Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Discovering Hope


( In exchange for my review, and being part of the Launch Team for this book, the author provided this book, for me. All opinions expressed are purely my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)


I have been honored to be part of the book launch team for Cindee Snider Re's new book: Discovering Hope. Cindi is someone who has traversed the maze of chronic illness, both for herself and for members of her own family. She speaks humbly about the path to finding the Hope that is available for those of us who feel alone or invisible within our own journey.


I wrote here last week about the chapter concerning Biblical Lament and how it has been opening my heart to more freedom to express my heart's cry before the Lord.  This process of being transparent in the journey of my own story has been an ongoing lesson for me. 


Listening to other people's stories? Pure joy for me, whether the person is telling me face-to-face, or I am living out the story through the latest book I am reading.  

But telling my own story? Well, let's just say I've been known to rush through my own details, so that I can get to the really meaty part of listening to and helping another.  I have been convicted over this lately, though, as these words of the very first chapter jumped out at me:


"Sharing our stories is a vital part of doing life together. The disciples shared their stories and
changed the world, not because they were extraordinary men, but because they told about an
extraordinary God.
That same God is still at work today. It’s His story we tell, His hand at work in our lives, His love
touching hearts and changing lives every day."


I realized that when I am reluctant to share my own stories, I may be holding back the very thing that would point to God, and give glory to Him.  Ugly or sad, joyous or beautiful, each part of our story is a chapter in God's Grace given to us.  How can I hold back sharing His working in me?  


One of the biggest "assignments" in the book was to begin the journey of writing out your own story.  This is vital for any of us, because whether we suffer from chronic illness, or not, we each suffer from the greatest chronic condition of all: the life-long journey of being transformed into the likeness of Christ. 


2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.



I want to let Him open my heart to share as His Story is unfolding through my story, lived out day by day in this new season of life.  And as I read through her book, I came to a section that spoke most deeply to me as a summary of the author's words. She spoke of a time that God asked her this question:


“And if I don’t allow you to heal, if I  never remove the pain, will you still trust Me?”



And then she went on:

"What if illness – the stripping away of our health, our dreams, our understanding of
who we are and what our future holds – is really a gift – God offering Himself to us
unencumbered by all the noise, all the things that clutter our hearts and so easily fill
our days? Because what if that quiet, stripped-away space is where hope is found?
Where God leans in close whispering love to our weary souls until it becomes as
familiar as the beating of our own hearts? "

 



And suddenly I knew that God had been asking me that very question.  If I did not find the healing today, or tomorrow, or next year, would I still be able to find my Hope fixed on Jesus?

If the pain flowed in and out, but never away, would I still listen to hear God's voice?

It's a crucial question for all of us, because we want SOMETHING to put our hope in. And we want to HOPE FOR THE BEST.  But upon WHAT are we truly fixing our hope?  




Seeking Christ as my treasure, finding in HIM the basis for my hope, and longing to see the goodness of the Lord being fulfilled in
His own way   . . .   this is where I want to rest my heart.


I am thankful that I listened to God's whisper when He nudged me to sign up for the book launch.  If He's giving you a nudge also, won't you respond by seeking out Cindee's book over at Amazon


Perhaps the journey to Discovering Hope will capture your heart as well.


 I am linking this week over at these great sites:

12 comments:

  1. Her book sounds like a good one, Bettie. You are sweet to want to lift others up so much, but right too in that you also have a story and God will use it somewhere to help someone! It is a kinship and a bonding when we share too I truly believe. I will look forward to reading more about what God shows you through this launch team process! God bless you this week, and beyond dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Meg, you are right that there is "a kinship and a bonding when we share." I am seeing that in this digital world where God is bonding His people together in ways that wouldn't have been possible a few years ago. Thank you for being part of that kinship process for me, friend! **Hugs** and Blessings!

      Delete
  2. Oh my, Bettie. This sounds like such a helpful book. I have just put it on my Amazon wish list. I identify with your thoughts, and this part of the quote really tugs at my heart - "The disciples shared their stories and changed the world, not because they were extraordinary men, but because they told about an
    extraordinary God." Thank you for sharing this! Blessings and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Trudy, I'm so glad you put Cindee's book on your wishlist! I pray that God will bring it to you at just the right time. And, yes, our stories do reflect how great our God has been in our lives, if we will take the risk to share them. The book tugged at my heart in so many places! **Hugs** & Blessings my friend!

      Delete
  3. Lovely review and seems like a book I'd like to read😃
    It's important we appreciate God for the story He is making with our lives.
    Blessings to you dear friend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, Ifeoma, I believe this is such a helpful book! I've been so blessed this month by reading first your book, and now Cindee's book! God certainly wove the two of them together at just the right time in my life! --Blessings and Hugs to you friend!

      Delete
  4. Bettie - great review - and an important topic - HOPE! and sharing our stories! It's our stories, that make others believe God will for them too - you know they can relate more to us, ... me too :) Our stories and God's redemption in our stories is so powerful! don't be afraid or ashamed - but know that what God did for you, He will surely do for others and they need that HOPE too! Keep encouraging others and keep sharing your book reviews with us. We are neighbors again at #TeaAndTheWord .. YAY!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Neighbor! :) Thanks for your encouragement to keep on sharing here! Your words remind me of the old hymn: "It is no secret what God can do, what He's done for others, He will do for you." I used to sing that song with gusto as a child. Now I pray that we will continue to let others hear those sweet words every time we share our words! Thanks for stirring up beautiful thoughts, Debbie! --Blessings!

      Delete
  5. This sounds like such an encouraging book and one I'll be recommending to friends as well. So wonderful God has used this to bless and encourage you, right where you're at, Bettie.

    This: wow:

    ""What if illness – the stripping away of our health, our dreams, our understanding of
    who we are and what our future holds – is really a gift – God offering Himself to us
    unencumbered by all the noise, all the things that clutter our hearts and so easily fill
    our days? Because what if that quiet, stripped-away space is where hope is found?
    Where God leans in close whispering love to our weary souls until it becomes as
    familiar as the beating of our own hearts? "

    While I no longer struggle with PTSD, there was a time when I was so tired of it all, wondering if I'd ever get back to "normal" again...but what you share in this quote is SO what God did through my journey of healing. I now see my PTSD experience as a gift, a true gift from God.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Anna, this book has truly been a great help in this season of my life. I am so thankful that God let you see those hard times as gifts from Him. He is so good to change our perspective--sometimes it doesn't happen until we look back. But sometimes He does that right in the middle of it all! Thank you for your encouragement, dear sister! --Blessings to you today!

      Delete
  6. What a beautiful review of a beautiful book I need to read! So much spoke to me here and added to words God already whispered to me in the past. This is such a challenging question:
    “And if I don’t allow you to heal, if I never remove the pain, will you still trust Me?”
    I'm not sure how to answer that some days, but it is one I have also been wrestling with as I learn to see the gift wrapped up in the pain, the daily need to lean hard on our Lord for strength, relief and energy. Thank you for sharing excerpts from Cindee's book and also sharing your heart thoughts as well. It's been a blessing to read both. Gentle hugs to you, sweet friend! xo

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you Joy! Yes, I hope you are able to read this book--it has so much to ponder for those of us who deal with chronic illnesses. And, yes, sometimes it seems that I wrestle daily with the surrender to trust Him in the "even if" times. How grateful I am to know HIS patience and longsuffering towards me is so great! I appreciate your encouragement so much, Joy! --Hugs to you my friend!

    ReplyDelete

Popular Posts: