Tag Archives: Hope

Depression Invades. Hope Prevails.

hope-prevails-cover-dr-michelle-bengstonWho better to walk alongside you than someone who’s travelled that road? That’s what makes Hope Prevails a powerful, effective resource and trustworthy companion. Certified neuropychologist Dr. Michelle Bengston shares her personal journey through the dark tunnel of depression to where light beams again and hope prevails. Her candid transparency breathes compassion as her words dissolve the crippling shackles of loneliness often snapped tight around the heart of someone suffering from “the blues”. And confirms you are not alone in this. Someone who’s been there understands what you’re going through and can help pull you out of the dark valley too. Like a friend in this battle guiding you step by step.

Her words expose the truths that get shrouded under depression’s thick, heavy veil while equipping you with tools and knowledge to kick depression and prevent it from knocking on your door in the future. She starts you off with an inspiring hope-full “A Letter to My Depressed Self” with Scripture to back up what she’s saying. Then lays the groundwork for the healing by clarifying the definition and symptoms of depression in addition to explaining the underlying causes and questions to ask yourself to determine if you have depression. Each chapter ends with Your Rx (doctor’s prescription) with tools, questions to ask yourself, or steps to take, My Prayer for You, and Recommended Playlist of encouraging and comforting music.

While not dismissing other treatments and therapy as part of the recovery process, Hope Prevails targets the spiritual root cause of depression. Weeding depression at its source is preventative as well as restorative. Even for those who don’t suffer from it, her advice and relevant, applicable, uplifting Bible verses she includes are useful to stay healthy and shield against the arrows and lies the enemy aims to make us vulnerable to depression. Regardless of what predisposes us to it.

Everyone can gain from reading Hope Prevails because it affects us all in some way or another. The book puts us in a strong position to defeat depression, prevent depression or support someone else who’s suffering from it. Because it may be hard for someone in the midst of the suffering to find motivation or energy to read, an audio-book version, video series, or have a friend read it aloud could strengthen its impact and expand its reach.

Dr. Bengston steers the way out of depression with clear directions to recover our joy, reclaim our peace, and re-establish our identity (the things the enemy seeks to steal and destroy). From beginning to end, it is laced in hope, the unfailing truth that no matter what depression does or takes away, happiness and brighter days await on the other side. In the end Hope Prevails!

Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the opportunity to participate in the Hope Prevails Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the book in exchange for this unbiased review.
I am a hope writer

 

Sea Rose Lane

Sea Rose Lane CoverSometimes life gets punctured by loss. Dreams evaporate. Love life disappears in a mist of deception. Aging body ransacked of usefulness and energy. Precious loved ones taken, leaving a gaping void.

The characters Irene Hannon brought to life in Sea Rose Lane know all about that kind of pain and loneliness; heartbreak and disappointment. Yet, the shattered pieces of their lives, like multifaceted rare and radiant gems, come together to become a mosaic resplendent of something beautiful, strong, and resilient. In Hope Harbor. The place where “hearts heal…and love blooms.”

Book Two of the Hope Harbor series was enchanting as it was inspiring and thought-provoking. It’s the perfect beach read where you can easily lose yourself in the storyline unraveled by characters I immediately fell in love with and had compassion for.

The first people we meet are the recently relationship-scorched architect BJ, the new face in Hope Habour, and Eric, the lawyer knocked off the fast-track to the partnership he longed for with the wave of a pink slip. Sparks fly as they literally run into each other on the road…by accident.

Transforming the house Eric grew up into the bed and breakfast his widowed father dreamed of shaped the framework for a restorative romance with BJ. It also introduced Luis, the Cuban refugee struggling with the death of his wife and career as a physician swept to the wayside by bureaucracy and impossible hurdles.

BJ’s desire to help others, combined with her gift for home repair, draws the window into the life and heart of elderly Eleanor whose ailing health makes her question “Why I’m still here God?” Serving no useful purpose – no worthwhile role to play.

Then there’s Charley, the professional artist who sporadically opens up his fish taco stand on the side. He stole the show for me with his loveable, quirky personality that doubles as Hope Harbor’s resident sage with uncanny sixth sense.

