All posts by Miss Hope

I am a Christ follower, entrepreneur, small business owner, blessed mom and proud Nana. Life hasn't always been easy (I had some real challenges growing up and made some bad choices as a result), but God has given me beauty for ashes. I now enjoy sharing what I've learned about faith and hope on my hope-filled blog, and putting my Bible-HOPE to work in the marketplace on a daily basis.

Morning Sips: Be Still and Know

I’ve been going through some stuff lately.  Some of it has been good and pleasant … some of it, well not so much.  And throughout the mental and emotional processing of both the pleasant and unpleasant, I’ve been silent.

Listening to my heart, listening to my head.  Trying to quiet those voices (heart and head) enough to hear the voice of Wisdom speak to me.

“Be Still, and know that I am God.”

But it’s hard to BE STILL when your emotions are on overdrive (pleasant or unpleasant), and your reasoning has your head feeling like there is a professional ping-pong match going on between your temples.   (anyone else understand that analogy??)

Sometimes you just have to find a quiet spot, sit down on a tree stump, and breathe.

Sometimes you have to unclench your hands from the thing you have been trying to hold onto, and surrender it to God.

Sometimes you have to stop fussing … rest your head upon His chest … and know that He is big enough.

Big enough to take it and to know what to do with it.

Big enough to see farther down the road than you can see.

Big enough to do whatever needs doing, handling, correcting, etc.

“That’s enough! Now know that I am God!  I am exalted among all nations; I am exalted throughout the world!”   (Psalm 46:10 CEB)

That’s where I’m at today. How about you?

Morning Sips

 

Morning Sips: How to submit to God

I’m not a Bible scholar, and I’ve never had any formal theological teaching – so just take this for what it’s worth.  The morning musings of a 58-year old Christ follower.

“Therefore, submit to God.”

You know those days when you’re reading your Bible, and one verse (or segment of verses) reminds you of another verse in some other chapter or Book of the Bible?  I love those days!!!  They bring to mind imagery of what it might be like if Jesus Christ were sitting across from me at the dining table, chatting about the impeccable congruencies of His word.  Well, this morning I had one of those experiences and so off I ventured into James 4, and having satisfied my curiosity with verse 6, I continued to read a few other verses I’ve underlined and commented on during previous studies.

“Therefore, submit to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”   

James 4:7-8, 10 (NKJV)

 

And here’s what stands out to me (or what stands out to me this morning):

         Submit to God >>>>

                    Draw near to God >>>>

                                Humble yourself before God

 

In todays society, submission is often seen as a ‘dirty word’.  Is it???

      Merriam-Webster defines submit as:

  • to yield to governance or authority
  • to subject to a condition, treatment, operation
  • to present or propose to another for review/consideration
  • to put forward as an opinion

And I wonder if perhaps submitting to God could be as simple as drawing near to God.  I mean, if I draw near to God: as in spend time with Him, listen to Him, talk with Him, do things together with Him, perhaps even “affectionately scooch on over closer” just to be near Him …. well, wont I naturally find myself wanting to:

…. yield to His authority?
…. offer Him my concerns?
…. dialog and discuss with Him?

Maybe submitting is a lot easier than we think it is.  Maybe submitting is just the result of drawing near to God, taking in all of who He is, and then responding to it.

And as a reward for doing that … the enemy of my soul will flee!!!  Scram!  Stay far out of range!  Why?  Because I’m nestled up under the covering of my God, and their ain’t no devil in hell that wants to get within range of God’s jealous wrath for His beloved!!!!

And who , pray tell, is His beloved???   Well my friend, that’s you and me!! ❤

Hmm…. sounds like there are some excellent perks for practicing submitting to God today.   I hope you join me in the practicing.

Morning Sips

 

Morning Sips: A Renewed Mind

In his book “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day“, Mark Batterson makes a simple but profound observation:

It’s not enough to LEARN new thoughts … you also have to UNLEARN

Never have truer words been spoken, and it has taken me several decades to both learn and unlearn from my past.   For example:

It’s not enough to learn about the love of God … I also had to unlearn fear.

It’s not enough to learn to trust His love … I also had to unlearn rejection.

It’s not enough to learn to hope in His word … I also had to unlearn doubt.

 

“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world,
but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind.
Then you will be able to know the will of God – what is good
and is pleasing to him and is perfect.”

