Saturday, June 28, 2008

10 Reasons to Hope when You're Hurting

For 3 nights in a row now I've found myself unable to sleep. My thoughts keep going in circles in my head, trying to wrap themselves around the fact that one of my oldest friends is dead. I got an e-mail from her son on Wednesday afternoon with the news, and I'm still reeling.

I know that many other people are hurting tonight too, so when I came across this article a few minutes ago I felt like I should include it here:

10 Reasons to Hope When You're Hurting

by Steve Arterburn and Mike Marino

1. God is truly in control. If God is God, then nothing happens apart from His knowledge and permission. While it is difficult to imagine why God allows some painful things to happen, His character, revealed in the Bible and through the testing of generations, leads us to the conclusion that He is willing and able to sustain you during the worst of times. We were crushed and completely overwhelmed, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we learned not to rely on ourselves, but on God who can raise the dead. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:8,9

2. There is an eternal life to come. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the Glory He will give us later. ~ Romans 8:18 He will keep you strong right up to the end, and He will keep you free from all blame on the great day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:8
3. The story isn't finished yet. Time after time, the Bible records hopeless situations that ultimately ended in victory. Think of Job's sickness, Joseph's betrayal by his brothers, David's adultery and the many who were healed in mind, body and spirit. But Joseph told them, "Don't be afraid of me. Am I God, to judge and punish you? As far as I am concerned, God turned into good what you meant for evil. He brought me to the high position I have today so I could save the lives of many people." ~ Genesis 50:19,20

4. God has not given up on you! Don't give up on Him. "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

5. There is likely purpose in your pain. Ask God to reveal His purpose in allowing this difficulty in your life. That's a legitimate question to ask. Often, the answer comes in the process of dealing with your circumstance. Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything. ~ James 1:2-4

6. You are loved! Even the most unlovable person in the world is actually loved so much by God, that He let His Son die a terrible death to restore their relationship. God does love you! He sees your pain and weeps with you. He has sent Me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent Me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lords' favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, He will give beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for His own glory. ~ Isaiah 61:1-3

7. Your prayers are heard. You parents – if your children ask you for loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him? ~ Matt. 7:9,10

8. You are not facing this alone. …For God has said, "I will never fail you. I will never forsake you." That is why we can say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper, so I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?" ~ Hebrews 13:5,6

9. Others have made it through – you can too. Try to connect with others who have gone through similar situations. You will find hope, strength and encouragement. A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12

10. Reach out to someone else who's struggling. Place your focus on someone else and invest your life in him or her. You may discover that your peace of mind is found in being a source of hope for another. All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Monday, June 16, 2008

Things I'm especially thankful for:

1. On this Father's Day I'm glad my dad is alive and well! We talked over an hour on the phone today. There was a time several years ago when we didn't know if he was even going to live or not, so having him doing so well 4 years later is just great!

2. The hot spell has broken - it's 67 right now with a breeze that feels fantastic!

3. DH came through his oral surgery with no problems. (Now we're being careful to ward off the dreaded dry socket!)

4. DD is planning to come up this Saturday & spend a few days!

5. The dogs are both potty trained even though we didn't really know what we were doing when we trained Polly, and we were told Garcia might not be trainable since he was older when we got him & had spent his life up to that point in a cage.

6. DS got back safely from an overnight trip (via plane) to Atlanta.

7. Mr. T has resigned & won't be making life a living hell for Mr. D. anymore (at work). WOO HOO HURRAH YEE HAW!!! (turning flips around the room for that one!!)

8. There's a McDonalds near our house so when DH was craving a strawberry shake today (he can't eat solids right now) it was quick & easy to get one for him.

9. I finished the back of the baby sweater I started knitting Thursday & I love the way it's looking! It's really pretty and the pattern turned out to be easier than I'd expected. :-)

10. On what would've been our 35365th wedding anniversary (well, actually our 37th but geeze that's a lot of years!) XH mentioned the date to DD. Oddly enough, it made me feel good to know he hadn't just totally forgotten about it even though the marriage ended 24 years ago.

Now it's your turn! What are YOU thankful for today?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tornado & Thankfulness

Yesterday afternoon a tornado ripped some huge trees up by the roots and twisted the tops off of others like a corkscrew. Many homes and cars were damaged when trees crashed into/onto them. All of this happened about 1/4 mile from our house. It was SO scary - the wind was blowing at 60-80 mph -- our trees were leaning sideways in the wind but somehow they didn't break. In the midst of all this the tornado sirens began to shriek. If the storm hadn't already had you in a panic that siren would've done it for sure!

Now, 27 hours later, 250,000 local people are without power. Grocery stores and homes have refrigerated food spoiling. One small grocery alone had to throw away 40,000 pounds of meat, dairy, and produce today. We can only imagine how much has been put into dumpsters state-wide.

We live right in the middle of all this, but we still have power and our trees, home, and cars were untouched. Go figure. In the midst of all this mess I got to thinking about how fortunate we are, & how much we all take for granted. I thought I would make a list of 10 things I'm grateful for at this very moment. These will be just off the top of my head - no deep thought (I'm too sleepy for much depth!).

I'm thankful because:

1. nobody was killed locally in the tornado
2. our home wasn't damaged
3. we both have jobs in a state where that's no longer the case for many families
4. we have air conditioning & are comfortable right now despite the heat and humidity
5. we're relatively healthy & so are our families & pets
6. we have friends & family to love and who love us - we even received phone calls from friends checking to see if we were ok after they saw our neighborhood's damage on the news
7. our neighborhood doesn't have drive-by shootings or gang violence - I can walk outside at night without fear
8. Friday the doctor called & told me that my annual kidney scan to check for recurrance of cancer is clear - that makes 6 years! (Even though it's not expected to recur, it's always nice to have solid evidence.)
9. my kids are great
10. God is taking care of us all

I'm not even going back to check spelling or wording - I'm going to bed!
I'd love to see a list of things for which YOU are thankful today!