Hope Deferred – Hope Restored

Hanging up the phone, Tammy reached for a framed snap-shot sitting on the top of her desk.  Holding the beloved picture at arm’s length she examined every little detail even though she knew them by heart.  The picture was a candid shot of Sadie, her daughter; then age ten, at the beach.  In it, Sadie’s thick blond hair swirls around her freckled cheeks and big green eyes, both pushed up into the most beautiful, lighthearted smile.  She reached out and touched Sadie’s smooth cheeks, smiling back at the image, amazed at how Sadie’s carefree smile and spirit had both been captured.  The framed snap-shot had been sitting on Tammy’s desk for 10 years providing proof of happier times.  Smiling, Tammy hug the picture and whispered, “Thank you God.”   

Tammy and Sadie had been through a lot since the summer that picture was taken.  First there was the divorce which started out amicable but ended in bitter dispute
about investments and parenting plans.  Within a year of the divorce Tammy received a promotion that required them to move to another neighborhood miles away from Sadie’s friends.  The move was hard on Sadie and by the time she turned fourteen that sweet, smiling face had morphed into a scowling teenage mask.  By the time she was sixteen, Sadie had become that girl with too much makeup and too many piercings; all done without Tammy’s permission.  Sadie was angry and out of control and Tammy wondered where her sweet little girl had gone.

Tammy had always considered herself a prayer warrior.  She spent hours praying for her marriage, before it ended in divorce.  While pregnant with Sadie, Tammy started praying for her child and continued to pray through all the sad, troubling, difficult times.  However, the last few years had started taking a toll on Tammy’s faith and she found herself questioning whether God was listening to her prayers.  For so many years she had chosen to believe God would answer them.  Daily she deliberately chose to place her hope in God’s promises and not in all the discouraging situations that played out in her life day after day.  However, as her daughter’s rebellion increased and the trials became harder Tammy found herself losing hope.

During Sadie’s sixteenth year Tammy discovered she had been cutting herself.  Terrified for her daughter’s wellbeing Tammy found a highly recommended counselor and bribed Sadie into going.  Unfortunately, after four sessions with the counselor Sadie declared her a quack and refused further treatment. After graduating from high school Sadie received a scholarship to a state university but didn’t attend most classes and ended up leaving the university to become a waitress.  Six months ago Sadie moved in with her drug addicted boyfriend.  Broken hearted and defeated Tammy cried out to God for help then yelled at God in rage and great disappointment, “Where are you and why won’t you answer my prayers?”  Tammy’s heart was sick with disappointment.

Then, after months of minimal and strained  communication Sadie had called this morning to say she moved out of the apartment and into a small studio of her own; not too far from Tammy’s home.  Not wanting to sound overly excited Tammy took several deep breaths and avoided asking any questions that could be controversial. For the first time in years Sadie was openly talking to her mom; sharing her thoughts.  As the conversation wound down Sadie said, “mom, would you pray for me, I’m tired of messing up.”  Tammy’s heart skipped a beat as tears slid down her cheeks, but she calmly replied “sure.”  Just before hanging up Sadie hesitated then said, “Mom, I love you, thanks for not giving up on me.”   

Tammy let the tears freely run down her face as gratitude to God filled her heart and hope for the future started to burn brightly in her mind.  “Thank you God for not giving up on me or my child” she whispered “thank you for loving us and giving us hope for tomorrow.”

Debora Shelford Hobbs

Proverbs 13:12   Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.

Isaiah 43:2    When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (NLT)

Romans 12:12   Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Jeremiah 29:11   For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Holy, Mighty God!



Sometimes… in the midst of hardship, the very best thing to do is to simply worship God.  He is sovereign and as we submit our hearts and souls to Him in the midst of our trials we give God room to do a great work in us and through our situation. 
As you walk through the trials of life I pray God’s greatest blessings upon you!

Holy, Mighty, God!

God most High; the King of Kings
You hide us with Your mighty wings
You are Holy, Mighty, Awesome God!

Worthy, righteous, and victorious
Grace and mercy… always surround us
There is no one like You, Awesome God!


In the fire, in the battle, in the trial, You are mighty
In our sickness, in our pain
You are there, You never change


Healing hands, saving love,
grace unbending, never ending
All glory and honor, we lift to you our God.

Leaning on your holy word
My eyes can see… no longer blurred
In this trial I shall stand, firmly planted in Your hands
You are Holy, Mighty, Awesome, God!

You hear my prayers and cries for help 
You move mountains from where they dwell

Submitting in my trials and pain
You renew my hope and I am changed!
There is no one like You Awesome God!


When I’m lonely and afraid
You lift me up, you know my name!
When I’m weak… can’t find my way
You take my hand and lead me safe.


Holy, Mighty, Awesome… is my God!


 


Rhonda Shelford Jansen


 


  

American Strong – Boston Strong


“Although the world is full of suffering, it’s also full of the overcoming of it.”   
Helen Keller

The recent terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon left our country shaken to its core and grieving deeply for our loss of innocence and security.  We’re grieving openly and collectively for those who lost their lives and the families that will forever be missing one member.  We’re grieving for the maimed and wounded who’s wonderfully normal lives were changed drastically and permanently with the explosion of the first bomb.

Many of us are struggling with a foreboding of vulnerability wondering where and when the next terrorist attack will kill or wound innocent people going about their daily activities.  Some are wondering how radically our daily lives should be/will be altered if terrorist attack start happening with  more frequency.

Americans know that the Boston Marathon terrorist bomb could have been detonated in any city across the USA.  We understand that “there but for the grace of God go I.”  And because of this knowledge we wake up at night worrying and during the day we talk to friends, co-workers, family, and neighbors attempting to find strength in our shared vulnerability, and we find it.  There is strength in our communal grieving and shared vulnerability, it gives us common goals.  Goals to heal, be stronger, smarter, and to continue to be proud that we are Americans.

An act of evil intended to weaken American society is actually making us stronger and more courageous, poetic justice at its best.  Americans are compassionate and giving, more than $30 million has been donated to help the victims of the bombing.  Americans are strong in mind and body and we will remain that way, it’s in our DNA.  Already there are stories of injured individuals fighting with amazing courage to learn how to live with a new and foreign prosthesis, they are Boston Strong – American Strong. 

Churches, organizations, and groups all across the country have been meeting to pray for the victims, our country, and for our leaders.  Yes, in times like these even those who don’t pray, pray, knowing deep down inside that God is there listening, caring, loving us all. 

The United States of America was built upon Christian values and it shows in the way we respond to an act of evil.  We grieve openly and collectively, we share concerns and fears with each other, we willingly and freely take care of our wounded, we learn from our pain becoming stronger and smarter and we seek justice.

Although there are many questions about the future of our country that we can’t answer, there are many items we can know with certainty.  We know that Americans will respond to evil with strong, deep rooted Biblical principles.  We know Americans will take care of one another.  We Know Americans will pray to God our creator and we know Americans will seek justice.

Debora Shelford Hobbs