Just Watch

imageI know that God is always working, never sleeping, never lazy. He is not loligagging about on Sunday morning with coffee, and paper, and slightly crooked reading glasses while He waits for the Mrs. to make His over-easy eggs. I know that God is ever loving; He is not standing back and pointing fingers, consternation in His eyes, glaring at my paltry attempts of goodness or rightness or simply being honest. I know that God has purpose, and plan, and wisdom for those who seek. He is not willy-nilly sending lightning bolts or sickness or creating obstacles for us to overcome and yet those things come. Somehow, they still come.

I know that God is good and He is mystery and love and light and strength and depth and joy and I cannot comprehend how I can know these things and yet feel the awful dread begin to rise, like a knotted up stomach dawning like the sun, growing hotter, bigger, faster.  It’s as if my head and heart just aren’t on speaking terms when one knows that God is good and one is faced with fear, and weakness, and yes, yes, a faltering, failing, knee-weakening anxiety. And what must have I done to deserve this fear and yes, yes, this faltering, failing, knee-weakening anxiety?

My thoughts toss around like a toy boat in a whirl pool, and I question imageeverything I’ve thought so far. And I wish that God would speak to me, and comfort me, and tell me I am on the right path, the right track, not lagging in the passing lane or stalling in the turn with broken blinker, without brakes. I ask God to show me what He’s up to, what He’s planted, what will grow, and where I’ll go. If I only knew what He was thinking. And speaks to me, He does, with gentle, prodding words that are a healing soothing balm that seals the cracks in my weary little soul. He says in words that only my heart can hear,

“Just watch.”

And peace settles in like the dust, and my heart is calmed like the moonbeam shadows on a cool clear night. God’s voice, softer than a whisper, louder than the ocean, restores my faith, bandages my broken places, sparking deep-rooted joy that only comes riding on the waves of His mercies.

imageHis voice, His words. his Words  created the world, His words  stilled the storm, his words written in His Book, His words spoken in my heart. There is unspoken power in His words. Unending Grace. Indefatigable hope.

“Just watch”

 

God’s not done

IMG_8904I like to have a plan. And I like it when my plan goes as planned. When everything fits into a neat little box and the day goes just as I wanted it to and I finish everything that I listed on my “To Do” list and no one is late and nothing goes wrong and everything happens just as I thought it would. And I like the next day and the next and the next to go as planned, too, with no bumps in the road and no falling short of the plan and no interruptions or changes or anything other than the plan and the future going just as I planned. I don’t what surprises in my future or bumps in my road or anything that isn’t supposed to be in the plan. Unless it is surprises of chocolate or coffee or flowers or chickens, I just want my future to go forward as planned.

And I don’t really like that so much of my future is already in my past and so many of the days earmarked for me have already passed me by and I haven’t accomplished nearly what I though I would or what I think I should by this many years. And I had plans from the time I was just tiny and small and had most of my days ahead of me and I just thought life would go as planned, and don’t we all think that? That when we are small and life seems so possible and the future so big and so long and so far away so we dive into our plans until one day we realized nothing went as we had planned because the future brought us so many bumps in our roadway and surprises that weren’t really chocolate or coffee but surprises that brought us ups and downs and good and bad and a lot of growth that got in the way of all of our plans.

But there is a goodness that comes from having so many years behind instead of in front because you learned from all of those surprises that God’s just not done, no matter how many breaths you’ve taken and how many more you have left God hasn’t stopped working and He’s just not done with you yet. And you learn that when surprises come and you have to put a pause on those glorious, hard sought plans that sometimes, new plans, better plans, than you ever thought possible come about. And when you’ve had so many years that have had a bunch of bad days, you see that no matter how bad those days were you kinda made it through somehow, someway, and if you did it before you can do it again. So now you’ve got this big bump in your road and it looks like a mountain and you think it has stopped all of the plans you had dreamed about and lived for and focused on and now you wonder if you will ever be able to make plans again. You can look back on all of those years and all of those breaths and all of those times you thought you wouldn’t get to make a plan or walk that path and you remind yourself that God is just not done and if there are more breaths to take then there are more plans to make. And God will take those broken plans and fashion and form and grow you and suit you to a new and a bigger and a better plan.

