Walking an Unknown Path Can be Scary

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 99,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

In our current promotion the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber will win some nice prizes. We are down to the last 1,000. It will go very fast. This is a huge milestone for us. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

UPDATE!!  In the final stages of having the book finished. Much of it is already sent off to my editor. The countdown begins!!

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I have walked a straight and narrow path the last few years. It has been very hard. Every bend in the path causes me to wonder what is around that bend ahead of me. I have often prayed about it, and God seems to be telling me, walk by faith!

It is easy to say OK, Lord, but in truth it is very hard sometimes. The unknown is often scary. I learned that during my time in the military. There were many bends in our paths, and I had no idea what was around that next bend for me.

Faith is what we cling to. Faith is what keeps us going. Faith carries us over the walls that block us.

I weighed in this morning like I do every morning. It is required by my cardiologist. If I am up two pounds overnight, I have to increase my “water pills,” to a whole one instead of a half. It is usually because fluids are building up around my heart. Not a good thing.

So, I weighed and I swore it said, ONLY ONE PERSON ON THE SCALES AT ONE TIME!

I was up 1.6 pounds. Not enough to increase meds, but degrading just the same.

Losing weight, or maintaining it, is a full time job. It is a job no one really gets excited about doing.

I look at like its my life. I need to do inventory everyday to see where I am at. I need to correct some things if it looks like I have faltered a little.

Do I love weighing in every day? I think you already know the answer to that. However, if I don’t I will be paying serious consequences that could even lead to my death.

The same goes for my daily life. I need to check my path constantly. I need to adjust my thinking; my attitude; my outlook on life, and I have to do it often.

With the world we live in now, it can be very easy to give up and go with the flow. It would be easy to not fight the dark side.

Don’t allow this to happen. You also need to take inventory of your life, EVERY DAY!

Stop the creeping vines that are wrapping around your legs, and be strong. Let God be your guide. Lean on His strength.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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What’s the True Feeling in Your Heart

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 98,250 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber will win some nice prizes. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

______________________________________________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Have you ever had a MRI done? It is a test to see what is going on inside your body.

Many people look happy. Many people go along and seem satisfied with their life. Many people are living a lie.

What would people see if they could truly see into your heart. Would the anger of life fill it? Would you be in pain from all the frustrations that clog up the veins?

We all need to watch what is going on inside us.

Yes, life is tough. Yes, there will be obstacles that tear you down. There is no way you can control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it.

Some of the people I know are like porcupines,. They seem nice on the outside, but you better not get too close.

The bottom line is: It is impossible to be bitter and thankful at the same time.  

There is a word in the dictionary called: Ressentiment. It is reliving the past bad memories. It is not forgiving someone. It is holding a grudge against someone.

We all have to get over it, and work on being positive people who help others who are struggling.

I know… We will all be persecuted. We will all suffer. We will all be disappointed.

That has all the makings of trying to have pity parties.

We need to focus on what God has done for us and not what someone has done to us. 

Being bitter and trying to get even with someone is like taking poison and hoping the person you are bitter about will die.

We all need to let God show us where we are bitter. We need to give him all our frustrations. We need to pray just before we go to bed: Lord, I give you everything in my thoughts that are not pure. Cleanse me and give me a fresh feeling as I rest.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up! 

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Hope is Still Alive if You embrace it

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 97,800 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber will win some nice prizes. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

______________________________________________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Welcome back Linda Clare who has another inspiring post for us all. Linda has been through the gauntlet of life, and she shares her experiences to help us grow, and be stronger.

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Hope’s White Teeth

This past week, I’ve been in a heated battle, trying to hold onto my tattered hope—the same radical hope I proclaimed joyously only a few days before. But life is like that, isn’t it? You swell with victory after you’ve run the gauntlet and emerged riding high on God’s shoulder. But then, stuff hits the fan from every direction. Again. How do you stay fixed on hope? Through your fears? Through your tears? When every verse feels hollow and every moment explodes with grief, with loneliness, with numbing terror?

These last few days have reminded me that keeping hope alive is hard work.

I’ve already told you about the addiction and mental illness my three adult sons battle. The nightmare of their substance abuse and mental problems has kept me awake during verbal and physical fights, broken or stolen property and even a suicide attempt. But a couple months ago, one of these sons confessed that he, “couldn’t do this anymore.” He was worried about his looks. Would I help him get his teeth whitened? As with many addicts or alcoholics, he hadn’t seen a dentist in years. I said, “Maybe we should get you in for a checkup so we’ll know if you’ll still have teeth to whiten.”

The conversation was like opening a window in a very stuffy room. Suddenly he was willing to change, if only to keep his smile bright. I didn’t care. In my mind, I turned to Jesus and said, “Wow, thanks for carrying us both to this place.”

My son and I agreed to a plan. Thanks to severe anxiety and panic disorder as well as agoraphobia, he doesn’t do well in group settings like AA or treatment. His dad and I would be his support as he took the hard road to sobriety. As he took his first steps, my hope for his recovery grew strong deep roots and began to bud after what seemed like an eternity of winters.

