Long Expected- Hope Fulfilled

Long Expected- Hope Fulfilled

For the month of December, you will see more posts than usual in your email. This month I wanted to celebrate Christ’s birth by getting some friends to share a story or posts this month.

I have six guest posts for the month of December. I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I did.

This week’s post is from Sharon Beth Brani. She writes a beautiful story of adoption–after many years of waiting for a child, she gets a Christmas miracle. Please enjoy her story.

The Wait

I spun the globe as I sat on the living room rug. “Where do you want to go?” the social worker had asked.

    The question puzzled me. Where? After many, many years of longing to hold my own sweet-smelling baby, it almost seemed foolish to think about. A broken marriage and, along with it, dashed dreams of that happy family. Where? That wasn’t the question. It was more if God would choose to bless me. Up till now, the answer had been no.

     “Lord, I’m willing to go anywhere,” I whispered aloud. With that, the adoption wheels rolled and now I was sitting in a small room upstairs in the Russian orphanage with three other couples. Waiting. Longing. Simply.

The clock ticked slowly on this Christmas Eve.

     My thoughts wandered back to my family in the states. I knew they were praying for me as I completed the adoption of my 6-month-old daughter. The tension was great. We waited for the signal to quietly get our little ones and slip them out of the orphanage into the frigid cold—waiting to catch the overnight train back to Moscow—waiting to get everything completed so we could bring our children home.

    On this Christmas Eve many years ago, the waiting was painful—the longing even more so. Would disappointment win again?

     The clock ticked slowly, and I watched as the hands moved to 11:00 pm. When would they give the signal? Would this be the Christmas I’d remember for always?

    Many years ago, Jesus was born into this dark and hurting world. He came. Quietly. Simply. While the world slept, all the angels sang, “Glory to God in the Highest.” The long waiting was over — Hope was fulfilled.

   Many years ago, Jesus was born into this dark and hurting world. He came. Quietly. Simply. While the world slept, all the angels sang, “Glory to God in the Highest.” The long waiting was over — Hope was fulfilled. #ThisSideofHeaven #SharonBethBrani #LongExpectedHopeFulfilled

 Hope Fulfilled


I rubbed my hands together and caught the anxious eyes of another mom-to-be. We were all tense.

    Suddenly, the door opened, and the Russian facilitator gave a simple nod. My heart jumped.

    Joseph knew when it was time. He never forgot it.

    Mary knew and leaned in with all her trust in her Lord.

    And I knew.

    I followed the others up the darkened steps to the baby room. Then the nurse stepped out into the hall and put the warm, sleepy body of my baby girl in my arms. Quickly, I removed her Russian clothes and dressed her in a new pink traveling outfit. Wrapping her in a soft pink blanket, I picked her up and walked down the hallway to the door. The door that led to life. And love. And a whole new world.

    The cold hit my face as I carefully walked down the steps into the night. And my heart kept saying, “Thank you, God. Thank you for this amazing gift. Glory to God.”

    Suddenly, the wonder of what was happening filled my soul, and I glanced heavenward. It seemed at that moment as if I was all alone with God. Snowflakes circled me and pure joy overcame my soul.

    Then I heard the softest sound that seemed like music. I listened carefully as more snowflakes fell around me. Then I heard it again. It seemed like the sound of angels singing. Once more, God had broken into the darkness, giving hope. A hope that would forevermore change not only my life but the lives of many around the world. My heart overflowed and still does with the wonder of His faithfulness and forever love.

Meet Sharon Beth Brani

Sharon Brani is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia, a Board Certified Coach, an educator, published freelance writer, and speaker whose life is committed to helping people discover the way life is meant to be.

She gets excited teaching people how to develop a greater sense of purpose, peace, and passion in their lives.

Sharon is the mother of two daughters whom she adopted from Russia. As a nurturer, she is well equipped to coach parents at every stage of the adoption process. Her personal experience as a single parent as well as her career as a teacher for over twenty years gives her a rich foundation from which to counsel, coach, and consult.

Her book: The Unforgettable Christmas Journey


Facebook/Instagram: Sharon Brani CoachingWebsite: https://heartprintscoaching.com/

Hope That Sees Us Through

Hope That Sees Us Through

For the month of December, you will see more posts than usual in your email. This month I wanted to celebrate Christ’s birth by getting some friends to share a story or posts this month.

