Tag Archives: hope

Waiting for the Whole Story.

In life, it is crucial to wait for the whole story.

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Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash

How many times in relationships do we only see the smallest portion of the story? Many relationships have ended because one person failed to ask questions and assumed the worst. Other relationships have been tarnished and filled with animosity because one person knew a sliver of the story and decided not to ask any questions. They decided to hold onto a small shred of information (possibly not even true). That small shred of information, or misinformation, causes a divide in the relationship if the truth is not sought out. Great damage can be done in relationships and to individuals in these circumstances. As we choose to ask the right questions, we discover the whole story. We discover the motivations of the other person and why they behave in a certain manner. 

Your life currently may not look anything like the life you envisioned. You might wonder what is going on. What is God doing? What am I doing? Wait for the whole story, my friend. Life is often best understood looking backwards. Continue to look forward, as you await being able to look backward one day and better understand. If we don’t wait for the whole story, we may be filled with despair. We’ll lose hope. We must trust God with the whole story. 

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Photo by hiva sharifi on Unsplash

What if the apostles had simply moved on with their lives after Jesus died? What if they decided to forget all about this Jesus Christ that had turned their lives upside down? The story was far from over. Jesus rose from the dead. He then spent another 40 days with the Apostles before descending into Heaven. So as not to leave them alone, He sent the Holy Spirit (Who remains with us, now and forever). The whole story is very, very important. The Cross does not make sense without the Resurrection. The Resurrection does not make sense without the Cross. 

Wait for the whole story. Seek it out, if you have any questions or doubts. Your relationships will look different and you’ll be more apt to be generous with others. Relationships may be restored. Your trust in God will be stronger. You’ll be more hope-filled.

Wait for the whole story. You never know the difference it will make in your life and in someone else’s.

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Photo by Gus Moretta on Unsplash

 

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Parenting and Our Good, Good Father.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”–Matthew 5:48

Parenting is a topic often on my mind. It’s a huge responsibility, greater than anyone could ever imagine. The spiritual, physical, intellectual and emotional

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Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

health of a precious human being is at stake! When I reflect about becoming a parent someday, I’m filled with great joy. It’s one of the biggest dreams of my life. However, the reality sinks in that I am very much still a person “in process.” What is the prominent way that children learn character? By observing their parents–both their actions and whether their words make sense with the reality of their actions. When you become a parent, you’re going to have little eyes and ears observing everything you do and say. That goes for even when you don’t expect it. How can I expect a child to turn out a certain way when I myself am living in a different way? If my character isn’t matching what I hope the character of my child will match…How will I teach them? The good news is, we have God’s grace. Even in spite of our shortcomings, God’s grace can work in all circumstances. It’s still working on me, and will be each day until I die. I’ll never be a perfect parent–no parent on earth will be.

 

Yet, I had a very important realization: I can continually learn from THE perfect and best parent: our Heavenly Father! As I grow into a deeper relationship with God and come to know more and Who He is, I learn from His character. As I journey closer and closer (walking by faith) to the day that I become a parent,  I’m going to look at His character and see more of the type of parent I want to be. Most of all, I pray that I can give any child, any person that comes into my life, a glimpse into His deep love and Who He really is. 

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Courtesy of John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash.com

 

The Word on Wednesday-Love, Zeal, and Joy.

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. ” Romans 12:9-14
These few verses hold so much power and so many admonitions! These verses encourage us to cling to righteousness. We are reminded to constantly remember our mission of serving our Savior. We are reminded to hope and to stay joyful in the midst of suffering. We are reminded to be faithful in love of our neighbor and devotion to our God. We’re reminded to persevere in the midst of affliction. Generosity is a huge theme in this passage. After all, what is one of the greatest ways to love God? By loving the people He has created! 
A difficult admonition we are given is to bless those who persecute us. It’s difficult to love those who have wronged us in any way, but we’re reminded to leave blessing in our wake. Love is our legacy.

Keep the fire burning and keep on loving!

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Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

America, It’s Time to Choose Life.

America doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to choosing life. Such a powerful nation has abused its power and made evil choices which led to, and still leads to, the death of many.

This country was built on the backs of slaves who were torn from their countries and families, and still waited for over a century for basic civil rights after slavery was illegalized (though still continued in many forms). Natives of this country were horrifically forced from their lands and culture. These evil deeds still echo today in the consequences and injustices suffered by the descendants of the people in these groups. And 45 years ago today, the killing of unborn children was legalized in America. As I wrote last year, this has not only brought death to millions of children, but has brought about other types of death as well.

I have no deep thoughts to leave you. I can only wish that you and I will pray, fast, and do whatever we tangibly can to work toward a nation that chooses life for her children and descendants. We can fight for a culture of life, that respects and values every life. We can fight against the evils of racism and classism. We can do our part to impart hope and healing to mothers and fathers, and provide ample love, support, and resources for them as they make the courageous decision to bring a child into this world.

“A nation that kills its own children is a nation without hope.”-St. John Paul II

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!”-Deuteronomy 30:19

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Photo by Josh Bean on Unsplash

Holding On To Hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Having hope isn’t always an easy task. It’s in the situations when we really need hope that it’s easiest to lose it! Hope is so necessary to live our best lives possible. Hope brings freedom. When we lose hope, we live in anxiety and fear. We lose our joy and our center. Hope lifts the shackles of worry off of us. Hope protects and preserves–when we lose hope, we lose faith in the thing we hoped for! If we are no longer hoping, we might miss it when what we hoped for comes along!

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Photo by Evan Kirby on Unsplash

To the world, remaining in hope sometimes seems crazy. But, we serve an awesome God! He’s a way-maker, a miracle worker, a promise keeper…Jesus Christ came as a human being to earth, this painful, messy, confused place. Then He died and actually rose from the dead for you–for your eternal JOY! HOPE is what God offers!  

