I’ve logged on 3 or 4 times now, intending to post and then logged back off, nothing to show for my time. The thought of starting out from scratch is scary. My old blog platform has been my baby for the last three years. Moving over to WordPress is an anxiety-producing, stress-raising adventure and yet here I am. My first post in a new place. I will try to unpack my things and settle in. I hope you won’t mind my mess while I figure out where to put my furniture, hang my pictures, and unload my treasured possessions. Moving in is always a little messy.
I was challenged to find a word for the year, a word I can focus on for 2015. God gave me the word “hope” for the year. I don’t know if I should be excited or a little worried. Hope is a great thing to have, but you really need hope most when you are going through trials, suffering, change, or hard times. Check out this verse:
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4
Hope in this verse starts with suffering. I have hope that Jesus is great, He will be there for us through anything, and He knows me. I can’t say that we are currently facing major challenges though. Who knows what is to come, but I hope it’s not a hint at something on the horizon.
When we were foster parents for a year, the shtuff hit the fan towards the end. My marriage suffered, my emotions were wild both from pregnancy hormones and from the stress of life as it was, our homeschool turned into something I had never intended, my relationship with my father and sister deteriorated, I became unhappy with my church, I wasn’t always the best friend I could be, and I cried all the time: to God for help and salvation and peace for those who needed it, and I cried because I saw how fragile and helpless my life, body, and relationships were. I heard this verse over and over again: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9. I heard it from so many sources that I started to tire of hearing it. I asked God what it meant for me, but I could not decipher why I needed to hear it. I thought it sounded stupid to say don’t tire of doing good. After all, who says, “Hey, I’m tired of doing the right thing because it’s hard. I think I’ll just be evil instead.” I got angry and every time I heard it I said, “I know.” Insert super crabby, sarcastic, childish voice here. Yes, I can act super immature. And yes, my understanding is so small so please forgive me.
Right after baby Butter was born, I assumed this verse was meant as God’s way of reprimanding me. “You failed.” I heard over and over again in my head. You gave up when I told you not to. You failed. I felt as if I had failed the biggest test of my life. It wasn’t a tiny test worth ten points; it was like I’d gone up before the board that grants you admission to medical school and they’d found me unworthy. My whole life led up to me failing. Yes, my brain often blows things out of proportion but that doesn’t change my feelings. That is how I felt.
A year later, I assumed that this verse was merely a reminder that even though things ended in a way I would not have expected, it didn’t mean that I wasn’t doing good. I prayed so long and hard. I sought the advice of other godly women and got the same answer from two mentors of mine, independently of one another. One of those ladies has a lot of experience in helping those who are hurting. I knew she knew where I was coming from. I sat with my husband and asked what he wanted to do. No one gave me the answer I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear, “Keep going! It’s hard but it’s worth it.” Or something along those lines. Instead, I heard something else. Pull out. You did everything you could. This is not the time for you to push through. It felt like failure, but it wasn’t. That voice I kept hearing was the enemy making me feel like I was not good enough to do good ever again. I needed to remember that I could do good with God on my side. I wasn’t useless and I didn’t fail. Nothing is too big for God.
Almost two years later, I see this:hope. Maybe this year is one in which God will finally heal some of these things that feel broken. Maybe they will never be healed completely, but there is hope. Maybe there are more trials on the horizon. I wish God said that our lives would be awesome and perfect once we believe in Him. Instead, He said that we will suffer. We will face persecution, and we will lose people we care about along the way. He also promises great things: the fruit of the Spirit:love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, goodness, hope, a place to call home, a Father who loves us, guidance, teaching, and many more things I cannot parrot back to you right now. He is so good.
I love the amplified Bible’s version of this verse:And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
In the appointed season we will reap. Not now, now, now on my timetable. Do not quit being brave. Hear His voice when you can and go. These are the things that I need to remember. There is my hope: persevere and be brave because God has great things in store for me. I love that.
Dictionary.com gives us this definition of hope: