A place to find Hope

Tag: violence

Are You Tired of Going Round and Round in This World?

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It has been a quiet day today. (Sure need those from time to time.) I just finished my post at www.dougbolton.com. Go there to see my latest excerpt from my upcoming book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.

If you or anyone you know are military. This is the site for you.

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Here is another excerpt from my first book, Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in This Unfriendly World.

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Chapter 1

Stop the World and Let Me Off. I’m Tired of Going ’Round and ’Round

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

I was out of control. The sobbing filled my eyes with tears. I couldn’t see the road ahead of me as I drove my Explorer.

Everything seemed to be going wrong in my life. I had quit two jobs because of guilt. I even failed at running my own business. I quit the two jobs because I had to sell something to customers and I had a hard time trying to force people to buy something they may not really need.

The business that failed was a cash flow venture that helped businesses have a better flow of money while they waited for their accounts receivables to come in. I left that venture because I again had to convince people to take part in something they may not have needed.

Depression, self doubt, fear, anxiety, and even hopelessness, overcame me until I was in the pit of despair. I was a happily married man with three children and several grandchildren. I had a wonderful 25-year teaching career. Why was I feeling so low? Why did I feel so unloved?

All I wanted to do was to stop the madness and check out of this wretched hotel called Earth! I pulled my SUV into a high school parking lot in a secluded area. I was ready to commit suicide. The date was March 31, 2001. The next day was April Fools Day. A very fitting time to have your life end, don’t you think?

I did have the common sense to call my wife Charlotte. She came quickly to where I was. She calmed me down enough to where I thought I could drive myself home. After she left, I sat there behind the steering wheel still crying, and then I yelled, “God, I can’t take this anymore!”

In a flash, there was calmness in me. It even felt different in the vehicle. The air was fresher and cooler. It was as if God were saying, “It’s about time you came back to Me. I have been waiting for you. Let Me carry you the rest of the way.”

My life changed that day. I gave my life back to God.

I had been a Christian since I was about 16. But I was the poster child for a lukewarm Christian.

Yes, I went to church and made sure my children went also, but I wouldn’t say I was a perfect example for them. I rose up in my church to where I was the Sunday school superintendent and on the important Pastor-Parish Relations Committee, but in my heart I didn’t put God first.

On Sundays, I stayed home if there was a good football game on. You didn’t have to go to church every Sunday, did you? God let me know I did. He also let me know of a new direction for me to go.

Why had I allowed myself to fall to such a low spot? Why had I drifted so far away from God?

The answer my friend is I was in a battle with many afflictions like self-doubt, anxiety, etc. Those aren’t fancy medical terms like cardiovascular disease or leukemia, but they are just as deadly. These demons of the mind can control your life to the point where you are not functional. It can cause you to hide from the world and let your life go on unnoticed until you die. It can push you to ending your own life.

This book is for those who want to discuss all the enemies of man like self-doubt, fear of failure, divorce, death in the family, and many others. I want to share with you how God used me to write this book, and how He pulled me out of the muck and mire.

The walls we put up in life can be caused by a loss of a loved one or extreme trauma. We can put them up because of sexual abuse, inappropriate or unclear expectations, divorce, poverty, violence in the family, family addiction or environment.

Do you often feel like you don’t want to go to work? Are there times when you feel like you would rather stay in bed and not face the world? Have you fallen into the pit of despair without even knowing why you did? Have you ever felt lost—and alone?

You are not alone! Close to 19 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, suffer from some kind of handicapping mental disorder in a given year.1

Now that I have totally broken you down—there is hope! There are treatments that can help you. See your doctor to find what treatment is best for you. Then go to where there is eternal treatment, and that is through your loving heavenly Father.

The first part of this book talks about putting on God’s armor and fighting against the many mental afflictions. This information is from the horse’s mouth. That would be me. I have gone through many battles of my own. I have felt lost, and I thought that there was nowhere to go. I lived that way for many years. I existed from day to day, struggling with my emotions. I found out that I didn’t need to go through the torture. I had places I could go for help. I found out what they were, and I invite you to find out too.

            Bare with me! There is a happy ending.

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him, creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel. Peace, peace, to those far and near,” says the Lord. “And I will heal them.”

