Have you ever watered a drooping plant and then seen it perk up? When we give people hope through our actions or a word of an encouragement, we can have the same effect. Hope gives people the resilience to make them stronger. Here are a few ways some have done that.
Mary Carver is a regular blogger on the (in)courage website. This morning she wrote about traveling to Kenya with Mercy Corp. International. As she toured the schools, Mary was moved to tears by the empty bookshelves. When she returned to the US her first impulse was to gather books to ship overseas. Then she realized books would be wonderful, but what the people needed even more was hope.
My church has a large food ministry. Along with nutrition, they give hundreds of people hope that they can make it through tough times.
One Christmas, my mom’s quilt guild made pajamas for children in domestic violent shelters. I think the mothers might have felt a glimmer of hope when they saw kids in new, warm pjs.
One of Joni and Friends’ ministries is Wheels for the World. They refurbish wheelchairs and walkers for other countries. I got excited when I spotted a cane at a rummage sale. I bought it, knowing that, coupled with the Good News of the Gospel, it would change someone’s life!
August is a busy month for me because I go the Oregon Christian Writers conference and also Joni and Friends. Both of them inspire me to reflect the love and power of Jesus. Sometimes it’s difficult to hold onto the hope that God gives. That’s why I need to be in fellowship with people who inspire me. Both conferences give me a lot of hope. By attending the Oregon Christian Writers conference, I hone my craft and am encouraged to keep writing. All my friends from OCW celebrated with me when my book, It Takes More Than Legs to Stand, was published this April. At the Joni and Friends Family Retreats, people affected by disabilities receive hope as they hear and experience God’s love. Giving hope away can be as simple as acknowledging someone when you’re out and about and smiling at them. It’s as easy as watering a plant.
Won’t you share some of the ways you like to give and receive hope?
I got a new hummingbird feeder a few weeks ago. For a few days after I hung it up I felt a bit disappointed because I didn’t see any birds. Finally I got a colorful plant that they’re attracted to and that made all the difference. Soon after I got the new plant, I was thrilled when a pair of them visited for a few seconds. I have noticed now, that the longer I have a feeder hanging on my patio, the more birds come. Some stay longer than others, delighting my heart as they take in nutrition. They never seem to stop moving. Even when they are at the feeder their tiny wings are fluttering at a rate of 80 times per second.
We are a lot like hummingbirds, flitting from here to there. We may want to hear from our Heavenly Father, yet quieting our minds feels impossible. Like the hummers sipping at the feeder, our busy minds prevent us from hearing what our Heavenly Father wants to whisper in our ear.
I’m glad that He invites us to “be still and know” that He is God. As beautiful as my little friends are, I want to be more than a flash of busy color. I want to be quiet long enough to absorb His message of love so I can share it with others.
As I was praying last week I heard the words press in and press on. The timing of those words were really fitting because as your probably read in my last blog there were several changes going on in my life that puzzled me. I just did not know quite what to do. When I heard “press in” I knew the Father was calling me to trust him at a deeper level. Within the next week of two, my caregivers and I talked about the situation and a solution was reached.
It seems like life is full of opportunities to get upset. Last week, my cell phone was on the fritz and I spent the last week trying to get it straightened out. It was pretty annoying. Especially because I couldn’t get any of my calls from either my landline or my cell phone and I lost all my contacts. This whole thing could have been avoided if I had bought insurance or taken it to the shop when it first started giving me trouble. I still don’t have a cell phone but at least I can receive calls on both numbers.
As Colleen and I were leaving my house last week, I was delighted to spot a hummingbird on my porch! They’re so little and move so fast and this was my first one.
This morning, since I cannot open windows, I opened the door to let the crisp air in. A bird flew in and flew behind the blinds. It took me several minutes to figure out what to do. Since he was banging his body against the window, I wanted to raise up the blinds but, being 5 ft tall I couldn’t reach the cord and didn’t want to fall on my fanny. After several minutes I picked up a long stick and was able to move the cord toward me. I raised the blinds but the bird didn’t move away from the window. He just stood there and fluttered his wings until my homecare worker came and took him outside.
Life is full of challenges and choices. I have the choice of how to respond to it. The good news is that we can always change it. As we press into God, he can help us change our response and take another step.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”- Matthew 6:25-27