Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lower Than A Snake's Belly

Ever feel discouraged?  I (Paula) have dealt with bouts of depression my entire life.  I often confess that if it had not been for God I would have called it quits a long time ago.   So, if you, along with me, sometimes feel “lower than a snake’s belly” (as my daddy used to say), listen to someone else who felt the same way:

My life seems in shambles.  I am a laughingstock to my people.  Even when I call out or cry for help, God shuts out my prayer.  I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is…
I will remember all my afflictions and my soul is downcast within me.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, The Lord is my portion, therefore I will wait for him.  The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him…  Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.”  (written by Jeremiah and found in Lamentations 3)

Thank you, Lord, that you have preserved accounts of your children who bared their souls, who faced the questions, the inequities, and the ups and downs of life that I do.   And thank you, that through their encounters with you, I can find hope and peace and compassion as they also admit their deep trust and dependence on you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Is there hope for my marriage?

We often get this question when trying to help couples struggling in their marriage.  Our answer?  Yes!  That's why we believe in "happily ever after."  Listen to the words of Philip Yancey:  "...most fairy tales have a happy ending.  That old instinct, hope, billows up.  Like life, fairy tales include much struggle and pain, yet even so they manage to resolve in a way that replaces tears with smiles."  Are there struggles in marriage?  Struggles in life?  Of course!  But given the right tools, giving a little time and effort, and allowing God entrance into a marriage, it  goes from the hard work of staying together to the fine art of "happily ever after" turning your tears into smiles.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

So begins the Hartman blog to blast us into the technological age!  Thanks to our daughter, Christa, this is happening.  She set it up and encouraged us to proceed through our fears of causing a computer meltdown in order to connect our lives and our ministry with others.  Here we go...