Hope is Him…

The fact that I wrote about hope last year, on this Saturday – the in-between day – and that God is prompting the same topic on this Saturday – the in-between day – a year later shouldn’t surprise me.hope-is-not-a-philosophy

It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’ve been writing, but not really, a post about my man child leaving home for a couple weeks now. I just can’t seem to get it done. I can’t put my feelings of joy and sadness into words yet. I try. I can’t.

This week has been especially difficult. You see, I received some bad news on Monday. It sorta rocked my world, definitely shook my confidence, and just crumpled my spirits. I was sad, bummed out, and feeling pretty defeated.

It took me all of half the day to get over it, though. The defeat was momentary. I can only give praise to Christ for that. I have too much faith in His call and purpose for me to sit and question anything for too long. I have to trust that what He says and does is for my very best.

I am living out a year with victory in mind, a year of expectation, and big, big hope. When something comes before me, I get SUPER excited about it and have a hope that seems larger than life. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty all-consuming hope. Driving to work one day, a couple weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed with hope, joy, and expectation over this particular thing that I just sobbed big, fat happy tears for how GOOD God is to me!

Imagine my surprise when that door closed. God, remember that morning we were driving? Remember how happy I was that You WERE going to make this happen? Remember how excited I was about it? He remembers. And He knows better. He knows me better. His plan is always better than my own.

Where I was stumbling, though, was how to continue standing in hope and expectation when there’s a good chance defeat will be on the other end. How do we expect the Lord to do something and not be so sad when He doesn’t do what we’re asking? When I brought this up, in my small group, I received the best, most quiet reply. “At least you still have hope.” Ahh… I DO still have hope. Lots and lots of it.

Her answer reminded me how many people walk around feeling hopeless, never expecting their lives to change or become different. Even those who know and trust Christ, fall into the enemy’s pit of hopelessness. I think back to Joshua 1, when the Israelites were told to cross the Jordan – without any clue about how or what would happen next – they were told that all things promised to them would come, they need only take the first step without seeing the big picture. It’s Hope! And it’s Faith!

On a day like the in-between Saturday, we’re reminded that when things seem bleak or hopeless, we can’t even imagine what’s on the other side of this day.

Hope Risen.

Risen Hope.

If we have the ability to believe and know that Christ was slaughtered for us. Died on the cross for us. Was buried in a tomb for us. And then rose from the grave so that we might be able to have life and HOPE in Him, then we have to continue to stand in the promises of Him.

He is good.

He is alive.

He is our hope.

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One Word 2015

The last post I wrote feels like a lifetime ago. It was a hard post to write and I’m thankful that so many people were touched by it and shared it with their own friends. So, thank you. I appreciate that support and the love that was shown to me because of it.

Since then, I’ve started a new job, added a new addition to my home – a living, breathing, human girl! It’s so rare that girls come into my home, it’s usually the boys – and been in a place where I am chasing down peace in my heart. It’s meant taking time away from certain things or places or even people when I don’t feel peace in the middle of it all. So, naturally, when I started to pray about my word for 2015, peace was the first one that came to mind. I assumed that God would lead me in the same direction. But, alas, as He so often does, He pulled me into a whole ‘nother direction and pointed me to HIS word for me. Isn’t that just like Him? 😉

I have to say that this is the first year I am doing my word alone. Without my FCFC girls walking it out alongside me. It’s going to be different because they helped me to be accountable and helped me when I wasn’t putting my word into action. They would remind me when I wasn’t being “better” or remaining “constant” or finding “serenity” in my life. Each year, those ladies held my hand. And I suppose that’s part of the reason the Lord walked me into my word for this year. He knew that while I’m not totally alone (I mean we all love Facebook, right?), I will be more alone on this than I have in years past.

The choice of my words this year was hard to whittle down into “the one.” Here was my list that He kept running through my mind… Expect, Shine, Possible, Victorious, and Conquer. Really? Really. I mean those are ALL great words. I prayed and prayed. One by one, they were crossed off the list until only one remained. Let’s look at why I even thought about my words…0c767df21111c6ab1cf9f8f3ad73a931

Expect – I wanted to live a life of expectation that God WOULD show up. Every single time. He promised me that He would and I need to walk in that and remain in that.

