Tag Archive | Hope

I Choose

Life hasn’t gone according to (my) plans this year.

Chad lost his job. Twice. In 6 weeks.

I’m pregnant. 16 weeks.

Our dishwasher started leaking all over.

My computer up and died.

Our house is too small. (according to some people)

There’s too much month at the end of our money.

And on and on and on. Nobody chooses this kind of life, right?

I’ve been angry, ashamed, embarrassed, guilty, sad, jealous, envious and on and on and on.

I could be choosing joy, but I’m not. I’m choosing to respond to life with every negative emotion you can imagine. I may not choose what happens in life, but I sure as heck have been choosing how I respond.

This realization hit me square in the heart today. It was an email that a friend forwarded to me. A blog post from Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. I only made it halfway through her post when I noticed her name. Sara. And I remembered her. I only discovered her blog shortly before she passed away, but I saw the indelible impression she left on many people. I read through many of her blog posts. I was mesmerized with her story. With her. Because in the midst of pain, in the moments of death… She chose joy. Always. It’s what people remember her for. Her joy. Her ability to love, to serve and to give, in the midst of an illness that she did. not. choose. She couldn’t choose her circumstances, but she chose how she would respond. Over and over, SHE CHOSE JOY.

I can too. Even when life is not going my way. Especially when life is not going my way.

Chad and I sat and watched a video about Sara, made for InCourage’s Irl conference. Afterwards, I said “wow. I feel like a whiner”. He said “you too, huh?”. Even after death, she is touching the hearts of people. I want to be like Sara.

Grab your tissues, and friends, choose joy. I’m going to.

Sara’s Story Final on YouTube

The Elephant in the Room

When I was in grade school, we had a speaker come and talk to us about the power of suggestion. She/ he said “I am going to say something and I want you to NOT think of it…. ready…. do not think of a pink elephant”. 

Well, you know, if we were honest, every single one of us did. Even now, I am thinking about pink elephants. Are you? 

That’s the thing, once the elephant is there, it’s hard not to think about it. Elephants take up a lot of room. It’s hard, if not IMPOSSIBLE, to move around them. 

That’s what we have. We have an elephant in the room. He moved in and took residence last week. I am pretty sure my husband knew something was there, he just didn’t know it was an elephant. He does now. 🙂 

I spent so much time worrying about telling him about the elephant that I nearly had a stroke. (not literally) So one day, I just told him… and confessing it wasn’t as bad as worrying about it. He has been so good about praying me through this. Why didn’t I tell him earlier?

Fear… and elephants. 

So the thing is… I like to blog what is on my mind. (and have you ever noticed that I use “….” A LOT? I have) Right now, I CAN’T blog what is on my mind. That darn elephant is all I am thinking about. Maybe as time goes by, the feeling of the elephant in the room will fade. Maybe, just maybe that elephant will leave for good. But today? Right now? When I am with you, I am thinking about the elephant. When I am writing, I am thinking about the elephant. When I am talking to you, yep, that elephant is on my mind. 

So even though I can’t blog about it, even though I can’t talk about it. I want to. Someday. I want to introduce you to the elephant and perhaps even have your assistance in moving him out of here. Unfortunately TODAY is not that day. 

Until that day comes, will you pray for me? Pray for us? (and as a side note, just so you don’t worry, my marriage is FINE. There are no worries there. This is nothing that a little time, love and tenderness prayers won’t get us through)

When the time comes, you will know. Until then, I will be answering any questions about the elephant with the same thing my grandma used to say… (there I go again with the ….) “If I had wanted you to know that, you wouldn’t have to ask”. Gosh I miss my grandma. LOL. 

Do you have any elephants in the room? Can I pray for you? 

Living Above the Doubt

I have history. 

When I was working a $20 an hour job, I was miserable. I even had good benefits. A yearly bonus that would pay my bills for 2 months. But none of that changed the fact that I hated it. I hated being away from my family. I hated the stress. I hated leaving my babies with someone else. 

Then I got pregnant, so I stayed. Just for the benefits. The moment Miss Piper was born, I knew I could never leave her. I had done it before, but this time was different. It seemed physically impossibly for me to separate from her. 

I was told many things, such as I was crazy for giving up that much income, that I would be bored silly, that we would never be able to make it on my husband’s income alone. I was told that it wasn’t sensible to just up and quit. I needed a plan. 

There was no time to plan. I quit. 

I was living above the doubt. 

When I felt called to go to Nicaragua, there were naysayers. There were people that told me to not be disappointed if I didn’t get to go. I was told it wasn’t safe. The cost of the fees even seemed insurmountable to me, but I knew I was supposed to go. 

I was living above the doubt. 

When I came back from Nicaragua, I left my old life behind. It just didn’t seem that I could go back to who I was and what I used to do. I quit my part time job. My husband took a pay cut at work. We got hit with a huge medical bill. We had to ask for help with our mortgage. We were offered help “with stipulations”.  They felt that we couldn’t  make it on my husband’s income alone and thought I should get a job. Understandably, they didn’t want to help with the house payment if we were just going to lose it anyway. I knew what I was called to do at that time, and turned down the help. I started to wonder if I had heard Him wrong. 

I was living above the doubt. 

Here we are again. Chad was unemployed for 4 weeks. He’s employed again, but for much less than he was making before. We’ve asked for help again, because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. We know that there are good things coming, we know things are going to get better. We know that we have done this before and been okay, we can do this again. I’ve started making beads and necklaces again. I enjoy doing it.

