Hope When It Hurts {pt 3}

“The Lonely Path to the Summit”

In 2 Corinthians 4:10-12, Paul summarizes all that he is facing in two phrases—he is “carrying in the body the death of Jesus,” but not without purpose, for it is “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” Following a suffering and rejected Savior in a fallen world will involve suffering—both because the world is fallen and because the world rejects its King. But when we suffer and choose to trust Christ through the trials we face, we are filled with His power and presence, reflecting His image to those around us.

The road of hurt is marked by hope. But we shouldn’t underestimate that this road can, at times, be lonely. It was for Jesus, and it will be for those who follow in His steps.

I have discovered within me a thankfulness for the lonely road I have been given to travel. Walking it has brought me a greater understanding of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ and to know him not only as my Savior, but my comfort, sustainer, hope, and strength. There’s something about having our worldly comforts stripped away, and company around us falling away, that allows us to begin to experience the true depth, length, and height of his love for us.

  • Jesus knows the pain of loneliness.
  • He knows the loneliness of being misunderstood,
  • the loneliness of being rejected by his own family,
  • the loneliness of praying in agony while his closest friends drifted off to sleep nearby,
  • and the loneliness of being abandoned by his Father.
  • And he did it all for you.

One day, the road will end, and it will end in the eternal city of God’s people. The loneliness of this world will be washed away in the presence of Christ.

The path is uphill, but the summit is glorious.

EXCERPT TAKEN FROM HOPE WHEN IT HURTS: BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS TO HELP YOU GRASP GOD’S PURPOSE IN YOUR SUFFERING BY KRISTEN WETHERELL & SARAH WALTON

How are you doing today, friend? What kind of ‘road’ are you traveling on right now? You need not travel alone for Jesus knows the load you carry. Have you taken it to Him? Don’t walk your journey alone. Even if everyone else around may fail us, HE WILL NEVER FAIL!

Keep the faith! The road of hurt is marked by hope…God’s hope!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Hope When It Hurts {pt 1}

Power in Weakness

Americans will do almost anything to appear strong, capable, and worthy of admiration. We exercise our bodies with intensity, climb the corporate ladder at the expense of integrity, and struggle to accept the help of other people. Our society works by the principle that the way up is the road to success and value.

When we transfer this into our Christian faith, here is what happens: We believe that comfort is a right that Christ would never remove, and that success indicates a godly Christian life. This sense of entitlement has therefore deeply impacted the way Christians interpret and respond to suffering.

Think about how we talk about and react to a trial. We try to avoid it. We complain about it. We think we don’t deserve it. We’re embarrassed by it. We commiserate with others about it. We believe that God is mad at us, or just plain angry.

We hate weakness and will do almost anything to escape it.

One big problem with this approach is that weakness is real. Behind our masks, everyone is weak. It’s inbuilt into our humanness in this world. We can’t run from it, and thankfully we don’t need to. What we need is a biblical understanding of the value of weakness (that’s a strange-sounding phrase!), and how suffering is the tool God uses to expose it (that’s another strange idea!).

Everything changes when we see weakness and suffering in the light of the gospel. For it is through human weakness that God’s strength upholds us and is displayed to the world.

Here is the Bible’s description of who a Christian is:We [are those who] have this treasure in jars of clay.” What treasure? The glorious gospel: the work of Jesus Christ to save sinners by grace through faith. And what is clay? A brittle, easily broken substance. And that’s what I am. That’s what you are.

God has a purpose in placing such a treasure in such a jar. We are unfit, breakable, disposable vessels, and God has decided to use our weaknesses to display his power and love. A jar of clay might be cracked in a few places, making it unusable in the world’s eyes, but God sees these deficiencies as a means to pour out and reveal more of Himself.

excerpt taken from Hope When It Hurts: Biblical Reflections to Help You Grasp God’s Purpose in Your Suffering by Kristen Wetherell & Sarah Walton


2 Corinthians 4:6-7 says, “For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves:”


In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

“The Sweetest Gift”| Comfort for Those Left Behind

I came across this song tonight and had to share. May it be a comfort to your soul.


