Postcards of Hope

I have been blessed to share a ray of hope from my experience with my Mama over on Stories of Hope in God (no longer running online).

Anita Hunt “runs the Scattering the Stones Christian ministry … a place of peace, praise, and prayer, with the aim to encourage you; focusing on the gifts of grace, joy & hope, with a thankful heart.”

 

She and her husband “live in the beautiful county of Dorset in England.”

Anita shares that she “had the pleasure of studying at Bible college, gaining a degree specialising in Theology and Pastoral care.” She says, “God called me to be a Christian writer sharing His love, hope, and Good News in 2011. My heart’s desire is to walk alongside those who are in pain, reflecting God’s love and grace, and share the Hope of the world (Matt 12:21).”

Stories of Hope in God is a part of her ministry and is a special place to sit awhile.

Hope-in-the-Lord

My story…

“I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”  Psalm 13:6 ESV

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever? 

How long will you hide your face from me?
 

How long must I take counsel in my soul
 and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
 

How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?”   Psalm 13:1-2 ESV

I would cry the first line of words out over and over again as I would leave the nursing home where my mother had to spend the last five years of her life.  She took a terrible fall, shattering an ankle and the bones in her lower leg.  So after surgery, she would never be able to fully walk again, although she could stand up momentarily and get around in a wheelchair.  Previously, as well, her mind had slipped into a roller coaster of dementia-ridden fear, repetition, accusation, jealousy, confusion, and hallucinations.  The diabetes she got at age 55 turned to Type 1 at age 85, making her insulin-dependent until the day she died at age 98 years and 10 months.

I loved my Mama dearly.  She loved me, my sisters, and her one and only grandchild.  She lived near me the last fifteen years of her life.  I watched and lived my Mama’s life daily.  I loved to see her smile, hear her laughter, feel her motherly arms around me.  A mother’s love is mighty precious.  As her mind diminished, I found it most difficult to watch her change from a proud and strong woman to a dependent and often confused woman.  Mama raised us three girls alone after Daddy died from Pancreatic cancer.  We were only 12, 10, and 7.  She had her hands full raising three girls in the 1960s and 70s, but she did it.  She was pleased and proud of us all after we got through those rugged teen years.  She loved us through the hard places though and never gave up on any of us.  She was one of those gals during World War II who went to work for the war effort.  She married a Navy doctor.  She owned a dress shop.  She took care of herself, physically and mentally.  She was just an amazing lady.  But over time, not much it seemed, she changed so much that the mother I had always known was vanishing.  She had vascular dementia.  So as this disease diminished her mental abilities, along with the physical struggles, I came to see my Mama was just as vulnerable as I had been when I was a child.  She needed to be handled with respect, dignity, and loving care.  She needed strength when weakness overtook her.

As her daughter, I came to know a mother who I was quite unfamiliar with, but wanted to know.  I wanted to learn how to be the kind of daughter who could also give her the best care.  The nights when she would be so angry over something imaginary, or when her blood sugar would be extremely low and she needed to be hand fed, or the times when she would scream at a hard-working, poorly-paid staff member, I would be all torn up inside.  I was the one who needed care sometimes.  Yet, I would hold up while I was with her, calling upon the LORD to calm me and her.  When I would leave for the night, I would walk toward my car and cry out to the heavens, “How long, O LORD, how long?”  Not that I wanted her to die for I would (and do now) miss her terribly, but watching her mind go through so much, getting a very odd and extremely painful cancer the last year of her life, continually left me in stress and anguish over my Mama.  It all went on and on, and I just wondered if God had forgotten about her, about me.

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
  Psalm 13:3-4

But He had not.  God never left either of us.  The number of Mama’s days were in God’s hands.  God was our strength.  He is the LORD Who sees, Yahweh Roi.  He knows and sees all.  God was drawing Mama closer to Himself all along through prayer, through the precious witness of a kitchen staff member who would share her Bible study on Mom’s clear-minded days, and through the divine appointment of a Christian caregiver who came to be with Mom two nights a week so that I could spend those evenings with my husband.  And I know that God, Yahweh Roi, took her to heaven on that final numbered day.  He also drew me closer to Him through His Word, through the love of my husband, through His children on staff, and through quiet moments with Him as I sat with Mama during her sleeping times, or when I was on my knees in prayer before Him, or when I was alone with His Word on my lap.  Yahweh Roi, the LORD Who sees, never left me nor my Mama.  Drawing near to Him grew my relationship with the LORD and gave me peace and hope as I drew upon His power and might.  Through His love and hope for Mama’s future and mine, I have been reassured of His Presence and Omniscience in my life.  I know that I have a hope in the LORD that is truly unsinkable.  I can sing with joy for He, indeed, dealt with me bountifully.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 13:5-6

Father God, I do rejoice and sing to You.  You truly have dealt with me bountifully and lovingly for I never walked alone through the many years caring for my mother.  During the hard times, you were with me, even when I forgot.  During my weaknesses, you never stopped holding me up.  As I walked around unknown corners, I would find You there waiting for me with the caress of Your Godly love.  Oh, Father, You have blessed me beyond my thoughts.  I know that my mother is with You and that I will one day be there too.  Your bountiful gifts never ceased even when I could not see them.  I look back and know that You were always there.  You are my God Whom I trust and sing to today because You have sustained me, loved me, comforted me, answered me, and, most of all, tenderly cared for and brought salvation to my Mama.  In the Perfect Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

…..

