August Hope Whispers

The Ultimate Resting Place

Before I published this post, I listened to a song a blogging friend, Lois Flowers, shared. God knew exactly what I needed to be reminded of. Do you have questions that don’t have answers and tears that just keep on running?

“…When your questions don’t have answers and you just can’t understand it
When your mind just won’t stop running and the tears just keep on coming
You don’t have to explain it
He hears you before you can speak
Come with me, let’s take it to Jesus
This is the place you can rest for a while
If you need to just fall apart
Lay down your worry, He’s not in a hurry, take all the time you need
This is the place you can rest for a while…”

God Promises Streams In the Desert

“Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.”

Isaiah 35:6

Are you feeling downhearted with no hope in sight? Here is a powerful video to watch as you read Isaiah 35:1-7 & 10. Imagine yourself in this waste-howling wilderness and the joy you will feel as God sends streams of joy to quench your parched soul.

God Knows & God Cares

“When God sends no answer and “the cloud remain[s],” we must wait. Yet we can do so with the full assurance of God’s provision of manna, water from the rock, shelter, and protection from our enemies. He never keeps us at our post without assuring us of His presence or sending us daily supplies.” – Lettie B. Cowman

“The matters we or the world might consider trivial, He cares about and wants to remedy. He longs to relieve our worries and has promised to supply our most fundamental needs.” – Charles R. Swindoll

“God knows what each one of us is dealing with. He knows our pressures. He knows our conflicts. And He has made a provision for each and every one of them. That provision is Himself in the person of the Holy Spirit, indwelling us and empowering us to respond rightly.” – Kay Arthur

Nature Retreat

“If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder ~

First of all, my brother shares some bird beauty. 🙂

Elegant Trogon
Western Kingbird and Ant Lion
Lunchtime!

It was so dry here that even sprinklers couldn’t keep the grass green. Then one day God blessed us with 4 inches of rain! The next day we went to the Falls. What powerful sights and sounds to see and hear as the water rushed over the rocks and pooled out into some dry areas!

“But the most celebrated water in ancient Palestine did not come from wells; it rose in the natural springs that fed enduring streams and rivers and communal reservoirs. In the Old Testament, flowing or “living” water stands for God’s faithful and lasting provision for His people.” Sarah Ruden

I’m amazed how God speaks straight to my heart by sending butterflies to cross my path, whether I am in the house looking out a window, sitting on the patio, walking, or riding in the car. He whispers hope, “I am with you always, My child.”

Sometimes there are situations out of our control in which we hurt for and with someone who is hurting so deeply. But God… God is still with us, even when it doesn’t feel like it, and He has the power to heal and restore anyone and to change the hardest of hearts.

How has God spoken to you this month? What has brought you hope in the midst of the hard?

Reflections and Comfort In the Midst of a Crisis and St. Patrick Quotes

We’re in the midst of a crisis in our nation and in the world that is causing devastating effects in so many areas of life and for so many people. All because of a virus that is causing sickness and death throughout the world and seems to be unstoppable.

It’s surely a wake-up call, isn’t it? Does God have the first place in our hearts? Do we trust Him as the King who has control, even when fear and troubles threaten to drown us?

Sometimes we may wonder why God doesn’t stop these things. Does God really care about us? Yes, He does! If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have created us or sacrificed His own life for us.

Following Jesus will never keep us from getting sick or dying. But He has promised He will be with us no matter what happens. And through trials, He teaches us to depend more on Him, lean into Him, and allow Him to be first in our hearts and lives.

As the coronavirus spreads quickly, may we not lose heart…

“I have told you all this
so that you may have peace in Me.
Here on earth you will have
many trials and sorrows.
But take heart, because
I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NLT

♥ ♥ ♥

Jesus replied,
“You do not realize now
what I am doing, but
later you will understand.”
John 13:7

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Parades and activities have been cancelled, but I don’t think St. Patrick would have minded. He didn’t strive for “man’s empty praise.” (Hymn – Be Thou My Vision) By God’s grace, His Treasure was in Christ Jesus, and his life pointed not to himself but to Christ and the hope and salvation we can find in Him.

