May Hope Whispers

God Promises

“Such hope [in God’s promises] never disappoints us,
because God’s love has been abundantly poured out
within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 5:5
AMP

When I checked out what posts readers are drawn to the most so far this year, I was surprised to see the top three dated back between 2014 and 2016.

God’s Plan Is Greater Than Ours

“However messed up or painful our lives are, God has a plan of love towards us. We will suffer troubles on this earth, and often we will not understand. But He is never going to leave us in them. He will help us through them. And when the pain is so deep, He can go to those deep places in our hearts and heal those broken, hurting places. The incomprehensible suffering He went through for us and His triumph over all evil will get us through whatever suffering we must go through in this life. And someday we will see the bigger picture and see how God’s plan is the most beautiful design we could ever imagine.”
Read More…

Bloom With Love Wherever God Plants You

“Sometimes our focus gets skewed in the muck and messiness of life. We start thinking everyone else is better than we are instead of remembering God uniquely created each of us with a special purpose. Each one of us is needed in His garden. None of us is insignificant in His eyes.

The Gardener delights in each of His plantings. He places each plant in such a way that it will compliment the other in the grand scheme of things. Where one serves a purpose to some souls, someone else brings what is needed to other souls. Plants are placed exactly where God can give the best nourishment to each and they can in turn pass on that nourishment to others.”
Read More…

God Knows Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

Questions we sometimes ask God and His answers.
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Do You Feel Burned Out?

What We Learn From Burnout – Jennifer Renee Watson

I applaud Jennifer’s courage to bring out the hard things about mental health and faith. We need more of that, so we can help remove the shame many are burdened with.

Beat Burnout – I don’t listen to many podcasts, but I’m glad I listened to this important talk by Suzanne, Holley, and Jennifer.

“The past year has left many of us with a weird kind of burnout. We put words to those feelings, talk through what helps, and share next steps.”

When Your Heart is Bummed Out, Burned Out – Suzanne Eller

“Burnout isn’t just about busyness. Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, or spiritual exhaustion.

And that’s when it hit me. That’s where I am. I’m burned out. Burned out from the weight of hurtful discussions in our world. Burned out from trying to make sense of all of it. Burned out from feeling protective over friends walking through such hard places. Burned out from isolation. Burned out from the pandemic and all that it means.

Maybe you feel that way too.

Don’t push down that feeling or make a list of why you shouldn’t feel that way.”

Nature Retreat

“If you look into the mirror of nature
and cannot see yourself in it,
then you are too far away.”

by Camillus Lopez (O’odham Master)

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

Mama Mallard is so proud of her babies.
Common Gallinules
Acorn Woodpecker
Bell’s Vireo
Black-Headed Grosbeak
Long-billed Dowitcher
Greater Short-horned Lizard
Male Rattlers Fighting Over a Female
Cat-faced Orbweaver

Recover The Interests God Has Created In You

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God created each of us with unique interests. Finding those interests can help us to better understand who He has created us to be and help us to better use them to glorify Him.

Sometimes these interests get buried under painful memories, and it takes intentional work to recover them. Working through our pain can remove the blinders from our eyes, so we can more easily see what we loved as a child. To remember what made us feel alive and more hopeful in the midst of the darkness.

As a child, I didn’t know a loving Jesus. To me, God was angry, vengeful, and unapproachable. But as I look back, a God of love was still at work even though I didn’t see, feel, or know Him. He created in me interests that I now see as ways He made my life more bearable.

One of my fond memories was when my brother and I brought our Holstein cows from the pasture to the barnyard for milking. I loved smelling the country air and feeling it on my face. Hearing the frogs chirp in the creek making a ribbon through our pasture. Seeing the killdeer drawing us away from their nests with a shrill “Kill-deee! Kill-deee!”

“Kaaa Boss!” we would yell. Many of the cows would come when called and would head home in a long line, but there were usually those who stayed in the back of the pasture until we rounded them up.

I loved walking barefoot but it was kind of tricky when there were thistles to dodge. Once I didn’t see a dead one and stepped right into it. Ouch! My foot was still stinging when I plopped it smack dab in the middle of a cow pie so fresh it was still steaming. Yuck! And yet I remember the warm, soothing feeling squishing up between my toes. It actually helped take the sting out of my foot!

I loved animals, both the farm ones and wildlife. I was even intrigued by the ones others might call creepy, like bugs, spiders, and snakes. 🙂

Animals became a part of my dreams, too. I wanted to be a marine biologist. I wanted to study chimpanzees or gorillas like Jane Goodall.

