renewalofhope

Help for Hurting Hearts


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God’s Red Pacer

Karen and her two precious gifts, daughter Linda and son Robbie

(This is Karen Kosman’s grand daughter Breanna in honor of my Grandma being in heaven for one year now I’m sharing one of our favorite true stories she wrote and I hope it touches your life as much as it did ours. We miss and love you so much Grandma! Much love and God Bless to anyone who is reading this! Enjoy!)

After my husband walked out I returned to school and became a medical assistant. As a single mom I struggled with a lack of time and money. My claim to fame was my teenage daughter and son. Their love was the spark behind my determination to make life as fulfilling as possible.  With a job and good transportation, I supplied our basic needs. Even with a tight budget, my contentment revolved around my love for my kids and my faith.

As a phlebotomist (lab assistant) at a local hospital, starting my shift at 5:00 a.m. meant that I’d be home by 2:00 in the afternoon, perfect hours for a single mom. I worked every other weekend. Following those weekends I’d have two weekends off, but I supplemented my income by cleaning houses on those days. 

Every moment that I could squeeze out to spend with Robbie and Linda felt like a precious gift. Like most typical teenager’s moments of unacceptable behavior sent my nerves on edge, but other occasions seemed to erase the bad ones. Occasionally Linda would have dinner ready or surprise me with a clean house. One Christmas Robbie worked at a tree lot so we’d have a Christmas tree. 

On the weekends I didn’t work we’d go to the beach at Corona Del Mar or go visit my Mom. My hidden coin jar helped to supply an occasional surprise dinner out or a movie. Once the changed saved in my jar allowed me to say “Yes” to my daughter when she asked if she could buy a new dress. It was a tight but workable schedule. 

My budget had little room for emergencies. A crisis hit when my Chevy broke down, and I had it towed to a garage. I had to cancel my housecleaning job for that morning, but I was more concerned about how I’d be able to keep my promise to my daughter. She had a dental appointment after school, and I told her I’d pick her up and take her so she wouldn’t be late.

My determination not to disappoint her found me at a local car dealership. Maybe I should go ahead and buy a car. After spending an hour looking at cars and talking with the salesman he asked, “Would you like to take a test drive?” 

“I don’t have the time. I need to go pick up my daughter”. He smiled and handed me the keys. “Go ahead take your test drive and pick up your daughter.” 

I admit I felt a twinge of guilt as I took the keys, because I had already determined that buying a car was not an affordable option—but I would be able to keep my promise to Linda. 

A few minutes later Linda smiled as she climbed into the Sky Blue Ford Mustang. “Mom, did you buy it?” 

“No, I looked and accepted the offer for a test drive to pick you up, but I don’t feel I can afford car payments”. 

We drove back to the dealership where I thanked the salesman and we left.  “Lord, I don’t have the money for repairs, and I can’t afford car payments. You’re my only source of help. I relinquish this to you.”

My mechanic called me with bad news, “Karen, for about $900 I can put a rebuilt engine in for you.” 

Numbed by the news, I said, “I’ll need time to think.” Nine hundred might as well be a million when you don’t have it.

“Okay. Call me” 

“Thank you. I will” 

Over the next couple of days I took a taxi to work, because I had to be at work by 5:00 a.m. The whole situation was a drain on my finances. If I continued to take a taxi at 5:00 a.m. to work my monthly transportation bill would be over $200. The problem seemed insurmountable. 

After work one afternoon, my phone rang, and it was a friend from church. 

Jim said, “Karen, I have a car sitting in my garage that I don’t use. It’s in good mechanical condition. I’d like to give it to you” 

“Oh! Jim that’s great news! Thank you.” Tears filled my eyes, and my heart beat with excitement.  

That evening, Jim delivered my car. He said, “I forgot to tell you it’s a stick shift. Do you know how to drive a stick shift?’ 

“No. But, I’ll learn” 

Under stressful circumstances I had learned to shift gears in life, so how much harder could it be to learn to drive a stick shift?

A friend volunteered to teach me in a church parking lot. Soon I was off and driving again. Our red pacer provided the transportation we needed and even brought laughter to the three of us as I learned to shift gears on hills without rolling backwards. My kids called our red pacer a pregnant turtle. But to me it was a precious gift supplied by God—and red is my favorite color. 

Learning to balance my time as a working mother challenged me, but learn to laugh at some of life’s more ridiculous moments is a lesson I’ll always cherish. And in my red pacer God allowed a U-turn off the highway of worry. After all, God sits in the driver’s seat of our lives—our Father will never abandon us no matter how bumpy the road gets.

Karen and her gift from God


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UNEXPECTED CHALLENGES

Unexpected challenges in life often seem to threaten our hope for the future.  I experienced such a time in December of 2014 while driving home from an author’s event and book signing at our local Bible bookstore.  A joyful event where I met other authors, shared our books, and talked about our plans for the future.  I loved every moment.

At the close of the event I had no warning that in a blink of an eye my faith would be challenged.  My husband, John, helped me place my remaining books in the car.  He nodded in approval when I stated, “My turn to drive home.”

During the drive home we were laughing, when I suddenly felt my face and left arm go numb. My speech became jumbled.  I pulled into a parking lot and we quickly switched seats.  Then John drove me to emergency.

