Sunday, April 3

Hope matters

Spring is the season of hope. After a long, dark winter, trees leaf again. Flowers bloom again. All creation seems to work together to remind us the hope of renewal.

For Christians, spring is a special time of remembering the death of Christ and celebrating the fact that Christ triumphed over death. Easter is the culmination of a whole season of remembrance and reflection, a celebration of the fact that hope is not vain.

So this morning I was thrilled to sing an old hymn about hope, written by Edward Mote in the early 19th century. Maybe you know it:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus's blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean on Jesus's name.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand--
All other ground is sinking sand.

But it was the third verse of this hymn that really caught my attention this morning.

His oath, His covenant, His blood
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way
He then is all my hope and stay.

Have you every felt like you were in the midst of a "whelming flood"? I surely have. As a matter of fact, I'm there right now.

Some of you know that my family has faced some significant health issues over the past few years. My middle son had major heart surgery in April 2008. My husband had heart surgery in February 2009. Today I want to share with you the news that my husband now faces a second open-heart surgery. Next Tuesday, April 12, Jack will undergo surgery to replace his ascending aorta with a graft and to replace his aortic valve with a mechanical valve.

To say that I am grateful for the advances in medicine that make this surgery possible would be a huge understatement. Jack's surgery will be done by the chief of aortic surgery at Duke, and I am thankful beyond measure for it. Jack himself has been brave and strong; he's the strongest man I know. He's been tending to so many things as he prepares for this surgery--working hard, taking care of business. I am grateful for him.

But oh, my friends. I've been struggling in the "whelming flood" of anxiety and fear. This past week I had a couple of days of feeling like I was drowning. Thankfully, a few of my dear friends encircled me and prayed for me. They took my anxiety, my fears--all my raw, messy emotions. They lifted them off my shoulders and took them to Jesus.

And you know what? Jesus was willing to take them. Honestly, I was a mess. I'm still a bit of a mess. But I am grateful to be reminded that Jesus is right here with me.

Hope matters.

This I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
"The LORD is my portion," says my soul," therefore I will hope in him."
Lamentations 3:21-24, English Standard Version

If you'll join me in praying for Jack and for our whole family in this difficult but hopeful time, I'll be most grateful.


  1. My heart is aching for you. I will be praying for you, sweet friend.

    Cha Cha

  2. I love that hymn. I'll be praying for your family.

  3. Oh darling! I will be thinking about you and your family. Keep your chin up and trust in God!

  4. My sweet sweet friend...I WILL join you in prayer. I will be lifting you up as well. You hold on to His hope and His grace my friend. I will hold you in prayer (((hugs))) Susie~

  5. beautiful friend... xoxo.

    you know i have sat in that waiting room... hands clasped... no words for prayer, just a heart full of them. i would do anything to be able to sit with you on the 12th and hold your hand...

    know that i will be there in spirit.

  6. sending you prayers for hope, strength, courage, and grace. Blessing to your entire family..j

  7. I just hate that your family is having to go through another surgery. I'll be thinking about all of you.

  8. I will be lifting all of you up in prayer! My father-in-law had aortic valve replacement surgery last year, and he is doing very, very well now. Bless your hearts, and may you be overcome with a peace that transcends all understanding as you go through the days and weeks to come.

  9. I will be praying for you and your family here.


  10. I will be praying for you and your family. Praying that the surgeons hand will be steady and sure, that there are no complications, that his body will respond well, his healing will be quick, and that you and your family will have peace that passes ALL understanding.

  11. I will definitely be praying. Thanks for sharing this, my friend. Sure wish I could be there with you.

  12. Richella, you are so right ... Hope matters. We will all have hope along with you! Praying for your family.

  13. I will pray for you and your dear husband.
    I love that old hymn. Isn't there something about old hymns that just reach down into the depths of you and touch you like nothing else?
    May God's loving arms embrace your family during this time and may the peace that only He can give encompass you and encourage you. HOPE is good! :)

  14. Many prayers for your dear husband that God's healing arms enfold him. May His tender grace give you peace.

  15. Thank You God that You answer our prayers even before we ask. You go before us and watch over us. I will be praying for good reports and a swift recovery. Blessings!

