September Hope Whispers

 

God Is Still With Us
Through the Storms of Life

Three tornados whipped through Sioux Falls this month, causing damage and devastation to some businesses and homes. There were injuries, but thankfully no deaths.

Avera Heart Hospital was among the buildings damaged. They shared a photo of a chunk of wood that broke through the lobby window. Do you see the cross?

Our windows may be broken, our building damaged, but even during the roar of the storm, God shows up.” Avera shared.

God still sends hope in the midst of life’s storms. It may not always “feel” like it in the midst of anguish and devastation, but He is holding us up. He never backs out on a promise!

“And surely I am with you always,
to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28:20b

God Can Turn Our Struggling Stories
Into Hope For Other Strugglers

Do you ever watch America’s Got Talent? I’m not always able to, but I like watching it, especially during the finals. What I love the most are the stories where tragedy turns to triumph. This year’s winner is Kodi Lee, a blind and autistic young man who plays piano and sings so beautifully and with such heart. Though this song was not his final one, “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Waters” was one of my favorites.

There were other contestants who are winners, too. By sharing their stories of pain and using their gifts, they will continue to make a difference by breathing hope into hopeless, broken hearts.

Tyler suffered leukemia at age 4 and was bullied in school because of his lack of hair. He turned to music in a violin and is now not only an 11-year-old cancer survivor but a remarkable violinist who gives hope to other children with cancer.

Voices of Service, military members who act as a light in the darkness to soldiers suffering with PTSD, will continue to spread hope and make others feel less alone and more understood. I love their Footprints In the Sand.

There are others who came from disadvantaged neighborhoods/countries or special circumstances that encourage others to never give up.

We Are Never
Invisible to God 

This month I reread The Invisible Woman: When Only God Sees by Nicole Johnson. I was reminded again that nothing we do needs to be noticed or praised by people. Focusing our hearts on God alone and what He sees changes our perspective in life.

The story that especially touched my heart is that of one of the workers building a great cathedral. He was carving a tiny bird that eventually would be covered by the stone roof. Someone asked him why he was spending so much time and giving so much attention to something that no one would ever see. The builder continued carving and replied,

“Because God sees.”

Years later Martin Luther urged people to have the same perspective:

“Milking a cow was no less holy than giving an offering. Luther believed that a housewife had as great a calling as a high priest, and that both should perform his or her work as though God alone were watching. Holiness comes from God and from the heart of the person doing the work, not from the work itself.”

© Nicole Johnson (from book The Invisible Woman)

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

“The best remedy for those who are
afraid, lonely or unhappy
is to go outside, somewhere
where they can be quite alone
with the heavens, nature, and God.”
Anne Frank
Photos from Our Ever-Changing Falls

Bird Photos From My Brother John in Arizona
Immature Black-crowned Night Heron
Gray Hawk
Possibly an Immature Sharp Shinned Hawk
Immature Red-Tailed Hawk

 

May Roundup of Hope Resources


ABCs of Jesus’ Love

(Visit this page for more verses!)

❤  Holy Love 
“The angel replied,
‘The Holy Spirit shall come upon you,
and the power of God shall overshadow you;
so the baby born to you will be
utterly holy—the Son of God.’

Luke 1:35 TLB

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Hope Harbor

💞  Articles/Blog Posts That Inspire Hope and Healing 💞

💞 Hard Times? How to Hear God’s Song Louder Than Any Hard Times – Ann Voskamp’s guest post by Aubrey Sampson – “In a world full of hate, abuse, and game change, God doesn’t avoid or ignore pain. He sings a louder song over it. And He invites His hurting people to sing with Him.”

💞 It’s Okay to Process Your Loss – Dolly Lee shares about learning self-compassion toward our hurts. To God, suffering is suffering, and He doesn’t compare one to another. – “When we don’t deal with what is inside us, it tends to result in other harmful attitudes and actions.” 

💞 You’d Never Know It From Looking At Her – Alia Joy shares honest truths about the hidden pain of mental illness. – “Sometimes it’s hard to be the one in line for your antidepressant, or anti-anxiety meds, or in my case all of the above with an added antipsychotic to control my bipolar disorder. Sometimes we don’t want a consult, we just want a connection. We just want to know it’s ok. We just want to know we’re not alone.

Nature Retreat

“The more often we see the things around us –
even the beautiful and wonderful things –
the more they become invisible to us.
That is why we often take for granted
the beauty of this world:
the flowers, the trees, the birds, the clouds –
even those we love.
Because we see things so often,
we see them less and less.”
Joseph B. 

Again, some awesome pics from my brother. 🙂 Thank you, John!

Yes, Big Bertha is really the name of this cactus!
Cactus Wren’s Home
Cactus Wren’s Nest
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl Facts

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Quotes

❤ How radically must we rework our own self-image if we accept ourselves as loveable – as deeply, passionately, and unconditionally loved by God?” – Antony Campbell

Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” – Brennan Manning

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

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

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The Harmony of Nature: God’s Promise He Will Not Reject Us

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“Look at the sun shining in the window,” my counselor once said as she reminded me to notice the “little” signs of hope that God is still with us. I looked up at the small window up in the corner of the room. Sunlight streamed in, but I hadn’t noticed it.

It appears every day, so what’s so special about it? How does that give us hope? Sometimes our eyes are either so glued to our troubles that we can’t see past them to the miracles of life and God’s provision, or we are so accustomed to seeing a miracle that we become blinded to see what a gracious gift it is.

When we were on vacation, we took a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River. My husband and I got excited every time we saw a bald eagle. A young man in front of us asked, “Don’t you see them where you live?”

“No… More hawks than eagles…”

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“We see them all the time in Osh Kosh, so I guess I don’t pay attention to them much anymore.”

Little does he know that God sent me a lesson in those words. Blessings surround me, and yet I don’t pay attention to them anymore. I expect they will always be there, and I don’t see the miracle in them being there at all. Our loved ones, our homes, food enough, our freedoms in this country, our senses, and so many other gifts enfold us. And what a wonder that God speaks daily to us in the miracle with which nature runs its course – the sun by day, the moon by night, all creation speaking faithfully to us.

God never fails to keep nature running like clockwork. The sun lightens our world day after day, even through the clouds. Imagine how cold it would be without its rays of warmth. The moon and stars shine in the darkness of the night. The laws of all creation continue day and night. We can always count on the changing of seasons guided by the never-failing love of God. Nature flows faithfully in all its beauty, each and every creature and created thing a nonstop sign that God watches over every little detail and is with us 24-7.

Just as God doesn’t abandon His creation, He never leaves us or pushes us aside. He is as likely to reject us as He is to abolish the laws of nature.

“I am as likely to reject my people Israel
as I am to abolish the laws of nature!”
This is what the Lord says:
“Just as the heavens cannot be measured
and the foundations of the earth cannot be explored,
so I will not consider casting them away
for the evil they have done.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
~ Jeremiah 31:36-37

We can find hope in the harmony of nature. God doesn’t abandon or reject it, but He delights in it and nurtures it. He has promised the same for us, but we need to stop our busy lives and look for it, feast our eyes upon it, and let its hope penetrate our hearts.

More Soul Rest Nature Photos from our Vacation

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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace