What do you think of when you think of hope? When another person tells you something good they desire, you may say... I hope that happens; I hope you get that job and find that spouse. What do you hope for? Sometimes hope can feel scary, almost like an opportunity for disappointment or simply wishful thinking. In this episode, Susan Habegger with Thrive Life Skills will give us a different perspective as we focus on a hope that we can count on, no matter what.
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The transcript is autogenerated.
[00:00:00] Denisha: What do you think of when you think of hope? Maybe it's when another person tells you something good that they desire. You may say, I hope that happens. I hope you get that job. I hope you find that spouse. What do you hope for? Sometimes hope can feel scary, almost like an opportunity for disappointment or simply wishful thinking.
[00:00:24] Denisha: In this episode, Susan Hoecker with Thrive Life Skills will give us a different perspective as we focus on a hope that we can count on no matter what, and before we get started, it is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of 2022. If this podcast has been an encouragement to you this year, would you consider partnering with us to keep it on the air and reach more people with the hope of.
[00:00:49] Denisha: There are two ways that you can do that. One is through prayer. We believe that it is impossible to pray without something happening. Praying for this podcast, our [00:01:00] guests and our listeners is a huge gift to this ministry. The second way to partner with us is to give financially. You can give your tax deductible email@example.com or by texting the word give to 1-833-302-ZERO 5 1 8.
[00:01:20] Denisha: That's 1 8 3 3. 3 0 2 0 5 1 8. And if you enjoy listening to this podcast, keep on listening because that is what we're here for. Let's get started on this episode with Susan Hoba. Welcome to Living the Reclaim Life podcast. I'm Danisha. We're glad you're here for conversations that revive hope, inspire healing, and encourage you to live a vibrant life with Christ.
[00:01:47] Denisha: So grab a cup of coffee as we chat with today's.
[00:01:53] Denisha: Today I am delighted to invite Susan Hoer to the podcast. Susan, thank you so much for being here. [00:02:00]
[00:02:00] Susan: It's good to be here. It's good to be with you even though we're across the country. We are. Okay, so
[00:02:05] Denisha: tell where you are coming from right now. .
[00:02:08] Susan: I'm in Michigan close to Holland, Michigan, so not too far from the lake, and it's dreary and cloudy, and we're expecting snow.
[00:02:17] Susan: Oh, wow.
[00:02:18] Denisha: So coming from Tucson. It is. It was like 35 this morning, which is super cold for us. It's a little bit different. Our weather, isn't it, ?
[00:02:26] Susan: It's, yes. It's.
[00:02:28] Denisha: Susan, I'd love to start out and talk about your humanitarian, nonprofit, thrive Life skills. I know you have, I'm gonna read your vision statement here cause I think it's fantastic to come alongside and walk with the suffering in the circumstances under which they must live their lives.
[00:02:45] Denisha: To provide hope and to discover a courageous and peaceful way forward. Thrive Life Skills is active in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the us. You are in the hard places of people's stories, so tell us a little more about that. [00:03:00]
[00:03:00] Susan: Thrive life skills is something that God put on my heart.
[00:03:04] Susan: Some years ago, we started in 2010, but I had been involved in missions and lived overseas, 1994 through 2000, lived in Nigeria and then. Worked in various countries in Africa in particular, and then God was moving me on to other things as he does, and I went back on a trip to Nigeria and. . It's as if God had things planned.
[00:03:36] Susan: As I sat down with people, the question that they would ask, or the statement they would make was, we want to help people. We're rescuing, in particular young women, young men, but then we don't know how to help them. Live a new life, find a new way forward, and I just felt God saying this is what you're to do.
[00:03:57] Susan: And so that was when I started [00:04:00] Thrive Life Skills and started with all sorts of topics from business to scripture studies to sewing and started writing information and curriculum that could be used by the nationals and. Did that for some years and really loved that because I was able to write things from the perspective of a developing country.
[00:04:26] Susan: And so taking it through in simple and building information. And then in 2013, God had some other things planned for my life and I came into a time of. Of. Suffering a time of trauma, a time of comprehension of things in my life that I didn't know had been there, and essentially others of you, I'm sure can relate to this.
[00:04:55] Susan: My life fell apart as I had known it, and it was at that point in time [00:05:00] that God really began to take thrive in a direction of focusing on suffering and pain and. , how do we deal with that? And so that's where the vision has developed of coming alongside in the circumstances in which we find ourselves thrive is not a fix it organization.
[00:05:21] Susan: We can't go and fix things, but we can come alongside and help discover a way to move through with courage and peace. And God had to do that in my own life before he could then help. Discover how to help others experience that as well. So that's where that focus and that vision came from.
[00:05:45] Susan: Isn't it
[00:05:45] Denisha: amazing how God uses the circumstances of our lives to almost propel us forward into the next thing that he has for us? He didn't create our circumstances, but he sure does utilize them in [00:06:00] beautiful
[00:06:00] Susan: ways.
[00:06:02] Denisha: You mentioned that you began a course and that course was an unexpected and uninvited assignment from God.
[00:06:10] Denisha: Tell us a little bit about that course.
[00:06:12] Susan: When we experience suffering, and I am not the only one, those who are listening today have experienced all sorts of pain and betrayal and suffering, and for a point in time our world. Implodes, it might explode in that it implodes. And we find ourselves very focused on how we're going to survive, how we're going to learn a new way to live in the circumstances that we now are experiencing.
[00:06:45] Susan: And so I was doing that and God was caring for. and I ga began to hear him saying, the next thing I want you to write about is trauma and suffering and how to move through [00:07:00]it. And I. . I don't want to say I told him he was crazy, but I was not pleased with his input. And I said, no, I can't do that.
[00:07:10] Susan: I am too much in the midst of it right now, and I don't really have anything to say. And so he kept after me and kept after me until I realized. . He knew I didn't have anything to say, but he had some things to say and so I began to write and it was very much like he was he was pouring that out of me and I was able to, I was able to write about how I responded.
[00:07:42] Susan: to the trauma and how he met me in that he could show me how he took me step by step down the pathway and allowed me, or perhaps gave me permission to do that very honestly, so that it's [00:08:00] not a bright and shiny, everything is wonderful. all's packed up in a box with a ribbon on it. It's not that kind of journey, and this was my time to discover that and to be able to share that and begin to put that down on paper.
[00:08:16] Susan: And it really began as a way to help. others, help others. To be able to take it to Nigeria, to refugee camps in Thailand, to various places and teach leaders, train leaders to. Help them take their people through the trauma that they have been experiencing. And the first trip that I did that on was in 2015.
[00:08:45] Susan: So it took me a year to get this all in place. And in 2015 I went and spent three weeks in a refugee camp in Thailand and three weeks in India. And that was the first go of moving forward from trauma and. [00:09:00] That focus of trauma and suffering and pain and coming alongside has narrowed for Thrive now for the past years.
[00:09:10] Susan: It's such a unique
[00:09:11] Denisha: niche too that I wonder, have you experienced that dealing with the trauma moving, through that trauma, that opens people up a little bit more to understanding a relationship with the Lord? How has that worked?
[00:09:27] Susan: Yes that's a good conclusion because we can talk about all sorts of ways to face our suffering, to talk about it, to share our stories.
[00:09:43] Susan: There comes a moment in time when we all are going to need to take some kind of action and begin to build. Not based on how it once was, but based on how it is now life as it is now. [00:10:00] And in order to do that, we have to be able to grab hold of something that is sure and that is faithful and that is right and that is good.
[00:10:11] Susan: And everything we've grabbed hold of in the past. Has failed us. In fact, that's why we're in the situation often that we are. And so when we go to try to move forward, if we don't have something sure and good and right, we will only be able to go so far. And the only one that we can bring into that is Jesus Christ.
[00:10:38] Susan: And. It does bring him to the forefront. Often I will talk of him as our traveling companion until I get to the point where people are maybe willing to hear about God and his place on this journey. But when we are suffering, when people are suffering and we are [00:11:00] looking for comfort and surety, the openness to God is much more.
[00:11:05] Susan: To at least be a part of the conversation. Wow.
[00:11:10] Denisha: And what would you say, here in America, right? What would you say the difference in suffering looks like to other countries versus America?
