My blog has been quiet lately, contrary to my plan. Life always does what it does, and some phases last longer than we ever dreamed they would. The holiday season gave us time with family down that Alabama dirt road, and then an ice storm landed us longer than planned with Arkansas family around the fire. My four boys roared in cousin-laughter, sat in the laps of grandparents, and walked quiet ridges watching for squirrels, learning to listen in the silence of the woods.

I, too, have felt so secret, hearing Spirit speak, the conversation growing longer, waking to the voice in my heart still drawing me in. It’s a funny thing, too, all the joy that’s happening in the quiet.

If you were to peer into my life, you’d see the actual facts. They would list out like a monologue from Debbie Downer. My youngest child struggles to keep from infection, and he struggles to grow. We can’t explain it, and it weighs on my every thought, and add to that how my boys actually just watched our dearly loved dog be crushed in our driveway; Grandma just called to tell me goodbye as she thought she was passing from incredible pain; my closest aunt this week slept for a while and then woke in the arms of her maker.

Somehow in my processing after the shootings in Connecticut, I snapped awake and said “of course.”  This is all of course, how things get much, much worse before they get better. I keep thinking about pain and what a flash in the pan it has to be compared to glory. It’s either that, or God isn’t real.

Struggling through I read Ephesians 1. Paul wrote to the church in such a corrupt time. The church had a tendency to act sick, misplace hope, how it still does now, and so he prayed for them, that the eyes of their hearts would be enlightened, that they would know the hope to which they had been called. He reminded them of the true kingdom, the glorious inheritance and the authority, power, and dominion of Christ.

That’s it right there! It’s hard here, but our calling is to hope in this broken place, and hope calls pain temporary. Hope peels back the veil and enlightens our eyes. Suddenly I see the broken, see things as temptation to lose all hope and to sink low in the darkness, and I see Hope as the greatest element of faith.

Now isn’t Faith the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen?

If we believe, the world can crumble and our very eyes witness destruction, but there behind the scenes, hope acts like a pin in my bones. I feel it now, as I long to be in the arms of my aunt again, I am infused with the knowledge of glory.  It feels like the greatest of miracles.

Do you know your calling? Do you know the hope to which you’ve been called?

post by Amber C Haines

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  1. 1

    Incredibly encouraging, Amber. Thank you!

  2. 2

    I was drawn in by the first words…”My blog has been quiet lately, contrary to my plan.” Thank you for sharing what is in your heart. It touched mine, today.

  3. 3

    Amber it really is mix right? The sweet and precious and the hard and really hard all wrapped up together. We get glimpses of glory, while our hearts ache.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  4. 4

    amber it is lovely and heart-bracing when i read things written that have been drifting through my own heart and mind….
    there is a young girl i know of who’s life is being traded for cancer. when i think of your youngest, i can’t help thinking of the weight we carry in this life and what god offers us along with it. though strangers, we are sisters and i felt the need to share this with you:

    https://plantedoak.wordpress.com/2012/12/05/weighted-6-45pm/

    –kris

  5. 5

    Love. This. and you

  6. 7

    hope. i don’t know why i feel so surprised by her when i find her. always always where i have chosen to leave her.

    • 8
      Charlotte Staubs says:

      Oh how true your words are, Kendal…And yet we tend to forget, don’t we. Thanks for the reminder, and for also pointing out that many times we do indeed *choose* to leave her! God bless!

  7. 9

    Our calling is to hope in this broken place. YES. HE is our hope and He is in the midst of it all, tenderly pursuing our hearts. THANK YOU FOR THIS. Grace to you in this painful season… may you encounter His sweet comfort.

  8. 10

    Thanks so much for this devotion ❤
    Simply Living By Faith,
    Stacey ❤

  9. 11

    I am not connected to this ministry in any way, I just found it really helpful to read this, after the murders in CT, and after experiencing several deaths of people close by as well last fall. This is a prayer for life. I hope it helps someone. http://www.ransomedheart.com/blogs/john/how-pray-life-against-death

  10. 12

    My heart resonates with your words as I kick the dust of 2012 off my heels, the year I label pain and sadness. Gratefully, I’ve entered 2013 on the welcome mat of hope. She’d been waiting there all those 365 and I had eyes to see her at the turn of the year. It felt like my last second, but I saw her and we’ve embraced and its good. Praying it for you too Amber. Thanks for sharing your words.

  11. 15

    Thank you for the inspiration and encouragement – we all lose sight of “the big picture” at times. But thank God With Him we always have HOPE! I am committed to renewal and a closer walk with Him this year. I look forward each day to my daily dose of inspiration from in courage me.
    Thanks to all of you and God bless!

