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Hopes for a Happy Peace-filled Christmas

December 16th, 2014 Posted by No comments

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I imagine many of you relate to the line from Paul’s letter to  the Corinthians where he said, “Your lives are a letter  written in our hearts; known and read by everyone…” This  is what I feel when I see my children standing strong in  God, growing and ministering. I wish to say, “There! That is  what I spent my time on, they are the evidence of my  sincerity, prayer, and dependence on God to raise up godly  children.”

They all grown now, wives, a husband, secure in themselves and where God has placed them and they make me smile. A lot.

Jana is a board member of Blossom Ministry in Washington State. She wrote in their winter newsletter the following article I’d like to share with you.:

Planting Gardens

 At this point, if you’ve been reading our Blossom Newsletter in the last couple of years you know that my husband and I lost our son when I was 5.5 months pregnant.  It’s been more than 2 years since we lost him, 3 years since we first learned we would probably deal with infertility, and with another miscarriage last spring it’s an understatement to say we’re tired of loss and waiting.

 This is my HARD place.  My “dark night of the soul” if you will.  I feel like I am in an never-ending         desert; wilderness; dare I say, exile?

 What do you do when you have been sent to exile?  Either by your own choices or simply because this broken life finds itself there…how do you cope when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel?  And what do you do while you wait?

 Jeremiah chapter 29 opens with a letter that Jeremiah wrote to the exiles.  He says that the Lord God of Israel commands that these exiles should, ”…Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce…Increase in number there; do not decrease.

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

Build. live. plant. eat. multiply. pray.

In other words: You’re going to be here for awhile.  You may as well be productive while you wait.  That list is full…years worth of stuff to keep you busy while you wait for freedom.  The exiles were banished for 70 years before God brought them home.  What a LONG time to sit and twiddle your thumbs.  Maybe not as long of a time if you have something to show for yourself while you waited     expectantly.

We find more lists from God throughout scripture. 

In Psalm 37:7-9 we are told to trust, do good, dwell, cultivate, delight and rest.  In Proverbs 3:5-6 God  reminds us to trust and not lean on our own understanding.

Once Jeremiah gives God’s commands to the exiles he brings a word of hope:  “This is what the Lord says:

“When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”  ~ Jeremiah 29: 10-14

 He promises light at the end of the tunnel!  I  don’t know when that will be for me or for you  but someday we will be brought home from exile.  Multiple times God promises to bring us home:

Ezekiel 21:41  ”When I bring you home from exile, you will be like a pleasing sacrifice to me.  And I will display my holiness through you as all the  nations watch!”

Jeremiah 12:15 says “But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. “

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 (paraphrased)  In the future when you are living among the nations to which the Lord your God has exiled you, take to heart all these instructions. Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes. He will have mercy on you and gather you back from all the nations where he has scattered you. Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!  The Lord your God will then make you successful in everything you do. He will give you many children and numerous livestock, and he will cause your fields to produce abundant        harvests, for the Lord will again delight in being good to you as he was to your ancestors. The Lord your God will delight in you if you obey his voice and keep the commands and decrees  written in this Book of Instruction, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.

 ~ Jana

[Reprinted by permission, Blossom Ministries, 2014] http://blossomministries.com/

I hope her story touches your heart as it does mine.

tree And Jana is not the only writer in the family, our younger  daughter, Jenn, recently began a blog for young mothers.  You can read it here:  http://poofandtheniwasamom.wordpress.com/ and be  blessed by her love of God.

 

May God fill this holiday season with Joy and Peace.

Janice Hildreth 

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A wish for a hope-filled Spring

May 3rd, 2014 Posted by No comments

hope
Spring is a time of new beginnings and sometimes new beginnings inspire hope in us. I’ve been thinking a lot about hope and know that when I feel its peaceful presence I am fueled with renewed purpose to continue my work in this life.

Even something as mundane as a Monday brings me hope. Of course if you’re not a pastor’s wife you won’t understand why this is, but trust me, Mondays bloom with hopeful possibilities for the future.

The beauty of flowers just budding in my garden send me dreaming of scent-filled afternoons and charming bouquets on my counters — hopeful.

God understands the importance of hope in our lives and takes pleasure in gracing us with these moments.

