renewalofhope

Help for Hurting Hearts


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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.”