[00:11:24] Susan: I, one of the things that I always say is that suffering is not comparative. So when we. When we tell our stories and we think, oh, that person's story is so much worse than mine. And so I shouldn't even be concerned, and I will hear that sometimes this is such a little thing compared to all the suffering in the world.
[00:11:45] Susan: And our suffering is our suffering and it's something that we need to experience and come to peace with. And so the suffering in other places and here [00:12:00] much. Is on the same scale. It's, we are feeling betrayal. We are experiencing physical pain. Our expectations have not come to pass the way we thought those things are happening.
[00:12:15] Susan: A loss of love, a feeling of not being loved. Being abused. Those things happen here and they happen there. I think one of the differences that I see is that here in the US it may be very difficult for us to seek out help. We might sometimes not be ready for that, and we find it hard to express our story or to share that with someone.
[00:12:45] Susan: But if we want to find help, we can often find someone who. Come alongside, at least for a moment in time. Whereas in many places it's not even considered [00:13:00] good and right to talk about that pain and suffering. So here I might sit down on the plane and somebody might share with me, oh, what happened that week to them in other places, in Asian countries and all in African countries?
[00:13:16] Susan: that's not the case. I don't talk about that because that's very private and very personal, and after all, if I do that, then I'm complaining. And so that expression, the expression of suffering is much more open here than it is in other places. I think
[00:13:34] Denisha: that's really interesting. I know I feel like I saw that in my grandmother's generat.
[00:13:40] Denisha: that she didn't talk about things that had happened in the family. Everything was just underground, if you will. So that's a very interesting perspective. . Susan, I am super excited. I'm gonna throw out a little teaser about a project that we are working on that's gonna come out in 2023 to just utilize so much of the [00:14:00] experience and the knowledge and wisdom that you have from.
[00:14:04] Denisha: Using this information, this curriculum for all these years to start to bring that over a little bit more into the us. So we're super excited about that and you will hear a lot more from Susan in the future. This month we are talking about reviving hope and in your ministry, what perspective do people have of hope, especially to those that are suffering?
[00:14:30] Susan: When we think of hope, I. . If we go into a if we go into a little shop, if you go into little shops that have little knickknacks and trinkets all over and things, you'll see things with sayings little plaques with sailings pillows, with sayings stones that you put in your garden. And often there are things to do with hope.
[00:14:53] Susan: And there are such cute little sayings about hope. , embrace hope for a better tomorrow and never lose [00:15:00] hope. You never know what tomorrow may bring. There are all these wonderful things and our heart warms to that, and yet when we really go to think about it and talk about it it gets a little confusing as to what we actually mean by hope.
[00:15:13] Susan: And , when we are in the midst of suffering, we so want to buy that pillow and put it on our bed. That says choose hope. But we're thinking maybe to ourselves, after all that's happened in my life and maybe people associated with me, others who have lived through. Our suffering. I don't think hope is deserved.
[00:15:36] Susan: There's too much going on. There's too much pain, there's too much bitterness, there's too much anger. And so hope isn't one of those things that fits into that picture very well. After all that's happened, hope doesn't fit there. Or we feel like we don. , we don't deserve it in some way.
[00:15:58] Susan: Maybe we feel like there [00:16:00] are things that we are ashamed of, things we need to pay for, things we need to figure out first and hope doesn't fit. And yet there's this desire to think of something good for the future. So the way I think of it is, hope becomes this determination to think something good and here's a.
[00:16:29] Susan: it's a little grammar lesson. So we begin to think of hope in the verb sense. Okay? I hope this, I hope that I'm able to make sense of this relationship. I hope that I hope that you feel better. I hope that you get the job that you're looking for. And so hope is this thing that we say in this verb that we say, and yet,
[00:16:54] Susan: What we begin to discover is that wrapped up in that [00:17:00] expression of hope is. Understanding that there's a very good chance that thing will not happen. There's a very good chance that we will be disappointed and we, you know it when somebody says you share something with them and they say I hope that happens for you.
