is present in our troubles, and He reigns unopposed from His home in heaven.

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