Sea Rose Lane is a heart-warming story laced with faith, hope, and wisdom. The people and setting captured my heart and imagination and left me refreshed, inspired and happy. I loved and appreciated Charley’s reminder that brightening someone’s day, adding a touch of joy when they might need it most, has great merit and is something anyone can do. Also these encouraging words from Eric’s father, “No one ever said life was easy. Besides, taking the easy route doesn’t always lead to the best views.” I also liked how he pointed out when things don’t go as hoped it may be an opportunity, not a disaster at all.

Turning the last page was bittersweet.The ending brought tears of joy to my eyes for the way things worked out. But was sad to leave Hope Harbor, the town and the people that were true-to-life and unforgettable.

Many thanks to Revell Publishing for the opportunity to be part of the Sea Rose Lane Blog Tour and the complimentary copy of the  book in exchange for this unbiased review.

I am a hope writer

 

There’s Always Hope

Can you believe a day or two before this picture was taken the poinsettia you see here was barren and lifeless?

0

Just when we thought it was time to toss a dying plant – new life emerged. Continuing to water what appeared to be a hopeless case brought revival and growth. It is now flourishing  Strong and healthy.

That miracle refreshed me a little while ago when so many things had screeched to a halting dead end. “Will things ever come together for me?” was a question glooming over my heart.

In one of those discouraging moments, when the the mounting trials and disappointments made me feel like a hopeless case, I remembered that plant. And God’s faithfulness. Yes, I may be barely hanging on, tip-toeing shakily on a tight-rope over scary  territory, but I have myself a mighty umbrella. God’s got me covered and keeps me steady. And if I should stumble and fall? I’ll land squarely in His everlasting arms.

So I grabbed onto hope, knowing He holds what presents itself today, and all my tomorrows, in the palm of His hands. He has a purpose and a good outcome to everything life throws at me. 100% of the time. Trust replaced apprehension and I was ready to bloom where I’m planted.

Are you, or someone you love, going through a tough time? Let’s not lose heart. The God who restores plants is watching over us.

No matter what is going down, He can lift us up. He is bigger than the hole we’re hemmed in. Higher than the mountain of challenges we face.

There is nothing He can’t redeem or turn into something beautiful, beneficial, and wonderful.

And always, always there is hope!

I am a hope writer

Linking with Holley Gerth and friends for hope-filled, encouraging Coffee for your Heart.  Hope you’ll join me!

                                              

 

 

I Have Heard your Prayer…

She was hardly someone we would rush to invite to dinner. After all, wasn’t the shame of an empty womb painful enough for Sarah without Hagar taunting her with contempt? And that kid of hers Ishmael! Was it really necessary he mock and make fun of his half-brother Isaac? Rather nasty I’d say. No wonder they found themselves on the run and the eventually evicted from Abraham’s household.

But I have to admit my heart goes out to them whenever I read about how they wandered aimlessly in the wilderness. Rips my heart to bits imagining the scene:

When the water was gone, she put the boy in the shade of a bush. Then she went and sat down by herself about a hundred yards away. “I don’t want to watch the boy die,” she said, as she burst into tears.  ~ Genesis 21:15-16

Brings me to tears too. Obviously moved the heart of God as well. True to the “God hears” meaning of Ishmael’s name the Lord …

…heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven, “Hagar, what’s wrong? Do not be afraid! God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.  Go to him and comfort him, for I will make a great nation from his descendants.” ~ Genesis 21:17-18

Their needs reached God’s ears and He saw every tear fall. In desolate wilderness Hagar started referring to God by the name “You are the God who sees me” because she knew first hand how He sees, He listens, He cares, and He responds. It held true for a lowly servant girl and her wayward son. It held true as He assured royal King Hezekiah years later:

I have heard your prayer

The same holds true for me and you this very day. And always.

Isn’t it comforting to know that whatever we are going through, we are never out of God’s watchful eye? We are not alone. Our heavenly Father is looking after us and will see us through. One day, one moment at a time.

As I read 2 Kings 20:5 recently I remembered the time peace washed over me as “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears” echoed in my heart like a voice from heaven. I just knew it was God speaking to me and the tears stopped. My prayer is that those words do the same for you whenever you cry out to God or cry your heart out. That your heartache will be replaced with peace, your tears washed away with joy, and you feel the love and presence of God who hears each prayer and sees every tear.

One of the most beautiful stories of God hearing our prayers and seeing our tears is about a couple on their knees longing for children and a girl without parents who just wanted to be loved. Our loving Father who listens with His heart wide open answered their prayer and silenced their tears when He brought them together in an unexpected way. Holley Gerth is the mamma in this circle of love and shares more about it in a way that will encourage you and move you to tears…the good kind. You’ll also see Mary, the mother of Jesus, in a new light as her words bring comfort for when your hopes seem to be on hold.

Oh yes, and there’s more. Lovelle Gerth-Meyers, that child who ached for love just got married Jan 3.  Her What My Wedding Meant to Me will touch your heart beyond words as she pours out  “It was about God, His ability to answer even the craziest of our hearts’ desires, and His ability to redeem.” 

Yup! Sometimes God gives us each other as an answer to our prayers and tears. That’s why I love linking us up  to Holley’s site where we gather together for Coffee for your Heart made with love, encouragement and the promises of God.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

There is always HOPE

Have you ever wondered what goes through a caterpillar’s mind while it’s encased in a the chrysalis stage before becoming a butterfly? Can you just hear it now, ” Hey, who turned off the lights?…ooooh I can’t move…lemme outta here – I’m getting claustrophobic!…and what’s with this ugly sardine can I can’t break out of?”  I know, sounds silly.  Not so silly when we feel that way ourselves. Wrapped in darkness. Stuck. Can’t see a way out. Hanging by a limb. We wonder if we’ll ever get set free from whatever it is that’s getting in our way or hurting us. Will we ever see a butterfly ending to the spinning and struggling that’s been holding us hostage? Will we see the light of day again?

There is always hope JRU
Beautiful artwork by Jennifer Ueckert of StudioJRU

It happens to all of us. We find ourselves in broken relationships that seem impossible to mend. Tough breaks that just won’t bend. We stand in unemployment lines for way too long. Our health gets stolen, our hearts get ripped apart. For reasons that just don’t make sense. We mess up royally, again and again. And the list goes on. Whatever it is, as I learned from VeggieTales, “God is bigger than the boogey-man.” He is even bigger the most giant-est problem or heartache. He made us and will see us through. That’s a promise. No matter what, nothing can separate us from His love or the purpose He has planned for our life. Everything will work out…in His time. As long as we draw breath on this earth, there is always hope

Hope is my One Word for 2014.  Hope for a better tomorrow, living in joyful expectation for God’s best. Hope invites trust and gets us through the waiting, waiting, waiting for things to happen or improve. It is the heartline that attaches us to the will of God as we reach out for His hand in every situation. He will be there, you know. We do our best and let God take care of the rest. Before we know it, we’ll have climbed out of the valley and all the way up to a mountain summit. Though there will be things we’ll never understand this side of heaven, we can look below and catch a glimpse of everything we’ve been through and see how God used it to transform us into someone more like Him. We also see all the pieces that were puzzling us fall into place to reveal a clear picture of what He was up to all along. Every season had a reason. Things worked out for our good. Often with results more awesome than we ever imagined! 

No matter what, there is always hope. Everlasting, powerful, beautiful hope is what I’m pouring out in this week’s Coffee for Your Heart. I’m filling your cup with this pocket encouragement brimming with Hope-full words from above. Keep it handy wherever you go and watch His peace and joy follow suit as you hope in Him.