[00:17:17] Susan: And you can just hear the undertones of not sure that's gonna be that way. And so the verb hope becomes a wish. It became, becomes something that we want to happen, but within that we feel that it probably will not, or there's a very good likelihood that it will not. And I think for people who have suffered, that is even more defined because so many things that we hoped for, so many things that we longed for, and they were good things.
[00:17:55] Susan: they were good and right things. Those things fell [00:18:00] apart. And so at this point, hope isn't always all that it's cracked up to be. It's not necessarily such a good thing. Because maybe it's just another opportunity for disappointment. Those hopes that we've had those wishes, those longings that begin when we're five years old, as we look at life, those are good and right, but they have failed us.
[00:18:29] Susan: And much of our life has been consumed by that wishful thinking and sometimes in suffering that wishful thinking begins. more dim and more dim. The focus has been on our hoping and that hoping has become part of our suffering.
[00:18:46] Denisha: Wow. That is an incredible way to describe one version of hope, right?
[00:18:52] Denisha: Wow. I know. I've seen expectation this little formula expectation minus [00:19:00] observation equals frustra. , and that's that expectation of hope. I hope I, and I'm going drastic here, but I hope I win the lottery. I hope that happens for you, right? , that's my expectation. Minus my observation was not my Powerball winning numbers, right?
[00:19:15] Denisha: Equals a frustration. And that kind of goes back to the proverb, right about hope deferred makes the heart sick. That we hope for something with anticipation, that wishful thinking as you referred to that then we don't. ,
[00:19:28] Susan: right? But there's another kind of hope. There's the verb hope which becomes a bit like a wish.
[00:19:35] Susan: And when we do that
[00:19:37] Susan: and we do that on a daily basis we find ourselves just moving from one thing to another in that hopefulness , there is an answer because what we need is in order to find something on which we can pin our hope, we need something that is going to be unch changing. It's going to be [00:20:00] faithful.
[00:20:01] Susan: It's going to be truthful, and it's going to love perfectly. . And when we try to find something like that in our world, it's virtually impossible. And that is exactly why we've learned to make concessions and excuses. We've lost our hope and so we make we know what's happening deep inside, but we try to make excuses around what is happening in order to preserve that.
[00:20:25] Susan: And. I want to turn a little corner in the path and introduce you to a traveling companion that we have on this journey, and he is our creator. He is our savior. He is God. , and you have often heard him called God, I want to introduce him to you today as I am, because this God, this creator, when he introduces himself to people, he often uses words that are appropriate [00:21:00] and right for that particular situation.
[00:21:02] Susan: And so I go back to a time when he introduces himself to his people in the old Testa. and he's about to rescue them. They have been suffering greatly. They have been abused. They have been betrayed. They have been tricked. They are in great pain emotionally and physically. They are suffering and they have lost their hope.
[00:21:29] Susan: They feel that no one is listening to their cries for help, and they have been crying out for help, but they feel like no one has heard. And now after much abuse, they're going to be asked to put their hope in something or someone. And Moses, who is going to take that opportunity to them? Says, These people are undone.
[00:21:53] Susan: They're not going to hope in anything. What can I say to them about who you are? When [00:22:00] they ask who has sent this hope? When they ask your name, what should I say? And God replies, say, I Am has sent you. And I chose that for this introduction to him at this portion of our discussion of hope, because maybe like me, you find yourself saying, there's no one who's worthy of my complete trust.
[00:22:25] Susan: There is no one who's never betrayed me. There is nothing that's dependable. There is no sure thing. There is no one. And yet this traveling companion. I am. It's so full of meaning and so full of value, and so we find that this becomes the noun. Hope we don't hope. We have a hope. We have this. Hope. He is our hope.
[00:22:59] Susan: [00:23:00] He's the noun. Maybe I should make a pillow that says the noun. Hope . But this is, I love it. This is the hope on which we can pin all our expectations. So rather than compromising our expectations, rather. entrusting ourselves to someone who's unde, dependable, and wish for something to happen.
[00:23:21] Susan: We can hold to this hope, and I love a verse in Hebrews. It's Hebrews 10 23 This's. What? This is what it says. Let us hold un swerving to the hope we profess for. He who promised is faithful. Let us hold uns swerving. So the surety comes not in our action of hope, but in the object of our hope. We can hold uns swerving to this one who is faithful.
