Hope

We are ever giving thanks to God for all of you, continually mentioning [you when engaged] in our prayers, recalling unceasingly before our God and Father your work energized by faith and service motivated by love and unwavering hope in [the return of] our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  [O] brethren beloved by God, we recognize and know that He has selected (chosen) you.

-1 Thessalonians 1:2-4

As I read through my Bible this morning, I landed on this verse that fit oh so nicely with this month’s theme.  I looked it up in a few different versions and loved the idea of the words that come before hope…

unwavering hope

steadfastness of hope

endurance inspired by hope

patience of hope

enduring hope

endurance of hope

All of these characteristics of the Thessalonian’s hope come right back to a deep seated belief in being the beloved of God. The more secure I find myself in how God sees me, the more patient and enduring I can be (with His help!).

What stuck out to you in this verse?

deep breath…of hope

Hope

I breathe her in and start with just a little taste.  She seems familiar, but it’s been so long since I’ve tasted her goodness. I thought I didn’t want her hanging around, but then I slowly started letting her come back to play.  Once I started boldly and consistently confessing trust, there she was.  She showed up with her bright sun rays and dancing laughter.  She wanted me to come dream with her.    

Now, with trust, I’m un-digging my heels and stopping my tantrum to learn even more about trusting fully, but hope? That just seems a bit…risky.

Except the funny thing about hope is that she sneaks up on you.  You start trusting God with those heart desires and next thing you know hope has blossomed.  Deserts into Eden.  A beauty in the waiting with hope and anticipation.  A face set on His best no matter what it looks like.  So, I breathe her in deep even though it’s not what I intended.  A deep breath of resting and enjoying…the Gardener who is making my deserts oh so beautiful. 

Come play along with the 5 minutes of free writing on “Deep Breath.”

What are you breathing deeply lately? What are you hopeful for?

journals

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you TRUST in him.

Romans 15:13

I wrote about journals last week and it happened to be that I went out to buy a new one that day as well.  I went with the intention of finding one with my word on it: Trust.  God one upped me and provided one that not only has my word from last year (joy) and this year, but also the word hope.  Hope and I have been having a bit of a wrestling match the last few weeks…hope’s winning.  Here’s what’s on the back of the journal that hit my heart in a “Oh…really. Eish. Okay, God.” complete with a nice little eye roll and a sigh of here goes…

not to mention this is what was written on the back of the journal:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good…to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

To hope is to long for something with all your heart knowing that it can come true.  Explore those longings, your God given dreams, and your hopes for the future on these pages.  Refreshing quotes and verses will help you put your thoughts and prayers into words.

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What are you longing for, hoping for? What is something you would write on the pages?

 

 

pouring out my soul

I wrote a letter to my heart and as the night came, I found my heart wandering.  Wide awake when it should have been fast asleep!  I tried to lay in bed for a while, but I’m not one for laying idle.  Granted, I’ll sometimes say the alphabet backwards (try it, it’s fun).  But, before long, I turned back on my light to give into my sleeplessness.  Admittedly, I ate a delicious snack and then settled in for a little reading.

One of the pictures in my pretty new bible (did I mention that I finally got an amplified bible and that I absolutely LOVE it–see below) had fallen out at church and I had just tucked it in the Old Testament thinking I’d put it back in place later.  Pictures serve as my prayer reminders and well mostly to make me smile at love.  But, they also are handy bookmarks.  The one that had fallen out happened to go with a verse that’s been on my heart lately anyway….

So stand still and see this great thing the Lord will do before your eyes now. -(1 Samuel 12:16)

Being that I found myself STILL wide awake, I forayed to the beginning of 1 Samuel since I haven’t read it in far too long.  God met me in such a clear, stark way.

