Hoping for the impossible

Another wonderful gem from Ann Voskamp: How You Can Keep On Hoping for What Seems Impossible

Never got over this…
So if you turned right after Clappison’s Corner and drove real slow around the potholes, you might see it?

Sneeze or blink, and yeah, you might not.

But it’s there on the top of a mossy stake, pointing the way you gotta take, either way: Hope.

You don’t want to know where all thother roads lead.

Just down the road from Centerton, thats’s where my Dad grew up on a dairy farm.

Right around the corner from the Dykstra’s* dairy farm. Hank Dykstra had seven kids and a heart attack. Fell over dead to this world and alive to the next when their oldest boy, Richard, was only 14.Sometimes people are so quiet and brave, we forget that they are suffering.

Sometimes people are so quiet and brave, we forget that they are suffering.

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My Dad and Richard Dysktra were both farm boys about to start high school when Richard took over the farm and helped his mom raise the six other kids and milk 40 Holstein cows morning and night, 365 days of the year.

Dad said the high school bus would wait at the end of the lane for Richard and Dad would watch the door of the barn to see if Richard was coming from his cows to class. That only happened less than a handful times a month.

Because sometimes the road you’re on is more important than the bus waiting out on the road that someone else says you have to take.

My Dad grew up milking cows and growing corn, got married at 24, and bought a farm 3 hours west of Centerton.

Richard Dyskstra grew up milking cows, raised up his 4 brothers and 2 sisters, got married at 37, and bought a farm 3 hours east of Centerton.

6 long hours of unwinding road now stretched between the two neighbour farm boys and their farms.

You can read the rest here.

Chris Picco–a true witness to hope

Chris Picco–a true witness to hope . . .

Re-posted from faithit

Chris Picco should have been singing “Happy Birthday,” to his newborn son, Lennon.

But Lennon’s birthday was a somber one. On November 8, 2014, Chris’ wife of seven years, Ashley, passed away suddenly in her sleep. She was 24 weeks pregnant. The doctors who had fought to save her life turned their attention to Lennon, who was born via emergency C-section 16 weeks earlier than planned.

Chris, a worship leader in Loma Linda, California, lost his beloved wife and welcomed his newborn son in the same day. In the face of such an enormous tragedy, Chris did the unthinkable: He sang.

Then, after only four days of life, Lennon joined his mother in Heaven. And Chris used his voice again, only this time, it was at the funeral for his wife and son.

His beautiful rendition of, “My Father’s World” shows the power of God to bring people closer together, even through tragedy.

 

I reach for Mother Mary

“I Shall Not Walk Alone”

Battered and torn
still I can see the light
tattered and worn
but I must kneel to fightFriend of mine
what can’t you spare
I know some times
it gets cold in there

When my legs no longer carry
and the warm wind chills my bones
I reach for Mother Mary
and I shall not walk alone

Hope is alive
while we’re apart
only tears
speak from my heart
break the chains
that hold us down
and we shall be
forever bound

When I’m tired and weary
and a long way from home
I reach for Mother Mary
and I shall not walk alone
I shall not walk alone

Beauty that
we left behind
how shall we
tomorrow find

Set aside
our weight in sin
so that we
can live again

When my legs no longer carry
and the warm wind chills my bones
I reach for Mother Mary
and I shall not walk alone
I shall not walk alone

 

What are we to do when our footsteps are flagging?

Do you feel like your flagging during Lent?  Mother Mary Francis has the best answer for what to do!

[Jesus] is always going forward to save us.  How strange if we were not that eager to be saved in the little events of every day. His footsteps were on the way to the Father.  They were unflagging.  He always kept going.  His footsteps were always unswerving.  They went straight ahead in the will of the Father.  He knew where he was going . . .

For ourselves, we know that our steps are quite often flagging.  We lag.  We sit down.  We get tired.  What are we to do when our footsteps are flagging?  There is a simple answer.  We get up.  Sometimes we become discouraged in a prideful way and we think, “Well, what is the use?”  What we are really saying is, “I don’t want to make the effort to get up.”  For us to have unflagging steps fitted to his, we have to be always getting up, because of our weakness, our sinfulness.  It could be a wonderful thing indeed never to fall, never to flag, but it is a wonderful thing to get up.  This can be a true inspiration for the poor sinners we are: that our footsteps become more unflagging according to how often and how quickly we have gotten up.

“The room with the asylum just a doctor’s note away.”

How do I give thanks even in suffering?

I shifted my weight and paper crackled under me. My chest constricted, my eyes sagged and my mind tangled like an old cobweb.

The doctor looked up, “There’s hope for guys your age, this isn’t unusual.” I doubted that and continued rocking back and forth.

I come back to that room in my mind a lot. The room with the asylum just a doctor’s note away.

My father sat across from me, a steadying presence. My wife held my hand, scared. I rocked with chronic anxiety and depression. My fears had distended into sleepless nights, sweaty sheets and a sick and hopeless heart.

The walls of my life closed in when I was just 23, newly married and a grad student – and I wanted out. In the basement of my parents’ house I cursed God.

With tears carelessly wiped and flung, my fists pounded the bed. I yelled my pain into pillows. I screamed at God, scared he’d leave me.

He didn’t leave. He never intended to.

Fourteen years later, I still struggle with anxiety, but the doctor was right. There is hope. It’s the practice of giving thanks.

There’s a book I always go back to, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. A friend dared her to write 1,000 things she was thankful for in a year. A mother of six and farmer’s wife, Voskamp finds epiphanies around every corner.

The smallest thing, like the way sunlight hits grated cheese, fills her with happiness.

As a guy, I picked up the book skeptically. The cover shows a pair of hands holding a nest with robin eggs and a background just a touch lighter than “Lady Finger Beige”. Yes, I had to research that color, as well as how to spell “beige”.

But this line slashed through my skepticism: “I enter the world like every person enters the world: with clenched fists.”

You can read the rest here.