Isaiah 57:18–19

Further Adventures

You know how easy it is to let your emotions take over in your life. You’ve been there. It is too easy to let the little things grow from molehills to mountains. When each trial comes up, try to put it into perspective. Is it something that is going to be life-changing? Is it something you can’t handle yourself?

You could tell in this chapter that I couldn’t handle what was happening to me, and what happened next? I felt God was changing me.

Stop in the middle of your grief and say, “Why am I so out of control? What can I do to stop this madness?” The answer was easy for me. I ran to God like a long lost prodigal son, and He opened His arms and took me back in like any father would do with his own son. You should do the same: Run to God and let Him carry you the rest of the way through your life like He is doing for me.

Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny how we let the smallest winds grow into a full-blown storm?

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I will be sharing more excerpts in the future so keep coming back. Better yet..go to the top of this page and click on “Subscribe.” When you do all future posts will come directly to your inbox. You will glad you did.

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Battling the darkside? Things seem too scary for you right now?

FEAR NOT!

GOD IS IN CHARGE!!

He will not let you be tempted any more than you can handle. Lean on Him to be your fortress, and protector.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Three things to Do to Cope in This Not so Friendly World

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Another Monday! Like the lyrics says, “Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” It is raining and it is Monday. Any Questions?

Actually I am doing fine. There is nothing about Mondays that should be any different since I am retired. Every day is a Saturday for me.

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Now we have to wait and see what the world has in store for us today. Should be very interesting with all the clamor going on around us. The pandemic, the unknown out come of the election in the United States, and of course, the ever popular rioting.

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I have taken all of those on with incredible courage and valor. Let’s look at each one.

The pandemic is the hardest one for me.

I have been on lock down since March. I have some health issues that the virus would love to attack. But why should I pout and scream?

Jesus, was going through an awful lot more than I can even grasp in His life time. He never pouted or screamed. He kept loving the people no matter what.

The election outcome is not known yet.

“When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.” Another lyrics that is a very sad song. This election years has been a nightmare from the beginning until now. Constant attacks on our president from the Democrats. Then the election it self seems tainted. What should we do?

Always remember, God is in Charge! He will allow the right person to be elected. It may not be who you or I really wanted, but God knows what is best for us.

The rioting has started up again.

In Portland, Oregon rioters attacked the homes of the council that voted to not defund the police. This is beyond wrong. They aren’t rioting because no justice, they are rioting to bring our country down. What should we do?

Stand very strong against violent rioting. God knows what is going on, and He has a plan. We just have to be patient, and let Him do the right thing.

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Through all of this turmoil, how are you doing? Do you have problems coping?

Pray for God to guide you each and every day. Take His hand and hold on tight. He loves you, and will not have you face anything that you can not handle.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!

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Are You Driving Between the Lines in Your Life?

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I am at the age where is am not sure I should be driving anymore. When I drive my wife keeps telling me that I have crossed the center line, and I also cross the solid line for the other side. Not a good pattern.

I got to thinking about that. Are we as Christians driving between the lines? Do we sometimes go across the line and face danger? As Christians we have to be careful because the road for Christians is narrow.

I hope you are doing well in your driving. It is hard, at best, to maneuver through the storms of live. You have to be very alert all the time.

Remember though that God is in control. He will guide you if you let Him. He knows what roads you should driving on. Use Him as your GPS.

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Still violence in Portland, Oregon. Another shooting, and fires everywhere. it has been over 100 days of rioting and no end in sight.

Here is a hard fact that God is telling us. Pray for even those who have no thought of following the lord. I posted the other day asking if we could pray for those who set businesses on fire; shoot people, and there are tons of beatings going on?

My thoughts on that was, yes we should. All of these people are God’s children, like it or not. We can’t discriminate as to who we pray for and not pray for.

I am sure you have some people in your life that do not like you. I sure do. That’s who you pray for. Pray for understanding and love towards them. It may not always work, but you are free of guilt, and have taken a step in the right direction.

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God didn’t promise us a rose garden, plus there are the thorns. Life will turn against you from time to time. That is when your true character comes out. When you fall, do you get back up or give up?

Never give up!

Stand with courage in the love of God. He is there for you. With Him on your side, who can be against you?

