Tag Archives: hope

A Story of Suicide and Hope

In September of 1986 my life took an unexpected turn that started me spiraling downward until one night in 1989 that would change my life. That night I sat on my couch and looked at my wrists and thought “I wonder which would hurt worse, cutting my wrists or pain of emptiness in my heart.” You see, in the two and a half years before I had lost everything. All hope was gone. Here only a few highlights that drove me to consider suicide:

  • September 1986 – I had left my home and my job in Dallas and moved to Daleville, Indiana, my husband’s hometown, in hopes of a better life. Within a week he abandoned me and my 13-month old twin daughters. Adding to my loss he also left us with no home or belongings. We stayed with his mother for a few months.
  • November 1986 – I was in an auto accident and lost my car. I finally moved into a place, a rundown trailer. It took two months for the owner to put in a front door. The place was so roach infested you couldn’t walk around in the dark and I had to wash my clean dishes before using them. This infestation came through a “new” stove – a stove with only one working burner and no working oven. And for the eight months we lived there the toilet didn’t work. Night after night I cried over the hopelessness of my situation.
  • January 1987 – my dad had a series of small strokes. He was in the hospital for weeks. I had no phone and my husband’s family wasn’t cooperative in contacting me about his illness.
  • Valentine’s Day 1987 – he asked me for a divorce so he could marry Diane.
  • June 1987 – We moved back in with his mom but would move again a couple of months later because his dad would get drunk and come on to me.
  • October 10, 1987 – I’m now living in a small trailer with my ex-sister-in-law and her daughter. We have no phone and live more than mile from any pay phones. I had called my mom in August for her birthday and she seemed very angry when I told her about the divorce. In my soul I knew something was wrong, I just couldn’t get her off my mind so I arranged for a babysitter and I was going to walk to the phone and call her Sunday morning, October 11th. Saturday evening my ex-mother-in-law came over and said “I’m so sorry”, she was crying. All I could think was my ex-husband was dead and I would have to pretend to feel bad. Then those fateful words came, “your mother died this morning.” That horrible phone call in August was the last conversation I had with my mom.
  • October 12, 1987 – I was able to fly home to Massachusetts for the funeral. My aunt’s, my dad’s sisters, jumped all over me for not having called my mom sooner – guilt I would live with for 15 years.
  • March 1988 – My grandmother called and told me my dad had an aneurism and needed surgery which had only five percent chance of success. My nightly crying over my mom dried up as I prepared for an extended stay back in Massachusetts. The surgery was a success and we returned to Indiana in May.
  • July 19, 1988 – I became an orphan. My father died and I was even more desperately alone. Both mom and dad gone in less than a year.
  • September 1988 – I suffered a knee injury and was barely able to walk.
  • October 1988 – still living in Indiana, away from everything and everyone I knew I became desperately in need of replenishing my family so I became pregnant – no husband – just wanted a baby.
  • January 1, 1989 – a new year and a new start? No. The pregnancy was ectopic. After nearly three months of the worst pain I ever experienced l lost my son and any chance of restoring my family or replacing my parents.
  • February 1989 – my knee had become so bad that I was unable to walk or care for my girls. I had lost so much and so little had been restored. I had nothing but responsibility and heartache. I couldn’t care for myself let alone my daughters.

I had lost everything – all I owned, my job, my financial security, my health, my husband, my mother, my father, and the baby I was so desperately putting my hope in. But that’s the problem. I was putting my hope in sinking sand when I needed to put in upon the rock – Jesus.

As I was contemplating suicide I walked to the back of the trailer to the bathroom. On my way I passed my girls room. I looked at those sleeping little beauties and thought, “they already have an absentee dad, what will happen to them if I die?”

It was 11:00pm but I was determined to find help, anything to get me through the night. I called a friend long distance (this was back when it cost a lot for long distance and I was destitute). We talked and prayed for four hours. This was the best $45.00 I’ve ever spent. That was a lot in 1989.