  16. Oh Richella, You are just on my heart and I put Jack on my calendar for the 12th so I will pray especially on that day!

    In spite of my "happy" blog I have had almost a year now of physical problems like never in my life and I have devoted a journal to scripture to "fear" since it is mentioned in scripture over 260 times.

    Nothing can bring you to a closer relationship to our Lord and His word like the helplessness of physical illness. Especially if you have always been a healthy individual!

    I'm sure none of these are new to you but these are some of my favorites that have just given me the peace and calmness in my heart that I so needed!

    Will be praying for Jack and for YOU!

    Psalm 94:19 Psalm 119: 50 and 71
    Daniel 9:17b 1 Peter 5:7 and 10
    Jeremiah 17:7-8 Isaiah 41:10
    Psalm 34:4
    Phil. 4:4-7

  17. Bless you and your family, please know I will be thinking of you.

  18. My Sunday School lesson this morning was on faith. Read Hebrews 11. It will be a comfort to you. I will pray for you, your husband and sons. Your blog is always a blessing to me!

  19. I am praying for you and hubby Richella, I can only imagine the worry and fear I'd be feeling, but He is Mighty, and He is Faithful.
    Sending big hugs

  20. Oh Richella, I have been thinking of you. I will keep your family on my prayer list. (((Hugs)))

  21. Praying for you right now and in the days to come. We serve a mighty God and I know that Jack is in His hands.

  22. We will certainly keep you and yours in our prayers. ((hugs))

  23. We'll definitely be lifting your family up in prayer! Blessings to you all!

  24. Bless your heart, sweet Richella! I will pray for your family!!

  25. Oh, Richella, I will definitely lift your husband and you and all of your family up in prayer. I was talking to a friend the other day about how feeling peace or even hope in the midst of a difficult situation doesn't mean that we aren't allowed to still be afraid. It is only when that fear takes control of us and swallows up the hope and the peace that we need to be concerned. You are laying those fears down at His feet and trusting in Him to carry you through. And that is faith at its best! :-)

  26. Richella I am praying for your husband's surgery to go well...and for a quick recovery.

    My girlfriend who is 64 had that surgery and she is doing great! (I hope that encourages you sweetie)

    Sounds like you have faced these heart issues before with your hubby...and also your son. I know it must be so very hard. I am glad you have faith in The Great Physician...And I am glad you are Hoping in Him.

    And I am also glad you have faithful Christian friends who are standing beside you and lifting your burdens to the Lord.

    Try to Rest in Him sweet lady.

    Love, Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

  27. Richella--Thank you for posting about your husband's upcoming surgery and allowing us the opportunity to intercede on behalf of your family. My prayers are with you during this anxious time. Please keep us posted.

  28. I'll be keeping Jack, you, and your boys in my prayers. Psalm 103:1-5 says:

    1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
    3 who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
    4 who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
    5 who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    This was a scripture I turned to time and time again when I had my transplant. I especially loved two of the benefits mentioned: "heals all your diseases" and "youth is renewed like the eagle's". Such care from an eternal God!

    Just wanted to share!

    Judy :)

  29. You, Jack and the boys will be in our prayers as always, dear Richella. Please let me know if you need anything (dinners, carrot cake, etc.) to help you out. I'm just a phone call away.

    God certainly knew what He was doing when you all moved to Durham and graced you with Duke so close by.

    Peace and Blessings,


  30. Love and hugs and prayers to you! Read Isaiah 41:10. It is my favorite Bible verse. I repeat it to myself over and over when I am feeling overwhelmed or fearful. We love you!

  31. Oh Richella I will be praying! I know this is hard but I know Christ will be your comfort and your strength. If you need anything please let me know!

  32. HAve felt this same weight of fear and anxiety and shakiness lately. Almost swept me away last night...I try an envision myself yoked to him and him pulling all the weight of my burden.
    I am praying for you, sweet kindred spirit!
    I love Isaiah 41:10, but really any verse that reminds me NOT to fear is precious during this time. Also, like when he healed the man's son - "Anything is possible to the one who believes!"

  33. Thank you for sharing & allowing me the priviledge of lifting your ENTIRE family up in prayer, May you feel the arms of Christ around you during this difficult time, Kim B.

  34. Richella, it's an honor to pray for you and your sweet family. Thank you for sharing so transparently so we can lift your husband up in prayer.

  35. Richella, When we were young and our children were toddlers, my husband had a tumor near the brain. It was the scariest thing ever! We are old now and God has remained faithful and true.

    I will pray for you that God will carry you. Remember the poem, Footprints in the Sand? He does that. He carries us. When I had cancer and chemo, He carried me. I was above it all. He will carry you.

    These trials come into our lives in order for us to see a side of God that we never saw before. He is faithful and true. You will learn another side and it will bless you.

    I pray for healing and strength on the other side of this surgery for your precious husband. It will be a time of growing for him. He will come out on the other side full of faith. God is faithful and true.

  36. I came over to your blog today from Beneath My Heart. You have a wonderful blog and even though I am new to it, I will be thinking of you through your husband's surgery. My mother is 6 weeks out from having her Aortic Valve replaced. It is amazing how much better she is feeling, albeit slowly, after this. She is now doing cardiac rehab 3 times a week and gaining strength daily. Prayers for you and your family.


  37. Hi Richella! It's my first time here. I saw you at Traci's blog. Love your blog!

    You know this but in my quiet time this morning, the Lord told me that I was being beaten up by the storms of life because I keep taking my eyes off of him. I put them on myself, on others, on my worries and distractions...when he just wants me to look at Him - focus on Him - trust in Him.

    That will be my prayer for you today - that whatever you face that your eyes will be fixed on Jesus the author and perfector of your faith..and that you will ride above the storm - buffeted by his care.

    He loves you so much. He loves your husband so much. He loves your family so much. He is capable and He is with you. Thanks be to God!

  38. Sweet Richella, you are just precious. Praying so so much for you, your husband, your family, the doctors. We know The Great Physician neither slumbers nor sleeps.

    Love and many hugs.

  39. I sure know how to pray for this situation as my dad went through something very similar a few year back. (and he is doing great) I will be praying for Jack, you and your family as you 'stand' in the promises of God for your lives and for your future. I will be praying from now until then and I have marked my calendar to remind myself to really cover you all in pray on that day. I look forward to rejoicing with you all in the praise report after surgery. Blessings,

  40. I will definitely pray for your husband!!

  41. I'll be praying for you and your husband, Richella.

  42. The words to this hymn NEVER fail to move me to tears. I pray that He will provide comfort to you and your family.

  43. Sweet Richella, I've been so busy I haven't had a chance to see this until can be sure I will be praying for him, but also for YOU. My sweet little boy's favorite verse is Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Cling to His peace!

  44. Visiting from Beneath My Heart and actually, I feel like I've stalked you through everyone's Blissdom pics!
    After checking out your blog it is clear you are in the Triangle. I'm a Durham-girl living in Apex. You and your husband actually look really familiar but I can't figure out from where. I'm 100% positive you have people in your life to love and care for you next week but our little blog world is small. I know you don't know me from Adam but e-mail if there's anything you need. I'd grab a Starbucks or Chick fil A and deliver it to you in the waiting room. Seriously.
    Praying for you all.

  45. I am praying. I too understand and have been to that place of feeling overwhelmed. I love the comfort of Psalms 91. And am praying for Jack that the Lord will satisfy him with a long life and show him His Salvation.

  46. I missed this post, somehow, till just now.
    Please know that I am lifting you and Jack up to our Father, the Healer, Provider.
    I pray that He grant you peace and comfort and trust through Him, our only source.
    I send you a big hug and you will be in my heart and prayers- you are not alone...

  47. I will be praying for your family.

    Hugs and prayers


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