Is There Hope? Forgiveness (Decision 6)

Liz Cowen Furman:

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn /

Image: Sujin Jetkasettakorn /

Over a lifetime, anyone’s life, there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

In the previous post of this Is There Hope? series, I promised to share with you the sixth decision a person can make to start getting their life back on track. If you recall I encouraged you to get Andy Andrew’s book, The Traveler’s Gift, which we are discussing in this series. In this book, decision number six is probably the most life changing of all:

I Will Greet This Day with a Forgiving Spirit.

Not forgiving people who have offended or hurt us doesn’t hurt them, it eats us alive from the inside out.

From page 138,  The Travelers Gift:

For too long, every ounce of forgiveness I owned was locked away, hidden from view, waiting for me to bestow its precious presence upon some worthy person. Alas, I found most people to be singularly unworthy of my valuable forgiveness and, since they never asked for any, I kept it all for myself. Now, the forgiveness that I hoarded has sprouted inside my heart like a crippled seed yielding bitter fruit.

No more! At this moment, my life has taken on new hope and assurance. Of all the world’s population, I am one of the few possessors of the secret to dissipating anger and resentment. I now understand that forgiveness only has value when it is given away. By the simple act of granting forgiveness, I release the demons of the past about which I can do nothing and create in myself a new heart, a new beginning.

 Forgiving someone who has hurt me doesn’t say that what they did isn’t wrong or didn’t hurt. What it does is release me from the responsibility of paying them back. It takes me out of bondage not them. And, oh how much power there is in those three little words; I FORGIVE YOU. Whether said aloud or just to myself, it lifts a huge burden. Sometimes the person we most need to forgive is our self.

More insights from Andy Andrews (Page 139-140 ):

I will greet this day with a forgiving spirit. I will forgive myself. For many years, my greatest enemy has been myself. Every mistake, every miscalculation, every stumble I made has been replayed over and over in my mind. Every broken promise, every day wasted, every goal not reached has compounded the disgust I feel for the lack of achievement in my life. My dismay has developed a paralyzing grip. When I disappoint myself, I respond with inaction and become more disappointed. 

 So until the next post resolve to forgive yourself and others and stop thinking about suicide. And have a listen to Andy Andrews on forgiveness. Don’t forget to read The Traveler’s Gift too.

 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32, NIV Bible)

Hope: Choosing Happiness (Decision 5)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Is choosing happiness an option when depression is part of your life? Read and ponder this:


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Over a lifetime, anyone’s life, there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

In the previous post of this series, I promised to share with you the fifth decision a person can make to start getting their life to a better place. If you recall I encouraged you to get Andy Andrew’s book  The Travelers Gift and to start reading it. ( It is also available at the library.)

Decision number five states; Today I Will Choose to be Happy.

Just like choosing to get dressed in the morning or to make dinner we can choose to be happy. Once I realized that was true, it changed everything. No longer is happiness something anyone can take away from me. No longer is it dependent on my circumstances.

Beginning this very moment, I am a happy person, for I now truly understand the concept of happiness. Few others before me have been able to grasp the truth of the physical law that enables one to live happily every day. I know now that happiness is not an emotional phantom floating in and out of my life.

Happiness is a choice.

Happiness is the end result of certain thoughts and activities, which actually bring about a chemical reaction in my body. This reaction results in a euphoria, which, while elusive to some, is totally under my control. (Page 108, The Traveler’s Gift)

One way of cultivating happiness is to have a grateful heart. Do I look at my broken car and be sad because it needs fixed, or do I remain happy because I own a car to have repaired?

Do I look at the pile of work ahead of me today and bemoan the fact that it is so much to do, or be grateful that I am employed?

The choice is mine every day. I can choose to be grateful for what I have or I can lament the things I don’t. When I choose to be grateful, my whole countenance changes. My entire outlook is redone.

Today I will choose to be happy. I am the possessor of a grateful spirit. In the past, I have found discouragement in particular situations, until I compared the condition of my life to others less fortunate.

Just as a fresh breeze cleans smoke from the air, so does a grateful spirit remove the cloud of despair. It is impossible for the seeds of depression to take root in a thankful heart.

My God has bestowed upon me many gifts, and for these I will remember to be grateful. Too many times, I have offered up the prayers of a beggar, always asking for more and forgetting my thanks. (Page 109, The Traveler’s Gift)

I encourage you to stop thinking about suicide and read that last posts in this series plus The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. Also, why not listen to him describing the 5th decision, choosing happiness, himself:

Is There Any Hope for Me? (Decision 4)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

 Do you wonder, “Is there any hope for me?” Considering suicide? There IS hope.


Image: Stuart Miles /

Image: Stuart Miles /

In my previous post in The Traveler’s Gift series here on our site, about the  Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews, I promised to share with you the fourth decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be.  (I encourage you to seek out that book as a resource.)

Although this passage pertains to being more successful in life, when you are feeling depressed and overwhelmed one of the most important “successful” things you can do right now will be to succeed in staying alive.

Instead of letting your troubles overwhelm you, lift them up to God, and ask Him to help change your way of thinking about them, because new thoughts lead to new actions and new hope. And remember, this article is only one part in our series on finding new hope, so do read the other articles in this series.

Decision number four relates to the passage in the book titled I Have a Decided Heart where the character makes this declaration with deliberate new choices:

I have a decided heart. I am passionate about my vision for the future. I will awaken every morning with an excitement about the new day and its opportunity for growth and change. My thoughts and actions will work in a forward motion, never sliding into the dark forest of doubt or the muddy quicksand of self-pity. I will freely give my vision for the future to others, and as they see the belief in my eyes, they will follow me. (Page 88, The Traveler’s Gift)

This may be one of those times when we have to “fake it ‘till we make it.” If you notice, it says I have a DECIDED heart. Meaning we can choose to decide to live with a new outlook. Listen to what the historical character of the book shares with our protagonist (main character).

I have a decided heart. I will not wait.

I know that the purpose of analysis is to come to a conclusion. I have tested the angles. I have measured the probabilities. And now I have made a decision with my heart. I am not timid. I will move now and not look back. What I put off until tomorrow, I will put off until the next day as well. I do not procrastinate. All my problems become smaller when I confront them. If I touch a thistle with caution, it will prick me, but if I grasp it boldly, its spines crumble into dust. I will not wait. I am passionate about my vision for the future. My course has been charted. My destiny is assured. (Page 89, The Traveler’s Gift)


I encourage you to take hold of these decisions, and others we have discussed in The Traveler’s Gift. Also, take a few minutes to listen to Andy Andrews description of the Decided Heart himself, in this video:

When you trust God with your future, it’s more than just about positive thinking–it’s about allowing your creator to lead you in new directions, before you give up hope.

Not sure how to find God? Visit

Is There Hope? Take Action (Decision 3)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Don’t give up: change your thinking and take action, one small step at a time.

From our Is There Hope? series (Click to see Decisions 1 & 2). Material from The Travelers Gift used by permission from Thomas Nelson and Andy Andrews as we hope to save lives–including yours.

Image: Stuart Miles /

Image: Stuart Miles /

Over a lifetime there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

In the previous post of this series, I promised to share with you the third decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be. If you recall I encouraged you to start reading (new, used or from your library) Andy Andrews’ book The Travelers Gift. 