The next day I scheduled the needed knee surgery and began to spend every quiet moment with God. Suicide has never been an option since. That was 25 years ago and so much has happened. I’ve had a few deep lows but over all I’ve had a wonderfully blessed life. I can’t imagine what would have happened to my family, my daughters and all the people I’ve helped since had I decided to take my life that night. I would have need seen my girls grow into such beautiful young women, I would have never influenced so many students, I would have never gone on my Jubilee Journey and met my father’s family and I would have never been at the birth of my grandson, never known that beautiful little boy. All I lost has been restored to the full and overflowing (John 10:10). And don’t think too negatively about my ex-husband. All is forgiven and I can say we are friends. To this day I count his mom and sister as my dearest friends. And he never did marry Diane.

No matter what the circumstance there is ALWAYS hope in Jesus. Find a way to the ROCK and there you will find hope. If you’re still alive it’s because God isn’t done with you yet, there is still a purpose and a hope (see Jeremiah 29:11)

“No matter how dead, no matter how impossible, no matter how hopeless – with Jesus nothing is too difficult, nothing is impossible and it’s NEVER too late”
~ ~  Jubilee Journey, Day 542

 

Next week: A Humble Attitude

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Hopes & Dreams

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God plants dreams in people’s hearts.
But many people do not continue all the way to the
end in order to follow Him to the fulfillment of that dream.
Many get started and quit get started and quit get started and quit.
They do not continue because their broken heart overwhelms their hope.
They do not have any inner strength to carry them through to the end.
Jesus will bind up your wounds and heal your bruises.
His Word is the medicine for your soul.

~ ~   Joyce Meyer from Beauty for Ashes   ~ ~

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Hope in the Lord

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Quotes for an Attitude of Hope

William Gurnall Truly, hope is the saint’s covering, wherein he wraps himself, when he lays his body down to sleep in the grave: “My flesh,” saith David, “shall rest in hope.”
Anne Graham Lotz “If God can bring blessing from the broken body of Jesus and glory from something that’s as obscene as the cross, He can bring blessing from my problems and my pain and my unanswered prayer. I just have to trust Him.”
Anne Lamott “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: You don’t give up.”
William Law “Pray, and let God worry.”
Catherine Marshall “God is the only one who can make the valley of trouble a door of hope.”
Barbara Crafton “[I]t’s never too late. You can’t screw up so badly that God can’t find something worth building in the wreckage, that life can’t assert its return when it is time.”
Rick Warren “What gives me the most hope every day is God’s grace; knowing that his grace is going to give me the strength for whatever I face, knowing that nothing is a surprise to God.”
Billy Graham “I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s all going to turn out all right.”
William Gurnall Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called “the rejoicing of hope” (Hebrews 3:6).
Corrie Ten Boom “Joy runs deeper than despair.”
Joyce Meyer God gives us hopes and dreams for certain things to happen in our lives, but He doesn’t always allow us to see the exact timing of His plan.
Thelma Wells “God does not always heal us instantly the way we think. He is not a jack-in-the-box God. But God is walking with me through this.”
Tom Bodett “They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.”
Joel Osteen “You’ve got to believe that God is in control of your life. It may be a tough time but you’ve got to believe that God has a reason for it and he’s going to make everything good.”
Alfred Tennyson “Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier”
Alexander Pope “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”
Pittacus Lore, from “I Am Number Four” “When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.”
Aristotle “Hope is a waking dream.”
Dalai Lama XIV No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster.”
Epicurus “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
Joyce Meyer Positive minds full of faith and hope produce positive lives.

 

Thought Conditioner #17

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Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Ephesians 3:20

Today, remind yourself that nothing is too good to be true. Your great hopes can be realized. Your most wonderful dreams can come true. All that you really need, you can have. An incredible goodness is operating in your behalf.

If you are living a paltry life, resolve to stop it today. Expect great things to happen. Confidently receive God’s abundant blessings. Do not think lack. Instead think prosperity, abundance, the best of everything. God wants to give to you, His child, every good thing. Don’t hinder His generosity.

Thought Conditioners by Norman Vincent Peale

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Hope Continually

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How to Have a Hopeful Attitude

We all need hope in our lives. It’s necessary for our very existence. Here are some practical ways to build your hope in God.

Ten ideas for a more hopeful attitude

  1. Believe there is a solution for every situation
  2. Count your blessings. Just knowing all the good in your life can increase your hope
  3. Pray about what’s stealing your hope to bring clarity to your situation
  4. Take action on anything that’s in your power to change and rely on God for the rest
  5. Believe and seek God’s guidance
  6. Create a mood of worship
  7. Creative spiritual thinking has power to give strength to endure
  8. Meditate on any of the scripture below or other hopeful quotes
  9. Read the book of Ruth. A classic story of utter despair to glorious hope fulfilled
  10. Spend time with hopeful, positive people

Attitude Challenge:
Make a list of all your blessings. Give thanks to God for them. Use the list to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and that He is your source of hope.

Books on hope
You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times by Max Lucado
When the Going Gets Tough by Joe Stowell
Help Me I’m Alone by Joyce Meyer

Bible Verses on hope (ESV)

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Hebrews 6:19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain
Psalm 43:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
1 John 3:3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.
Psalm 33:22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Romans 8: 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Psalm 71:14 But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.
Psalm 39:7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.
Psalm 33:18 Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love
Romans 5:4 And endurance produces character, and character produces hope
Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Psalm 71:5 For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
Lamentations 3:24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”
Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

 

Come Home

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You’re best friends with the word regret
You’re afraid that your life’s been wasted
So why hope if it’s gonna let you down
You don’t think people really change
That you’re a mess you’ll always be the same
And you doubt if you’ll ever get it turned around

So (I know) you’ve been running, searching for something
But you’re looking in a place you don’t belong
It’s never too late, you can’t outrun grace
No, mercy doesn’t care what you’ve done

So come home
So come home

You can try to fix your broken empire
And put bricks on a cracked foundation
But you’d be building castles on the sand
There’s power in the blood of Jesus
Your Father’s screaming just come home
He’s reaching out his hands

From the shadows
From the wrong roads
From the darkness
From the unknown
To redemption
Something beautiful
To a new love
To new home

Check out the video for Come Home by Luminate

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Rejoice in Hope

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A Hopeful Attitude

I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
I wait for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
for with the Lord is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins.

Psalm 130:5-8 (NIV)

Hope is a basic necessity of life because without hope there is no life. Hope gives us strength and joy. It fuels all the attitudes we’ve covered this year.

  • We can’t be positive without hope.
  • We won’t have confidence without hope.
  • We can’t live contented without hope.
  • Where is our patience with others when hope is gone?
  • There is definitely no joy where there’s no hope.
  • It’s hard to be kind to others with no hope in our hearts.
  • All courage is lost when there is no hope.
  • What do we have to be determined for when there is nothing to hope for.

But life here on planet Earth is often overwrought with problems which steal our joy and ultimately our hope…hope in life and hope in God. Everyone at one time or another will feel that urge to give up; like all hope is gone. Live long enough without hope and you may feel there is nothing left to live for. We either find hope, find a way to live without it, or take our own lives because the pain of giving up is far less than the pain of living one more day without hope. Perhaps you’re going through a trial or a season of trials that has drained your hope and strength.  We all have unique challenges but everyone longs for hope, that light at the end of the tunnel; the promise that “it” will get better.

One example of hope is found in the life of the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations, a book of mourning, during the darkest times of Judah’s history. During Jerusalem’s destruction though Jeremiah wrote these words of hope and expectation that God would come through on his promises.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;  
therefore, I will hope in him!”
The Lord is good to those who depend on him,  
to those who search for him.

Lamentations 3:22-25 (NLT)

Another example is found in the New Testament. The disciples were full of hope that their savior had come; that Jesus was the Messiah, so when he died so did their hope. What were they to do now that they had witnessed hope itself die on a cross. And can you imagine being Peter, having betrayed your best friend and king? Where do you go from there? These men lived an extraordinary life; how then do you go back to ordinary?

Jesus also experienced deep grief and sorrow, despair beyond belief. The words “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” grip my heart with despair and loss of hope. Anyone who has experienced the “dark knight of the soul” can attest to a spiritual loss of hope. Financial loss, loss of health, loss of a dream, divorce, loss of a friend or family member or in my opinion, the most horrific loss – the loss of a child can all rip hope right out of our hearts. Paul’s words in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” seem to frustrate rather than to give hope.

So often put our hope in the wrong places – in the world, in other people, in our abilities or finances – but all of that is like sinking sand. The only place we can find hope is in Jesus Christ. These words by Kutless tell us just where we need to go to find hope.

I lift my eyes up, unto the mountains
where does my help come from?
My help comes from You, maker of heaven
creator of the earth
oh how I need you Lord
You are my only hope
You’re my only prayer
so I will wait for You
to come and rescue me
to come and give me life
Lyrics from “I Lift My Eyes Up”

God is always hopeful; he never gives up on us even at our worst.

A Prayer for Hope

Thank you Jesus for being our inspiration and our source of hope. We thank you now for giving us the courage to see you and trust you in our most difficult times.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

More Posts on a hopeful attitude:
How to Have a Hopeful Attitude
Quotes for an Attitude of Hope

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Links to other Attitudes in this series
Introduction to Attitudes

Attitudes of the mind:
A Positive Attitude (negativity)
A Confident Attitude (insecurity)
A Contented Attitude (anxious)
A Patient Attitude (impatient)

Attitudes of the heart:
A Joyful Attitude (discouraged)
A Kind and Caring Attitude (unforgiving, self-centered)
A Courageous Attitude (fearful)
A Determined Attitude (quitting, distracted)

Attitudes of the spirit:
A Hopeful Attitude (hopelessness)
A Humble Attitude (proud)
A Trusting Attitude (doubt, double minded)
A Peaceful Attitude (frustrated, anxious)

Thought Conditioner # 14

Cimarron State Park, New Mexico

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

When trouble strikes, what you want is comfort and protection. You want strength to stand up to it and meet it.

You can have both. This text contains the answer. Frequently remind yourself that God is with you, that He will never fail you, that you can count upon Him. Say these words, “God is with me, helping me.”

This will give you a sense of comfort. New hope will flood your mind. New ideas will come. A new sense of power will be felt. As a result, you will rise above your trouble.

When a particular trouble arises, before you do anything else about it, sit down quietly, repeat this text a half dozen times, and put your full faith in it.

Thought Conditioners by Norman Vincent Peale

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My hope is in the Lord

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Christmas Restored: Jubilee Journey and Christmas movies

If you recall in part 2­ I wrote about a series of losses leading to the challenge of my Christmas spirit. One thing that ministered to my spirit was Christmas movies. I would dream of having my own “Hallmark” Christmas, of the day I would be reconciled with my family – if they still existed.

SeaWorld Christmas 2012c 187 (3)All of life is a story, the bible is a story and we are all living in our own stories as well as being part of a larger story. Fairy tales, novels, even movies tell stories that reflect the story of life and the connection with the larger story. What we can learn from Christmas movies? What do they teach about the human heart and the heart of God towards his children? Stories that touch our heart often reflect the heart of the father.

We’re going to look at four movies that have held special meaning to me but also reflect the heart of the father. My heart restored, I found hope even while my heart was breaking and I believed in something more.

 

It’s a Wonderful life & A Christmas Carol

“No matter how dead…”

cmas2013-busch.gardens 266You may think it odd that I pair these two movies but there are similarities and both have touched my heart in similar ways: answering the question, do I matter. Both men are blessed with seeing their world in different ways, one a world where he had a positive impact and the other a world he negatively impacted. The angel and the ghosts set out to show the men that their lives do matter and this is what I longed for.

Like Scrooge I needed a spirit adjustment but unlike scrooge I longed for it. More than anything I wanted my heart restored, my spirit restored but I just couldn’t seem to find the way and I just couldn’t find my way out of the fog. I thank God he never gave up on me and protected my throughout all those dark years.

Then there is George Bailey, a man who mattered so much to so many, believed he was better off dead. He is given the magnificent gift of seeing what the world would be like if he never existed. Like George I struggled to hang on to the little hope I had left and that I did matter, somehow.

God wants us to know that we do matter and that it’s never too late. We are put here on this earth for a reason and even if we don’t know what that reason is we must have hope it’s there. George believed his circumstances were dead, Ebenezer believed he couldn’t change and I believed I would never matter. No matter how bad we think our lives are now, no matter how bad we’ve wasted what God has given us, there is still hope. We can still change and we do matter to God, our creator.

 

White Christmas

“No matter how impossible…”

P1080458I always cry at the end of this movie, and not just because of the miracle of snow, but because of the restoration of hope. General Waverly was losing everything, he was alone in his heart and he was becoming hopeless. His situation had gone from difficult to impossible. Bob and Phil cook up a scheme to restore the old man’s heart and faith by giving him a surprise to lighten his heart. When all the generals men come marching into the old, vacant inn, I cry right along with him. The love these men had for their general restores hope and showed him that nothing is impossible

Again we go back to the issue of “mattering”, of being important to someone. I had lost hope that I mattered so movies gave me a brief moment in the dark nights of my living room that I would matter. White Christmas shows me that with love nothing is impossible. Jesus wants us to believe in him, that the story is written and there’s a beauty to be revealed. We just have to have patience and wait for his revelation and restoration of hope.

 

A Smoky Mountain Christmas

“No matter how hopeless…”

P1080666This sweet little movie starring Dolly Parton shows a famous country singer in desperate need of rest, for peace, quiet and time from ridiculous demands on her life. She returns to her family cottage in the mountains to find a group of young orphaned boys and girls who had run away from brutal conditions at the orphanage.

Lorna (Dolly) finds room in her heart for these hopeless children and not only comes to their rescue from the orphanages’ director but takes them into her heart and home as her own children. The character demonstrates true sacrifice by caring for the needs of those who can’t possible return the favor. These little ones had no hope of relief, no hope of a family.

God too sacrificed for the protection, restoration and reconciliation of his little ones. Remember this season, Jesus isn’t just the gift of eternal life, he is the gift of all life, he is life. And while we celebrate the wonder of his birth, the joy and peace of this new beginning let’s not forget where this birth leads; to his ultimate sacrifice for us, to bring us back to him, to gives us as orphans a home in him, a life in him.

 

If parts one and two left you sad, don’t be…

No matter how dead, no matter how impossible, no matter how hopeless – with Jesus nothing is too difficult, nothing is impossible and it’s NEVER too late.

Joy always comes in the morning. Come back Monday, December 23 for Part 4 – A Hallmark Christmas Revisited, an anniversary of reconciliation.

 

Do you have a Christmas story or movie that’s moved or encouraged you? I would love for you to share these experiences.

 

Part 1 – A Haunting of Christmas past

Part 2 – The fall: Spirit of Christmas loss

Before The Morning

P1250960 (2)Do you wonder why you have to,
feel the things that hurt you,
if there’s a God who loves you,
where is He now?

Maybe, there are things you can’t see
and all those things are happening
to bring a better ending
some day, some how, you’ll see, you’ll see

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,  that you still have a reason to sing,  ’cause the pain you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light, press on, just fight the good fight, because the pain you’ve been feeling,
it’s just the dark before the morning

P1210223 (2)My friend, you know how this all ends
and you know where you’re going,
you just don’t know how you get there
so just say a prayer and hold on,

cause there’s good who love God,
life is not a snapshot, it might take a little time,
but you’ll see the bigger picture

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe, that you still have a reason to sing, ’cause the pain you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming

so hold on, you got to wait for the light, press on, just fight the good fight  because the pain you’ve been feeling,
it’s just the dark before the morning

OP1050252nce you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory
once you feel the way of glory,
all your pain will fade to memory

com’n, you got to wait for the light
press on, just fight the good fight
because the pain you’ve been feeling,
it’s just the hurt before the healing
the pain you’ve been feeling,
just the dark before the morning
before the morning.

~ ~  Before the Morning by Josh Wilson  ~ ~

Check out the video Before the Morning

Photos taken in Indiana and Wyoming