Hope’s Battleground is Upon Us

I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 105,100 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,00O REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

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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 updates about the new book.

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I am excited to say Linda Clare is back with her monthly guest blog. This one is her best in my opinion. As always she speaks directly from the heart and doesn’t pull any punches. 

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Hope’s Battleground

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I Timothy 1:7 KJV

The day the doctor pronounced my mother legally blind in one eye, we both cried. That same day, a close friend, also in her mid-eighties called me, worried her only son’s fourth heart attack meant he might die before she does. I was still reeling over my own son’s recent psychotic episode—a meth-fueled outburst I’d never witnessed from him before. All the while, more mass shootings rocked the nation as gunmen took aim at innocents.

A man had shot and wounded US Congressmen during baseball practice. Whether from personal loss or mass shooting, that day we stood with our arms wrapped around one another, grieving in unison. Each fresh sorrow strained our shoulders. Spring would never come and our hearts would always be frozen, stuck in the numbness that presides over tragedy.

That day, hope got whupped by fear.

Fear like we’d never known—until. Until the Twin Towers fell. Until Dad got cancer, until the long-awaited baby died in his crib. Until. Now fear stormed our psyches, bullied optimism into the corner.

In airports, we’ve learned to be afraid of bombs in shoes—from now on we’ll glance about nervously at the stadium too. Fear will follow our days and lie down with us at night. We’ll worry our sons and daughters will die before we do and terror will stalk us if we go blind in one eye.

Life is so much scarier than in the good old days, some say. Now just going to the mailbox or heading out to ball practice might end it all.  But as the world grows more and more dangerous, we must not lose sight of life’s most dangerous thing.

Love.

Love is the most dangerous way to live. It runs into burning buildings. Real love swoops you up the day you come home and find your suicidal spouse sitting with a loaded gun. Love risks getting hurt, and doesn’t make blanket assumptions. Love hopes all things.

Love knows that if we cannot resurrect hope, our fears will surely come true.

I saw this up close and personal the night my son went berserk on a meth high—screaming obscenities, he threatened to shove a pot of boiling water off the stove and onto me. After the cops left, I went for a walk. I needed to pray.  I walked and sobbed.

I cried for my lost son, whose meth addiction has gone on so long that it seems intractable. I wept tears of rage for my failure to do as the cop admonished: kick out my two grown sons. Most of all, I cried because I was afraid. Afraid I couldn’t trust God anymore. Afraid God wasn’t there.

Over and over in scripture, my faith tells me not to be afraid. Christians are supposed to trust God, even when it makes no sense.  That day, I was terrified, not of the prospect of my son living his entire adult life as an active addict, but of something deeper. Love was excruciating. Hope had left the building.

I stumbled along, raking in gulps of air as my nose ran and my throat ached. I kept my head down in case neighbors saw me mumbling like a crazy woman.

At that moment, I feared God didn’t exist.

Living in fear instead of hope has chilling consequences. When bad stuff happens—like blindness or heart trouble or when a nut job with an automatic rifle shoots up a ball field—fear orders us to assume the future, too, is loaded with horrible events.

Fear said to me, “Don’t trust anybody. Keep your fists clenched, ready to fight. Lock the doors and sit in the dark. Don’t make eye contact with strangers, in case they’re ready to blow themselves up and take you with them. And by the way, your addicted sons are hopeless.”

Fear laughed. “There is no hope.”

My heart turned leaden. The beautiful mystery of an aspen tree’s leaves left me. Every prayer I’d ever aimed at heaven seemed stuck to one side of the sky—the way the wind pins trash against a chain link fence. What if the whole story—heaven, the God of Love, Jesus—is just a myth?

“God. You have to be there,” I said, “You have to be real. If you’re not, nothing matters.” My tears grew hot as I thought of my poor feeble-sighted mom, my worried friend, my struggling, addicted sons. How could a loving God allow so much heartache?

