Ring of Hope

On my way to work yesterday morning, for whatever reason, I was thinking about hope. We all need it, we have it or we want it. Life is so hard to be hopeless and I know for a fact that it is.

Years ago, I faced some rough periods that lasted for many years in my marriage and with family members, and still. It was back then though and at times, I did not care if I lived or if I died. I just existed. My boys were my 32476962-D43D-4E77-89F9-1DC9CB1BFB0Clife and having them, I knew I had to plow through the lies, betrayal and whatever else was thrown at me. All of this was not just me thinking it, it was actually happening in my life and then in my mind it would work overtime convincing me that I am worthless. The hopelessness loomed over me like a dark cloud, and I remained quiet within my safe cocoon, not sharing my emotions and the chaos within. Due to those that I thought loved me, I felt saddened and that nobody could be trusted, I pulled away from everyone, keeping my distance.

I breathed the same air that they did but I was dying 13D4E067-76AB-4802-A6AC-4B6CC9F7003Dinside and really nobody cared, even the church. Perhaps I had made myself so invisible. With those sitting on the same pew and around me or even the Pastor looking out at the congregation, I was alone, screaming inside for somebody to help me. How to help me? I did not know but 30C95648-A081-4DE2-9E9B-28AB4C6A35A7any glimmer of hope was snatched and held onto, if just a smile or a pat on my arm. There was hope, that I was still among the living.

One evening we went to a department store walking through the aisles but away from my husband. I was just there but feeling so empty. I had no plans to purchase anything on that trip and I am unsure why we were there but we were. It was down this one aisle, which had end of the season items in it and at a discount. There was a small landscape rock on the shelf that just had HOPE on it, which caught my eye. It did not cost much as I picked it up, looked at it and knew I needed HOPE and trying not to cry. Still I put it back on the almost empty shelf and walked away. Sadly, it looked lonely on that bare shelf as I placed it back down and walked away. As we got near to the cashier, I kept thinking of the rock. I wanted that rock but felt how selfish that was of me to buy a silly rock for myself. Still, I could not let it go in my mind so I went back to get it and brought it home with me. It is still in my landscape after all of these years by my front porch and I see it when I come in and when I leave. I have HOPE, if just in a rock.579D5F58-BA3E-42DF-927E-80EB8FC297CA

I have to believe that the Lord wanted me to see that rock and to have it, just to lift my spirit up for a bit and still years later. One night on my way to church, I felt like I needed to take the rock with me. Now it is my pet rock, as I amused myself placing it in my purse for whatever reason. That evening, the worship service was great as usual and as a friend was leaving the platform, she looked at me and said, I think you have something to say. Yikes! Actually, I did and it was all about HOPE. While they knew nothing of what I was going through, I could at least express hope for somebody in the congregation to grasp, too, if needed. Plus, it helped me to share the HOPE in my life and circumstances.

While I would love to erase those sad, terrible years and the memories, I do not want to forget either. As hard as it was, I am a better and stronger person within myself and in my faith. I had to have HOPE that the Lord would help me and He did, He still does and He will.

1F4D45F0-C3B1-4C29-A7DB-D7EA453D5CC2In this time period also, it was when I was at a sports or a musical event in a big arena. I remember sitting there by myself but I know others were with me, although I felt alone whether they were there or not in that season of my life. As I sat there and looked around, I saw a shiny object in the corner, under a seat. Of course, I was curious as to 8D33028F-DDD4-49B1-AC96-E2DBF6576FB7what it was so I managed to pick it out of the yuck in the corner. It was a ring. A simple silver, not sterling or of value really, but it had HOPE wrote on it. One of those moments you think and smile, thank you Lord of HOPE.

Now with that ring on my finger to enjoy during the event especially, I felt I needed to turn it in but there was nothing open to give it to anyone for lost and found. I  did end up taking it on home with me and wearing it. It was NO accident really that I found that ring. I do believe that the Lord was just reassuring me to have HOPE.

