Why Hope Found

Hope Found was written to give Hope to anyone suffering a loss. The loss doesn't have to be from death. It could be the loss of a job, a marriage or a dream you have.

When we suffer a loss we are immediately faced with the reality of what was lost. It's the pain we expect and most commanly associate with loss. But as the loss sinks in we face loss in different ways. We learn we also face the loss our identity. Our dreams are suddenly erased and the future has no purpose. What was so certain and assured is suddenly taken, and life itself seems useless. 

In 1927 the US submarine USS-104 was accidentally rammed by a Coast Guard destroyer. The submarine sank with all crew members on board. When the rescue divers reached the sub there were only 6 suviorors who were trapped in the forward hatch. They tapped a morse code message to the rescue drivers. Their only question..."Is there any hope?" 

Maybe that's where you find yourself today. As the reality of your situation settles in you may be wondering if there is any hope for you. I know the feeling of desperation when you lose all hope. 

Hope Found was not written to celebrate a happy ending as if to say "we made it." It was written for those darkest days, when you are at the end of the rope and your only question is..."Is there any hope?" Hope like the air we breath is essential to life. 

Romans 12:12
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, 
be constant in prayer.

This book was written because when we asked that question, we found a faithful God reminding us our hope is found in Christ. 

I remember feeling so lost I my only thought was how to make it through the next mininute, hour or day. There was no thought of next month or next year and survival was a daily struggle. Hope Found was written with those days in mind. No matter how big the mountain you are facing. No matter how inadequate you feel, our prayer is you will know in Christ there is always hope. 

Hope Found is a story of loss but its message is hope. I pray you find a faithful God in the pages of our book ready to meet you where you are reminding you of the depth of His love for you. 

Psalm 71:5
For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust,
O Lord, from my youth.

Father's Day Reflections

Father's Day looks different to different people. I used to naively think most of us have great dads who love and care for their families. There's no shortage of Hallmark cards for those people. Dads who come home from work. Dads who teach you right from wrong. Dads who mow the lawn. Dads you get to make memories with. I had one of those dads. A good-hearted man who was solid and caring and hardworking. And to him I wish a Happy Father's Day. Love you Dad.

Then the man I fell in love with and married became a dad himself. As I mention in our book, Troy was as much born to be a father as he was to be a fighter pilot. He loved his kids unequivocally. Wholly engulfed, smitten crazy about each of them. His absence left a devastating crater in what we called home and family. It was then that my eyes were opened that there are all different kinds of fatherless kids. All kinds of broken families. People who are fatherless for a bunch of different reasons. People who have fathers but aren't being fathered by them at all. People who have fathers that hurt them, leave them... And then ones like us who had the best there was to offer and then woke up one sunny morning and discovered they were gone forever. Troy left behind many things - a great foundation, superior role modeling, loving memories, a heritage of faith, lots of things we can't touch but are very much real. Thankfully he also left behind things we can hold. Things like this note to his then 8 year-old son which would be full of prophetic truths.


Reading it all these years later... Does it comfort? Of course. Does it hurt? Absolutely. It seemed like life was just beginning for him as a father and then it was over. It seemed he started something in the lives of five young children that he should have at least gotten a shot at finishing. Sometimes Father's Day makes me mad. Or sad. It's a mixed bag of pain and joy and reminds me of the Greatest Father. The One that sends father-figures, uncles, friends, pastors, even strangers to help us all remember we are loved and wanted and that we belong. We are fathered by many, not just by one. It's those men I thank today. Too many to name here. The ones who stood in the gap for Troy and still do.  Aspen didn't feel good this afternoon. She also didn't hesitate to fall into Jim's safe arms.