IMG_2590And we worry and fret and fear because we can’t see the future on the other side of that bump or that mountain that’s blocking our path but Jesus said don’t fear and Jesus said don’t worry and Jesus said He loves you so take another breath because you’re not running out of them right at this time and if there are more breaths to take there are more plans to make and when the future is uncertain and surprises and bumps come and go remind yourself, from all those years that God’s just not done and the future isn’t gone and you can climb that mountain or scale that cliff or jump that bump.  Hurdle that fear and hurdle that bump and hurdle the idea that you can’t make new plans and take that big breath and take the first step. God knows the future and God knows the plans and God knows the days and the breaths that we have left and when we’re surprised by it all God is not ever surprised or caught off guard.

And the future will pause and the plans will crumble or come to a halt, and maybe you’ll falter and maybe you’ll fall but God doesn’t fail and God won’t forget and God’s just not done yet.

 

20 excuses we tell God

IMG_7380God called Moses to a very special task. A grand adventure, the moment of a lifetime, an incredible opportunity, to leadership, to the desert, to the Promised Land. God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt, where they were being mistreated, to the Promised Land, where they could grow and thrive. I can only wonder what it would have been like, to stand there, in front of that burning bush, feeling the heat of the flame and the heat of his own shame as Moses gave God reasons excuses as to why he couldn’t do the task that was set before him. Moses, who came to be known as God’s friend, who broke the tablet containing the 10 commandments, whose face shone with the glory of God, who did incredible miracles, that Moses was called by God and then argued with God when he said:

I can’t do it because I am a nobody.

I can’t do it, because I don’t know what to say.

I can’t do it, because I don’t think they’ll believe me.

I can’t do it, because I’m not a good speaker.

Do you know what happened next? God got mad! Because Moses asked God to send someone else to complete the work that was set out for him. How many times have we argue, not me, God, send someone else? Clearly, God was not surprised by all these reasons excuses and met each one with a plan of action (You can read it for yourself in Exodus chapters 3 and 4). God even had Aaron, his brother, already on the road to meet him in the desert and be the spokesperson for Moses. Seems to me that Moses, one of my favorite Bible heroes, ran out of reasons excuses for why he couldn’t do the work God told him to do. So off he went, on the grandest adventure of his life, side by side with his brother, and doing miraculous works all along the way.

And then there’s me. And then there’s you. And there is a grand adventure waiting for us, too. So think about it for a IMG_1528moment, just what exactly is it that you are called to do? I bet you already know exactly what that is.

Did God give you a dream? A passion? Or a purpose? What are you doing with that dream? Are you going all in and following what God has asked of you or are you just letting it all simmer on the inside, leaving you feeling empty, unfulfilled, annoyed, bored, and wasted?  You want to make a difference, you want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, you want to change the world, or just do something anything to make this dull heartache stop, but you can’t seem to move it along. You are stuck. Stuck in the pain, stuck in the misery, stuck feeling like you’ll never do anything worthwhile or anything will ever change and you just don’t like yourself or your life because you are not where you think should be. It doesn’t feel good to be so stuck in our spaces and stuck in our selves and stuck on our selves and you can feel the heat of your own shame hotter than that burning bush, can’t you? It doesn’t feel good when we aren’t pursuing the path that God has set us on.

Life has a way of never going like we think it should.

Life has a way of making us end up where we never thought we would.

But life can be fulfilling or you can leave your calling unfilled.  I can let those giant reasons excuses that get in my way stop me, stall me, hit the pause button on my life and stand by while life unfolds however it goes and limp along life with a vague dissatisfaction or I can hurdle those obstacles, slay those misery-inducing giants, and power ahead, fueled by purpose and God’s power no matter what circumstances come my way. Which will it be? I’m sure that I, and I’m sure that you, have used those very same reasons excuses Moses used. Who am I to do this? I’m a nobody. Who am I to tell people about You, God? I don’t know what to say. Who am I to tell anyone anything? They’re not going to believe me. Who am I? I’m not good at this, God, send someone else…..

Here, 20 more reasons excuses that stall us and stop us from being everything we should or could or would or even want and hope to be. 20 more reasons excuses that stop us from taking off on that grand adventure that God has called us to. Which one of these giants will you slay today? Which one are you letting define you or defeat you? What plan of action will God give you for each one, until there are no more to get in your way?

