HOPE #5

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Wildflowers.  They spring up unexpectedly and sometimes in the most unlikely places: our weedy front yard, freeway onramps, dry creek beds.

Seemingly, out of nothing they spring. But, that isn’t really true.  They are rooted, watered, and given life by our creator.

We recently took our girls to see a bit of the California Super Bloom that everyone is talking about.  Carpets of wildflowers brightening up dry fields and pastures.  A sea of purples, whites and yellows. All grown by God.

What hope there is in the wildflower.  That something so beautiful can grow from nothing, but the will of the Lord.  So, too, are our lives.  Whether you are in a desert place or in a fertile garden, you can grow and God can do beautiful things in your life.

Don’t limit yourself to your circumstances.  God is bigger than them.

 

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. psalm 115:3

 

 

HOPE #3

butterfly

We raised 4 butterflies.

They came to us as tiny caterpillars, no longer than a fingernail.  Over time they grew and grew and grew.

Then, they were shrouded in darkness as each caterpillar formed a Chrysalis around itself.  There it hung, no movement and no beauty, until finally one day it emerged.  A butterfly!  Weak at first, but beautiful and new and complete!

Much like Christ, who hung on a cross and was shrouded in cloth and laid in a dark tomb, but emerged alive and whole and new and perfect.

Isn’t that how hope is?  It grows in us, the longing becoming stronger and the dreams becoming larger.  Then, perhaps you feel it is snuffed out. Darkness covers it and it seems hidden.  But, you can not see the work that God is doing or the changes he is weaving beneath that darkness.  Then, one day, it will emerge.  It will be new, perhaps look different even, but it will be beautiful and perfect and whole.

Don’t lose hope in the darkness.  That may be the place where the most work is being done.  It is simply being done by hands greater and more skilled than your own.  Simply rest in that dark place and wait.

 

psalm 71: 5-6, 14

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord,
    my confidence since my youth.
From birth I have relied on you;
    you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.

I will ever praise you.

As for me, I will always have hope;
    I will praise you more and more.

butterfly2 butterfly3 butterfly4 butterfly1butterfly3butterfly1
    

Hope #2

{ This hope series is designed to chronicle my “word of the year” as well as to enourage you wit scripture, resources, and more.  Enjoy!}

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I am still focused on hope.

And, the funny thing is that hope breeds gratitude and gratitude lessens your tendency to hope for frivolous things.

There have been times that I have had such hope for a larger and more practical home.  Yet, this stormy season has brought such gratitude.  When I see rain pouring and wind raging outside, I am so very grateful for my home and my desire for something larger fades into the background of a thankful heart.

Thus, rather than longing for things, I am content in what I have already been blessed with.  Because, at one point, this very home is what I was hoping for.  This home is a hope fulfilled.

Gratitude reminds us of God’s provision in the past, it reassures us that we can hope again, but it also lessens our desire or hope for so many different things.  Hope is good, but we don’t want to spend all of our thoughts and prayers hoping for more.  Rather, believe that God can and be content even if he doesn’t.

“The iron did swim.”—2 Kings 6:9. Here is a great scripture and a link to a mini Spurgeon sermonthhhhgra that inspires hope.

A Word.

Last year was the first year I chose “a word” for the year.

I typically avoid trends like that, but for the first time I truly felt as though God had placed certain words on my heart. So, I held those words close and pondered them throughout the year and looking back I can see the positive impact they had. This year, without really intending too, I chose another word. Or, perhaps, it chose me? The word that has been lingering in my heart and fluttering about my mind is this: Hope.

I’ve been trying to rise earlier to read God’s word and just breathe before the pressures of the day begin and I began by looking to the Psalms.  Many of the verses that jumped out at me and whose words I copied onto 3 x 5 cards, contained that simple word: hope.

hope

I think this word is dear to me now, because of our life season.

  • We live in 816 square feet with three small children and one on the way and we see no possibilities for us to find a larger home in our current town.  For that situation, we need hope.
  • We both work and my husband is often exhausted from his job and I often resent the time that mine takes away from my family and we are decreasing my work hours in the fall without knowing if we can financially handle such a decrease. For that situation, we need hope.
  • We are pregnant with a fourth child, which will give us four children five and under very soon, a blessing and a challenge for sure.  We are nervous about our upcoming ultrasound due to some concerns for the baby and my history of miscarriages. For that situation, we need hope.
  • We dream of living on more open space, but see no means. We dream of me not working, but see no means. I dream of deeper friendships, yet I wait. We dream of many things that seem to be merely that, dreams.  For each of those situations, we need hope.

Are you clinging to a word?  A phrase?  Or, like me, are you merely resting in hope?

I’ll leave you with a few of the scriptures that have really resounded with me at the start of this new year, and THIS message from Charles Spurgeon.  Hold fast to hope, my friends.

PSALM 34: 4 I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

PSALM 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

PSALM 33:22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.

PSALM 36:7 – 9 How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life; in your light do we see light.

 

xo Jenny

 

{This is Not the End . . .}

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“This is not the end of your story.”

I read this phrase during my Bible study yesterday, and it resonated.

I have been anxious lately.

Anxious about the fact that we live in an 816 square foot home.

Anxious about how we will fit in this home with more than our current two children.

Anxious about how we can possibly ever afford something bigger.

Anxious about the hours I will be working online in the fall.

Anxious about whether I will ever be able to STOP working completely.

Anxious about my daughter’s disobedience and if she will ever improve.

Anxious about so many little things.

But, this is not the end of my story.  This is my story now.  This is my circumstance now.  God is growing me through this.  God is teaching me and shaping me and maturing me, so that I will be more like Him.  So that I will be able to meet future needs and circumstances in my life.

This is not the end.

Even the home we live in now came out of the blue at the perfect time.  Before that, my story was that I was 8 months pregnant and kicked out of our rental and desperately searching for a place to live. But, God.  God had more planned.  The plot continued.

My story will change.  Instead of anxiety, I choose joy.  I have to choose it again and again as my mind reverts back to its old habits, but I know God has a plan that I know nothing about and that is even better than I can imagine.

Then, ultimately, my story will end . . . in heaven . . . with Him.

This.  This tiny house and time of financial difficulty.  It. Is. Temporary.  Momentary. A Vapor.

This is not the end of my story. And . . . despite the struggles . . . it’s a really good story.

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