"When the apple cart of life tips over, spilling uncertainty onto the road we are travelling, doubt can encompass our thoughts because it is a more tangible feeling to give in to. At times, we have an acute awareness of the problems, limitations, and difficulties facing us. Enshrouded by the fog of doubt, we are not able to see a brighter tomorrow or lasting solutions. The victorious truth is that God has full knowledge of what lies past that upset apple cart. Should we choose to allow Him to guide us through the tragedy, the mess, the helplessness, we will discover beautiful and eternal treasures waiting just beyond the last bruised apple lying on the ground." [Excerpt from my book WORTHY IN HIS EYES: Part Six: WORTHY: BY GOD'S SAVING GRACE ALONE...Chapter Four: HOPE!] © Kathleen M. Pritchard]
HOPE....a very powerful and inspiration-filled word. But it is more than just a word. It is a focus beyond that which is visible. For me, the very essence of Hope has complete fullness when I lay everything before the Lord, entrusting my life to His care. It doesn't mean all difficulties will disappear, but it does mean I don't carry the load alone......ever.
Why would we lay issues before Christ if we already knew what lay ahead? If we already knew the outcome? If the storybook of our lives was revealed to us from beginning to end, there would be no hope for the future. The outcome would be ascertained and our days would become mediocre. We would exist but without choices, rendering our lives stagnant. We would die, without having had any purpose.
God did not create puppets to manipulate; He gives us freedom to make choices. I can choose to cower and shrink back remaining in the dark cavern of hopelessness with the father of lies, or I can stand tall in spirit, shoulders back, head held high, eyes fixed forward to embrace the rich eternal HOPE offered freely to me through my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
I saw my precious Mom place her trust in Christ every single day of my life. It was not an easy road by a long shot yet she rejoiced in living, truly living every single day before God carried her Home. She placed her trust in Him and He never let her down. Now she lives in complete freedom and joy with her Lord--for all of eternity.
This journey Kip and I have travelled during the past 15 years has tested us, grown us and deepened our trust in God--and each other. Our apple cart in life tipped over, seemingly shattering our world to pieces. But once we dusted ourselves off God showed us how to move through, then beyond the mess of discouragement, doubt & fear. Trusting Him completely gave us Hope to take those steps forward to a bright and Hope-filled future of new opportunities.
Although we do not know what each day will bring, we do know that God is in control. There is no greater Hope.
"For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8: 24-28 NIV
"No one lights a lamp only to put it under a bowl. The result would be encompassing darkness. Instead, they put it on its stand where it gives light and comfort to everyone in its presence. That's how it is with the gift of encouragement and support. Radiating God's love through unselfish gifts of encouragement and support lightens not only the hearts of those we expose it to, it warmly reflects back to our own hearts, filling us with joy and completeness in who we are in Jesus Christ!" [Excerpt from my book WORTHY IN HIS EYES: Part Six: WORTHY: BY GOD'S SAVING GRACE ALONE...Chapter Three: Encouragement & Support] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
God is the ultimate Encourager!! He is always available when my heart needs a boost. His Word strengthens me and His unconditional love, support and encouragement refreshes my soul and fixes my eyes on what is truly important in life. He has also blessed my life with several close folks whose human encouragement and support have uplifted me countless times.
Words, whether received or expressed carry enormous weight. Genuine words of encouragement & support are the fuel which keeps our life-lamp shining bright and full of hope. Words of discouragement threaten to snuff out our ability to see all the joy and wonders God wants us to see.
Many, many folks kept my life-lamp burning brightly. Their gifts of encouragement and support spurred me on to do my very best. The outcome of efforts to try new ways to accept and adapt was not as important as the effort itself and that effort was sparked by genuine belief in and acceptance of who I was and who I am now.
In turn, I began to reach out to others more confidently. I hungered to mirror that source of encouragement, wanting to be used by God to blanket someone else with comfort and support. Words which build up, give confidence to, praise, inspire, cheer on, exhort and lift up are powerful tools to nurture another human being. Words which pull down, challenge, criticize, belittle and hold no respect toward another are also powerful tools--used for destruction they do not nurture but rather add to the pain.
Words of encouragement are like tiny little gems anyone can give away. To cultivate the gift of encouragement careful attention to what we say and how we say it is essential. Sincere and genuine verbal [& physical] kindness often lightens a heavy load from another's heart. The burden may still remain but words of encouragement and support, words that uplift make an enormous difference. This makes God smile.
The passage below does not exclude or state qualification. It speaks to every single person: "YOU are the light of the world." How Kip and I love those who kept, and still keep our life-lamps burning brightly. We strive daily to do the same for others.....to build up not tear down, to make God smile and ultimately to bring Him honour and glory. Our motive must not be selfish for our own personal gain or glorification. Our motive must be to radiate for Christ as He is the Purest and Holiest Light of the World.
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5: 14-16 NIV
"At times it is within God's plan to heal physically in the miraculous way we have requested, and anticipated....However, there are many times when it appears as though God does not hear, or respond....He seems to be silent. It's as though He has turned away. But has He?....."
[Excerpt from my book WORTHY IN HIS EYES: Part Six: WORTHY: BY GOD'S SAVING GRACE ALONE...Chapter Two: MIRACLES] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
Often, as Christians we tend to wonder why God doesn't answer our pleas for physical healing. Did we not pray hard enough? Did we not read our Bibles enough or did we not have enough faith? Yet God, in His mercy and grace does not ask us to try to muster up more faith. Instead He encourages us to step back and look at what He's doing in our lives....right now.
In the early years following my accident I did not recognize this. Many people were lifting me up in prayer--many were asking for total restoration. So why was this invisible culprit still causing chaos in my life even though I was trying with all my might to overcome it?
I wanted the "old" me back! It never once occurred to me that God may not want the "old" Kathie re-established! It took a long time for me to completely surrender my own personal requests for physical healing as I thought it should be. He could have done things differently...He was fully capable of doing that....but He chose not to. Instead of mentally fighting against that reality, I began to release my grip on what I wanted back.
Gradually, a new sense of freedom emerged. I started to experience miracles of a different kind--miracles of the heart. Oswald Chamber's Devotional Book "My Utmost for His Highest" was an incredible source of strength for me. One daily devotion in particular challenged me in such a healthy way. He said, "Beware of harking back to what you were once when God wants you to be something you have never been." [1963 Edition, with permission]
This was a powerful changing point for me!! I became extremely eager to see what God wanted to do with my life and where He would lead me. This open surrender to Him empowered me to look forward to the future, to accept this new journey with anticipation-not dread, to place complete trust in the One who was performing miracles in my life despite my blindness to them.
I do not want to be blind to any miracle He has chosen to bless my life with, searching instead for other speculative miracles that would not produce the same fruit within me. I want to be all that HE wants me to be, and the only way I can do that is to trust Him, hold tight to His hand and follow where He leads.
Yes, our Almighty God does miraculously heal...sometimes physically, sometimes within the heart. Both are blessed and precious gifts. But if you are praying for healing, no matter what kind, and He seems silent I encourage you to fully place your trust in Him. For when God is silent He is doing His mightiest work.
"Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act." Psalm 37: 7a NLT
"You are the God who performs miracles...." Psalm 77: 14a NIV
"Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen." Psalm 77: 19 NIV
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