Hope is a Choice

The following selection appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul’sTough Times, Tough People. Hope is a Choice was inspired by a Katrina evacuee that I met over the phone. I hope you are inspired by her endurance and faith as much as I am.

Prayer: Dear Lord, when the storms of life rage all around me, help me to remember that You are able to keep me afloat. No matter what the circumstances, You promise to work all things for my good. I pray that I will always make the choice to put my hope in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Scriptures to Ponder:

  1. You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word (Psalm 119:114).
  2. Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed (Psalm 119:116).
  3. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 43:5).
  4. Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD (Psalm 31:24).
  5. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 23:18).

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Which scripture above is most encouraging to you? Why?
  2. What has been your most difficult challenge lately?
    1. Health
    2. Relationships
    3. Finances
    4. Spiritual and Emotional Issues
    5. Other
  3. How would you rate your forcast of hope?
    1. Sunny
    2. Mostly sunny
    3. Partly Cloudy
    4. Overcast
    5. 100% chance of rain
  4. How has the Lord been faithful to you in the past when you faced a difficult situation?
  5. How can you apply his past faithfulness to your future restoration?
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9 Responses to Hope is a Choice

  1. Eva Juliuson at #

    What an inspiring testimony of hope in God. If we all just kept our eyes on God through the circumstances we face, we would find the same hope and compassion instead of panic and self-survival. I pray Brenda’s story impacts many readers. May we not just hear a good story, but practice such hope in God.

  2. Marta Ruffin at #

    I was just sharing the Katrina hurricane experience with someone about a week ago. This is a testiony & message that God allowed us that worked on this HUD contract 4 years ago, to go through, so, we can share in times like these. The strength, courage & spirituality of a lot of the callers I talked with, kept me coming back each day. Like you Christy, there were times I couldn’t hold back the tears. I remember one caller, Donna, that was bent on taking her life because she felt that she had no reason to live because she had lost everything in the hurricane. I was able, through the help of God, to get her to thinking of the fact that the most important things had been spared, her life & all of her family. I advised her that God would help her rebuild & restore all of the earthly things, as long as she trusted him. Before the call ended, she was actually laughing. I thank God for moments like these which help us all to know that he is always in control, willing, ready & able to help us in every situation. satan wants us to give up & give out, but, God is cheering us onward!!!!
    Love you.


  3. Debbie Myers at #

    It surely is stories like these that put my own personal problems into prospective. What problems? Ok, the truth I do still have problems, but after reading this story it reminds me to step back and reevaluate my problems. Although, mine are meager compared to Brenda’s, I do know that God loves and cares for me as well. He will see me through to the end and will never leave my side. Just like He was with so many thousands through difficult times after the hurricane. Some, He may still be healing, but I know God has strength for all that call upon His name.
    Keep the great stories coming, they are an inspiration to me and must be to hundreds of others.

  4. Christy Johnson at #


    Disaster assistance and suicice prevention…all part of the package back then. I praise God that He used you to minister to thousands of callers who needed a word of hope. You are one of the boldest women of faith I know. Who could listen to you speak and not know exactly where you stood? Your faith is contagious!! You tell it like it is! Dear, it was an honor to work with you. Sitting here at my home computer, even though I don’t have a cubicle, I can still hear your voice on the other side:)


