Thursday, July 17, 2008

Don't You Dare Lose Hope

Where do I begin????? It's hard to type through the tears coming out of my eyes. NEVER in a million years did I think my story could have this kind of an impact on people. I've been writing devotions for years. I usually receive a couple of emails occasionally about them. I've been blogging since January. Typically I get between 1-12 comments. Only really popular people get this many comments on their blogs, right? :) I say that jokingly, I hope you can tell that. But the last 2 days??? Wow. All I know to do is say, "Praise You Father for moving through our computers and into the hearts of so many broken, lost, hopeless, and healed, found, and hopeful women. Thank You!" And thank you all for finding this a safe place to share.

I anticipate that my traffic here will return to normal, but since there was such an outpour of stories, prayers, and emotions, I'm going to continue to write and share. I hope to answer each question or at least get some dialogue going between those of you who may return here. I feel very humbled that God could use me in this way. I do not feel victorious or special and yet because of what He is doing somehow victory seems possible. I really do read every email and comment that is sent and posted. I wish I could sit down and have a conversation with each of you. I bet we'd have an amazing time together!

Today, I want to write about hope. Or actually the lack or loss of it. Someone asked, "How do you have hope?" My simple response would be, "Sometimes that all there is."

The definition of hope (in my Bible's dictionary) is: to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment Do you agree with that? Do you have that kind of hope? That's pretty steep, don't you think? It's hard to have that kind of hope, the confident kind, in our situations. Honestly, I didn't have that kind of hope in my marriage. I never had that kind of hope in my father. I certainly didn't have that kind of hope, if any, when I was a little girl and my world was falling apart. Even when I first asked Jesus into my life, I was kind of wanting a magician to fix everything. I didn't understand hope. I definitely didn't feel it. When I think about it, it was not until my relationship with Jesus started that I began to even hope for that kind of hope. That was in my early 20's.

Let's look at what the Bible says about hope. As we read these verses, let's personalize them. Where there is a blank line, fill in your name.

1.Psalm 25:1-3a, "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will EVER be put to shame, ...."

Did you get that sweet princess???? Shame has no place in our lives. Let's not allow our enemies (and you know who they are, you told me about them...I told you about mine too!), rob us of hope and fill us with shame. Say the above verse each day if you have to. Post it on your mirror, refrigerator, inside cabinets, on your dashboard, highlight it in your Bible...whatever it takes to remind you that when you place your hope in our Almighty Capable Powerful Creator, you cannot be put to shame. Not by a person or a memory or even a crummy situation. God is bigger. Let's have hope...the confident kind! Now let's do another.

2. Psalm 42:5, "Why are you downcast ___________? Why so disturbed ___________? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Are you down? Disturbed? Angry? Scared? Fearful? Well, this verse is telling you, "don't be!" Even when you don't feel like it, praise God. I know how hard that is. But just try it. Praise Him that He is with you. That He loves you and sees everything you have been through and are going through. He is Your true Father...and He will never leave you or abandon you or mistreat you. Place your hope in Him.

3. Psalm 130:5, "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope."

Sometimes we feel left alone, like God doesn't see and we don't understand why we should have to endure it. But God knows the big picture. He is preparing us for something really special. Waiting on God's perfect timing is exhausting and difficult. It often seems like we are waiting eternally. Never give up. Don't you dare lose hope. Fill your soul with the Word of God and there you will find hope. Live on His Word and allow it to really be your "daily bread". Again, post it all over the place if you have to be reminded. I do! Go get yourself a special scripture bracelet or necklace to remind yourself of where you are in Christ. Don't wait on someone else to get you a gift, go get it yourself. It doesn't have to be expensive. I love cheap cool jewelry that has a message.

4. Jeremiah 29:11-14a, "For I know the plans I have for _____________," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper __________ and not to harm ___________, plans to give ___________hope and a future. Then _____________will call on me and come and pray to me and I will listen to _________________. _________________will seek me and find me when _________________seeks me with ALL her heart. I WILL BE FOUND by ______________, "declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity...."