  12. 16

    My husband and I were just talking about this concept last night. I said to him, “Bad things are going to happen, people are going to argue, the government is going to legislate, but they can’t fix it. God is the only answer. Whenever it all starts to get to me, I think ‘Thank you, God, that you’re the only answer’. And it all goes away. Because it cannot shake the rock on which I stand.”

  13. 17
    Janeta Browne says:

    Beautifuuly stated. Sorry for the loss of your dear Aunt. She is now in the arms of her best Friend. Yes, and you have Hope!
    In time like these we say helpless prayers. Maybe all we can say is Lord Save me or Lord help me. Then relax and think about JOB. His story had a good ending. So all these situations will pass. I pray for sustaining Grace.

  14. 18

    Beautiful and inspired writing – thank you. I’m saving this to read again and again, because I tend to lose hope so easily -

  15. 19

    Amber, how lovely your words ring Truth in me. The great gift from Him is to know our calling. A topic I think of often and one that we easily neglect through the short days of our lives. We get busy and waste precious time. God knows our calling, as He has called us to it before we took our first breath. We will find it among the ashes of life, and God will pull us close to Him and point us in the direction… if we seek to know.
    I know the hope to which I have been called, because that Hope lives in me, in the form of the Holy Spirit, who calls me each morning to Him, to Truth, to a purpose bigger than my to do list. Oh thank You Jesus… for seeing me as useful and worthy.
    You brought me through trials I thought I might die in and gave me a purpose, to glorify Your Holy Name. May it be as He plans.

  16. 21
    Grace M. says:

    In a day like today it’s so hard to have hope. A good friend of mine, a great leader in church and the community, only 20 years old, was brutally murdered two weeks ago by a guy who actually used to go to our same church, but later chose a different path, and who lived just three houses down from my friend, and him and his family from growing up together in church. The pain is overwhelming at times. Some days are better, others just aren’t.

    • 22

      Just endure, Grace. I don’t know what else to say, but I’m so sorry. Murder and violence are the enemy at his finest. There has to be more. There has to be redemption. I pray you see the goodness of God in the land of the living so so soon.

  17. 23

    Wow, this is just beautiful. I am a brand new mama just learning the depth prayers must take you to to get through the hard things, and since following your family’s story the last few months I can say you model the trust in prayer and hope so well. Love this writing and sending prayers to you all.

  18. 24

    Oh, Amber. I’m so sorry for the heartache these weeks have carried. These are hard things – praying much comfort for your hearts as you grieve and walk with those boys through their grief. This is so essential – this call to hope in the face of brokenness. Thank you for holding out hope here, Amber.

  19. 25

    Ah, I love this. Thank you for sharing. I can feel your heart. . . and know your Hope. God be with you. http://www.writemomentswithgod.blogspot.com

  20. 26
    Beth Williams says:

    Amber,

    Praying for peace to surround you and family during this time! Just know that your aunt is no longer suffering down here on earth, but in the arms of Almighty God.

    Read the lyrics to a beautiful song I will be doing in sing language tomorrow:
    When I wake up to sleep no more:

    What A Glad Thought Some Wonderful Morning
    Just to hear Gabriel’s Trumpet Sound.
    when I Wake Up (When I Wake Up) To Sleep No More.
    rising To Meet our Blessed Redeemer,
    with A Glad Shout I’ll Leave The Ground,
    when I Wake Up (When I Wake Up) To Sleep No More

    when I Wake Up (On Some Glad Morning)
    to Sleep No More (Jewels Adorning)
    happy I’ll Be (Over In Glory)
    on Heaven’s Bright Shore (Telling The Story)
    with The Redeemed Of All The Ages
    praising The One Whom I Adore.
    when I Wake Up (When I Wake Up)
    to Sleep No More (To Sleep No More).

    Glory To God I’ll Have A New Body,
    changed In The Twinkling Of An Eye.
    when I Wake Up (When I Wake Up) To Sleep No More
    leaving Behind All Trouble And Sorrow,
    bound For That City Up On High.
    when I Wake Up (When I Wake Up) To Sleep No More

    chorus X 2

    That in and of itself should give us hope to believe that one day all will be right with God and the World will once and for all see He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

    • 27

      Oh babe, I grew up singing this song. How wonderful! Thank you.

    • 28

      I love the words! What is the name of this song? Is it on a CD? I really want to find it. The words are so moving and assuring. Thank you for posting it!

      • 29
        Marinalva Sickler says:

        I just listened it on You Tube and shared it on FB. What a fabulous Sunday! I’m just quiet listening God speak to my heart.