As I grew into a teenager, I also dreamed of owning an orphanage. I wanted every child to feel loved and cared about. I wanted to shield them from all harm. I never got what I wanted, but God did give me children to care for. As a teacher, then a mother, and now a grandmother. Sometimes my heart aches for all the children in this world, and I wish I could protect them all from evil. I know I can’t though and I have to give them into the hands of Jesus who loves children and invites them to come to Him. What I can do is be a part of making every child I meet feel noticed, loved, and cherished.

Not all our dreams come to reality in our lives and seasons in our lives change. Sometimes because of circumstances, we have to let go of pursuits that gave us such joy, and that can be painful. Sometimes even those dreams we have that line up with passions we feel God has given us fall by the wayside. We don’t always understand why, but God can help us to grieve and move forward into the plan He has for each of us.

Through the heavy weight of not dealing with past abuse in my life, the long, difficult road of finally dealing with it, and this continuing journey of healing, there were and still are times I cannot see, feel, or appreciate the deep-seated interests God has given me. But God still preserves the makeup of who I am. Both children and nature still bring me joy and hope. I am still fascinated by the complexities of God’s creatures. All of God’s creation is God’s gift of love and grace. It inspires me to open my heart to His beauty and remember He is in control of our lives.

His creation includes you. I really do care about you readers. I don’t know you all by name, but God does, and I can still pray for you. I long for you to know the joy and salvation there is in Jesus. And I long for Him to set you free to recover interests He Himself has given you. Those interests that make you who you are.

Are there God-created loves inside you that got buried in the heaviness of life’s troubles? Interests you had as a child that made you feel more alive and hopeful even when you didn’t know God? Do you take time to enjoy them today as God’s way to give you more hope in the midst of the turmoil of our hearts, lives, and world?

If you are one of those children who were so abused and neglected that you weren’t allowed to enjoy anything or truly discover where your interests lie, I’m so very sorry. I hope you have gotten or will get help to work through the pain and to recover them. I pray God will uncover and revive the special person He made you to be, that unique, wonderful person He filled with special gifts and interests meant to glorify Him.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:14a

“For we are God’s masterpiece.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,
so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.”
Ephesians 2:10

“Wonderfully Made”
Matthew West

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Soul Rest in Nature: Hope Bursts Forth in Radiant Colors

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“What’s she doing? Who would want to take a picture of cattails anyway?”

“I would…” I said to myself.

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I love walking the trails of Outdoor Campus here in Sioux Falls where nature is kept as natural and unspoiled as possible. At the end of a trail, one must walk on the sidewalk of the entrance road into the park. Across the road are cattails. Last year I was walking a few feet behind three women. The one with the camera walked to the cattails to take pictures when one woman voiced her opinion.

DSC_0282 I guess everyone has a right to their own perspective of nature’s paintings. I admired the woman who was soaking up snapshots of everything she could of God’s canvas.

I have fond memories of cattails. I grew up on a farm, and I loved plucking the ripened, fluffy seeds from them and letting them float away with the wind to places nobody but God knows.

The truth is if we don’t venture across the road to see the cattails, we miss other hidden surprises. Behind those tall, stately, brown-suited plants is a pond. And sometimes there are even ducks on the pond.

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I never find anything mundane in nature. There always seems to be something new to surprise me, just like when I read the Bible. Something pops out that I didn’t notice after so many times of reading it. God’s Word and nature are so synchronized. Both resound with His voice.

When I went to the Outdoor Campus last week, I asked God, “Will You show me something new today?” As I walked there were so many various thrilling bird calls that I thought: Ah, hearing this is a beautiful surprise already that I never grow tired of. But then a cardinal flew in a few feet from me. He flew away before I could get a photo, but the rich red feathers, black mask around his eyes, and the distinguished red tuft are still etched in my memory bank. Thank You, God. Since then I have found out that the various calls I was hearing were all from cardinals. Did you know they have about two dozen different songs? Wow!

As I returned on the sidewalk I mentioned, I crossed the road to the cattails, and I found another surprise. Usually I see mallard ducks, but this time I saw what I think was a female wood duck.

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Nature remains one of my favorite soul-resting whitespaces.

God desires to show us
He is still with us.
If our eyes and ears
Are attuned to His voice,
We will be surprised
And even fascinated
By what He gives,
And hope will burst forth
In radiant colors.


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“We need to find God,
and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…
We need silence to be able to touch souls.”
– Mother Teresa

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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Whitespace Writing Prompt:
“Share a Whitespace Moment This Week”

A Soft Gentle Voice