This one is so rich isn't it? Ok girls, repeat after me, "The Lord has plans for me!!!!! Yippee!"

"He plans to give me hope and a future because He loves me!!!!"

"He does not plan harm for me. Any harm that has come to me has not been from Him."

"I will call on Him, seek Him and put my hope in Him alone, oh yes I will!"

(this is the hard part) "I will seek Him with ALL my heart! Not just part of it, but all of it."

"And because I'm seeking Him with ALL my heart, I'll find Him. God will never hide from me. "

"And I am not a captive to anyone or anything anymore, because He promises to rescue me from captivity! This makes me so happy. And gives me reason to hope."

Are you any more hopeful now? Ok, let's do one more.

5. Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill ___________________with all joy and peace as _______________trusts in him, SO THAT ____________________may overflow hope by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT."

I pray this for you my friends (and I really do consider you my friends...I mean we've shared a lot together!). This verse, Romans 15:13, is my prayer for you. Pray it for yourself too. Ask anyone you feel comfortable asking to pray this for you.

We all deserve to have hope. Honestly, last summer, I really thought my marriage was over. I asked my husband, "Is there any hope?" I expected him so say, "No". But he said, "an ounce." I took that as a glorious gift from God. I knew what God could do. So, right then I asked the Lord to multiply that ounce. I knew if He could feed the 5000 with a few loaves and fish, then He could multiply that hope. It wasn't quick. I cried daily for months. But I began posting "hope" things all around. I have a bracelet with "hope" on it. I have an angel of "hope" figure. I visit my friend Amy's blog, http://amylbrooke.blogspot.com/, she writes of hope a lot. "Fill me with hope Lord, I NEED IT!!!! Hope was all I had. And I believed. I still cried and was sad, but I did have hope. Peace followed. And now there is joy.

This has gotten longer than I expected, but I "hope" it's helped or brought some encouragement. Just writing it, helps me.

And to those who are already filled with hope, please post a comment and chime in on what brings you that hope even in the darkest of your days. I was so encouraged by you who wrote that you had been through similar stuff and you are doing well today. It brings hope to those who are struggling. Thank you.

And, I haven't forgotten about the give away. In fact, I'm adding to it. I'll be taking your names from yesterday's posts and the emails I've received (just as many as comments). I'll give 3 Princess books away. I'm not adding any more names to the bucket I'll draw from though. I promise to let you know the 3 winners tomorrow. And if you don't win, save the $ and get this book, it's so sweet and life changing:)

Blessings Dear Friends. I pray you are filled with HOPE today!!! Don't you dare lose hope!

Much Love,

Melissa




16 comments:

Lara said...

I have been through struggles similar to yours. I commented yesterday too :) One of my spiritual gifts is faith, so for me, hope and faith come somewhat naturally. But often times I rely on faith in myself or hope in myself other than in my Creator and Father. When things have been at the worst, it seems that's when I look to myself for hope the most. It doesn't work. When I climbed back up to the mountaintop the last time, I promised myself that I would be in the Word every day and that I would talk to God like he was actually my Father here on earth.

What a difference that has made in the hard times! It's not always easy and I usually start to look to myself again (or those around me), but there is this still small voice that keeps whispering - "remember Me. I am here and I will help you."

When I listen to that voice, my hope is returned and my faith is strengthened.

Keep the hope and have faith that no matter what - God loves you and He WANTS you!

Lisa Ford said...

I struggle with keeping hope. I have my monents of hope that make me feel alive, but then those negative voices seem to get louder and louder and that kills my hope. It's this harsh cycle that I operate in and it's hard to break it. BUT...I'm going to post these verses that you shared all around me so that I can be reminded of God's truths about me.

Thank you Melissa for being you! You're my favorite P31 woman and I come to your blog quite often even though I don't usually leave comments. You really help me relate to someone!

Anonymous said...

Melissa, I have been getting Proverbs 31 devotionals for a very long time and this the first time I read someones info. Your devotional over the past couple of days have ministered to me.{I actually read them today}I felt like I was suppose to comment.
I wasn't sure why or what I was suppose to say until I was reading other posted comments. I am not sure if there is a space limit or if anyone receives this, but I will be obedient. I am responding to a woman whose husband left her. She posted her comment around 9:30 on Wed morning. She spoke of her husband leaving her and questioned where was GOD. Sweetheart, HE is right beside you. He loves you so much. No He did not want you to get a divorce, He did not want your heart to be broken. Unfortantely satan has domian over this world,The bible says we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but principalities...{EPH6:12}
But GREATER IS HE WHO IS IN U THAN HE WHO IS IN THE WORLD!!! I know you feel lonely, how do I know this, u ask.Let me tell you about myself.
I grew up in an emotionally and physcically abusive home,I got put in a foster home when I was 12. Met my husband on my 17 birthday. Did drugs and I partied alot. Secretly of course. Thought I had control. Controlled everything. Husband,4 kids, my life. My childhood was so out of control, I knew I was going to control my life as an adult. Than I met JESUS and found out how out of control my life was. When I got saved I became radical. I was onfire for God. I did not understand why my unbeleiving husband could not see what I was seeing. Did he not see? No he did not. Nor did I actually see. My world was on a roller coaster ride. I took my kids back and forth to church. I was their disciplinary, their encourager, their spiritual guidance.I fought with my husband over eveything. I was told hold on, God is going to save your family. Keep praying and beleiving. This went on for a few years. One October I went on a 30 day prayer fast. I asked a sister in the Lord to join me and pray for my marriage. The night after my month of prayer ended, my husband told me @ the first of the year he thought we should divorce. He said he could not be what I needed, or deserved. WHAT!!!I cried. what was going on.? One month later,On a Sunday morning I came home from church, after being told again, about God getting ready to do awesome things in my marriage, & I found out that my husband had been having an affair with a member of my family that had been living with us. Girl, can we say the bottom fell out of my boat. God where are you? I thought. U told me you were going to save my marriage. What did I do wrong to deserve this. I was serving you wasn't I? My Faith had seriously taking ahit. or had it? The bible says what the devil meant for evil God will turn to good!!!

In the midst of my deepst valley I heard "I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you" God said That I must forgive, even when Christ was on the cross He cried out "FATHER FORGIVE THEM THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO"
Forgive them are you crazy????? Then the Holy Spirit spoke "LOVE COVERS A MULTITUDE OF SINS!!!".{Peter 1:8} This was a year and a half ago.
Has it been easy? No, But I held onto His promises. I started to love myself. Because I realized I never had before. I am finding my identity in"CHRIST" I am forgiving myself for not doing everything right. I am letting go of the anger, and bitterness that was taking root in the inner most part of my heart!!! I am forgiving for stuff that was there from childhood. I encourage my sister in the lord who is feeling so overwhelmed and lost to do the same.
Praise report. My husband has gotten saved, got in front of our church in April of this year. He. spoke on 1 cor 13.Love. and asked me to marry him again. We are getting married in September. Is everything great? no,we are to daily pick up our cross.We are to present ourselves as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing.{ROM12:1} I realized I tried to control everyone and everything. And in the end I almost lost everyone and everything. The other day God was showing me I adored my husband over Him, Now I love my LORD more than anything!!!!!!!God is a jealous God. He does not want us to love ANYTHING more.Am I saying this is why this happened, no , but I am saying again what the devil meant for evil, God will turn to His good. God has taught me some wonderful life lessons that I would not trade. I will pray that who ever reads this will feel the the Lord's love and will hear the still small voice speak into their heart "HOLD ON< KEEP YOUR EYES FIXED ON JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF YOUR FAITH!!!!!