There I was diagnosed with “Transient Ischemic Attack” and we spent several hours in E.R.  Finally, I was released.  But, my journey had just begun.  Subsequently over the next year I was diagnosed with a non-malignant brain tumor, had a brain hemorrhage, stroke, and heart attack. I spent several weeks in speech therapy, physical therapy and spent two days in a nursing home.  I questioned, “God is my life ever going to be normal again?” God answered me through a series of life-lessons on prayer, faith, love, and trust.

  • PRAYER:

Be reassured that God hears our prayers: Whether we pray silently to God or pray with others in a prayer group.

  • FAITH:

Our faith in God during difficult times brings comfort, peace and renewal.

  • LOVE:

 “God is love.”  Listen for His guidance when you feel alone.

  • TRUST:

Trusting in God often brings about results who others believe is impossible.

Today, my life has been restored, my hope is renewed, and my faith has been strengthened.  I’m talking, walking and writing while praising God for His healing.  Every day is precious as I’m blessed with the love of God and family.  When I pray I know that God is listening.  I Trust that His plan for me is always because he loves me.  A love that guides me during the good times, as well as the challenging times.

I hope my blog “Renewal of Hope” encourages you not to give up, not to remain angry, not to mistrust, and not to toss your faith away.  I pray that you’ll walk anew in 2017.


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WHEN LOVE CHANGES THINGS

God’s all-consuming love for us is demonstrated in Christ who died upon a cross. Through the blood of Christ we became His adopted children. We are no longer lost, but have a destination. The original design for love entered the world with God’s spoken word “Let there be.”

Even with all the frailty and poor decisions of humanity, God’s love has not ceased. Oh, yes the great flood came, but then so did the rainbow and God’s covenant. Have you ever asked yourself what love is? Love is giving and not expecting anything back. It’s more than a feeling; it’s a choice followed by action.

Do you remember the lyrics, “Love Makes the World go Round”?  Scripture expounds on love.

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love. 
1 Corinthians 13:13

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.
 John 4:8

We all have stories to share that describe God’s love in our lives.  I recall one event that changed our family forever. It began with a choice followed by an action—the decision to foster a child.

My step-daughter and her husband already had two daughters, Hannah and Cherise, but they wanted to make a difference in a child’s life who didn’t have a loving home.

I’ll never forget the day Cathy and Teharu, along with Hannah, brought their foster daughter over to meet us. A fragile five-year-old little girl, with big brown eyes—soulful eyes that seemed to say, “Please, love me.”

Throughout the day Sophia kept going to Grandpa John, who sat in his recliner. She’d stand there and talk with him. They laughed and seemed to understand one another on a deeper level.

After they left, John placed his hand over his heart and said, “Karen, they have to keep her, because she’s already in my heart.”

They adopted Sophia, who’s no longer a child who has no place to call home. Today, Sophia attends a Christian school and is doing exceptionally well with her school work. But the joy is in seeing those big brown eyes sparkling with love and excitement about her future.

For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3: 16

 Share your story of God’s love with others. It’s what makes the world go round.


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HOPE

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in His word I put my hope.  Psalm 130: 5

doveHope may be described like the upside of a beautiful embroidery piece. It is the golden thread God uses to bind together faith and love, a masterful work of art God created to join our hearts and souls together with patience, and determination.

In every situation in life hope is needed. A bride hopefully anticipates the beautiful wedding she has planned. Students hope for good grades on final exams. A man hopes his wife’s mastectomy has removed all the cancer. Whether or not the event is joyful, or one full of trepidation, hope is vital.

Self-assurance often accompanies what is familiar, creating a sense of well-being. But, when life challenges us with events beyond our capabilities to control often strong emotions such as fear, anger, and confusion follow.  It is then when we must decide whether to be controlled by the event, or to acknowledge the challenge and to trust God with the outcome.

  1. How has hope made a major difference in your life?
  2. How have you been able to renew hope in a friend’s life?
  3. Have you ever experienced a time when you felt hopeless?


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A Message of Hope

There are times when we are certain we have no more reserves to call upon. Our tears have fallen on our pillows at night and sprint forth at the most inopportune times. In quiet moments we search our souls for a smattering of faith–not sure if it’ll be there. We pray, not sure we are being heard. We search for answers–but still they do not come. We dance in a perpetual cycle of grief, and at the lowest point when our hearts feel empty, the unexpected happens: A friend calls with kind words or a Bible verse comes to our minds. Or more dramatically, God sends a message of hope as the sun peeks through dark clouds, and a rainbow appears. Perhaps, after hours of tossing and turning, sleep finally arrives with the beguiling song of a nightingale. God’s supply of comfort never runs dry.


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New Adventures

If we could see the hidden things that hide in the shadows would we so bravely face each new day? I think not. Each day is a new adventure, and in our youth God understands our wistful expectations for the future. When we fall he is there to catch us. When we are disappointed, or are afraid he whispers with a Father’s love, “Child I see you, I hear you, and I’ll wipe away your tears.”
And in our senior years, we hear him whisper, “Child I see you. It is my wisdom l freely give to you.”