“The Sweetest Gift” written by Craig Aven

I’m not going to lie.
Christmas really hurts this time
Cause you’re not here to celebrate with me.
Tears fill my eyes.
And memories flood my mind,
As I place your ornament upon our tree.
Although this year I have a broken heart,
It gives me hope and joy as I remember where you are.

Chorus:
You’re with the Son of God.
You’re with the Prince of Peace.
You’re with the one we’re celebrating
And that thought amazes me.
Sometimes I still break down,
Grieving that we’re apart,
But the sweetest gift is knowing where you are.
You’re with the Son of God.

Got your picture in a frame
And a stocking with your name.
Oh God knows it’s been hard letting go.
And I can’t bring you back,
But I’ll see you again.
And oh, that thought is healing to my soul.
I’ll miss making angels with you in the snow.
I guess instead you will be singing with them
All around God’s throne.

Chorus

And I know the Christmas season
Was your favorite time of year.
You loved to help us decorate our tree.
But now that you’re with Jesus,
I can’t imagine how you feel
Cause He’s the one who bled and died
Upon the tree for you and me.

Chorus

Credits:
“The Sweetest Gift” written by Craig Aven
Produced by Jon Schmidt and Chuck E. Myers “sea”
Arranged by Jon Schmidt, Chuck Myers, Al van der Beek & Steven Sharp Nelson
Craig Aven: Vocals
Jon Schmidt: Piano
Steven Sharp Nelson: Cello
Piano and vocals recorded by Jake Bowen at Big Idea Studios
Cello recorded by Al van der Beek at TPG Studios
Mastered by Al van der Beek

Video Produced and Filmed by Paul Anderson & Shaye Scott
Video Edited by Shaye Scott & Paul Anderson


The link below should send you to the youtube video.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0yFXfAGl17M


“I would have despaired had I not believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for and confidently expect the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for and confidently expect the Lord” Psalm 27:13-14 (amp).

We truly do have alive Hope all because of Christ. Oh, thank you Lord for this sweetest gift…JESUS CHRIST!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

…just in case you doubted 

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Grace {live like you have it….Oh you do!}

grace.png


I love music. Not all music, but I love music. God-honoring focused music, ok and The Piano Guys…lol….HA! :0) I know there is a whole music debate out there, but I will be frank with you right up front — this post is not about that. The song posted below (Grace by Laura Story) has been running through my veins for the past couple of days. Personally, I have sang and played this song often in church and at home, but truly it has just been an outpouring of this heart. I’d like to share it with you today and pray that it is a blessing to you. Know that we are all works in progress — so take heart, don’t give up, my friend! We serve and have a mighty, powerful, gentle and loving God who is ready to forgive, love, give wisdom and grace whenever sought by a whole heart. He is eagerly awaiting our coming/calling upon Him. He is faithful. He is unchangeable. God is never failing. He is stable. We have hope in Him. We are empowered through Him — for Christ liveth in me! We have salvation through His Son! Enjoy your Lord!

Blessings to you friends.

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}


Grace by Laura Story

(1) My heart is so proud. My mind is so unfocused.

I see the things You do through me as great things I have done.
And now You gently break me, then lovingly You take me
And hold me as my father and mold me as my maker.

(2) At times I may grow weak and feel a bit discouraged,
Knowing that someone, somewhere could do a better job.
For who am I to serve You? I know I don’t deserve You.
And that’s the part that burns in my heart and keeps me hanging on.

(3) As I walk with You, I’m learning what Your grace really means.
The price that I could never pay was paid at Calvary.
So, instead of trying to repay You, I’m learning to simply obey You
By giving up my life to you For all that You’ve given to me.

(Chorus) I ask you: “How many times will you pick me up,
When I keep on letting you down?
And each time I will fall short of Your glory,
How far will forgiveness abound?”
And You answer: ” My child, I love you.
And as long as you’re seeking My face,
You’ll walk in the power of My daily sufficient grace.


