7 Days of Hope Tour: Day One

Special Events

Hope.

What is the meaning of the word hope? If you look in your dictionary, it most likely stated that hope is an expectation for an object or event to occur. And if you look in your Bible, Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV, Emphasis added).

We can place our hope in many things such as our career stability, possessions, family, friends, and ourselves. This hope, however, is fruitless because all of what is on earth is temporary and fallible. But as saved people, we have Someone whom we have hope in:

Jesus Christ.

We have hope in Him even though we can’t see Him. He is our true hope. The whole world will perish but not Him. People will fail us but not Him because He is infallible.

And as we live in the world, we have tribulations, illnesses, and death because of sin. However, for those who love God, He turns difficulties into something good (Roman 8:28). And as we Christians trudge through our valleys, we find that darkness shrouds our paths and threatens to extinguish our hope.

Famous godly men and women from the past are susceptible to that too. One example is Charles H. Spurgeon. He had multiple depression periods throughout his life due to a traumatic event and other circumstances. Because of his sufferings, having hope in Jesus was precious to him. He said,


When the night gets darker, the light shines brighter. When our trials worsened, our hope in Jesus glows much more.

But what if the valley never seems to end? And what if our path seemed to be getting smoother only for it to drop into a pit? That is when our Shepherd wants us to wait. Waiting is hard. I understand how difficult it can be because I’ve been going through it. Waiting means that we have to persevere, continue to stay close by His side, and accept the situation and outcome we’re in.

From the book Found Faithful, Elizabeth Skoglund knew a lady who suffered with depression for years yet she still kept her hope in God even though He hasn’t healed her yet. He told her wait. Thus, she waits and continues to be close to Him. And, quoting from the book, “[f]ar from sinning, she has chosen to find meaning in her depression and to allow it to draw her closer to God.”


During our periods of waiting, the Bible will spur us on. When it seems that nobody can encourage us with their words, His Word will be the one that lifts us.

Furthermore, waiting is the best time to keep praising our Shepherd from our hearts. A Czech friend once told me that the best place to be when we’re down is to worship Him. I admit, it is an unnatural action for us to do when we’re going through hard times. But when we worship our Shepherd, we’re fulfilling our purpose on earth – to glorify Him. Because despite our circumstances, He is still God.

I know another Czech friend, who sings special presentations at my church in the Czech Republic. God had brought her through breast cancer before. She appeared to be out of the danger zone until a health check-up revealed that cancer was in her brain. Treatment got rid of that particular tumour; however, another check-up showed that she had more tumours inside.

And do you know what she did? She continued to sing specials at church until she physically could not. Her hope in Jesus did not die, God was glorified through her, and people around her could see Jesus in her.


Months after the aforementioned Czech friend passed on to heaven, I listened to her songs occasionally. Initially, they sounded sad because I was sad, then … over time, I realised that they were overflowing with hope.

Thinking back, I wonder how she could still sing when she was suffering so much physically? The answer lies in her Shepherd. He is her God of hope, just as how He is my God of hope and your God of hope.

If we continue to stay by our Shepherd’s side, we’ll have blessings in our valleys. For examples, being moulded and refined, growing closer to Him, and claiming His promises. Most importantly, the greatest blessing of all is having Him as our God.

He is our Shepherd who’ll never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). He had prepared a place for us to be forever with Him (John 14:3), a place of everlasting joy (Isaiah 41:11), a place where “… God shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4, KJV). How comforting that is!

My mentioning of the Shepherd and valleys probably reminds you of Psalm 23. I know that it’s a passage that most of us have memorised but go to your Bible and read it now. After you finished reading it, return to this post.

Welcome back! Did you find that the passage emanated hope? Now read it again, and listen to this song while you do so:


Friend, no matter how steep the path in front of you gets and how dark the valley can be, please don’t give up your hope in Jesus Christ. Because in Him, you can live victoriously through your challenges and claim His promises and blessings. And in Him, you will one day live without valleys for eternity.

May His grace, mercy, strength, joy, and hope be with you.

Amen.


Reference

Skoglund, Elizabeth R., Found Faithful: The Timeless Stories of Charles Spurgeon, Amy Carmichael, C. S. Lewis, Ruth Bell Graham and Others, 2004, Discovery House Publishers.

Hold on, the Seven Days of Hope Tour is not over yet!

The blog tour has two giveaways!
You can find out more here.

The tour continues in other blogs:


~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

When We Compare

Journal, TCK's Articles, Writer's Articles

Dear Friend,

Comparing myself to others is so easy. It’s a struggle I’ve faced many times. I know I shouldn’t do that when the Bible clearly says, “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (2 Corinthians 10:12, KJV). What the Bible tells me to be wary of, is for my good.