Shine – I wanted to live a life that shines with His love to everyone around me. I don’t want to be in situations where my sparkle gets dulled.

Possible – that’s pretty self-explanatory.  With Him, all things are possible. Right?

Conquer – I want to live a life that conquers the things that God puts in my path and the things that aren’t easy to overcome, but they are possible to overcome.

And, finally, the winner, folks… Victorious. That’s the one. The word. His word. I suppose it’s coupled with conquer or conqueror because in order to be victorious, we also have to be conquerors. I feel like a little bit of a cheater because I have a two for one here. I’ll take it, though. He gave it to me! Free and clear, y’all!

There are so many areas in my life in which I want to feel and be victorious. There are so many small things that are begging for me to find victory over them. There are areas in my heart that long to be conquered and come out victorious on the other side.

I’ll be hurtling, head-first, into my own junk to find the places the Lord is calling me to be victorious through Him and with Him.

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How about you? Do you have a word for the year? Tell me about it! I wanna know. =]

Today is hope…

When is the last time you’ve been completely stripped down to nothing? Dry bones? Nowhere to run? On nothing to depend?

But Him.

In that moment of being so alone in your own head, He whispers.

He nudges, softly.

You cry out, He calms and settles.

You beg for something. Anything. An answer. A vision. An understanding.

Maybe nothing tangible comes. He is still there. He is faithful to you, to me.

Lately, I find when I’m in those moments, I have two choices. I get on my face and offer everything in surrender to Him or I throw my hands up in the air and offer everything in surrender to Him.

In this season I’m walking through, it’s becoming more and more evident that I am so desperate to know Him more. To know Him differently. To know Him in a way that I’ve never known Him before.

Become reliant. Learn to trust. Be dependent. Abandoned.

There seems to be no more precious time than that when it’s just me (or you) and Him.

When there is nothing that stands between who He is and who I am.

What He’s calling me to do and what I can do.

Where He wants me and where I’m willing to be.

He truly is my all in all. There is no other way that makes sense. He has to be what I spend my time pursuing. Through Him comes everything that I need, want, desire, have, and crave.

How do we get here? To this place? The one where it’s okay to just be a mess in front of Him and know that He is walking us through it all?

While this post was never intended to be an Easter post, as it’s been sitting in a Word document being written for weeks, as I read over it this morning – the day my King rose – I can see that it IS all about Him dying and coming back.

The day in-between… that stricken Saturday. That day that no one knew that He would be with them again. That day they all thought He was gone. That day when nothing made sense. That day when they were troubled, they were grieved, they were confused, lost, unsure… that day.

Sometimes, that feels like our every day. We feel like we live in a perpetual “Black Saturday.” And, sometimes, we DO live in that day. Now and again, we sit there, in that space.

Stripped. Insecure. Not confident. Doubting. Wondering.

Here’s what I want you to know, what I *need* for me to know – it’s okay. It’s okay to be there now and again.

There is GOOD news coming! He is no longer in the grave! He is RISEN!

Friends, do you understand that? Can you even begin to grasp the hem of the meaning behind His empty tomb?! He, so desperately, wants to be *with* us. He came from the dead, after carrying the burden of our sins to the Cross, being hanged for our redemption, His blood spilling into the cracked ground… all of that because He desires us.

Even when we have no clue. Even when we are sitting in our “Black Saturday” without understanding. Even when we are desperate for answers that aren’t coming.

He is risen.

A new day is coming.

Our King is alive and walking with us.

He has not left your side, or mine.

He is faithful.

He is our Comfort.

In Him, our hope is found.

So even on that dreadful Saturday, that season of in-between, that time of uncertainty… it all comes back to Him. Being dependent. Relying on Him to come for me. He always has. He always will. I just need to know He’s not left my side. And He’s not left yours either.