Search Results for: hope

Furnace of Hope (Choka Haiku)

Belief’s amber warmth
chilled black by fear. I wonder—
Do I exist here?

Desolate nightmare
Purple bruises on repeat—
You rescued my heart.

Tender shoots of trust
sprout knowing Your faithfulness—
Nightmare crushed crimson.

Unquenchable Hope
stands beside. I emerge gold—
Revealed by evil.

Furnace of obedience
Penned before Satan’s ink dried.

Jesus Steers Hope Towards The Mentally Ill

And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.

Mark 5:5-7, KJV

Turning My Page

Hopeless is a word I hear a lot as I walk through my daily encounters with people. “It’s a hopeless situation.” “Don’t lose hope.” “Don’t get your hopes up.”

Many of us have or are currently feeling hopeless about our, circumstances, loss, desires for a better life, families, and, friends. Like me you may have exhausted all medical avenues without finding relief.

My oldest son is dead. My middle son deals with many of the same painful symptoms his brother wrestled with, and my daughter and husband are constantly battling a known genetic disease. I don’t sleep. I have days in exhaustion, I am tempted to give in to hopelessness. Yet I read in scripture and acknowledge:

When all seems lost Jesus changes everything.

In Mark 5, this poor demon-possessed man in the passage is tortured and hopeless! Maybe his family tried the medical route, maybe they asked the priests to heal him. We know for sure that he was chained repeatedly but broken the chains every time. If you and I saw him today on the street, more than likely, we would give a wide berth and we certainly wouldn’t take a shortcut through the cemetery. He might be medicated and institutionalized.

Jesus drew close enough to the tortured man for the demons to recognize that he was “Jesus, Son of the Most High.” The idea of getting so close to demonic forces that they call me by name is frightening.

Just ask the men who tried, without having a personal relationship with Jesus, to cast out a demon. “And the evil spirit answered and said Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” ( Acts 19:15, KJV). And then the demon proceeded to strip the men naked and beat them.

The more I know Jesus, the more I understand that he has given me his authority, but I honestly, don’t know how to use it yet. It certainly takes being led by the Holy Spirit. Speaking boldly most assuredly takes humility (knowing by whose authority we speak), obedience and discipline. The demons knew that Jesus had the power to destroy them.

Had those who loved the demon-possessed man struggled with wanting to give up? Most definitely. But God, had already planned to cross the grave to rescue this man through his son Jesus Christ. Rather than steering the boat away from the place of the dead and this man among the tombs, Jesus steered the boat towards him.

God steers his people towards the fight, not away from those in need.

I once lay in a hospital ICU with my wrists bound to the bed so that I didn’t hurt myself, but in the year to follow, God steered Christians my way. He showed me scripture that squarely placed my hope in him alone plus nothing. These men and women opened my eyes to his unconditional love, to his redemption, to the promises in scripture, and to the fact that I could live an abundant life praising him. I am unbound because God steered the boat of his love towards the graves, not away from them.

My current circumstances do not have the final word on my life or my family’s lives. Instead, I wait. I  cling to hope in Jesus. Heal us? With man this is impossible but nothing can stop God from healing our infirmities. Not even 2,000 demons.

 

Turning Your Page

When our enemy Satan and his minions see a Christian coming their way, do they tremble in fear? They should if we take the authority passed down to us through Jesus.

Miracles still happen today because the gospel of hope has never been thwarted from reaching its goal.

Christians must wake up every day and see that the world needs hope and that God has given us the authority to offer the truth of the gospel. God provides hope for deliverance, hope out of depression, hope for our marriages, and life to the fullest measure. Jesus came that we can have life and have it abundantly. Like the demoniac, there are so many left to wander life tortured and miserable.  Let’s offer the reason for our hope boldly!

Lord, I fear man, and as long as I speak by their authority rather than yours, any effort I make to offer hope will fall flat. Oh, Father, I praise you alone for saving me and ask that you strengthen me to proclaim freedom for the captive and release for the prisoner. Amen

cloak of hope

Cloak of Hope Resurrected

Cloak of Hope

Form of a condemned caterpillar, known by a Creator who
loves the despised.
Chosen to shed the itchy filth and red rags of hopelessness
And emerge into a purple cloak of hope–You delight in me!

Turning My Page: My Cloak of Hope

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5;17 ESV

Sometimes, I don’t want to change. I want to stay secure in my chrysalis and avoid life. I’ve experienced a lot of trials, right? I deserve to check out of my troubles for a while. Let others fulfill Christ’s purpose. Metamorphosis isn’t the climax, it is the tomb. The resurrection of a caterpillar to a butterfly is what makes the butterfly so spectacular. I can’t remain in the chrysalis, I must trust God, use my wings, and fulfill the purpose God has for me.

