Summer Hope Whispers

Words from iBibleverses.com

Who God Says We Are

When times are tough, it can be easy for us to slide back into the rut of our insecurities and feelings of worthlessness. But the truth is, that even though we may “feel” insignificant and inadequate, God declares and maintains we are beloved, chosen, and favored!

🦋 What Would You Name Yourself? by Vaneetha Risner

“What we tell ourselves in our suffering powerfully shapes how we experience it.

Are you telling yourself that you are beloved? If you are certain that you are unconditionally and extravagantly loved by God, it will give you courage and hope, convinced that whatever is happening to you cannot be anything but God’s best for you. 

So what would you name yourself today? Would you name yourself by how you feel and the narrative that you subconsciously replay in your head… forgotten, unloved, undone? Or can you name yourself as you truly are… beloved, chosen, favored?”

🦋 Who God Says You Are by Nancy Beach

“One morning I opened my Bible and read today’s key verse: “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. Beloved, we are God’s children now” (1 John 3:1a, 2a).

Beloved. Valued. Belonging. Accepted. Wanted.

Regardless of what others say or do, our identity rests secure in who God says we are. He says we are beloved. He says we are cherished for who we are in His eyes, not because of something we’ve done or not done. We are precious in His sight, one-of-a-kind, created for a unique purpose.”

God’s Whispers of Love

When we feel unloved
God whispers His Truth
My child, I love you with an everlasting love!
With unfailing love I have drawn you to Myself!


When we feel ugly
God whispers His Truth
My child, I have wonderfully created you
And I delight in your beauty!


When we feel dirty,
God whispers His Truth
My child, I have purified you
And made you whiter than the snow!


When we feel defeated,
God whispers His Truth
My child, in spite of everything that happens to you,
You are more than a conqueror through Him who loves you!


When we feel rejected and deserted,
God whispers His Truth
My child, I will never ever abandon you
I am with you always even to the end of the world!


When we feel at a loss about what to do,
God whispers His Truth
My child, no matter the situation or the chaos,
I am still in control and will get you through this!
Just keep taking one step at a time.
You don’t need to understand,
You just need to hold My hand.


(Jeremiah 31:3, Psalm 139:14, Psalm 45:11, Romans 8:37,
Psalm 51:7, Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 28:20)

“Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens;
    Your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
    Your justice like the ocean depths.
You care for people and animals alike, O Lord.
How precious is Your unfailing love, O God!
All humanity finds shelter
    in the shadow of Your wings.”

Psalm 36:5-7

Nature Retreat

”Go out, go out, I beg of you
And taste the beauty of the wild.
Behold the miracle of the earth
With all the wonder of a child.”

~ Edna Jacques ~

I love walking along the trail near the river, soaking in the sights and sounds of “the beauty of the wild” as the author of this quote puts it. Every bit of it still fills me with “the wonder of a child.” The heaviness in my heart over all that’s going on in this world seeps away as I remember how God has clothed and preserved the beauty of His creation and He is still in control.

Now for the grand finale of photos… My brother John recently discovered Great Blue Herons cough up pellets of the indigestible parts of the food they eat just as owls do. Okay, so I said “Gross!” when I first saw it. But it still fascinates me how God has equipped some birds to do this. Can you imagine what a belly ache all those indigestible parts would cause otherwise?

2021 Reflections on the Grace God Still Gives Us

2021 has been a tough year, hasn’t it? Most likely, for all of us in one way or another. Physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing. Losses of different kinds. Deep hurts in so many hearts. Uncertainties and fears about the future.

But God… Yes. But God is still with us and is giving us grace to survive. Even when we feel forsaken. Even when we feel weary, troubled, and sorrowful. Even when events in our lives or in the world have crushed us. He is still holding us up with His faithful love and compassion that will never, ever leave us.

This year God is teaching me on a deeper level how crucial it is to:

🦋 Remind my fainting heart to keep my eyes fixed on God’s unchangeable character. All the heartaches and changes in our world may disorient us or depress us, but God will never change and His love will never abandon us.

🌈 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed, says the LORD, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10 NIV

🦋 Let go of my tight-fisted grip of “needing to fix” situations out of my control. This is so hard to do, isn’t it? But God longs for us to leave these anxieties in His Almighty hands and to believe in His power to heal, redeem, and bring justice in His time and way.

🌈 “This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT

🦋 Diligently seek, pay attention to, and thank God for the beauty and the blessings still surrounding me. There are so many blessings right in front of us that we take for granted each moment, right? The beauty in God’s creation, the strength we’re given with each breath and step we take (whether emotionally, physically, mentally, or spiritually), the kindness and love many people still do show. And on and on it goes. Even in the midst of chaos and heartaches, God still heaps on the invaluable gift of His grace so freely.

🌈 “And from the overflow of His fullness we received grace heaped upon more grace!” John 1:16 TPT

What has been the toughest trial to you personally this year? What special grace have you been given even in the midst of it, whether in the moment or in hindsight?

When It’s Hard to Let Go and Trust God to Catch Us

Courtesy of Jeanne Takenaka

Heavy emotions can feel like an undercurrent tugging us down into discouragement and depression, can’t they? We can keep trying to desperately cling to our only HOPE. But sometimes… Lord, I can’t hang on anymore…

I sometimes feel so overwhelmed with sadness over all the sorrow and suffering in the world, and this Covid pandemic has my emotions all over the map. But I often trap them inside. I feel compelled to show others I am strong enough to handle them on my own. Including God… I allow burdens, that of others and of myself, to weigh me down too much instead of truly surrendering them over to God who alone has the power to rescue, redeem, and restore.

I even fight against the way God chooses to redeem and revive. I forget not a tear is wasted. I forget that our hearts are transformed the most through suffering. I forget God has the power to paint beauty out of ashes.

Before this Covid crisis hit us, I downloaded a free devotional book about Finding God’s Presence in Everyday Living. When Jeanne Takenaka wrote it, she had no idea how fitting it would be for such a time as this.

One morning my heart nudged me to get back to reading it. The first words I read expressed my feelings:

“Have you ever felt like life was overwhelming you? Like thing after thing was piling on you, stealing your strength and leaving you gasping?” (Jeanne Takenaka)

Oh yes, that is how I feel, Lord! Please help us!

Then towards the end of the devotion:

“When the ground beneath us shifts, God’s mercy upholds us. He is always with us, in every season. 
 
We can find reassurance knowing our Father’s got us. He’s holding our hands and sharing His consolations with us when we need them most.” (Jeanne Takenaka)

Yes, Lord, I want to believe
Your mercy will hold us up!
I believe, please help my unbelief!

The ground beneath us has shifted drastically throughout this entire world. We may feel like we’re free falling into a deep, dark hole. Simple everyday things we thought we had control of have been taken out of our hands.

But God…

God’s got us, and His mercy will uphold us, no matter what we’re going through. So why am I still afraid?

You know how a well-adjusted child jumps into the arms of a loving father? Trusting with all his heart that Daddy will catch him?

When our trust has been so broken in life, even when we have come far on the journey of healing, fear can suddenly pop up. Lack of control over our lives may trigger fear of trusting others, even our Heavenly Father. Even when He invites us, “Come, My child. Jump into My arms. I’ll catch you and I’ll hold you closely in My loving arms. I won’t harm you. I’ll fight for you. So trust Me, My child! I’ve got this! Trust My way and My timing. Relax, let go of your grip on control, and surrender your heart and life to Me. Let yourself fall into My arms!” 

Desperately, we keep holding onto some form of control. Is He really safe? Will He truly catch us? Will He hold us and get us through this?

God has promised He will!

“The eternal God is your refuge and dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;
He drove out the enemy from before you,
And said, ‘Destroy!’”
Deuteronomy33:27 AMP

And you know what? God doesn’t condemn us when we slip and find ourselves not trusting Him again. He understands that struggling journey far better than any person in the world does. He accepts us just as we are in all our humanness. He understands how our emotions can take us all over the map. But He never gives up on us, even when we give up on Him. He holds His arms open wide and keeps coaxing us to let go and fall into His arms of mercy and unfailing love that He has promised will support us!

“Unless the Lord had given me help,
I would soon have dwelt in the silence of death.
When I said, “My foot is slipping,”
Your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.”
Psalm 94:17-18

Just Be Held
by Casting Crowns
“Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on
And when you’re tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There’s freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go
So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held…”