My radical hope in God probably made my own smile brighter. That same week, I counseled another mom in the depths of grief surrounding her son’s drug use and mental issues, and I felt guilty that finally—finally—my own hopes had begun to crawl out of the pit. My friend tearfully related the things only another mother can understand—how they tried toughness to keep him on the straight and narrow but ultimately, they lost control. How they’d driven nine hours to rescue him after he called home, sounding as though he’d lost touch with reality. How her and her husband’s resolve for tough love meant that if he was using, he couldn’t sleep in their house—but that she’d take extra blankets out to his car, where he spent the night.

I cried as she sobbed into my shoulder. Whispered, “Jesus is carrying us all.” Meant it, too. But at that moment hope didn’t ride into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. Hope, even radical hope, was scourged and beaten and dragged through the streets with a heavy cross on its back. Hope was about to be nailed and die, and it wouldn’t matter who spoke encouragement to this weeping mother. Her grief and fear were like the sudden darkness of Saturday, as Jesus breathed his last. All I could do was cry with her and cling to the truth that God loves her and her son and me and my son. Before we parted, my friend asked if her mascara had run and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll be OK.”

I went home from that meeting feeling guilty. My son was standing up for his life and starting down the perilous sober road. She didn’t even know where her son was at. My other two sons still needed the same deliverance, but having even one glimmer of possible success made me more grateful for God’s mercy toward my son. I prayed for the same grace to visit the other mom and my other boys before praising God for my son’s courageous progress. Whenever I thought of my son’s determination to be drug and alcohol free, my face light up like Sunday morning.

Except that in life we seem to go from Sunday back to Friday and through the cycle over and over. The next evening, my son’s outlook had changed once again. He came to me, begging for one more drink. He called it his “sweet nectar.” A chill ran down my neck and my hopes took a giant step back.

The sturdy optimism about my son that I’d shared with my friend only a day earlier now crumbled into a swirling sinkhole of broken pieces. Hope had no real footing, even as Jesus stood by and let me cry into his shoulder. I was still certain of God’s radical hope in Jesus but less sure that I was ever going to make it out of the valley of the shadow of death. All I could think of was that the table was prepared for me—cup running over and everything—but that it wasn’t yet time to lay down that armor of God. Saturday was back and meaner than ever. I admit that I was ready to chuck hope into the lake for good.

I sobbed and asked if the darned cup of my loved ones’ addictions and mental issues could please pass from me—pretty please?—but Jesus didn’t say much, just held me closer and breathed love and life into my soul. In that moment I understood more about the mystery that is a loving God, as Saturday gave way to Sunday. Again.

This radical hope is hard work all right, and sometimes it’s all you can do to hold on as Jesus does the heavy lifting when life is awful. But I think God asks nothing more from us than to keep our eyes on Him when we’re too numb or hurt or grief-stricken to do much radical hoping. Those are the times when I have to believe He will catch me as I fall, just as angels keep us from dashing our feet against stones. That His grace really is sufficient even if it doesn’t feel nearly enough. That God is not required to take the thorn from our sides.

The next day, my son apologized. Was eager to get back on track. Eager to get his teeth looking brilliant again. He sounded more like the courageous son and less like the defeated son jonesing for a drink. Hope took another baby step. “I guess I’ll have ups and downs,” he said.

“You all right?” I tried not to sound too eager.

“Don’t worry. I’ll be OK.”

I cautiously hope for him, while remembering all those whose grief is pure and raw and deep. Sometimes, OK is the best you can be.

Linda Clare

 

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How do I Leave a Good Legacy?

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 97,700 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber will win some nice prizes. That is a huge milestone for us. More details later. 

______________________________________________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug just interviewed a WWII veteran, for the book.  Fascinating! Look for updates here.

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Do you know someone who you feel will leave a tremendous legacy for what they have done, or are now doing?

How are they different than you? What can you do to leave a legacy you will be proud of?

We see others getting blessings, and awards.  They receive them with great humbleness, and dignity.

So, how you are feeling when you see them receiving the awards? Are you envious? Do you resent them getting an award and not you?

Envy is the resentment of the blessing of someone else, and somehow diminishes your own self-worth.

Envy is destruction of your legacy.

One of the ultimate showing of humbleness, and integrity was David. Saul eventually hated David, because he was so loved by the people even more than he was.  David had to go into hiding because Saul was wanting to kill him.

Then Saul died. You know what David did? He wept. He cried for days. He felt like he had lost a father even though Saul wanted him dead.

He wasn’t envious of Saul when he was in power. He was a loyal warrior. He was one of the top generals of the warriors who fought for Saul. His legacy still lives today over 2,000 years later.

How can we get rid of any envy in our lives?

  • Concentrate on God. Put Him first in your life. Learn about Him in the Bible and study how others there built up their own legacy.
  • Consider others above yourself. Yes, this one can be hard. But when you do this consistently people will look up to you as a leader.
  • Rejoice in the victories of others. Again, this can be hard. It may be someone at work who is getting a promotion you may have felt should have been yours.
  • Be content with God made you to be, and what He will do for you later.

These four things will completely change your life. If you do each of these you will be building a legacy that will grow and show others how to also build their own legacy.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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