My Mind is the battlefield, I will not be conformed, but I will be transformed to the renewing of my mind by the word.{Rom 12:2} I will think on whatever is true, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of a good report, these are the things I will think on!!! {Phil 4:8}

I will pray for you and ask for Gods strength and Love to be poured out in an abundance!! May you find the True Lover of your SOUL!!

Diane said...

Melissa,

Thank you for this and for bringing to the front of my eyes the reminder of hope. It has not quite been 4 months since my husband left. Today was just one of the days when all the emotion has built into a tornado of emotions. Pray for me dear sisiter, I just hurt tonight.
Blessings,
Diane

Diane said...

I wanted to share this poem I wrote during my healing.

My Inner Child

Sometimes in my dreams, a little girl appears
Sitting by the seaside, a memory through my tears
She calls to me, my child inside
The women left to view her past, all she had to hide

Mommy come and join me, watch me jump and play
Stuck there on the seaside, my body wants to stay
Looking deep into past, the pain from long ago
My inner child wants a chance, so that maybe she could know

The love a mother shows her daughter
Not mealy a gift of a lamb, to slaughter
This day I choose to go in the water
To live the life through my child like eyes

With the love of my Savior I’ll never be alone
Nor have the pain, I felt on my own.
Please Father come inside and rest my weary mind
Hide in my heart Your precious words, the one that always bind.

te during my healing process.

Carol Langstroth said...

Thanks for sharing your story, it helps to know that I was not alone, that other women have had similar problems growing up.

May God continue to pleae and keep you safe.

Joyful said...

Melissa, my blog post today (Thurs) was on that passage in Jeremiah - especially the part about God bringing me out of captivity. I have to place my hope in God and in His Word.

I wrote about "Guaranteed Hope" back on July 9th on my other blog (http://ponderinginhispresence.blogspot.com/2008/07/guaranteed-hope.html). I must trust the God of all hope (Romans 15:13).

These verses are wonderful reminders and so precious to claim personally. THANK YOU for the injection of hope...especially after a long day of working, Dr's appointments, medical tests...I so needed this extra boost!

Hugs,
Joy

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this blog. I feel that I have found hope in reading this blog. My plan is to come here at the close of each day to find strength to continue to fight. This has been so encouraging and uplifting for me and it is strength in numbers especially for those who have been sexually abused. I praise God because he has helped me to survive. Thank you again. Christ1

Tiff said...

Friday, July 18, 2008
Hello! Hope this isn't too long. I have been reading the comments over the past few days, and finally decided to post one. I am amazed at the number of women (I included) who feel/felt shame and guilt while with their husband. I wasn't ashamed because of being with my husband, I felt shame and guilt because people knew what I did with my husband. Obviously when you're married, you're going to have sex, but I didn't want people to know that. It got to where I was even ashamed to talk to God about it; I didn't want to say the S word to Him! (as if He didn't already know). Finally I knew I needed to go back to counseling. I also have a book that I received as a wedding present 10 years ago. I didn't read it until 4 years ago. I believe the book helped more than counseling did. I finally "got it" that I was hurting God with the way I was perceiving things about sex. He expects us to do it, have fun with it, and have no shame or guilt about it. I was also hurting Him by not talking to Him about it. As a teen/college student (I'm now 34) I was a cutter, went through depression, was anorexic, had flashbacks, wanted to die, etc. But the shame and guilt didn't showed up until I realized what people knew. It was the firt time for both my husband and I on our wedding night, but because of underlying things, it wasn't special to me. The first 7 years were not special to me like they should have been. I was mad at myself for a while because of that, but then realized I had to continue on, "start over" with sex, if that makes sense. These past 3 years have been much better, but once in a while it's in my mind. Back in May we went away for our anniversary without the kids. A few weeks before we left, it was in my mind that people would know what we were going to be doing. But over all, I didn't feel the shame and guilt like I did in years past. I like to write poetry and would like to share one with you. Thanks.




I’m amazed at the things God has done in my life.
He brought me from child to mother and wife.
When I wanted to die, when I cut and took pills,
He let me know quick that it wasn’t His will.
I became accustomed to not giving a care,
About what happened to me, but God was still there.
And then came the memories, the guilt and the shame.
Suddenly the cutting was no more than a game.
I cried and cried, and cried some more.
It was beginning to pierce right down to the core.
As I lay there at night with him haunting my mind,
I thought, don’t lay still. He’s gonna get ya.
The thoughts were not kind.
They were heartwrenching when you think please not again.
Three years of remembering felt like now, not back then.
Through it all God never left,
Though at times it seemed He did.
He brought me back time and again.
His hand He never hid.

tiffiew74@yahoo.com
Posted by Tiff at 4:38 AM 0 comments
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Pen to Paper; Spirit to Soul said...

Thank you so much for opening up so many doors for a place to find HOPE and healing! I left an anon post earlier but wanted to share that today I will post a Thankful blog because God has taught me so much through just being Thankful.

Please feel free to check it out!

Pamela in TX

Marilyn said...

What a wonderful word that is....HOPE! Without hope none of us would make it!
Several months ago at a gathering to promote the pregnancy center...."Sav-A-Life"....where I volunteer, I was asked to give a 5-minute talk on "Why I Volunteer at Sav-A-Life". I thought and thought and finally the Lord gave me this one word...HOPE. That's why I work there. To try and give hope to girls and women who sometimes feel they are hopeless. If you'd like to read my blog post on this you can copy and paste this link in your browser:
http://marilyn-nogreaterjoy.blogspot.com/2008/04/hope.html

God bless you Melissa. Keep on writing!

Marilyn in Mississippi

Bridget said...

I am just catching up on your posts and the P31 devotionals. Thank you for sharing. I know that it can be scary to "lay it all out there", but God is faithful and I love how He is being glorified and encouraging you with so much feedback. I am definitely writing out some of these scriptures for myself--to remind me of the Hope within me. I'll be praying for you as God continues to open doors for you to share your story.

Anonymous said...

The Lord knew what I needed this week. I'm a newlywed (almost 4 months). The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful and amazing man. I'm honestly unable to read your words too carefully because they touch this place in my heart that I try to avoid, and that God tries to get me to open up. My first relationship was abusive, in every way possible. He raped me and degraded me for 2 years, and stalked me for a year after that. I fell into sexual sin as a way of dampening the pain. Now that I'm married, I can't hide anymore and that terrifies me. I have a fantastic Christian counselor and we are doing good work together. He says I am making good progress but honestly, I don't feel like that at the moment. Hope...hope. Sometimes I have it but mostly I'm afraid of it. I know God is knocking loudly on my heart, through these devotionals, and I'm terrified. Thank you for being the Lord's willing instrument. I hope that someday I too can share my story and minister to others through it.

Mari said...

Melissa:

Thanks for sharing with us! It's always helpful to know you are not alone in your struggles. I think for me I need to make sure that I keep verses on hope with me. That way, when things look bleak I can take out a verse and read it, meditate on it. I'll be sure to include the ones you listed. Thank you again!

Jen said...

Melissa,

All I can say is wow!! What a hard topic to talk about.. It is good but hard... I just read all the comments from everyone and I was actually crying... I have posted the past couple days about my past and it is still really hard and I am in counseling and so I am on a constant basis having to bring everything back up and it is HARD!! I am realizing that I am scared and am fearful of a lot. I don't think I really know how to hope. Like I get it but I have a hard time of doing it. I too have felt like quitting and not go on... but I think I am to stupid(or too smart) to actually try and do anything..... I have actually not been able to really cry in a while and now I am crying... I don't know why... I am so totally broken I suppose and I guess I am at my last rope or whatever.... I find it hard to continue to go on like nothing is wrong... I need to learn how not continue to have "pity parties" and to feel sorry for myself. My counselor has said that too... It is really hard.. Well, thanks for posting this... Be blessed!!

Marebear said...

I will try and not lose hope, Im hanging on but I really don't want to..but whatever..life goes on no matter what goes on in our lives