March Hope Whispers

Truths That Breathe Hope

❤️ God’s Love Faithfully Remains With Us ❤️

“Be strong and courageous.
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them,
for the Lord your God goes with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV

❤️ God’s Love Graciously Forgives Us ❤️

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, 
the forgiveness of sins,
in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Ephesians 1:7 NIV

❤️ God’s Love Fully Frees Us ❤️

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah,
His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross,
we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments
chalked up by all our misdeeds.
And not just barely free, either.
Abundantly free!”
Ephesians 1:7 The Message

“When I’m kicking and screaming
When I struggle believing
God, You are always faithful
No matter what
When my eyes cannot see it
And my heart doesn’t feel it
God, You are always faithful
No matter what
No matter what…”

Spring Breathes Hope

The robins are here! Yes! Even though we’re still having cold days, it’s a sign that breathes life and hope. We so need that in these troubling times, don’t we? What part of spring breathes hope in your heart?

🦋 “And springtime rallies at the touch of the breath of God.” – Unknown

🦋 “Spring is far more than just a changing of seasons; it’s a rebirth of the spirit.” – Toni Sorenson

🦋 “A life without love is like a year without spring.” – Octavian Paler

Our Suffering Matters to God

All the violence, abuse of power, and painful losses in this troubling world is devastating. So many are suffering loss and pain at home and abroad. Because of this, we may tend to beat ourselves up when we murmur over our own troubles and struggles.

Do you ever minimize your own troubles because others have it worse? Do you ever feel selfish when you feel complaints in your heart over your own suffering? This month God used this blog post to remind me our struggles are always valid to Him. And it’s both necessary and healthy to acknowledge and grieve our own suffering. – Your Suffering Is Valid, Even When Others Have It Worse by Shannon.

“I understand what we are trying to do when we play down our troubles because they are small in comparison to what others are experiencing. We’re trying to put things in perspective so we can be grateful, avoid feeling sorry for ourselves, and be compassionate to others. However, I think minimizing our troubles can sometimes be harmful. It leads us to ignore our feelings, which can increase our stress, cause feelings of self-doubt, harm our self-esteem, and heighten our anxiety.”

“We’re not required to choose between acknowledging either our suffering or their suffering; we can acknowledge both our suffering and their suffering.”

Shannon from Of The Hearth

Nature Retreat

“Perhaps the butterfly is proof
that you can go through a great deal of darkness
yet become something beautiful.”
– Beau Taplin –

“Just when the caterpillar
thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly.”
– Chang Tzu –

I’ve been thinking lately of how a butterfly must struggle first to become beautiful and freed to fly. So this month my heart feels nudged to share some of the butterfly photos I took in 2012 at the butterfly house and to remember why I named this site Freed to Fly.

Jesus Knows, Understands, and Cares About Each of Our Stories

“What was that?”

Some of the residents here at the 55+ condo association where we live had a hard time hearing me before masks. But now it’s even worse. I know they didn’t hear me when they change the subject or answer way off base.

Then last week I went for my first Covid vaccine. Same problem of not being heard. At the registration, I had to lean in so she could hear me answer her questions.

After the shot, I had to sit among some spaced chairs for at least 15 minutes in case of reactions. As I sat there, I looked around at the eyes above the masks. Some eyes appeared sad or defeated. Have they ever shared their story or their feelings? Were they heard? Really heard? Heard in a way that they felt believed, understood, and supported? Or did they try to tell someone only to feel rejected because of insensitive remarks, changed subjects, or turned backs? Were their burdens belittled and made heavier with Christian platitudes or judgmental opinions?

Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional pain, everyone has a need to be heard. Really heard, not just on the surface, but at a deeper level of caring about what they’re going through. A lament for their pain. A coming alongside them with empathy, compassion, and respect.

Do you sometimes not feel heard, supported, and valued?
Do you feel alone in your pain?
Do you wonder if God hears your cries?

