Catching Hope

Looking for the grace of God that surrounds us

What’s left

I’m having a bit of a hard time lately–it seems that much of what I have had security and happiness in has had major change, has left, or is leaving.  From my small, human, often faith-less perspective, these changes are not good and I can’t be happy with them in the end. I could give a list of all the things that have changed or are gone, but this isn’t a pity party.  It is simply an acknowledgement that life is often full of hard times, loss, and change.

What’s left?

What’s left is Christ.  And I am trying to hold on to him as tightly as I can, because it feels like there’s not much else.

That’s the point, I guess, isn’t it?  Holding to Christ.  Trusting Him that He knows what is best and will bring ultimate happiness.  Even as my heart aches.

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The lasting impression…

I have a slightly sore stomach today….

The small child I visited yesterday was none too happy about the new dressing I had to put on her central IV site.  She had recently had a very bad experience at the doctor’s office, so when I walked in with my stethoscope and Tegaderm in hand, life (from her 2 year old perspective) took a distinct turn for the worse.  What I was doing was not at all painful–in fact, most kids don’t mind it at all.  What made it so bad for her was the fear that had been created in her from a past experience.

It made me think about how what we do and say to others has a lasting impact.  I heard once that every interaction we have with a person, even if it is just a smile to a stranger on the street, impacts and changes them–and you–forever.

In the case of my little girl, her past experience of pain and fear has now colored her perspective of nurses and doctors.  She is now afraid–so afraid, in fact, that she screams, cries, and kicks (hence my sore stomach!) to protect herself from what she sees as frightful.  And I don’t blame her at all.

In my case, however, I hope that the interactions that I have with others are positive, joyful interactions that point to Christ.  If my actions and words are going to have a lasting impact, I hope and pray that the lasting impression is one of the face of Jesus.  I fail so often at this–with my grumbling, complaining, overreacting…but by His grace, there is hope that He will make Himself known through me, despite my lingering depravity.

: )

love kristi

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Celebrate!

Today I am celebrating the goodness of the Lord in how he blesses us with unexpected moments of worship and joy.

Ironically, I was at worship rehearsal tonight…

But I wasn’t looking forward to it.  I was somewhat regretting signing up for this week, in fact.

However, I was totally blown away by the goodness of the Lord–the songs, the fellowship, and the ever-infectious joy of the Lord in Ron Porter came together to thoroughly bring me to my knees rejoicing as I saw a glimpse of the face of Jesus.  It’s been a while since I felt that…and I am praising the Lord!

May He bless you with unexpected grace this week!

love kristi

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Sawdust

I have been been working on a furniture refinishing project lately.  Scrubbing things with steel wool, you know.  Sanding things.  And inadvertantly inhaling various and sundry strong chemicals.  And dust.  This project feels entirely endless.  And I hate things that seem endless.

Maybe it’s my impatience coming out.  A reflection on our “instant gratification” drive-through culture.  Or perhaps the frustration that there are so many other things to do, too.  You’ve all been there, I know.

You’re also probably wondering if the ‘various and sundry strong chemicals’ mixed with sawdust that I now have floating in the alveoli in my lungs has crossed the blood-brain barrier and is causing some cognitive and verbal consternation.

You’re probably right.  Why would I even bring this up?  Simply this–I have found that life often has these moments.  Seemingly endless struggle–over a “besetting sin” (as my mother would call it–that one thing that is a life long struggle)….or perhaps over trying to change a habit (such as my bad habit of taking 4 days to do laundry)….or perhaps a struggle over waiting for something and fighting to be patient and hopeful (as in the case of my non-married social status).

It’s that “waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel”…the constant falling down and getting back up again…the battle against discouragement.  It’s tough.  I know it is.  But I also know that our God’s mercies are new every morning…and that with Him, there is always hope.  There is always a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you can’t see it now.  Even if you won’t see it until Heaven.

In the meantime, let’s fix our eyes on Jesus, the “author and perfecter of our faith”.  As the song goes, the things of this earth “will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace“.

