Saturday, October 12, 2013

Day 12: Hope

31 Days

Hope abides; therefore I abide.
Countless frustrations have not cowed me.
I am still alive, vibrant with life.
The black cloud will disappear,
The morning sun will appear once again
In all its supernal glory.

~Sri Chinmoy

Friday, October 11, 2013

Day 10: Hope is the thing with feathers…

31 Days

Hope  is the thing with feathers -

That perches in the soul -

And sings the tune without the words -

And never stops - at all -

And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -

And sore must be the storm -

That could abash the little Bird

That kept so many warm -

I’ve heard it in the chillest land -

And on the strangest Sea -

Yet - never - in Extremity,

It asked a crumb - of me.

Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited

Day 9: Moving out of fear….

31 Days
I’ll admit it.   Fear is a huge battle for me.  It looms large in the middle of the night, seizing me just before the dawn.   My stomach clenches and at times I can feel the panic rising up.   I am learning however, that I do not have to be a victim to fear and each time I find myself a bit stronger a little more able to take away it’s power…
My road map away from fear….
  • First and foremost I seek God.  I ask Him for His comfort, peace and wisdom.
  • Second, I tell myself the the truth.   It won’t always be this way and things are rarely as bad as they seem in the middle of the night.   I speak affirmation to myself, sometimes I even say it out loud.   For instance last night I woke up to feed our 2 week old foster son and was gripped with a common fear: what if I have cancer, and I don’t even know it….(the scars from losing a son and then an uncle to cancer are still very close to the surface).   The truth is that even if I did have cancer, God is my refuge and keeper.  He has numbered my days.  I do not need to fear death because I know the author of life.   Another common fear that attacks me: what if the economy crashes again??   The truth is that God will supply all my needs according to His riches in glory, and He has never allowed the righteous to be forsaken.   Chances are if you are trapped by fear you will find a carefully crafted lie hiding behind the door.  The truth really does set you free.
  • Finally I focus on hope.   Hope is a vacuum that sucks out all the fear.   I give my energy to those things that lift me up, to my hopes and my dreams and I focus on the wonderful faithfulness God has already shown.
*sorry guys, I am bit behind, holding babies takes up a lot of my time these days….

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Day 8: Where does hope come from…

31 Days
In my journey learning to parent two traumatized children with attachment issues I read a lot.   In one book I found this thought particularly profound:
At the core there are really only two emotions: love or fear.  Every other emotion or reaction stems directly from one of  these two places.  You are either operating out of fear or you are operating out of love.
The Bible tells us that perfect love casts out fear…where there is love there is hope Hope squashes fear.
Are you without hope?  I challenge you to take stock: where are you operating from?  Are you angry?  Frustrated? Discouraged?  If you can answer yes to any or all of this then friend, you have moved from place of love to a place of fear.   The good news is, you do not have to stay there!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Day 7: When the world tries to steal your hope…

31 Days
Have you watched the news lately?  Government shut downs, shootings, more corruption, more greed, more hurt….little hope.  Where do you hide when everything, everyone around is crying recession or worse?
If your hope is in this world then I am not sure there is much lasting hope to be found.  What we need is a shelter in the storm.  We can hope (and should!) that the powers that be will get it together soon and the government shutdown won’t continue but in the end people disappoint us.   What we need is a hope that does not disappoint….
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God….and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:2,5

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Day 6: The Lord is my portion….

31 Days


therefore I have hope.

The Lord is my portion.  But what does that mean?


1:  an individual's part or share of something: as

a :  a share received by gift or inheritance

b : dowry

c :  enough food especially of one kind to serve one person at one meal

2:  an individual's lot, fate, or fortune :  one's share of good and evil

I am still learning what this means exactly, day after day of walking with Him slowly teaches me that He is all I need, He is my source of hope.

We recently walked through some difficult days financially.  I begged God for this one thing and in the end I had to let that thing go.   I searched the scriptures for His promises, something that would quiet my heart and reassure me that we would not hit that one milestone I was so afraid of….I read that He never leaves us forsaken, that our seed will never beg for bread but in my heart I knew He was whispering:

If you lose it all, can you still believe and know that I am enough?   What if I say no again?   Can you surrender this also, and still hope in me?

We didn’t lose it all but I did have to let go that thing that I treasured so much.  It hurt, I won’t lie but you know what?  He was, He is, He always will be enough.

The Lord is my inheritance, my good thing….I have hope because I have Him.   And because I have Him I am enough because He is more than enough.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Day 5: It just might be hope….

I love this song.
 Hope has a way of turning it’s face to you, just when you least expect.  You walk in a room, you look out a window and something there leaves you breathless….You say to yourself, it’s been awhile since I felt this but it feels like it might be hope.
Hope does that sometimes.  It catches you off guard, it takes your breath away, it reminds you: not all is lost…
But this I call to mind therefore I have hope:  the steadfast love of the Lord never fails, His mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning.  The Lord is my portion says my soul, therefore I will hope in him.  Lamentations 3:21-24

Friday, October 4, 2013

Day 4: Hope is risky business…

31 Days
You know you’ve said it: I just don’t want to get my hopes up…..
It is risky to hope.  Once you let yourself start hoping you are committed to that thing.   And…what if….your hopes are dashed?  Is the pain worth the risk?  Yes.  100 times yes.
Here’s why it is more risky to live without hope:
  • Hope partners you with the Almighty…. there is something in hope that requires surrender.   I don’t know how to adequately explain this but at it’s center hope acknowledges I am not big enough for this.  I can’t do this on my own. 
  • Hope is for dreamers….and dreamers change the world.  Before you can do it you must dream it.   Dreaming is a slippery slope and before long you find yourself face first in hope.  Keep dreaming, keep hoping there is a world out there that needs you.
  • Hope completes love.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things.  Stop hoping and love is a casualty.  Without love…we.are.nothing.
Yes, there will be times when you will be disappointed.  You will hurt.   Hope will be hard.  You might just risk it all and find in the end all that you have left is Jesus…but even then, what have you really lost?
All of our discouragements, disappointments, and let downs are answered in this simple truth:  God knows that the best thing He can give you is Himself.   Even if the pain is beyond bearing….
Keep hoping friend.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Day 3: What the princess didn't know….

31 Days
Tamar.  A daughter of the king.  A princess.   Who lost all hope…..
The story of Tamar is found in chapter 13 of Samuel.  Do you know the last thing the Bible tells us about Tamar?
So Tamar remained desolate in her brother Absalom's house. 2 Samuel 13:20
Do you know what desolate means?   Yes, you guessed it: without hope.    Let me tell you Tamar’s story…..
Tamar was very beautiful and her brother (likely a half brother) Amnon fell in love with her.  (or more likely lust…)  He was so obsessed with her that he made himself sick and upon advice of a “friend” he pretended to be very ill and requested that the king (both his father and Tamar’s) send Tamar to him and help care for him.   The king sent Tamar as requested and despite her pleas Amnon raped her.    The Bible then tells us that “the hate with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he loved her.”   Did you catch that?   In his heart Amnon knew he had done a horrible thing.   Tamar now represented his sin to him and he could no longer bear the sight of her.  To add insult to injury he called a servant to throw her out of his house.
In her shame and agony she tore her royal garments and put ashes upon her head and the last thing we know about her is that she went to her brother Absalom’s house, without hope.
There is so much to learn from this story but what I really want you to see is this:   There is only so much someone else can take from you.   What happened to this likely very young girl was horrendous but it did not change who she was… he could not take her identity, she was still a daughter of the king. 
And finally know this: no one can take your hope.     That is something you have to relinquish.   Hold onto it with your very life.  Whatever has happened, whatever hurtful words have been spoken do not let it define you and do not let have power over you.  Go to your Father’s house, let him heal you, let him defend you.  I know, I know, words are easily spoken, but I tell you from experience: you are never without hope and there is nothing God can’t redeem.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 2: Where Hope and Faith Meet….

31 Days
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Heb 11:1
What is hope?   Hope is the desire paired with the expectation for something….In other words I may wish for the President to visit my house one day but I don’t really expect that to happen.   I do however, hope that a dear friend will be able to come next week and have good reason to believe that she will do just that. 
Merriam-Webster defines faith this way:
firm belief in something for which there is no proof…. complete trust
Faith is the vehicle that carries hope.  Faith gives us the confidence that we will receive that which we hope for, it is the strong, unshakeable belief that we will have that for which we hope although we have no visible evidence.  But faith in what?   I had faith in medicine, I hoped that my son would be healed.  I expected that when they said his chances to survive, be cured even were 90% that he would a long, good life.   The odds were in his favor…yet my faith and hope and medicine did not save my son.   I was left confused, angry and distant from God.   Not understanding His promises  I believed Him to be untrustworthy at best, sadistic at worst.  I prayed and He failed me.  Because I did not know Him quite as well as I believed my faith and hope were misplaced.
My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. Ps. 62:5
It was a long, dark process back but I began to understand that God had not failed me.  He had not left me without hope.  His promises are infinitely broader and more beautiful than this revolving planet can hold, they reach far beyond life and death and are centered deep within who He is….and who He is in good.
So then, if faith is the vehicle, Jesus must be the driver and we must trust that where He takes us He will keep us. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Day 1: When you have lost your hope….

31 Days

I remember hearing my husband’s voice over the phone….”they think it’s cancer…”   I went to bed that night unconcerned.  Surely God would not allow my husband to walk that road twice, after all he had already lost a wife…wasn’t that enough?
But it was cancer.  Suddenly God seemed a very strange, dangerous thing.  If you couldn’t trust him to keep your children safe…what exactly could you trust him for?  For the moment the fear almost overwhelmed me….we are, none of us, safe
Yet, here I was…3 months pregnant, with all my children, not to mention a toddler and an infant just over 6 months old.   Several times a week I left them home to drive to a town an hour away with a boy much braver than I, hoping they would save his life.
We prayed and prayed and prayed.  God said no over and over and over.  I lost hope.   In that desperate place of wishing and wanting I became angry with God.  I railed at Him for letting us down.  
Why am I telling you this?   Because I want you to know if you are in that same dark place, I understand.   And because, I want you to know that you can hope again.
My son was not healed from cancer… but God did not forget us.  He renewed our hope and revealed Himself to us in ways that I am not sure we could have comprehended any other way.   Where I once placed my hope in medicine, prognoses, and percentages I now place my hope solely Him.  It didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t always pretty but I am convinced that when we stand before Him face to face it will be the times of wounding that we will be most grateful for, because it was in those times that He showed us Himself, hope incarnate. 
 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.  Romans 5:5
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