  1. IMG_1523I don’t feel like it. We sabotage our efforts when we let feelings control our actions. Most of the time we won’t ‘feel like’ doing the hard stuff, the dirty stuff, the boring stuff… but if we put it off until we feel like it, it won’t get done. So just do it.
  2. I’ll do it later. Procrastination puts it off until later – but if it needs done, it needs done so get it out of the way. The longer you wait, the harder it is, the worse it gets, and the less likely you are to get it done. Just do it.
  3. I’m too tired. Tired, or bored, or just lazy? Take a nap and get to work.
  4. I’m too busy. Maybe it’s time to say no to lesser (but still good) things and focus on the better things. There are so many many things I love to do, but I just don’t have time for all of it. We get to and we have to choose or the things will choose us, keep us busy, and keep us from the best things.
  5. I have to check my email. Sure, but please, only once or twice a day. Any more than that is just obsessing.
  6. I have to see what’s happening on Facebook. Really? You do? Facebook is known to cause depression and polarization. Just close it and move on. Yup, close it. And Twitter, and Snapchat, and Instagram, and….
  7. I forgot. You really actually forgot, or you didn’t plan to remember?
  8. I didn’t know. 
  9. It’s not my problem. Make it your problem and take care of it so it doesn’t trip you up. Or find someone who will take care of that problem.
  10. I don’t care. Apathy is the hardest to cure… what is the thing you are most passionate about?
  11. I can’t afford it. You really can’t afford? Or you need to restructure your budget so you can afford the things that are most important?
  12. I’m too afraid. Don’t let fear be the defining factor in your life. Do it anyway…. because God tells us over and over and over, Do not be afraid.
  13. It’s not my choice. Sometimes, we have to work withing circumstances we didn’t create. It stinks, but are you going to let someone else’s choice define your life?
  14. It’s not my style. So? Trends change and quickly. Besides, anything out of style today will be back in 20 years… 
  15. I don’t like who is in charge. It’s hard when you don’t respect or like the person in authority…. but God puts people in positions of authority, so it’s our job to just roll with it.
  16. I’m better than that. Maybe, but everyone has to start somewhere. And we are always called to serve others before ourselves, even if it isn’t pretty or glamours.
  17. It’s not a priority right now. Does it need to be?
  18. I need to pray. Yes, you do. We always need to pray, all the time. But using prayer as an excuse not to act on what we know we need to do? How is that helpful?
  19. I’m waiting on God. Yes, you do need to wait on God and so do I. But waiting can never replace obedience to what God has called us to do.
  20. I have kids. Don’t use your kids as your excuse, but as a reason to make this world better. Of course we need good boundaries and balance, so our children don’t suffer as a result of our passion, but if God has set you on a path, and you have kids, He’ll give you a way to make it work.

IMG_2507Don’t let reasons excuses keep you from the Promised Land. Don’t let reasons excuses keep you from the path that God has set before you. God is not surprised, He’s already got a plan to help you soar over these hurdles. Maybe He’ll send you an Aaron, or a staff that turns into a snake, or who knows? Give all those reasons excuses to God and pack your bags for the grandest adventure of your life.

 

Monday

100_8863When it’s Monday, and the alarm clock is yelling to get you out of your bed and the coffee maker is clogged up yet again and you can’t remember if the kids did their homework or if the field trip is today or last week.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday and all you want to do is sleep, glorious sleep, because it’s your only refuge from the hardness of the weekend but you have to get up because there are tiny hungry tummies and carpools to drive and noses to wipe and work to get done and gardens to plant and music to rehearse and lessons to plan.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday, and you never did get caught up on those bills that need paid and the laundry that’s mounded up in the laundry room and the hallway and the sun’s not even risen but you’re up and you’re taming tantrums and kissing away booboos and you just don’t want to think.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday and you’re still tired from the weekend and you’re exhausted and it hurts to move and the morning feels raw and you have regrets for the things you did and regrets for the things you didn’t do and you think you really just messed up.

God is faithful.

IMG_2922When it’s Monday and the lawnmower is broken and the laptop is barely working and the toilet won’t flush and there are bugs where there aren’t supposed to be bugs and you’re pretty much in the worst mood ever.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday and your week is already falling apart and your life is already falling apart and nothing was supposed to happen this way.

God is faithful.

And when it’s Monday and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and you love your work and your children are happy and everything is right in the world.

God is faithful.

