Tag Archives: Hope

THE HANDS AND FEET OF JESUS

 

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It was eight years ago that I experienced the realness of Jesus in a way that changed me forever. One summer morning the Lord woke me, actually He jolted me out of my sleep during an incredible dream.

I dreamed I was a princess and I was running through a beautiful castle, going from room to room in awe of all the beauty of it. Then suddenly for a really brief moment I became afraid and I hid. But as quickly as the fear came, it left.  I burst out of the hiding place and there I stood looking lovelier than ever in a long, flowing dress.

I awakened suddenly with an image in my mind of me standing there looking like Cinderella with a quizzical look on my face and my heart filled with a sense of wonder. When will my Prince rescue me? Then reality hit me. Oh, it was a dream. Hmmm…What exactly is God trying to speak to me through this dream? As the day went on I received the answer so clearly.

A few hours later the telephone rang. It was my sweet friend Lisa calling after unsuccessfully trying to reach me for several weeks. Lisa was a part of a neighborhood Bible study where I cared for the children of moms who met each week during the school year. It was during the summer break and I hadn’t spoken to her in three months.

That morning over the telephone Lisa asked me how things were going in my life and I shared that we were in the midst of a trial. My husband Michael was self-employed at the time and his business had almost come to a halt. He was delivering pizza to support our family. I was a stay-at-home mom earning money by babysitting and working other small jobs on the side. We were barely scraping by. Our refrigerator was nearly empty, we had no money to buy groceries, and some of our bills were overdue. I was teetering on a fence between fear and faith, but choosing to trust the Lord.

As Lisa and I talked, I told her about the question I heard the Lord asking me the night before.  In my heart, I heard the Lord’s still, small voice. Do you really trust me? At 6 a.m. that morning I had written down my answer. Yes I do, I have no reason not to… Jesus has been so good to me!

I asked Lisa to pray for the Lord to guide us and to provide the jobs Michael and I needed. Lisa’s words were soothing to my soul. “Would you like to come over to help me clean out my big freezer? I’ll give you the excess food in return for helping me.” She cheerfully exclaimed.

My heart leapt with excitement over Lisa’s words. I felt so encouraged and thanked her over and over. She said she would be waiting for me to come over later that evening. I was excited, but I had no idea what was in store for me through the divine appointment God was orchestrating that day…

Visit NBS2GO.com to read the rest of the story.

A Christmas Prayer

Winter

Father, I thank You for the gift of Christ. Thank You for sending Your son to save the world from darkness. Thank You for all that He gives us and how He enables us to live with an abundance of hope, joy, peace, and love. Let us take hold fully of the gift You have given us through Jesus Christ. Let us meditate on Your great love and celebrate our amazing Savior. Oh, how we love and adore You, our Redeemer. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.

Merry Christmas from my home to yours!

THE ABUNDANT LIFE

John 10.10

During one of the hardest seasons of my life I learned the most about abundant living. My husband had been laid off from a good job, I was working tirelessly to make ends meet and life was very stressful. I wanted desperately for my circumstances to change.

While battling hardships and trials, I sought the Lord for the answers to my problems, and He diligently answered me. He led me to a Scripture in the Old Testament that jumped off the pages when I read it.

Deuteronomy 30:6 says, “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love Him with all your heart, and with all your soul, and live.”

In these verses, I found the answer to what my heart longed to know. The word ‘circumcise’ is derived from a Latin word meaning, to cut. In the midst of excruciating trials, it felt like my heart was being circumcised. God was cutting away the things inside me that were hindering me from fully loving Him and fully living life. The process was, at times, excessively painful. But ultimately it led me to the abundance my soul was longing for.

Everyone wants to live abundantly. The Bible says that Jesus came to give us life, and to give it more abundantly (John 10:10). Yet how many people truly tap into the abundant life that Christ offers? Could it be the way we view our lives, or what we equate happiness with? For a season, I was seeking abundance in the wrong places, which led to more disappointment.

In God’s infinite grace, He took me through a season of testing because He wanted to lead me to the true source of abundance.

Are you in the midst of being pulled and stretched? Do you feel as though life is caving in around you?

To be rebuilt, a house needs to be torn down first. It can be an excruciating process. Do not lose heart. God is building a beautiful house out of your life. He uses every loss and every struggle for our good. Nothing He allows in our lives is in vain. He uses it all.

The things in my past, that were the hardest to endure, are what led me to the abundant life in Christ—a life of genuine joy and peace—that is not determined by things or circumstances.

Through the hardships, God gave me a new heart—a heart that rejoices because of His love.

It really is pure joy for a child of God to face trials because we know that no matter what is happening, Jesus is walking along beside us, carrying us, allowing us to bask in His great love at all times and in all circumstances.

Jesus is everything—when we know this, then we know that any other good thing we have in life is only the icing on the cake.

Lord, I thank You for the abundance of joy and peace that You give to us. Help us to look to You as our only source. Let us be content in all circumstances and know You are all we really need to live abundantly. I pray in Your name, Christ. Amen.

“You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:5 (NASB)

Five Minute Friday: Last

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I had heard people proclaim, “I’m mad at God!.” But I had never experienced it myself until one summer evening. I had felt abandoned by the Lord at times, but this was different. I laid my head on my pillow one night and said, “Jesus, I’m mad at You.”

There was a breakthrough I needed in my life and it just wasn’t happening on my time table. So I blamed it on God. After several minutes, I fell asleep.

I woke up eight hours later thinking, “How ridiculous for me to be mad at Jesus. He’s the only One who can truly rescue me. Being mad at Him won’t help anything.” Within minutes of waking, I prayed, “Lord, forgive me for my silliness. Please forgive me for being mad at You.”

Right there, while lying in my bed, I said, “Lord, I surrender everything to You.”

Previously, I had surrendered parts of my life to Him and had been following Him for years and years. This was different though. It was a defining moment for me. It was the last time I ever tried to do things without His help and guidance.

And guess what? I received the breakthrough I was waiting on within weeks. At last, my life was permanently on the course that leads to abundance and beauty, leaving disappointment behind forever. I realized the day I surrendered everything to my Creator that I am free at last to live in His abundant peace forever until Christ returns.

“The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10 (NASB)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Last.”  Today, I wrote for about nine minutes, trying to find a good stopping point.

Photography Credit: Christa von Borstel

Five Minute Friday: Belong

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In the nineties, while enduring many hardships in my life, I wondered where God was. Had He disappeared when I needed Him most? Had He left me in my time of need? I had lost all sense of purpose. I was battling hopelessness until one day the Lord spoke so clearly to me in my heart, I created the universe, I can certainly fix the problems in your life.

Hope came flooding into my soul. And step by step as I prayed and trusted Him, Christ began putting all the broken pieces of my heart back together, creating a beautiful masterpiece out of my life. He freed me from despair and brought me to a place of knowing that no matter what happens on this earth, while following Him wholeheartedly, I will live in His peace and always be right where I belong.

“Some will say, ‘I belong to the Lord;’ others will call themselves by the name of Jacob; still others will write on their hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and will take the name Israel.” Isaiah 44:5 (NIV)

I’m linking up for Five Minute Friday where Lisa Jo Baker and other awesome people write for five minutes flat with no self critiquing or no striving for perfection. This week’s prompt is: “Belong.”

The photo was downloaded at istockphoto.com

Five Minute Friday

New Life

 

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The beauty in nature speaks to my soul deeply. The day lilies are in full bloom in my yard, and they are stunning.  I spent some time this afternoon tending to my flowers. While pulling the dead blooms off, I began pondering how God is so good at removing the splinters in my heartHe takes away those things that deaden my spirit.

I could hear His soft words in my heart.

“Your heart comes more alive each time you allow me to purify it. In Me, You are able to grow more beautiful. Come to Me and allow My healing balm to give you new life every day.”

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During the times I’ve had hurt hidden deep inside, God has come and healed me as I released it to Him. Unresolved hurt left untended robs my spirit of joy and peace. Years ago, I discovered that as I allow the Lord to tend to my heart the way I tend to my yard, that He’ll keep it pure.

How about you? Have you felt God’s healing balm working on your heart lately? Jesus is the One who heals broken hearts. When my heart was hurting, I bowed down before Him and prayed, Lord, please heal my hurt; please take away this ache in my soul and fill me with Your peace. He answered the cries of my heart and replaced my pain with His beauty.