Decision number 3 calls us to move. I Am a Person of Action. Here is the description by the character in the book:

Beginning today, I will create a new future by creating a new me. No longer will I dwell in a pit of despair, moaning over squandered time and lost opportunity. I can do nothing about the past. My future is immediate. I will grasp it in both hands and carry it with running feet. When I am faced with the choice of doing nothing or doing something, I will always choose to act! I seize this moment. I choose now.  I am a person of action. (Page 69, The Traveler’s Gift)

The rest of his advice is wonderful and completely encouraging. Here is how it ends:

I am a person of action. I am daring. I am courageous. Fear no longer has a place in my life. For too long, fear has outweighed my desire to make things better for my family. Never again! I have exposed fear as a vapor, an impostor who never had any power over me in the first place! I do not fear opinion, gossip, or the idle chatter of monkeys for all are the same to me. I do not fear failure, for in my life, failure is a myth. Failure only exists for the person who quits. I do not quit.

I am courageous. I am a leader. I seize this moment. I choose now. (Page 70, The Traveler’s Gift)

I understand that when a person feels despondent, depressed, scared this may sound like an impossible undertaking. Nevertheless, remember a voyage of a 1000 miles starts with a single step. Do what you can today, pray for help and agree to be committed to reading every post and the book to get you on a path away from thinking about suicide and begin embracing hope.  Look forward to post 5 to hear the next decision.

In the meantime, why not watch this You Tube clip of Andy Andrews describing becoming a person of action himself.

Is There Hope? Seeking Wisdom (Decision 2)

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Do you know that seeking wisdom can make a huge difference in how you see hope for the future?

Over a lifetime, anyone’s life, there are moments when one can feel desperate enough to even be thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan uses to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that may ponder suicide.

Liz's Bible

This is post is about Decision 2 in our series from The Traveler’s Gift. In the previous posts in this series, I promised to share with you the second decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be. If you recall I encouraged you to get Andy Andrew’s book , The Traveler’s Gift and to start reading it.

If you are just now tuning in, here is a link where you can purchase the book on Amazon either new or used. It is also available at the library.

Decision number two for a person who wants their life to be of their choosing is:

I Will Seek Wisdom.

Are you seeking wisdom? There are many places to look for it. The most accurate place I have found wisdom is in the Bible. If you haven’t read it and even if you have, I cannot recommend it more profoundly. It changes my life nearly daily.

Listen to what the character in The Travelers Gift has to say about wisdom:

Knowing that wisdom waits to be gathered, I will actively search her out. My past can never be changed, but I can change the future by changing my actions today. I will change my actions today! I will train my eyes and ears to read and listen to books and recordings that bring about positive changes in my personal relationships and a greater understanding of my fellow man. No longer will I bombard my mind with materials that feed my doubts and fears. I will read and listen only to that which increases my belief in myself and my future. (Page 48, The Traveler’s Gift)


A person with courage recognizes that his future can be better and then takes steps to make that happen.

Courage is offered in Matthew 14 from Jesus himself. He says “take courage”. He offers it, but we must take Him up on His offer.

Another way to gather wisdom is to associate ourselves with people who are wise. Listen to another portion of this character’s explanation:

I will seek wisdom. I will choose my friends with care. I am who my friends are. I speak their language, and I wear their clothes. I share their opinions and their habits. From this moment forward, I will choose to associate with people whose lives and lifestyles I admire. If I associate with chickens, I will learn to scratch at the ground and squabble over crumbs. If I associate with eagles, I will learn to soar to great heights. I am an eagle. It is my destiny to fly. (Page 49, The Traveler’s Gift)

The decision to seek wisdom has several facets besides those mentioned here–be sure to see The Traveler’s Gift for more on how that can affect your future and hope.

See the video below to see and hear Mr. Andrews share a bit of his story, including recovering from homelessness and joblessness while also seeing God work through that. He focuses on how choices about the way you interact with others affects how they treat you and ultimately your future.

See our previous posts in our Is There Hope? series:

Is There Hope? Choosing New Beginnings

Is There Hope? The Buck Stops Here (Decision 1)


Between a Rock and a Hard Place

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Sometimes the rough road we are traveling  leaves us feeling as if we are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Some even wonder if it’s worth the journey and consider suicide in their efforts to find relief.


Image of a rock used at


Many a person has called out to God with anguished questions like:

Does my life matter?

Do You care about me?

Can You hear me?

What is the point?

Do I have a purpose for being here?

Is there a plan somewhere in this mess?

Why hasn’t God healed me?

Or restored my marriage?

How am I going to get through this?

Will I die alone?

Are you up there?

A rock and a hard place all right. If any of these questions sound like you, or you have another, let me share some great news.

If the rock you are stuck between happens to be the Rock of Ages, Jesus, you are safe. He has promised us to be with us no matter what. (See Joshua 1:5)  That means no matter what we have done, or what has been done to us, He will stick by us. All we need to do is ask Him.

In this world, you will have trouble. John 16:33

Jesus’ own words to us, but read on He continues.

But take heart! I have overcome the world.

So, when rotten stuff happens to us, instead of stomping our feet and saying Why me! Why now? I’m going to commit suicide. If we remember that bad things happen to everyone. No exceptions. Then we won’t feel so singled out and tortured.

Instead of thinking of ending it all and quitting, why not lift our eyes to the Rock? Why not pour out our pain at His feet and allow Him to work on our behalf? Why not ask Him to take the reins, and the weight off our shoulders?

We can give our burdens to Him and then hang on for dear life to The Rock?

If you are ready for some help from the One who can actually give it, here is a simple prayer you can pray to ask Jesus to take over and give you peace.

Jesus, I believe that You are God. I believe that you are all powerful. I know I have messed up and sinned against You. I am sorry. I want to give You control of my life and let You lead from now on. Thank You for loving me and saving me. Amen

If you prayed this prayer today (or ever) then relax. He’s got this one. You and I will still have burdens this side of heaven, only now we don’t have to carry them alone. We can lift our eyes to the One who will help.

Now, go for a walk to get some fresh air. Then watch Fernando Ortega sing this great old hymn to remind us both that being between a rock and a hard place isn’t a bad thing if that rock is The ROCK. Jesus Christ.

Is There Hope? The Buck Stops Here (Decision 1)

By Liz Furman:

Part 2 in the Is There Hope? series.

money from morguefile

In the opening post of this series, I promised to share with you the first decision a person can make to start getting their life to a place they want it to be. If you are thinking about suicide, it is critical for your perspective to change, and I believe this Is There Hope? series can help you.

If you remember I encouraged you to get Andy Andrew’s book The Travelers Gift and to start reading it. (You can find that book new or used, or at your public library.)

So, let’s get started. Decision number one for a person who wants their life to be fun to live is: The Buck Stops Here. Check this quote from the president in The Traveler’s Gift who had big decisions to make~and be responsible for.

From this moment forward, I will accept responsibility for my past. I understand that the beginning of wisdom is to accept the responsibility for my own problems and that by accepting responsibility for my past; I free myself to move into a bigger, brighter future of my own choosing.

Never again will I blame my parents, my spouse, my boss, or employees for my present situation. Neither my education nor lack of one, my genetics, or the circumstantial ebb and flow of everyday life will affect my future in a negative way. If I allow myself to blame these uncontrollable forces for my lack of success, I will be forever caught in a web of the past. I will look forward. I will not let my history control my destiny. Page 32 The Traveler’s Gift

He goes on to say that any person has the power to determine what their thoughts will be. We get to choose negative or positive thoughts. He also vows that when faced with an opportunity to make a decision, we will make one.

The end of that president’s quote goes like this:

The buck stops here. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions.

In the future, when I am tempted to ask the question “Why me?” I will immediately counter with the answer: “Why not me?” Challenges are a gift, an opportunity to learn.

Problems are the common thread running through the lives of great men and women.

 In times of adversity, I will not have a problem to deal with; I will have a choice to make. My thoughts will be clear. I will make the right choice. Adversity is preparation for greatness. I will accept the preparation. Why me? Why not me? I will be prepared for something great!

I accept responsibility for my past. I control my thoughts. I control my emotions. I am responsible for my success.

