Significance of Story Part 5
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Hello and welcome to the Safe to Hope podcast. My name is Ann Maree and I’m the Executive Director for HelpHer and the host of this podcast. On the Safe to Hope: Hope Renewed in Light of Eternity podcast, we help women tell their story with an eye for God’s redemptive purposes. All suffering is loss, but God leaves nothing unused in His plans. We want to help women see His redemptive thread throughout their circumstances, and then look for opportunities to join with God in His transformational work.

Hello and welcome to the Safe to Hope podcast. My name is Ann Maree and I’m the executive director for HelpHer and the host of this podcast. On the Safe to Hope: Hope Renewed in Light of Eternity podcast, we help women tell their story with an eye for God’s redemptive purposes. All suffering is loss, but God leaves nothing unused in His plans. We want to help women see His redemptive thread throughout their circumstances, and then look for opportunities to join with God in His transformational work.

Ann Maree:
Welcome back for the final episode in this series on storytelling with Darby Strickland. This has really been a rich podcast packed with great information for people-helpers, as we seek to offer one another care. If you haven’t heard episodes, one through four, be sure to take a few moments and listen in. On this last episode, Darby and I will discuss the ultimate goal for our storytelling. We want to move toward finding God’s purposes in our stories. Our father leaves nothing unused in his redemptive plans, and our circumstances just may be his invitation to join with Him in those purposes. One of the things that we’re trying to help women who are telling us and sharing their stories with us on Safe to Hope, what we’re trying to do is ask this question, ‘What if every single circumstance, no matter how sinful, or distorted or ugly, was an invitation from God to overcome fallen world evil with good?’ ‘And what if He is… what if God is calling you the person the storyteller in your very position, your dwelling place, your giftedness, your responses, your experiences, good and bad? What if he’s calling you specifically in this invitation to overcome evil, with good?’ What if your circumstances were perfectly fitted for for that for the His purposes, because that’s part of His story, too. I mean, He is transforming everything he is transforming evil. So I think we are safe to hope because Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:10, He says, ‘He (God), Christ delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us. On Him we have set our hope, and that He will deliver us again.’ So He delivered us that’s salvation, we are in Him. He will deliver us that’s our sanctification, He is still daily delivering us from ourselves, our sin from evil from sinners against us. But He will deliver us again, and that’s where we can set our hope. It gives us that end date of this day will be redeemed, this circumstance will be redeemed.

Darby:
Yeah, that’s just such a beautiful vision. Right? And that is something we can be confident in. Right even just right back in Genesis, we were reminded right, that God said He was going to crush the serpent, right? It’s going to happen. And yet living in this in between place is hard. It’s perilous. There’s, there’s days that we struggled to hope quite honestly, I, as you’re talking it is bringing to mind Psalm 69. And, and I love that song because it it talks about what despair looks like in the present. It says, ‘like the waters have come up to my neck. I’m sinking. There’s the flood that’s weeping over me. My throat is parched from crying,’ right? These are a victim’s realities and verse after verse. If you have time to look at that Psalm. It’s it just, it pictures distress and despair. Yeah. Ann Maree, as you’re talking that really just brings to my mind Psalm 42. And it does so because that is a psalm that is familiar to many of us. Actually, it starts off about talking about, ‘As the deer pants for flowing streams. So my sole point, pants for You’ and I grew up singing that song in church, ‘my soul thirst for the Lord’ and for God and that is where we want people to be and yet through the Psalm 42, we see the reality that they’re in right? ‘My tears have been my food day and night. And I’m questioning where is the Lord?’ They’re the psalmist is pouring out their soul, their soul is very cast down. And yet, there’s this verse in there that talks about hoping in God, ‘For I shall again, praise Him’. And when I read through the psalmist, who is penning this Psalm, in anguish, it’s, it’s something I think he’s telling himself to do. But he’s not quite able to do at the same time. It’s like he’s remembering himself. The only thing I can hope in is God, and I’m going to hope and God, but he’s having to remind himself to do it, right. He, he hasn’t yet achieved it. And I think what you’re saying is, it’s so important to go as you’re processing your story, and, and hoping in what God will do. One way we do that is to look at how He’s helping us in the present. Right? And you’re saying, maybe you can’t hope you can’t yet have hope that there will be justice on this earth. So you can say to someone, well, what can you hope in? Well, where have you seen the Lord show up? What has He done that is restoring your hope? Well, he’s given me this friend who has just been so faithful and she prays with me at 7:15, every Friday morning, right? And that’s just the place that God is showing up. And that we can say, Yes, God, I have hope. Because I see God breaking through this story with this one care of me that is just so tender, and so beautiful. And so I yeah, when I’m thinking of hope, it’s often when there’s such horrific stories, we have to teach people to find where the Lord is active in a sense, and you’re saying, you know, how can they respond in one way? It’s just the way Psalm 42 ends is saying, you know, ‘why are you cast down my soul? Why? Why are you in turmoil within me hoping God, for I shall again, praise Him and my salvation, my God’, and sorry, my salvation and my God. And it’s just thinking that’s, that’s what you’re asking people to do is like I shall again, I’m not quite yet. Right. But I’m telling myself, this is the way out of this. And it’s heroic to live that way, in light of what has not yet happened in light of what is not yet seen. When you have been so hurt.

