Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts
By: Kathe Wunnenberg
Genre: Christian Living/Encouragement for Women
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Hebrews 11:6 (emphasis mine)
I’ve been low on faith lately. I just haven’t feel sure about anything (well, almost anything), and hope has seemed elusive. It’s the silent demon again—a battle I’ve faced many times before. This week, I’ve been reminded how important it is to be grateful in times like these. And I am thankful. I’m thankful for the joys of my children’s playful laughter sitting around a family game. I’m very thankful for an extra hour’s sleep in the morning. I’m thankful for the sunshine breaking up the gray clouds and sparkling off the still white snow. I’m thankful for this blog which gives me an opportunity to process my thoughts and feelings into words. Writing is therapeutic for me. And I’m thankful for this book, this book that gave me tangible ways to hold onto hope.
“He sent out his word and healed them . . .”
Hopelifter first crossed my path via a weekly email subscription. It gave away just enough of the book for me to know that I wanted to read it and share it with the hopelifters in my life. Kathe Wunnenberg was not a name with which I was familiar, but after reading her words, I feel like she could be a dear friend. Through the pages of her book, she is opens up about the losses in her own life and the ways that she found and expressed hope.
“We call them hopelifters—people who have been transformed by their own experience with grief and who are now willingly offering themselves as the hands and feet of Jesus to comfort other hurting women.”
Wunnenberg begins the book by discussing her “Hope on Wheels” project. She invites women who have lost children—in different stages of grief—to take a weekend retreat and experience therapeutic pampering through God’s beautiful creation, prayer, timely scriptures, solace and comfort from others who have walked the road before them. One of my absolute favorite things about this book is how it puts feet to our ideas, dreams and desires to help one another. How often do we see a friend or loved one hurting and feel a loss as to how to help them! This book provides countless fantastic ideas to do just that!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Besides being a wonderful comfort to anyone who is hurting and a guide for caring friends, Hopelifter is a perfect resource for women’s ministry leaders. It contains a section for Bible study with twelve lessons that can be adapted to your setting and audience. One great reason to keep this book handy is the useful “Recipes for Hope.” A handy list can be found at the beginning of the book correlating to several personal stories written in a variety of seasons and circumstances. Each story provides hope for the one who is hurting and/or how to be a hopelifter to someone who finds herself in a desperate situation. The book also includes a list of hopelifting verses!
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works . . . encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
I cannot wait to begin the Bible study and share this story of hope with some amazing women that God has brought into my life! I wish I could spend time individually with each one, offering words of comfort and encouragement to help them in their walk with Christ. Alas, I know that there aren’t enough hours in the day or enough of me to go around! But I’ve found something wonderful happening . . . each woman is becoming a hopelifter and giving of themselves! They are reaching out and encouraging each other. They are speaking life and giving hope. As God’s grace grows in their own life, they are making a difference in lives around them. It brings me great joy to see them walking in the truth (3 John 4). I love them all dearly, and I am thankful that God has given me moments like these to be a part of their lives!