It is true that hope doesn’t have an impact without the experience of walking through a dark time. The endless days of a child’s illness become touched by hope when his fever breaks, and we know our prayers have been answered.

If you’re like me, you have things you have seen decades pass without seeing a dream come to pass, but the knowledge that God planted our dream, watered it, and kept it alive, revives our hope that we will yet see it happen. And because of His hope, we persevere.

If you’re going through a hard time, lean on God’s word and rejoice in the Hope of the World for He is sharing your days and experiences with you, and does not leave you hopeless.

Romans 5:2-5 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Janice

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The Silent Killer

August 10th, 2010 Posted by 8 comments

This blog entry is contributed by our oldest child — a PK who has been hurt by the ministry.  Many of you will relate.

The Silent Killer

When I was 15 the church that my parents moved to Boise to pastor made a decision to merge congregations with another local body.  It seemed to be mutually beneficial to fuse our congregations together under one roof and my parents were certain that the Lord had placed the idea on their hearts in order to unify our parishioners.  Unfortunately, the merge did not last and so began an extremely painful journey through the land of church politics. Many people left both congregations and deserted the pastors and families they said they loved and supported.  Lies were spread, gossip abounded, friendships were betrayed, even a law suit was filed!  My parent’s reputation was tarnished and my father, many years later, gracefully stepped away from his original credentials even as leadership in the credentialing body continued to be dishonest about how events unfolded.

Leviticus 19:17-18
Do not hate your brother in your heart…

I was devastated by the spiritual carnage left in the wake of those who abandoned our church.  I had never witnessed people who claimed to be Christians treat others the way my family was treated.  Slowly, over the following years, more people’s feelings were hurt and more left for one reason or another and it all colored my view of the local church.  If there is such a thing as tar-colored glasses as opposed to rose-colored glasses, then I wore them consistently as I transitioned to adulthood.  The culmination of wounds left me a very broken and angry person but because every wound took place over years and for various reasons, I never really tied my anger back to a single starting point.  Instead, I was angry at everyone all the time.  Any time something was misunderstood, a complaint was spread around, or a church member started a fight over something as silly as a pew or a glass vase, I seethed with resentment; bracing myself for the inevitable fallout.

James 1:19-20
My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires…

It wasn’t until I returned home for the holidays last year that I began to piece together the common thread that ran through seemingly random hurts:  I was an unforgiving person.  The culprit was not a person or entity or ideal that I had been hurt by.  No, the scars I proudly displayed were formed out of my own bitterness and hate.  Then I found out in early July that I would be returning home to Boise for my grandfather’s funeral and the funeral was going to be held in the church building that the merge and split occurred in.  Many people directly involved with the split were going to be attending the funeral and I was going to have to face my demons.  Suddenly I had a choice to make.  I could return home with all my walls up taking every look and every word as a reason to feed my anger or I could finally release my resentment and let it be buried too.

Ephesians 4:31-32
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you…

I won’t tell you that it was easy.  I am a very nostalgic person and it hurt to walk the hallways of that church building again.  I saw a lot of faces that at one time I never cared to see again.  I had to make a conscious decision to accept people’s words for what they were and not conjure up what they might have meant underneath.  I had to purposefully let things roll off me lest I make a big deal out of something that could be kept simple.  By the time I left town after several days later I felt like a piece of me had been left behind…a piece that I didn’t care to pack around with me anymore despite how familiar it had become.

Proverbs 19:11
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense…

Now several weeks later I find that I have quietly forgiven many hurts left in the wake of people simply being people.  I have also come to see that while I laid to rest much of my anger in Boise, I am not destined to live out the rest of my life in a void of emotion.  I will always have an opportunity to choose not to take up an offense or choose to love in spite of hurtful words and actions.  People make mistakes, they misunderstand and jump to conclusions.  Sometimes out of their own wounds they maliciously attack if only to make themselves feel better.   Either way, the silent killer of joy is not worth keeping around simply to justify how you’ve been hurt.  At the end of the day, you are the only one who can make yourself feel victimized.  Do not choose this path.  Instead, choose to live out God’s love victoriously.

Ephesians 4:26 (New Living)
And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry…

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