Hope can be Like Water

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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?

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Hidden Gifts

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On the first weekend In December, for several years, I have had the opportunity to go to the Tryad retreat at the beach.  It was started by my friend David O’Brian who had cerebral palsy.  After graduating from Echola Bible School, he made his home in Cannon Beach Oregon.  He was passionate about sharing the love of God with everyone especially those who also had disabilities.

Since he knew that many of his handicapped friends didn’t get to go to the beach, he decided to invite them to Cannon Beach Oregon for fun and fellowship.  In fact throughout the many years, as friendships developed the conference felt like a family reunion.   Several of the people had very fragile physical conditions and needed specialized care, so just arranging transportation was pretty complicated.   The students, from Ecola helped at conference.  Many of them didn’t have any previous experience with people with disabilities until they met us.  It felt a bit awkward for each of us for a while but it didn’t take long before friendships were formed.

David took great care in choosing people to lead worship and speakers who share the Word of God.

Planning for such an event must have felt like a daunting task, especially since he needed assistance with own basic needs.  But, as David prayed God always answered and people stepped forward to help his plan take shape.  No matter what was thrown in front of him, he never gave up.  He example will always give me courage to continue doing the things God has put in my heart.

Sometimes gifts come from unlikely sources. David usually met us at the door when we arrived for the retreat, but this year he watched us from his heavenly home.  When I got home from the retreat I reflected on his life. Besides giving me a great time at the retreat he gave me tenacity.  And I am grateful for   David’s gift to me which was the reminder that God can do great things when we offer him what we have.  He showed me what can happen when we push through our problems.

Be on the lookout for hidden gifts that God wants to give you this season.  Please share then with me.

 

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Springing into Action

Lyla getting off of the bus

Several years ago, when I got my scooter, I had tried to take a ride on the city TriMet bus, and it had been a disaster. It took me forever to maneuver my scooter into the proper position, and I felt like everyone on the bus was staring at me thinking, “I wish that lady would hurry up!” I was thinking, “I wish I could hurry up,” too, which made my arms go stiff. When I got off of the bus, I thought, “I’m never doing that again!” I figured the bus driver would agree! My main choices from that point on for transportation have been services that require two days notice to get picked up and dropped off at my home. For a woman on the go, this really puts a damper on things, because I have to miss things that come up last minute.

Last week, I got an email about a meeting that I was supposed to go to, but I hadn’t scheduled a ride for me to get to the meeting. As the time got closer, I was regretting my inaction, and I decided that I wanted to attend the meeting. But by the time I changed my mind, I thought it was too late to get to there. My friend Mary Anne, who was sitting right across the table from me, had been wanting me to take a bus ride for weeks, but I had weaseled my way out of it. To her surprise, and mine, I looked at her and said, “Will take a ride on the bus with me?” She said, “Oh yeah! Let’s go!”

To my delight, getting on and off  of the bus this time was much easier than I remembered it being because TriMet has redesigned them. My driving skills have gotten better too. I got to my meeting, and Mary Anne and I enjoyed dinner downtown together. I found that our adventure had led to a new-found freedom. I discovered that when I let go of the past, I can experience the joy of rolling into the future.

Have you discovered a new-found freedom this week? Share that good news with me!