  21. 30

    This gave me the best kind of chills, like the Holy Spirit blew on my neck and made my hair stand on end.

    Hope is a deeply cherished word of mine. The Greek word often translated hope in the NT isn’t just a wish or a desire or a possibility. It’s a certainty. The Strong’s definition for elpo is “to anticipate, usually with pleasure; an expectation or confidence.”

    I LOVE THAT. And that is the essence of faith. To trust with our heart what we cannot see with our eyes.

    Here in Minnesota, in January, all is winter. Steel gray skies, stinging wind, icy snow. I can hardly remember the warmth of the sun or the smell of green grass or the silky petal of a flower.

    But spring is coming. This is my hope and my joy and my strength.

    (Do I even need to say that I love you? Because I do.)

  22. 32

    My first time reading your words and I am drawn in by the depth of what you share. Wow. I love the hope you express while hardship lays heavy. God bless..

  23. 33

    Beautiful and written just for me …. (Even though you didn’t know that Amber!)
    God used your words to remind me of a definate plan he is working out in my life and the life of my family right now! I am unsettled…. God is in control. I am confused….God is in control. I am hesitant…God is in control. I step back away from Him, but He gently brings me back towards Him. He did that gentle nudge today with me, by using your words!! BLESS YOU!!!!

  24. 34

    This is one I will save to read again and again – and share often. Powerful and true. I’m so glad for the hope you – we – all have. God Bless and Keep you.

  25. 35

    Thank you for this! Once again God has shown me that I am ‘hearing’ Him as I ponder life this week as well. “Hope” is the very word that I keep hearing and seeing, not only through the verses, but in my heart and spirit as well. Thank you for one more confirmation. God is good, God is faithful and He wants to give us hope – every day.
    Bless you as you bless others!
    Susan G.

  26. 36

    “Hope acts like a pin in my bones.” I won’t forget that for awhile. I’ve missed your voice, Amber. I’m sorry for all your pain but so glad for the God who walks you through it.

  27. 37
    Daniella Peterka says:

    Your words are such a balm. Thank you for speaking such Truths in the face of such pain, I’m bookmarking this post for when I need these words again! Praying for you right now, sister, as you and your family go through the moments of pain.

  28. 38

    Amber, thank you so much. This is something I will keep and read over and over again. I’m in a season of much change right now. I’m feeling terribly old at 61, especially since I just had all my top teeth pulled and have an upper denture. My health hasn’t been good for decades. My Mom, a sweet 90-yr-old, has been diagnosed with Alzheimers. I too am having a great deal of memory problems and it’s scary. My husband is changing jobs. My adult children haven’t talked to me in 4 years. I’m on disability and there’s so much I can’t do anymore. I used to be a hospital chaplain and I wish so much that I could do that again! As I blessed others, they truly blessed me and gave me purpose. I even questioned if I had a purpose anymore. But then I discovered that yes, I do. I am my husband’s wife and that job is important. He is a Christian counselor who himself has ADHD and he needs gentle reminders and me to take care of bills, etc. And now we need to be sending money to my poor mother who has so little (she’s out of state and my sister cares for her). That is my purpose right now! I come close to despair when I look back at how our country used to be. It’s so sad to be witnessing it’s possible demise. BUT your word for today – HOPE – is something I cling to even though I don’t know the details of how God will take care of me if I’m alone and in a nursing home with no children to help me. HOPE IN GOD. I trust him with all my heart. But I need to be reminding myself constantly to leave the details to him. You’re right–this is what faith is! Thank you for giving me something to print out and be a tangible reminder for me. Thanks so much.

  29. 39

    Amber,
    Thank you so much for these encouraging words today. I have been struggling too, clinging to hope. We found out my husband has kidney failure, and he is now on dialysis. I am learning to run the machine at home, but there is so much to learn! I feel so overwhelmed, I have to give him shots, insert needles in his arm, draw his blood, and watch for alarms. He is my high school sweetheart and we have been married 40 years!!
    I pray everyday for courage, strength, the hope I already have.
    Lisa

  30. 40

    (I love you.)

  31. 41
    Virginia Rush says:

    Amber, I love how you wrote this…..and oh how many have went to sleep and woke up in the arms of God….alot over the Christmas season…. I’m in my 60s and I don’t know that I know my calling…..but I think my best place is service, hospitality, people that come to my house or porch out in the country…like to stay for coffee and chats. I’m close to get my grandgirls off the bus or go get them at school if they are sick. on FB I love how everyone asks for prayer and we all respond and watch God respond. so yes you are right as long as we can hope, we have everything….breath and beyond we have Him. thank you…..loved this..