In finding your dream job, or a job…Have hope! Maybe there are still some stepping stones before you get there, so that you can do the BEST job possible! Or, maybe God will reveal something even greater to you along the way!

As far as meeting a suitable spouse…Have hope! Being hopeless isn’t going to attract the person you are waiting on! Have HOPE in God’s promises and goodness…Even if the timing is not what you wanted or what the world thought was reasonable!

In any situation…Have hope! You never know how the situation will turn around! In my life, I remember a time when I had been job searching for months…I had interview after interview…But no job offers (except retail). One day, out of the blue, I had an email from a supervisor at an organization where I had volunteered a few years back. They were starting a new program–and my qualifications literally fit perfectly with what they were looking for! Basically, it was my dream job due to the different elements of it. I got the job almost automatically! Believe me, I never would have expected that to happen! But GOD. Faith and hope sustained me throughout all those closed doors!

Find hope! It will add increase and strength to your life, as well as to the lives of those around you! An attitude of hope is, well, hopeful! If you’re struggling with finding hope…Pray for it! Believe me, it will be granted, sometimes in ways you never expected! I love all my readers and I pray that each of you has an outpouring of hope as you read, in whatever situation you need hope!

“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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Photo by Den Heslop on Unsplash

 

 

Mental Health Series Pt. II: Counseling.

Seeing a counselor can be a great way to move forward if you are struggling in some way. There is often a stigma about going to counseling, as if counseling is something only reserved for “crazy” people. The truth is, we all need help sometimes. Proverbs 11:14 evens tells us “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Think about it: would you make a huge life decision without talking to someone first? Do you talk to friends or elders when you need another perspective? 

A counselor is an objective, outside person. Counselors do work with people battling severe mental illnesses, but they also work with ordinary people trying to make their way through life. Counselors can help you dig deep inside of yourself to discover where lies and pain came in, and figure out how to put the broken pieces back together. They can walk with you as go through any kind of past or present trauma, grief, tragedy, or unexpected life situation. A solid counselor can help you pinpoint where certain behaviors or feelings are coming from (anger, overeating, excessive drinking, etc.) and move forward into more healthy ways of behaving and relating. They can help if you are struggling with depression or anxiety or map out a plan for healthy ways to manage stress.

When you meet with a counselor, you will set goals for yourself. Your counselor will check in with you occasionally about how you are doing on your goals and if there is any way he/she can assist you in meeting them. In this way, you could even think of your counselor as accountability partner as you seek stronger mental health and a better life!

About 80% of people who attend counseling have found benefits in doing so.

A few possible benefits you may find from counseling:

  • Increased insight about self and relationships
  • Stronger relationships
  • Increased confidence
  • Increased hope and positive outlook
  • Lessened feelings of anxiety

I want to tell you to be careful of whom you go to, if you are seeking counseling. There are people who have entered therapy and come out in bad shape due to faulty counseling or incompetent counselors. Also, I encourage Christian counseling! A Christian counselor will look at God’s word and the truth that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. They will not forget the spiritual component of you. Find a counselor you are comfortable with and who you feel actually listens to and hears you. The process is not always easy–it forces you to confront truths about yourself and your past (or present) that may not be pretty. Yet the goal is for healing and wholeness. Counseling holds benefits for many types of people! There is no shame in seeing a counselor if you are struggling with your thought patterns or difficult situations in life, past or present!

Have you gone to counseling and found benefits in dong so? Do you have any questions about counseling?

 Next up: faith and mental health!

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Pixabay.com

 

Live Courageously.

The United States of America is entering a new chapter. For actually a few years, I have had the sense that the United States was going to enter a time of difficulty. I believe that the time of difficulty has now begun. Recent events have thrown my workplace into upheaval. Really, the entire country and, to some extent, the world, are in a place of uncertainty. There is a culture of animosity right now in the United States. At certain points, all of these events have been a lot to take in emotionally. I’ve been surrounded by them from morning to evening. I felt so weak and drained. Then, I felt the Lord telling me to live courageously. He confirmed this as every song that came on the radio seemed to echo the theme of courage and bravery! No matter where you are, YOU are being called to live courageously.

What does it mean to live courageously?

Living courageously means keeping your center on JESUS even when the world has gone crazy.

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(photo courtesy of unsplash.com)

 

Living courageously means being PEACE in a world where anger and negativity is rampant.

Living courageously means walking HUMBLY with God even when you are surrounded by darkness and ego on every side.

Living courageously means casting out fear and replacing it with LOVE.

Living courageously means speaking up for JUSTICE for those who are voiceless.

Living courageously means RELIANCE on Jehovah-Jireh (God the Provider) when you don’t have a paycheck and wonder how you will pay the bills, or when you don’t know if you will soon have a paycheck.

Living courageously means being a sign of HOPE to others even when you feel weighed down by the burdens of your life and the world.

Living courageously means being a person of PRAISE as the storm rages all around you.

Living courageously means TRUSTING in God when all stability is pulled out from under you.

Living courageously means picking up your shield of FAITH and the sword of the Spirit, the WORD OF GOD and knowing they are your weapons.

Living courageously means staying in a place of PRAYER in a world that distracts and fills us with noise.

Living courageously means knowing that God’s POWER is made perfect in your WEAKNESS. (2 Cor. 12:9)

Are you ready to live courageously? It will not be easy, friends. Thankfully we have our perfect Heavenly Father to fight for us, His Son who endured every temptation that we do (without giving in), and the Holy Spirit who permeates every darkness and every fiber of our being. Let’s go!

It’s time to live courageously.

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