When the kids are singing “King of kings and Lord  of lords” at the top of their lungs all the way to school just because.

God is faithful.

And when the kids are fighting because they were singing “Kind of kings and Lord of lords” at the top of their lungs all the way school and it got to be too loud for their own little ears.

God is faithful.

When your son holds up the entire car line of children trying to get in to school because he just wants you to meet his little friend and they come to the car and run off into school holding hands.

God is faithful.

And when news from work and news from school and news from your friends is nothing but bad news.

God is faithful.

And when you just want life to go back to the way it was and you know that it just can’t ever go back.

God is faithful.

IMG_0906 - CopyAnd when it’s good and it’s bad and it’s both all at the same time and you cannot take it all in so you just don’t even try.

God is faithful.

And when it’s Monday or it’s Tuesday or it’s Friday or it’s Saturday God is faithful.

And when things are going right and things are going wrong and things are completely out of our control all we can do is trust in the one who has always been who always will be faithful.

And when you need to remember that He has pulled you through before and He will overcome again take a big breath and let it out and turn it over to Him.

God is faithful.

Leap of Faith

 

 

Instant death. Game over. End of movie. End of my hero. End of my world.

I sat there, completely transfixed, eyes unblinking, frozen, sweating, shaking, knot in my stomach worried for my favorite hero as he deciphered the scribbles in his little notebook. No wonder it’s called the last crusade – he’s going to be dead. He’s going to jump from the head of the lion and fall down and be dead. And that would be it. There’s no other way, no hope for survival, he’s just going to be dead and how am I going to get out of bed tomorrow when my hero didn’t survive his own movie? Life cannot possibly go on without Indiana Jones. It just can’t.

At a sheltered age of 13, what did I know about taking a leap of faith?

I followed the rules. I did my chores. I was pleasant and polite at all times (or so I thought, at least). I played it safe. I did everything that was expected of me. And as an adult, for the most part, I still play it safe. I make my bed. I do my chores. I’m pretty sure that I don’t break any laws. I try to to meet other people’s expectations of me. I even get my taxes done on time. I’m pleasant and polite (or so I think, anyway). I’m on time, even with 6 kids in tow. And yet, I am not wholly satisfied with life as it is. I have played it safe. I have played it too safe, I think.  I will not cannot and am not even designed to be content until I am exactly in that spot where God would have me to be. The best choice, the right choice, the choice that God has designed for me to make, may not be the one that seems safe to my finite mind. Sometimes, God would have us take a leap of faith.

A couple of friends reminded me of that recently (one of which habitually jumps out of airplanes for fun and is quite familiar with that terrifying leap of faith). They reminded me that God does His most amazing work when we trust Him. And sometimes, that trust requires a leap of faith. I am more like Jonah, who ran from God’s plan than I am like Daniel, who had stories to tell his grandkids after he had to face a den full of hungry lions for his faith. I dot my i’s and cross my t’s.  I play it safe. I count heads, I double check car seats. I eliminate choking hazards, mini blinds, and electrical cords. A dear sweet relative thinks I over-cook all of our foods in order to stay safe from food poisoning, but I am determined to keep things safe. Maybe I can keep my kids protected from random Legos and salmonella, and rightly so, but not everything in this world needs to be so “safe.”

I’m going to screw this up, aren’t I? When I finally convince myself that it’s ok to take that leap of faith, when I get my courage and my stuff together and I am finally ready to jump, I’m going to mess up and fall on my face and it’s going to be the end of the world because how am I supposed to get out of bed in the morning when I fall down and there’s no hope to get back up? I’m pretty sure Abraham screwed things up a bit, too. He lied about his wife, not just once, but twice, by telling a wealthy, lusty man that his wife was his sister. But he also took that leap of faith, and listened to God, time and time again, and now we know him not because he played it safe but because he had faith.  Faith in God to stand up and make the right choice even when he was afraid.  (See Hewbrews 11 for how to please God by having faith).

I’m not quite sure how God is going to amend my safety first ways. Oh, I’m sure He’s not going to ask me to give up my habitual child-proofing or ask me to go jump off of a cliff or two. But I’m pretty sure He doesn’t want me to sit around and play it safe, either, living life with a dull sense of dissatisfaction and incompletion, mildly bored and annoyed and boring and safe.