Page 34 The Traveler’s Gift

When thinking about suicide, remembering that the future is our choice has helped folks back from the brink many times.

Though especially when we don’t feel capable of pulling it off, remembering that Jesus promised several times in scripture to never leave of forsake us lends the courage we need to press on. In Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV Bible) it says:

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.”)

I will continue to share thoughts from Andy Andrews’ book,  The Travelers Gift in future posts, so it would be helpful for you to have a copy–be sure to check your library for one. In the video below, Andy shares about dealing with adversity and making choices, and about how learning new principals can change your life.

Is There Hope? Choosing New Beginnings

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Many people who feel desperate wonder, Is there hope? They may even consider suicide. The answer is YES, there is hope, and your life matters.

Part 1 in the Is There Hope? series.

DCF 1.0

Every person at some time in their life is bound to go through difficult times. Some feel so desperate they end up thinking about suicide. There are so many things Satan can use to send a person to the brink of losing hope. And a life without hope is the one that ponders suicide.

If you are in that place today, I am here to tell you that the voices you are hearing, the ones telling you suicide would solve your problems, that life is not worth living, that you or your existence does not matter, is a lie from the pit.

From this moment forward, we can decide to tell that mess to get behind us. We are the ones who can choose our future; we can look out on the world and choose for ourselves what we want our futures to be like.

I heard a wise man once say that when people are depressed and without hope, it is because they are spending too much time thinking about how things currently are and too little time thinking about how they want them to be.

This is a new year, a time for new beginnings. Why not make 2012 the last year you let yourself be thinking about suicide; the last year you let yourself be without hope or somewhere you do not want to be emotionally.

I will share with you some choices you can make so that in January 2014 you will view this painful time in your life as just a bad memory. If you will bear with me here and follow the next seven posts, I believe you will find a way out of the pit of despair you might currently reside in.

Anything that could truly help, that is worth doing, is worth doing right. So please join me on a journey that can bring you up from the land of the dead into the wonderful light in the land of the living.

In the beginning of Andy Andrews‘ book, The Travelers Gift, the main character tries to kill himself. He is at his wits’ end. Sees no way out, feels like a failure. He is living in that pit of despair. While he is asleep (or in a coma) from a car wreck he goes on a journey back into history and meets several great people, each with a gift to help him get his life back.

In the next several posts, I am going to share some of the ideas presented to the main character in his time travel. I encourage you to put off your suicidal thoughts and read the book and the upcoming posts, because I believe that if you have this information you may decide yours is a life worth living. You can find Andy Andrew’s book The Travelers Gift, new or used, or at your public library.

For starters, watch the video below to hear Andy talk about how you can choose how you react to bad circumstances, or manage to act when life is not fair. (This is a long video, so if you want to go to just that section, fast forward to the 14 minute–21:56  marks.) At the end of the video Andy talks about the amazing Butterfly effect and how two billion people were saved by the actions of just a few ordinary people. You can click HERE to watch just the excerpt on the Butterfly Effect at our sister site, Finding God Daily, at the bottom of our article about George Washington Carver.

“Everything you do matters”–your life is indeed worth living!

I Feel Worthless: Why Keep Living?

By Liz Cowen Furman:

I  feel worthless, so why keep living? Have thoughts like this ever plagued you?


Image by Liz Cowen Furman

There was a time in my life when I found all of my self-worth based on what I believed others thought of me, sometimes on what I thought of myself. I was an absolute people pleaser.

Living like that is very dangerous; like standing on the edge of a cliff. A person standing on the edge of a cliff has no chance when the wind changes or a gust comes, or especially if a storm blows in.

When I was in college, I took an apologetics class. The professor shared with us that the Bible clearly states that there are no accidents, that God is in control. See Revelation 3:7

In Psalm 139 it says, God knit each of us together in our mother’s womb. That we each are fearfully and wonderfully made. We learn from the life of Mary (Jesus’ earthly mother) that God has a purpose for each of us to fulfill. That He will equip each of us to complete that purpose. That our worth is not found in what others think of us, or even what we think of ourselves, but in what our Abba (Daddy) God thinks of us. And since He created us we must have worth. He makes NO mistakes. He also has promised to forgive us when we fail.

