May 03, 2012

Hope after Failure PLUS Book Giveaway! Wildflowers from Winter

Katie Ganshert's debut book, Wildflowers from Winter, is a story of hope. It is the story of something beautiful springing up from a well of pain. To celebrate the power of hope and beauty, Katie is hosting a blog hop tomorrow, to showcase people's true life stories of hope. These stories will show how God brought beauty from painful situations in people's lives. So stop by her blog tomorrow to see all the links to the blogs that are participating in this celebration of hope.

Here is my story; my story of hope after failure.

I've been a preacher's wife for 26 years. In many ways, my life has been idyllic. No drama, no trauma, nothing major in the way of hardship. While money was always tight...I am married to a preacher, you know...we never went hungry.,and I was able to stay home with our four children.

And then it hit. We were at a wonderful church for 12 years and then things went sour. I won't go into all the details, but after a ton of prayer, we decided to leave and start a church. We had direct confirmation from scripture and we were excited about what God was going to do. We were confident.

Our church started with 45 people and we met in the basement of our house. (We had a huge house with a 2000 foot basement.) We eventually leased a small house/business on a busy street and really had some wonderful experiences together. We grew as a family in Christ and it was beautiful, even though our little church never grew in number.

My husband had to find a job to supplement what the church could pay us. I had a job and we lived as frugally as we could. But after 4 years, we had run out of our savings, spent all of our retirement money, racked up some debt, and ended up losing our house. We had to make the difficult decision to shut the doors to the place where God had led us.

We had failed.

Had we heard God wrong? We thought we had clear confirmation. We stepped out in faith, and we lost everything.

We spent time questioning, agonizing, and wrestling with God. We were heart sick. We were afraid. We were weary.

And then I remembered.

God had spoken to me in a dream once. I used to fret about money...I am married to a preacher, you know...and at one point we were praying about whether to sell our home and  we didn't know what to do. I asked God to speak and He did.

In my dream I was standing at the window in my house, looking out into the yard. The wind began to blow, bending the trees with it's strength. A loud roar filled the air and a tornado bore down on me. I just stood there, afraid, frozen to my spot at the window. Wind began to blow in the house and the tornado swept in. It did not damage the house at all, but the tornado surrounded me, whipping my clothes and hair. 
I fought against the wind, terrified in its grasp. I finally made myself relax, willing the fear to go. It was then that the wind became a caress. It still whipped around me, but it felt like a warm embrace. White light enveloped me and an indescribable peace filled my entire being. It was then that I heard these words...
"Know that I love you. Accept my love. Know that I love you. Accept my love. Know that I love you. Accept my love." Three times.
I woke up sitting in bed, breathless and damp with perspiration. 

I am loved by God. I am His child. In the midst of turmoil, pain, and hardship, there is peace that can only be found by resting in His love. We have to accept that love and trust Him to keep us close.

As believers, we are not promised a life without pain. But we are promised to be loved. We are promised to be given life...real life in Him.

Remembering that fact helped me to rest in God's love, and it wasn't long until my husband found a preaching job at a church not too far away. This church was the kind of church we had longed for. A church with gender equality and the freedom to worship in a variety of ways.

We are getting back on our feet and living in the security of God's love. After going through failure...at least failure in our eyes...we know that our only hope is Jesus. We follow wherever He leads, whether it be through a desert, a valley, or a mountaintop. We step in His footsteps, one step at a time.

And the best thing is...He holds our hand the whole way!

The is beauty that comes from pain. There is hope that comes from failure.

There really are wildflowers that spring up from winter.

Thank you, Katie, for your vision in this sharing of hope. I pray God uses your book to bless others like it has blessed me.

Don't forget to stop by Katie's blog tomorrow for links to more stories of hope.

If you would like a chance to win a copy of Katie's book, Wildflowers after Winter, leave a comment along with your spam free email address. ( sherrinda{at}gmail{dot}com ) Drawing will be held Sunday, May 6. You will be notified by email and will posted on my Monday's blog.

28 comments:

  1. Oh wow, Sherrinda. I didn't realize all the details of what you'd gone through. It's amazing how God brings us to new and beautiful places though. So glad your life is going a bit smoother now. :-) Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Jessica, I'm glad my life is smoother now too! I can now see the good through it all, but wouldn't want to go back. :)

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  2. Amazing, beautiful story! So encouraging, Sherrinda. :)

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    1. Thanks Jessica. I'm glad it's encouraging. Sometimes hard stories can be depressing.

