dream, failure, God, hope, spiritual

Hope after Failure PLUS Book Giveaway! Wildflowers from Winter

Katie Ganshert’s debut book, Wildflowers from Winter, is a story of hope. It is the story of something beautiful springing up from a well of pain. To celebrate the power of hope and beauty, Katie is hosting a blog hop tomorrow, to showcase people’s true life stories of hope. These stories will show how God brought beauty from painful situations in people’s lives. So stop by her blog tomorrow to see all the links to the blogs that are participating in this celebration of hope.

Here is my story; my story of hope after failure.

I’ve been a preacher’s wife for 26 years. In many ways, my life has been idyllic. No drama, no trauma, nothing major in the way of hardship. While money was always tight…I am married to a preacher, you know…we never went hungry.,and I was able to stay home with our four children.

And then it hit. We were at a wonderful church for 12 years and then things went sour. I won’t go into all the details, but after a ton of prayer, we decided to leave and start a church. We had direct confirmation from scripture and we were excited about what God was going to do. We were confident.

Our church started with 45 people and we met in the basement of our house. (We had a huge house with a 2000 foot basement.) We eventually leased a small house/business on a busy street and really had some wonderful experiences together. We grew as a family in Christ and it was beautiful, even though our little church never grew in number.

My husband had to find a job to supplement what the church could pay us. I had a job and we lived as frugally as we could. But after 4 years, we had run out of our savings, spent all of our retirement money, racked up some debt, and ended up losing our house. We had to make the difficult decision to shut the doors to the place where God had led us.

We had failed.

Had we heard God wrong? We thought we had clear confirmation. We stepped out in faith, and we lost everything.

We spent time questioning, agonizing, and wrestling with God. We were heart sick. We were afraid. We were weary.

And then I remembered.

God had spoken to me in a dream once. I used to fret about money…I am married to a preacher, you know…and at one point we were praying about whether to sell our home and  we didn’t know what to do. I asked God to speak and He did.

In my dream I was standing at the window in my house, looking out into the yard. The wind began to blow, bending the trees with it’s strength. A loud roar filled the air and a tornado bore down on me. I just stood there, afraid, frozen to my spot at the window. Wind began to blow in the house and the tornado swept in. It did not damage the house at all, but the tornado surrounded me, whipping my clothes and hair. 

I fought against the wind, terrified in its grasp. I finally made myself relax, willing the fear to go. It was then that the wind became a caress. It still whipped around me, but it felt like a warm embrace. White light enveloped me and an indescribable peace filled my entire being. It was then that I heard these words…

“Know that I love you. Accept my love. Know that I love you. Accept my love. Know that I love you. Accept my love.” Three times.

I woke up sitting in bed, breathless and damp with perspiration. 

I am loved by God. I am His child. In the midst of turmoil, pain, and hardship, there is peace that can only be found by resting in His love. We have to accept that love and trust Him to keep us close.

As believers, we are not promised a life without pain. But we are promised to be loved. We are promised to be given life…real life in Him.

Remembering that fact helped me to rest in God’s love, and it wasn’t long until my husband found a preaching job at a church not too far away. This church was the kind of church we had longed for. A church with gender equality and the freedom to worship in a variety of ways.

We are getting back on our feet and living in the security of God’s love. After going through failure…at least failure in our eyes…we know that our only hope is Jesus. We follow wherever He leads, whether it be through a desert, a valley, or a mountaintop. We step in His footsteps, one step at a time.

And the best thing is…He holds our hand the whole way!

The is beauty that comes from pain. There is hope that comes from failure.

There really are wildflowers that spring up from winter.

Thank you, Katie, for your vision in this sharing of hope. I pray God uses your book to bless others like it has blessed me.

Don’t forget to stop by Katie’s blog tomorrow for links to more stories of hope.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Katie’s book, Wildflowers after Winter, leave a comment along with your spam free email address. ( sherrinda{at}gmail{dot}com ) Drawing will be held Sunday, May 6. You will be notified by email and will posted on my Monday’s blog.

creative, dream

Let’s Go Fly A Kite

Easter Sunday was a glorious day, full of praise and worship, and family and friends. I had cooked a huge meal of roast, potatoes, carrots, green beans, homemade bread, and strawberry shortcake (with real whipping cream!). My parents were there and we watched my children hunt eggs filled with candy and money. You can see them in the picture, looking through their stash, and counting their money.

We then walked to a nearby school and flew kites. It was my daughter-in-law’s idea and it was so much fun! We hadn’t flown kites in forever and enjoyed the peace and relaxation it brought. You can’t be too close to those around you, because you don’t want your strings to tangle, so it left you alone with the kite and the wind. Lots of thinking time.

Of course, I immediately started thinking about new stories whirling in my mind. At one point, I laid down in the grass and watched my kite high above, and wondered what other kinds of things I could do to get my mind focused on stories. What kind of activities give your mind time to create?

  • Kite flying
  • Swinging on a porch swing or hammock
  • Take a walk
  • Ironing ( I know…yuck, you say. Well, I say yuck too!)
  • Washing dishes
  • Cleaning the closet
  • Driving (this can be very dangerous…I’ve thought about stories while driving and then realize I don’t remember the last few miles of driving!)
  • Playing tennis?
  • Folding clothes
  • Yoga (you get the added physical benefit)
What do you do to stimulate your creative juices?

dream, fiction, writing

My Summer Obsession

I mentioned in my first blog that I needed to pick the “one thing” that I wanted to accomplish this summer and just do it death. Well, I decided. I am writting a novel. I know, I know, that sounds so lame and I am embarrassed to even put it to paper, much less publish it in a blog, but I decided that it is something I must do.

It is something that I have wanted to do my whole life. I am an avid reader and the thought of putting a story together that would transport someone away to another time…another place…well, if fair takes my breath away. What a dream, right?

Right!!!

It is a dream. My dream. And while nothing may ever come of it, I will have done it. I will not get to my death bed and wonder why I never even tried my hand at it. It will not be my regret.

And so, here I go. I have about 15,000 words written so far, and while it is really poor writing, I am sticking to my plan of writing the whole first draft this summer while I have the time off from my job at the school.

I watched Finding Forrester the other day and Sean Connery says to Forrester, “You write with your heart. You rewrite with your head.” Such wise words. So that is what I am doing. I am trying to let go and let the words flow and ignore my inner editor that wants to rewrite every other sentence. (I will never get it done if I listen to that little demon!)

So, while I don’t think anyone reads this blog, if you do, then don’t laugh at me and my dream. It may have been stupid, but I thought myself brave to put it out there for the world to see.

Just don’t ask me to let you read it!