St. Patrick Quotes

“I have a Creator who knew all things,
even before they were made –
even me, his poor little child.”
“I arise today through
God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me afar and anear,
alone or in a multitude.”
“Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.”

Amretasgraphics – Homemade with Love and a Happy Heart

Be Thou My Vision
Irish Hymn Sung by 4Him

“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all”

God’s Promise of Hope for Victims of Abuse

I posted this story nearly three years ago, but for some reason God brought it to my attention again. I felt His nudge to share it again. Perhaps there is someone who needs a reminder of hope. This is an edited version.

She was standing at the windows covering one wall. A nun staring out the window. As she stood there, a rainbow broke through the stormy clouds and brightened the sky.

The glory of the rainbow drew me to the window next to her. We were hushed with awe for several minutes.

“I asked God for a sign,” she whispered, “Now I know this is where He wants me to be.”

She opened her heart to me and shared her story of devastating abuse from a priest and how afraid she was to be at this retreat (for women victims of clergy abuse).

I was afraid, too. Shame, fear, and hopelessness consumed me, and I had almost run right back out as soon as I entered the building. But now I knew, too, that I wasn’t alone, and I needed to stay.

The rainbow inspired in both of us hope that God was on our side, He always keeps His promises, and He will never, ever abandon us.

Those days were gut-wrenching as we worked through the unspeakable pain of sexual and spiritual abuse from pastors/priests/ministers from various churches. I probably didn’t get as much benefit out of it as I could have if I had dared to open up more, but God still boosted me on the road to healing.

Two women pastors led the retreat, and on the final day, they held communion to whoever wanted to join them. Love, acceptance, and support warmed the atmosphere. One woman stood rooted to the floor several feet away. Her pain was so deep, and she wasn’t sure she belonged. Could she trust the love Jesus offers? Did He even want her? We gathered around her with love and assurance and God broke the chains of shame. She stepped forward with us, and with tears flowing, we together remembered how Jesus offered up His broken body and poured out His life blood for us to free us.

I was still in deep pain, but I had a renewed hope that God held us in His loving hands. Even though the healing journey would be painful, He would be with us every step of the way. And He has been, even though there were countless times when I felt like He had abandoned me. In hindsight I can see He was there even in those dark times of despair.

As one of the projects, each of us were handed a piece of construction paper with our name written in the middle of it and uplifting stickers on it. We were to write an encouragement or praise on each person’s page. After we went home, the leaders sent our page to us. I still have mine 25+ years later.

I want to share with you what one of the other women wrote to me, and I hope you will apply it personally to yourself.

“Keep talking. Don’t allow Satan to take anymore from you than he has. You know where your power lies. In the Creator of the universe, the Creator of you. Call on His healing. He loves you, (insert your name here), and so do I.”

If you have been abused, in whatever way, whether male or female, don’t let Satan silence you or discourage you with his lies. Don’t let him rob you of your God-given voice. His power is nothing compared to God who created you. God has the power and the willingness to heal you. He even finds joyous delight in healing you.

Even when we feel like a bruised and bleeding body tossed to the side of the road, not believed or cared about by anyone, Jesus loves to tenderly pick us up and hold us to Himself, cradling us with His love and compassion.

Yes, the healing process can be long and painful and overwhelming, but He is right beside us longing for us to trust Him as our Safe Refuge, to open our hearts to His love, and to allow His grace to heal us.

God is faithful and always keeps His promises. He will never abandon us. He is beside us even on those days when we can’t “feel” Him or see His signs.

“For every one of God’s
promises is ‘Yes’ in Him.
Therefore, the ‘Amen’ is also spoken
through Him by us for God’s glory.”
2 Corinthians 1:20 HCSB
“Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds,
I will see it and remember
the everlasting covenant
between God and all living creatures
of every kind on the earth.”
Genesis 9:16 NIV
“Be strong! Be courageous!
Do not be afraid of them!
For the Lord your God will be with you.
He will neither fail you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 TLB


Overcomer
by Mandisa