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  3. Sherrinda, I've been looking forward to the Wildflowers from Winter blog hop (I'm also participating) and your post is the first I've read! Thank you for sharing your story. I think one of the hardest lessons to learn is when God brings us to a place that we're sure will be perfect and then, we realize, things aren't going the way we'd hoped and we wonder if we had missed God's voice in the matter - but we're sure we didn't, so then we're left to wonder why? My whole life I thought I would homeschool my children, and I felt I had a calling and numerous confirmations, but four months into teaching kindergarten to our first, I realized it was not time to homeschool - it was a death of a dream and I grieved - but I can see now why God had me walk through it and He's rebirthing the dream, but in a slightly different way.

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    1. I've been looking forward to it too, Gabrielle. It sounds like you've experienced the same wondering about God's voice and did I hear it correctly! Death of our dreams are devastating, but God is faithful. And yay for rebirths!

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  4. So powerful! Thank you so much for reminding us of the fierce, gentle, persistent love of God.

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    1. Erica, I'm soooo glad God is persistent! He is truly the most awesome God ever!

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  5. Sherrinda - what an amazing testimony. God never promises an easy life. When He tells us to do something, He doesn't even promise us success. He just asks us to obey.

    You and your husband obeyed. That's all we can ever do. The rest is up to God.

    I love your reliance on Him!

    I just read this in a Bible study I'm doing called Live a Praying Life:

    "His voice is most likely going to be one step, not the whole picture. A person might sense God leading him to look into starting a business. That's all he knows. But his tendency will be to finish the thought-start a business and it will be very successful because God told me to do it....obey the one thing you know and wait to see what comes next."

    It was pretty revolutionary to me, because I am always finishing God's thoughts.

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    1. Oh Katie, that is such a poignant truth. One step at a time. It really is all about faith and leaping without knowing. Believing without seeing. Obeying with no assurance of success.

      Thank you for sharing that! I love it.

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  6. I love that He is always holding our hand. ALWAYS!

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    1. Me too, Casey! And His hand is bigger than mine. :)

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  7. That message in your dream was so helpful to me today! I love getting those confirmations from God, just when we need them most! Glad to find you via the bloghop (I'm hopping around early!). Hope you get to visit mine, too!

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    1. Heather, I am definitely going to hop over to your blog! I think this thing that Katie is doing is such a beautiful thing. Blessings will abound, I'm sure.

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  8. thanks for sharing your story!

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  9. Thanks for sharing your story. It reminded me again of what Mother Teresa said about not being called to be successful, but to be faithful. Sometimes the fruits of our struggling through what felt like a failure won't be seen until years later.

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    1. Laurel, that is so true. Mother Teresa was such a wise Christ follower. What a heart!

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  10. Great story. Thanks for sharing. This was my 1st blog hop but one of my favorite topics. :) I love when God speaks through dreams, too.

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    1. Cheryl, I haven't gotten to all the blogs on the hop yet, but I'm itching to! You know, I don't really dream, but when I do, many times it is from the Lord.

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  11. What a wonderful story! I'm always amazed when I look back at difficult times and can see at least part of what the Lord was up to in my life.

    I'm looking forward to reading Wildflowers from Winter. :)
    iblog4books {at} gmail {dot} com

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    1. Hindsight is such a good thing, isn't it? I seem to always want to see the big picture. :) Good luck in the draw!

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  12. Sherrinda,

    I love the ways God speaks to us. Love this story of the hope he gave you. You have such a beautiful heart. Saving a hug up for you :)

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    1. Julia, I can't wait to hug you in the fall when you come to Dallas for the ACFW conference!!!! It is going to be so fun and such a blessing, I'm sure!

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  13. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing and for reminding me how loved I am.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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    1. Merry, I love your name! And isn't it so comforting to know we are loved all the time, no matter what? God is good. Good luck in the draw!

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  14. Sherrinda, what a powerful testimony that you shared with us. G-d is so faithful. Your book sounds awesome and I would love to read it.

    Blessings,
    Jo
    ladij4o0(at)aol(dot)com

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  15. Your testimony is powerful, thank you for sharing it.

    This books sounds like one I would love to read!

    Blessings to you,
    Denise
    ddjordan(underscore)sbg(underscore)0803(at)yahoo(dot)com

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