March Hope Whispers

God Promises Us

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His one and only Son, 
that whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have eternal life. 
For God did not send His Son
into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him.”

John 3:16-17

“And if the Spirit of Him who raised
Jesus from the dead lives in you,
He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead
will also give life to your mortal bodies
through His Spirit, who lives in you.”

Romans 8:11

Hope Quotes

“God doesn’t sweep the broken up into a dustpan and discard it. In order to reach the broken in our world, God Himself broke, allowing His own Son to die a broken death on a cross for us. God brings beauty in the broken. God loves the broken. God uses the broken.” – Elisa Morgan

“We can trust that our Painter is exposing us, lifting us onto His brush, placing us in the intense pressure between the bristles and the canvas for something more beautiful that we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).” – Becky Elie

“Your Heavenly Daddy loves to be with you. Not because you are doing anything for Him, but simply because you are His.” – Renee Swope

Nature Retreat

“Stop every now and then.
Just stop and enjoy.
Take a deep breath.
Relax and take in

the abundance of life.”
~ Anonymous ~

Thank you to my brother John
for these stunning photos.
🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂

Hummingbird Nest in My Brother’s Backyard
The eggs are as small as coffee beans.
You can see how small the nest is compared to the thorns. An average nest is only 1.5 inches, about the size of a large walnut.
Las Cienegas National Conservation Area
Did you know a Pronghorn can run up to 60 mph?
Black-Tailed Prairie Dog
Old Historic Ranch also at Las Cienegas NCA

Taking One Step At a Time

Anxious, depleted, and overwhelmed, I decided to take a break in December. Lord, do I need to discontinue this blog? What direction do You want me to take?

As I spiraled downward with indecision, God finally answered my prayers. Not with a definitive “yes” or “no,” but with a gentle guidance as He whispered, “My child, just take one step at a time. Live more in the moment. Don’t obsess over what the moments or steps thereafter will be.” And peace spilled into my heart as He assured me He will light my way one step at a time. As He encouraged me to trust Him more to lead me. As He reminded me to “be” rather than always thinking I need to “do.”

It can be hard to keep grasping His proffered hand and to trust Him no matter what, can’t it? Even when we can’t feel His presence while our lives fall apart, our longings and prayers are unmet, and the future is unknown and scary-looking.

I need to trust that God is faithful. To trust His heart when I don’t understand where His hand is leading. When He says He is holding my hand, He is. He never goes back on His Word. When we stray and take our own way, He will redeem us and lead us to the right path. When we fall, He will lift us up again to take the next step.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10 NLT
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
    and He will show you which path to take.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT
“For Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
    You rule throughout all generations.
The Lord always keeps His promises;

    He is gracious in all He does.
The Lord helps the fallen
    and lifts those bent beneath their loads.
The eyes of all look to You in hope;
    You give them their food as they need it.”
Psalm 145:13-15 NLT

“God won’t light your second step
until you have taken the first one.”
Woodrow Kroll

“As we trust God to give us
wisdom for today’s decisions,
He will lead us a step at a time
into what He wants us to be
doing in the future.”
Theodore Epp

“I will trust Him.
Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away.
If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him;
in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him;
if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.
My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow
may be necessary causes of some great end,
which is quite beyond us.
He does nothing in vain.”
John Henry Newman

Trust His Heart
by Babbie Mason

“All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don’t see
How they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth

Our Father knows what’s best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just don’t see Him,
Remember you’re never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His Heart
Trust His Heart…”

May God help us to take
one step at a time in 2020
and trust Him to lead us!

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