Trying to soothe hurts with alcohol, with drugs, busyness, or any other thing doesn’t work. It might feel a little better temporarily. But the hurt is still there. It’s only a temporary fix. Jesus offers a healing balm that brings abundant new life that’s beautiful and eternal.

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This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

Photography Credit: Michael von Borstel

A Hope-filled Book

 

 

I recently read a book that holds the message of redemption at its core. The new book, Dear Dad, by Sundi Jo Graham will touch your soul deeply and make you want to run to Jesus to find the Living Waters that healed a young woman’s broken heart. It will have you rejoicing over all that a hurting addict was able to overcome through a divine connection with God.

Christ died so that we could live an abundant life on earth. He spilled His blood out so that we could be free from all our pain and past hurts. I see this book as one of the greatly needed resources for the hurting souls in our world. Sundi Jo’s life story stands as a powerful testament of the hope found in Christ to overcome anything—abuse, addictions, unhealthy relationships, or any other thing that keeps us from experiencing a beautiful and fulfilling life.

For more information, visit the Dear Dad website.  deardadthebook.com

From Darkness to Light

from the darkness comes a light

                                   Photo Credit: Christa von Borstel

It was springtime in 1997 when I hit rock bottom and ended up in a deep, dark pit. It should’ve been a happy season for me as I had recently given birth to my second child. But instead of feeling joy, I had a serious case of postpartum depression. I was in a place of desperation. I wanted to die and prayed for my life to be over.

It seemed that everything good in my life had been lost. My marriage was broken, our finances were a complete mess, and I felt hopeless.  My busy life had pulled me away from the intimate relationship I had with God in my youth.  My prayers had become last resort petitions to God instead of daily communion with Him. I was surrounded with darkness.

Deep in my heart, I knew the only answer for me was the power of the resurrected Christ to pull me up out of my desperation and awaken my soul with His healing light. My personal journal revealed the darkness in my soul.

May 22, 1997

God, do You hate me? I feel so helpless. Please show me Your love. Please make a way for me out of this.

In that moment of being at the lowest point of my life, I cried out desperately for help from God. As I prayed, Jesus pulled me out of that pit, He began restoring my life little by little and step by step, and I eventually found the faith in Christ I had always dreamed of having.

Through prayer and the encouragement of a close friend and mentor, God brought me into His light. My friend Bonnie shared her faith with me during that dark season.

With certainty in her voice, Bonnie said, “Amy, I went through a time similar to what you’re going through. God will bring you through it.”

Her words brought hope to me in a way that is indescribable. It was as though her testimony drew me into the light that had brought her through the darkness I was experiencing.

Bonnie suggested that I listen to worship music continually and focus on God constantly. Her encouragement was worth far more than pure gold. She encouraged me in too many ways to count. I can still hear her sweet voice in my mind.

She sweetly said, “Write Scriptures on note cards and place them all over your house as a way to keep focused on the truth of God’s Word.”

Bonnie’s words were a reminder to me of the faith-steps my mother and grandmother had taught me when I was young, but I had allowed my hectic life to distract me from the spiritual disciplines my soul needed. As Bonnie suggested, I wrote out Scriptures on 3 x 5 cards and taped them wherever I thought my eyes would be drawn to. As I prayed and focused on the Scriptures that were strategically placed on my window sill, on my stove, on the bathroom mirror, and on my car dash, I felt hope rising up inside me.

The hopeless feeling I had lasted for a short season. By the time my son was five months old, I was feeling like a new person in many ways and beginning my journey of growing into a passionate praying woman.

Ultimately God is the only true Source that can heal our souls, but the encouragement from Bonnie and from my family pushed me in the right direction. Their encouragement gave me the hope I needed to keep praying and seeking God.

It’s been sixteen years since the darkest season of my life, and today I celebrate how God brought me through the tunnel of darkness and into His illuminating light.

That dark time in my life is what brings me here to begin writing on this new site. I want to do for others what was done for me at a time that I wanted to die. If you’re going through a dark season, I am here to say that it will get better as you pray, press into God, and seek to know His Truth.

I hope my life will stand as a living testimony and that you’ll stop by my site whenever you’re in need of encouragement. I pray that the peace of Christ will permeate your soul and bring you into His marvelous light.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…” 1 Peter 2:9 (New King James Version)

This post is written in memory of my beloved friend, Bonnie Morrell (1959-2008).