October Hope Whispers

A Tragedy Redeemed by God’s Grace
Results in Hope for Others

In 2014, a woman died from exposure in a parking garage stairwell, because she wasn’t dressed for the cold. That’s when our KELO news partnered with Lewis Drugs to start Keep Keloland Warm. In October and November, there’s a huge box in Lewis where anyone can put their gently used or new coats. There are distribution times and places where people who can’t afford coats can sort through the tables for warm winter wear for themselves and their children. It’s so humbling and gratifying how thankful many of them are and how excited children are to get a “new” coat, mittens, and caps. It doesn’t erase the sadness of the loss of that woman, but God is good to use a tragedy to wake us up and to give us grace to do what we can to ease the suffering of others.

Jesus says:
“So I give you a new command:
Love each other deeply and fully.
Remember the ways that I have loved you,
and demonstrate your love for others
in those same ways.

John 13:34 VOICE

No Matter What We Feel,
There Is Hope,
Because We Are Loved

You Are Loved
by Stars Go Dim

“…You are loved
If your heart’s in a thousand pieces
If you’re lost and you’re far from reason
Just look up; know you are loved
Just look up; and know you are loved
When it feels like something’s missing
If it hurts but you can’t find healing
Just look up, know you are loved
Just look up, know you are loved

And you, don’t have to prove yourself
Don’t try to be someone else
You don’t have to prove yourself
Don’t try to be someone else…”

God Is With Us In the Pain,
Not Only In the Praise

I am slowly reading through Alia Joy‘s book – Glorious Weakness. There were times I had to lay it aside to deal with memory triggers, but I keep taking it up again, because I feel so understood.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with such gut-wrenching honesty. She doesn’t whitewash the pain of abuse, poverty, loss, racism, injustice, mental illness, chronic illness, or any adversity we go through. She reminds us that “poverty of spirit is the birthplace of all grace” and encourages us to be authentic.

“Sometimes the gospel is perverted to lay a heavy burden on those who most need mercy and grace, who most need a Jesus who meets them in their pain. And I promise you Jesus is that and so much more.”

“What if we believed faith was less about blind devotion to all the right answers and more of an invitation to come fully into relationship with Christ and be met in our most desperate and confusing moments?”

“So often church teaches us to hide our true selves, to cover up our anguish, our rage, our brokenhearted longing for a better story.”

“I wish someone had told me it was okay to succumb to anger, to the great and formidable why? I wish I had understood that God is undaunted by my humanity.”

“Let us pour out the oil of gladness and praise from our lips but let us not forget the wails and cries and pounding fists. God is here too.”

I could keep going with all the truths I highlighted in this book, but these are some of the ones I more recently came across.

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“All God’s creatures
are a unique
expression of life
whether on earth for 
100 days or 100 years.”
Anthony Douglas Williams

I’m always fascinated by the uniqueness of God’s creatures. Each one has a purpose, whether we enjoy them or are grossed out. Since my brother John moved to Arizona, I am awed by the variety of creatures there, some I’ve never seen before. Thanks again to my brother for sharing his gifts of photography. (🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂)

Hubbard’s Small Silkmouth Caterpillar
Horse Lubber Grasshopper
June Bug and a Bee
Crab Spider
Verdin Bird Eating Bugs
Another Pose of the Verdin Bird

 

24 thoughts on “October Hope Whispers

  1. Yes, yes, to what you’ve said about Alia’s book, Trudy. It was a powerful read … I could only sit with it so long before I had to put it down and sit with her truth for awhile before picking it up again.

    There’s nothing quite like being heard, being validated, being understood, is there, friend. Jesus does that for us. And if we are blessed, we are in the company of other women who do the same.

    You are loved.

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    1. It truly is a powerful read, Linda. There is so much authentic truth in it. Yes, there is no one like Jesus who hears, validates, and understands us! And it’s an added blessing when there are others who do the same. You have always been one of those caring, compassionate people, and I truly appreciate you. You are loved, too! May we be so filled with the love and empathy of Jesus that it spills out to those around us!

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  2. Thank you Trudy for this beautiful encouraging post. That song brought tears to my eyes. Jesus is so good to keep calling us to let Him show us how loved we are. Even in those dark places, He is not offended. Your brother’s photos are always so amazing! God’s creation is so full of wonder–even in those bugs I would prefer not to look at! Each one is so important tho!! What a lesson there for us. Love And blessings Dear friend! Xoxo

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    1. Yes, Bettie. We so need to remember He loves us, even in those dark places. I am so grateful His presence is also in the pain, whether physical or emotional, and He is never offended with us. Yes, there truly is a lesson in the bugs that may be hard to look at. God is never offended with their looks, and He has a purpose for all of them. This summer we heard a lot of cicadas and my husband asked me, “What purpose do cicadas have?” I looked it up and found out one of their purposes: “Cicadas provide trees a service by pruning the weak branches of a tree. Cicadas lay eggs in the branch, weak branches wither and die (“flagging”), and the tree benefits from that by not having to waste energy on a weak or diseased branch.” (https://www.cicadamania.com/cicadas/what-is-the-purpose-of-cicadas/) Amazing, isn’t it? As you write “God’s creation is so full of wonder.” Love and blessings to you, too! May our hearts embrace always the truth of God’s faithful presence, even in those times when we wonder if He has abandoned us!

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      1. Wow, Trudy, I could have asked that same question your husband did! That is pretty amazing the way that even they are helpful to the trees. Our Lord always has a purpose! Thank you so much for sharing this nugget. What an encouragement tonight. xoxo

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    1. Thank you for your kind and caring words, Sita. I’m so glad God ministers to you through words and photos here. Yes, Alia’s book is powerful, so full of truth. I continue to be blessed by it. I hope you are feeling God’s Presence and leading in whatever situation you’re in right now. I love you, too! May God help us to remember we are never alone, because He loves us!

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  3. For years, our church has collected winter coats for those in need, Trudy, and I love what your community is doing to help people receive basic necessities in preparation for winter. And as always, your brother’s photos are stunning and inspiring! God has created such a vast variety of species, hasn’t He?
    Blessings to you!

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    1. That’s wonderful that your church collects coats for those in need, Martha. I’m grateful many in our community care. We hear so much about the bad stuff on the news, so it’s always refreshing to hear the good. 🙂 I remember last winter when it was below zero weather, one policeman interviewed talked about how when the temperatures dip so low, he keeps a special eye out for the homeless to make sure they get into one of the shelters. That warms the heart, right?
      And yes, God surely has created a vast variety of species. It’s amazing how many and how unique each is in their purpose on this earth.
      Blessings to you, too! May God fill us with His compassion, and may we be like Him!

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  4. So much hope and encouragement here, Trudy! I love how God can bring good even out of tragedy. I’ve heard good things about Glorious Weakness before and this definitely makes me want to read it at some point. And I love the photos and the amazing variety of God’s creation. I haven’t seen some of those creatures before either! Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Thank you, Lesley. I’m so glad you found hope and encouragement here. I’m finding lots of hope and encouragement in your Dear Younger Me series this month as well. Glorious Weakness is definitely worth the read. I am amazed at the variety of creatures my brother sees in Arizona. His photos add sunshine to my days. 🙂 May God keep using our pain for His purpose!

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  5. “Let us pour out the oil of gladness and praise from our lips but let us not forget the wails and cries and pounding fists. God is here too.” YES! I’m so grateful for this truth! He gave us the full range of emotions to go along with all that we would experience in this life, and He’s with us through every single one of them.

    Thank you for an encouraging post. Tell you brother to keep up the great work behind the lens; he has a gift at capturing God’s lovely creatures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so grateful for that truth, too, Liz! Yes, He is with us through every single emotion. I’m so glad that quote encouraged you, too. Thank you for your kind words for my brother. 🙂 Yes, He certainly has a great gift. May we always remember God is with us always, no matter what emotion we experience!

