Pretty Words like Hope

courage, Faith, praise, Prayer, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder



What if we saw it as more than a word on a pin, this word, “Hope”?

More than a trendy phrase about an anchor, more than the middle word in the group of three?

What if we knew this emotion called hope as more than a

word in passing, a vague and wavering optimism?

“Well, I hope so.” we say,  as if hope is nothing more than a rare and pitiful possibility.

This morning, I rose to begin the day from the space on the carpet next to my bed.

Groggy and thankful for the ease of waking like clockwork without a clock.

My folded up, sleepy legs found their way to bending knees to rest in a downward pose to pray.

This morning, simply,  “Jesus, help me today.”

I read from the Book of Hebrews, chapters 4 -6 and found the familiar phrase there.

Hope, an anchor for my soul, a catchy quote, trendy phrase.

I  colored in my margin, drew an anchor, a sky, an ocean and a moon. Mornings like this, and my Bible are gifts.


Fingers blending dusty colored pastel, a delicate touch on the border of a fragile page, I thought of hope.

The middle child in the faith, hope, love family. Hope.

Reading the verses just before the one I knew by heart, understanding a little differently, more clearly and stronger today.  This sweet little pretty word, what a mighty thing is hope.

I read the whole chapter, the whole book and saw hope, the way God longs for us to see…to see Him, our hope.

Saw it as certainty, read about histories and lineages of people who understood hope.

That hope is unchangeable.

Hope is God’s promise and we know he keeps his word.

I read that hope is earnest assurance and that we might sway, but hope cannot be moved once established.

Hope, I read, is a better thing for those God calls beloved.

So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise, the unchangeable character of His purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie,we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement 

to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf.


Hope, the place of  pausing to rest my seeking knees, my open heart every morning, to be anchored in certainty.

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee to Tell His Story.



Far better things ahead – an editorial on hope

courage, Uncategorized, Vulnerability

I was late in sending this editorial to the paper.  I’m sharing here because life intersects work and the work I do causes me to reflect.

And I know its Friday night and there’s football and festival tomorrow. So, not to be serious to the point of being avoided.

Just serious enough to say….if you know someone who has lost all hope, just stay close, ask important questions and remind them to hope for the far better things ahead than what they’d be leaving behind…and if they don’t believe you…hang in there until you both see the hope you waited for, held on for.FB_IMG_1444441760771_kindlephoto-7926424

I’d like for you to know that I know very little really about suicide.

But, the one thing I know is that the one who chooses suicide is choosing out of hopelessness, this is the only consistent thing I have seen and heard, the loss of hope. Here are my thoughts, efforts to help others understand.

A Walk for Hope

On Sunday afternoon, I’ll go for a walk at O’Dell Weeks.  I’ll be joined by members of the Board of Directors of MHA Aiken County along with Coalition for Suicide Prevention colleagues who have joined in a commitment to prevent suicides, increase awareness and support. Most importantly, I’ll be greeted with hugs, smiles and tears from many cherished friends.  Since 2011, I have become friends with many people who have bravely and brokenly shared their story of the person they loved, still love who decided suicide was the answer to the question they were burdened, completely overwhelmed by.  In my professional lifetime, I’ve encountered many tough realities of life. The grief following suicide is unique, complicated and impactful.

Yesterday, within just an hour or so, I took two phone calls.  The first, the father of a 17 year old daughter, who said to me “There’s no way you can know what I’m going through.”  So, I listened for almost a half hour to the distress of a father not wanting to give up on his child, yet feeling there was little hope. I was able to make referrals and follow up that the connection was made for what may be her turning point, his hope for his daughter.  About another half hour later, a wife called.  Her husband, a 53 year old man, unable to work, living on disability and in her words “tired of being a burden” to his family had mentioned to her that he “needed to talk to someone.”  I listened as she shared the series of events that led to her 53 year old husband being physically disabled and now emotional and mentally in a place of hopelessness.  I asked her the hard question; the one that must be asked, “Has he talked about suicide?”  She answered calmly that he has.  I made recommendations for immediate steps, put some referrals in place and as with the father earlier asked that they call me back to let me know how things are going, what else I might be able to help with.  Both callers thanked me for my time, for listening, for giving them something to hope might bring a change. These type calls happen regularly and illicit an intentional response because the details of hopelessness are markedly similar to stories I’ve heard before. They are like the stories of the Survivors of Suicide Loss shared in our monthly group as they recall the time before the death of their loved one; circumstances are unraveled and pondered in an effort to understand.

Later in the day, I saw a quote on someone’s Facebook page, a C.S. Lewis quote.  I thought of the callers, of the people they loved and of the condition of hopelessness.  C.S. Lewis reminds, assures, and beckons us to believe “There are far better things ahead than what we leave behind.” I thought of all who will walk on Sunday and their longing for the chance to say to the one they loved, “Be hopeful. This is temporary.  There are better things ahead. Don’t leave us behind.”

I walk for and with the brave survivors who would say to each of us “Remind those you love of hope over the hopelessness of what they see as an insurmountable circumstance”. I am walking for hope on Sunday.  Join me if you will.


Surprises, Too Wonderful to Know

Makes me happy when skies are grey

Makes me happy when skies are grey

I saw the burden of “not knowing”  in a brighter, happier light this week.

It may not stick.

I may agonize over futures, decisions, delays again.

Most likely, sooner than I’d like, within the next few hours even, prayers and thoughts before sleep.

Mind wandering, scheming, planning, writing scripts and watching them play like a movie.

Vivid, detailed, believable happenings. Things I’m hoping for, hoping not.

Crazy, super lifelike scenes from our lives are the make-up of my mind.

A movie with a wedding, a grandbaby, I picture bouncy blonde and blue-eyed little tomboy.

Or me driving up to a stately campus and unloading boxes into a tiny room where the little boy who loved holding hands with me will be saying goodbye.

He will be pretending to be unphased. I will hold him in hug and get quiet as I leave.

It might be the sight of my beautiful daughter in her wedding dress, hair in sweet simple bun and her boyfriend’s tender face when he sees her at last.

I may let my thoughts form stories of illness, of loss, of hardship. Of fears that accompany age.

They may come. Happy times, hard times.

God has made the one as well as the other. I think about both.

Things too wonderful for me to know.  Job 42: 3

This Christmas my daughter surprised me.

She knows what a challenge I can be. Don’t ask what I want.

I like to be surprised with gifts.

I imagine her shopping and seeing the sunshine mug and thinking of me…of our song. Maybe she let her heart and sweet smile go back to our tiny little place in the country…her little head on my shoulder as I swayed in a sing-song rhythm.

“You make me happy when skies are grey.”  She might remember that when I had sung for so long and her sweet eyes still popped open once I got silent that  I’d add a random little story to the song, making up our special “Sunshine Song”

So, on Christmas morning, I opened the mug, looked over and smiled at my daughter.  “I found it a long time ago, saved it for you.” she said.

I held it close to my chest, the little yellow mug that says “You are my Sunshine” with a sunshine to meet me at the bottom when upturned, emptied.

How sweet is it to wait expectantly for a gift?

What if we thought of “waiting for God” as waiting for a gift, a surprise?

Not knowing what we’ll get, just knowing it will be good?

Like expecting a surprise, contentedly knowing something good will be happening soon.

Think of your heart’s desires, your heart’s longing aches of waiting.

He knows.

He says, shows us  ” I saw this for you. I planned it this way. I have been saving this for you when I knew the time was right.”

I have been

Blessed and surprised by God.

Haven’t we all?

Take delight in the Lord and He will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4

growing love

courage, Faith, rest, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability
The soil of faith

The soil of faith

To love someone in reality is easy.

I wonder if there’s more to be said for Faith that stands, that lingers.

That withstands and makes stands.

In love and for love.

Faith is the staying the course, an intentional choice of aligning.

Faith is decision tied to action, doing, not just being.

To have faith in someone is to cultivate love.

Tend to them. To grow them like seedlings.

Nourishing love’s roots planted deep.

Faith is the soil.

Hope is the water.

Love, like the changing of tiny branches from brittle to verdant green to lush and flowering,  stronger in the growing because of its roots and it’s soil.

Seasonless and for every season.

Faith-filled soil, Moist, pillows of soil, cushioned by hope.

Love grows best there.

We plant. We water. God grows.




The clearing

courage, Faith, Prayer, rest, Trust, Uncategorized, wonder
Hope and Believing

Hope and Believing

Hopefully, full of hope. And Blessed by my believing.

Blessings, unanswered prayers, all the longings of my heart.

Are cherished by a Sovereign and attentive Father who gently, yet persistently desires my trust.

Patiently, watchfully waiting for my trust.

Trust in His best, His time.

Yesterday, I was blessed with clarity.

An unexpected gift in the routine of my day.

A new understanding of Hope…more than a forced emotion I try to convince my doubtful heart and mind to believe in.

Nothing good comes by force. One of my favorite “notes to self”.

Sometimes I force myself to glean understanding from God’s word.

Compulsory reading of scripture, habitual even.

Moving into my day with empty devotion, empty heart.

It’s the times though that we are moved by a word in a new way and we are changed.

We remember. We cherish the clearing.


Hope does disappoint. It is planted in our hearts from God.

Romans 5:5

And then a favorite song, heard in a new way on yesterday’s walk.

A song on repeat in my car, my mind…a  solo by me in our choir.

One stanza…just a line.

I listened and in the clearing, I heard.

God hears my imploring, sees my doubts, knows my anxious, analytical heart.

God is concerned with my calamity.

He longs for me to know this. To be changed by this knowing.

And simply, Believe.

“And all the while, you hear each desperate plea and long that we’d have faith to believe.”

Laura Story,  Blessings

The Beautiful After

courage, Faith, Trust, Uncategorized, Vulnerability, wonder
Fascinated with the fallen - Hunting Island, SC

Fascinated with the fallen – Hunting Island, SC

Massive branches, limbs, fronds border the shore.

Beautiful in their damaged and broken state.

Yet, strong and impressive in their beauty.

Luring us, to walk amongst the destruction.

To pose for photos next to nature’s enormous debris.

Standing proudly, smiling prominently as if an honor to be alongside.

The beautiful aftermath.

Storms cannot destroy grandeur.

Cannot diminish courage.

Will not silence or obscure the power of the telling.

The brave sharing of troubles that  came.

Of strength that was tested.

Strongly different, altered, broken, but not destroyed.

Softened, perhaps and surrendered by the grace of storm.

Conquerors, enduring hopeful survivors with fascinating stories.

My story, my song…sharing the beautiful afters.

 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God, through Jesus. We gained this access through faith. So, we can stand and rejoice in the glory of God. We can rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering teaches us to persevere, which gives us character and character reminds us to rely on hope. 

Hope does not disappoint us.  Hope is God’s love poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  Romans 5: 1-5

Hope gets us through to the Beautiful After.