Today I am so blessed to welcome Barbie Swihart
to Hearts Homeward.
Barbie is a wife and the mom to four beautiful children. In her own words, she has “been marked by the love of a relentless God who never stops pursuing me.” Her desire is to encourage you on your own journey, giving you glimpses of His love and sprinkles of His grace along the way. She has been an encouragement to me as I have ventured into public writing. I know you will find something that blesses you as you read her transparent and honest reflections about her walk with Jesus.
As I look outside my window, I am fully aware that the season of summer is coming to and end. Gone are the warm, moonlight nights. The leaves will soon change colors as fall makes her arrival with a cool breeze. And soon thereafter, I will be bundling up in a coat and scarf as I sip hot coffee, longing for the season of summer once again. Even though I know we need the rain, I would rather sit in my house and listen to the rain than venture out into it. I am not a fan of cold weather and could do without the season of winter.
Seasons change. And with the changing seasons come sudden changes in life’s circumstances that leave me reeling for the high mountaintops, far away from the rock laden path beneath my feet.
I’ve been walking along a path where the air is crisp and clean, where the sun is shining and where I can see ahead for miles. But suddenly, I find myself pushing through a thick fog, unable to see clearly, breathing in stale air, and longing for the warmth of the sun on my face.
Although I don’t always welcome it, I know that change is good. I’ve walked the same road for years and suddenly find myself at a dead end, not of my own doing. He whispers, “walk this way”, and my heart breaks a little and I hold my breath wondering if it’s all a bad dream. It’s not a complete surprise, this life change that now looms. Jobs come and go and even the greatest ones we are asked to release our hold on, so that He can work a greater blessing.
But even as I’m trying to remain full of faith and hold onto hope, weariness sets in, and I allow myself to go there, to unfamiliar places, to places where the voice in the darkness is not comforting. How do I walk though this door without leaving my broken heart behind?
Go by the way of Hope
As a Christian, I am not promised a life filled with sunshine and roses. What I am promised, though, is Jesus. He promises to never leave me or forsake me, no matter what. But sometimes, it’s hard to feel His presence on this new path that I am just getting my feet wet on. I wonder if He truly has prepared the way as I question my ability to fully embrace this next season.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been reminded of the woman with the issue of blood. She was at the end of herself, having struggled physically for many years. Some would say she was without hope, or so it appeared. Until the day Jesus came to town.
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.” (Matthew 9:20-21)
In a moment of desperation, she reached out for hope …
… Hope – a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
We walk though life filled with expectation and the desire to see certain things become reality in our lives. We know that God is the One who opens and closes doors. We know that every moment of our days is already written. He knows the end from the beginning. But do we trust that His ways are really higher than ours? Do we believe that His thoughts are toward us and that they are for our good?
When a door closes in our lives unexpectedly, do we allow ourselves to climb back down into the pit of despair, seemingly devoid of hope, wondering where God is in the midst of the change?
I’ve felt devoid of hope many times in my life. But what I am realizing is that hope has always been, I simply stopped reaching and when I did reach for it, I never held on to it long enough to allow it to change me.
What I am learning is that hope is not in job security, in marriage or ministry. It is not in the happiness of my children, in financial blessing or in physical health.
My hope is found in Jesus, and Him alone.
It’s found in reaching for the hem of His garment when all seems lost.
It’s found in sitting in silence and leaning into His voice.
It’s found in a presence so strong that it overwhelms me.
I must reach out for hope and lay hold of Him, to finally break through the silence and listen for His voice, allowing His presence to overwhelm me to the point of tears. When my circumstances cry out that “all hope is lost”, I will place my feet upon the Rock Christ Jesus and hold on to hope.
Seasons will change. The hard will come. Death may lurk at my door and mourning and sadness just might threaten to overtake me. But in the midst of it all, there is hope. Because in the midst of it all, He is there.
Barbie paints to worship … and I am offering a 5×7 of her art print “Breath of God” today in honor of her
and in celebration of my one year of
writing at Hearts Homeward.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Reaching Hand and Barren Tree Photos Courtesy of Bing Images