So, why is it not wise to compare myself with others? Well, when I see that the other person’s path or what they have is “better” than mine, I want to have what they have or want to be on the path they’re on. And that shows I’m discontented and ungrateful.

On the other hand, when I see that what I have and/or what I’ve accomplished is “better” than what others have, I will elevate myself, thinking I’m “better” than them. And that shows I’m prideful.

Does the above sound familiar?

All of us have fallen into these traps one way or another. In both, we focused on ourselves and what others are doing.


How do we get out of it?   

Shift our focus to Jesus. We must be thankful, content, and praise God for where He has placed us and the blessings He has given us.


“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

1 Timothy 6:6-7, KJV



And quoting from Anneliese Louise, “When God blesses another, do not internalize it as though it were an attack on you. Rather, thank Him out loud for being such an overwhelmingly generous God.” Did a friend achieve something good? Praise God that He brought them there.  

As for pride, we need to humble ourselves. Acknowledge that all that we accomplished and have is because of Him. He is the One who blessed us and He is the One who brought us to where we are.


“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Romans 12:3, KJV



It’s Not A Competition

The truth is, our paths are different, just like my journey in God’s will is different from yours in His. “It’s a personal race, not a competition,” a close friend once told me.

About a year ago, I told my mom I’m reaching my mid-twenties and started writing seriously not too long before that and additionally, I’m an unemployed graduate who needs a salary, how could I catch up? She said, “So? Your dad started “late” in his career and look where God brought Him now … Anyone can learn a skill no matter where they are in life.” What’s important is where God places me right now, no matter “where” I am in life as compared to other writers.

Currently, I’m 24. I am not published and am still looking for a job amid the pandemic. When I compare myself with others, it feels like I’m lagging. However, in God’s eyes, if I follow according to his plans and timing, I’m not falling behind. And being where God wants me to be, close by His side, is more than good enough. After all, He is the one writing my story. Who am I to say that I know it best? 

Thus, every time, I compare myself with other people, I try to remind myself this: 

Focus on Jesus, not on others nor myself. 


“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.”

Psalm 105:4, KJV



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. I’ll be participating in the 7 Days of Hope Blog Tour! Hosted by Sawyer Marie and Abby Elissa. To follow the tour, go to either blogsite, Sundrop Girls or Abby Elissa from April 5 – 11.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

A CIDP Poem: She laughs.

Poetry

Dear Friend,

My dad has a rare chronic illness called CIDP.

What is CIDP?


It’s a chronic auto-immune disease: the body’s immune system attacks the nerves which deteriorates the muscles.

There is no cure.


To maintain his muscles, my dad has been receiving a treatment called IVIG, a transfusion of antibodies to suppress his immunity. To have this treatment, he has been going to the hospital once every month for more than a decade. On top of that, he takes medications including steroids to boost his muscles. If you know about Guillain-Barre syndrome, CIDP is the chronic version of it. You can read more about CIDP here.

Actually, my main character from Book B has this disease too. She suffers from not only CIDP, but also depression and grief. Last year, God led me to set the project aside as it was not the right time to work on its third draft. And guess what? That time may be coming soon.

As you may noticed in my Projects page, I’ve used the image of a sea turtle for Book B. A sea turtle actually represents people with CIDP. The disease slows down their limbs which liken one as a sea turtle swimming and pressing on.


So, getting to the purpose of the title of this post. Recently, I saw a writing prompt from this website and crafted this poem, using my main character with CIDP:


She laughs.

She laughs with her lips and pain in her limbs.
She laughs with her throat and pain in her gums.
She laughs with her chest and pain in her face.
She laughs with sorrow and pain in her heart.

She lost health.
She lost passion.
She lost friends.
She lost herself.

Why does she laugh?

She laughs because in her pain, she found healing.
She laughs because in her grief, she found joy.
She laughs because in darkness, she found hope.
She laughs because in her emptiness,
she found Christ overflowing.



Copyright © Clarissa Choo, 2021.



Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Diamonds 2021 for Chronically Ill Christians

Special Events

What is Diamonds 2021?

Diamonds is an annual online conference for chronically ill Christians. Millions of chronically ill people battle impossible trials every single day. But so many of them feel so alone. The speakers of Diamonds 2021 want them to know they aren’t — not by a long shot. The theme for Diamonds 2021 is Purpose in Affliction — all about our identity and worth in God, and how our illness can strengthen our relationship with Him.


When is Diamonds 2021?

Diamonds 2021 occurs the second to last weekend in January — from Friday the 22nd through Sunday the 24th. You can join live for free, and if you miss anything you will still be able to view the recorded version by purchasing the all-access pass.


