Tag Archives: encouragement

Morning Sip

On of my treasured memories from my tweens and teens was walking down the hall in the morning to see my mom sitting in her favorite chair, Bible on her lap, and cup of coffee on the side table.

My next most treasured memory is the remembrance of her voice singing hymns in the kitchen as she worshiped her Lord and Savior while washing dishes.

It was late 1986 that we all drove up to visit my family in Oregon, and staying several nights with my mom. It felt so wonderful to walk down the hall again in the morning to see her reading her Bible while sipping coffee. It was so nurturing to my spirit to listen to her softly sing while cleaning house.

While out with my sisters, I found a small book in a consignment shop that reminded me of my mom. Published in 1889, the book is a collection of poems inspired by Scripture and is entitled “Fullness of Joy” by Cecilia Havergal and others. I gave the book to her as a thank you for letting us stay, and I wrote on the inside cover:

“Dear Mom,
Thank you for opening your house to “T” and I and the kids during our visit. You’re a wonderful mother, and an even better friend. I love you, your daughter, Jenny”

When my mom passed, this book was found amongst her things and returned to me as a remembrance.

But now when I hold it, I feel a tear in my heart … for not only does it remind me of the occasion when she loved me in 1986, but it also reminds me of the first time she disowned me as her daughter. I know that the onset of dementia was at least a contributing factor to her increasing mean-spiritedness in her later years. It’s as though in the fog of dementia, she lost her ability to “filter” out the venom in her heart when crossed or otherwise angered.

“So the LORD answers, ‘Can a woman forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you.'” ~Isaiah 49:15 (GNT)

For those of us who have had parents that have wounded us in word or in action, let us not ascribe their shortcomings and failures to the character of God, our Heavenly Father. Where human love fails, God’s love never fails and it never gives up (or abandons)!

And true to His Word, God brought people into my life who would fill those gaps in my soul and spirit – spiritual parents, mothers and fathers, I’ve many of them over the years. The love and nurture that my own parents were unable to give because of their own brokenness, others gave me – teaching and training me (healing me) so that in time I could be a better parent to my own children.

He will do the same for you!

“God places lonely people in families. He leads prisoners out of prison into productive lives..” ~Psalm 68:6 (God’s Word Translation)

Thank you Daddy-God, that Your love is unconditional and utterly unshakeable. You are a kind and loving Father to the parent-less (fatherless / motherless), and You place the orphaned into new families!

Morning Sips

Morning Sip

“Go take for yourself a wife of harlotry”…”for the land (Israel) has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.” ~Hosea 1:2

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Nah, don’t bother. Because if you’re breathing I know you have the same problem I do. You are unfaithful. So am I.

My attention waivers.

My loyalties wear out.

I often like to do what I want more than I like to do what I ought.

I don’t keep my vows.

This morning while reading Hosea I see too much of myself and his Harlot bride. The Mirror of the Word reflects back to me a willful and undisciplined child, who hears the instruction of the Father yet thinks she can disobey with no consequences. Fool. There are always consequences.

But continue reading…

“And now, here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to start all over again. I’m taking her back out into the wilderness where we had our first date, and I’ll court her. I’ll give her bouquets of roses. I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope. She’ll respond like she did as a young girl, those days when she was fresh out of Egypt. ~Hosea 2:14‭-‬15 MSG

Thank you, Father. Thank you that you are always calling me back to you, cleaning me up, and re-extending to me the promise of Hope contained in your love for me.

Morning Sips

 

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 20)

It’s not something I think much about anymore, but in recent weeks the Lord has brought to my remembrance the great tragedy that was my second marriage. Take courage, male readers – this is not a post trashing the male species. Rather, this post is a reflection upon my own brokenness at the time. For sure, my ex was a terrible person (ever see the movie “The Hand That Rocks The Cradle”? Yea, it was a lot like that). But had I not already been such a walking-talking-emotional-and-spiritual-train-wreck, I would not have been such easy prey.

In fact, I remember saying something along those lines to my sister years after my divorce. Oh, she was so made at me!… because she witnessed all of what he had done first hand, and most siblings would, she hated him for the way he mistreated me and our children. To her ears, my acknowledging I had some part to play in the insanity that took place was akin to giving him a pardon. No so. But we all have to own our stuff, and I brought stuff to the table too.

This is not an easy subject, nor a pleasant remembrance for me. I’d much rather stay focused on HOPE and FAITH and maintaining a positive outlook even in the mist of difficulties. But I am feeling prompted to reveal a little more of my story – in a more complete way than I have in the past via little bits and pieces.

“You said, ‘Now shalt thou see what I will do,’” she answered, and then, looking at him reproachfully, added, “But I never dreamed you would do anything like this! Lead me to an impassable precipice up which nothing can go but deer and goats, when I’m no more like a deer or goat than is a jellyfish. It’s too-it’s too-“ She fumbled for words, and then burst out laughing. “Why, it’s too preposterously absurd! It’s crazy! Whatever will you do next?”

The Shepherd laughed too. “I love doing preposterous things,” he replied. “Why, I don’t know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection. If there is one thing more than another which I should enjoy doing at this moment is turning a jellyfish into a mountain goat. That’s my special work,” he added with the light of great joy in his face. “Transforming things – to take Much-Afraid, for instance and to transform her into-“ He broke off and then went on laughingly. “Well, we shall she later on what she finds herself transformed into.”

It was a really extraordinary scene. In the place where just a little while before all had been fear and despair were the Shepherd and Much-Afraid, sitting on the rocks at the food of the impassible precipice, laughing together as though at the greatest joke in the world.”

Hinds Feet on High Places, Hanna Hurnard

My story – and transformation – from a wounded young girl trying to survive a dysfunctional and abusive home, to a young woman looking for love and acceptance in the arms of all the wrong men, to a young wife-turned-single parent desperately trying to rebuild a life, to today. Wow. As I write that, I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to tackle all this. It really is the material for a book or a movie 😊. But that’s not my objective! I just want to share enough of my story so as to encourage others who might be on a similar journey, and I want to give praise and honor to my BIG GOD who transformed me from Jellyfish to Mountain Goat, and from complete brokenness to a woman who learned to Swing Again!

Hope you come back next week to take the journey of remembrance with me.

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

2018: A Year For Hope (Week 19)

As mentioned in my last post, I recently attended a women’s event at my church.  Shayla McCormick of Coastal Community Church was our guest speaker.  On Day 2, still gleaning from the story of Gideon, she shared that she often feels both overwhelmed and underqualified to do the thing(s) that God has called her to do.  I totally relate to that, and I’m sure you can too.

We hear the whisper of God prompting us to do something new.  Something totally out of the character with our usual way of acting or reacting. Something brave and daring and exciting.  And while our spirit may be quick to say “Yes, Lord.  If you say so”, our awareness of our own shortcomings (with fear along for the ride) speaks up and says “Uh, Lord … I think you have forgotten who you’re talking to.  The person you probably want for this job lives three doors down to the left.”

Right?

Which is probably why this particular bullet point really caught my attention … as well as my imagination.

Building up strength requires exertion of strength.”  ~Shayla McCormick

Or as I rephrased it in my notebook:  You won’t experience your victory until you step up to bat.

And that got me thinking, and as usually happens, one thought leads to another.

We know from Judges, chapter 6, that Gideon was called by God, from his hideout in a winepress, to rise up and lead the Israelites in battle.

cropped-gravitar-image.jpgSpaghetti Thought #1: The fact that Gideon was threshing wheat reminds me that the promise of Deuteronomy 28:12 is that He will “bless the work of my hands”.  Therefore, my hands are required to actually be doing something practical in order to be blessed.   To state the obvious, wheat can’t get threshed until someone first puts in the work to plant the seed, and later harvest the crop.  And last time I checked, if no one goes fishing, no one eats fish.  But a garden hoe doesn’t catch fish, nor will a fishing pole till the ground.  So if I want to enjoy the reward, I had better be putting in the work and using the right tools for the job.

Mighty WarriorSpaghetti Thought #2: When Gideon went into battle, he would of course be wearing armor.  You and I need to wear armor too, spiritual armor, every day.   And in the same way that Nehemiah counseled the Israelites to rebuild the wall with a weapon in one hand and a tool in the other, we greatly increase our success when we are not only busy doing the work, but are also wearing the Armor of God to keep us protected (offensively and defensively) from that rascally old devil who is always trying to steel, kill and destroy God’s plan for our lives.

“From then on half of my men worked and half stood guard, wearing coats of armor and armed with spears, shields, and bows. And our leaders gave their full support to the people who were rebuilding the wall. Even those who carried building materials worked with one hand and kept a weapon in the other, and everyone who was building kept a sword strapped to their waist. The man who was to sound the alarm on the bugle stayed with me.”   Nehemiah 4:16-18 (GNB)

But it’s not the image of Miss Hope wearing the Armor of God while tending her fields with rake and wheel barrel that stirred in my imagination that day.  It was the thought of her with a baseball bat.

 

Take A Swing, PuttingHopeToWork.com
“Take A Swing!”  http://www.puttinghoptowork.com

 

Spaghetti Thought #3:  Sometimes you just have to “take a swing“.

Life can be hard sometimes.  Disappointments will come.  My heart will hurt.  But no matter how hard the fall (be it of my own doing, or from circumstances completely outside my control), because of Jesus Christ, I don’t have to stay down.  I can be washed clean of the gunk all over my face and clothing.  I can return to the well of HOPE for refreshment when I’m weary of spirit.  I can release my pain into the care of Jesus and instead choose to forgive.  I can, in His strength, get back up and take another swing.

And another!

And another, and another, and another, and another!!!

Friend, what is your faith swinging for today?  Healing?  Finances?  A new job?  A spouse?  Deliverance from an addiction?

Remember that “building up strength requires exertion of strength”, so exert those spiritual muscles and take another swing!

And keep on swinging until you get your victory!!

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All sketches and watercolors posted on this website are the sole property of the author and are for exclusive display on the website PuttingHopeToWork.com.

 

New Blog Post Release Date – Thursdays

Good morning friends!   As you have probably noticed, I’ve not been keeping up with my Monday afternoon release date for the last several weeks.   Monday-Friday I’m a small business owner (OK, it’s more like Monday-Saturday,  since I’m self employed and wear all hats all the time) and my weekends have been slammed …. mostly in good and exciting ways … like playing with grandkids, and going on hikes, and lets not forget about groceries and laundry and paying bills. 🙂   All the every-day stuff of life that gets crammed into weekends.

This past weekend I attended a Captivate 2018, a women’s conference put on my church.  It was actually at Captivate 2014 that the Lord spoke to me, leading me to quit my day job (without having another job lined up) and step out onto the deep waters of faith with Him.   Before my two weeks notice was up, He had given me a dream and opened up the doors of opportunity for me to go into business for myself.  I write more about that here.

Anyways – I’m now working on the post that was supposed to be published on Monday.  And since this has already happened more than a few times, I’m going to move the release date for my blog posts from MONDAY afternoon to THURSDAY afternoon.

Whew!  I feel much better now!

“So it is impossible for God to lie for we know that his promise and his vow will never change!  And now we have run into his heart to hide ourselves in his faithfulness.  This is where we find his strength and comfort, for he empowers us to seize what has already been established ahead of time – an unshakable hope!  We have this certain hope like a strong, unbreakable anchor holding our souls to God himself.  Our anchor of hope is fastened to the mercy seat which sits in the heavenly realm beyond the sacred threshold, and where Jesus, our forerunner, has gone in before us.  He is now and forever our royal Priest like Melchizedek.”   ~Hebrews 6:18-20 (The Passion Translation)

 

Morning Sips