{Bonus Chapter} Don’t Let Me Give Way to Despair

Sarah and I wrote four bonus chapters to Hope When It Hurts that you can download on the publisher’s website! They’re formatted beautifully like the rest of the book. 

My new bike is still sitting here. Tags and all.

My husband bought me the shiny cruiser for my birthday, which was a celebration of progress for us. Until recently, I hadn’t ridden a bike in a year because of physical pain resulting from Lyme disease. But lately I had improved enough that some easy exercise on the bike seemed within my grasp—until I proceeded to roll my ankle on a stupid crack in the road a few weeks ago.

These days, the ongoing pain in my body has felt…ridiculous. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. If it’s not my “normal,” chronic pain, it’s the disorder in my jaw. If it’s not my jaw acting up, it’s my ankle, because of my stupid misstep. And if it’s not my ankle, it’s the screaming pain of costochondritis attacks, an inflammation of chest cartilage that comes on without notice, which feels like a boulder is sitting over my heart.

And so the bike is still sitting here, unused.

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A Prayer for When the Pain Returns

Old pains have made new appearances lately. The jaw pain I thought was almost gone is back with a vengeance, and my knee has decided to act up again. I’ve felt discouraged, set back, and weary, unsure how to process this.

Why would God remove certain pains, after much prayer, only to return them? How am I supposed to understand these recurrences? Why does it seem like I can never get ahead of the pain and discomfort?

I don’t have the answers to these questions. I’m at a loss for words when the pain returns and presses upon me with its fearful weight.

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Announcing the Official “Hope When It Hurts” Book Trailer

When it hurts…is there hope?

We wrote this book for you—for the person who’s hurting. Maybe it’s the diagnosis, or the accident. We wrote this for you in the midst of the pain, because God’s Word has been a balm to our souls in the pain. We want you to know that same comfort—drawing life and hope from the only giver of hope.

Sarah and I are thrilled to unveil the official book trailer for Hope When It Hurts! This video, along with the book, was a labor of love. We’re praying it encourages you and others you know who are hurting.

We’ll let the video speak for itself.

If you feel so inclined to share it, please do via YouTube!

Learn more about Hope When It Hurts.

10 Ways Disappointment Can Strengthen Your Faith

Disappointment exercises our faith.

Like a good resistance band, it pushes back at us, putting on the pressure and testing our endurance. We can either succumb to its force or return the push. We can give way to what disappointment naturally produces—discontentment and doubt—or we can let it grow us.

We can let it stretch and strengthen our faith.

When Disappointment Comes

I’ve felt disappointed lately. In a few realms, the resistance band has gone to work, exercising my faith in Jesus:

  • When a situation is blurred in confusion (push), do I trust his perfect knowledge and wisdom (pull)?
  • If an outcome isn’t what I’d hoped it would be (push), will I receive God’s will or get angry (pull)?
  • If God takes away a good gift (push), do I demand an explanation, or submit to him what I may not understand (pull)?

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Three Ways to Get Involved with “Hope When It Hurts”

The following is an excerpt from our friends at The Good Book Company! Read the entire article by clicking the link below.

We wrote this book for you—for the person who’s hurting. Maybe it’s the diagnosis, or the accident. We wrote this for you in the midst of the pain, because God’s Word has been a balm to our souls in the pain. We want you to know that same comfort—drawing life and hope from the only giver of hope.

That’s from the authors of Hope When It Hurts. Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton have walked through, and are walking in, difficult times. Both have lived for years with illnesses that give them constant pain, and leave them weak and breathless. Add to that a special needs situation with one of Sarah’s children, and significant financial difficulties too. Kristen and Sarah unfold their stories of wrestling with God in the pages of Hope When it Hurts. The book delivers empathy, wisdom, and most powerfully, a focus on the power of the gospel to transform and bring joy in the midst of suffering—whether physical, emotional or psychological, and whether for a season or for longer. Each day’s reading, penned by either Sarah or Kristen, draws from portions of 2 Corinthians 4 and 5 and is followed by a set of reflection questions, a suggested prayer and space for journaling.

