Hopelessly Hopeful

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I am hopelessly hopeful. You will discern this statement between the lines to mean I am optimistic despite what is happening all around me. I steadfastly cling to verses in the bible that speak of hope and pray that these verses will carry me through this time of sorrow.

I desperately need the comfort of the Lord as I mourn the recent passing of so many family and friends, one after another, in such a short period. Who will be next, I ask? Who will be taken from this world and into the next? I rely on the hope that I will see those who have gone from this earth again in heaven. I assume that I will make it into heaven, myself.

I assume that believing in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and living a righteous life, loving others as Jesus loves me, will spare me a place in heaven where I will be reunited with my loved ones who have left this life before me and with those who follow me.

Dear friends, my heart is heavy right now. It is heavy thinking about the wives who are now widows, the husbands who are now widowers, the parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who are now mourning. Even as an emphatic person, I cannot claim to know the pain survivors experience. No, all I can say is that my pain is unbearable on my own right now.

Sometimes I forget, but thankfully the Holy Spirit reminds me to go to the bible and read scripture to get help in recovering and gaining strength. I need to remember that no one on earth can help me through anything as much as the Lord can help me achieve balance and the ability to be strong amid the weakness of pain.

I don’t know the plans the Lord has for me. I don’t know the plans the Lord has for others. But, I do believe the Lord has a plan for us all. This is my belief. You may have a different belief, and I will still love and accept you. But, this is my belief, and I hold steadfast to it. It is, as a matter of fact, how I get through life. When things happen unexpectedly, and when I cannot find the strength to carry on, I run to the bible to read and re-read God’s promises to me. I read what He said he would do for me if only I believed in Him. And, I believe in Him, so I rest on His promises.

I have stopped counting the number of family and friends who have left this earth transitioning to heaven. God’s plan for them is not transparent to me, but God knows what He is doing. I like to think God is organizing and preparing His Kingdom. Those who went before us will already be there to warmly welcome us into the Kingdom.

If you are like me, struggling to survive the loss of a loved one, I encourage you to read the verses I am reading right now. I pray that they will help you through this time of sorrow.

Read and re-read the following scriptures. Believe they are words from God. Believe that they are words meant to comfort you and carry you through your heartache.

All verses are extracted from the New International Version (NIV).

Psalm 71:14 (New International Version)

14 As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

Romans 15:13

13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 5:10

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

1 Peter 1:13

13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:3-6

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

Romans 5:2-7

2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.

God bless you today and always. Be strong in His word. Be hopeful!

Copyright 2022 Marlene C Bertrand

Keep On Swimming

No matter what is happening in your life, remember to have faith. Keep on dreaming, keep on praying, and keep on swimming to your goal.

© Marlene Bertrand 2021

Today’s story is a story of faith and hope.

In the year 2008, my husband and I worked as contracted technical writers and editors for the same company. On a regular day, as we always did, we went to lunch together and, all seemed well when we returned from lunch. Little did we know that we had enjoyed our last lunch together with this company. No sooner than we returned, we were called into a casual meeting with the manager of the department we worked. In that meeting, we discovered that we were no more valuable than any other contracted personnel within the company, and as with many contractors working at the company, the manager quickly informed us that, due to economic factors, the company was downsizing and the company would no longer be able to afford our services. And just like that, we lost our jobs on the same day, at the same time.

Losing our jobs suddenly meant we suddenly lost our means of survival (in the lifestyle we had become accustomed to). We could no longer afford the mortgage on our home, so we had to give our home back to the lender (to avoid foreclosure). And, when we gave the home back to the lender, we had nowhere to live. We had a little bit of money in a savings account, though it was not enough to pay creditors, much less, enough to afford to live in a decent part of town. And, even in the most run-down part of town, landlords would not rent to us because, over time, our credit history had become tarnished.

We needed a place to stay, or we would be destined to live in the streets as many people in our situation had succumbed. Desperate to have a place to live my husband and I had the idea that if we could liquidate our 401k plans, we could purchase land and live on it. We figured, if we bought land, we would always have a place to stay, even if we lived in a tent. But, the county in the city where our land was located had other ideas. They mandated that no person could live on their land unless they built a house on it. The county would not allow us to live on our land even if we lived in a self-contained recreation vehicle (RV).

Financially, it was tough because, even though my husband and I were able to purchase the land at a bargain price, now, a good portion of our money was tied up in the land. Survival became unmaintainable and we decided we should sell the land to reap what we could, but we were unable to sell the land because the land was raw, undeveloped land, and selling it turned out to be a non-existent option because, at the time, many other people were losing their jobs due to economic downturns. So we were stuck with the land whether we wanted it or not.

We Prayed

We prayed about what we should do. We agreed that we would rely on the Lord to provide for our needs. We decided that no matter how long it took, at some point, that for which we were praying would be answered.

As luck (or more realistically the Lord) would have it, we somehow had enough money left in our 401k plans to pay cash for a mobile home in a mobile home park. We lived seven years in the mobile home. We retired and lived on our Social Security retirement income which allowed us to pay the bills, live meagerly, and save money until such a time arrived that we were able to sell the mobile home for twice the value we purchased it. With the proceeds from the sale, we bought an RV and lived in the RV for two+ years while the house we are living in today was being constructed.

Today’s Message

My husband and I prayed daily. We prayed often. We prayed that the Lord would help us build a house on our land. With our prayers, we had faith that we would be able to build our home at the right time in the Lord’s time.

But, we are human, and I do have to admit that throughout the years, there were times when my husband and I would pause and wonder if our dreams would ever come true. It was taking a long time to save up enough money to build a house on our land. We would ask ourselves if we would ever be able to build a house.

But, the Lord always steps in. In His time, and in the perfect time, the Lord steps in to make everything as it should be.

The message, friends, is that patience is a virtue. More than that, dreams do come true. All we need to do is pray to the Lord for His help, have faith, and keep on swimming.

Praise the Lord! Friends are welcome in the home the Lord made possible!

Our Defender

Strength comes from God, our Defender.

God is our strength… our Defender!

How I love you, Lord! You are my defender. The Lord is my protector; he is my strong fortress. My God is my protection, and with him I am safe. He protects me like a shield; he defends me and keeps me safe. I call to the Lord, and he saves me from my enemies. Praise the Lord!

Psalm 18: 1-3

Psalm 18 is about gratitude for deliverance and victory. When we are surrounded by evil, we should call upon the Lord. He will be with us, giving us strength to overcome the evil forces of our enemies.

Today’s song: Defender, Copyrights: 2015 Gateway Create Publishing, Kindred Joy Music, Bethel Music Publishing. Performed by Upper Room.

Defender performed by Upper Room