Category archives: Hope

When You Go Looking to Find

This morning I woke up, sat up in bed a little and peered out the opening in my window shades. I confess. I groaned. I groaned because the tree limbs were laced back up in white and the yard was all covered in snow, and I was thinking it should be spring. Warm, green and growing spring. But, no sooner had I groaned when this sing-songy voice came rollicking back into my head. The voice of my momma when I was little as she was trying to teach me that each day was a gift and that I could give thanks and still find the good in things. The voice that would say, “Remember! This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice, and be glad in it!” (from Psalm 118:24) Yes, she’d say it and I’d roll my eyes. Yes, now that I’m a grown-up, I still hear that voice and those words and I know i[...]

A Broken Hallulejah: In Case You Need a Heap of Hope

My Ma and Pa married each other on May 28th, 1969. That was forty-five years ago. They were recently asked to share their story with a big group of friends in order to encourage and give some hope. And couldn't we all use some hope? That's why I'm sharing this story of theirs here with you. We're all a bit battered and broken and it's hard being married and staying married, especially in this culture. So, whether you're married or not, hang on to this. It'll help. And thank you, Ma and Pa, for clinging to Jesus, Hope Himself, and for sticking together and being there for me. My dad's part of the story is italicized. They tag-teamed. Here goes: I grew up in a very loving, secure home.  My dad was a bi-vocational pastor. Mom stayed home and raised the kids.  We went to church a l[...]

Why You Really Can Cease Striving (And Get Some Soul-Rest)

I see you there, crumpling up that sheet of paper, tossing it into the waste basket and wondering if anything good will come out of your life. Or if there will just be this broken record, repeating "failure" and "you don't measure up" and "you don't deserve anything good." I see the way you try. The way you keep getting up and dressing up and showing up and hoping that things don't screw up, again. You get so tired. You're running out of energy and it's had for you to enjoy your life. Do you mind to sit down for just a minute and let me tell you some things? Some true things? Some things that could perhaps restore your soul and give you some hope? Some things that could help you keep going and maybe even set you free? You really can cease your striving. You need soul-rest.[...]

Why We Need Never Despair (And the Tale of Two Mommas)

When I was born, I had a different momma. And I don't know the circumstances of her life, exactly, when she first conceived me and then carried me around in her tummy before I was birthed out and into her arms. I just know that she was broken. Painfully so. But, still, she gave me life and she kept giving me life as she held me close and let me nurse, my eyes blinking awake in that hospital room, adjusting to all the light. I remember her well. The last time I saw her, I was five, and I can still vividly recall her giving me the white birthday cake with the blue roses made out of icing. She had her problems and her addictions, but when she was sober, she was gentle and loving and kind. When she wasn't sober, she was angry and cried a lot so I sat on the floor and cried, too. I re[...]

A letter to my Hope-love

My little Hope-love. Do you know how lovely you are? With your fudgesicle lips and your big blue eyes that seem to search right through me? When you first entered this world, we thought you were a boy. Because the ultra-sound tech had told us you were a boy and so for several months, as I carried you in my tummy, we thought you were and we'd named you Jonan Justus and you came out, looking so much like your brother, and yet you were very much different, in some pretty distinct ways. : )We were all shocked. I still remember the hush that came over the hospital room as it dawned on me and I asked that question, " this a girl?" and the doctor and nurses stood still, mouths wide open. For a couple seconds, I don't think anyone even dared to breathe. And then we laughed, as your daddy cu[...]

Why You Can Come Knock, Knock, Knocking

Sometimes, I wake up in the quiet of the night and I'm scared. It's peaceful and still all around me, but I've got these noisy thoughts running through my head. These pestering fears. So, I pray because I know it deep in my bones--that God is just right there.And sometimes I lift up my hand because I want to reach out to touch Him, to grasp His hand in the dark, but He wants me to walk by faith and not by sight. So, I reach but I can't see or feel Him, at least not His skin. But, I've got His Spirit somewhere deep inside my chest, and I've got His Presence all around, so I reach out for Him with my aching heart, and I know He's close at hand. Last night, Brent must have been anxious, too, because he woke up soon after me, and we just found each other in the dark and started to pray. We did[...]

When It Doesn't Make Sense to Sing Peace on Earth or Goodwill Toward Men

I stand in this wreaking barn, with the manure splattered on the wall and the dust swirling in the air while the radio blares. They're telling me that there's been another shooter at a school in Connecticut. This guy has killed more than twenty people, mostly little kids. My gut groans. There's something terribly the matter with the world.Hours later, the sadness doesn't lift. Just this heavy weight pressing in, for everything twisted and painfully broken. I look over at my kids and listen to their little cheerful voices as they help Grandpa feed the cows. What sort of world will they grow up in? Can't I keep them safe? Their lives only knowing sweet things like newborn calves and kitties? Growing corn and wheat? Long walks down an old lane in the security of a family farm? I would spare [...]

Friend of Sinners

Jesus is a friend to sinners. And who hasn't sinned? I mean, really, no one has ever gotten it all right. No one, that is, except for Jesus. And that's why He could be the perfect sacrifice. That's why He could bear the thorns and take the nails and bleed out on the cross. Because only His blood was good enough to pay the ransom for my life. To bring me back to God.And this God who made everything--He's not some impersonal deity up by the stars who can't be felt or known. He's a God who is there. A God who makes Himself known. A God who stepped into the world through the Person of His Son, so that He could be seen and touched and heard. And so that He could make things right again. Because sin, it marred this whole place. It broke us and we've all been reeling ever since. So, we all needed[...]

When You're Just Plumb Scared and Want to Feel Safe

Some days, fear has this grip on me. Anxiety and worry take its toll and I find it hard to breathe. I can feel it in my skin, literally. Every once in a while, I get the shingles. Shingles isn’t just for old folks, apparently. Shingles can happen to worry warts, too. But, I’m a child of God. A little girl who belongs to a Great King. A Great King who never worries about a thing because He’s the biggest and the strongest. And I’ve got these promises. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deut. 33:27) “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.” (Psalm 46:1,7)So, I run to my Refuge and I hide in my Strong Tower and I just sit still and remember what I’ve got in Him. I[...]

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