(Romans 12:2  GNB)

A dear friend shared an image with me that she found via Google (yay Google!!).   I followed the link and was utterly delighted to read the associated post “Daily Affirmation: Take Every Thought Captive” by Jenny (a different Jenny), author of “The Littlest Way“.    I highly recommend you read it through … lots of resources on her site too!

take-every-thought-captive (www.thelittlestway.com)
Photo credit to Jenny of “The Littlest Way”  http://www.thelittlestway.com

 

Every time I read this, I can’t help but smile!  It’s not my artwork, but it does rather feel like she created it just for me.  Don’t you think?  🙂

I’m so grateful that God did the work of “transforming me inwardly by a complete change of my mind.”   (YAY GOD!!!)

As the truth of His Word began to take root in my heart, not only was I learning of His love, character, trustworthiness, faithfulness, mercy, patience, joy, etc. …..

"Of Dreams and Nightmares"  www.puttinghopetowork.com
“Of Dreams and Nightmares” http://www.puttinghopetowork.com

…but I was unlearning fear, doubt, terror, distrust, self-protection, judgement, etc.  And over time (unfortunately, over a lot of time – but hey, at one point in my life, I was pretty messed up!), He changed me from the inside out!!!!

            Learning and Unlearning.
They are both required for true transformation.

Over the next few days I’ll be gathering some of the resources I’ve created over the years and share them with you in an upcoming post (or maybe on a new tab?).  In the mean time, please feel free to comment below with a prayer request or to share of your own “transformation / change of mind.”

Morning Sips: The Other Side

We have never met (true for about 99.9% of my readers), but we are the same in a lot of ways.  You feel a stir in your spirit, or perhaps you receive a promise through the Word of God, and you set out on an adventure of faith with great hope and expectation for the “new and good thing” that you are expecting to happen as a result of this prompting or promise.

“Let us go across
to the other side of the lake.”

But time drags on.

Discouragement begins to weigh on your shoulders.

Weariness begin to eat away at hope….

and you begin to fear.

One day Jesus got into a boat with his disciples and said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.”  So they started out.  As they were sailing, Jesus fell asleep.  Suddenly a strong wind blew down on the lake, and the boat began to fill with water, so that they were all in great danger.  The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying, “Master, Master!  We are about to die!”     
Luke 8:22-24 (GNB)

I’ve set out on many such journeys of faith over the years, and am still on many of them.

I am still waiting for the long awaited and much anticipated answers to many prayers.

I bet you are too.

And sometimes you probably feel like I do … like you’re sitting out in the middle of a big lake, at dusk, being battered by waves of fear and doubt, with the shoreline so far away you can’t even see it.

But here is what the Holy Spirit speaks to me through these few verses of Luke 8.

If Jesus is in the boat with me (with you), we WILL get to the other side … just as He said!!

Friend, if Jesus says we are going to the other side, we are going to the other side! Maybe not as fast as I would like, and maybe we will encounter some turbulence along the way … but we are getting there! He will make sure of it, even if He has to pick me up and carry me on His shoulders while He walks across the water to bring me to shore!!

Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man that he should lie…”

I hope that brings comfort to your spirit as you meditate on this simple truth.  He is in the boat with you.  He will get you to shore, just as He promised.

 

Morning Sips

 

2018: A YEAR FOR HOPE! (closing post)

Have you ever been hoodwinked?  I know, I know.  It’s an old term that no one uses anymore, but I like the sound of it.

              hoodwinked:  bamboozled, duped, hoaxed

Of course you have!   So have I!    I’ve lost count of how many pieces of exercise equipment or magic pills or other resources I’ve purchased over the years that promised to help me loose 10-15 pounds in four weeks while burning away belly fat like it was wax thrown into a raging fire.    Or what about that “very reliable and in excellent condition” used car that seemed like such a wise (even frugal) purchase at the time but turned out to be a money pit of repairs!    Snookered!  Hornswoggled!  Deceived!

Generally speaking, “hoodwinked” isn’t a term used in the context of something positive. But when GOD is doing the hoodwinking … well that’s another story.

And that’s exactly what I feel happened to me this year … I got hoodwinked by God!

This same time last year, as is my practice, I was talking with Daddy God about the ups and downs of 2017 and questions I had about 2018.  In truth, I was a little bit discouraged on a few fronts – particularly the blogging front.  I’d been inconsistently posting throughout 2016 and 2017, in part because I was very busy launching a WOSB, and in part because I was discouraged by a low readership.   Questions like “who am I writing this for?” and “if no one is reading this, why am I still writing?” were at the forefront of my mind.  I asked the Lord if I should just shut down the blog altogether – and obviously, His answer was no.  In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard Him clear His throat (ah-hem) and say “I never told you to stop writing”.  Ouch!  And that’s how I came about committing to a weekly blog post throughout the year 2018 – and since HOPE was what I needed to experience, I chose the subject “2018: A Year For Hope”

               HOPE:  a desire accompanied by confident expectation

During the first few weeks of 2018, I often included internal/external dialogs of fictional characters to set the stage for a subject that was on my heart (perhaps inspired by something I or a friend was going through).  And over the course of those first 12 weeks, I struggled to complete an art piece to illustrate my heart in response to a dream someone had for me (posted in week #12)

Fast forward to April 2018.  Readership was increasing (what a balm to my heart!) and I was painting again.  “OK Lord, I think I can keep this up … what is the next subject?”  

“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)

Wanting to honor my commitment to Him to post weekly, I did my best to listen to what He was impressing on me and then post about it … but I still felt there was a bigger subject, something that would take a few weeks to cover (like some of my 2014 and 2015 posts).  But I wasn’t hearing what it was … so I just kept doing what I was doing.

And then, after a chance encounter with a young woman at a BigBox store, the Lord impressed upon me to tell my story (top to bottom) in chronological order.    There was a part of me that quickly said “Yes, Lord.  If that’s what you want me to do, I’ll do it.”   But then there was another part that was slightly less enthusiastic about that whole idea.   I mean it’s one thing to reveal all your warts and bruises within the context of a known audience (be it a group of trusted friends, or a group of fellow believers, or in a setting where there is still some level of intimacy and perhaps even anonymity).  But to put the whole mess out there in cyberspace for anyone to read??   That caused me to pause, and to prayerfully think about it.

I have shared bits and pieces of my story many times over the years, but rarely (if ever) from start to finish.  Lets face it, it’s a long story! 🙂

I started sharing my story in week #20 and it took to week #34 to get my story out, and to week #41 to wrap up some loose ends.   That’s 21 weeks … about 5 months!  That’s a lot of time to be digging around in the dirt of the backyard of your life.  But I did it.  I obeyed.

When I wrote the prologue for this blog series last December 2017, I had absolutely no idea what God was going to ask of me in May.  If I had known, I might not have been so quick to say yes – might not have said yes at all – but by May 2018 I had already committed to writing a weekly blog post and was in desperate need of new subject matter.  

Funny, God!  Really funny!

He pulled the old bait-and-switch on me!  

I got hoodwinked!

And how glad I am about it!  As a result of this blog series, and more specifically the posts between #21 and #41, I’ve connected with many amazing people (some still walking through their journey, some on the overcoming side of the fence) who were blessed and encouraged by my candidness in sharing about a neglected and abuse childhood which set the stage for my disastrous choices as an adult.  I never would have made these soul-spirit connections if I hadn’t have obeyed.

I also think God has an incredible sense of humor!   He must have been smiling big when I prayed for multi-week subject matter in April!   (Oh don’t you worry, daughter.  I’ve got a subject in mind for you alright!!!!)

He is also extraordinarily kind to me, because never in a million years would I have imagined how healing (even after so much healing already) it would be to chronologically lay out all these pieces of my life.   But it was, and in doing so I was able to put some pieces of the puzzle together in a way that I had never seen or understood before.  Thank you for that Father!

 

 

My prayer in December 2017 was that 2018 would be a year for hope to come alive again in new and exciting ways. That dormant areas of my life would spring to life. That victories prayed and believed for would manifest. That breakthrough would swallow up constraint, and that my eyes would behold in 2018 the marvelous works of God in my life and that of my family.

It truly has been an year of hope for me and I pray it was for you too!

And where we need more hope still for 2019, let us be encouraged that He who began a good work is always (and I mean ALWAYS) faithful to complete it, through Christ Jesus! (Philippians 1:6)

Wishing you all a very blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year. See you in January 2019, writing about … well, I’m praying about that now 🙂 God bless!