Finding Hope in Removing What Is Dead


I couldn’t take it anymore. There was no real appearance of life, but I wasn’t ready to toss it in the trash.

A few years ago, my husband and sons bought me a beautiful, bushy fern for a long-empty pot and wrought-iron stand which sat in the foyer of our home. It was a Mother’s Day gift…one that was simple and full of life.

My history with indoor plants isn’t good. Look at any one of the six plants in my home, and you’ll see that I am not disciplined enough to care for them the way they need to be cared for. Their hues are various shades of decomposing green, there are always an abundance of “dried” leaves and stems, and all of them scream to be fed, watered, and nourished. Houseplants just aren’t my thing.

I’d had enough with the looks of this fern. It was now ugly and without much life. With scissors in-hand and a big trash can underneath, I began to cut away at the fronds. There were a few green sprigs attempting to emerge from one side of the pot, but it was more dead than alive. By the time I had cut away all that was dead, the plant looked like a hair style from the ’80s…back when large combs held large hair in place swooped over to one side of the head. (oh, the 80s!)

It looks pretty lopsided now, but I think it has a fighting chance at survival, as long as I can remember to water it a few times a week.

I didn’t want to throw it away. I’m glad I didn’t, because when I finished with trimming away what was dead, it reminded me of me. There was a little bit of life left in that pot. It was just enough with which to start over.

My life looks very little like it did five years ago. I thought I was alive and living a nourished life back then, but I’ve had the feeling my Caretaker needed to heavily prune and trim away what was dead. I, too, needed to do some pruning in my own life…pruning of habits, mindsets, expectations, unproductive hopes, people in my life, and some unhealthy emotions.

I pruned.
He pruned.
For a time, I wondered how I’d survive His pruning.

Can I regrow?
Can I bloom in new ways?
Can new life be reborn from what was dried up and ugly?
Can I survive the tearing away  
(it was more than a trim) of the old life in order to become more beautiful, more abundantly full, more nourished, and more prepared to sprout new life?

I can.
With some help.
I am, and I will.

I have high hopes for my fern. It reminds me of me. 

I hope to one day look at it and proclaim that removing what was dead was exactly what needed to be done to bring about a second chance at living.

It reminds me of me.


Finding Hope in Time Away

I know.
It’s been quite a while.
I have needed time away, and I’m not sure if it’s been long enough or not.
If you are reading this and still following me, thank you!

I’ve posted tidbits and a few thoughts on Facebook over the last few months, but these pages have remained blank.

What’s up, you ask?
A lot.

It’s my story… it has had some heartache, drama, hardships, hope and twists in it over the last few months. These things have all left the writing side of me feeling drained and empty.

I’m not going to make any New Year’s resolutions about how you are going to see more of me on these pages in the coming months. (You already know I don’t make resolutions.) I don’t have any promises or epiphanies to claim about the desire to write more. So, if you are still reading this and following me, thanks!

I’ve just needed time away.
It’s been a challenging year.

Twenty-fifteen was full of amazing opportunities, new beginnings, laughter, love, obedience, growth and hope, but it was also full of uncertainty, personal difficulties, some depression, a bit of drama, loneliness and a broken-but-not-crushed heart.

I made quite a few changes in my life in 2015… changes I needed to make to keep me afloat mentally. Writing has been a place of solitude and meditation for me in the past, but the thought of writing so that I had something to post over the last few months didn’t bring comfort. It became another “to-do,” and I knew it wasn’t healthy. So I took some time away.

I also took some time away from participating in and facilitating women’s studies over the last few months. I didn’t want to, but the demands I was feeling from my home life necessitated me putting others before me, and the others had to be my family and not the women I was doing life with in groups. It was difficult for me to accept, but there are always blessings when we choose obedience, aren’t there?

Obedience looks different in the various seasons of our lives… I’m learning that, and I’m learning to embrace it. What would be recognized as following in obedience in one season looks very different after the passage of time, the growth of a soul and the nurturing of a Relationship with the One to whom we are called to follow.

So, here I am writing and posting that writing. Later in the week, I’ll begin to facilitate a Bible study and short-term group for women. It’s the first time in months that both have happened, and here they are taking place within the same week.

Circumstances haven’t changed much in my life, but there is hope to be found in taking time away. There is clarity, there is peace, there is rest, there is solitude, and there is opportunity to be found when we make the time to be still. When we carve out the time to be still and know that He is God, and that He can and will move in our heart and our life in His timing (and we’re ok with letting His timing be His!), good things can happen.

Writing and facilitating time in the Word with other women… those are two ways in which He has changed me and kissed my hope-filled soul in the past, so perhaps He will do so again!

Thank you for following the up and down journey of Hope Surrendered!


Finding Hope in the Passing and Gaining of Time

Clock.TimeGainedThe clock ticks. Time passes.

It sits on the shelf in my library. I never wanted a formal living room — I just didn’t see the need for one. I like turning the pages of books, and we had all collected quite a few over the years, so we set a goal to — one day — make that barren room a library. Today it is…rolling ladder, hourglass, floor globe, classics and all.

The ticking of the clock takes me to thoughts, experiences, cultures, worlds and places I might never visit. Time passes, but it does so in a different dimension.

The hands on the clock move, and the sugar-white grains of sand flow through the bulb of the hourglass. I’m getting older, but time doesn’t seem to be passing by and running out. Time seems to be passing by and gaining.

How can that be?

I know…sounds crazy, but it isn’t. If I reflect back on my life a decade ago, there never seemed to be enough time. …never enough time to finish what needed to be done, therefore, there was very little time left over to take on what I might have wanted to have done.

Life changes. Is there less to do today? Is there less to finish now, a decade later?

No. If I answer that honestly, there are probably even more things on the plate of life.
…more to finish,
…more that needs to be done,
…more that I wish to experience
…more that I want to have done.

Blessings. They fill the plate. Even with all the things on the plate, blessings heap it high and pile over the sides.

The mundane items,
the “needs to be done” items,
the “have to do it now” items…
…they share space on that plate with the “want to do it” items,
the “I can’t wait to do it” items,
and the “what a blessing” items.

Visible — some more than others — are also the “I don’t want to deal with this” items and the “really, God?” items.

It’s a jumbled smorgasbord.

That plate, though, is seasoned with wisdom. It’s garnished with discernment. It sits on a charger of faith, and it is seated at a place setting of blessings.

…and those blessings? Time taken to recognize them, to appreciate them and to give thanks for them seems to slow down the ticking of that clock on the shelf.

How can that be?

My youngest just celebrated a teenaged birthday that places him at the point of straddling youth and manhood in one spot? I see it in his body, in his mind and in his choices. How can that be? Where has time gone? Has it been lost to who he was when I held him, nursed him and comforted him? Or, has it been gained when I take a moment to realize who he is becoming, and when I see — right before my eyes — a glorious glimpse of what his future may hold?

Time used to mean yesterday, today, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Time is still all of those things, but, these days, it’s also the decades ago, the yesterdays, the challenges, the memories, the hurts, the healings, the smiles, and the heartaches. It’s also the hopes, the dreams and the eternity that is yet to come.

Time doesn’t stand still, but time has come to mean breathing in and breathing out in an attitude of opportunity. Time has been multiplied through knowing it all has a season of worthiness…something to be gained, something to be grabbed hold of, something to be worked for good.

Time is gained when we live a life appreciating the blessings.
Time is gained when we live a life learning from our challenges.
Time is gained when we live a life with expectant hope of what is to come.

The clock ticks. The hands move. Time passes. Time is gained.