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Do Not Lose Hope

Christian women hoping in God during tough times






Hello! This greeting is coming to you from a very rested teacher who was in much need of some downtime 😊


If you have a free moment, why don't you catch up on how crazy my life has been and read my previous blog posts:

September – Rich in Blessings

October – The Beauty of Grace

November – My Daily Bread


Then you will understand where I am coming from when I say,

today is the best day ever”.


Why???


Because it is now the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas!!


Holiday breaks are the best in so many ways! (Keep reading! I've attached pictures!)


This year, as in times past when my kids were in school, we LOVED Christmas break.


It usually was a solid two-weeks of family time, and we would bake Christmas cookies, play games, watch movies and decorate the house together.


The kids are out of school now, and graduated from college, so no more Christmas breaks from school.


But, in a sense, I am not.


I am currently teaching kindergarten for a local Christian school that needed a teacher the week before school was to start.


Yup. That was me who came to their rescue.


What was I thinking!


Well, I was not thinking, that is what!


Ok, yes, it is fun. I must admit. I have always wanted to be a teacher, and now I have my chance.


But… I am still working as an administrative assistant for the poor man who was my employer BEFORE I committed to being a kindergarten teacher.


So, yes, I have two jobs.


And yes, I am a pastor’s wife.


And yes, I am really, really busy and really, really tired most days.


Whenever I am really down and out about my situation, my husband adds, “You know, I don’t think you ever talked to me about signing up for two jobs…”


Then I stop dead in my tracks, “Wait, didn’t I ask him?? I am SURE I asked my husband before I committed to this HUGE task of teaching kindergarten!”


The funny thing is I just do not remember! I am really sure I would’ve talked to my husband before I went to the interview, I mean, who wouldn’t?!


But that time is like a blur to me, and I really cannot clearly remember. LOL – and my husband cannot either!


He only wishes he could go back in time and tell me “NO! You cannot teach kindergarten!


And I wish I could go back in time and say, “Yes dear, you are so wise. I will not do this to us!”


Well, enough whining, because now I must see this commitment through to the end.


Will I go back to teaching kindergarten next year? Hmmmm… not sure.


For one thing, I must be invited back.


That is stated in the contract.


And who knows if that will happen – LOL! Maybe they don't want me back!


No joke though. It really is a rewarding job.


I absolutely love the five kids I have in class and it looks like I might get a sixth kid when we get back from Christmas break.


So, without too much more explanation, I am REALLLLLLLY enjoying my break.


And I think you can guess why.


Yup. That's right.


I can wear my pajamas all day 😁


AND Because I do not have to leave the house at 7:30 am every morning and get back home at 6 pm every night!


So there are two reasons why I'm really enjoying my break, and if you give me ten more minutes of your time, I will give you ten more reasons why I'm really enjoying my break!


I have determined to spend every day of this Christmas break in my pajamas!


In fact, I need to throw in some more laundry now so I can have a fresh set of 'jammies to wear tonight!


I am glad my red and black buffalo checked pajamas were washed and ready to go for Christmas Eve!


Because they were so festive and ‘Christmas-y’ 😁


Man, I was more together than I thought I would be – LOL!


I opened my dresser drawer on Christmas Eve night and lo and behold there were my pajamas I was hoping to wear ready for me to grab.


LOL, I don't even remember washing them and putting them away.


That is because my life has been a blurrrrrr.


But, thankfully, I was completely 'with it' for Christmas.


Super glad I was, because Christmas was an amazing experience for our family this year.


I cannot get over how much the Christmas decorations transformed our home!


And to think I almost did not put any up this year.


We could not have asked for a dreamier Christmas Eve and morning!


A huge snowstorm blew through our area at the most perfect time, creating a winter wonderland for all to behold.


We woke up Christmas morning to huge giant white flakes falling on several inches of snow that had fallen during the night.


Every where you looked, there was this sense of overwhelming brightness from the reflection of fresh white snow peering into our home through the windows.


This added to the closed-in comfy feeling of being together.


My daughter and son-in-law arrived late Christmas Eve, spent the night and opened gifts with us Christmas morning.


Then we had our annual Christmas brunch consisting of fruit, yogurt, crepes, sausage egg casserole and orange juice. Yum!


Let’s not forget the Reddi Whip of course!!


We cannot eat those crepes without a big helping of that creamy white whipped fluff.

Everything was so much fun!


Most of us were wearing our red and black buffalo checked pajamas which was a fun touch too 😉 and we didn't even coordinate this!


It almost felt like all of us were at a Christmas lodge in some remote location, with all the Christmas décor set up, the fresh snowfall, and delicious food smells wafting through the air – and of course our buffalo-checked pajamas!


Everything and everyone together was wonderful memories in the making! (Keep reading - I've added pictures at the end of the post!)


And next year we will have a little grandbaby to add to the festivities – oh my, so much to look forward too 😍


There was so much merriment going on that no one was upset when we went to eat dinner and realized the crockpot with the meatballs was not plugged in.


"That is OK," we said, "the meatballs will be done at 10 PM!" Hahahaha


That kind of stuff just adds to the gathering of good memories.


The next night, after everyone had left and our adult son was out running errands, my husband and I were finally all alone.


A happy exhaustion came over us.


Our hearts were filled to the brim with happiness 😊


I was resting on my couch with the two doggies, and he was resting on his couch with a plate full of leftovers and Christmas cookies.


Our eyes met.


We did not even have to say a word to one another.


Both of us could tell what each other was thinking.


This is what rest feels like.


- We are settled in a nice home

- We have a good marriage

- Our kids are serving the Lord

- Our kids have graduated from college

- One kid is married

- A grandbaby is on the way

- We are more financially stable then we have been our whole married life

- We are in full-time ministry

- Our health is good

- Christmas is here

- The New Year is approaching

- The house is clean 😉


It has taken us a long time to get to this point in our lives.


SO much has transpired in the last 25 years of our marriage, and honestly, a couple of years ago, we did not know REST was possible.


How did we get to this point in our lives?


Well, not to sound cliché-y but, it was by, “blood, sweat and tears.”


Ahem, A LOT of tears.


It took a lot of physical and spiritual work to get us to this very restful state in our lives.


Hey, do not pass over that sentence too fast – did you catch the word – WORK?


Yup, I used that scary word we all try to stay away from: WORK.


It took a lot of WORK for us to enter this rest we are experiencing right now.


We worked hard to keep our focus on the Lord and we physically worked hard at life's mundane tasks and ministering in our local church.


Considering this thought of rest, I sought the Lord on what angle I should take when creating this holiday blog post…


Then, I became stirred with a verse from a recent Christmas message I heard at church.


Our assistant pastor gave a creative message on the four “FEAR NOTS” within the Christmas story told in the Bible.


The four “FEAR NOTS” he expounded on were these:


1. But the angel said unto him, fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John, (Luke 1:5, KJV).


2. And the angel said unto her, fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God, (Luke 1:30, KJV).


3. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost, (Matthew 1:20, KJV).


4. And the angel said unto them, fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord, (Luke 2:10, KJV).


His message was a good word and well appreciated.


While his focus was on 'not being fearful during the times we live in,' my focus will be on the message of the first FEAR NOT:


Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard…


When this Scripture verse was read during the message, something leaped inside of me and I knew this portion of Scripture was going to be at work within my heart for a while.


I kept repeating it to myself though,


Fear not, for thy prayer is heard…

Fear not, for thy prayer is heard…


How many times do we feel our prayers are not heard?

How many times do we give up praying too soon??


Here in this passage of Scripture, Zacharias’s prayers were answered!


And an angel of the Lord delivered this message of hope.


How long had they been praying for a child of their own?


Scripture does not say how long they had been praying, but Elisabeth was well along in years, and known to be barren.


We can just imagine they probably prayed a long time.


And here, in this passage of Luke, Zacharias was told his prayers were answered.


Answered.


His prayers were answered.


The Lord heard Zacharias' prayers.


What is the hidden message in this?


Do not lose hope.


Do not lose hope in prayer.


Keep praying and do not give up.


Had my husband and I given up when times got tough or when troubles pressed in all around, we would not have been able to enjoy this peaceful, blissful rest we have been experiencing the last few days.


I remember when we did not have a lot of money to buy groceries – we prayed, and someone dropped off a bag of canned goods at our house.


I remember when our vehicle was totaled in an accident – we prayed, and someone gifted us a car.


I remember when we did not have any more diapers – we prayed, and someone dropped a new package of diapers on our doorstep.


I remember feeling tired when fulfilling ministry duties at church – I prayed for grace, and was rewarded with a sense of pleasing the Lord.


I remember thinking how tired I was of driving the kids to school everyday (20-minute drive there and back, two times a day) – I sought the Lord for strength, and He met me in such sweet ways during those drives.


I remember praying for extra money so we could get our house finished (our home was in a state of remodeling for 11 years) – and the Lord miraculously appointed me as Township Clerk, quadrupling our income.


I remember the pressure of saving for the kid’s college funds – we prayed for years, and then they both won scholarships which paid for 4 years of under-grad education!


I remember crying out to the Lord for a release from several agonizing situations – and he moved us away from the pressure - all the way from Michigan to New York!


Then, the Lord made a way for my husband to wrap up his business, finish the remodeling on the house, and step into a long-awaited position as pastor.


The Lord heard my husband's prayers.

The Lord heard my prayers.

And the Lord heard our children’s prayers.


We did not lose hope.


Why?


Because we knew the Lord would never forsake us.


He was our anchor.


We never would have made it through those tough times without the ever-present help of our Comforter, the Holy Spirit.