Who is speaking at Diamonds 2021?

This year, we have twenty speakers from around the world, and each of these amazing people has a special message of hope and compassion to share with you out of their own experiences with long-term illness.


What does Diamonds 2021 cost?

Because we know that many chronically ill warriors face burdensome medical bills, and because our goal is to uplift instead of adding just one more thing, Diamonds 2021 is 100% free while it’s live. 

After that, you can purchase the all-access pass to gain lifetime access to the conference content along with some exclusive bonuses. 


Where is Diamonds 2021?

Diamonds 2021 is completely online. We know that traveling with an illness is difficult, so we want to bring this right to you — even if you’re in a hospital bed or are housebound. You can register for Diamonds 2020 for free here.

Stay tuned this week for a special guest post by a Diamonds speaker and best-selling author Angela R. Watts!


Very Sincerely Yours,
Clarissa Choo-Choo Train

P.S. Why am I supporting this conference when I don’t have chronic illness? Actually, my dad has a rare chronic illness called CIDP, an auto-immune disease. The body’s immune system attacks the nerves which deteriorates the muscles.

To maintain his muscles, my dad is receiving treatment IVIG, a transfusion of antibodies to suppress his immunity, every month on top of medications including steroids to boost his muscles. If you know about Guillain-Barre syndrome, CIDP is the chronic version of it. You can read more about CIDP here.



~

Clarissa Choo is a vessel used for Christ’s glory. Although she has lived in four countries, Heaven is her only Home. She desires to sow His seeds and to serve third culture kids, teens, and writers. Besides writing, she loves to wash dishes, chop ingredients into smithereens, and record hymns on her piano. Peek into her Christian TCK Email Ministry or read more posts.

Guest Post: Five Scripture Passages to Start the New Year

Guest Posts

Dear Friend,

I am excited to publish this post written by Sarah Susanna Rhomberg, one of my close writer friends. May it bless and encourage you as it did to me.



Five Scripture Passages to Start the New Year


For some people, the past year may have seemed long and dreary. Some may be looking forward to something new, something fresh. Some may be sad that it has come to an end. Others might fear starting another year all over again.

Every year, I am torn. Yes, I love the anticipation of the new, but equally, I am one to hold onto the past, to hold onto the old.

Here are five passages for the start of the year, for both you and myself. No matter if you can’t wait for the new year or if you’re starting it with fear, let these be reminders to you.


1) Isaiah 40:30-31


“Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (KJV)


For many, this past year was not an easy one. Many feel like they are tired and weary. They feel like they are stumbling and falling. But here’s the truth to hold onto: Those who put their hope in the God of the Bible will not grow tired or weary. They will not stumble and fall.

This passage in Isaiah is a great reminder to us to put our hope into the LORD, instead of trusting in the works of man.


2) Lamentations 3:22-23


“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (KJV)


No matter the circumstances, God stays the same. His character stays the same. His love and His compassion do not waver. These are promises we have. In addition, this passage gives us another promise:

God’s mercies are new every morning. Try whispering that the moment you wake up. “New morning. New mercy.” What a good reminder for the new year!


3) Psalm 1:1-2


“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (KJV)


I bet that one of the most common new year resolutions among Christians is to read the Bible more. But maybe that’s the wrong way to think. Maybe our goal should not be to read the Bible more, instead to shape our lives around the Bible. To, as the Psalmist says, meditate on it around the clock. Day and night.

Time to rewrite new year goals?


4) Galatians 1:10


“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” (KJV)


If you stand up for your faith, you will always have people dislike you. Maybe even hate you. Does that mean we should not stand for what we believe? The answer to that is a question from Galatians. Are you seeking the approval of man or of God?

May this be a reminder to us to live the new year boldly, fearing God… not man. 


5) Revelation 22:20


“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (KJV)


The great debate about when exactly Jesus will be coming back has been going on for about 2000 years. In reality, the exact time of his return is irrelevant – it shouldn’t matter to believers. The more relevant question is, “Are you ready?”

This year, let us live ready. Let us be prepared for Jesus’ return anytime. Let us live knowing we could be standing before our Maker soon. Because that’s what He promised. He will return soon.

~

Image by Sarah Susanna Rhomberg

Sarah Susanna Rhomberg is a teen, who lives in Europe and is fluent in both English and German. When not writing, you will often find her reading or working on the organization of a camp for children – always with a mug of herbal tea at hand. Sarah wants to live her life for Christ and writes to glorify Him. Connect with her through her email list here.



P.S. Sarah’s email list is about the Christian articles she wrote. I read many of them and found them truth-filled and edifying.