I have six guest posts for the month of December. Not all of their stories are happy, because we know that bad things can still happen around the holidays. We must all be aware that some people are hurting during Christmas. I hope all of these posts speak to you in different ways.

The second post for December is from Betty Kulich.

As we approach this Advent season and the lighting of the Advent Candles, it reminds us of the Christmas Story, the birth of our Savior, and Jesus Christ. The very first candle is the Hope candle. It reminds us of the provisions for eternal life we gain by making Jesus our Lord.

But what about hope for the current season we are dealing with? What if you need hope in a current troubling or trying circumstance? Is there a provision of hope for now?

In the week leading up to Thanksgiving and the beginning of family celebrations, I needed a fresh supply of hope and a deeper depth to my faith storehouse—not for eternal life, but for hope in a serious family crisis right now. My 47-year-old daughter had a massive stroke that left her unable to function as a mother and nurse. Unfortunately, being alone at home, she wasn’t found until dinner time, long after the window for the miracle shot that reduces the stroke’s effects.

What was her future going to be? How would this crisis forever change the family dynamics? My daughter has four children; a single young adult struggling to make it on his own, a senior in pre-med at university feeling the stress of good grades and upcoming exams, a sophomore in high school trying to find his adult identity and a second grader who is the center of the household. All of them need a healthy mom. I needed hope that going forward life could be good for my daughter and family.

Hope that is an anchor

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

Hebrews 6:19 (NKJV)

Jesus is my Lord, and He is my daily peace. But now. I needed more than just peace. Jesus was the only one who could give me a hopeful future for my daughter and family–an anchor in this life storm and sea of unknown outcomes. I needed Jesus to be big for a big situation. My soul needed firm and secure hope.

I needed Jesus to be big for a big situation. My soul needed firm and secure hope. #BettyKulich #Hope #HopethatSeesUsThrough #Christmastime #ThisSideofHeaven

The emotions of a mother’s heart for her helpless, hurting child threaten to become a raging storm filled with waves of grief, winds of torment and flashes illuminating scary glimpses of possible crippling aftereffects. My firm foundation was suddenly quaking, shaking, and swaying like a magnitude seven earthquake.

The future hopes were crumbling even as they rushed her down for a head scan while doctors spoke of brain swelling and emergency surgery. Scriptures had to become a reality at a level I never needed before. My hope had to become anchored and tethered, my faith firm and secure.

Looking for the Glorious Hope

“This same grace teaches us how to live each day… and it equips us to live self-controlled, upright, godly lives in this present age. For we continue to wait for the fulfillment of our hope in… our great God and Savior, Jesus.”

Titus 2:12 -13 (TPT)

I cried out to Jesus to be the Rock that securely anchored my emotions, so I could weather this storm. Immediately, I felt a fresh new installment of faith, peace, and hope come, firmly securing my thoughts and emotions.

Self-control arose when all I wanted was to collapse into a puddle of tears. Where I was weak and wanting someone to comfort me, Jesus comforted the four grandchildren through me. Hope pushed back the darkness, bringing calmness and rays of glorious hope for life from this death of future dreams.

Hope Has a Name

“Lord, the only thing I can do is wait and put my hope in you. I wait for your help, my God.”

Psalm 38:15 (TPT)

There is a song titled Hope Has a Name.

“On mountains high and valleys low, my soul will rest, my confidence, in You alone. Hope has a name; His name is Jesus.”

Hope Has a Name

My hope and that of the family came to rest on Jesus Christ and what He will do in the days ahead. He alone can become our needed emotional strength, uniquely tailored for each of us. Only He could keep her brain from swelling necessitating a dangerous surgery. Additionally, I knew only Jesus could fix her body, creating pathways of blood flow and nerves so she could regain her ability to walk and use her arm and hand. Only Jesus, as the Creator of her body, could heal her.

Through this valley of the shadow of death, we could all pass, guided by Jesus, our Rock and Hope. Now this Christmas I will sing O Holy Night with a new understanding of “a thrill of hope, my weary soul rejoices.”

Hope will see me through the unknown days ahead. Hope is Jesus, and He is enough.

Meet Betty Kulich:

She is an ordained pastor and serves as an Associate Pastor, alongside her husband at the Redeemer’s church, Columbus, Ohio.  Married for 49 years, she has one daughter and four grandchildren. In addition to her responsibilities at the church, Betty serves as the Women’s Ministry Director for Harvest Preparation International Ministries of Sarasota, Florida for Mexico & Central America.  Winner of the 2021 CIPA Book Award for General Fiction and Winner of the 2020 Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, she hosts short vlogs on Facebook called “Life Outside the Pages”.