Jesus spelled out my purpose from the moment I accepted him as my Savior. I am to proclaim the good news, but don’t always feel like I capture the depth of God’s transformation in my life. Before I met Jesus, I used the words worthless, failure, and mistake. I searched for meaning in every place but a relationship with God. Then Jesus pursued me with great fervor and delight and convinced me of his love. Now, I love God’s truth and desire life, not death. God custom made a new wardrobe for my attitude.

Too often I catch myself looking through the old closet of thoughts and actions. Colossians 3:10-12 says that God has given me a new cloak of hope as a believer and follower of him. The chrysalis feels safer, but it is like living in a grave while your heart still beats. I am a transformed butterfly, meant to glorify God by sharing the reason for the hope I have, and fear does not have the final say.

A believer in Christ should truly look different.

When God removes our filthy garments of sin, and despair, and places his love and attitude on us, it should be noticeable. Not perfect. God immediately took away my suicidal ideations and desire for alcohol, but many other areas took, stretching, sacrifice, and growth.

In scripture, we see examples of immediate physical changes and in others a turning from sin when Christ entered the room. Immediately, the disciples dropped what they were doing to follow Jesus, but the transformation of their spirit and attitude did not begin until the resurrection. They were in the chrysalis of transformation. I don’t want to end the story, still caught in the in-between of faith. The cloak of faith in Jesus’ revealed that I am a butterfly. Oh, the joy to display his spender!

Cloak of Hope

Turning Your Page

Custom Fitted Cloak of Hope

Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ. So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. 

Colossians 3:10-12 MSG

What garment do you wear? Are your words, your heart, your thinking transformed by God’s love for you? When we wear new garments of salvation and belief, there is a heavenly glow. Just as Moses radiated in the Old Testament because he spent time meeting with God, so too, will you as you sit at the feet and apply the love God has for you.

  • If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, describe how has spending time in scripture, fellowshipping with other believers, and loving your neighbor as yourself changed your garments? If you do not yet know this Jesus I talk about, describe your current garments? How would you like others to perceive you? What current attitudes are you struggling with?
  • Snap a picture of a butterfly and post it to my Facebook Page. What do you know about how a butterfly is transformed? How would you describe a transforming moment in your life?

Lord, bring me out, place on me the full cloak of your glory. Amen

Do you feel like a broken butterfly? God has purposed you to fly no matter what you have experienced. Broken Butterflies: Emerging Through Grief is a collection of poems that illustrated in vivid details that the blow I received would not stop me from flying to God’s glory.

Freedom Starts Hope

Freedom Starts With Hope

Freedom starts with hope. Realizing the power of trust, belief, and faith, inherent in the word has kept me reaching out and allowing others to reach in no matter what crisis comes my way. I have been struggling lately. Sometimes I forget to keep my hope in Jesus and start looking to others or my own ways of self-medicating. These are moments. Despair has an end and knowing that I can turn from sin and embrace the truth of God’s promises, come what may.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

Romans 8:20-21 ESV

 

Turning My Page: Freedom Starts With Hope

Hope.

I have struggled to write for months, and the excuses have piled up.

  • My house is a mess
  • I’m not sleeping
  • My physical health is deteriorating
  • Grieving my grandmother
  • I am a burden to others

This week, the Holy Spirit interrupted my unconscious mantra and reminded me that I have a vast vocabulary–start with one word. Moving beyond writer’s block, depression, or any other block in my life starts with HOPE.

I may not see the fruits of my hope right away, but the seeds exist. I write one word, and then another, and another and before long I am looking back at the obstacle rather than having it firmly planted in front of me.

My hope in all things is found in Jesus Christ, so yesterday and today, I confessed my depressed state and tuned my heart to my Savior’s voice through scripture.

  • Worked on memorizing Romans 8
  • Prayed for my family who is grieving the loss of our grandmother
  • Acknowledged I am substituting food and mindless activities for the comfort of Christ in my grief
  • Went to bed and trusted that God would give me the needed rest
  • Set healthy boundaries with my children
  • Chose a few small ways to attack the mess of my home
  • Rested
  • Fasted

One of the first things the Spirit of Despair attacks is the healthy habits I form.

Notice my list above. I stopped having time in scripture. The house was a deep hole of undone chores, so why try. I avoided grief through food and TV. While these things give me temporary relief, they will never give me lasting help or draw me from the pit of hopelessness because I will always need more and more of those things and accomplish nothing by escaping through them. They do not feed me, mind, body, and spirit.