A recent survey found that 43% of British adults—around 28 million people—suffer from chronic pain (pain that lasts for more than three months). So it’s not surprising that there’s a real buzz building around this book—and we wanted you, our loyal blog readers, to be in on the excitement.

It’s launching on April 4—but here are three ways you can get involved before then…

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10 Prayers to Pray This President’s Day

It’s President’s Day. Workers rest from their labors and schools temporarily close. This is a day of honor, a national holiday to remember the forty-five men who’ve served our country in the prestigious role of President of the United States.

Regardless of what the title POTUS evokes for you, President’s Day is a unique opportunity to reflect on history-past and anticipate our country’s future. But we don’t do this through worrying and fretting, nor do we become puffed up by national pride or confidence in man—

We do this through prayer. We do this on our knees.

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Join Our Thunderclap and Get an Exclusive First-Look at the “Hope When It Hurts” Book Trailer

Stories are powerful—they connect with us and point us to Someone greater.

That’s why we’ve created a short film that shares our stories. God has been faithful to us in difficult times—and we want this video to encourage other suffering people to run to Jesus and dig into his Word.

It’s not up on social media yet, but we wanted you to be among the first to preview it:

Watch the book trailer here

We need your help to share this message of hope with the world. Join our Thunderclap and sign up to share this film on Tuesday, March 14.

What’s Thunderclap?

“What is Thunderclap?” we hear you ask. Thunderclap allows us to make a bigger splash with the book trailer video by having hundreds of people share it at one time.

When you sign up, you give Thunderclap permission to automatically post the message we’ve created from your social media account at 1pm EST on March 14. (Don’t worry, it’s totally secure and they won’t post anything else.)

But please don’t share the video until then.

How to Get Involved

Use your voice to share the message of Hope When It Hurts. Here’s how: 

  • Go to our book’s Thunderclap page.
  • Watch the book trailer.
  • Sign up to share it on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr (or all three!) on March 14.

Simple! Thank you for supporting Hope When It Hurts, and for helping us share Jesus, our Hope, with many more people around the world.

To him be all the glory!

The God Who Heals

She trails behind the crowd, uncertain if she should approach. The mass of people surrounding him overwhelms her; she can’t see what he’s doing, where he’s going, let alone hear him speak.

She’d heard the reports about Jesus, amazing reports. Of healing, demon-expulsion, miracles. And Lord, did she need a miracle. It had been 12 years—12 long years of the incessant flow, of her very lifeblood draining from her. And not only that, but her savings, her possessions, her strength, her hope that anything would ever change.

Here, standing before her, was the man they said was a miracle-worker, a change-maker, the one who could cause impossible things to happen—and stop them from happening. This was Jesus of Nazareth.

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When You’re in the Pit

Joseph had dreams. Big, God-given dreams about ruling over his family, being exalted to a high position of respect and power. Dreams that made his brothers angry and jealous.

So they tossed him in a pit.

Genesis 37:24 tells us the pit was empty and without water, as Joseph went from dreams to the depths. His circumstances changed in an instant, and would for years to come. I wonder how often he thought about his dreams. Was God lying? Did he perceive things wrong? Or did the dreams stand, regardless of what he could (or couldn’t) see?

When we’re in the pit, we wonder the same. No, we may not dream literal dreams like Joseph did, but we have “our dreams,” don’t we? We dream of the pleasant vacation away from routine, the career track to success and comfort, the prospering marriage, and the pursuit of a generally happy life.

These are our dreams, but are they God’s dreams for us?

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God Is Good, So Fight the Lies

A sneaking suspicion lingers in my heart. It never ceases to lie to me: “God isn’t good,” it says. “Wouldn’t you be healthy if he was?”

It often masks itself in other lies:

  • “What did you do to cause this pain?”
  • “You must not have learned your lesson yet.”
  • “Why doesn’t that person ever suffer? Why do you always seem to?”

The suspicion arises freshly when my body hurts in new or different ways. In the pain, it tempts me, fooling me into believing that maybe, just maybe, God isn’t as good as I thought—not in the moment at least.

Not toward me.

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