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Archive for January, 2014

Sometimes you feel all alone in your thoughts and concerns.

How do I know this? — because I feel all alone sometimes, too.

My husband and I adopted a child who experienced bipolar disorder from the very early age of eighteen months. It was back when doctors thought it was impossible for children to have a mental illness.

No one understood; I felt all alone. The good news is that my alone-ness caused me to reach out to Jesus.

You see, sometimes we don’t know we need Jesus until He is all we’ve got. Medical help came for my little girl much later — at age seventeen. Jesus was all I had during those desperate years.

Even those closest to me didn’t understand my pain, my struggle. In their presence, I still felt alone. Their words were empty, like sounding brass echoing off the walls. Jesus was the only One who understood and I was not alone!

Where do you go when you feel alone?

When we feel alone, we need to get alone — alone with God, reaching out to Him. He is the one person who understands, empathizes, heals, encourages, and lifts us out of our alone-ness.NST

He has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deut 31:6).

Do you have a quiet, alone place, where you can seek the One who understands? — a place where you can reach Him? He is the only One who can meet your need.

You’re not alone!

View other posts on “You’re Not Alone” on http://www.holleygerth.com

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From the door of the preschool room, I watched a child playing. Wispy blonde locks surrounded her light Scandinavian complexion and azure eyes. She was a bit more shy than most her age.

Without interaction with the others, she quietly amused herself with a doll, dressing it in a formal gown and high heels. A momentary flash of panic crossed her face until she again spotted her teacher helping other children behind the indoor playhouse. All was safe again.

Then, from the hall, her daddy appeared and said, “Hi beautiful.” Her eyes lit up and her mouth smiled wide as she ran to him. He opened his arms, scooped her up, embraced her, and twirled her once around.

The daddy caught the teacher’s eye, waved, and said, “Thank you! We’ll see you tomorrow.”

What a lovely image of a daddy’s love—beautiful grace demonstrated to his princess. When she is much older, she’ll remember her father’s secure arms, his unconditional love, and his voice saying, “Hi beautiful.” Then, she’ll aptly discern the authenticity and the motives of other male figures in her life because she has heard the true voice of her daddy.

Every daughter, young or old, longs to have her father call her beautiful. Every wife needs to hear it from her husband—beautiful.

From the lips of any other person, it holds far less value. Why then, do some not say that word to their princess? Did their fathers not teach them? Perhaps four or five generations back, a father set a different example, and it trickled down to the present.

Oh, the beautiful grace of a loving father who expresses his love in a word, beautiful. Many are fortunate to have such an earthly father. However, some have fathers who, although they are good role models, they don’t know how to verbalize their love.

Others have fallen fathers who are angry, abusive, selfish, or ignorant, and they sin against their daughters.

Nevertheless, all of us have access to a Heavenly Father who scoops us up in His arms and says, “You’re beautifully and wonderfully made, and you’re mine.”

This Father—our Heavenly Father and Husband, expresses love to us in His Word:

…Behold, “you’re beautiful, my love; behold, you’re beautiful; your eyes are dove… (Song of Solomon 1:15)

(This article is from the book, “Sixty Days of Grace – God’s Sufficiency for the Journey” by Dorothy Ruppert.) To get a copy go to http://www.dorothyruppert.com.

 

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Maybe you can recite Bible verses that speak of the Father’s love for you…

and, yet…

Sometimes you simply need another human being to demonstrate God’s love to you in concrete form.

On a Mother’s Day long ago when my three children were young, I could not wait for the day to end. The two older ones had bickered from early morning, the house was in disarray, and the baby fussed. Nothing had gone right and at that moment, I felt unloved – unappreciated.

As my husband walked by where I sat licking my wounds in self-pity, I asked him, “Does anyone around here even care that I exist?”

He stopped in his tracks, pulled me up, put his big arms around me, and said, “We all love you, Mama; we just forget to tell you.”

and…

I felt loved.

Have you ever felt unloved in your Church? You know – that place that exemplifies community, fellowship, and Christian love! After attending a new church for almost a year, I still failed to find a place to share my gifts.

However, one day, a woman invited me to her home and we connected spiritually and emotionally. She used her gift of hospitality to restore me.

and…

I felt loved again.

So, today, let’s use our gifts to encourage someone. Let’s say to them, “You are loved, my friend.”

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

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365 Offerings of Hope

365 Offerings of Hope

In 2014, I want to give 365 unexpected gifts of HOPE to the people in my life.

I first thought of this idea at our December Writers’ Group meeting. Our group meets monthly to share what we have written and to encourage one another to keep writing. The hostess for December suggested we share a Christmas memory or a family holiday tradition.

One of the participants read his compelling story of an extravagant Christmas gift he received when he was six years old. Although his parents lacked financial resources, they gave him a Radio Flyer train set that year. He calculated that it might have cost as much as a week’s wages of both his parents.

You see, he had contracted polio earlier that year and the train set represented his parents’ gratitude for their son’s survival from the most feared childhood disease of that time. This sacrificial gift was an outward sign of their HOPE for his future.

The story of the train set evoked a memory from when I was about eleven-years old. Our family also lacked financial resources. One day in mid December that year, I found my mother weeping hopelessly at the kitchen sink. I asked what was wrong.

She whimpered, “We have no money to buy Christmas gifts this year and we won’t have a Christmas tree either.”

At that moment, I desperately needed to do something to encourage my mother. Christmas gifts were unimportant to me, but I had to find a way to get a Christmas tree because I knew it would make her happy again. I had no money. Where could I possibly get a free Christmas tree?

Then, it dawned on me — why not cut a wild evergreen from the forest on our farm? During warmer weather, I had spent many hours walking through the woods and I knew exactly where to find an evergreen tree within a half mile of the house.

Pulling my sled and with a rope and an old saw in hand, I trudged into the forest. There it was, my tree of HOPE, just where I had spotted it the summer before. I cut it down and tied it to the sled with the rope, pulling it back to our yard in the snow. The tree was only about three feet tall and a bit crooked, but it had a heavenly fresh evergreen scent.

In the forest, against the drab backdrop of the leaf-barren trees, the tree appeared green; in our living room, it took on a somewhat brownish cast. Nevertheless, Mom cried happy tears when she first saw it. HOPE had once again returned to our home.

That afternoon, she took leave from all her Saturday chores and dug out a tattered Christmas box from the back of the closet. On the branches of our fresh tree, Mom and I placed the old string of lights and then the familiar ornaments, each with its own sweet memory.

At the bottom of the Christmas box, we found the final touch, the tinsel that we had saved from year to year. We carefully removed strands of it from the slots cut in a piece cardboard from a writing tablet and placed them on our tree one by one. The tinsel filled the gaping holes between the branches and it sparkled with the slightest movement of air in the glow of the shining bulbs.

That year, Mom bragged about “the most beautiful tree she’d ever seen” to all our visitors. It was far from perfect in a physical sense, however, it was the perfect gift of HOPE for a discouraged mother. Oh, what joy I felt in my heart that Christmas!

The memory of our tree of HOPE gave me an inspiration for the coming year. Why not give 365 gifts of HOPE in 2014 – one each day to someone in my life? It could be a smile, a thank you, a compliment, a note sent in the mail, a phone call, an email, a Facebook message, a pat on the shoulder, a hug, or a small favor. What a difference a simple gift of HOPE might make for someone in desperate need of encouragement!

Join me in bringing an offering of HOPE to just one person each day this year! Then record your gifts of HOPE in a journal and share them here on this blog if you like. 

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