And [Hannah] was in distress of soul, praying to the Lord and weeping bitterly…Hannah was speaking in her heart…I was pouring out my soul before the Lord…Then Eli said, Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition, which you have asked of Him.- (go ahead and read all of 1 Samuel 1)

That speaks volumes to my heart. So does this…

It has trained us…to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world.  Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope…that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds. -(read Titus 2:11-15)

Then to top it all off and put a cherry on top for my heart, I went on a run through which God totally pursued me and loved on me.  I left praying that maybe God would help this heart to hold onto hope. Holding onto the Titus 2:11-15 verse to memorize and listening to these lyrics started it out:

now i stand in the hope of new life and I’ve found a hope stronger and nothing compares -I’ve Found a Love by Jenn Johnson (Bethel Live)

Oh and then right as those lyrics hit, I look up to see a beautiful deer running alongside my dirt road (did I tell you that I LOVE running on dirt?).  Beautiful.  Plus, I got to watch the sunset and just as it faded into the distance I turned around to head back only to see an absolutely gorgeous full moon. Yep. God sure knows how to woo my heart!

So, there’s one of my little love stories for the week.  How’s God been pursuing YOU? 🙂

p.s. here’s my bible…isn’t she pretty?

a letter to my heart

dear heart,

sometimes you feel so messy. i find you traveling right along paths that are not for now. i must remind you to let go of those things that you have picked up again. not just hold them loosely as much as you wish you could. they need to go to the altar where you have fully given them to Him. remember? you can’t give away something and then ask for it back to look at it all the time. i know, i know, it’s hard. it’s messy. it hurts. but it’s necessary. He may not be changing those circumstances surrounding, but fear not, He is at work in you. healing. touching. transforming. teaching.

i bet you thought that when you closed those doors that you brought all of you with through them. i thought that too. until i realized that sometimes pieces get left on the other side of the closed door. pieces that need to be sifted. pieces of hope. pieces of love. pieces that make you catch your breath. that make you ache for something that may not be yours. is not yours, right now, regardless.

so, heart, take a deep exhale and let God be. long for His presence and for the day of coming home. i hear you yearning for a home you only know through His touch. take a taste of His goodness as He enfolds you with His presence meeting you in the deepest place. take joy, He hears your secret petitions and desires. He calls you lovely and you are His alone.

oh, and heart? it’s okay to hope and pray and dream and wait and stand still to see what He will do before you. I believe that He has amazing plans ahead. plans to prosper you, plans to give you hope and a future. so, hold tight. things may look a little messy, but that’s how it is with clay…trimming, cutting, shaping, molding, pieces flying, firing, drying, dipping, refining, firing again. it’s a process. and the end result…well, it sure is beautiful.

love,

p.s. anything you’re telling your heart, today?

We Are Full of Beauty

that moment.

when the clock slows to fast forward.

to wrap us up in a memory that holds the sunrise of hope.

love.peace.comfort.overflowing.

into home.

being.simply being.

you.me.

being able to let all the masks fall off.

to fall asleep.

fully present. in beauty.

full of beauty.

Photobucket

*This is my response to the challenge presented by Sarah: “Write a blog post about beauty. Your thoughts, your pain, your triumphs. It can be outer beauty, inner beauty, what you hate, what you love. Anything. Be creative. It can even be a single photo.”

**That right there. written above. that’s when I feel beautiful and fully me. nothing held back.and even though it’s few and far between my heart so wants to feel and find that “fall asleep home” that fully comes from God more often. because in Him is where I am full of beauty.

***So, what about you? What are your thoughts about beauty?

Hear No Evil

You know when you’re zipping along in a book and you come to a funny part?  Do you laugh out loud or do you laugh on the inside? Mostly, I do the latter especially if I’m in public.  Hear No Evil, on the other hand, had me laughing, giggling, and smiling at the GYM! Yikes!  And, apparently, I’ve been in the “church” long enough to catch onto some of the lingo, jokes, and well messiness. Here are a few snippets of the book:

“Good music changes me, shocks me, makes me feel uncomfortable, and drives me to think and hope and believe differently.”

“I was learning that I didn’t know a lot of things. And I think a part of faith is learning how to become okay with that.”

“I can understand why some people don’t use their imaginations. Why is that? Because it gets you in trouble sometimes…People who play it safe rarely accomplish much.”

If you love music, can appreciate some church truth/humor, and want a speedy read with some nuggets to chew on then check out Hear No Evil. If you’re in the area…feel free to ask to borrow my copy though it has been to the gym with me…. 🙂

*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. You can buy one here 🙂 Oh! and don’t forget to check out his blog here.