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+If you like what you see, please subscribe at the top of this page where it says, “subscribe.” When you do, all future posts will come directly to your inbox. Also, if you know some else who could benefit for the site, please let them know about it. Your comments will not be seen by other people, just me, and I will connect with you to see if you are OK to share it.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

The Best Four Letter Word in the World is Hope

Times are not friendly on our planet. There are riots, pandemics, shootings, and violence.

Some people do not know what hope is. They hide in their basements and try to not face the world.

You often see the picture of an animal sticking his head in the sand out of fear. That is what we are facing.

What things do we need to do to overcome all of this?

Suggestions:

  1. God never wavers. He is always by your side.
  2. Jesus went all the way for you and I to have eternal life.
  3. 99% of what we worry about never happens.
  4. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
  5. Block out all the negative stuff in your brain and replace it with positive stuff.
  6. Walls form. Work your way around them, through them, or under them.

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In the title I mentioned that hope is the best four letter word in the world. Well, the worst word in the world is hopelessness. Just the opposite of hope.

Hope is an anchor for our lives. This anchor solidifies like a boat in the wind. our hopes are in the promises of God.

Hope is my favorite word. I have two books with the word hope in them. The first one is Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World. This book won a national award from the Readers Favorite Awards. You can order a copy from this site.

My second book that is almost finished is called, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. This book is reaching out to veterans and current service members who may be struggling with PTSD, TBI, depression, anxiety, etc.

Why am I writing this book? I am heart broken that 22 veterans or service members, are taking their own lives every day. Yes, I said every day. I am hoping this book will help bring that number down to zero.

Cling to hope. Hope gives you a chance to face life as we know it today.

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

Taking a Gamble at Thanksgiving

 

Gambling on Hope

By Linda S. Clare

Thanksgiving had just finished pounding my emotions into a paste not unlike my mashed potatoes. I’d spent the morning tending to two of my small grandchildren while my only daughter packed up her things for a trial separation from her husband. One of the kids was running a fever. I took the poor sick boy back home with me, careful not to let on how deep the pit in my stomach had become.  He watched a cartoon while I dove in to prepare the Titanic turkey meal of the year, all while trying hard not to break down and cry.

Somehow, I was driven to fix all the usual stuff: sweet potatoes topped with mini-marshmallows, the dressing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Brussels sprouts, broccoli, dinner rolls and of course those mashies—although I decided at the last minute to skip the cream cheese and sour cream that my nieces and nephews call Magic Potatoes.  The cousins weren’t coming, so why bother?

Unlike last year, I didn’t forget to buy black olives. What’s Thanksgiving without kids sticking them on their fingers? But I didn’t even use cloth napkins or a tablecloth. It was all I could do to clear off the Black Friday ads and set out the gravy boat. Go ahead and judge—I bought pies.

Instead of a feast for fourteen, I was cooking for four and a half. One son texted (texted!) to say he, his live-in girlfriend and my other grandson weren’t going to make it. Another son didn’t check in at all. My sister and all those cousins were traveling to other dinners in other towns. And my mom, who’d planned to be with us from Arizona this year, had broken her hip the week before and was in a rehab. All of us felt as if we’d hit a giant iceberg.

 

Like the Titanic, our family had crashed and sank, swallowing up any hopes I had for a happy Thanksgiving. I stirred the gravy with a forced smile and halved the brussels sprouts before tumbling them into a pan with melted butter. Moms of addicts know how to keep going even when we’re going down for the last time.  Part of me was tempted, like those hurled overboard by the Titanic, to let go and sink to the depths. But I’d already messed up the sweet potato casserole, so I hung in there.

At my house, I’m the one who cheers everybody on when things are rough.  Most days, I hand out hope with a cheerful smile and one of my mother’s clichés—It’s always darkest before the dawn. Yet this Thanksgiving, instead of strewing thankfulness and hope all over my home, the Chief Hope Dispenser now needed some hope herself. And it occurred to me that living with addiction and keeping hope alive is a lot like gambling.

I’ve never understood gambling. To acknowledge that you’ll probably lose your hard-earned cash and then still cast your lot has always felt like a bad bargain to me. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dollar scratch-off or a millionaire’s wager at a Vegas blackjack table. Somehow, I don’t get the thrill of anticipation. I’m oblivious to the poker player’s rush, the heady what if of lotteries, the anxious wait at the slots as the fruit spins furiously. All I hear is the house always wins.

