Help Us Celebrate Hope Through Hard Times’ Fourth Birthday!
It is with gratitude that I announce Hope Through Hard Times’ fourth anniversary! It truly is a celebration as the endurance of this ministry is a testimony of God’s faithfulness, provision, and growth.
If you know me personally, then you may have figured out that I’m someone who needs to constantly learn. If I say I’m bored (which is very rare in recent years), it’s because I haven’t been challenged. You may have also discovered that I’m kind of an oxymoron. Routine is necessary for me for many reasons, and yet, I also need variety.
Before I was aware of these attributes, I was labelled a quitter. Participating in sports and music lessons, I’d quit after a season or two when I was no longer challenged enough to want to proceed. Often, I found the stages of teaching too slow. When it came to work in my younger years, I wouldn’t hold a job longer than two years. It was frustrating to be this way and not understand why. But, as the Lord taught me who He made me to be and that these attributes are good, I learned to work with them and embrace the opportunities that came.
The blessing of that was learning to wait on the Lord rather than quitting. This led me to the privilege of working at a Christian school for six and a half years. There was a great deal I learned in that time. Though I still had many moments of restlessness, I learned to adapt, wait, and pray for God’s understanding and timing.
Then the Lord blessed me immensely!
These gifts and attributes God created within me have so aptly fit the assignment of this ministry, Hope Through Hard Times, that He has given me to manage. For the first time in my life, four years into it seems like a blur rather than decades long. It still feels like I’m just starting at the beginning as the Lord continues to build the foundations of it all. He’s risen a spirit of awe within me as I ponder the intricate details He’s shown me, the people He’s brought to help build it, and the faithful guidance in writing and speaking of His truth to you. It is a joy to serve Him each day here.
Have you wondered why there’s various branches of this ministry with Hope Through Hard Times, Inspire Hope Podcast, Planted Warriors, and eventually the retreat centre I’ve shared about? Partly it’s because there’s many needs to reach and passions within me to explore. But I believe it is also partly because of these attributes of variety and learning He’s given me. To be honest, I would have lost interest if all I did was write blog posts each day. I enjoy doing it, but I need the variety and challenge of more. So, it’s not by happenstance or chaos that all of these pieces are in play; it’s by God’s design.
The hardest part of this ministry is not keeping on top of everything. It does present a challenge, but often a good one. The hardest part that keeps me humble and seeking the Lord each day is staying dependent on Him for everything. The largest way He’s kept me in this state is through the financial condition of this ministry. But on the flip side, when I’ve had my rants of complaining to Him and come to surrender (again and again), He’s graciously opened my eyes to His provisions all along.
The Lord has been our amazing Provider throughout this entire ministry. The desire to pay off our mortgage started in 2017; two years before the preparations for this ministry began. It was by God’s strength alone that I was able to work part-time at other companies while starting this ministry part-time, and paying down the house.
Then in May of 2021, we finished the mortgage! In our human understanding, we planned on having me work for at least a year and a half more before considering to quit my job and work on this ministry full-time. It was my plan to grow it enough to at least make a part-time income from it so we could be sustained while I served in it.
But God had other plans. While attending a Christian business conference in August of 2021, He pressed upon my heart to quit my other job and only work for Hope Through Hard Times. It didn’t make sense to me, nor did it seem practical or financially wise, so I kept that word quiet. Well, God had a way of getting His message across to me as my health declined which forced me to quit my other job because I wasn’t functioning well enough to work. So, I finished in December of 2021.
Since then, the Lord has graciously sustained us on one income. By the products you have kindly purchased, and from those who have generously donated by the Spirit’s prompting, He has made sure the bills of this ministry have been paid.
It is a humbling gift to be at the Lord’s mercy and guidance, and to work on His terms, not my own. He has done, and I trust will continue to do, “exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or think.” (Eph 3:20).
The greatest blessing, I have witnessed and received has been the beautiful brothers and sisters who have voluntarily joined this ministry to use the gifts and skills God’s given them to minister to you. There are gifts the Lord has given me to be able to run this ministry, but there are many areas where I am weak. And in those, God is closing the gap with these skilled individuals, which is enabling us to be able to expand what we offer to you.
Join me in praising the Lord for each individual:
Hope Through Hard Times
Jennifer – Jennifer is using the education and experience the Lord has given her in accounting to offer solid financial instruction for you. Money is merely a tool God has given to sustain us and do His work. Jennifer seeks to help you manage this tool well so you become a faithful steward of God’s provisions.
Lisa – Lisa has a genuine heart for prayer and life. She has used this passion to pray for those working through infertility and has offered her home to us to pray with these couples.
Bethany – It is with great joy I welcome Bethany to our writing team! I have observed her life and been so blessed by her love for Jesus and genuine heart to put Him first in everything, which is what this ministry is all about. You’ll be seeing her writing incorporated in our faith column this year.
Thank you to all our guest writers who have kindly dedicated time, prayer, and thought to what you’ve shared with us.
Inspire Hope Podcast
Sammy – There have been a number of people who have approached me and shared how Inspire Hope Podcast has encouraged them, including many of the things Sammy has shared on it. He has been a great instrument to this ministry, and has helped and challenged me in many ways! I look forward to sharing with you soon about another exciting development Sammy is currently working on for Planted Warriors!
Scott – Editing each podcast episode can take anywhere from two-four hours. This took up a lot of my time which made it difficult to sustain all my responsibilities. When I addressed the need for an editor last year, Scott graciously volunteered. He has been a valued gift to us and has brought much better quality to the show! He has now greatly blessed us with airing our podcast on his radio station, Fine Tune Radio, on Fridays at noon.
Thank you to all our guest speakers who have courageously shared stories of God’s work in your lives with us! We deeply appreciate it!
Andrea, Cheryl, and Mary Lynn – These ladies are my friends, sisters, and team. They have played vital roles in my spiritual maturity, accountability, and are massive cheerleaders. They have helped shape Hope Through Hard Times’ ministry to what it is today. They have spent countless hours in prayer, planning, and practicing, including working through the first round of the Warrior in Training Bible study, and by their own desire, have now journeyed with other women through it as well.
Aidan, Andrea, Cheryl, Jackie, Jake, Janice, Ken, Mary Lynn, Michael, Pete, Sarah, and the elders of my church – This group of wonderful people worked hard this past year and a half to prayerfully and wisely help create, edit, film, design, and approve our Warrior in Training Bible study. It truly took a whole team to make it available for you.
The Retreat Centre
Though this is at the very early planning stages, the Lord has also provided a team of volunteers to come together to prayerfully prepare to bring this fifteen-year-old dream to life. I’ll share more about this in the future. But for now, please rejoice in the Lord for these willing and beautiful brothers and sisters: Andrea, Calvin, Floyd, Kenn, Laura, Mary Lynn, and Michael.
Thank you to every ministry leader who took the time to thoughtfully fill out our questionnaire to give us insight on how best to proceed.
This is the evidence of God’s faithfulness, provision, and growth in this ministry so far. And it is with great joy that I look forward to discovering what He has in store for all of us this year.
Thank you to each of you in our community who have read our blog and social media posts, Sustaining Hope book, Warrior in Training Bible study, listened to our podcast, attended the events at which I’ve spoken, shared our ministry with others, liked, commented, or written reviews, and/or written messages to us. You don’t know how much that has encouraged us! This ministry is always meant to glory God and encourage others into a deeper relationship with Him. So, your participation is such a blessing in knowing God is getting the glory and you are being encouraged!
Blessings to you all as we begin this new year together!
There’s always hope,