[00:23:55] Susan: Others can say they'll be faithful, but they are not. In fact, [00:24:00] they cannot be. only he is the one who can say it and prove it to be true. So if you can picture it, the storm is raging and the chaos is going all around us. Maybe it is in your life, it has in mind, it comes and goes, and during that chaos we can see the truth.
[00:24:22] Susan: That even though there's a chaotic free for all around us, we can put our sights on that hope. The I am there is hope for us simply because he is now. . We can hope for things that are good and right. We can hope for families. We can hope for relationships. We can hope for jobs, we can hope for all of those things.
[00:24:48] Susan: It's just that we can't hold unser to those hopes because they will not fulfill that need [00:25:00] within us. For something that is sure and real, it is my I am. on which I can place my hope. And I'll stop there. . Oh, keep going. .
[00:25:14] Denisha: I love that perspective of hope that he is truly, he is the embodiment of our hope, not the wishful thinking, but the embodiment of our hope.
[00:25:24] Denisha: And I am Oh, it's beautiful.
[00:25:28] Susan: And this time of year, Danisha, you and I were talking about how thi this time of year we have this picture of how things are going to be, how things should be, how things should be gathered around the table, what the trees should look like, how our family will come together and that may not be the reality of.
[00:25:48] Susan: Of our lives. And so we think that hope is lost, and it's at those times that I sit quietly and [00:26:00] close my eyes or open my eyes and focus on the. I am. Who is the hope that has not changed in the midst of all the other things that have come and gone and been lost and been set aside. And it may seem like a quick answer, but it is a real answer that does.
[00:26:25] Susan: Help us in our emotions and in our spirits. There's a portion I will end with this. There's a portion of scripture in Haba. Habak chapter three. Maybe that's a book you haven't gone to very often, but it's a wonderful passage that says, though the fig tree may not blossom nor fruit beyond the vines, though the labor of the olive may fail and the fields yield no food, though the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the [00:27:00] stalls.
[00:27:01] Susan: I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation cause he is our hope. So it's probably not good to rewrite scripture, but I have thought of this in various ways because I don't have big trees and I don't have fruit on the vine and I don't have olive trees either. But maybe we can say things like , though my family isn't together this holiday time though relationships are broken, though my physical body is not responding the way that I wanted it to though I have things in my past that are troubling me and causing obstacles for.
[00:27:52] Susan: Though I feel bitterness and anger in some ways, though I'm suffering, [00:28:00] I will rejoice in the Lord. I will joy in the God of my salvation because with the chaos around me, he is the hope on which I can hold uns, swerving. and that tangible, I'm a very visual person, so that tangible to hold onto uns swerving has served me well over the years and it will serve me well through this season as well.
[00:28:28] Denisha: Love uns swerving. That should be on a .
[00:28:31] Susan: Yes. It's a word we probably don't use much these days, but , it's a. .
[00:28:36] Denisha: Oh, I love that. That's a straight path. Don't, not swerving. That straight path of holding onto him, keeping our eyes focused on him even in the midst of the storm.
[00:28:44] Susan: Yes. Yes. How
[00:28:46] Denisha: do we breathe new life into the reality of Healthy Hope as we move forward in healing?
[00:28:54] Susan: That's a whole podcast . One of the ways is to.
[00:28:58] Susan: patch ourselves when we [00:29:00] find ourselves going into wishful thinking. So those. Those wishes and those hopes are not bad. And I encourage if I can give a homework assignment, I encourage people to take a piece of paper and write down the hopes that you have had through the years beginning young and coming to this point in time, the hopes that you've had that were good and right and should have been expected.
[00:29:29] Susan: And then. Also, right? How those hopes have not come to fruition, how perhaps you thought they had and they've been undone. When we can see the reality of those, it helps us to begin to come to peace with them. So to recognize those as some of the verb hoping that we did. , but then to move ourselves over to [00:30:00] the hope on which we set ourselves, uns, swerving, and see the difference.
