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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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37

Tuesday 3rd November 2015

when it feels like there’s not enough hope to go around — #TellHisStory

You’re out there, friend, somewhere on the other side of this screen.

I feel like I can sort of see you, maybe because we’ve been in this a while together. And maybe I sense that you are a little burdened, like me. Like maybe we’re mirror images, both wearing the careworn expression of people feeling a bit bent down by the heavy weight of worry. Like we both know where we’re supposed to take this burden — straight to Jesus — but we got a little lost on the way there.

Friend, I get you.

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I was on the way home from church the other day, looking out on these fresh-shaven farmfields. I felt heavy in my soul. Our news feeds are filled with stories about school shootings and refugees fleeing for their lives and terrorists holding knives to necks. People I love are hurting terribly. Divorce. Lost jobs. Abandonment. Brokenness of every variety.

Earlier, in the sanctuary, the gospel was spread open on my lap. I had read every word with my own two eyes — four times — and I willed myself to feel peace, but I felt anxiety. I had a pile of stuff crowding around my heart, and the gospel wasn’t touching any of it. Not right then. But it would come later, on the way home. For the word of God never returns void.

Out there on the open road from church to home, I remembered a June day in 2004, in the delivery room, when Anna was making her entrance into the world fast, like she was destined to be a sprinter. She came into the world so quickly, that there was no time for the guy to show up with the epidural.

I felt weighed down with pain, red-faced, and I didn’t think I was going to make it. But a nurse named Hope went nose-to-nose with me: “Breathe. Remember to breathe. You know how to breathe. So breathe.”

And then she reminded me how — a woman named Hope reminded me how to breathe. Hope breathed with me, as Anna sprinted her way into the world.

Whatever we’re birthing? Whatever we’re carrying?

Hope is a midwife, helping us to breathe.

Out with the pain.
In with the Spirit.

Repeat, as often as necessary. And again and again. There’s no shortage of oxygen, no shortage of God. dandelion4

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I remembered that moment while driving home from church, on an unseasonably warm autumn day in 2015. I remembered it on a day when this busted-up, cynical world made breathing feel hard. Falling into cynicism is easy on hard days. Hope? Hoping takes work. Hoping takes guts. Hoping is not for wimps. 

We live in an age of cynicism, and it’s tempting to join in. The cynics will tell you that you’re being naive with your hope. But hope isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of your strength.

Hope is an offensive move against the myth of scarcity — this myth that tells us that there’s not enough hope to go around, because of the prevailing hurt in the world.

But that’s not true. There’s more than enough hope, because God is always enough. God is not a scarce commodity, and hoping in him is never wrong.

Hope helps us breathe.

Remember the thousands of people who had come to see Jesus on the hillside?  The crowds grew hungry. The disciples assumed that there wouldn’t be enough food to feed them. The disciples believed the myth of scarcity. But Jesus produced the reality of abundance, dispelling the myths of not enough.

In the end, everybody ate. Afterward, they took up what was left, and it filled twelve baskets full.

The gospel is the story of abundance — an abundance of hope for us all. The gospel is the story of one Savior who remarkably came to die for all, so that no one would perish. He breathed his last, so we would breathe eternally — the breath of hope, the steady rhythm of heaven alive in you.

 

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there! Our featured writer this week is Kaitlyn Bouchillon, and just like me, she deeply loves Haiti. Her words about people receiving clean water for the first time are beautiful: “God can look one million different ways, but sometimes He looks just like watching your clear water bottle fill up with clean, life-giving water in a place where God always was. Even when you can’t see Him, He’s there, the Living Water.” Find Kaitlyn here. To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. 🙂 xo Jennifer


  • This is so encouraging, Jennifer. I wrote about scarcity today, too, and I love what you say here about hope being in constant supply with God. YES. I need that reminder for every day right now.

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  • Hope is not for wimps. Wow–that is so true, Jennifer. Sometimes I give up hope too quickly because it takes too much energy, too much strength, to carry it. But in the end, without hope, what is there? Hope personified is Jesus, and I’m so grateful for Hope!

  • Hello Jennifer my friend,
    I am really so excited to be here on Tell his Story! I thoroughly enjoyed your post on hope! As Christians, our hope in the Savior keeps us going in spite of the circumstances that surround us. I love the quote about Hope helping us to breathe! As I continue to grow in my faith, it is that hope in Him that allows me to take a breath and exhale which leads me to pray instead of panic!

  • Oh Jennifer, I love this: “Hope helps us breathe.” In those moments when it feels like hope has been sucked right of me, I remind myself to breathe. And as I do, I inhale and hope infuses me. LOVE this!

  • Anna Smit

    Thank you for this hope-giving post. I needed to hear that today of all days. Out with the hurt, in with the Spirit…and on repeat! Thank you for encouraging others in your own struggles and for being so honest and vulnerable in what you admit to struggling with: that is refreshing.

    Thanks for the platform to host our stories (I’ve added mine- Nr. 11).

  • Tara Ulrich

    This is such a beautiful post. I absolutely loved it! I will forever have this image in my mind: “Hope is a midwife, helping us to breathe.” Hope is such a beautiful gift. Earlier this week, my friend and I exchanged bday gifts quite late (our bdays are in September), she got me a wall hanging that reads “hope anchors our soul.” LOVE!