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  6. Of course I love those bird pictures. He looks like he doing chin-ups in the last one! There are so many ways to give, and it doesn’t take a grand gesture to change a life. Dropping off a pair of mittens, for example, in the donation box your community set-up brings delight and joy. Thanks for that reminder that even though I may feel insignificant, and life feels heavy, I have resources to give and am loved. Have a wonderful rest of your week, Trudy!

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    1. Thank you, Lynn! I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week, too! I thought the same thing about that bird. He really does look like he’s doing chin-ups! 🙂 Yes, there are so many ways to give. Even a smile or a “How are you?” means a lot to people who feel unnoticed, like those at the check-out, etc. I’m so sorry your life feels heavy and you sometimes feel insignificant. Sometimes it’s hard to shake that feeling, isn’t it? May God lift you in His loving arms and give you strength and comfort. You definitely are loved and have so much to give to others! I have so often been blessed from your posts and nature photos and also your comments here. May we moment by moment embrace our significance in Jesus and refute all those negative voices Satan loves to pummel us with!

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  7. Trudy, isn’t it a glorious gift when a book makes us feel understood? I’m so glad Alia’s book did that for you. I’ve read it too and also appreciated her honesty and transparency. As usual, your brothers pictures are amazing! Hugs, friend.

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    1. Thank you, Lois. Yes, it is a glorious gift when a book makes us feel understood. I’m so glad The Orphaned Adult does that for you. Hugs back to you! May we always cling to the One who understands us more than anyone!

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  8. Trudy, this is a beautiful post. I was touched by how KELO found a way to “redeem” the tragedy of the woman who died in the stairwell. I can only imagine how beautiful the smiles of children are who get new coats, caps, and gloves.

    And your brother’s pictures are AMAZING! The beauty and intricate detail of each creature is awe-inspiring.

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    1. Thank you, Jeanne. To see or hear their delight and appreciation makes me realize again how much I take for granted. I’m so grateful for a warm home! I agree my brother’s pics are amazing. 🙂 I love that he sends them to me. They often brighten my days. 🙂 I told him they bring you to some readers, too. It always awes me how God so intricately and uniquely designs each creature. May God give us strength for each day and light for the way!

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  9. What a wonderful idea that Keep Ketoland Warm has implemented. I live outside of Cincinnati and it just breaks my heart to think of the homeless families as the weather starts getting way too harsh. I’ll have to find something similar here. I know there’s a blanket collection we’ve donated to before. Thanks for reminding me of that as winter quickly approaches.
    That book looks amazing and right up my alley. I’ll definitely check it out. And I must mention your brother’s photography! What a gift he has and I’m thankful he shares it here with all of us :). Much love to you, my friend! It’s always great to visit you!!

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    1. It’s so sad that anyone is without a home, isn’t it? The gratefulness of some families reminds me how much I take for granted. That’s a great idea with blankets, Candace. Yes, I think this book would be right up your alley. I’m thankful, too, that my brother shares his excellent photography. 🙂 Much love to you, too! Thank you for visiting! Your newsletter is still in my inbox as I’ve been wanting to congratulate you for your 20 years sobriety! That’s so wonderful! Thank You, God! I started checking into the photography help you mentioned, but I got sidetracked, so I hope to look more into that, too. May God give us strength and courage to keep fighting those inner demons in us with who we are in Christ Jesus!

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  10. I found Alia’s book to be gut-wrenching too! So honest about everything. I really appreciated that. It makes her so relatable because we’ve all had moments of great discouragement in our lives.

    Reading about the coat drive reminds me how many jackets I have in my closet, some that I rarely wear. 😦 I need to donate them to our Manna House this week because I know they can be used by someone who does need them. Thanks for the gentle nudge, Trudy!

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    1. Yes, Alia’s honesty truly does make her relatable. Lisa, you have often given me “gentle nudges” with your love and compassion of those who are less advantaged than we are. The posts of your experiences still warm my heart. If you are now home from helping with your new granddaughter, I’m sure your arms are aching for that cuddly little body. And missing both of those precious little ones. May we both keep opening our hearts to the nudges God gives us!

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