September Hope Whispers

 

God Is Still With Us
Through the Storms of Life

Three tornados whipped through Sioux Falls this month, causing damage and devastation to some businesses and homes. There were injuries, but thankfully no deaths.

Avera Heart Hospital was among the buildings damaged. They shared a photo of a chunk of wood that broke through the lobby window. Do you see the cross?

Our windows may be broken, our building damaged, but even during the roar of the storm, God shows up.” Avera shared.

God still sends hope in the midst of life’s storms. It may not always “feel” like it in the midst of anguish and devastation, but He is holding us up. He never backs out on a promise!

“And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20b

God Can Turn Our Struggling Stories
Into Hope For Other Strugglers

Do you ever watch America’s Got Talent? I’m not always able to, but I like watching it, especially during the finals. What I love the most are the stories where tragedy turns to triumph. This year’s winner is Kodi Lee, a blind and autistic young man who plays piano and sings so beautifully and with such heart. Though this song was not his final one, “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was one of my favorites.

There were other contestants who are winners, too. By sharing their stories of pain and using their gifts, they will continue to make a difference by breathing hope into hopeless, broken hearts.

Tyler suffered leukemia at age 4 and was bullied in school because of his lack of hair. He turned to music in a violin and is now not only an 11-year-old cancer survivor but a remarkable violinist who gives hope to other children with cancer.

Voices of Service, military members who act as a light in the darkness to soldiers suffering with PTSD, will continue to spread hope and make others feel less alone and more understood. I love their Footprints In the Sand.

There are others who came from disadvantaged neighborhoods/countries or special circumstances that encourage others to never give up.

We Are Never
Invisible to God 

This month I reread The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees by Nicole Johnson. I was reminded again that nothing we do needs to be noticed or praised by people. Focusing our hearts on God alone and what He sees changes our perspective in life.

The story that especially touched my heart is that of one of the workers building a great cathedral. He was carving a tiny bird that eventually would be covered by the stone roof. Someone asked him why he was spending so much time and giving so much attention to something that no one would ever see. The builder continued carving and replied,

“Because God sees.”

Years later Martin Luther urged people to have the same perspective:

“Milking a cow was no less holy than giving an offering. Luther believed that a housewife had as great a calling as a high priest, and that both should perform his or her work as though God alone were watching. Holiness comes from God and from the heart of the person doing the work, not from the work itself.”

© Nicole Johnson (from book The Invisible Woman)

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“The best remedy for those who are
afraid, lonely or unhappy
is to go outside, somewhere
where they can be quite alone
with the heavens, nature, and God.”
Anne Frank
Photos from Our Ever-Changing Falls

Bird Photos From My Brother John in Arizona
Immature Black-crowned Night Heron
Gray Hawk
Possibly an Immature Sharp Shinned Hawk
Immature Red-Tailed Hawk

 

27 thoughts on “September Hope Whispers

  1. It should only matter to us that God sees and knows our hearts, and all that we do. And He will show up, as the photo with the cross reminds us miraculously, in the midst of our fiercest storms. Thank you, Trudy, for this inspirational post today.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That photo with the cross is astonishing. God is so good, even in the middle of the storms! Your falls are really swollen with rain water too; I hope you’re not experiencing more flooding now. Thanks for another great post, Trudy! Many blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, God sending that sign in the midst of the storms truly is astonishing, Liz. Yes, the falls were really swollen and rushing when I took these photos. Unfortunately, many in SD have experienced the flooding of their homes and farms again, almost worse than in the spring. Thank you for your thoughtfulness. The last months have been unusual for us with so much rain. And it’s been 30 years since a tornado came down in Sioux Falls. Many blessings to you, too! May we keep looking to our Savior who is always with us, even through the storms!

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  3. Thank you Trudy for this gathering of hope today. I was amazed at the power of the falls in your town now! After all the rain and storms, I should not be surprised, but the power of that rushing water is awesome. When He shows us His presence in nature, there is such a hope for all of the struggles we face. He has that same mighty power available to help us! I will keep your hometown in my prayers as they begin the clean-up and healing process. May the Lord bless you with the same hope that you share so willingly with all of us, Dear Friend! Hugs & Love! xoxo

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and prayers, Bettie. Yes, the power of that rushing water is awesome. We can’t help but be in awe of the power of God. Yes, that same mighty power is available to help us, too! Blessings, hugs, and love to you, too! May we cling to the awesome power of God who is bigger than any struggle we face!

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  4. I love the cross in the piece of wood and the reminder that God is there even in the midst of the storms we face. The America’s Got Talent clip is great too – it is always so encouraging when people discover a talent that helps them through hard times, especially when they’re as good as that! And the photos of the falls are stunning – hope it all calms down a bit for you though and you have no more tornadoes! Love and blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Lesley. Yes, even though the falls are stunning, we do need prayers for those who suffer from the devastation of flooding and tornados. Speaking of a talent helping through hard times, I think music may often help you through those times. Am I right? Love and blessings to you, too!