 

befuschiasig

 

 

When It’s Dark…

hope-quotes-quote-81175

How often do things of this world, of this life, of an individual’s life bring us to despair?  to discouragement?  to fear?  to anxiousness?  How often?

Just in the past 6 weeks, I have personally known about 3 suicides, told to me by two precious women who are close to my heart.  They have been touched by suicide as I was 23 years ago.  It is such a difficult trauma.  Thoughts of…could we have done something, anything to have prevented this tragedy?  Guilt and wondering about what we did or did not do run through the mind.  As my mother once put it after a cousin took her life, leaving a husband and three children, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”  So often, that is the case.  Not always, but more often than not.

In praying for these women and their families, plus the families of the dead, I find my mind thinking about all of this all over again since I personally experienced being the one to find a special friend dead.  The many passing years have helped me to be able to speak and pray with comfort to these women.  Yet, the true reason I can pray and share hope and comfort is that my God has given me salvation through His Son.  He is my hope and love and my anchor.  God has wrapped me in His arms of security.  The Holy Spirit lives in me and gently comforts and gives me the perfect words I need when I am listening and desiring to hear with my ears and my heart.  At the time of the suicide 23 years ago, I did not know Christ as my Savior and LORD, but in less than two years, I had, indeed, accepted the One and Only Jesus into my heart and life.  Because of Jesus, I am able to speak words of comfort, hope, and life to those here who cared about someone who chose to take his or her own life.   May we find our peace through the Holy One.

God created us ~

So God created man in His own image,
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.  Genesis 1:27

God has a plan for us ~

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

God wants us to have life ~

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  John 10:10

God sent His Son to take our sin upon Himself and to save us ~

He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed.  1 Peter 2:24

But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12-13

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13

Accepting Christ gives us a new life ~

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  2 Corinthians 5:17

Walking with the LORD takes one step of faith after another ~

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ.  Romans 10:17

Seeking the LORD when we feel that there is no hope takes that faith.  God is ever near ~

Our soul waits for the Lord;

he is our help and our shield.

For our heart is glad in him,

because we trust in his holy name.

Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,

even as we hope in you.  Psalm 33:20-22

Christ promises to give us rest from any and all struggles ~

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

We have the assurance of eternal life from God Who gave His Son through death on the Cross for our sins ~

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.  John 5:24

Father, I lift up those who are walking through or are mired in the tragedy of suicide this very moment.  I pray that Your Holy Spirit comfort them.  Please rain down Your peace upon them.  Oh, LORD, I also pray that those who do not know You as the God of all, who do not know Jesus as their LORD and Savior, that Your salvation would soon, LORD, soon, reign in their hearts.  Oh, Father God, our hope is in You.  You love each one of Your precious creations and are waiting for us to open the door to our heart to let You in.  I pray.  To anyone who reads this, who is thinking about suicide, I pray that you seek your Creator for He is the God of all comfort and peace and hope.  Father, wrap them in Your mighty loving arms.  Send a warrior, an angel, a calm spirit to pray with them, to speak with them.  Give them hope, LORD.  I pray in the Powerful Name of Jesus.  Amen. 

f2d800ead546c4d4c2fb8d0818be63a8

Are there any among the false gods of the nations that can bring rain?
Or can the heavens give showers?
Are you not He, O LORD our God?
We set our hope on You,
for You do all these things.  Jeremiah 14:22

 

beblacksig

Plans? Oh, Yes!

Days are different.  My Mama is gone from my daily life as she has gone to be with our Lord.  The routine of fifteen years has changed.  My husband and I are starting anew with release, sorrow, unsurety, unknowns, knowns. We look at one another and question, “What’s next?”  We say aloud, “We must find our way.  We must turn to the Lord for He knows the way.”  And we know that He does for He promised us that He has a plan.

11 ‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

12 ‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

13 ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

14 ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord,….” 

Jeremiah 29:11-14a

God does have plans for us. He keeps His promises. He keeps them each and every day.  He delivers and blesses.  Our hope and future are in His hands.  And we have hope because we trust Him.  We trust Him because He is faithful.  We trust in His Son, Jesus, Who delivers us from every storm, from every foe.

jeremiah29_11

Give me faith, O Lord, as I walk the unknown.  I walk with You.  Give me faith during the times I’m weary, discouraged, and beaten down. Inspire me to trust in Your great promises. Please give me courage, O Lord, when my faith wavers. Help me obey Your Word no matter how challenging it may seem or how discouraged I feel. Thank You for giving me a bright future in Jesus. Please help me live more consciously aware of Your beautiful gift.  Please show me Your way.  I depend upon You completely.  To stay the course is not easy, but I want to!  I want to walk with You, Lord.  In Jesus’ Name I pray.  Amen.

Graphic and past of prayer: www.heartlight.org