I know this because at age twenty I almost succeeded in taking my own life. That moment was the cumulation of all my attempts to deal with life’s hardships and pain by burying it and not pressing into hope. At that moment I recognized, rightly, that nothing in this world would make me feel better, but did not press into hope in Christ until the following year.

Only then did my life begin to look more hopeful. I started recognizing Christ died for all of the hardships I experienced and He would faithfully take all experiences and use them to lead others, and offer hope when others can’t yet see the potential. Placing hope in Jesus Christ meant my ultimate failure was not an option. No more throwing in the towel. I do not do this perfectly, but when my footing slips I gain it back more quickly and easily because hope has become the pattern of my life rather than the exception.

Turning Your Page

Freedom starts with hope.

That hope does not disappoint. You may not yet see the fruits of pushing back against the doubts or feel anything will change. Hope is powerful! It gives you space and opportunity to discover resources, mankind to reach in and help, and develops muscles of trust. We will get to the other side of our experiences because nothing separates us from the love of Jesus (Romans 8:28). Nothing and no one will ever be able to steal that freedom from you.

  • What are some of your favorite promises in scripture?
  • Look at the definition of the root word of depression and compare it to the definition for hope.
    • Journal about the difference and similarities between the two.
    • What are some antonyms of each?
  • Pick an antonym of “depress”, such as rejoice, and begin practicing daily.

Lord, I want to cease spiraling into despair. Help me to look up from the pit and see that all things are possible through you. I’ll hold on until they happen as you promised. Amen

Faucet of Hope

Leaky Faucet of Hope

Jesus answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

John 4:10 ESV

I have been contemplating the ripple effect of hope a lot lately, and a recent leaky faucet that filled bucket after bucket until a tiny little gasket was replaced drove home the power in just a few steady drops. I have cards of encouragement from friends, scripture, the Holy Spirit’s prodding, all as constant reminders that Christ is still loving and offering hope to me today.

Turning My Page: Leaky Faucet of Hope

I AM the constant drip, drip of hope, stubbornly
rippling through centuries
of evil, lies, doubt, and fear.

Turning Your Page: The Constant Drip of Hope

For the woman Jesus encountered (on purpose) at the well, hope took the form of an age-old argument between Jew and Samaritan. It was such a bitter, divisive, and evil argument over where mankind truly worshiped God that the factions of believers in the One True God could barely speak to one another. Worse yet, this Samaritan woman had been with many men. In the world’s eyes, Jesus should not have even been speaking to her.

Jesus gave her a drop of water by speaking to her. Then another, by describing Himself as “living water”.  Then He opened the door to the place of true worship, repentance, and hope in the Messiah. She didn’t just walk, she ran back to tell others of the Messiah. She is a ripple effect of hope in Jesus Christ!

  • What is hope like for you?
  • Does it have a color, texture, scent, etc?
  • Journal as a poem, prose, questions, artwork, or photography.
  • Who introduced you to Jesus? Send them a note of encouragement. Describe how they offered you living water.
  • Song to meditate on: Come to the Well

Lord, our world desperately needs the ripple effect of hope right now. So much bitterness, hatred of one another, and hopelessness. Equip believers to continue to be a ripple effect of hope. Amen

 

Saturday, January 17th at 7:00 a.m. EST my interview with Teresa Janzen will air here on Turning the Page on Suicide.

 

Lean in to hope

Lean in to Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3 ESV).

Turning My Page: Lean In To Hope

Nativity displays beneath the canvas of night.
Where a mother sings, and chosen father dreams.
A candle, lit by God, twinkles in the heavens and
announces salvation has arrived.
And hope, swaddled in tender flesh,
sucks his thumb.

The shepherd
and the wise lean in, to wonder, are
you my king?

And I, an offspring of His coming,
testify 2,000 years later, He is
Emmanuel. God With Us, leaning
in to shape my spirit.

 

Turning Your Page

Have you ever contemplated the vast effect of those first moments with Jesus? Many lives have been changed over the centuries because one baby was born. Two thousand years later, men and women are still willing to lay down their lives for this child gifted by God to redeem us. Read Luke 1-2:40.

  • Take about ten minutes to contemplate the sights and sounds of the nativity.
    • Which person do you identify with most?
    • Do you have questions for Jesus?
    • What images and pictures of His arrival catch your attention?
    • Try to use your senses to write a description or poem interacting with aspects of the nativity.
  • How has your life been changed by the birth of Jesus?
    • Leave a link to your poem in the comments or pingback to this post: Lean In To Hope

Jesus, I am in awe of your birth. You are a God I often want to make distant, and yet you took on my struggles. I too can endure sorrow upon sorrow because you love me and are with me and I find joy in this life because my hope firmly placed in you. Amen

Inked Hope

Inked Hope: Self Harm

Inked hope everywhere I could. Scrawled it
on bathroom stalls. Doodled, in
the margins of homework. Sketched
fragile bird, freed from captor’s
cage on my binder. Etched freedom
in bright red ink on my arm.