Whenever we started to lose heart, we turned to the Lord. We opened His word, sought guidance from Scripture and made sure we were in tune with His leading, and comforted our hearts with hope.


For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil, (1 Peter 3:12, KJV).


We found comfort in believing He heard our prayers.


Some answers to prayer take longer than we would like, but "hope thou in God," (Psalm 42:11, KJV).


Thank the Lord He answers the prayers of the upright!


But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory and the One who lifts up my head. I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill, (Psalm 3:3-4, NKJV).


I am being reminded of a short message I gave on a Wednesday night a couple of years ago.


It was during a time when I was reading in Genesis and sequence of three petitions of prayer stood out to me as interesting.


Then I developed a message of hope around them.


It is interesting how you can give a message, then a couple of years later, it can resurface and bless your own soul.


It starts with the story of Jacob sending his servant to find a wife for Isaac and the servant asking the Lord for wisdom and direction.


In Genesis 24:12, the servant prays for success and asks the Lord to let the woman come to the well and offer him and his camels’ water, and that way he will know this is the Lord's will.


And while he was still praying Rebekah came to the well and offered him and his camels’ water, and the servant knew this woman was to be the wife for Isaac.


His prayer was answered immediately – even before he was finished praying!


All of us have experienced these immediate answers to prayer and they fill us with powerful faith.


Then in the next chapter, Genesis 25, we read of Isaac praying that Rebekah would conceive children.


Did you ever notice that Isaac prayed this prayer for 20 years?


When I read this portion of Scripture, I put two and two together.


Genesis 25:19 states Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah, then in verse 21, it reads he pleaded with the Lord for his barren wife. In verse 26, it reads, Isaac was sixty years old when she bore twins.


Can you believe this? Twenty years is a long time to pray for conception to take place! Then God blessed them with twins.


Some prayers take a long time to fulfill and we do not know the reason why. All we can do is keep praying and trusting the Lord.


Comforting ourselves with the knowledge that He hears the prayers of the upright, and He will answer from his holy hill in the appointed time.


Of course, we all know this verse:


Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you, (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).


The third petition comes from Rebekah herself when she was in obvious discomfort with two nations struggling inside of her.


In Genesis 25:22 she inquires of the Lord, “Why am I like this?”


23 And the Lord answered her:


“Two nations are in your womb,

Two peoples shall be separated from your body;

One people shall be stronger than the other,

And the older shall serve the younger.”


24 So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb.


Here, in verse 23, we have Rebekah inquiring of the Lord, “Why am I like this?” And the Lord answered her right away!


Then she had to wait the duration of the pregnancy before the Lord's words were confirmed, there were indeed twins in her womb, and then the struggle inside her was over.


There is no set rule on how or when the Lord will answer our prayers.


All we know is that HE WILL ANSWER our prayers.


That is our hope. That is our comfort.


He will answer the prayers of the upright.


We have just looked at 3 prayer petitions answered 3 different ways.


One prayer was answered immediately, one 20 years later, and one the Lord answered Himself, but the release of pressure was not immediate.


I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live, (Psalm 116:1, NKJV).


Just as hope was an anchor to my soul all those years we struggled; hope can be your anchor as well.


Hope can be your sure and steadfast anchor in troubling times.


Remember, storms do not last forever. They have to come to an end at some point.


When you can't see your way through the storm, hold fast to your sure and steady anchor!


Fear not, keep praying!


For your prayers are being heard!


Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand, (Isaiah 41:10, NKJV).


I pray this holiday message resonates within you and revives your weary heart with renewed hope!


May the God of all peace and love bless you this holiday season.


And keep praying! There is an appointed time and the answer will come!


Enjoy your Christmas break with family and loved ones!


And have a Happy New Year!


Enjoy some pictures of our Christmas below:



Our Christmas tree on Christmas morning.


My son Isaiah was talking to me in this photo.


My daughter Avery shows off her pregnancy bump! That little guy is getting big!


Avery and Jesse in matching red and black checked pajamas! They give off that 'Christmas lodge' feel.


See my little Sammy? He is hoping for a bite of Avery's cookie 😜


Our Christmas brunch!



My precious kindergarten class decorating cookies at our Christmas party. Look how focused they are! Decorating cookies is serious business! They had a great time, and each one decorated 7-8 cookies, plating them and taking them home as gifts for the family.


Here is a link to my favorite devotional: Streams in the Desert

Easy to read, yet true to the essence of the original, this Streams in the Desert offers a refreshing daily dip into God's purpose, plan, and enduring promise.



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Thank you!


Blessings ~


My Sun & Shade



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Angie is a pastor's wife, grammie, office administrator, pianist, artist, and blogger. She is currently editing her 1st book to be released sometime this year. Follow her spiritual journey to attain God's highest purpose for her life, as she follows God's Biblical guide for Christian women.

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