  32. 42

    Wonderful words of heart felt truth Amber. Sorry to hear about your Aunt. Praise the Lord Jesus that she is in an awesome place. :)

  33. 43
    Lynette says:

    Thanks. Today’s a low day. It’s good to be reminded of hope. I will print this to read often when the day gets hard. It’s also good to be reminded that we all have hard times and all need hope. God is good to all.

  34. 44

    The four tag words you chose encapsulate so much of life. In grief, we hang on to hope. In pain, we persevere with faith. And to the casual onlooker, we may look downright naive. Hope can look like wishful thinking. Faith can look like belief-in-fairy-tales. But we are “infused with the knowledge of glory!” (‘LOVE that phrase!) Infused into our hope is the joy of our salvation–guaranteed eternal life for those who believe in Jesus. GLORY! Infused into our faith is the conviction that this earthly existence is nothing compared to what will come next. GLORY! Thank you for sharing your heart, Amber, and showing us that grief and pain can be accompanied by hope and faith.

  35. 45

    These words, Amber: “Hope calls pain temporary”. You brought to life here what I’ve been feeling, experiencing and hearing in my spirit in the midst of a long season where I’ve struggled to grasp hope. This all has to fade, if only I can squint through to see it, the glory of it all, that swallows up this pain with life. Hope is such a blessed thing. Bless you, friend.

  36. 46

    It is amazing the challenges that we are given to see how grace plays out in our lives.
    I am waiting to see if God is going to give me the go ahead to write a book and grace is so important
    Bless you for sharing

  37. 47

    Amber – loved your beautiful words as they perfectly fit together. Describing the sorrow, pain and desperation of ones present. Bringing it to God’s calling – to hope through faith, wrapped up in grace.

    Blessings ~Debra

  38. 48

    Thank you. I have been thinking along this line recently. (My father passed away.) You expressed it well. Thank you for taking time to share.

  39. 49

    Thank you for reminding us of how pain is temporary!

  40. 50

    Love this so much. So good to hear your words again.

  41. 51

    Yes. You said it well because you are listening to the Spirit. My heart hurts for your well ton of sadness all at once. Dear Lord, help this Mom, this fellow Christian feel you as she feels the tears well up. And we thank You Lord for Your Word which gives us the answer when we cry out, Where does my help come from? And You answer us Lord by telling us to remember: My help–in every and all these hard things– comes from The Lord, maker of heaven and earth. Thank you Lord for Hope and building it on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. Amen
    And for your child. Do not dismay. God knows. As I walked a path similar to yours an older woman said it will get better. It’s better for our 24 year old, successful grad and job for a world major company, married to a pastor who gets it–this still fragile girl that we prayed for so much… And tonight you reminded me to look to my faith in Jesus for Hope when so much seems so hard right now–yes God is good. Thank you for in-coursing us!

  42. 52

    If only you knew how the word hope gas been in my mind today. It hasn’t been as I was hoping for something, just hope itself. I stood outside in the snow this morning looking at a tree. The buds are there waiting for spring, but they were covered in snow and frost. They aren’t doing anything and look dead, but I know there will be flower and leaf in a matter of months. This post was the answer to the question that hadn’t been asked. This is Spirit bringing me joy and truth in the quiet. Thank you.

  43. 53

    “…hope calls pain temporary.” What a great thing to remember…Thanks!

  44. 54

    I was deeply touched by your thoughts. This was a great reminder to look to God and find His peace in the midst of our storms. And Praying for you and your family.

  45. 55

    Can’t wait to join!

  46. 56

    Your words bring comfort to many of us who are struggling to make sense of the pain that seems hopeless at times. Thank you for sharing your heart here. For letting us glimpse into the thought process that brought you to a remembrance of the hope that gently peels back those layers of grief. It’s a beautiful reminder. Your words are a balm.

  47. 57

    …sorrowful…yet always rejoicing. I’ve been writing and talking about the paradox of living this heavenly life on earth a lot lately. The bitter+sweet=life.

    Bless your heart, and I’m so sorry for your loss.
    Kathy

  48. 58

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I definitely needed this today. :)

  49. 59

    Hope is what makes it easier to go on when things seem so dark.

  50. 60
    Marinalva Sickler says:

    I know my calling and it was just confirmed by your lovely message. It’s so good that I want to read over and over and keep each word to my heart. Have a great week! I feel quite quiet too this January and the pain of celebrating the one-year of my husband passing to the other side of the Jordan is sinking in and making me cry. Love you!

  51. 61

    Dear Amber, I pray that the Lord comfort you from your loss. Isaiah 40:11

  52. 62

    Lovely, poignant, real. Thank you, Amber. I just wrote about that prayer in Ephesians 1 over at Bibledude.net. Such a powerful word and hope is at the center. The Center.