Ann Maree:
Yeah, we have a mutual friend, who has has kind of counseled me through some really hard like, circumstances in our lives and our families like the last year. And some of the things that have happened, I just look and I say, ‘but God, are you kidding’, really. And she says, those aren’t when those are the times when God’s saying, ‘I see you’. And you’ve said they’re small deliverances, too. It’s like a, you’ll hear something from a friend one day, and the next morning, you’ll read in Scripture, and it’ll be a passage that will affirm what your friend just said. And those I just think of those as you know, God tapping me on the shoulder saying, ‘I’m still here, I’m here. I know, I know, you’re hurting. But I am still here.’

Darby:
Which is another way to use but God I have a friend of mine. And she will say all you know, I’ll say all of this, and she’ll be like, vote with God. But God hasn’t under control. Right. Yeah. And it’s the same thing of put ‘God really and but God Almighty’, right. And I think that’s what’s so great about hope. And God is like, I am it’s not there yet, but it’s coming. And how do we see it? When you were talking about, you know, a friend giving you a verse in the afternoon and seeing it again in the morning, I talked to so many women who just didn’t feel like they’re surrounded by verses or themes, or they hear a song on Sunday morning. They hear it on the radio, it’s like they really feel that God is just surrounding them in this way I can think of one woman in particular and her marriage was ending in a completely horrid and horrible way. And she was continuing to be abandoned and abused, and she came home from our support group one night and her daughter had decorated her new bedroom with blue butterflies everywhere. Right? And it was this sweet thing of you know, a butterfly just being renewal. She interpreted it as to have this, you know, I’m going to be restored and renewed. She took it as just encouragement in that way. But I would tell you for the next six months, I got a text from her about 50 times about all these places she had seen blue butterflies. She’d be in line at the grocery store and the woman in front of her would have one on her jacket and for her, it helps her connect her mind to certain Scriptures. And she was like, God sees me. He’s with me. He’s rooting me on. And even when she finally moved into her new place, blue butterflies. Yeah, yeah, it is. So it’s just sweet. When we can look for the way God’s trying to get our attention. And you and I would probably be more conventional, with Scripture words and encouragement and people. But yeah, let victims talk about the ways that they feel like, the Lord sees me. He interrupted my day, He wanted me to notice this. Yeah,

Ann Maree:
yeah. I was thinking this morning, as I put my T shirt on, for those of you can’t see me, I have just the word ‘hope’ on my T shirt. And I’m really not, I don’t like acronyms. But as I looked at it this morning, what I ‘hope: that’s how our pain evolves’. It’s something that like you’re saying, even Scripture says, not there yet. I’m not quite there yet. Even David saying that way back in the in the Psalms, ‘I’m not there yet’. But in the ways that I can find, you know, what you’ve promised me Lord, I’m going to be looking for it. I’m going to purpose… in that we talked about once before in a previous podcast about just being more active in our process of healing instead of passively. And don’t get me wrong, there is a moment for being passive there is.. there are moments for being passive in suffering. But there is that moment to of being active and going about purposefully seeking God or purposefully looking for Him, like you’re saying, in different circumstances in different ways.

Darby:
Yeah, and it’s training people to see that God is on the move. And I mean, I’ve struggled with that and seasons of suffering in my life. My feeling left, you know, what’s he doing? The psalmist is saying,’How long have you left me’, And so we love each other? Well, when we even remind somebody, you know, over the last year, I’ve seen you grow in this way. I’ve seen you mature, I’ve seen your prayers really yield to the Lord, we another way to provide hope is to remind them of how they are going through, you see them becoming more like Jesus. And they can’t see that, they can’t see the transformation. We see it happening. And so I think part of our job is to say, ‘this is what I’ve seen the Lord do to you, to your heart. And this, this is where I see you really glorifying the Lord.’ And it’s just beautiful. Right, is even in the midst of horrible things, He’s at work in our hearts in ways that we want to notice and celebrate.

Ann Maree:
Yeah, I’m just going to wrap it up with this one an example from years and years ago of helping a woman – I don’t even know what I was doing when I was helping her – and she had actually been in a really horrific, they’re all horrific, abusive situations. And it took a long time to work with her, even to you know, remember all of her story because she, she wanted to block out so much, of it anyway, when we did get to the end, not that we canceled counseling from here, but just kind of got to an end. We were praying, and I remember she thanked the Lord – I’ll cry actually thanked the Lord for the suffering. And you know what, in my sinfulness I sat there and I was jealous. I was jealous. Because I thought you’re going to have a relationship with God in such a way that I will never, because of that circumstance.

Darby:
And I hear that time and time again as well. It’s… I’ve had victims say to me I wouldn’t take any of it back. I do it again because of how close I am to Jesus I floor amazes me every time I’d like nope I’d like a much easier way.

Ann Maree:
Yeah, yeah, no pain. Yeah, no pain, please. Okay. Yeah, and I don’t know where but in one of the Morning and Evenings that Spurgeon writes, he talks about the more the more mercy needed the more mercy you receive and there’s a passage too but I can’t I don’t know my Bible well enough. I guess I can’t remember where it is. But that and that’s that’s kind of what I experienced with that woman is that she needed more mercy and and the Lord showed up and He poured not just gave her more mercy, He poured more mercy and so yeah, that’s that’s the I you know, I hate to use over word overuse the word hope but that’s, that’s where we want to go with story.

Darby:
We hope in God because He is up to something good in our story.

Ann Maree:
Well, I mean, thinks is just not a big enough word for me to you for everything you do. You care for me well, and then also we care for our ministry well and you and you’ve given us a lot to think about as we head into, hopefully the first season in 2023 of our series on Safe to Hope.

Darby and I are so grateful to have been with you over these past weeks, sharing our vision for storytelling and the Safe to Hope podcast. And thank you for joining us. We hope you’ve been inspired to either tell your story, or sit with someone who needs to tell you theirs. Coming in January of 2023, Safe to Hope will have our first guest storyteller. One of our good friends at HelpHer will share her experience with clergy sexual abuse, a circumstance that happens far too frequently in ministries and in a church context. The format for this series includes our friend’s story being told in three parts, and then three contributing experts interacting with their story. Our contributors, Dr. Heather Evans, Dr. David Pooler. And Dr. Nate Brooks will each interact with the content of what’s being told and help us understand the best ways to care for someone who has experienced the devastating circumstances of clergy abuse.

For more information about the HelpHer ministry, or a schedule of the upcoming Safe to Hope series, go to HelpHerResources.com. You can learn more about Darby’s books and find a link to purchase in our show notes. For women wondering if what you are experiencing is domestic abuse, Darby’s book, Is It Abuse? is incredibly helpful. Those who minister in the church will also find her work beneficial.

Safe to Hope is a production of HelpHer. Our Executive Producer is Ann Maree Goudzwaard. Safe to Hope is written and mixed by Ann Maree and edited by Ann Maree and Helen Weigt. Music is Waterfall and is licensed by Pixabay. We hope you enjoyed this episode in the Safe To Hope podcast series.

Safe To Hope is one of the resources offered through the ministry of HelpHer, a 501C3 that provides training, resources, and the people necessary in order for the church to shepherd women well. Your donations make it possible for HelpHer to serve women and churches as they navigate crises. All donations are tax-deductible. If you’d be interested in partnering with this ministry, go to help her resources.com and click the donate link in the menu. If you’d like more information or would like to speak to someone about ministry goals, or advocacy needs, go to help her resources.com That’s help her resources.com

We value and respect conversations with all our guests. Opinions, viewpoints, and convictions may differ so we encourage our listeners to practice discernment. As well. guests do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of HelpHer. It is our hope that this podcast is a platform for hearing and learning rather than causing division or strife.

Please note, abuse situations have common patterns of behavior, responses, and environments. Any familiarity construed by the listener is of their own opinion and interpretation. Our podcast does not accuse individuals or organizations.

The podcast is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional care, diagnosis, or treatment.

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