I love you!

–God.

Reality in Time: living with an flesh expiration date.

Time.

What is time?

We freely bind ourselves to it. We accept it’s demands over us. We embrace it. We agonize internally over the power struggle it produces, yet we have a choice in how we live this one live we are given. Freely in Christ or bound.

My mind and heart are filled with the essence of time, realities of life here on Earth, Heaven, the Lord, His will, and yes even death itself.  When you are struck with the reality of loss, sorrow, grief, and hope in Christ and life with Him in glory — it changes you, forever.

In exactly ten days, my family and I will be embarking upon a new journey, the one year Heaven-anniversary of my father. On July 30, 2016, Dad was serving His Lord here on Earth one moment and the next he was face to face with Him. Time. Life. Purpose. Reality. Grief. Sorrow. Hope. God. It all makes you consider life deeper and consider Heaven a whole lot more in ways you never did before.

We have but one life to live. We must make it count! We don’t know our flesh expiration date. 

Heaven knows no bonds; has no demands nor struggles; it embraces none other than One. Heaven has One focus: the Almighty God.

Is it possible to have a bit of Heaven while on Earth?

We all have appointments in this life: specific time to start work or school, the bank closes at 5, church starts at 9:30am, the store closing at 10pm. We get it!! We all understand that we cannot live this life carelessly coming and going as we please, when we please, how we please. When our doctor appointment is scheduled for 10:00am and we arrive at 11:30 am — yep, you guessed it, we no longer have an appointment. We wouldn’t think of standing there arguing with the receptionist.

“There is an enormous difference in allowing time to rule over us and taking time by its horns and prayerfully living-out that time in a God-ruled manner.”

Meaning???

Not allowing “time” to run your life {taking you on a roller coaster ride screaming and holding on for dear life} but rather you taking those demands, appointments, schedules, activities, church, work, school, {whatever it may be} and prayerfully seek God’s wisdom first then create that schedule of time with God-purpose, God-Truths, and God-blessed plans!

Choosing to live out the Word throughout your time accordingly to God-first in every area of your life, will bring glory to God! Isn’t that what He deserves! Use your God-given time to share Christ with those you come in contact with. Be purposeful. Be diligent. Redeem your God-given time!

Don’t stop with your day, what about your month? Your year? Stick to the Word. Stay God-mindsetted. Bless your Lord throughout your day, week, and year! Use it for Him, not yourself — without Him you wouldn’t have this day to begin with!

Being of One focus: the Almighty God!

Setting your affections on things above and not on things on the Earth, Colossians 3:2 tells us is so key. Don’t allow time to rule you, we only have one earthly life to live — make it count for Christ!

In Christ I am SHE {Saved. Hopeful. Empowered.}

Power of the Thought

Our thoughts matter.

  • I’ve been doing much thought-searching lately. The deeper the dig goes, the more Scripture that is unfolded, the more revealing the revelation becomes…our thoughts are incredibly powerful. 
  • Sure, most of us would agree, this is no new grand discovery. But do we stop ourselves and take the time to think of the repercussions of even one thought we allow ourselves to dwell upon? Oh those ‘good’ ones are easy, but what about the ‘wrong’ ones we let slip out and then we justify by saying things like “We are having a bad day” or “I’m tired or stressed out right now.” Does this stand before our righteous and holy God? You know what excuses you use.

What we think, no, what we choose to dwell on will determine what we become. This is not “think happy thoughts and happy things will happen” but rather the holding captive thoughts that are toxic in form {ungodly} rather than focusing {which is a personal choice} our thoughts on God’s Truth and choosing to cling onto God’s Truth then live those Truths out which produce God-honoring-pleasing thoughts.

  • Today, why not begin to replace your toxic, sinful thoughts with the only Truth that can set you truly free and bring true freedom (John 8:32). 
  • What toxic thoughts negativity affect your life and relationships?
  • Choose to replace them with God’s Truth – it’s worth it! 

