April Hope Whispers

God Promises

“For the Lamb on the throne
    will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
    And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”

Revelations 7:17

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death
or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.”

Revelations 21:4

Out of My Hands

“So, when it feels like all of this pain is never gonna end
Brought to my knees by all of these things
I don’t understand, don’t understand
I will let the weight of my fear fall like sand
Out of my hands and into Yours
Out of my hands and into Yours

Letting go of worries I can’t measure
Holding onto truth that’s healing me
Knowing I can trust You is a treasure
With eyes wide open now I finally see…”

Hope Quotes

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

“Only God can turn a mess into a message, a test into a testimony, a trial into a triumph, a victim into a victor.” ~ Fern Bernstein

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Nature Retreat

“If you will stay close to nature, to its simplicity,
to the small things hardly noticeable,
those things can unexpectedly
become great and immeasurable.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke ~

🙂 This month I’m sharing some of my own photos. 🙂

Arrowhead Park is named after a large, arrowhead shaped granite quarry that is now a lake. It’s one of my favorite nature hangouts, and I’m looking forward to visiting it again when it’s warmer. It’s a peaceful place where nature surprises abound.

I love to imagine where seeds will end up. And it renews my longing that in my words and actions I will scatter seeds of love and kindness always.

My One Word for 2015: Follow

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First of all, I want to wish you all a Blessed New Year. If you are hurting right now, I pray your heavy load will be lifted and you will find peace in Jesus! I wish you all loads of love, peace, and joy in 2015!

Looking back over the past year of writing, I have so much to be grateful for. When I read WordPress’ year-end report for 2014, I was awed to see visitors came here from 93 different countries. Thank you all for taking the time to stop in at my site. Whether you commented or not, I hope you have received hope in Jesus. And thank you for caring thoughts, prayers, and encouragement. They have confirmed to me that God wants me to keep on writing here. May I ask you to pray for me? That I will write only with an eye to His glory and not my own?

My One Word for 2014 was TRUST. As we neared the end of another year, I had to ask, “Lord, have I grown at all in trusting You?” Sometimes I think I do trust Him more to be a loving Father with pure intentions, but I have trouble still with placing my whole heart and life in His hands. I remain a work in progress. One day, when I am with Jesus forever, I will finally come to trust completely – no fears, no hesitations, no reservations. What a glorious day that will be!

As 2014 neared its end, my heart struggled to find a word for 2015. What do I want to focus on? What is lacking in my life? And so many words jumbled together in my mind.

Then I woke up on New Year’s Day facing the uncertainties of what 2015 would bring. I prayed that I would follow Jesus, not always try to run ahead of Him. As I discussed this with my husband, he repeated the phrase we love to remind ourselves of – “I don’t need to understand; I just need to hold Your hand.”

Yes! This is what I need throughout the year. To FOLLOW Jesus! To more and more give up my own way and surrender to His way. To cling to His hand, to not let go to find my own paths.

So easily I make my plan and then ask the Lord to bless it instead of waiting quietly at Jesus’ feet to hear what His plan for my life is and then take His hand and follow.

Then Jesus said to His disciples,
“Whoever wants to be My disciple
must deny themselves and
take up their cross and follow Me.”
Matthew 16:24

So what does the word “FOLLOW” mean for me in 2015?

  1. To surrender to God’s plans and let go of mine. I need to let go of my self-made plans and let Jesus direct me according to His plans for me. To trust Him, to cling to His hand, and follow Him in whichever paths He leads me.
  2. To strive for God’s glory, not mine. I want to let go of selfish desires. I often confuse “selfish” with anything I do for myself. But God’s plan is clearly written in His Word that I should take care of myself. I need to search my heart and sort out what selfish really means. Selfish is anything that elevates myself more than God. Specifically, I want to stop striving for approval and validation from people, longing to be recognized and elevated, and to focus on glorifying God in all I do, say, think, or write.
  3. To focus on the cross Jesus carried for me and be willing to follow His footsteps. To be willing to die to myself out of love for Him and for hurting souls. To accept what happens in my life as guided by His hand of love. To believe that no matter what happens, it is meant to prosper me and mold me more into His image and to His glory.
  4. To swallow Truth and spew out lies. Too easily I am led along by negative voices, either from my own insecurity or from the devil who wants to discourage me. I want to follow God’s Truth with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and to keep a tight grasp on who I really am in Him.

Do you have a word you’d like to focus on this year? What does it mean for you?

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“You Lead, I’ll Follow”
By Jamie Grace

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Praying we will hang onto Jesus’ hand
and let Him lead us!

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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

My People-Pleasing Addiction: I Want It to Stop

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I beg God about what to write, but when He says, “Just be real and don’t hide what you’re struggling with,” I don’t want to accept His answer.

I sit here stuck because I know what He wants me to write, but I don’t have a clue how to say it. Ok, I’ll try…

I’m a people-pleasing addict and I have a daily struggle with it. My life is too much about trying to please others and to control things that are out of my power instead of about being real, being who I am and who God created me to be, accepting who I am and what God has placed upon me.

I stress myself out far too much about hurting and disappointing people and it’s taking its toll on me. I will stretch myself beyond my limitations just to please someone else with no regard to my own health. I worry. I don’t want them to think I don’t care and that they’re not important to me. But the truth is I’m also worried they might love me less, and I drive myself crazy with it. I further terrorize myself with guilt that I’m not trusting their love enough.

“Something has to change,” I tell my husband for the umpteenth time when I again got sick. “I don’t want anyone to feel hurt, disappointed, or unhappy because of me. I’m always trying to please others.”

“But not yourself…” he replies.

But my mind reasons that I should think of others above myself. But I have that all mixed up. I would be thinking more of others if I took care of myself. When I don’t take care of myself, I’m disregarding the feelings of my loved ones who are pained when I get sick. It tears my heart out when any of them suffer, so I should remember how they must feel when I suffer.

My need to please others results in my becoming a bully of myself, and I know in my heart that God does not want that. But I don’t know how to stop it sometimes. Maybe that’s the problem. I keep trying to stop it instead of admitting I can’t stop it myself. I’m always spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Sliding back into that addiction again and again. I need help from a Higher Power, but I’m afraid to release my own power.

As I lay sick again, God whispered, “Just rest, My child, just rest.” Rest physically for my body but also rest in my spirit. Giving all things into His hands. Relinquishing my power to Him. Free-falling over the cliff into fear and uncertainty, trusting He’ll catch me and carry me on.

We all have an addiction in one way or another that punishes ourselves and detrimentally affects our loved ones who care so much. No matter who we are, we can all learn from AA’s Twelve Steps. Based on these steps, let’s search our hearts:

  1. Do we admit we are powerless in ourselves over _____ addiction? Do we admit our lives are unmanageable?
  2. Do we believe a Power greater than ourselves can restore us?
  3. Do we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him?
  4. Will we search our hearts and do a fearless moral inventory of ourselves?
  5. Do we admit to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs?
  6. Are we entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character? (Jesus says in John 5 – “Do you want to get well?”)
  7. Do we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings?
  8. Do we make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all?
  9. Do we make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others? (Amend means to change and make improvements, not just to say I’m sorry.)
  10. Do we continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it?
  11. Do we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out?
  12. As we have a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, do we try to carry this message to other _____ addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs?

It’s time for us to take care of ourselves as God wants us to. God is for us, but we can be our worst enemy when we’re wrapped up in our addictions. Let’s let go of our own self-sufficiency and fear to trust anyone else and fall into the hands of a God who loves and has our best interests at heart.

“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

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May we relinquish our control to God
Who has the power of love and grace in His hands!
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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace