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2018: A Year For Hope (Week 2)

“I hate my job”, he mumbles to no one particular.  “It was the best way to put food on the table when the kids were small, but then there was a mortgage to pay, and college after that.  I didn’t mind so much when Barb was there to come home to – but she’s long gone now.  I’m old and I’m tired.  I feel trapped in a life I don’t want anymore”. 

“You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Winnie the Pooh (Pooh’s Most Grand Adventure)

All of us have areas of disappointment in our lives, places where we feel old and stuck.  Vacant landscapes where hope blew away like dry leaves on a windy day.

What if it wasn’t too late?  What if you could become unstuck?  What if hope returned?

“Now I’m just a beggar in the presence of a King
I wish I could bring so much more
But if it’s true You use broken things
Then here I am Lord, I’m all Yours”

(Broken Things, Matthew West)

 

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January 2018

This section of “Broken Things” by Matthew West has playing in my head for the last 3-4 days, even waking me in the middle of the night.

My prayer is that you let those few short lines remind you that is never too late.  You are never too old.  You don’t have to stay stuck.  God is ever willing to transform your life, or more specifically, He is ready, willing and able to transform (remake/reinvent) every part of it that you are willing to surrender to Him.

“No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame.”  (Psalm 23:3)

So the question becomes, can you trust Him with your hope for something better?

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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 1)

He wakes at 5 am, gets in a quick workout, and starts the workday by 7:30. He works hard and makes enough to keep the bills paid, sometimes with a little extra at the end of the month. His friends know him as a kind and well-adjusted guy, someone who has weathered some tough storms in recent years but emerged OK on the other side.

But there are things that he doesn’t talk about. Areas of his life so parched and dry that the aching for fulfillment eventually got to be too much for him.

He built a wall, to keep the emptiness contained.
He built a wall, so he could function.
He has routines, and the busyness keeps him distracted.
It keeps the ache at bay.

“He has besieged and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me live in dark places, like those who have long been dead. He has walled me in so that I cannot get out; He has weighted down my chain. Even when I cry out and shout for help, He shuts out my prayer.” (Lamentations 3:5-8, Amplified)

The blue light of the alarm clock mocks her, chiding her for being awake at this hour. She rolls over and pulls up the blanket even higher. She tries to push it away, but the emptiness from the other side of the bed swallows her. Finally, she gives in and her tears silently absorb into the pillow.

“My soul has been cast far away from peace; I have forgotten happiness. So I say, “My strength has perished and so has my hope and expectation from the LORD.””(Lamentations 3:17-18, Amplified)

Question:
What happens when you play a country song backwards?
Answer:
You get your wife back, your dog back, your truck back ….

 

The whole of Lamentations, Chapter 3 reminds me of a country song. It tells a miserable story of trial and disappointment, of deep pain and questioning.

We all have experienced the gut wrenching pain of loss, disappointment, and loneliness. We have all built walls, and wear facades so others won’t see what we’re hiding behind them. Maybe his walls are tall and mighty, built over many decades. Maybe hers are new and still fragile. Some people have walled off huge sections of themselves, while others portray an illusion of openness while managing to tightly guard their innermost selves under lock and key. We all have lost hope at some point or another and can relate to the Lamentations of Jeremiah on behalf of the people of Israel.  What a terrible feeling that is – to have reached a place of non-expectation in or from the LORD.

But what I find most remarkable about this passage of scripture is that even in all of the pain and hopelessness, there is a pathway back to hope.

“But this I call to mind, therefore I have hope. It is because of the LORD’s lovingkindnesses that we are not consumed, because His compassions never fail. They are new every morning.”   (Lamentations 3:24, Amplified)

 

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January 2018

How does one do that? How does someone have no hope (vs 18) and have hope (vs 24) at the same time?

I think the answer is hidden in seven little words, for immediately following the declaration of hopelessness in God, the writer calls to mind the lovinkindnesses (plural) of God  …

… and hope revives!

 

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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 (Prologue)

Have you ever lost hope?  If being honest, I know I have – at least for some things, or during long dry seasons.

I have lost hope for things longed (even prayed) for to have happened by now, and yet here I am … eyes weary from straining to see something emerge on the far horizon.

Dreams that I eventually gave up watering, that now hang sun-shriveled on the vine like snap peas I forgot to pick from last summers garden.

I think we have all lost hope, and yet hope is what is needed now more than ever!

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.  ~Proverbs 13:12

In 2014, no – earlier than that.  In 2010, the Lord gave me a strong desire to start blogging.  I didn’t know what I was doing, so I started by writing about what was on my heart at the time.  I started again in 2014, testifying about the God who rescue me from an abusive past. And now, at the close of 2017, here I am ready to start yet again,  But this time, with some specific instructions:  a weekly post on the case for hope (not of hope) in 2018.

HOPE – a desire accompanied by confident expectation

Rough sketch for watercolor (December 2017)

Expectation for good.  Expectation for the thing desired.

A dear friend spoke something over me in 2017, which evolved into a word picture that I sketched and am now attempting to bring to life in watercolor (to be revealed in future posts).I hope you will consider returning to this blog series periodically throughout 2018, and I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I seek to speak the voice of hope to a heart-sick world. 

Until next year and the inaugural post of this 52 week series, praying God stir up in us the seeds of hope for greater things in 2018.

 

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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.

 

Only You!

I can’t stand it – I have to get this out!  Not all of it, because the story isn’t quite yet ready to tell … but I’m about to explode, so I’m going to share the next best thing!

This song came to me (approx. 2003) after a similar OMG experience!  OMG as in “Sweet Lord Jesus, why do you love me so much as to do that for me?” kind of thing!  And from the outpouring of gratitude from that OMG experience, this song came out of my heart and I’ve been singing it since to Him for years.

Only You
Written by Jenny Hopewell

Only You would do something like this Lord
Only You would do something like this Lord
For You are faithful, and you are good
And You look after Your children, like a good Daddy should
Only You, Only You would do something like this Lord
For me