{HOPE} is Essential

Hope is essential.

Hope that is grounded in the Lord is a sure foundation.

Here is a link (below) to an article written by my husband that I had to share.

There is no other way to say it better. My heart has been stirred, challenged and encouraged. We pray together that it will be the same for you.

Thank you my Love for being an instrument in the Master’s hand.

I love you, Pastor Richard Woodruff.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hope-essential-richard-woodruff

 

a Picture of Hope

‘Tell Your Heart to Beat Again’* – the first time I heard this song/testimony of the heart surgeon was about two or three weeks ago through a Facebook tag from my middle sister. I listened. Then listened again and again. It was so powerful to my soul that I couldn’t even repost it because it brought such tears to my eyes – especially with the recent last of my Dad, it ripped into my soul in ways that I am still working/healing through.

Over the years, my husband and I have had many losses through death. Whether it was grandparents that we adored, my husband’s father, to our third child passing exactly a week after my husband’s mother who we loved so much, then my Daddy.

This is my Daddy (the picture). He entered into eternity suddenly on July 31, 2016. There were no warnings. No signs. Nothing. One second an earthly-citizen the next a 

 heavenly-citizen standing face to face with his Savior. The night we received that phone call, truthfully I don’t remember much except  a few things like first hearing that Dad had a heart attack – but remembering saying to myself “we will go and see him – he will pull through again.” Death wasn’t even on my radar. The next thing I remember is “I’m sorry (my name) your Dad didn’t make it.” Didn’t make it – that is impossible, they didn’t know who they were talking about! My Dad is stronger than strong. But, it was true. Dad was gone.

It has been an interesting wave-like several months. My sweet husband, children and I have faced many life changing events over this past year. New state. New job. Great incredible accomplishments. New church. Old friends gone. New friends are next to none. Away from the known. Extended family far away. Dad entered eternity. Oh, and I turned 40 (that wasn’t hard…lol).

Much to take in and digest when it happens all at once. Not impossible with Christ, the Lord has been incredibly good to us; He has protected us in a million ways, guided, and provided, but I must admit that humanly my faith has been challenged so intensely. At times the challenging’s have been so hard that it has scared me, but now; now, though I still don’t understand everything or his wise loving plan, this challenge of soul has sparked a journey in my soul that I couldn’t have dreamed of. My soul is literally burning with fire and sometimes it is all I can do to accomplish what I should be doing.

The passing of my earthly father has truly been hard – no goodbyes, no last hugs, no last anything’s – just gone. I miss him. It wasn’t in my plans for Dad to enter Heaven at 64 years old. It wasn’t suppose to happen that way. I struggle (some days more than others), but in my struggling it has brought me closer to my heavenly Father and ignited me in ways I knew not of. I couldn’t write it any better then the bridge of the song:

Let every heartbreak

And every scar

Be a picture that reminds you

Who has carried you this far

‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could

In this moment heaven’s working

Everything for your good

My soul is starting to beat again through the healing power of Jesus Christ. It is bursting into flames and how can I not speak boldly for on King? How can I not share Christ with others? Eternity is forever. Life is truly short! How can I not live in boldness to speak of Him? How can I not live my created God-confident life for this world is not my home for one day (sooner than I think) my time on earth is up just like yours is.

I could choose to take the reins of control and pretend to live this life as though I was the one in control, but I am not and neither are you. God is in control whether we want accept that reality or not. We are the creation and he is the Creator.

This life is not mine and I am choosing to not live another moment as though it is mine but rather I as simple clay – an instrument in His molding hands, willing. Obedient. Quick to respond to His Word. Putting on Christ. There is surety and intense hope in Jesus Christ for the future that I have never known before.

*disclaimer: I am so thankful for my precious sister posting this song to me via FB. This song has been an encouragement to my heart, but I must note, personally I do not support everything he (Danny Gokey) sings or produces nor have I seen or heard everything he has sung or produced.