Jim Ravella, father of seven, knows what it means to be held because he learned it from his Father. Those long days and nights sitting in a hospital by Andrea's side. Jim's earthly father died before Andrea was even diagnosed with cancer. Jim had to count on God to guide him. I had to count on God to hold me. I had to trust God to be what He promised - a Father to the fatherless. Sometimes Father's Days come when you need them the most and not on a day on the calendar. Because sometimes those days on the calendar are just sitting there waiting to be crossed off because they hold hurt. But there are also days when our Heavenly Father reminds you He hasn't forgotten you. Today was that day for me. The Lord didn't leave any of us where we were 10 years ago on that sad sad Father's Day of 2007. And much like what the sweet testimony from a foster dad at church this weekend recounted - sometimes you are called to love someone with your whole heart no matter whether you birthed them or get to stay with them forever or not. You love them recklessly for the season you are given. That is truly what will make all the difference. Thank you to both Troy and Jim for letting me watch you grow into amazing dads to my children. But most of all, thank you Lord God for being that reckless-love-kind-of Abba Father to all of us.

- Ginger

"Hope Found" is Now Available

I am abundantly beyond excited to announce that HOPE FOUND is now available for purchase! As Ginger’s best friend, I have had the honor of watching as she and Jim poured their hearts into this project for the last 5 years.  It was not an easy task for them to find the time in their full, crazy, wonderful life to write this for us, but they were obedient to what they felt God was asking them to do and He was faithful to help them finish what He started.  This has truly been a labor of love, but as Ginger and I have said many times – this book took A LOT longer than actual labor :)  I want to introduce the book to those of you who don’t know the authors well  and share a little about them from my perspective – things they are too humble to share themselves.  HOPE FOUND is about the lives and amazing faith of four incredible people.  

Major Troy Gilbert, my friend and a true hero in so many ways.  He gave his life in service for the country he loved to protect the people he loved.  And he lived out his faith boldly until his final day on earth.  The stories of how he shared his faith and lived it out in a difficult environment will inspire you . When you read the stories of how his faith is still bringing people to know Christ many years after he went to be with the Lord – you will be encouraged to LIVE out your life in a way that brings glory and honor to Christ. 

Andrea Ravella, a woman I never had the privilege to know, but whose life and faith have impacted me in ways that very few ever will.  Andrea’s grace, courage and faith in her battle with cancer will give you hope and peace as you face whatever battle you may be facing or will face in the future.  When you read the story of Andrea raising her hands in praise to her Savior while she is in the bathroom extremely ill from the chemo – you will be touched and encouraged in ways that you can’t imagine. 

Colonel Jim Ravella (ret.), my friend and a man whose integrity make him a leader among men,  whose life of selfless love and sacrifice will challenge you to new levels of faith and service to others.   As Jim shares his wisdom and you read about Jim’s love for his God, for Andrea,  for Ginger and all their children, you will find yourself falling more in love with the God who loves us so faithfully and you will be inspired to persevere as you serve those around you with an extra dose of love and compassion. 

Ginger Gilbert Ravella, my best friend and the one who always points me to Jesus, whose incredible faith, grit and southern charm will draw you in to a relationship with the One who saw her through her darkest days. Her raw faith and determination to find beauty from ashes will change you. Like Andrea, Ginger was able to raise her hands in praise to the Lord  just a few weeks after she lost her beloved Troy. I was blessed to witness this first hand and it caused me to ask the question – HOW?  How can I have that kind of faith? The faith that Ginger shares with Troy, Andrea and Jim.

The answer is in this book.  Some of you may think I am a little biased since the authors are my closest friends and you would be right J But when I read the book, I knew that it was going to minister to people in ways we could only begin to imagine.  What Jim and Ginger are gifted at is being real and authentic. This book was not written just as the story of  four people who have suffered and lost, but as a book that provides real examples of how to find hope and joy when life isn’t all you hoped it would be.  It helps us understand what it means in Philippians 2:12 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed--not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence--continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” Jim and Ginger provide us with scripture and lessons so that when it is our time to wrestle with God and work out our faith, we can be ready. At times this book might make you cry, it might make you laugh, it might challenge you to a deeper faith, but most of all our prayer is that it brings you HOPE!

- Amy H.