Life happens. We have all heard that phrase and have probably said it. I don’t believe in coincidences. Most things happen for a reason, like the people we meet, and others occur because we live in a fallen world where Satan has power, for now.

It is hard to understand why difficult or even horrible things transpire in our lives and why we lose those we love dearly. It takes time, the help of the Holy Spirit, and the love of others to get us through the challenges this life throws at us.

Through it all, we have a Father and Savior who stick by our side. Yeshua came to be Hope in our darkest most difficult times.

I have suffered the loss of loved ones like most of you. My father died 25 years ago. It was difficult, even though at that time, I knew it would happen soon. It took years before I could talk about him without tears.

I suffered a miscarriage of our first child too. We had tried for 3 years to get pregnant. Even though I knew it was a baby, it was easier to think of it as a bunch of cells, at first. Once I allowed reality to set in the pain was unbearable.

I was angry at God. I found it impossible to pray. Grief overwhelmed me.


My God was with me. He allowed me to grieve.

Then He started to heal my pain.

He gave me HOPE. He reminded me that I did get pregnant. I was able to have a child. There would be other children.

A loss does not have to just be the death of someone we love but can take on many forms. It can be the end of a friendship, a dream, or the end of a marriage. Maybe you have lost your job or home.

The pain in our hearts can be excruciating, and you may feel like you will never recover. Still, there is hope!

Our family recently lost our beautiful, sweet, German shepherd. She was 7 years-old. We have had to put a couple of dogs down at the ripe old ages of 12 and 13. I still grieved their loss, but this time it was different. Olivia died when she fell through the ice on our pond and drowned. It was awful! We found her after getting home from a funeral of a family member. She was our family too.

Some may say she was just a dog, but she was my friend. While my children are moving out and going to college, that dog was like the child that never grew up.

The Lord was again with me in my grief.

He understands love.

He understands loss.

He never made light of my grief or my love for this dog. He was simply there.  After a couple of weeks, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “If you really believe that everything you have is mine then she was mine too.”

I am not sure why that gave me comfort, but it did.

I do believe that everything I have belongs to God. I know I can trust Him with everything I love, including my husband, children, family, friends, pets, and home. He is in control.

I know I will see my dad, my baby and others I have lost again in Heaven. I have hope Olivia will be there too. If not, I’m glad I had her here.




Seeking Him

Seeking Him

If you are anything like me, you set goals and make plans for the new year.

Among those plans is a writing project I want to finish early this year,  a vacation for later in the year, and because we have goats, I start planning for kids (babies) as well!

The Lord has plans for us too. He has promises and dreams to fulfill in us and through us. His plans are not like ours. They are carefully laid out to work towards our future and to give us hope. While the verses in Jeremiah are full of promises, there are several requirements that the Lord has of us.

The first one is to call on Him, the second is to come to Him, and the third is to pray to Him. He wants us to come to Him, and He wants us to pray. I don’t believe this kind of praying is while we stand in line somewhere or while fixing dinner or reading or watching TV. (There’s nothing wrong with any of this). The type of praying He refers to in this verse is coming to Him whether on your knees or in a quiet place. He wants our full attention on Him.

Then He promises to hear you! The God of Heaven and Earth promises to listen to you.

This is not the type of hearing we do…He does not listen to us the way we “listen” to others when we are on the internet or Facebook, or sitting on a pew Sunday morning. The kind of hearing God does means He will do something about what He hears.

Lastly, God wants us to SEEK Him!

Seeking Him is looking for Him in every situation, and seeking His will and His face. Seeking Him is pursuing Him like you pursue someone you really want to get to know or the way you might pursue a job or career.

He wants us to seek Him with our whole heart as well. Not half-hearted or until we get what we desire, but seek Him with all you have like your life depends on it.

Because it does, really.

The last promise is amazing. He promises us that when we seek Him with our whole heart HE WILL BE FOUND.

You will find God.

He is not hiding from you because He wants to be known.

Who doesn’t want to be known? We all want people to know us, to understand us, and to see our gifts or talents. That’s why shows like The Voice and American Idol are so popular. People seek to be known for who they are and what they can do.

God wants you to know who He is and what He can do, but mostly how much He cares for you.

Join me this new year in seeking God with your whole heart.

I can promise you, you will find Him.