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. 

_____________________________________

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.

__________________________________________________________________________

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. 

_________________________________________________________

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.

Share This Post
Share

Where Do I Go When the Storms Hit?

We have another promotion where there will be prizes. The next winner will be the person who is our 95,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes very fast. We average over 30 new subscribers a day. We will get there pretty fast. We just passed 91,850. If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.

______________________________________________________________________

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 will be reaching out the many military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides ever day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Doug Is also seeking military who would be willing to do an interview. It will be part of the book. Sharing by actual soldiers will help many others.

______________________________________________________________________

Just  had a scary morning. I lost my billfold and couldn’t find it for a couple of hours of heavy searching. The fear of someone finding it and using my cards and identity was overwhelming for a while.

I finally found it a couple minutes ago stuck between my car door and the seat. This proves that 99% of what we worry about never happens. We just need to turn the other 01% over to God.

_____________________________________________________________________________

If you were able to choose a place to go to with  snap of  your finger where would you go? Hawaii? Bahamas? London, Paris, Rome, in  a package deal? Disneyland? Siberia in winter? Sahara Desert in summer?

The first  six are no  brainers. We all would like to go to any of those. The last two…are you kidding me? That would be very stressful and frankly very dangerous.

Well, those last two are called  “the wilderness.” We all have to face the wilderness in our lives. We have times when the days seem unbearable. We have times when we want to hid from the world.

Those day are what I call as “storms” we have to face. Some storms aren’t too bad, but others are like what I see out my window right now, lots of wind and tons of rain falling.

It is the raging storms where we have to depend on God. It could be a doctor’s appoint with bad news coming. It could be a broken relationship. It could even be a loss of a love one.

Any of those situations are hard, at best, to face. We can’t do it alone. We can’t try to wing it without God. That would like jumping off a cliff without a parachute. The outcome doesn’t look good.

If you are troubled. If you are facing some very stormy days, lean on God. He cares. He loves you. He made you in His own image. He gave you your first breath. He will allow the storms, but He will be there to help calm them.

Stay strong in the love of God, and your storms will come and go, but you will be stronger with God on  your side.

So, enjoy the Bahamas, Hawaii, etc, but know that you will find refuge even when the bad times show up.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

Share This Post
Share

Don’t Walk Your Path Alone!

We just started a new promotion. The next winner will be the person who is our 90,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes very fast. We average over 50 new subscribers a day. We will get there pretty fast. We just passed 89,100.  If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.

______________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________

It is interesting to talk to others who are struggling like you are. I am not saying I seek out people who are struggling, but I have to go to a clinic everyday to have an infusion. They put antibiotics in me to fight off an infection in my spine.

Each day I see many people. Some are much worse off than I am, others are just fighting a virus that will clear up quickly.

However, I see the pain. I see the fear, I see the frustration of feeling there is nothing they can do to stop the storm, but be there everyday.

A new patient come in yesterday. He was a strong looking man in his late 50’s. It was only his second visit. They tried to place an IV into his arm and it didn’t work the first time. They tried again. The same thing happened.

This strong looking man was slowly showing signs of hopelessness. He twisted in pain every time they tried again.

The head nurse finally came over and found a spot on his arm, and talked to him about having a PICC put into his arm. A PICC is a temporary IV that stays there until you don’t need it anymore. It can last up to  year.

The man wasn’t sure he wanted to do that, but I started sharing with him that I had gone through the very same thing. Both of my arms were black and blue from previous attempts to locate a vein.

I told him it wasn’t a scary thing to go through. They insert it under your arm and no one even knows it is there. I showed him my PICC, and he relaxed and told the nurse that is what he wanted to do.

I will be seeing him in the coming days, and I am sure he will be dong much better because of the PICC making everything go much smoother.

I would assume you have faced some scary times as well. I believe we all have to face some storms in our lives.

Don’t hide your fear. Share you feelings with others. They can give you comfort and maybe even show you how to conquer your fear.

This world is tough enough for all of us. We don’t need to try to walk our paths alone. God is there for us. Your family is there for you. Your friends are there as well.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!

 

Share This Post
Share

We All Need One Word to Focus On

We have a winner! We past 83,000. The winner was notified, and we will start a new promotion. The next winner will be the person who is our 86,000th subscriber. As you found out here, it goes fast. We average over 50 new subscribers a day. We are now at 83,780.

If you haven’t already subscribed please do by clicking on the icon right after the title of this post.

__________________________________________________________________________

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

__________________________________________________________________________________

I lead a devotional this morning. I was worried that I didn’t have a good structured one that the men would relate to and respond.

The topic was for each of us there to come up with one word that they use to face life with. I had sent out an email ahead of time asking them to come with that one word.

I started the devotion, still not sure what was going to happen, and then one man said, “I just couldn’t come up with one word. My two words are commitment and discipline.” Another man spoke up and said, “Those two words go perfectly together, and shouldn’t be separated.”

All around the table each man said his word and explained why he thought that word was important to hm. The final list of words that came up were:

  • Commitment
  • Discipline
  • Delight (In the Lord)
  • Appreciation
  • Simplicity
  • Love
  • Follow (Two men had this as their word. It stresses that we follow God.)
  • Confidence
  • And my word was perseverance.

Each of these words have special meaning in different ways to each of the men. I will explain my word in more detail for you so you can see how some of the conversations went.

Perseverance is a word I have had for  many years. I say it to myself when anything scary, and “sticky,” comes my way. I remind myself that perseverance is  a word God loves as well. (There are over twenty references to the word perseverance in the Bible. My favorite is Romans 12:12. “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”)

I shared with the men three examples of how the word has spread to other members of my family.

  1. My son Greg and I had lunch recently and he brought up how he thought I was such a good example to others because of my perseverance. I, of course, was somewhat perplexed, because I wasn’t sure what I was doing that showed that.
  2. My daughter sent me a text once that said, “Dad, you are a tremendous example to my two daughters. You persevere through all pain, and trials you face.” I again was wondering what I really do to show that.
  3. My other son and I were on a fishing trip. He is a retired colonial from the Army. “Dad, you are one tough dude! You always hang in there and persevere when you face storms in your life.”

I guess I finally got the message! If all three of my children, on separate occasions think I am good at persevering there must be some truth to it.

They each also shared how I was strong through six major surgeries. They felt it was important when I was upbeat, and the one who was consoling others when I was about to go into surgery. They mention how I reached out to people who had gone through the same things.

Perseverance.

Webster’s dictionary says:

To persist in pursuing something in spite of obstacles or opposition.

What is your one word? What word do you focus on to help you through each day? Think a while about this, and write down your one word and abide by it. Never waver. Never think it doesn’t work for you. Stand strong with that word, and you will be able to use it to reach out to others who may be struggling.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

Share This Post
Share