So take heart! If you are in a season where you think your life has no worth, know that is a lie of the enemy. Your life does have worth, purpose and there is a reason you were born at this particular time in history, like Esther. See Esther 4

Every one of us, while here on the planet, will be forced to go through storms that threaten to knock us off our feet. Somehow for me, just knowing that God is really in control helps. He will see me through and just like the rainbow at the end of a storm, His promise to never leave me or forsake me stands. If you are His, it stands for you too. See Joshua 1:5: No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

If you are at the end of your rope today, cry out to the living God. Ask Him to help you, to show you the way. He will. Look for the answer. It might come in a different form than you expected, but He will answer. For more about how to be best friends with the One in control of everything and how to find God, see Linda Evans Shepherd’s book When You Can’t Find God.  Read why to keep living and hang in there.

Check out this video by Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli singing The Prayer, and know that I am praying for you as you read this post, that you will find peace and know that God Loves YOU. Praying you will know that your life has purpose and the current circumstances are not the way it will be for long.

Abandoned; Shattered Dreams: Thinking About Suicide?

By Liz Cowen Furman:

Recently divorced, I thought it was over. I felt abandoned by the man who had only one year previously  pledged to protect, provide for, and love me into eternity.


Bleeding Hearts…that was mine.

Excitement grew for me as our honeymoon plane took off for Hawaii, (the first plane I had ever boarded in my young life). But he shook his head and sighed, “Oh God, what have I done?”

Being a young blushing bride, I replied, “Did you forget something, I’m sure we can find whatever it is at a store in Maui.”

“No. No. It’s nothing.”

The next miserable year was filled with heartache, shattered dreams and a growing fear inside me that my life was over. I wanted children. I had dreamed of growing old with this man who become like Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde. Before the vows, he was kind to all my friends and family. He lavished me with little affirmations that he would love me forever. Promised me over and over to never leave or forsake me.

Post ceremony he was cruel, saying and doing things that made me feel worthless, refusing on most occasions to even have my family or friends around. He refused to attend church. I was confused, betrayed and heartbroken. Then came the day he announced it was time for me to find an apartment. By that time, I would not even do the grocery shopping without him there for fear I would do it wrong and experience his verbal wrath.

After several sessions of marriage counseling, the marriage counselor met with me alone. He told me my husband believed he had made a terrible mistake, and just wanted out. No counseling could help someone who did not want to try. SHATTERED would be an understatement.

Could I be such a miserable person that the one I had pledged to love for the rest of my life couldn’t stand me in his presence after only 12 short months? FEAR had me in its destructive, paralyzing grip.

In the months that followed, I spent a lot of time alone. Spent a lot of time in the Bible, a lot of time grieving my dashed hopes for a happy marriage and family. I was in my early 20s and believed I was facing life alone. It was the first time I had ever lived alone in my life.

The next years, I focused on building a new dream. I got involved in a church, made new friends and kept my old ones. Went back to school and prayed. I asked God to help me find my way. I repented of anything I had done to cause it. I asked for guidance, wisdom and a new mission in life. God is good, and as the next several years unfolded, I grew in my love of Him. He gave me new hopes, new dreams, even a husband and children. I married Dave with the condition that we will not divorce.  I was not leaving. This marriage vow is a covenant, not a contract.

Looking back, I can see several benchmarks that saved me. Reading my Bible became a daily passion. The wisdom I found on the pages there ministered to me like nothing else. I made mistakes along the way but that single activity pulled me back every time. One of the verses that became my mainstay is Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If your hopes and dreams have been shattered, take courage. Give your next months to studying the love letters God has written to you. You will find them in the Bible. My advice is to start in the Book of John.

Here is a song that encouraged me along the way.