  5. Pat Wehde at #

    Christy your an instrument of God. Last week when I read change breaker….I really didn’t put a lot of thought into it…I was having what I call a pity party for me….I have to admit to having them sometimes….I’m a weak person and I know it. And this month I’ve been having several pity parties for me. I think sometimes I just have to wallow in my “feeling sorry for myself” and that’s what I have been doing. I still pray and read my bible…but I just don’t listen when God is talking to me. In fact even though I’ve been talking with God….the last thing I heard him say was “get over yourself and put in for disability”… It’s there for a reason and you should have put in for it a long time ago. Friends and family have been saying “He won’t give you more than you can handle”….well since I did put in for disability yes something that I should have done years ago my pride has gotten in my way and I’ve thought, but I’m not a disabled person!! How can I possibly ask for this kind of help? To be on the “dole” like people who you feel sorry for? I turned to my family for help…always knowing that they would always be there for me….I’m the oldest child of six and I sent an email to them with MONEY in the subject line and I said to them that I put that there so they could delete it if they didn’t want to read it. And I put it out there in very specific words that if you can’t I understand and that I had written to all of them at the same time because I didn’t want anyone to be uncomfortable with me asking for money because our parents are both dead now and I was so scared that I was going to be penniless and out on the street with no place to go….even though I have been married for 42 years and we have four grown children together….I had to hedge my bets as it were…to “make sure I was okay” “God helps those who help themselves” see I remember the verses that I want to remember and that I think pertain to me. But i really am a complete fraud….and as the oldest a complete manipulater, anything to get my way….well no one responded!!! Imagine that…they did just exactly as I said and I was crushed… all week I’ve been thinking “how could they” they all have more money than I do….I wasn’t asking for that much I said I would give them each a promissary note for whatever they could afford and I would have it paid back January 31, 2010… that would be in six months…either when my disability came through or when we sold our house. Because my husband has found someone else and is leaving me. My son is an alcoholic and is going down the wrong path….in my opinion… he’s forty years old and it breaks my heart when I see him suffering so much. My prayer for him is “Your will be done” but then in my heart I say but please don’t let him die….and my prayer is just as fervent. I’ve found a Catholic Church that I can go to Mass everyday….right back to my old roots…and I thought with all that has been going on in the Church that I was mad at them. And I’ve gone to other churches looking for comfort as it were….and just haven’t found it, plus I feel self concious when I go to the other churches because as much as I have gone to them I could never go alone. Some in my prayer group have been trying to teach me how to pray…they are so articulate when they talk to God it’s just like you would talk to your own “Daddy” have you read THE SHACK? It’s a good book. Anyway I guess I need the familiarity of the Catholic Church because of twelve years of Catholic School and being raised that way….I think of the Rosary as a time that I can kind of meditate and pay attention to what God is saying….although I really haven’t gotten through a whole rosary because I can’t remember all of it….but there again I can’t tell you the times as a child that I would be laying in bed and hear my parents saying the rosary and of course we always said it every day in Lent and went to Mass every day in Lent….so I find myself going back to what is so familiar…when I would stay with my Grandmother as a child we always said the rosary before we went to bed…and both of my God Parents have reached out to me in the past few weeks…in very different ways but they both have. Thank you again Christy….thank God for putting you in my life right now.
    God Bless you…..Patsy

  6. Christy Johnson at #


    Recently during one of my own pity parties, I asked several friends for help and guess what? Not one of them answered. After I got over my hissy fit, I realized, God KEPT them from answering because He wanted me all to Himself. He had some things He wanted to help me with. Sometimes, for me, when all other resources fail and I finally look to God, I wake up and realize that He was waiting for me to exhaust all possiblities. He has everything I need. Maybe next time I will figure this out sooner, but I don’t always learn everything the first time around. Sometimes it’s twenty times taking the same test before I finally “get” it.

    Praying He supplies your every need.

  7. Marta Ruffin at #

    Sister christy,
    I definitely feel the same way about you. I am constantly asking God to continue to pour out his anointing on you, to bless your going & your coming & to preserve your soul. I checked your schedule for September, & see that you have quite a few engagemets. I am continually asking God to enlarge your territory & to send you where you need to go.

    My word to you is that this is a lesson I am asking our God to help me with too. It is so easy to feel sorry for ourselves, because, this is what satan wants. But, remember young lady, that we are the head, not the tail, above & not beneath, we are more than conquerers & can do all things through Jesus Christ, from whom all blessings flow & victories come!!! Hang tight & hold on!!!!!
    Sis Marta

  8. Barbara at #

    Thank you Christy for this awesome and inspiring story of hope in the face of disaster. Brenda sounds like a wonderful woman of God whose faith is grounded, no matter what storms come against her.
    I remember a time in my life, about 11 years ago, when it seemed there was no reason to hope, as far as life here on this earth. My whole world seemed to be a disaster, and it
    sent me in a tailspin of questioning God if He still had purpose for me, as I felt like giving up. He gave me a unique vision as I was pounding the pavement in prayer one dark night. I saw myself standing at the edge of a cliff, wanting to jump and end it all. Then I felt a rope around my waist and “someone” gently, but firmly pulling me back, and say to
    me, “I still have plans for you, plans to give you a future and a hope. I will never leave you or forsake you, or let you go under.
    Hold on to your hope in Me, and you will not only survive, but you will rise above, and have life more abundant”
    Those words have proved to be true. But I knew that day the ball was in my court to believe every word He said to me, and hold on to that hope. I walked back home that night, not to new circumstances, but with a lighter step, and joy in my heart that God cared so much for me, and that everything was going to be allright, because He was holding on to me.
    Thank you God that you are a faithful, loving Saviour, that will be with us, through and in all circumstances of life, and that as we hold on to you, we will not drown, but rather rise above,
    and experience life more abundantly.


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    […] take-away point is the change the character in the story makes as a result of their experience. In Hope is a Choice, my take away point is that I resolved to shift my focus from my problems to maintain […]

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