And yet like all of us, I gamble every day.

Not at the video poker lounge or casino, but in my life, every day, every minute, I’m gambling. Playing the odds is really an institutional form of hope.

Up to the moment I receive an editor’s rejection notice, there’s still hope for that acceptance. Before I step on the scale, I’m still hopeful that I’ve reached my ideal weight. At the store, I choose apples with the hope that they won’t be wormy or overripe. Then I gamble on a check-out lane and hope it’s the fastest choice—which hardly ever pays out. Most of the time, the house really does win.

And at this holiday time of year, we who love addicts run a gamut that pits terrible odds against a sliver of hope. It’s gambling in its rawest, most awful form, and yes, those hopes are up against crushing odds. Will my recovering adult addict make it through all the holiday drinking and merrymaking? How do you hope for a merry or even so-so holiday if you know your loved one will also be tempted to celebrate, triggering a binge or relapse? During those idealized and cruel ads and movies depicting happy families, will you take a chance and hope for a drama-less season with the addicts in your life? Are you feeling lucky? Or better yet, are you feeling hopeful?

But don’t place all your hopes in a leaky lifeboat. The Titanic’s designers were blind to the suffering of steerage passengers, and in their ignorance, didn’t provide life boats for all aboard. Those in charge held out promises that we now know were exaggerated, even manipulated—all to tout the mistaken belief that the ship was unsinkable. Many who gambled (hoped) based on those promises paid a terrible price in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

My three sons are all active in their addictions. In their own unique ways, they try to convince me to place in them all my hopes for a serene and thanks-filled holiday. They assure me they’ll show up sober to the Thanksgiving table. They promise there will be no drama, no shouting, stealing or sneaking. I want to believe. I’m hungry for hope.

But if you’ve lived with addiction, you know these promises often evaporate like mist on the water. The addicts you love force you to choose between hoping once again and cynically viewing the excuses and reversals this disease breeds.

Some parents of addicts conclude their adult kids are simply manipulating them, telling lies to get what they really want: another high. Parents like these can’t bear the moment when hope slams into that unseen berg. Again. So they take steps to protect themselves. I can’t judge those who detach, especially in cases where violence, abuse or mental illness is just too great a foe. Do what you must.

I look at my sons’ promises and see addicts who’d love to make them come true. Every moment of every day they are fighting to be rid of the scourge. Again and again I grab onto the hope that this time he’ll make it. This time my wager with hope will pay off.

For me, hope is the “evidence of things not seen” that comes from a force much larger than I am. God throws down with me in my hopes and prayers for my sons’ recoveries—and a peaceful Thanksgiving dinner. With addiction in your life, it’s not always easy to see God’s hand on hope and be thankful.

It’s hard to give thanks when your house has just burned down or your living room sofa sits in three inches of putrid floodwater. Some days, it’s so impossible to give God another chance, to gamble away your sanity in exchange for a vague hope and no earthly guarantee. Yet my God can make a damaged ship float, even if He has to carry it across the seas.

And gambling and hope are relative. Is the woman, treading water as the lifeboat comes by, losing her transatlantic cruise or is she lucky because there’s one spot left in the row boat? In the same way, I probably won’t ever buy a lottery ticket, but I’ll hold onto the hope of a meaningful Thanksgiving Day with my family. They may disappoint me, but my hopes will not reside in broken promises, but in who they are struggling to be. I make lousy potatoes, but as long as I’m tethered to that Master Shipbuilder, it’s a good bet that I can gamble on hope and win.

When my daughter finally arrived with the baby, we sat down to a little turkey breast, still-tough but buttery brussels sprouts and the library paste potatoes. Empty places at that table reminded me of what might have been.  I wished I could rewind history and that this time addiction stayed away.  For a long moment, only the sounds of forks clinking and chewing invaded the silence.

But then, my grandson waggled the olives on his fingers. His Papa stuck olives on his fingers too. Baby sister shoved a fistful of cranberry sauce into her mouth, and as if we’d spotted the rescue ship on the horizon, everyone laughed.

And I was truly thankful.

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