Such a few, simple things as such to make one’s faith grow because I know He knows my name and He knows where I am and the same with you. HAVE HOPE, grasp and hold onto it. Trust Him!

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Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

Romans 5:1 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Without Christ there is no hope.” -Charles Spurgeon

Psalm 39:7 And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.

1 Timothy 6:17 As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.

Psalm 71:5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.

Mark 9:23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.”

Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Psalm 119:114 You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.

Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love,

Job 5:15-16 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth.

Every thing that is done in the world is done by hope – Martin Luther

Psalm 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

Psalm 119:81 My soul longs for your salvation; I hope in your word.

Psalm 9:18 For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever.

2 Corinthians 3:12-14 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

Psalm 146:5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God,

Psalm 42:11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.

Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

The Wilderness

B112A881-D709-462B-8110-422DF57971B5Many years ago I went through one of the toughest battles ever, feeling lost in the darkness of my thoughts and feelings with nobody to turn to.  It’s interesting, twice this past week, this time of my life came up in conversations.  I discussed with my counselor but also listening and encouraging a friend the other night, who is experiencing total hopelessness in her life, wanting to die.  Sadly, I knew exactly what she felt and heard the screams of her begging God to let her die.

Taking day by day but really just existing, it got so bad I remember feeling actually numb and not knowing how I got from home to work, vice versa, and dealt with life.  I remember driving to work, knowing deep within that 7C031C4F-1822-45B7-AFEE-4A4AF7B3E0E0God was carrying me. He had to carry me. The Footprints in the Sand picture and the words that I have read many times, became real. One of those moments when you think or say, so that is what this feels like.  Yes.  He was carrying me and at times dragging or pushing me. Had it not been and had I not had my faith in Him, I do not know what I would have done.

Many in the church were present around me as I tried to go and worship but still, even in the midst, I felt invisible.  I worked closely with the Pastor with typing and tending to his paperwork and correspondence, but even he did not discern, acknowledge or offer to see through my heavy heart or hear my silent screams.  Alone in the dark for years not understanding or able to confide in others. I had been hurt so much by those that said they loved me and cared so how could I trust another.

Perhaps the walls surrounding me were so high, that I had built and rightfully so and normal, that they could not see or reach out to me. Still, if you cared enough, chip away at the wall to help me tear the walls down, as I needed freedom from the hell within. Desperate and hopeless, just as my friend.

Years progressed to more years and I felt I finally gave up.  One last straw broke me. Isolation and depression attacked my very being. My life was between going to and from work and home to repeat the next day. Being an empty nester, I did not have to act as though I was fine because I was not.  My husband was present in body only but nothing more, just keeping the legal form of our marriage license intact only.814A9057-3FDA-4418-9080-178EC9794093

Even though the dark days of this wilderness journey was horrendous for me, today I am much stronger in my faith.  It was through those times and many nights curled up in my chair struggling to live through the emotional pain and mental torment, but I had to trust in the Lord. He said in His Word that He has a purpose and a plan for me, He would not leave or forsake me.  I had to trust Him. Even when I was so angry with myself, others, my life and even God and then to express such anger to Him. My faith deepened even through my screams of anger at Him. He knew I was angry anyway, I had to be real with Him.

Wildernesses are not wasted by God.

As bad as it was, I know the trials that come now won’t last forever and hopefully not as long as the wilderness experience I had.  Tomorrow will be better.  No matter what comes, I must trust Him. You, too.

Know He loves you. He knows your name.  He knows where you are.  He knows all about you.  Trust Him! ✝️

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God does not waste any of our life experiences and promises that although, life might not feel good right now, he works all things for our benefit and for the purpose of transforming us into the image of his son, Jesus Christ (Rom 8:28-29). https://asistasjourney.com/2012/06/29/a-wilderness-experience-depression/

Wilderness Experience https://www.gotquestions.org/wilderness-experience.html

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