Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Discovering Hope

Last year I had the privilege of attending a Writer's Retreat in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. If I remember correctly, there were 13 of us there from all different walks of life, also representing several different states. We sat daily under the teaching of Leslie Leyland Fields, a well-known, well-published prolific author from Alaska.

It was a very special time for me, getting to meet and know these women and share their life stories. We each shared samples of our writing and critiqued one another - all done in a very loving, encouraging atmosphere. It was the highlight of 2015 for me.

One of the very precious sisters I met there was a woman named Cindee Snider Re. Cindee and I stayed in the same cottage and had opportunity to spend some one-on-one time and I found a very special kindred spirit in her. Cindee and her husband, Tony, have been married for almost 25 years and have five children. Cindee and four of her children have been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos and myriad co-existing conditions.

L to R - Cindee, our Hostess, Heather and Yours Truly

I never would have known about her illness from spending time with her. She is a very upbeat, caring, warm and loving person. We shared many laughs together over the course of that week, but also had some very deep serious conversations, too. In a very short span of time, I grew to love her dearly.

A photographer does whatever it takes to get the picture!

Cindee left the Writer's Retreat with the attitude that maybe she wasn't meant to be a published author; maybe she would just be content to publish her photographs, which, by the way, are amazing. Little did Cindee, or any of us for that matter, know what God was about to do in her life.

Cindee is now an author of a book called Discovering Hope.

This book ministers to those who have chronic illness, but let me tell you, it has ministered to me greatly, too. We all have things that we chronically deal with, even if it is not specifically an illness. Sometimes we feel we have a measure of victory; then, we take two steps backwards. This hill is a monster to climb, for sure! We have good days, we have bad days. But, do we have days when we are intentionally looking for the hope the Lord has set before us, in and through, our struggle?

Quoting Cindee on page 11 from her book -

"Discovering Hope grew from our experience that no matter how dark the days, no matter how wild the storm, no matter how deep the valley or how long the winter, there is hope.

There is always hope."

Ironically, the word the Lord gave me for 2016 is Hope.

Abraham Miller said, "A man begins to die when he ceases to expect anything from tomorrow." I have needed a boat load of hope this year and every time I cease to expect anything from tomorrow, the Lord reminds me again and again - there is always hope!

"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." 
Romans 8:24-25

I think most of us can weather a great deal of pain and tribulation as long as we have hope. But when we feel we have no hope, it's hard to continue day after day without ever believing things can get better.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life."
Proverbs 13:12

I love the title of Cindee's book - Discovering Hope.

To discover something means to find, come across/upon, stumble upon, change upon, light upon, locate, bring to light, uncover, unearth; to find out, come to know, learn, realize, detect, determine, recognize, see, spot, notice, perceive, reveal.

In the midst of the devastating diagnosis for Cindee and her children and beginning to walk through all that that diagnosis meant to their family, she discovered hope! She discovered hope because she knew the One who is the Giver of Hope!

 After my husband died, the most profound book I read was titled A Grace Disguised, How the Soul Grows Through LossThat book was instrumental in helping my soul to grow and root deeply in the Lord through that devastating loss. I feel Discovering Hope does that same thing for those with chronic illness - helps you to grow through it and even in spite of it.

Such a grace it is to be able to view your pain as an avenue on which the soul can grow. Discovering Hope walks you down that path.

I very highly recommend this book and I encourage you to consider ordering it. It's easy to order through Amazon; just click here. And be blessed by the words of one who has walked through what she has penned.


  1. Donna your blog has always been a source of encouragement to me. Although I may not respond there have been days when I just needed to find a spot to rest or here what the Lord has to say. Our world is so full of hustle and bustle with not enough time to settle. Your blog shares intimate personal revelations that touch the hearts of many. I will pray for your friend Cindee as pray that this book becomes a great success. Thank you for sharing with all of us here!

    1. Thank you, Judy. I am blessed that you are encouraged. I feel that most of what I have to share has to be from personal experience. I was told "teach what you know" and I know what I walk through with the Lord by my side. Thank you for your prayers for me and for Cindee. They are appreciated!