Tag Archives: hope

Remaining Hopeful When Life Feels Dark…

Photo from near the High Point summit of Palomar Mountain Range, San Diego County.

     The young professional woman’s disappointment was palpable.

          She’d just received the call.

               This wasn’t the first time her ‘dream job’ had slipped away.

                    Would she ever be the one selected?

     The worried wife’s shoulders drooped.

          The doctor’s words weren’t what she wanted to hear.

               Her husband’s diagnosis was dire.

                    Will we be able to make it through this?

     Fear walked alongside as she entered her child’s classroom.

          The teacher’s report wasn’t good.

               Her boy’s behavior was disruptive; he was failing most subjects.

                    How could she help this son she loved so dearly succeed?

     The possible scenarios are endless.

     Perhaps you’re trying to find your way through the darkness even now.

     No doubt about it. Life can be difficult. Some situations are dark and seem hopeless. Finding a way through is scary. It may even feel impossible.

     My life journey has included several ‘dark days.’ Some I’ve walked through with grace and dignity. Many, I haven’t!

     While not my favorite teachers, disappointment, discouragement and despair can be great instructors. Here are a few lessons they’ve taught me:

  • Often, my most valuable life learning has happened as a result of suffering. As I’ve trudged through a difficult season, along the way I’ve discovered strength that seemed impossible, resources I’d never imagined existed. I’ve developed self-awareness that has enabled me to grasp what does and does not work well for my God-design.
  • I’ve learned much about my own life by listening to or reading the stories of older or more spiritually mature people who have ‘been there, done that’ and are willing to share what helped them. Other’s transparency, authentic counsel and encouragement have more than once helped me make sense of my unique journey and point me in a new, more positive direction.
  • I have power to make personal choices. Most importantly, I can choose how I will respond. Will I choose bitter, or will I choose to learn and grow, accept and forgive? The freedom to choose is a great gift God gives.
  • Dark days are real. Unknown outcomes are scary. Weeping will occur. Despite the darkness, however, I’ve learned God is good—always good. At the core of who I am, I believe God knows me better than I know myself and desires the best for me and those I love.
  • It’s all right to weep and feel angry at times. But, it’s also important to act. I’ll be most successful when I keep placing one foot of faith in front of the other, cry out for God’s wisdom along the way and determine to seek increased knowledge.
  • As I cooperate and allow God’s will to supersede my idea of what is best, hope arises. Dawn of a new day breaks. As the psalmist said so eloquently, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalms 30:5)

Blessings as you hold on to HOPE despite the darkness of your circumstances…

Sue Reeve

Above All Else Christmas Means LOVE!

     Winter Solstice came and went on December 21st. The day with the shortest period of sunlight in 2018 is now history. Slowly but surely, dark winter days will lengthen. It won’t be long until we’re watching for the first signs of Spring. Bulbs will begin poking their sweet little green heads up through still-snow-blanketed soil.

     Christmas 2018 is also now history. At our house, we’re already thinking about taking down the beautifully-decorated tree. It doesn’t look nearly as welcoming without brightly-wrapped gifts beneath. In a few days, Ron will disconnect the timer which has so faithfully turned on our cheery outdoor Christmas lights.

     Christmas Eve, our two youngest grandkids, 7-year-old Emmi and 3-year-old Reeve, lit the candle representing Jesus on the Advent Wreath. It joined the candles of HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE.

     I now find myself asking, “Where the rubber of my faith meets the often mundane, cluttered and unkind road of life, how do I keep alive the Light of LOVE Christmas is all about?”

     The word “love” is used 202 times in the New Testament (KJV). John, the youngest of Jesus’ twelve original disciples, penned those words a whopping 71 times.

     John often described himself as the “one whom Jesus loved.” There wasn’t a doubt in John’s mind that he was beloved by Jesus, and he in turn loved Jesus deeply.

     So, how can I, how can you, love Jesus deeply?

     The Apostle John, writing words when in his elder years, provides that answer in a letter to his friends. John’s words remain relevant to you and me in the 21st Century.

 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.

     1 John 4:7-11 (NLT)

     These are great words. If I’m honest, however, I’ll confess that way too often, I desire to be loved by Jesus more than I want to love like Jesus. This is an area of life where I want to grow.

     As we recover from the stress of the Christmas season caused by too much—perhaps too much spending, decorating, gathering with family and friends and eating rich foods—I hope you’ll join me to reflect on the gift of God’s LOVE, JESUS.

     What if each one reading these words asked this question of God prayerfully:

Since you loved me SO much, God, how can I love you by loving others more like JESUS loved?

     Somehow, I imagine that’s a question God will like and be pleased to answer.

In closing today’s post, quoting Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol,

“…And God bless us everyone!”

Sue Reeve

It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you…
yes, it is Christmas every time you smile…and offer…your hand.
~ Mother Teresa

Hope Helps Me Hang On…

“Every day I put hope on the line.”

     (attributed to Eugene Peterson)

     In Monday’s post, the first of the season of Advent, we recalled the hope of the nation of Israel. For hundreds of years, prophets foretold the coming of the Messiah.

Some scholars believe there are more than 300 prophecies about Jesus in the Old Testament. These prophecies are specific enough that the mathematical probability of Jesus fulfilling even a handful of them, let alone all of them, is staggeringly improbable—if not impossible.[1]

     Hope concerning the coming of a savior helped many in the Jewish nation hang on to their faith. Others lost hope. They weren’t interested in words spoken by the prophets. Instead, they chose to listen to voices that led their nation into even deeper darkness.

     Hope is huge! Hope helps you and me hold on during dark days, or even long, dark seasons. Sometimes, though, people lose hope.

     A few years ago, a friend of mine ended her life. For some time, the smart, funny, big-hearted lady had been making very unwise choices. Friends and loved ones tried to warn her, but she chose instead to listen to the deceptive voice of a scoundrel she’d never met face to face.

     My friend at last lost hope. I’d like to think her situation is rare, but statistics show that isn’t the case.

More than 47,000 Americans killed themselves in 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday, contributing to an overall decline in U.S. life expectancy. Since 1999, the suicide rate has climbed 33 percent. [2]

     The suicide of one we love is devastating on oh, so many levels. The loss feels especially difficult during the holidays. If you are navigating that kind of grief this season of Advent, I’m praying for you right now, asking God to give you a good dose of divine grace and hope.

     Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church, lost a son to suicide. His experience makes these words especially powerful.

What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face…. [3]

May hope be kindled in your heart this holy season of Advent…

Sue Reeve

  1. https://www.jesusfilm.org/blog-and-stories/old-testament-prophecies.html
  2. https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/investigations/surviving-suicide/2018/11/28/suicide-prevention- suicidal-thoughts-research-funding/971336002/
  3. https://www.brainyquote.com