Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Hope Stories

We have some new friends who have become dear to us very quickly: the Baldwins.  Lila and their daughter Jaslen are kindred spirits.  They match one another in enthusiasm, passion, theatrics and volume.  Not to mention a mutual love of playing dress-up.
We took Jazzy to see Frozen for her birthday and the princesses were dancing after the movie.
Jazzy's little brother, August decided he loved me one day and now comes to me with his arms up for a snuggle on a regular basis which is, as you can imagine, a-okay with me!  (Also, he calls me Mary.  That part is a mystery.)  Jazzy's big brother, Lincoln is Lila's latest crush.  I think it's the freckles.  I'd be a goner for those freckles, too.
Snuggling in Lila's bed watching a movie together.  Can you tell Faith never watches TV? She was transfixed!
We met the Baldwins just before their fourth child - their son Hartman - was born.  Hartman was born with a rare heart condition that puts his life at risk on a daily basis.  We have marveled at James and Christina's attitude and perspective as they have walked this road.  I have been privileged to walk alongside several friends who have endured unimaginable fears and heartache and I can say about the Baldwins what I would say about the Ballews and the Nagels and each of my other friends: their faith in Jesus and his goodness is astounding.  Being observer to their stories reminds me again and again the Jesus is our only true hope for healing and rescue.

Our church has a tradition of sharing Hope Stories when we meet together.  Sometimes they are endearingly simple stories - breakthrough in a friendship, the opportunity to have a meaningful conversation with a co-worker, a memorable interaction with a stranger.  Sometimes they are profound and moving stories of transformation, healing and courage.  Each story's intent - no matter how dramatic or mundane - is to give testimony to the Hope we have found in Christ.

Our friends, the Baldwins shared their Hope Story this weekend and I wanted to share it with you.

Hope Story: The Baldwins from gathering network on Vimeo.

If Jesus were sitting on your couch, what would you say to him about your biggest heartaches?  I was humbled by their response.  I'm not sure it would be mine.  But I loved what Christina said - that she had "disciplined [her] heart to say [thank you] and that's almost the overflow now."  She was saying that she chose to have that be her response - it didn't necessarily come naturally, but she disciplined herself to be grateful.  It gives me hope that my responses to the suffering in my own life can be transformed into gratitude.

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