I love that Indiana Jones movie, and surely it wasn’t his last crusade because another movie is finally in the works. And it wasn’t that my hero didn’t have fear – it was that in the face of fear, and unknown, and the unsafe, that he had courage. He had faith. He leapt. And lived to tell about it. Sometimes, we just need to make that leap of faith.

What leap of faith is God calling you to make?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do not fear the darkness.

IMG_7393“Mom, close the curtains. I don’t want the darkness to get in.”

Honey, the darkness cannot hurt you. 

“Mom, turn the light on. I can’t see in the dark.”

It’s in the dark that our light shines brightest. 

“But I can’t see in the dark. I’m afraid.”

God is with you, even in the dark.

 

IMG_7380God does not intend for us to be afraid in the dark. Bad times come, but these seasons of  grief, and despair, or times of hopelessness and discouragement, these are not a cosmic time-out sent from far across the universe to whip wayward children into shape. Crippling, crushing fear that stops us in our tracks – this is not heaven sent, the weight of depression that hampers our steps as we trudge through the molasses of sadness or brokenness, this is not the ruling of a strict Father, imposing, decreeing misery on His little ones. Bad times do come, and they have come, and they will come again, and maybe bad times are right now, but they are not the final word on the goodness of your life and mine. Bad times, sad times, grieving times, despairing times, these are the by-products of a world that is not the way that God designed, but a world that has been tainted and twisted and confused by sin, by missing the mark on what God had planned, or because of bad choices, or bad situations, or bad actions.

Bad times come. And with them, darkness.IMG_7403

God does not want us to fear in the dark. 

Do not be afraid, He whispers. Again and again, His Word, His written Word, His Son, the Word, reminds our breaking, crying, screaming, lonely hearts, Do not fear.

This world will give you trouble, but I, the I AM, the Word, the King of Kings, the Lamb of God, I have overcome the world.

Don’t be afraid. 

When bad times come, don’t be afraid.

It didn’t catch me off guard.

When bad times come, don’t be afraid.

I have the very best stuff planned for your life.

When bad times come, don’t be afraid.

There isn’t one single thing in this world that can keep me from you.

When bad times come, don’t be afraid.

I am still working even when you cannot see me through the darkness.

When bad times come, don’t be afraid.

All of this will pale compared to what I have in store for you.

Don’t be afraid. 

The Good Father does not create our fear.

He does not give us despair.

He does not make us broken.IMG_7398

The Good Father gave us His very best – His Son, His Beloved One, His Little Lamb, to walk among us in the darkness, to meet us in our brokenness, to come to us in our despair. He did not fear the dark, but embraced it to be with us. There is no darkness in Him, our darkness cannot dim Him, because He is our Light.

The Good Father is at work in our bad times and our darkness. And the Good Father will create good IMG_7455from the very worst, like an artisan, He crafts something beautiful from the shattered pieces of our bad times.  He smoothes away the rough places, restoring, redeeming, resurrecting what has been broken to bring about beauty, newness, life. He brings light in our darkness.

Do not be afraid, He tells us quivering souls, I will be your Light. There is no darkness that will stop me. There is no brokenness I cannot redeem. There is no sadness I cannot help carry. There is no wrong I cannot forgive. I will be your Light, no matter how deep your darkness.

Do not be afraid.

Living in the chocolate bunny hangover

IMG_0614

You went to church, yesterday, didn’t you?

On that unbelievable day that we get to celebrate Easter, the day of our risen Savior,  you went to church. And you sang glorious Easter IMG_0592songs, perhaps heard the heart-pumping strains of Hallelujah, rejoiced in the alleluias, adored the chiffon and the bows and the satin on the little tiny tots with their chocolaty mustaches and bunny stuffies and and fist-bumped your way through the greeting and the celebrating and the empty tomb and the awesomeness of the day. And you heard an inspiring sermon about the earth quake and the soldiers scared to death and that Jesus breaking out of that tomb and perhaps a lovely solo or two, and the musicians played their very bestest and the pastors preached their hearts completely out of their chests and it was really really an awesome spiritual holy day. And you were thrilled with your delicious Easter dinner and then when you couldn’t possibly eat another bite you snuck a few chocolate bunnies from the Easter baskets when no one was looking and then you later collapsed in your bed, happy, full, and content with the risen Lord and the Easter bunny and the church service and the happy, happy children and it was still an awesome, maybe even perfect day. And it deserves the very best of celebrating, it needs a give it all you got because it is the most amazing day of the year kind  of a celebration, this Easter day that we celebrate our risen Savior.

