When the book SURRENDERING TO HOPE came out, I started blogging through the chapters. There were a few reasons for that. One, I wanted to share the diversity of subjects and authors found in this book. Also, I wanted to reach out to those who were going through various experiences so they would know that there are Christians who understand…they are going through them as well. Somehow, I got sidetracked and didn’t blog for a bit, but I did want to get back to making my way through this book.
Hope Renewed is the appropriately titled chapter by my friend Paula Harrington. She begins by sharing, “I’m drawn to the survivor stories of the Bible.” When you read her chapter, you won’t wonder why: Paula is a survivor. Her dad was a preacher who died at a too-young 30 years old, a victim of the terrible disease known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Paula remembers that this was a catalyst for very dark times in her family. In her struggle to cope, Paula’s bi-polar mother wrestled with addiction that spiraled out of control. The death of Paula’s mother created more difficult situations that she outlines in this chapter. Eventually, she writes…
“I had a two-year-old and a two-week-old when I became a single mother. I was twenty-two with no place to live, no car, no job, no money, and no parents.”
Did I mention that Paula is a survivor? Through her disappointments and discouragements, she remembered her childhood spent listening to her father talk about his faith. Like many others in SURRENDERING TO HOPE, she ultimately found hope in the One who offers it to all. By turning to Christ she found she had the power to rebuild her broken life.
“Every time I see myself as a failure, I remind myself that God calls me chosen. Every time I remember a sin, God whispers ‘You are forgiven.’ When I dwell on my faults and weaknesses, God covers me in grace and calls me beloved.”
Looking back over the circumstances that defined her young life, Paula can see that God was at work in unexpected ways. Because of her specific struggles, she can identify with others who are going through the same things. Paula has used her survival skills to bless in a personal way those who suffer through the hardships of life.
“I finally appreciate that there is peace, joy, and hope in the midst of turmoil and dysfunction. I learned firsthand that God is the father of the fatherless and will not leave us as orphans … Hope has a name and its name is Jesus.”
I hope you’ll pick up a copy of SURRENDERING TO HOPE in either paperback or ebook for your Kindle. I know I was blessed to read through Paula’s story, especially when I notice how she continues to amazingly extend herself to the impoverished, imprisoned, and those in impossible situations.
Paula is a public school teacher in Paducah, Kentucky. She writes a column for the Marshall County Daily. Paula and her husband, John, are the parents of five children. She is compiler and editor of the books, Once Upon a Bible Class, A Common Bond, and Sunday Afternoon with the Preachers’ Wives. Her work has appeared in Christian Woman magazine, the Christian Chronicle newspaper, and numerous other sites and websites. A preacher’s kid, grand-kid, niece, and sister, she enjoys speaking at ladies events, workshops, and lectureships. You can connect to Paula on Facebook. Read her BLOG. Follow her on Twitter (@paulaharington).
Surrendering to Hope is edited by John Mark Hicks, Christine Fox Parker, and Bobby Valentine and is available from Leafwood Publishers and other booksellers.