I have doubts. 

It’s when I have to remind myself to live above the doubts.

 Because… we did make it on my husband’s income after Piper was born, I did raise enough money to go to Nicaragua and we didn’t lose our house. It was all hard, but it wasn’t impossible. 

We have lived above the doubts before. We are going to live above the doubts again. Things may not turn out the way we hope, but things will turn out. 

Have you ever had to live above the doubt before? I would love to hear your experience. 

(No?) Worries!

As of today, my husband has been unemployed for exactly 4 weeks.

Come Monday the 14th, my husband is gainfully employed! More on that later.

Our motto of the last four weeks has been “no worries”. We had been through this before. We had worried, cried, argued… and then seen the impossible happen, over and over again. We had medical bills up the wazoo, shut off utilities, foreclosure notices, etc. It was stressful.

Even with our lack of true faith at that time, God restored and redeemed each and every issue we had.

We didn’t want to be that way again.

Yes, the circumstances are the same… it’s our response that is different.

We went to the beach the day after he was let go. We’ve spent time together, we’ve hiked, we’ve prayed, we’ve focused on our faith in the God that saved us before, because we know that He will save us again. He’s never failed us.

Just last night, I sent this email to my bible study group:

I just wanted to tell you that Chad got a job! He starts on Monday. It is for a lot less than he was earning before, but we are trusting that God put this job in his path for a reason and that He will provide for us as He always as. (even in spite of other people’s doubts) We are very at peace right now. Our motto is “no worries”. 

That was before I started filling out some financial forms. With each number I wrote down, hope left the building and despair settled in. When I realized how far the gap between our income and expenses is going to be… I started to worry. Though I know that God is in the business of miracles and doing the impossible, I doubted. I thought “Maybe we have already used up our miracle. Maybe He doesn’t have anymore for us.” I was already mentally packing our bags and envisioning us homeless.

Then my email notification popped up, I clicked over and read the response to my earlier show of hope:

No worries is a good motto. As I said on Weds., I haven’t seen any sparrows pushing shopping carts at Safeway lately!!!!!!

And I reread what I had just written two hours earlier. “No worries, no worries, no worries“. “He will provide for us as He always as“. Surprisingly, my own words comforted me.

I laid there and thought about all He has done for us already. I rested in the assurance that His mercies are never ending. I have to assume that His miracles don’t end too. I prayed in my heart and my mind. I lifted my worries to Him.

Mark 9:24 says Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I have been saying the same thing. “I do believe, Lord, help me overcome my unbelief“.

I will say it again and again and again, because I fail at it every day. I am praying for miracles, I am praying for Him to overcome the impossible. And if things don’t work out the way I plan, I am praying for His grace, mercy and peace to see me through.

How can I pray for you? 

When Hope Knocks

I remember the day as clearly as if it just happened yesterday. But it wasn’t yesterday. It was the summer of 2009. The days were hot and my patience was short. We were in a time of life that yielded too many bills and too little money. There didn’t seem to be an end.

Feeling strongly led by the God I serve, I had quit my job 5 months earlier to stay home with my children. There were days that I felt I must have made a mistake in hearing Him, but deep down, I knew I hadn’t.

On this day, I was feeling defeated. We were behind on our mortgage, our utilities and had medical bills up the wazoo. (What’s a wazoo, anyway?)

My kids were in the living room, running and yelling and having a good time, when the phone rang. I escaped to my room to take the call. It wasn’t good news. By the end of the conversation, I found out that our income would be reduced another $100 per month. I honestly did not know how we would survive, because we already were not making it. I asked the person on the other end to check their numbers again and they did. They insisted there was not a mistake.

“Okay, God, you have GOT to get this one. I can not take this anymore”.

At that moment, as I ended the call, the dogs started going crazy in the front room. My children came running back “Daddy’s friend is at the door!”

“Oh, brother”, I thought.

In my house, any stranger that comes to the door is “daddy’s friend”. I figured I was in just the right mood to chase away a door to door salesman.

I scooted around the dogs, the kids and the couch cushions. I peeked out the window.

Wow.

I was shocked. It WAS daddy’s friend. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t shocked because it was daddy’s friend. I was shocked because daddy’s friend had suffered the devastating loss of his beautiful wife just two days before. I could not imagine why he was standing on our porch.

I opened the door and he introduced himself. Softly I said “Yeah, yeah. I know who you are. What’s going on?” and I stepped out on the porch closing the door behind me.

Mercifully, my children did not follow me out. Maybe they knew what was about to happen and knew how sacred it would be to me.

He started telling me about how tough things were financially in his and his wife’s early marriage. There were days that they didn’t know if the gas in their car would get them close enough to work to make more money to put more gas in their car. He truly understood struggle. And worry. And the loss of hope.

He proceeded to tell me that he and another friend had just been together praying. He said “I felt strongly led by the Lord to come give this to you”. He held his hand out. I reached out to meet his and he put a hundred dollar bill in my hand.

I knew then, that we would be okay. I knew that God had sent this man to offer me hope, to show me the love of God and to say “Yes, God hears you, He is listening, He is here”.

There is no way to explain this off as a coincidence. I prefer to think of it as a gift of hope through a God-incidence. He knew. He listened. He answered my prayer.

Have you met Jennifer at Getting Down with Jesus? She is talking about God-Bumps and God-incidences on her blog today. I think you will really like her. Please go tell her hi! Click here: