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.

church, failure, God, Jesus, personal, spiritual

My Cross of Failure

We had such a a beautiful worship gathering for Palm Sunday yesterday. Of course we had palm branches to wave as we sang, but what was really poignant was what we did after the sermon. We were given bamboo crosses, about a foot long. They were tied together with twine, crude and yet lovely in its simplicity. At the front of a church was a wooden cross, covered in chicken wire. The whole church was asked to stand and then make their way to the front of the church, where they stuck their cross into the chicken wire covering the big cross.

What was a simple cross wrapped in chicken wire became a cross of thorns. The small cross in our hands was a symbol of our failed attempt at life. We never measure up. We miss the mark continually.

But the good news is we can take our cross to Jesus. Because He died for our sins, he took all our failures, all our mistakes, all our crosses, on the cross with him. They were nailed on the cross with Him. They are gone, now and forever.

My cross held countless failures. Whether is was failure as a wife or a mother, or failure to do the good I knew to do, I placed those failures on that crude cross in my hands. Those failures were taken to the cross of Jesus, and placed  upon it. They are gone. Now and forever.

What do you need to place on the cross of Christ?