February Roundup: Links, Quotes, Books & More



“On The Throne”
by Kari Jobe

“For the Lord is
He is able, He is faithful
Higher than the mountains that I face
Every season, I will press on
For God alone, is on the throne…”

ABCs of Jesus’ Love

Visit this page anytime and let me know if you’d like to add to the words describing Jesus’ love along with a verse supporting it. Remember, there is also a print-out of the original list.

 Another verse about Jesus’ Love:

❤  Marvelous Love 
“And I pray that Christ will be
more and more at home in your hearts,
living within you as you trust in Him.
May your roots go down deep
into the soil of God’s marvelous love.

Ephesians 3:17 TLB

Books

I am not always able to keep up with the abundance of books that promote hope, healing, and freedom, so I haven’t always read every one I post here and on the Books Page. Though many are on my long wish list. 🙂  Many will be from recommendations of online friends. If you ever know of a book that is not listed and that supports this website’s mission, please let me know. 🙂

The Furious Longing of God
by Brennan Manning

“Imagine a stormy day at sea, your ship yielding to a relentless wind, pummeled by crashing waves, subject to the awesome force of nature. A force that is both fierce and majestic. A power that is nothing short of furious.

Such is God’s intense, consuming love for His children. It’s a love that knows no limits, and no boundaries. A love that will go to any lengths, and take any risks, to pursue us.

Renowned author and ragamuffin Brennan Manning presents a love story for the brokenhearted. For those who are burdened by heavy religion. For those who feel they can never measure up. It is a provocative and poignant look at the radical, no-holds-barred love of our Heavenly Father. It is a message that will forever change how you view God.” (Amazon Book Review)

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 The Truth About You by Lesley – “It can be easier sometimes to present an image of who we would like to be or who we feel others want us to be, instead of living authentically as who we really are.” Lesley shares several truths of who we are in Jesus along with Bible verses that confirm them.

💞 Who God Says You Are: 17 Scriptures About Our Identity by Michelle Bengston – “Throughout my life, the enemy has whispered labels in my ear that I began to identify with and call myself. You’ve probably done that occasionally too.” Michelle shares the negative labels we sometimes identify ourselves with and continues with “but God says..” and proves it with a Scripture verse of the truth of our true identity in God.

💞 Only His Wounds Can Heal Us: Breaking Free from Self-Harm by Emma Scrivener – “As contradictory as it might sound, for the self-harmer, self-harm is self-help. So if we’re going to overcome self-harm, we need to embrace the help that God has given us elsewhere — help that does not scar us any further, but slowly begins to heal us.”

Nature Retreat

“For nature is the art of God.”
Thomas Browne
“Nature’s beauty is a gift
that cultivates
appreciation and gratitude.”
Louie Schwartzberg

Again, some awesome pics from my brother. 🙂 Thank you, John! (My brother kindly gives me permission to share his photos out of his desire to share the joy of nature with others, but as with all photos, I ask that you please do remember copyright laws.)

🐾 50 Most Amazing Natural Wonders in All 50 States – “From the majestic sequoias on the West coast, to the charming Cape Cod National Seashore on the East, you’ll find these 50 natural wonders simply enchanting.”

🐾 Explore.org Live Cams – Awesome! There are so many live cam feeds here of wildlife – birds, bears, African animals, ocean creatures, and more! Also domestic animals.

🐾 From Egg to Frog in 7 Weeks! – Amazing video of the growth of a frog.

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Quotes

Some more quotes on HOPE

❤ “I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank

“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.” – Martin Luther

“Carve a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of disappointment.” – Martin Luther King Jr

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Thank You
to anyone and everyone who recommends
links, books, quotes, etc.

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My Mom, Depression, and Love

Depression often plagued our mom, and it sometimes blinded her to our own pain, but she still loved us so much. On February 18, it will be 12 years since we lost her, so I’m reposting a revised article from 5 years ago. I’m sure many of you haven’t read it yet.

