Tag: support

Where is your Hope?

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I have some friends who are going through some really hard times right now.  Serious illnesses, death of a loved one, prison, financial hardship – almost to the point of becoming homeless.

Some of them are dealing with the stress okay and getting through the challenges with their faith intact.  But a couple are feeling so discouraged, frustrated, and helpless; they are losing hope.  I wonder if you know someone who is losing hope?

When things are going well, it’s easy to show and share your faith.  But when they’re not, it’s easy to wonder where God is.  And as a friend it’s hard to know what to say or do.

Sometimes standing with them and saying “I just don’t know what to say but I’m glad to be here with you” is enough.  Sometimes crying with them, or praying with them, or helping them with whatever small thing you can do is enough.  Or making sure they are connected with whatever professional resources are available can help.

But whatever we can do, we are not the ones they can hang their hope on.  And neither are professional resources able to solve every problem with a happy ending.

Of the friends who are doing okay, and have their faith and hope intact, I have noticed some similarities.

girl-1186895_640.jpgThey pray

They read God’s Word, the Bible

They have acknowledged their need to a small group of friends

They accept fellowship and support from this small group

They continue to focus on trusting God with the outcomes

Of the ones who are not doing as well, I have also noticed some similarities.

They go it alone

They deny their need

They have stopped reading the Bible and praying

They focus on the anger and frustration they feel

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If you have friends or loved ones who are in a hardship or challenge that is too much for them, do whatever you can to be the support they will accept.  When you can’t do any more, or if they refuse your help, pray for them.  Pray for them to turn to the One who has the will and the power to have a positive impact on their lives and circumstances.

Holding on to that faith during a hard season, I wrote this song as God encouraged me to hold on and not give up hope.  Put Your Hope in Jesus

When all seems dark and hopeless Your Word becomes a light

A calming reassurance that dawn will follow night

When your only hope is Jesus, then your hope is strong and true

For He’s the One who is able to care for and carry you

Put your hope in Jesus

You can trust the man on the cross who died for you

Put your hope in Jesus

He’s the One who is able to carry you

When all of life around you is so out of control

There is just One you can turn to

There is just one hand to hold

So take the hand of Jesus and cling with all your might

He’s the One with the power to brighten your darkest night!

kneelcrossPut your hope in Jesus

You can trust the man on the cross who died for you

Put your hope in Jesus

He’s the One who is able to carry you

If a Rose needs support – do I – Part 2

rosetrellisI’ve discovered putting a mature rose bush on a trellis can be a thorny and painful process.

Especially when the branches are heavy with blossoms and when the winding arms have already started down a path contrary to the direction I want them to go.

It’s the same with me. I’m the rose bush.

When I’ve been going my own way for a while, it takes more effort to change direction. To be willing to bend to the new way – even if I know it will benefit me in the long run.

 

 

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My trellis is the Bible. It’s the firm, never changing, God-inspired framework that guides and supports my life.

Often I know what I should do in a situation because the Bible is clear on its teaching. And I’m familiar with what it says. In these cases I don’t even have to think about my decisions.

Those instances seem natural to me. There’s comfort and support in the sturdiness of the framework that backs me. It helps bear my weight . And I lean on its structure as I grow.

Other times I come upon a verse that says something new to me and I feel a conviction to make a change in my attitude or behavior that causes some discomfort as I align myself to the structure of the trellis. That particular scripture becomes a sticking point for me that lifts me up, giving me guidance and new direction.

20180623_161520And then sometimes, there is a greater challenge. Without much thought, I allow myself to stray in a direction that feels freeing at first. It may be that other people are going that way and I think it would be fun.

But further down the path I see it leading me in a direction that takes me away from what I know is good. And I have to make a hard choice.

Sometimes it means making a U-turn and I have to bend over backwards to come back into alignment. That’s uncomfortable as I pull away from the people and activity I had joined. Uncomfortable because I want people to like me. And I want to be known as reliable and trustworthy, not fickle and inconsistent.

On rare occasions though, a U-turn isn’t possible. I simply have to cut off the branch entirely and discard the pieces that went in the wrong direction. This brings fear and embarrassment. Fear of what other people will think of me. They may question my choice, tease me, call me names, or talk badly about me behind my back. It hurts when I feel rejected.

Embarrassing because I made a bad choice and got myself into something I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t handle. These occasions are sticky, thorny situations. They are painful.

Painful because of the rejection I feel, but also a loss. I grieve the time and effort and resources wasted. And I grieve the loss of the relationships and doing something I enjoyed, at least for a while.

Fastening even one branch of a rogue rose bush to a trellis can be a painful chore. Its thorns scratch and grab at my sleeves, causing little snags or tears in the fabric. Sometimes they scratch and grab at me, leaving the skin on my arms full of small, bloody reminders of my efforts.

In my own life, redirection or pruning can cause just as much soreness and pain.

climbing-roses-1431123_640I haven’t finished the rose bush project yet. But as with my own life, we’re both works in progress. Thankfully my Gardener has a beautiful plan for me. With His endless patience and boundless grace He won’t give up on me no matter the scratches.

I love gardening.

And I love my Gardener!

 

If a Rose needs support – do I?

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I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

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This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

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And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.