[00:30:07] Susan: Because when we don't see the difference, we become undone by those hopes that have been broken and betrayed. We allow that to. To center us, which all it does is cause chaos. We allow that to. We go from this hope to that hope, to this hope. And oh, now this is a new hope. And all you have to do is listen to all the marketing around you that will give you one more new hope if you just set yourself on this.
[00:30:34] Susan: And so if we can begin to visually see what is a verb, hope and what is a noun, hope and. Teach ourselves how we handle both of them. Then we can come to a healthier understanding and a healthier relationship with hope, because we are expecting the right things from that particular hope. Is [00:31:00] it a verb hope?
[00:31:00] Susan: Okay. We can expect certain things from it. Is it a noun? Hope? Okay. We can expect certain things from it, but we can't mix the two. That's one little. . That's
[00:31:10] Denisha: a pretty big one. And as you said earlier, the noun hope when we're hoping in that it is unchanging, faithful, truthful. Perfect. And that is loving perfectly.
[00:31:20] Denisha: Loving perfectly, I think is what you said. That is a beautiful way to look at that noun. Hope we can submit ourselves in that and we will be
[00:31:30] Susan: uns swerving. Yes. Yes. It's. . Susan,
[00:31:34] Denisha: this has been an amazing conversation on hope. Is there any last thoughts that you have, anything you wanna add to this?
[00:31:41] Denisha: And I could unpack just a couple sentences of what you said and just chew on that. I think for the next week, ,
[00:31:46] Susan: I believe in hope and I love that your focus for this time is to bring people to that point where. They're getting ready to and working up the courage to [00:32:00] look forward with hope and bring that back into the picture.
[00:32:04] Susan: And so I believe in hope very strongly, both the verb and the noun, but the God, the I am. , if he is not the foundation of even our wishful hopes, then. We will be swerving, we will be going from place to place. And that's repeating what I already said, but that hope, that true hope in this season in particular is not just.
[00:32:33] Susan: Words that we say about the season, there is a reason why this season is hopeful and that is because we know what this I am is going to be to us and for as us as he comes to this earth and embraces our own suffering. And so in that he is my hope in suffering and. , and I hope, I [00:33:00] do hope that others will find him in that way during this time and in the months to come.
[00:33:07] Susan: That he is not just on a pillow, he's not just a word on a pillow, but he is something on which you can really hold and grab. Amen, man.
[00:33:16] Denisha: Amen. Yes, he is. Oh, wow. . Susan, thank you so much. I look forward to having you back on this podcast because. , this is, these are the things that we need to hear. These are the things that really just, I feel like my soul has been watered.
[00:33:34] Denisha: Just hearing that difference and realizing that I have put my hope in wishful thinking. I think I start every year with wishful thinking about, some goals, maybe going to a gym or things like that. That is wishful thinking, but that, that definitely can be swerving at times, but that uns swerving ness of who he.
[00:33:54] Denisha: of that. I am. That does not change. And so thank you for just bringing us back to [00:34:00] that plum line, to that focus of who he is in the midst of our season.
[00:34:05] Susan: Oh, we just need to remind each other of those things. We sure do.
[00:34:09] Denisha: We sure do. Susan, how can we find you after this podcast? ,
[00:34:13] Susan: You can go to thrive life skills.com the website, and you can write to email susan h thrive life skills.org.
[00:34:25] Susan: So if you go to the, if you go to the website, you'll also find how to contact me as well. And that would be, those would be good ways to do.
[00:34:34] Denisha: Awesome. Susan, thank you so much and we look forward to having you back.
[00:34:39] Susan: Thank you very much, Danisha, for letting me be with you today. Thank you.
[00:34:44] Denisha: Thanks for listening.
[00:34:45] Denisha: I pray you found hope in today's conversation and maybe even feel a little less alone in your story. Stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram at Reclaimed Story. Wanna learn more about living a reclaimed [00:35:00] life and how you can be a part of our growing community of recla. Check out our firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:35:07] Denisha: All of those links and more will be in the show notes. And if you enjoyed this inspirational podcast, be sure to subscribe, rate and review. Not only will you be the first one to know when new content comes out, but it is also a huge help in helping us reach more people to live the reclaimed life.