Fear gloated, but something else said, “Dare to love anyway.”

I sank down on the street curb; gazed up at the aspen’s shimmering leaves. I had no answers. Still, a strange sense of peace came over me as I thought about those I care for. “God, be there for them,” I finally said. “Be real to those who need love.”

Somehow I saw that hope takes its marching orders from the One who is Love. Hope says, go ahead, love your neighbor. Open your fist. Look people in the eye. Forgive them when they screw up. Be generous and compassionate and stop letting your judgments about other people splatter all over everybody. And even if you can’t quite do all of this, Hope says don’t stop trying. Keep right on loving, right on hoping.

It isn’t easy. If I could work miracles, I’d spit on the dirt like Jesus did, rub mud on Mom’s bad eye and she’d see again. I’d give my friend’s son a decent heart and I’d cure my son in his fight against meth. But even if I can’t work miracles, I won’t stop loving. Or hoping for a better tomorrow.

For a while, I let fear take over my life. I questioned the faith I live by. And Fear delighted in my weakness.

But Love answered, bringing with it hope I sorely needed. All sorts of disasters happen in life, but Love says don’t live in fear. Don’t assume the worst. With Love, we can hope for the best, trusting that we are all valued, watched over, loved.

I stood up and drew my sleeve across my wet cheeks. My tears were spent but I walked home surrounded by renewed hope in the Lover of souls.

If you get a horrid disease or you go blind or your child becomes addicted, that’s awful. I’m sorry. But as we grieve, look to love, not fear. And then we can get up and shine our love on somebody else’s hurt, another person’s tragedy. Tell them we love them and hand over a piece of our hope. Some may push us away, but we can’t stop loving, we won’t stop hoping. We’ll march out to the sandlot to play ball, even though there’s a chance people might die. Love smiles when hope beats the tar out of fear.

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Look in a Mirror. You See God’s Image

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 103,300 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. That is only 1,700 away It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

_____________________________________

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 updates about the new book. 

________________________________________

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor recently. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  

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Life is hectic! Life is too fast! Life seems to be leaving me in the dust!

Do any of those statements fit you? I know your pain. The earth seems to be spinning way too fast. There have been times when I felt I want to let loose and allow the world to throw me off of this planet.

Before I actually check out of this hotel called earth, let me share some things with you:

  • I have said this meaning times, but all storms stop and then there is the Son!
  • Everytime I face adversity I seem to grow. Though it is very hard, I am stronger.
  • When I see someone else who is hurting and I reach out to help them, its seems to help  me as well. If I bring a smile to their face, I have one on my face too.
  • If I fall into the muck and mire of life, God is always there to pull me out.

We need to know who saved us, and how He defines we are. Do you know who you are under God’s love?

Genesis 1:26-28

Let me put it this way. God created everyone of us in His own image. He doesn’t make mistakes. He created you for a reason.

You are very special. He didn’t create you like any other creature. We weren’t created to look like the animals of the forest. We weren’t even created to look like angels. We are totally created in God’s image.

We are more like God than any living thing.

Cling to this. Never feel you are inferior to anyone. God created man and woman and said there were create equal.

When you look in the mirror realizes that you are looking at God’s image. Be thankful he went as far as to create you in this way.

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 Can Help Me Through a Tough Day?

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 103,200 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. That is only 1,800 away It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

_____________________________________

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 updates about the new book. 

________________________________________

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  

____________________________________________________________________

It has been a hard week for me. I am having trouble with fluids building up around my heart and in my lungs. My Cardiologist has increased my “water pills,” but it doesn’t seem to be helping too much.

This is not something new to me. I have had trouble with fluid build up for several years now. It is a part of life I would like to get rid of,  but it hangs around like long lost relatives who come visiting, unannounced, and want to stay forever.

Enough of my pity party stories for today.

How are you doing? Have you been sliding down a slippery slope? Are there days you would rather stay in bed, and not face the day? Do you seem to be taking one step forward and two steps backwards?