  • Beautiful words and so full of the goodness that is hope. It seems several of us are pressed in and processing worry. I can’t imagine battling through it without His promise to be by our side. Thank you for pointing us to Him.

  • I do remember my labor/breathing stories. Just remember to breathe- no scarcity of God’s oxygen. Tho, i’m thinking of my niece whose husband’s accident has left her as an almost-widow – a year and a half later. (her story on sansoxygen.com)She fears he will die; she fears he won’t. Her hope has come and gone and come again, looking different each time. I will forward your post. I want her to not live in the scarcity of despair or fear; we don’t control another’s fears but can pray and also take turns breathing for her. Thank you, Jennifer. Thankful for Nurse Hope (and continued nursing of our hope in the One who gives us breath.) (:

  • Caryn Jenkins Christensen

    “Hope is a midwife helping us to breathe. Out with the pain, in with the Spirit.” I love that. I love how you used your labor experience to refer to everyday hope. Life *does* feel like labor some days. Like you’re not going to make it, or it’s just. too. much. Your words are always so insightful and encouraging. Thank you Jennifer. Smooch! <3

  • This is so beautiful, Jennifer. Such an encouraging reminder that God is always enough and there’s always the breath of hope. Thank you.

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Oh Jennifer, this is such a hope-filled, meaningful, encouraging post . . . I so needed to read it. THese are such troubling times, and they truly get me down. We all need hope….big, big gusts of it, lung-filled doses of it. Hope buoys us, lifts us, gives us the oxygen we need to breathe through our days . . . even sing through them. And I just thought of this quote by Emily Dickinson:
    Hope is the thing with feathers—
    That perches in the soul—
    And sings the tune without the words—
    And never stops—at all—
    Jennifer, you are talking about the hope here–the hope of our Savior–that never, ever, ever stops at all–the hope that will sing us straight into eternity. Thank you for being His midwife and birthing hope in your readers at every turn. I love what transpires here.
    Much love,
    Lynn

  • Hoping is not for wimps. Amen, Jennifer! Amen! Beautiful message!

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  • I love this..how the you remind us how Jesus produced the reality of abundance, the reality of hope!! Beautiful!

  • Wonderful and much-needed post, Jennifer. 🙂 Very encouraging to me in my current battles. Thank you!

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  • Jennifer, I love your writing, but this post is a new favorite. What a gift He gave when He created hope!!

  • Jennifer, thanks for these words of HOPE. I needed them this morning. Just got a bill for a car repair yesterday and went to bed feeling burdened. (just a part of life, but it was a last straw kind of thing. 🙂 ) God always comes through, and He’s always enough. Thanks for reminding me that cynicism is easy. Hope is for the strong at heart. That’s us!

  • This is so perfect and beautiful, my friend. Perfect timing for me! Yes, Hope helps us to keep breathing. It really is as simple as that. I’m hanging on to this as my time to deliver is very near! I will hold on to Hope and just breathe. God is near. 💞

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  • Jennifer, this is a beautiful & powerful post. Hope. Just breathe. You brought to mind 2 Cor. 4:13, “I believed; therefore I have spoken. With that same spirit of faith, we also believe & therefore speak.” Beth Moore once equated that verse with CPR – we breathe in the Word & speak the Word. And hope is born. Grateful to have read these words this morning!

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  • Liz

    Woah… This post is so powerful. Hope is a midwife helping us breathe. My how I need that reminder. Thank you!

  • Hope to breathe…. hmmm, I want sit in that for awhile. Sometimes we just need the permission, or rather, the direction to take the next breath. It is there, in the waiting that hope revives us but sometimes we need to be redirected.
    Thanks for being a compass of hope in the journey where it is easily lost.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

  • Jennifer,
    I relate to that heaviness with the hurt of the world and others….and since I’m writing a series on hope, I was delighted to read your words…Yes: ”

    Hope is an offensive move against the myth of scarcity — this
    myth that tells us that there’s not enough hope to go around, because of
    the prevailing hurt in the world.” Thank you!

  • Yes. This:
    “Hope is a midwife, helping us to breathe.
    Out with the pain.
    In with the Spirit.”
    Oh, thank you so much for this. The juxtaposition of what we’re facing and what’s to come are hard to make sense of, but hope. Yes. Hope.

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  • Anita

    My husband got to breathe for me during our two births–and later on, I breathed for him during his darkest cancer hours. God gave us to each other to breathe hope into each other.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    What a fabulous metaphor, Jennifer, that helps us see hope for what it really is: NOT fluffy wishful thinking, but the work of faith (Hebrews 11:1). And this statement especially touched my heart: Hope is “the steady rhythm of heaven alive in you.” Thank you for breathing hope into us today!

  • Lisa

    Deeply, gratefully embraced these words today. As ever, always welcome the encouragement available here.

  • Mal 3:10 God says test Me in this and will I not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. A God of abundant hope, beautiful encouragement, Jennifer, thank you.

  • Marni Gallerneault

    I often read your blog posts in my email window, but I wanted to let you know this particular post hit me with exactly what I needed. I had to come here and let you know. God uses your words in places you just might not ever know. Thank-you.

  • I don’t think I’ll get this far without hope. 😀

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