The Whole Picture: A Guest Post by Dorcas A. Zuniga

My first experience with anesthesia was the summer I had my wisdom teeth removed. It wasn’t good. I remember getting to the bathroom and feeling dizzy. What happened after that is still a blank. From all accounts, I fainted as I entered the kitchen.


My three-year-old nephew, John Mark, was sitting with his older sister Stephanie on the stairs, just outside the kitchen doorway. When his mother asked him what happened to me, he said, “The feet that was going down, was going up.”

perspective, hope, adversity, trials, The Whole Picture, Dorcas A. Zuniga, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

A Sunrise of Strength

by Katy Kauffman


One morning my heart was sad. Although I was half-awake, I started focusing on the wrong thing, and I needed God’s help to refocus my attention and strengthen my heart. Even though I wanted more sleep, I opened my Bible, and my eyes fell on the verse I needed.


Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion;
put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city!
Isaiah 52:1 NKJV


The “awake, awake!” part got my attention. But more importantly, this verse called on God’s people to put on strength. This passage in Isaiah talks about God restoring His people after they had been in captivity.


Is your heart help captive by something? Too often we let our hearts become captive to sorrow, fear, anger, or sin; and we are lulled into despair or apathy. We may think, Things will always be this way or I just don’t care anymore.

strength, God’s power, sorrow, despair, hope, Isaiah 52:1, A Sunrise of Strength, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

From the Valley to the Pit – A Guest Post by Josie Siler

My feet crunched on the rocky path that wound through the valley as I contemplated the mysterious embrace of a dense fog; and that’s when it happened—I fell into a pit. It wasn’t a pretty fall either; it was a face first nose dive into a deep, dark hole filled with all sorts of creepy-crawlies that wanted to eat me alive.


I stumbled to my feet and assessed the situation. I tried to remember those glorious days spent at the top of the mountain, but the effort was like trying to capture the fog between my fingers. Was I really on the mountaintop just a few short weeks ago? Maybe, like the fog, it was a dream or a deception. 


Was the fog there for me to enjoy its beauty or was it there to blind me to the pit? Is it foe or friend? I’m not sure, but I know this pit is the last place I want to be, and the fog brought me here. 


 

desperation, hope, adversity, deliverance, prayer, From the Valley to the Pit, Josie Siler, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

God’s Eraser

by Katy Kauffman

Each child’s heart is like a journal. The adults, teachers, and peers in a child’s life write on it. Kind words, playful words, or hurtful ones. Their actions jot down notes about the child’s worth and identity—you’re valuable or you won’t amount to anything, you’re needed or I don’t want you around, you can do great things with God’s help or you’re a failure before you start.

If we have negative words and actions written on the journals of our hearts, we may think that there’s no reversing it. No eraser can eliminate the stain. But God can.

words, criticism, Pain, healing, hope, the character of God, Delighting in God’s Goodness series, God’s Eraser, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Overcoming the Impossible: God’s Strategies for Victory

by Katy Kauffman

Have you ever felt like you were in an “impossible” struggle with no way out, no way to win the victory? I have. More than once. The battlefield of the mind tends to be one of the best campgrounds of “impossible,” but also one of the best places for God to do His rescuing work. We can’t escape our own minds, and Satan enjoys sending us harassing—even debilitating—thoughts. But God makes a way for victory in every struggle whatever battleground the enemy chooses.
 

How does God help us to win? Below are some strategies He has taught me, strategies that show me God is good. He understands the pull of selfishness on our hearts and the oppression Satan seeks to batter us with. His own Son endured Satan’s temptations and harassment, and won. Jesus is our High Priest who intercedes for us and our Shepherd who guides us on dangerous paths. In His goodness, God has given what we need to navigate and overcome challenges (2 Peter 1:3). His wisdom reveals what strategies will bring victory, His power enables us to execute them, and His love keeps our hearts hopeful and expectant of the good He will work.

spiritual battles, struggles, the character of God, victory, hope, Overcoming the Impossible: God’s Strategies for Victory, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Is God Still Good When Life Hurts?

by Denise Roberts

Dad was diagnosed with cognitive decline five or so years before his death. Although the doctors never put a name to it, the reality was Alzheimer’s disease. We had seen the signs.

An engineer by trade, he could no longer troubleshoot the systems he helped design and install. The man, who in my opinion, could do anything, and who had practically rebuilt an old home as a hobby, was unable to install an electrical outlet.

Naturally quiet, he became more withdrawn from conversations.

Anyone who has traveled this path with a loved one knows how difficult it is to witness your loved one fade away.

When the neurologist confirmed what we suspected, my prayers began in earnest. For healing, yes. But really for more.

the character of God, adversity, sorrow, hope, Is God Still Good When Life Hurts?, Denise Roberts

Door Post Verses: Hope

by Katy Kauffman

   What do you dream of? For your family, yourself, this country?

   What do you hope will happen in the next year? I have some secret dreams. When I pray about something I’m hoping for, I ask God to provide it and then I picture Him sticking it in His pocket. (Does God have pockets? Surely so.) I know He will provide what I’ve asked for if it’s His will, but I also know it will be in His way and timing.

   Trusting God’s method and timing can be hard when we’ve waited a long time or when a lot hinges on receiving the answer. But why would we doubt what the God of the universe—who loves us perfectly and has all power and wisdom—can do? 

 

 

hope, dreams, Door Post Verses: Hope, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Symphony of the Sea: You Can’t Stick It in a Pocket

by Rosemarie Fitzsimmons

Wading along the water’s edge at the farthest point of Cape Cod while waves gently lap my toes, I breathe in deeply, grateful for a brief opportunity to escape land-locked Northern Virginia for a trip up the coast. I close my eyes, letting memories from my childhood wash over me as the warm morning sun caresses my soul and the breeze kisses my hair. It’s like a hug from the earth.

It’s been years since my last beach vacation. A displaced Rhode Island native, I need regular infusions of coastal exposure because long absences sap my energy. I’ve been away too long.

As a writer, I’m unable to leave my work behind completely. That’d be like a photographer leaving behind the camera. However, on this trip I also carry with me worries about the next steps in my fledgling career. Where has the time gone? Over the past few months, I’ve been slogging through deadlines and paid assignments as if I were in the wet marshland we saw a few miles back ...

 

 

hope, renewal, serving God, Rosemarie Fitzsimmons, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Stop Asking Questions – A Guest Post by Adria Wilkins

The unexplainable happened. My son was no longer getting the oxygen he needed to live. 

In 1999, we had a child born with spina bifida and multiple medical problems. His name was Blake. We had around-the-clock home health care. Blake had a tracheostomy, a surgically created hole into the windpipe, and was on a ventilator 24 hours a day. He was doing well and had not been in the hospital for a year. 

On that day, Blake’s trach tube came out and the nurse couldn’t get it back in. Emergency medical services rushed to the house and were able to reattach it. Because of the lack of oxygen for several minutes, Blake was left brain dead. 

Even though he was breathing again with the help of the ventilator, his brain was gone. We took him off life support just before his third birthday. I ask many questions about what happened that day, but never felt like all were answered.  

 

 

joy, suffering, adversity, hope, grief, the grieving process, Adria Wilkins, Joy Box Stories

Breaking the Chains: One Way to Overcome Depression

The water was a brilliant blue and green. On my birthday this year, I visited my first New England beach. If you know me well, you know I love the beach. I even collect sand. Right now, my desk is littered with jars of sand, needing to find a permanent home. Every beach I remember visiting (I got started young) has made a home in my heart.

When my family discovered Nahant Beach outside Boston, I didn’t know I was going to discover the prettiest water that I remember seeing. The shallow water danced under the sun with a magical green tint, and as the shoal grew in depth, the water grew to a postcard-worthy blue. Gorgeous. It wasn’t until later that I realized I needed help seeing the brilliant colors of the water.

 

 

depression, hope, the right perspective, God’s perspective, Breaking the Chains: One Way to Overcome Depression

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