Jesus always hears us in the deepest way. He already knows the story behind our eyes and is always ready to give us His full, undivided attention. He reaches out with compassion for the hurting. If we’re overwhelmed by pain and sinking in the storms of life, He reaches down and pulls us up and revives us with His life-giving breath. Again and again. His hand is always extended towards us and He never tires of rescuing us.

Jesus invites us to keep pouring out our hearts to Him, even though answers seem slow in coming. He listens with love, not judgment. Jesus is a Faithful Friend who ALWAYS hears us with unbounded love, compassion, empathy, and understanding. He loves us so much that He laid down His life for us. He cares so deeply about our stories that He hurts when we hurt. When others abandon us, He never, ever will. When others don’t believe us or heap guilt upon us, He knows the truth of our stories and will never condemn us.

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—
how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? 
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen?
 It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. 
Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—
is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us."
Romans 8:32-34

"Because of Your great compassion
 You did not abandon them in the wilderness.
 By day the pillar of cloud did not fail to guide them on their path, 
nor the pillar of fire by night to shine on the way they were to take."
Nehemiah 9:19

"And the God of all grace, 
who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, 
after you have suffered a little while,
 will Himself restore you and make you
 strong, firm and steadfast."
1 Peter 5:10

“He counts the stars one and all
He knows how much sand is on the shores
He sees every sparrow that falls
He made the mountains and the seas
He’s in control of everything
Of all creatures great and small

And He knows my name
Every step that I take
Every move that I make
Every tear that I cry
He knows my name…”

God Hears Our Cries and Yearns For Us To Open Our Eyes to His Bottomless Well of Love

Do you feel alone, rejected, and misunderstood?  With nowhere to turn? Like even God has left you?

When Abraham sent away Hagar and Ishmael, they wandered in the desert. Aimlessly. With a canteen of water and some food that soon ran out. Now what?

As their bodies dehydrated, they became weak and lethargic. Hagar couldn’t bear seeing her son die, so she hid him under one of the bushes and distanced herself. She sat down and sobbed. Doesn’t anyone care?

Then an angel called to Hagar, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.”

Hagar was physically weak from lack of water and spiritually devastated of hope. But God graciously reminded her that He hears. And He lifted her head and opened her eyes to see a well, and hope surged through her soul. She got up, filled her water skin, and gave her son a drink.

While man-made wells can and do run dry, the well of Jesus’ love is bottomless and will never, ever run dry. It’s available to each of us, waiting for us to drink freely from it. It’s full to overflowing of:

Yearning love that “longs to be gracious” to us.

Selfless, sacrificial, and redeeming love that came down to become “an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

Unconditional, nonjudgmental, and freeing love that holds “no condemnation” for those who believe in Him.

Replenishing, restoring love that says to those whose hope has dried up, “I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.”

Healing love that heals our broken hearts and binds up our wounds.

Compassionate, understanding love that “empathizes with our weaknesses.”

Never-abandoning love that says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Unfailing love that reaches to the heavens and is priceless.

Sometimes our grief-blinded eyes and our pain-crushed hearts can focus only on the pit of our misery rather than the hope God places right in front of us. The hope that He sees and hears us always. The hope that His love is faithful and will never reject us.

If you are having a difficult time, may Jesus hold you up and strengthen you. May He lift you and carry you when you can’t go any further. May He each morning not only open our eyes to His never-emptying well of love, but also empower us to drink from it.

“But whoever drinks of the water
that I will give him shall never thirst;
but the water that I will give him
will become in him a well of water
springing up to eternal life.”
John 4:14

God Loves You
by Jaci Velasquez

“In the quiet, love is reaching.
It`s yours to hold,
Be still and know that
Even when you`re lost and lonely,
And hope is gone, you`re not alone.
Far beyond the understanding,
There`s a hand that leads,
If you believe.
Through the darkness, see the light.
Remember God loves you.”