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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You can be a catalyst of change

I recently attended a smorgasbord and I may have overeaten.  No, I didn’t go to the Old Country Kitchen, one of the buffets in the area.  I attended the Faith and Culture Writers conference.  I found there was plenty of food for thought for everyone who was there.  I discovered that my appetite for writing was still alive and well. The track I followed was for non-fiction writers and all the workshops were excellent. Each of the speakers shared their story of pain and triumph. The stories of the speakers helped me remember that all of us have had struggles. But God can turn our difficult roads into pathways of hope when we share what he’s done in our lives.

One of the speakers I appreciated the most was Romal Tune. He was raised in poverty and violence.   As a teenager he kept the destructive patterns he learned from his mother, but he has totally turned his life around.  After serving in the Army he went to Howard University and graduated Magna Cum Laude. From there he went to Duke University School of Divinity to become an ordained minister.

By sharing the life lessons He’s learned throughout his journey, Roma Tune is instrumental in leading people out of despair and into hope.  He is the author of an Award-Winning Book entitled, “God’s Graffiti: Inspiring Stories for Teens”

In Matthew 9: Some men brought Jesus a paralytic man. When Jesus saw their faith he said to them“Your sins are forgiven. Get up, take your mat and go home”. The man got up and went home.

Our physical disabilities and life experiences often make us feel paralyzed, yet when Jesus forgives and heals our hearts. Then we can be catalysts of change in people’s lives by sharing our good news with them.