  53. 63
    Donna Sexton says:

    Amber, may God keep you and your family in his loving care. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t know that song that someone wrote you but I like the peaceful sound of it. We all have to have hope and faith in The Lord in this anguished filled life we live . I need The Lord more everyday.

  54. 64
    Donna Sexton says:

    Amber, may God keep you and your family in his loving care. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I don’t know that song that someone wrote you but I like the peaceful sound of it. We all have to have hope and faith in The Lord in this anguished filled life we live . I need him more everyday.

  55. 65

    I don’t know what else to say, but Thank You…! I needed to read this. And I am so grateful for that His mercies are new every morning!! Every single morning!

  56. 66

    Dear Amber.. I am sorry for your challenges, but… so grateful for the Lord’s sustaining power over your life, and how He is growing you. That is what we desire, is it not? I know it hurts, for in so many ways, I am where you are, believe it or not. I have been living a few years of stretching that, at times, has me bowed so low before the feet of Jesus, I feel like I am melting into nothing. In reality, the lower I bow before Him, the more He makes me into His image, the me He intended me to be. I think that is how He uses the fire in our lives to mold and make us… I was VERY struck by this phrase, ” My youngest child struggles to keep from infection, and he struggles to grow.” I also have four boys, and one girl in the mix, and, as it happens, our youngest has suffered much in very different ways. It has broken my heart, but in the brokenness I have seen Jesus’ hand at work keeping me together again. I have seen how “Footprints in the Sand” has been ME! I was thinking about these dear boys of ours, and how their issues are very physical, right? But…how many of us have little outward infections, and what we really battle with are the “infections” of spirit or mind- inward. Somehow those are even more difficult to bear, in some ways, because they are not seen so visibly at times, easier to hide, misunderstood. So then, Aren’t we all “struggling to grow”? I love this, though… that the Lord is “the same yesterday, today and forever”. David “struggled to grow” in the Psalms. The sick and lame and unwanted people in the lives of Jesus, “struggled to grow”. I think of Naaman! They struggled to grow out of stereotypes, out of bad situations, out of bad choices, struggled TO OBEY, to truly hear. They struggled in so many ways, and in each situation, the Lord honored the one willing to trust, obey, BELIEVE. Yes, may Jesus heal our boys, our children… but… if the Lord chooses for them to be used in some way THROUGH the challenges they have, my heart’s desire is that our boys… may they always have a heart for Jesus. May God comfort and sustain your heart. May they and we see Him work, move and grow in our lives, their lives and others’ lives . May He give wisdom, discernement, and direction to those who know the needs of your son. May He heal, encourage, and build up and refresh your hearts… In Jesus’ powerful and able name!!!

  57. 67

    This is the second time for me to read this post. Yes, it seems as though the waves of emotions fill our days. The waves of ups and downs. All at once or a pool filled with settled water without a ripple. Your blog does touch my heart on so many levels. Thank you for being a light and willing to share your story so that I observe that there are others like me, going through the same. Sometimes life presents itself so complete and then all of a sudden we find ourselves whirling around again. Faith sets me free though from the worry and the unknown. Your post helps me stay grounded in that truth. Much love to you!

  58. 68

    WOW!!!!! is all i can say. as i read the post for being stranded in arkansas and alabama. as i read i started 2 cry. thinking of thee ever so many struggles that i have faced over the past couple of years. It is truly only the continued reminders from my saviour, tha has gotten me thru. selling alot 2 move 2another state, only 2 move into a moldy house and having 2 move out right away. not even there long enough for the husband to secure a job. moved in with friends for 3 wks to find that we couldn’t stay there any longer. from there went back to the state we were from, by selling more stuff. just to find our selves homeless and living in a church and so on and so on. i still to this day don’t have a home of my own. but all the while the LORD keeps whispering to me to trust HIM and what i have learned in HIS word. Sooooo, I keep hoping and trusting, for i have not seen with my eyes yet but it truly is what i hope for.
    is to be back among the living and functioning of society. To be doing for my LORD. i still minister to those when opportunity arises. but i wonder how much im of help when i have such lack of life to offer. please when or if u read this post i ask that u would pray for myself and famly. this is elizabeth praying that God will be your trust.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Know Your Calling – Amber at incourage  That’s it right there! It’s hard here, but our calling is to hope in this broken place, and hope calls pain temporary. Hope peels back the veil and enlightens our eyes. Suddenly I see the broken, see things as temptation to lose all hope and to sink low in the darkness, and I see Hope as the greatest element of faith. [...]

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