But whether cage or page, freedom wasn’t
tangible. It was a temporary ink, tattooed on
broken flesh. I was chained to a demon
past that roared and laughed
at all attempts to write a new story.

You took the pen from my hand, rewrote
my story with your love. Inked,
BELOVED
CHOSEN
BRIDE
FREE
on your own wrists, side, and feet. No more
ink left. My well drained dry of any possible sacrifice.

You inked forgiven into my soul and
hope became firmly impressed into my heart.

Turning My Page: How God Inked Hope Through Jesus

Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.

Mark 5:5, ESV

I attempted to ink hope into my life in a multitude of ways. Abused, I tried desperately to take control of my circumstances through self-harm. So hard to express pain, when I didn’t have words for the emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds I experienced. There is simply something I needed that this world could not give me.

Inked HOpe
You Gave Me Freedom

Like the man who cut himself and cried out, nothing anyone has done has brought me relief, and then I saw him. Getting out of the boat, and something in my spirit stirred in recognition. Is this the one everyone talks about? The one who heals the sick and casts out demons. Maybe, just maybe he can ink something different into my soul. Hope. Oh, hope that will finally bring relief…

From the moment I met Jesus, twenty-four years ago, my self-harm ended. The yanking out of hair, the cutting, the anorexia, and the drinking. I have no other reason or explanation to give you, but a real tangible encounter with Jesus. It started with Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen” (NIV). God showed me what that verse meant through tangible provision.

I still feel pain, but I no longer want to escape what I feel, because Jesus has written something different in my life. He wrote hope, faith, and love into my soul, and nothing I experience in this life will ever compare to God’s love in my life.

Turning Your Page: Where to Find Hope

Self-harm can become addictive and therefore very difficult to break. It relieves for a moment the pain you cannot express. You are not alone, and if we are honest, there are many that attempt self-harm in small and big ways. Look for the transforming love of Jesus. His truth about your identity is etched on a cross. You were worth dying for and your pain is not the end of his story for you.

Here is an excellent resource to begin connecting with a God who cares for you and your suffering:

Help For Cutters and Others Who Self-Injure in Some Way

depression aired out

Poetry Hope for Depression

Poetry Hope for Depression

Aired Out

Sucking in the stale air
of depression, regurgitating
regret day after day.

Throw open windows!

You break the seal of
our tomb of circumstances.
Resurrect the fresh fragrance
of hope planted in the sunshine of our dreams.
Filter life through the curtains of our mourning soul.

Invite us to open our eyes to Spring.

Turning My Page

One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?”

John 5:6 ESV

We couldn’t open our windows and I might have squealed when the installer replaced the old useless windows. Today the temperature finally dropped and we spent the day with the windows open. Throughout the day I found myself smiling and breathing in more deeply.

Depression also shuts down all avenues for fresh thought and truth to enter our souls. When I am in a pattern of fear, anger, doubt, and worry, I stop what I am doing and get outside. The sights, sounds, and illustrations of the outside remind me that nothing is impossible for God.

For example, my daughter’s plant she grew from seed, is now a flourishing loaded with plump almost ripe tomatoes. I thought it wasn’t going to make it. It was such a scrawny little plant at the start. We neglected it, but my neighbor spent time caring for it while we left for vacation. Ten days later, we came home to a plant loaded with buds. Now we water it every day. The plant didn’t change, its DNA told it what to do. My neighbor’s attitude changed ours. it was worth saving.

These illustrations in nature, remind me that I too must feed, water, and care for myself. When I feel fears, doubts, and worries closing in on me, a short walk outside, sitting on the porch, and photography at my favorite park all help expand my world. Despair is no match for a fresh perspective of hope.

Turning Your Page

Depression breeds in stale air. Therefore, in what ways can you begin keeping a fresh supply of new thoughts, memories, and experiences flowing in your life? Do you have a person who makes you laugh, or encourages you to step out of what currently feels safe? Reach out to them and see if they’ll send you a daily text, or go out for coffee. You may not feel better after opening your life to something new immediately, just as our eyes have to adjust after being in a dark cave, our soul has to find security in a new positive pattern.

  • Write down some things you’d like to do if you felt better.
  • Ask someone to take a short walk with you.
  • Do a word search on depression (despair), downcast in the bible. What does it say about the cause of these things and the remedy for them?

My struggle isn’t the end of the story. Open my eyes, Lord, to your love, provision, and answers through nature. Amen

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Suicide Hotline

National Suicide Hotline

If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to the website at  SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.