You are not alone, my friend. Life doesn’t always come out the way we want it each day.

So, how can we get out of the muck and mire of life and survive?

Here are some things I have learned:

What I have Learned

  1. I have learned that your side of the story isn’t always the best side.
  2. I have learned that when people are trying to help-let them.
  3. I have learned that you really aren’t on an island alone. God is everywhere. He is probably right there with you enjoying the vast oceans he has created.
  4. I have learned that you don’t need to tell anyone your ailments. They have enough of their own.
  5. If have learned that if you are hurting, the best thing you can do is go to someone else who is hurting, and help them smile and therefore you smile back.
  6. I have learned that good friends are worth all the gold in the world.
  7. I have learned that tough love is sometimes needed actually help someone.
  8. If have learned that you do not have to try to cure the world and everything in it. God is in charge.
  9. I have learned that some of our choices are wrong. Learn from them and adjust.
  10. I have learned that hope shines bright in the darkness of light. (Learned from Sara Young: Author of Jesus Today.)
  11. I have learned all the storms that come your way are for a purpose. Some will be raging storms, like health, others will be winds that you can face with perseverance.
  12. I have learned that not everything that looks hopeless really is.
  13. I have learned I can only control things I can control. Good Yogi Berra line but mine just the same.)
  14. I have learned that hope is the only four letter word that over comes anxiety, fear, or depression.
  15. I have learned that if we threw all of our problems into a pile, and saw everyone else’s we’d grab ours back. (From my daughter-in-Law whom I call princess. There’s a reason.)
  16. I have learned that I cannot avoid trials, but they often help me grow.
  17. I have learned that the innocence of a little child can brighten my day.
  18. I have learned that in every season and in every change in life, God is there.
  19. I have learned that I should never forget God’s promises.
  20. I have learned of a place where sin and shame are powerless.
  21. I have learned at God’s Name Mountains roar and crumble.
  22. I have learned that this world is great, but heaven is greater.

 

 I hope these things I have learned will help in some way.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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“Let Me Know What I Can Do For You?”

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We just past 96,625 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

WE HAVE A WINNER!! We will be notifying the winner by email, if they put in the right email address. I will also let you know about when the winner subscription happened, so you can know that it may be yours. 

We are starting a new promotion and the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber. 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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I have seen this happening many times. A person is hurting. Another person is there with them. The hurting person shares their hurts, and the other person says, Let me know what I can do for you, and then walks away. Nothing happens. the hurting person is still hurting. The other person has forgotten all about the conversation before the day is over.

Unfortunately we live in a society like this today. No one seems to care. No one wants to get involved. No one likes talking about serious things with a friend.

Let me share a parable with you:

A man is driving along a curvy road and loses control of his car. He goes over the embankment and crashed into a tree.  The car is starting to catch on fire. Another man comes by and sees the car. He shouts, Let me know what I can do to help. 

Really?

What is that parable telling us? It is saying that we need to take action and do it now.

That leads up to another parable by a man much more saintly than I am. Our own Jesus Christ.

There was a man who was walking along on a road to Jerusalem. It was a dangerous road. There were many robbers and thieves who attack there.

The man was attacked by thieves. They beat him, and tore off all of his clothes. They left him there to die.

A priest came walking by and saw the man. He went to the other side of the road to avoid the man. Another man came by, and he also crossed to the other side to avoid the man.

Then a Samaritan came by and felt pity for the man. He went to help him. He bandaged his wounds, took him to the nearest Inn and cared for him while he recovered.

He even told the Innkeeper to keep track of any monies the man owed and he would come back and pay all of it.

Which person are you? Would you cross to the other side of a road to avoid a hurting person? Would you tell them, Let me know what I can do,” but keep going?

Reach out to the downtrodden. Help those who suffer. Be a good Samaritan. You will be happy you did and so will God.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all..never, ever, give up! 

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