I was very blessed this weekend to read Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts by Kathe Wunnenberg. I enjoyed it so much that I sent Kathe a Facebook message to tell her so, something I have never done before.
Hopelifter is actually the book that inspired my posts about hope in the first place. So I suspect you will be hearing more about it in the future. I took pages and pages of notes that I’m still trying to digest.
Kathe’s book is packed with solid, Biblically-based information, and I think it will be an encouragement to those of you who have the desire to comfort those who are hurting but need a little practical direction. For those of you who are natural-born encouragers, I think it will help you develop your gift and think more intentionally about how to use it to impact others.
Kathe lives in Arizona, where she runs a ministry called Hopelifters Unlimited. Its mission is to spread hope when life hurts, whether that be from divorce, death, illness, infertility, abortion, etc. As Kathe puts it, God has sustained her through numerous life challenges, including:
- Carrying a child with a fatal birth defect
- The loss of her son
- Starting, leading and leaving a ministry
- Birthing babies in her forties, and parenting extreme children
In Hopelifter, Kathe covers general ideas, like why we need hope, where we find hope, what blocks our hope, what gifts we have that we can use to spread hope, the importance of mentors, and more. She tells about projects she has been involved in, such as the Hope on Wheels Bus Tours, Speak Up Conference, and Moms in Prayer (all fabulous resources). She ends the book with 100 Recipes of Hope. These are short stories people have contributed that describe simple yet creative ways they gave or received hope during difficult times. If you are uncertain how to let people know you care when they are facing trials, you can look up the particular issue they are dealing with and find ways other people have been comforted in similar situations.
So what is a hopelifter exactly?
Kathe defines hopelifters as 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. Kathe believes we do not suffer painful experiences in vain, but that God allows us to use those experiences to comfort others:
His healing power can transform broken hearts and use them to bring hope to others. He knows how to link every hurting heart with a heart that can offer hope and healing. Hope is a connection to the body of Christ, which has been commissioned to act as His hands and feet on this earth. ~ Kathe Wunnenberg, Hopelifter
I love how God uses our painful experiences for good. He promises to do just that, and He is entirely faithful about following through. He knows who needs to hear our stories, and He brings us together at just the right moment.
That happened to me shortly after my divorce. Just as I was praying for someone to enter my life who had been through the same experience and could encourage me at my lowest point, a woman in my church was praying God would send her someone who was going through what she had so she could share how she made it through. As soon as we met, we both had a lightbulb moment that our prayers had been answered. God used Stephanie to answer my prayer, and He used me to answer Stephanie’s prayer. Isn’t He good like that?!
In addition to sharing our stories to encourage others, Kathe says we can also spread hope by:
- Being present
- Using personal touch
- Giving practical advice
“Hope is contagious,” Kathe says. “It is carried from person to person and is transmitted by contact.”
All we need to do is be willing.
Jesus loves you,
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