Snippets of Hope
This week, in the 24 hours that turned Wednesday into Thursday, the sunny 80-degree day that felt like summer turned to the low of 18 degrees and a blanket of snow. After the long, dry autumn, it was becoming easy to believe endless summer had disrupted the dependable seasons of life. I am a warm weather lover, but even I am celebrating this vivid reminder of the hope I have because of the proof of God keeping his promises! Genesis 8:22 " As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."
In a single day, I saw many snippets of hope as I engaged with others on their journey. I spent the morning at Car-ynne 4 Kids. Three of the friends I have previously told you about came for their sessions. All three of them had the kind of day on the horse that left me in a broad smile as I drove home. Hope arrived ready to engage. The little things can easily slip by unnoticed, but this day Hope was “showing off”! She grabbed the reins with two hands and held them for a few strides, both of which are remarkable. She reached across and put a toy in the mailbox, another challenge accomplished. At the conclusion of her ride, she leaned forward on her own to allow for a safe and easier dismount. It was a day of accomplishments.
Alexi came next. He has had such a struggle staying engaged over the last couple of months. (I hear you asking, and, yes!, I did another dance for him!) We started with connection through a fist bump, a pet for Honey, and his huge smile. As he rode, he engaged more, held the reins in one hand, and held his head high. So simple for us, but such joy and fun when he does it!
Lynnea came next. She has made such progress in the year I have known her. Stubborn behavioral issues have mostly disappeared as she rides, smiles, braids the horse tail, and this week, focused and located the small colored blocks tossed around the pasture. She vocalized requests for help and finished her ride by untacking the horse and putting things away. All of these things represent progress and bring joy to us … and to her ever-present, dedicated mom.
Hope and moments of joy propel us in a world of heaviness.
I have begun another activity to engage with people and practice pastoral care. As a facilitator for the food bank at The Life Center (opened a year ago through my church), I meet with new families who come in. I feel as if God has given the gift of new friends. I hear their stories, listen to their struggles, and celebrate that in this one small way, a bit of help and hope touches their lives. I was blessed to chat with those from Nagaland (India), Albania, Morocco, and China who sat among the others. The world in need right here at my doorstep.
An evening spent serving gave me hope and moments of joy to propel me in a world of heaviness.
It would be pretty difficult to have missed the heaviness that has come to our country, states, neighborhoods, and families through this election season and the results. I dare to tread here because I think we all need reminders of hope, no matter how we voted, what we fear, and what drives our thoughts and prayers as a result. I am still one who wraps a bracelet around my arm every day with the words “hope” and “joy” as visible reminders, so I am offering this to myself first!
Perhaps because of your prayers, one verse (out of the 180 in the NIV that use the term, "hope") that grabbed hold is Ephesians 1:18-19a: I pray that the eyes 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 his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.
God has blessed us with future-orientation: If we are in him, we have hope in a glorious inheritance. We have the gift of a “this isn’t all there is” and “this world is not my home” orientation. We know that the struggle is real, and we know that we must endure. At times we may question the power, love, and even reality of God as we scan the difficulties in the lives around us. I pray for you, friend, that in those times he will open the eyes of your heart to see the snippets of hope in your life, in the lives of your family and friends, in the selfless giving of so many in your community who care and pour themselves out in love. Certainly the opposite is also true, but turning the eyes of our hearts to the reigning king and kingdom, hope and moments of joy can propel us in a world of heaviness.
Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him (Psalm 62:5).
"Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 63:7)
Under his wings,
God is our provider, and he does that through people like you.Thank you!
- You can use the attached form to send a check payable to Under His Wings PO Box 702558, Tulsa, OK 74170-2558.
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