Pocket Reminder that’s full of HOPE

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  – Jeremiah 29:11

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.  – Hebrews 10:23

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13

Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed. – Isaiah 49:23

You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our saviour. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. -Psalm 65:5

We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. – Psalm 33:20

When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer. -Psalm 94:19

You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed. – Proverbs 23:18

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. – 1 Corinthians 13:7

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. – Romans 5:5

I pray also that the eye of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and His incredibly great power for us who believe. – Ephesians 1:18

Show me Your ways, O Lord, teach me Your paths; guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my savior, my hope is in You all day long. – Psalm 25:4-5

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my saviour; my God will hear me. – Micah 7:7

This week Coffee for Your Heart invited us to “just share whatever is on your heart that could encourage someone else.”  You can grab another cup of encouragement at  Coffee for Your Heart at Holley’s place to hear her message and link-up to more inspirational posts from the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Don’t you just love the beautiful “there is always hope” artwork in this post by the very talented artist Jennifer  Ueckert ? There’s more whimsical, gorgeous, and inspirational works of heART where that came from at StudioJRU  – and they are for sale! Hope they touch your heart and delight your eyes as much as they do mine.

 Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart Image

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image


Spring It!

No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay…

This week’s Coffee  for Your Heart  is inspired by  You’re Going to Be Okay  Holley Gerth’s new book that will touch your heart with hope and help you find ways to be strong, resilient, and all that you are meant to be no matter what happens.

No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay because…

You were created by none other than Almighty God, maker of the universe for such a time as this with a definite purpose in mind that you, and only you can fulfill. You can be sure nothing can stand against what He has planned for you. He will protect and provide. No matter what, He is for you. He will help you and will carry you through. He loves you and will prepare the way for you. No matter what, there’s always hope for tomorrow. Not wishful, Pollyanna thinking but confident trust and joyful expectation. Because your life has God’s fingerprints all over it and He holds your future securely in hands.

God Will Help You - You're Going to be Okay - Coffee For Your Heart - Holley Gerth

No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay because…

No matter what, something good will come out of what you’re facing, struggling with, crying over, fighting for. Whatever life throws at you, you can catch it in mid-air and toss it into the “well-done” pile. Triumphantly turning a curveball into a home run! What you are going through is not the end of the road. It is part of your journey. Stepping stones to the good things you accomplish and better things ahead. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but some day for sure. It’ll all work out in the end. You’ll see.

Take a peek over you shoulder and see how far you’ve come. See the steep, scary mountain of challenges, disappointments and set-backs  you climbed over, the financial crisis you weathered, the restored relationship you thought was over. Take a look at how the toughest times made you more beautiful, compassionate, tender-hearted, gentle, strong, courageous, smarter, and much more loving. Cast your eyes at those around you who are better off because you were there for them even in your darkest hour. Remember all those times you wondered if you could go on? As you can see, you did. And you will again.

No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay because…

You are not alone. Wherever you go, no matter what, God is right there beside you. Always. There are people in your life who want to share your journey and help you. Let them. Listen close and hear them say “no matter what happens, you’re going to be okay.” Believe them.

Sometimes you even get sent little kisses from heaven from people you don’t know but land into your life with just the right words, leaving no doubt that you will indeed be okay. For more encouragement you can hop on over to Coffee For Your Heart at Holley’s place  to hear her message and link-up to more inspiring “no matter what happens, you’re going to be okay” posts from the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay because…

It’s a promise from your heavenly father who loves you so. Here’s what He has to say to you:

I saw the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand,  I will not be shaken.  – Acts 2:25

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. – Isaiah 42:16

Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of  Christ Jesus. – Philippians 1:6

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,  for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. – Psalm 18:32

Depend on the Lord. Trust Him, and He will take care of you. Then your goodness will shine like the sun. – Psalm 37:5-6

For I am with you and will take care of you. – Jeremiah 1:19

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  -Romans 8:37

The Lord will guide you always. He will satisfy your needs. – Isaiah 55:11

I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “you are my God!” My future is in your hands. – Psalm 31:14-15

Glory be to Him whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine. – Ephesians 3:2

The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. – Exodus 14:14

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. – Deuteronomy 31:8

The Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
-Psalm 84:11

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
– Romans 8:28

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11

Holley Gerth's Coffee for Your Heart Image

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image


Spring It!

One in a Million