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Not Me Monday #2!

Not Me Monday is inspired by MckMama at http://www.mckmama.net….it is a place for us all to NOT admit all the crazy things that we did certainly didn’t do this week….

*I certainly did NOT ignore a gut instinct that I shouldn’t try go to church and sit in the sanctuary because I was on call after a busy weekend work shift.  Nope, not me.  I always listen to that little voice inside my head….Incidentally, if I did try to sit in the sanctuary, it might have been rather disastrous.

*I  most certainly did NOT read a recent news headline as, “Obama has good luck with enemas”.  Nope, not me.  I definitely read the correct headline very carefully, and interpreted it correctly–“Obama has good luck with enemies“.  And even if I did read it wrong in the first place, it certainly would have made me look again immediately, instead of letting several moments pass without thinking twice.

*And finally, I most certainly did NOT wait until 11:45 pm to start finishing up paperwork for the next day for work.  Nope, I would never, ever procrastinate so much.  I would immediately attend to the paperwork, not talk with my roommates and start a furniture refinishing project.  And speaking of which, it is most certainly NOT now 11:46 pm, meaning it is definitely time to start on that paperwork……

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Just What You’ve Always Wanted!!

Check this out….I want one, don’t you??

*So sorry, you’ll have to copy and paste the link.

I can’t get it to work as a true link… : )

http://www.goldencockerel.com/shoprussian.asp?object=store&id=183058&source=adwords&gclid=COzFov3T6JwCFRkMDQodORMrkQ

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The Order of Dreams

“They danced again, and, when the assembly closed, parted, on the lady’s side at least, with a strong inclination for continuing the aquaintance.  Whether she thought of him so much, while she drank her warm wine and water, and prepared herself for bed, as to dream of him when there, cannot be ascertained; but I hope it was no more than in a slight slumber, or a morning doze at most; for if it be true, as a celebrated writer has maintained, that no young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman’s love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her.”

– Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

I should add here, too, that if dreams are indeed predictions of the future, as some would maintain, my life will be quite confusing in the area of gentlemen.  : )

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The Family is Grieving Appropriately….

“The family is grieving appropriately…”, said one of the hospice MDs at a recent meeting, in reference to the death of a patient.

How does one grieve appropriately?  I suppose that outside of Christ it means appropriate expressions of grief and emotion, tears, acknowledgement of a sense of loss, increasingly close family ties, as well as a picture-perfect walk through the Stages of Grief.

However, what I can’t get out of my head are the words of the Lord…

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep…For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

-I Thess. 4:13-18

This is the only way to “grieve appropriately”.  Although the world may see textbook stages of grief and loss, without Christ there is no hope–and therefore no true comfort.  May the Lord grant grace for us to “encourage each other with these words”–and the courage for us to offer true hope and healing to a hurting world.

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Built-in bathtub??

I was perusing Craigslist stuff today and came across this…

“Free built-in bathtub”

I am curious as to how this works…if the bathtub is built-in, does the house come with it?  : )

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Life and Breath and Everything Else

I saw a hospice patient in the hospital a few months ago.  She was very sick–and we couldn’t fix her little body.

While waiting for a procedure, I was watching the baby in the rare and sudden stillness of her hospital room.  And I was watching the machine that was helping her breathe.  A tiny body, in a big bed…and what was the difference between her life and her death?  A small, insignifcant breath.  With the help of the machine, her chest rose and fell, rose and fell.  And soon, no one knew how long it would be, her chest would rise, fall, and then be still.

Oddly,  had no more profound thoughts than that.  A tiny body, a tiny life, sustained by tiny breaths that would soon stop.  Soon, in a fraction of an instant, she would be gone.  Lifeless.  All because of one tiny breath.

Life is fragile.

And yet, each breath, each heartbeat, and each moment that we have are ordained by our great God.

Life is a gift.  A fragile gift.  Upheld by a loving Father.

So rejoice in your life…and in the Great Giver of life and breath and everything else.

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