“That’s where all the crazy people go!” blurted one of my fellow grade-school students as our bus drove past the Mental Health Institute on our way to a field trip of a museum and planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa. False shame reached out its grubby hands and strangled me as I stared out the window at that unfriendly brick building, my enemy. The razor-edged words sliced into my heart, slashing the scream begging to give voice, “My mom is NOT crazy!”

My mom often battled bouts of depression when I was growing up. She wanted to be there for us kids, but she couldn’t. Several times throughout my childhood she would have stays in various hospitals.

Sadly, shock treatments and pills were the norm in those days. She didn’t receive quality counseling to enable her to work through the deep-seated childhood rejection and emotional abuse that added to her depression. Inevitably her pain kept festering inside, ready to shove her into debilitating illness time and again.

What especially hurt her was that even the minister and elders of the church we attended at that time didn’t offer comfort. Whenever my mom was in the hospital, they wouldn’t even visit her, even after she came home. Their silence and lack of support pierced and twisted a knife into her heart and further stoked the fire of shame that undermined her self-worth.

Add to that shame… Fear. Raw fear. We often heard about hell, and we perceived God as a distant, furious Judge ready to punish us. We didn’t hear how the love of Jesus offers hope, how Jesus hurts when we hurt.

In spite of her periodical battles with depression, I still knew Mom loved us. But when she disappeared, emotionally and sometimes physically, it was so difficult to convince my child’s heart. Sometimes I felt so abandoned.  I’d see her crying or in hysterics, and it tore me up. Like many children, I somehow felt guilty for her illness. Why couldn’t I make Mom happy? What did I do wrong?  When she was suicidal, it devastated me. Weren’t we worth living for? When she was again taken to a hospital, I was lonely and afraid.

Subconsciously I began to believe it was my job to make everyone happy. I became a people pleaser to try to quiet my longstanding belief that I helped cause my mother’s depression. If anyone around me was unhappy or upset, I would try to “fix” it. If I couldn’t make someone feel better, my load of guilt became heavier. What is wrong with me that I always mess up people’s lives?

It took years before I worked through my guilt and feelings of desertion. But the more I healed, the more I realized what a wonderful mom I really had. Although depression sometimes snatched her away from us or plunged her into inescapable self-absorption, she loved us deeply. There was nothing she enjoyed more than to be surrounded by her family, and I believe she would have sacrificed her own life to save ours. In fact, she nearly did.

One day I was curled up with a book on the couch. My little brother was in the playpen in the kitchen next to the doorway leading to the living room. Mom was in the kitchen heating oil for french fries in an aluminum pan on the gas stove burner. When she lowered the basket of frozen fries into the hot oil, an explosion of light and a bone-chilling shriek shattered my serenity. I snapped out of my frozen-in-fear moment and raced to the kitchen to see fire climbing up the curtains next to the stove. Oblivious to the burning flesh on her hands, Mom screamed, “Get the baby out! Get the baby out! Get Dad!”

I grabbed my little brother and rushed out to the barn. Meanwhile, Mom worked feverishly to get the fire out; and if my memory serves me correctly, she succeeded before Dad arrived. But then the pain took over and consumed her, and Dad rushed her to the doctor.

The 2nd and 3rd degree burns on her hands took time to heal. But later on, it was those love-scarred hands that soothed my fevered brow and brought me tea and toast when I was sick and patted my back with encouragement to pursue interests I enjoyed.

Sometimes her loving hand became a safety belt. A sudden step on the brakes would spring her hand out to hold back the one in the passenger seat. We had some special moments when this continued even when I was an adult and we had seatbelts. As my mom became older and I was the driver, we chuckled when one day my hand sprang out.

How I loved my “crazy” mom! I’m so proud of how she broke the abuse cycle of possibly generations of moms. She had to battle the monster of depression and she couldn’t always protect us from harm, but she still managed to show us a mother’s love.

I am so grateful that in the later years of her life, Mom was blessed with a counselor who nurtured her and encouraged her to find her identity in Christ Jesus. She was finally able to experience Jesus loves her and know she has priceless value in His eyes. Her faith in a Savior who sacrificed His life for her grew and blossomed like a rose. Deep-seated thorns of insecurity and depression still tried to inhibit her from full bloom, but she was still, oh, so beautiful. Yes, depression often dominated her life, especially when we were growing up, but I still picture the deeper scars on one of her hands. Scars of love. Sacrificial love. Even when a spinal stroke paralyzed her and took away her freedom to hug us, she still wanted us to know we were loved. Fighting for breath, some of her last words were whispered in succession, “I love you, I love you, I love you!”

I wish I could go back in time to those kids on that school bus. I would stand up to them and proudly tell them how much my “crazy” mom loved us and how blessed I am that she was my mother. I am a better, more caring person today because of her. And I know she is now with Jesus where she can forever bloom perfectly. There is no more depression and no more pain!

“When God Has Another Plan”

 

Only God’s Truth Can Fill Up What Bullies Take Away

“You see, we have a bucket inside of us,” She spread her little fingers across her heart. “When someone is mean to us, it empties our bucket. But if they say they are sorry or if they say something nice, it puts something back into our buckets.”

“Oh, I see… So if I say ‘Kamryn, I love you. You are so special,’ will that overflow your bucket?” Her face beamed as if to say, “Yes! You got it, Grandma!”

This story my grand-daughter heard nearly four years ago in Pre-Kindergarten concerning bullying really touched my heart. So simple, yet so profound. Scoop by scoop, condemning remarks can empty us of our security in who we really are. We can start basing our value on what others say instead of who God says we are.

We can become our own bully when we believe the lies cast on us by others or by Satan: What is wrong with me? I’m so ugly. I’m so dumb. I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve to be happy. I’m not worth it. I’m unlovable. I’m not strong enough. I can never do it as well as he/she can, so why even try?  And on and on… Shovelfuls of the “me God created us to be” go flying out of our buckets until there is nothing left to give.

Do you beat yourself up a lot? I’ll admit I do. I have a hard time liking myself. I wonder if it’s prideful or selfish to be kind to myself. But I am learning inch by inch that it’s not only ok to love ourselves, but it’s what God wants. This is not about self-adoration or narcissism. It’s about appreciating the unique person God created us to be.

“When you wound yourself with your words,
it’s the same to God as if you were doing it to someone else in your life.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves.
That means all of the ‘one another’ statements in Scripture
(i.e. be kind to one another, encourage one another)
apply in our relationship with ourselves too.”
Holley Gerth

So how can we be kind to ourselves? By filling our emptied buckets with God’s Truth. A solid, secure Truth that no one can steal from us. A Truth that will more than fill up what self-criticism or others’ bullying comments have robbed from us.

Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.”

Proverbs 30:5

God’s Truth for our emptied, wounded hearts:

💞 I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

💞 I am His masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:10)

💞 I am redeemed with the blood of Jesus. (Isaiah 43:1)

💞 There is no condemnation for me when I belong to Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

💞 I am precious and honored. (Isaiah 43:4)

💞 I am His royalty, a crown of splendor in His hand. (Isaiah 62:3)

💞 I am His own special treasure. (Malachi 3:17)

💞 Nothing will ever be able to separate me from the love of God. (Romans 8:37-39)

💞 Because of His faithful love and mercy, I will never perish. (Lamentations 3:22)

💞 He will restore my ruins. He will rebuild what is broken. (Isaiah 44:26)

💞 He fills my emptiness with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

💞 I can do all things through Jesus who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

We can’t always control the inward and outward bullies in our lives, but we can learn to be better equipped to handle them, both past and present. We can allow Jesus to fill our emptiness with His Truth, His healing, and His love. Then we will be able to base our identity, not in those negative voices, but in Jesus, who emptied Himself so our emptiness can be filled with Him. In Him, we are redeemed. In Him, we are secure. In Him, we are free.

“Beautiful”
by MercyMe