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    1. Thank you for your kind encouragement, Linda. Bless you, too! I haven’t commented every day, but I love your cozy autumn arrangements. 🙂 May God continue to cuddle you with His love and strength as you grieve!

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  5. Jeff and I went to Sioux Falls last month! It was our first time in that area. Beautiful. The falls were so much bigger than I was expecting them to be. I didn’t know about the tornadoes. That’s something we’re definitely familiar with in Alabama. 😦

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    1. Yes, I was sure I saw a pic of the Falls in your 1-second everyday clip, Lisa. 🙂 It’s much more impressive close up, isn’t it? I love listening to the sound of it, too. If ever you get this way again, you’re welcome to stop for coffee or tea or your preference. 🙂 We were stunned that we actually had tornados here. They took paths through certain areas. I’m sorry your area often has them. 😦 May God keep us safe through every storm, both weather ones and life storms!

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  6. Visiting from Tell His Story. Thanks for the reminder that God is with us right in the storm.

    I’ve never watched America’s Got Talent. Thanks for sharing some of the stories from that program.

    I LOVED your pictures of the birds. My dad is a birder. He taught me all about the different hawks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for visiting, Karen. I’m glad you loved the birds. That’s cool that your dad taught you all about the different hawks. My brother loves nature and taking photos. Now that he’s retired in Arizona, he has more time for it and finds so many different kinds of birds. When he shares his photos with me, it often makes my day brighter. 🙂 In fact, I have learned a lot about nature, even as a child, from him. May we always be in awe of our Creator and the uniqueness of His creatures!

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  7. I’m a fan of The Voice, too, and I love these stories of hope and triumph. Christ is the ultimate person of of hope and triumph and oh, how the world needs Him! Thank you sharing these words today and your beautiful photos.

    Visiting from Tell His Story,
    Tammy

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  8. Trudy, I didn’t watch this past season of American’s Got Talent, but it sounds like a good one! As always, I love your pictures … especially those of your beautiful falls. It sounds like the weather is keeping life interesting in your neck of the woods … maybe the winter will be a bit calmer? Hugs, friend.

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    1. Yes, it was good this year, especially towards the end. Thank you for the hugs, Lois. 🙂 Back at ya! The falls truly are a beautiful sight. Such a soul-refreshing retreat. I sure hope the winter is calmer! The weather has been unusual this year. The ground is so saturated. I still pray for you! I’m sure it’s hard, too, to sort through your parents’ things. May God give you strength and peace for each day!

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  9. Thank you, Trudy, for these inspiring thoughts. I’m full of awe at the way God gives us reminders of His presence when life feels fragile or gets tough. The cross appearing in the surviving chunk wood from Avera Heart Hospital reminded me of the cross that survived the devastating fire tragedy that occurred at Notre Dame cathedral. Such images are potent reminders of hope in the darkness. As is the story of Kodi Lee, as a talented blind pianist and singer that has overcome great odds to become a winner of America’s Got Talent.
    Not all of our stories of challenge and exercising faith are recorded and made public. There are a lot of unsung heroes and heroines who quietly advance the Kingdom of God as they go about their seemingly invisible lives. They are lives that impact the world for good yet may never receive recognition for it in the here and now. Alongside the stunning nature images that always make me smile and warm my heart, I am grateful for the hopeful selection of stories and resources you have inspired us with this week! Blessings and love to you, my friend. xo ❤

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    1. Thank you for sharing your insightful reflections, Joy. It reminds me of what our son told us recently. There is a church in Omaha just starting up as a branch of their church. So far they have to rent a room for services, so they keep all their sound equipment and chairs, etc. in a trailer. Someone took their trailer and burned it. Everything was burned to a crisp, even the steel on the trailer. But he showed us a picture of a Bible that was not burned, only on the edges but not the words. Yes, God sends such potent reminders of hope in the darkness! I love that you point out those who are quiet in the background and never receive recognition in the here and now, and yet God is using them to impact the world. Thank you! I know you, too, feel invisible sometimes, but please know you do make a difference much more than you realize. Blessings and love to you, too! May we keep advancing the kingdom of God without that need to be recognized or appreciated!

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      1. Amen to your closing thoughts, Trudy! Seeking to do just that will help free us from worrying about how we might be perceived, and steer us away from introversion and self-pity. I appreciate you noticing me, dear friend. You’re right to sense how feeling invisible affects me most when I take a prolonged blogging break. But I am aware that we don’t have to know what kind of impact we might make to be effective as witnesses for Christ. I see it all the time in you and many others. Perhaps it’s a grace to fail to see these things in ourselves! 😏 xo

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          1. Yes, He does. The intriguing thing is that you can be actively (oxymoron?) resting but not feel rested. All because the body needs greater healing, the mind is restless or the emotions are unsettled. But I am valuing those rare times when rest of every kind combine and a deeper soul relaxation occurs. And the return of a creative spark is definitely cheering up this weary writer’s heart! xo 💜

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