September Hope Whispers

 

He Giveth More Grace

by Annie Johnson Flint
(1866-1932)

“He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

Fear not that thy need shall exceed His provision,
Our God ever yearns His resources to share;
Lean hard on the arm everlasting, availing;
The Father both thee and thy load will upbear.

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.”

~ More of Her Poems  ~

Free Hope Resource

Joy Lenton offers a free gift, an ebook to help us rise up to face life’s challenges:

“This book is for you if you’re feeling drained, depleted or discouraged. And for all who need a supportive word or inspiring thought to help bring hope and encouragement back to their heart. These words will remind you that you are more courageous than you realise, you are not alone in your struggles, and you’re stronger than you know.”

Soul Shots: 31 Days of Pocket Wisdom for Your Hurting Heart

I love this mural at the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls.
Created by THE KIND WAY
“Constant kindness can accomplish much.
As the sun makes ice melt,
kindness causes misunderstanding,
mistrust, and hostility to evaporate.”
Albert Schweitzer

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“Any glimpse into the life
of an animal quickens our own
and makes it so much the larger
and better in every way.”
John Muir

Thank you to my brother John
for these 
stunning photos.
🙂 Also for the interesting facts. 🙂

(Please respect copyright laws.)

The American Dipper can walk on the bottom of streams or dive for insects, etc.
Notice the American Dipper’s white eyelids? It is equipped with a third eyelid membrane for underwater, but the upper eyelid is covered with white feathers visible when it blinks.
“Who goes there?” wonders the coyote.
He is barking at my brother because his den or a kill must be nearby.
This juvenile Northern Jacana showed up near where my brother lives. It is only spotted in Arizona about once every 10 years. It usually lives in Mexico and central America. I hope he finds his way back home!
The Northern Jacana has the largest feet of any bird in proportion to its body size. It is sometimes called “The Jesus Bird” because it appears to walk on water when walking on lily pads and other floating vegetation.
Isn’t it beautiful how the yellow shows up when he’s flying? Another interesting fact is that the male builds the nest and incubates the eggs.

I’ve been trying to put less pressure on myself to post every week. So since my husband is taking some time off work, I want to free up some of my time. I hope to be back on either the 13th or 20th of October. One step at a time, right? 🙂

Hope and Strength When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

Negative voices piercing me, backing me into a corner, knocking the wind out of my sails. Satan worked furiously this summer to bring to my remembrance voices and actions from past abuse, slander, and hurts that tell me I’m not enough and I will never be enough.

It’s hard to keep fighting sometimes, isn’t it? To not believe lies that are so rooted in us? To reach for and cling to our identity in Christ Jesus who tells us we will always be enough in Him?

Also this summer, I visited a new pulmonologist, and I was so thrilled that I didn’t get a bronchial infection for two months. Thank You, God! Surely He must be blessing the new treatment…

Bang! Those hopes deflated like a popped balloon. A chronic bronchitis bout hit me extra hard throughout August. Thrown into a tizzy again, I questioned God’s wisdom… Why, God? 

It can be so hard to surrender our plans into His, can’t it?

I began to feel even more useless, and I fell headlong into the comparison trap. I was so envious of other people’s energy and how much God uses them. Defeated and drained of energy, physically and emotionally, it was hard to fight that “poor me” syndrome.

God so often rescues me from my selfishness and despondency. I’m baffled at His endless patience with me.

A blogging friend shared a new book that was exactly what God knew I needed. The first devotion was headed by a verse that God has often used to give me strength to refute those condemning lies. A verse I’ve been forgetting to take to heart lately…

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 8:1

As I read on, the second devotion sent a soothing balm to my troubled soul as I read how sickness and exhaustion never diminishes the work of God in our lives. Each of us has an inherent value as an image-bearer of God Himself. (Always Enough, Never Too Much: 100 Devotions to Quit Comparing, Stop Hiding, and Start Living Wild and Free)

You, too, have inherent value, deeply rooted in our Creator who fashioned us after His own image. No matter what you’re going through or what anyone says of you, God never condemns you. If negative thoughts are condemning us, it’s not coming from our Savior who has borne all condemnation for us so we can be set free.

Rather than condemning us, He opens His arms wide and invites us into His cleansing grace when we mess up or fail, His strength when we are weak and helpless, and His healing love when we are broken and afraid.

No, we will never be enough in ourselves, will we? We so desperately need Jesus to fill our emptiness. We need Him to breathe strength, hope, and life into our souls each and every moment.

“For it was You who created my inward parts;
You knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You
because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made.
Your works are wonderful,
and I know this very well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

The Lord willing, I will continue to post every Tuesday. However, I am still wrestling with balance. I need to put less pressure on myself here. If there are other needs pressing me or overwhelming me, whether in my family, around me, or otherwise, I need to let go and tell myself it’s ok if I post something shorter or don’t post at all.

But please know that whether or not I post, you’re always welcome to share your heart in the comments of any blog post or through my email. I would love to pray for you and with you. Above all, remember God is available 24/7. There is no better place for us to go with our hurts than to Him and His loving and compassionate heart. May He fill you with His love and hope!

How was your summer?
Did deep hurts sometimes feel like they would consume you?
Is there a Bible verse/promise that fills you with hope?
Please feel free to share your thoughts!

“YOU SAY”
by Lauren Daigle

“I keep fighting voices in my mind that say I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe…”

God Is Greater Than Whatever We Face in 2018

Are you discouraged or afraid of what awaits us in this new year? Perhaps while others are singing “Happy New Year,” you are entering this year with worry about what’s around the corner for us in this journey of life.

I think being a worrywart is my life’s default mode. It can weigh my heart down so much that I have trouble remembering how strong God is to overcome the giants blocking the way. I compare myself with the giants instead of comparing the giants with God.

I’m learning step by step to trust God and His all-sufficient grace more than the giants. And more than my feelings. My feelings can sway with the wind and can be misleading. They can cause me to cower and curl up in a ball of defeat when the giants overshadow me. They tell me that God has forgotten to be merciful in this world.

Not true! God’s Almighty power, love, and faithfulness never sway or change. God is loyal, constant, and steadfast. He was faithful in the past, He will be faithful today, and He will remain faithful in our future. He still has this whole world and every single heart in His hands.

So does He condemn us when we do worry? Never! There is NO condemnation in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) Others may tell us worry is a sin and we should “just have faith,” making our burdens even greater. But God knows how weak and frail we humans can be. He understands us more than anyone. His patience with us is bottomless. His love for us never lessens when we slip into worry or distrust of His plans.

Isn’t His love amazing?! No matter what we do or don’t do, He just keeps on drawing us into His love and inviting us to surrender our anxiety and burdens into His Almighty Hands and His all-sufficient grace.

“Come to Me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

We cannot know what will happen this year, and it’s a good thing we don’t. But God always knows. He has plans for each and every one of us. Plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us a hope and a future.

Does this mean there won’t be struggles, losses, or pain in our lives? Definitely not. Here we will have trouble. But the wonder is that even when it “feels” like God’s designs are against us, the absolute truth is that He is still working out everything towards our good.

The hope and future He plans to give us may seem a long time coming. But it will come, because He is a faithful Promise-Keeper. Someday our journeys here will end in a most glorious conclusion.

Meanwhile, may we take His hand and follow Him wherever He may lead us in this year, remembering that He has promised to be our refuge through all the storms in life and our Almighty strength in all our weakness. We are safe in His hands. He has proved that in the past, and He will continue to be our help today and in the future.

“God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable],
A very present and well-proved help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 AMP

“You Raise Me Up”
by Josh Groban

“When I am down and, oh, my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until You come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong when I am on Your shoulders;
You raise me up to more than I can be…”