Saturday, February 13, 2010

Boundless Love: A Story of Hope

I cannot believe it! The house is totally quiet. With 11 active children, this is a rare moment. So I grab my simple laptop, run into my teenage daughter's room to sit by the window in her cushiony purple bucket chair. I gaze out and contemplate the endless and bluest sapphire sky.The slender palms sway and whisper in the tender cool breeze. And while all the folks back in my home town of Ninety Six, S.C. are enjoying a rare snow storm, I sit in my home here in the Arizona desert thinking how I would love to be there joining in on all the fun. However, I am pondering how grateful I am to be living in such a unique area of the country. Furthermore, my heart is overflowing with gratitude for how intimately involved God is in my life and the lives of all people. If we could only realize and appreciate just how much He is paying attention even when we question our own faith in various seasons of this life's journey.

Before our family moved from the East to Arizona about a year and a half ago, we had just waded through some really tough times. My husband lost his job,we had suffered two miscarriages and experienced some huge financial losses and set backs. In addition, we had gone through various situations that even damaged our trust in people. Sometimes when we are hurting over so much hardship and have wept until to the "almost point" of feeling completely drained, I feel as though we trudge through some sort muddy season of just trying to survive. In essence this causes a person to feel numb or paralyzed within every fiber of his or her existence. It is as if something died in your heart and left a black meaningless hole. That is how I felt for at least the first 8 months we lived here. It as as I had not only moved to a literal desert, but soul was a dry wasteland. We had suffered several painful trials as a family in a very short period of time. Then we suddenly moved 1900 miles away from everyone and everything familiar. Needless to say, transition is usually pretty tough. We had lost hope in many ways and felt like God had kind of forgotten us. I did not realize at the time, God brought us to the desert to heal us and to restore us and to give us a hope and a future. It is never His intention to hurt us even though sometimes our feelings lie to us and tell us otherwise.

The positive thing about moving out West was that I felt a tender nudge that I needed to just simplify my life. I was involved in so many activities in our former community and church. I loved it all because I gain great joy in serving and helping others even outside the home. Needless to say, moving to Arizona pretty much forced me to do just that, to simplify my life and to find rest. In our new season of change I was starting to really having fun taking care of the children, fixing up my home,sketching, and writing on my little blog! That season was only the beginning of my healing.

One day, as I was simply living, loving, and faithfully completing my normal and mundane tasks I received an email from a man named Eric. He told me he had come across my personal blog and invited me to be one the bloggers on Stage of Life. I was really surprised and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy doing. That was about 8 months ago. Since I have been sharing my life on Stage of Life through simple essays, I have been blessed in so many ways. I believe God knew I needed a place to pour out my heart again. He knows that when we do operate in the gifts He bestows, something in the heart starts to shrivel and die. The founders of this project have been so gracious to allow me to share my passion for the Lord and how my faith has carried me through each day of life no matter what the circumstances. I am grateful to them for this where many venues do not allow such freedom. There were, however, a couple of times I felt discouraged thinking no one probably read my essays, but I have continued to share my life and heart on this wonderful site. And even beyond the blessing of being able to share a part of myself in this way, there was someone, somewhere who would find my essays. I am glad I did not give up.

Just a couple of weeks ago I received an email from a very kind man who had read some my posts on Stage of Life. He poured out his heart to me and shared that his heart was broken because his precious wife was suffering her tenth miscarriage. I could feel the hopelessness and distress in his email and my heart was in pain for this precious couple. I was in tears as he poured out their story. He asked me about my faith and shared that he was looking for hope and for answers. I felt so inadequate in how to reach back and encourage this amazing couple. So I just prayed for God to give me words. After much prayer and the shedding of many tears for this couple I did not personally know, I felt like God was simply telling me to just be myself and not to worry about trying to be a dynamic counselor with perfect advice and all the answers. So I did just that. I shared my heart with the simple words that I know. Nothing impressive or was just me being me.

Through several exchanges of email, I believe these precious people are finding hope and faith. I believe they are in a season where they are not so much just trying to figure out why, they are simply learning to trust. In the meantime, I feel that God is in the process of touching them and healing their broken hearts.And I carry great hopes and faith that God is working many miracles in this stage of their lives.

What is even more amazing to me, is that God has touched me deeply through this family. I too have more hope and God is granting even more healing in me just through His allowing me to encourage someone else who lives many miles away. I have hope that maybe my simple posts on Stage of life may really be touching some one's heart. In addition, I have been challenged to see things from a broader perspective by just listening to someone else and their convictions. I am constantly reminded that I should always keep my heart open to listen and to learn new things. Furthermore, I am joyfully amazed how God operates to network people together even from across many miles through the Internet for His redemptive and loving purposes. You see, in my attempt to lift up another, my own heart has been touched and my faith has been strengthened. I have learned new things and am reminded that if God wants to do something through you, He will bring the people to you.A simple housewife like me who labors and serves within the walls of her own home, and God brought a hurting heart via email through my dinky little laptop. Thank you again Stage of Life, for your mission is touching others in deep ways. Your vision and discovery is so much more than an avenue to share information, it is a resource where hurting people are finding healing and hope. And thank you to my new friend whom I met through Stage of Life. Whether you realize it or not, I have been touched and have found strength through your story of heartbreak in which God is restoring. I am the blessed one. God's love knows no bounds. It reaches across the miles through unlimited avenues, beyond religious denominations and beliefs, and goes deeper than the sometimes shallow reasoning of man. Today I soak in the fountain of gratitude that overflows from my heart.

In closing I would like to share a quote God gave to my heart.

"HOPE" is the peaceful state of knowing we always have something to look forward to. Even in the midst of trouble, God's grace enables us to look forward and beyond with confidence knowing that He is good and has organized great plans for His own!

With a joyful and appreciative heart,


To read articles on Stage of Life, click on the green link on the side bar.


Michelle said...

What a wonderful and encouraging post Ange. I think sometimes being a stay at home mom we feel almost inadequate and as though we are not doing enough for God's kingdom, but isn't God amazing that He allows us even from the comfort of home to bring others to Christ and show them His love. May the Lord use you for His glory always and may you find strength in His love as well.


Dwayne said...

Ange,You are truly an incredible women! As a mother of 11 wonderful children, a faithful loving wife, you still find the time- and take that time to inspire and encourage others through your personal life experiences. I commend you for taking a stand for God, because that is a rare quality seldom found in American families of today.
I also want to take this time to tell you how truly sorry I was to learn of you and your husbands 2 miscarriages that you mentioned in this blog--my heartfelt prayers for God's strength and comfort goes out to both of you!
In closing, hold your head high because God is not finished with you yet, I truly believe that he has great things in store for you in the near future. Please be encouraged that your writings are not in vain and do not go un-noticed. I appreciate the way you pour out your heart to whomever reads these blogs, not for your benefit, but for someone searching for God's wisdom through your past experiences. God bless you and always remember that "THE WILL OF GOD WILL NEVER TAKE YOU WHERE THE GRACE OF GOD WILL NOT PROTECT YOU."


. said...

Hello Ange. It is obvious that God has had a plan for you. It is amazing that whether through the course of knowing people, or getting to know people how we learn so much. Often times throughout my life I have had situations that have re-instilled in me the fact that everyone gets put in your life for a reason, and yes, God is every much a part of this. I have also learned personally that it is not ours to ask 'why' so much as to accept it as His will. "Thy Will Be Done". But the human nature sometimes sets in....and I do wonder...why?!

What a wonderful feeling within to know you have been able to help another soul. That has to be the most satisfying feeling! But there are also many times that we have done or said things which we may have no idea, that it has positively impacted or helped to guide someone.

As a blogger, I believe that sometimes we all wonder if anyone is reading our lives, our stories through our words! But I think it has been proven that in fact, people do read, and most of the times without us even knowing. That is the beauty of it all. We put ourselves, our hearts out hopes that someone is reading....and they are.

This post actually brought me to some deep thought of my own life today. You may or may not know that we moved our family, our lives much like you, thousands of miles across 2 states, another country, and an ocean to get to Alaska. This will be 3 years in June, and in a nutshell, you really made me think about many things that have transpired in the past almost 3 years to bring me to this point in my life.

Sorry for the 'book like comment' but I needed to let you know that your words transcended the course of time for me. It has been 2 years and 8 months now and I sometimes think I have failed deep within, to really notice and acknowledge this spiritually! I wanted to thank you for setting the thoughts in motion for me. Now a time for me to reflect a bit. It has been a hard run relocating, and so much so a very blessed one all the same. But now this soul needs something. Sometimes you don't realize even your inner most feelings, your being and all of the thoughts within you...needs time to rest, regroup and reflect. Thanks so much for your inspiration. Bless you for your courage. You are a very unique individual and very much in Gods love. Take care!

-Greg (Toorockmysoul on Stage Of Life)

Maria said...

I thank the Lord for you and your family. May He continue to use you as an instrument to bring hope to others for his glory. God bless you with more
joy, peace and strength.