April Hope Whispers

“For I know the plans
I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you
and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope
and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

SAFE
by Victory Worship

“You are never far away
Always reaching out to save
My weakness covered by Your strength
And I am found forever safe
I found my fortress in You
And my soul is anchored with You
My resting place is in Your name
Forever safe”

Hope-Breathing Quotes

“I know the world is crazy right now, but I’m so thankful that God knows our names, understands our emotions and is intimately involved with the development of our faith.” ~ Lois Flowers

Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company… You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing. Hope.” ~ John Piper

“Hope is the silver shaft of sun breaking through the storm-darkened sky, words of comfort in the intensive care unit, the first spring bird perched on a snow-covered twig, and the finish line in sight. It is a rainbow, a song, a loving touch. Hope is knowing God and resting in His love.” ~ NLT Life Application Study Bible: Zephaniah introduction

Nature is a Retreat of Hope

““Be as a bird perched on a
frail branch that she feels
bending beneath her,
still she sings away
all the same,
knowing she has wings.”
Victor Hugo

Thank you to my brother John for these beautiful bird photos.
(🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂)

Black-Necked Stilt
Roadrunner with a Lizard for His Lady
As part of the mating ritual, he carried the lizard from tree to tree and made a cooing sound.
Green Heron
Green Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Blue Heron
Great Horned Owl

 

Truths For When Life Doesn’t Make Sense

I didn’t get a post written last week as my emotions felt too raw and needed some processing.

Yesterday I came across an old post. Within it were some truths that encouraged my heart. I’m sharing them again with you, praying they will give you hope through whatever storm of life you are in.

God is God. We are not. We don’t need to make sense out of everything. Someday we will fully understand the bigger picture of all this.

Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now
what I am doing, but someday you will.”
John 13:7 NLT

The events and circumstances that perplex us can lead us into a deeper faith in God. They help us to rely more heavily on God and His promises. They refine us to be more like Jesus.

“But He knows the way that I take
[and He pays attention to it].
When He has tried me, I will come forth
as [refined] gold [pure and luminous].
Job 23:10 AMP

Bad things happen when people who are given choices choose evil. That doesn’t mean God doesn’t love us or doesn’t care. No evil will separate us from His love.

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory
is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing
can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed,
nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from
the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39

God has the power to protect us from evil, but sometimes He chooses to allow us to break, so we can be led deeper into the brokenness He suffered for us. The more we connect with His brokenness, the more He can use our brokenness to help others who are broken.

“As for you, you meant evil against me,
but God meant it for good,
to bring it about that many people
should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Genesis 50:20

No matter what happens, God’s plans and thoughts are for our good, not for evil. He gives us a future and a hope in Him.

“For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’
says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not
for disaster to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 AMP

 The sufferings we go through here are nothing compared to the glory hereafter.

“For I consider [from the standpoint of faith]
that the sufferings of the present life
are not worthy to be compared with the glory
that is about to be revealed to us and in us!”
Romans 8:18 AMP

“Look Up Child”
by Lauren Daigle

“Where are You now
When darkness seems to win
Where are You now
When the world is crumbling…”

Save Me, God, and Lead Me to the Rock

leadmetotherock

Depression is engulfing me in darkness and sinking me into a pit of quicksand. I am so overwhelmed and sad. I cry to God, but it doesn’t let up. I hear Him encouraging me, but I feel too weak to grasp His promises.

“Save me, O God,
for the floodwaters are up to my neck.
Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire;
I can’t find a foothold.
I am in deep water,
and the floods overwhelm me.”
Psalm 69:1-2

For some people church is a place of safety, worship, fellowship, and support. For me, it has been so different. We were raised in a church where I was more terrified of the hell and eternal darkness God would cast me into than hopeful for the unfailing love and precious grace of Jesus. In that church a sister, brother, and I were all sexually and spiritually abused by clergy.

My husband and I finally left that church and tried several other churches, only to end up having bad experiences in them also. Experiences that would throw me back into being a victim again.

A few weeks ago I tried going to church again, but I had the same result I often have. As I sat there, my mind disassociated again and I felt myself putting up walls and wanting to run and retreat into a hole. Depression and anxiety kicked in again.

We went on a little vacation, and it was so good to soak up God’s creation. Hope began to peek through the darkness. If God can make His creation thrive, His Spirit can fill me with life and help me thrive in this life for as long as He wants me to live.

But then we came home, and the depression set in stronger again.

I keep beating myself up that I must not have enough faith or I would be able to get past this fear. Yet I can’t control what happens in my mind and body.

Sometimes just when I believe God is healing me more deeply and helping me to place my identity in Jesus and His love for me, something like this happens. And I feel like a victim again.

Anyway, I’m all messed up, and I don’t want to write. I just couldn’t get myself to post last week as I feel so blocked and confused. I wonder what hope I could bring to other hurting souls when I’m so down myself. Yet it feels like God tells me to write anyway.

Perhaps I put too much pressure on myself. Telling myself I failed if I can’t go to church. Maybe it’s too rooted in me that I’m sinning if I don’t go. I really don’t know. But my heart tells me it’s not about going to church. It’s about my relationship with Jesus. And I feel I have to focus more on that. And be more patient with the ongoing process of healing.

Are you feeling depressed, overwhelmed, and hopeless? Do you feel like you have no control over the effects of abuse on your mind and body? There will be dark valleys in our life stories where the pressure of life squeezes out cries to God. And we learn again how totally dependent we are on Him. I’m trying to remember and I hope you will, too, that God has each of our stories in His hands. Every single incident in our lives is written there, and He feels our hurt as He writes our stories. Someday we will understand how much He is working towards our good. He has promised that His plan is to prosper us, never to harm us.

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As I look out my office window, I see and hear the birds at the feeders and in a nest close to my window. And God quietly whispers, “I take care of these birds. Not one of them is forgotten. Neither will I forget you, My child. I will never leave you or forsake you. You are sad and overwhelmed and wish you could sing with all your heart like these birds in praise to Me. But know, My child, you will yet sing forth My praise. I will lift you out of this darkness and plant your feet again on the Rock, Christ Jesus.”

“O God, listen to my cry!
Hear my prayer!
From the ends of the earth,
I cry to You for help
when my heart is overwhelmed.
Lead me to the towering rock of safety,
for You are my safe refuge,
a fortress where my enemies cannot reach me.”
Psalm 61:1-3

“Lead Me to the Rock”

Save us, O God,
and lead us to the Rock of Safety!

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Linking up with: 

Holley – Coffee For Your Heart 

Jennifer – Tell His Story 

Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith

Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews