She slipped it into an envelope and through the mail, just on the chance that I’d include poetry in our Lenten project. She wrote how in 2012 a sudden, puzzling illness put her on life support. How her husband was told to prepare for her death. How this poem tells her story, the story of Rosanne Stiehler.
I was breath-less,
bound up for the grave.
my family wept,
four long days.
“Lord, if You would come,
she could still be saved!”
the Lord showed up,
“Come forth!” is what He prayed.
that vital shout
gave me life again.
Today, when all feels dark, He can give us all life again. When the past-due notices come on bills and relationships and old harmful habits, know that it’s not too late to start over. Know that Jesus, He paid it all.
May this holy weekend help make you whole.
Remember how Pat Costigan has an entire exhibit of paintings dedicated to hope? Well, take a look at this one and then enjoy her artist’s statement:
I spent much time exploring sources of hope and asking others what are the sources of hope for them.
Many of the respondents to the question “What gives you Hope” gave this answer:
“Nature gives me hope.”
Today’s journal page comes to us from Maureen Phillips. She says: My life and hope for the future is focused on my faith in Christ. In recent years, it has become clearer to me that my hope only grows through the joys and disappointments that come my way. I am certain that the love Jesus has for me is perfect, so when my life isn’t I rest in knowing that His plans for me are good. My husband and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage in April and we have have two beautiful children. Our daughter is 18 and our son is 14. Our favorite pastime is camping. We love to get away with friends and family and just enjoy nature. To download, just click here.
Today — on this first day of spring — may you welcome a rebirth of hope.
And if winter seems to be lingering in your life or in your soul, I pray you’ll have strength, courage and the peace of knowing that seasons do change.
We have a few more journal pages to finish out our 40-day project.
This one, from Nancy Hoffmann, seems perfect for the changing of seasons. To download, click here.
Most nights we gather as a family to read, to write in journals and to sit by candle light. It calms my husband who struggles a bit with insomnia and reinforces the importance of reading to the little guys. And the journal writing, well, it builds us all up. We start by writing something good about ourselves and then we pass the journals around and each family member writes something good about you in your journal.
It’s a beautiful way to wrap up a day — unless you’re arguing with your husband and have been harsh with your bickering children. Then, you have trouble thinking of something nice to say about yourself. That’s what happened to me anyway. I’d already said I was good at family traditions and celebrations on an earlier night and that I was a pretty good writer. Frankly, I was hard pressed to come up with anything else. So, out of desperation, I scratched down I can do eye shadow pretty well.
It was pitiful, I know. But in that moment, still fresh from angry words, it was all I could think of that I liked about myself.
By morning I was able to laugh at my note and by the weekend I was throwing a tea party for my boys.
That’s the funny thing about hope. It’s slippery, and when times are dark, it’s easy to lose sight of. You can be socloseto what you’re hoping for or socloseto Who your hope is in — and miss it because you can’t see it with your eyes.
Still, it’s powerful. It heals. It lifts. It inspires.
It gives second and third and fourth chances.
To me, that makes it worth searching for even when all you can think of is eye shadow.
Because both of my little guys woke up two hours early (thank you barking Pomeranian) I’m only sharing a journal page — but it is a good one, with a good story! And I think I can tell you about it while holding a wiggly toddler.
Today’s journal page is from Leanne Martin. Her passion is coaching figure skaters. She was an engineer for many years, too many years, until she realized her calling… teaching. She also teaches as an adjunct professor for Syracuse University on the side. She is married with an active 11-year-old son. She also loves working at Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in Vermont every summer where she learns to love, cry, laugh and celebrate hope.
Here’s her artist’s statement about the journal page:
The picture of the baby deer (that I took in my yard just before mowing the lawn) represents new, beautiful, fragile life.
It’s love that ties us all together.
The picture in the lower right corner represents hope. This is a picture of my dragon boat team that raced in Ride the Dragon for Charity in Vermont this past August. We were raising money for our charity Camp Ta-Kum-Ta. My husband and I volunteer every summer for a week (we have for the last 14 years) at a kid’s camp called Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in Vermont. This is a camp for kids that have or have had cancer. A few of our rowers in the Dragon boat race were former campers that are now camp counselors. Now that is hope!
To download the page, click here.
Here’s a glimpse:
Thank you, all of you, for joining us for the 40 Days of Hope project. Each day during Lent, we’ll share something about hope here — something that we pray inspires you or encourages you. We’re also planning to share free journal pages for you to download. We don’t quite have 40 yet, so if you’d like more information on submitting one, please click here.