And then there was Monday.

IMG_0601

And Monday hits like a dump load of broken up bricks because the festivities are done, and everyone is reeling from their chocolate bunny hangovers and crankily seeking out their sugar fix and you can’t hear that glorious music ringing in your ears anymore and the chocolate bunnies are gone and the leftovers are just left over and the Easter grass is strewn around and the foil wrappers are ground into the carpets and the toys are already breaking and you are so exhausted from all of that fun. And the risen Lord was so so yesterday and His death defiance fades into the background and life hits you really hard right there in the here and the now and the gut. And pretty soon it’s back to work and back to school and back to the drudgery of life and back to our budgets and our dirty dishes and wiping runny noses and everything else that drags us down when the Easter high has gone away. And Easter has come and gone and nothing is really any different or better it’s just dull and dingy in the light of all that celebrating.

But Easter living isn’t one day a year.

Easter living is in the heartbreak, those cold hard days when the emptiness of your arms makes your very bones ache and you cry for your IMG_0606dad or your husband or your favorite grandpa but they aren’t there so you find rest in the only place you can, in those stretched wide arms of your risen Lord with the nail holes and the scars. And Easter living is in the tension of your company, so close to breaking apart that it keeps your eyes open throughout the night but you can find your rest deep in the soft kind eyes of the risen Savior.  And Easter living is in the mounds of laundry that overwhelm your laundry room day after day after every single cotton picking day and you feel like you can’t do one spiritually important thing because laundry. Because work. Because kids. Because grief. Because everyone else’s family Facebook pictures are happier, more perfect, and more than you think yours are. Because chocolate bunny hangovers remind you that there are too many days in the year that aren’t really awesome, maybe even perfect fist-pumping Easter Sundays.

But Easter living isn’t one day a year.

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And in the days of the heartbreak, and the cold, and the laundry, and the grief, and the Facebook pictures and the empty Easter baskets we find the real meaning in the Easter celebrating. Because when the rejoicing has passed and there is nothing left but the chocolate bunny hangover we find that the risen Savior is still just as real, and His welcoming arms are still waiting, still stretched wide with those unmistakable nail holes and those holy scars. And instead of high-fiving those reached out hands for accomplishing that act of death defiance we run straight and hard into them because there is no place left to go and that’s ok because we are still just as welcome right there in those open wide arms. And whether it’s the first place we look or the last place we turn there is still the love of a Savior who was willing give up His very own life even for our daily drudgery with the laundry and the Facebook and the chocolate bunny hangover. Easter living is the promise that the God who defied death is very much alive and the God who defied death is within our grasp and the God who defied death wants us to grasp for Him. And Easter living isn’t just in the resounding trumpet but also the tiny whisper of hope He speaks to our weary souls when we start to let the resurrection break forth into our dingy dull places and our laundry and our Facebook and our grief-stricken places and our chocolate bunny  hangovers.

 

Never a false hope


There was that hard time,  when my son was tiny, and frail, and his IMG_0201premature 2 1/2 pounds of life didn’t come with any sort of a lifetime guarantee, and I didn’t know how his desperate lungs could fill themselves with air even just one more time. It was hard to find my hope because I thought my hope was lost. And I needed that nurse who offered me her hope that he was going to be just fine.  She propped me up with all of the hope that was her own so I could be every bit of mommy that his tiny body, heart, lungs, and soul could need to get him through that one very hard day in a series of hard, hard days. Her hope was never false – it was everything I needed to hang on to in that moment, on that one very hard day. And today he is just fine and 8 years strong and smart and full of love and life and a beacon of hope beyond anything we could have ever even hoped for.

IMG_0180And I want to be a hope bearer, too. I want to bring hope to someone else because I’ve been in that place and I know that feeling, that one singular desperate ache, the emptiness, the lonely need, to find someone else who can possibly ever hope on my behalf when I’ve just plum ran out of every bit of hope that I ever thought I had. I know what it is when you try to muster up all the hope that you can find and come up with none to get you through that really hard day in a series of hard, hard days.


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:13, NIV 


Sometimes, its easy to see hope in every little place; sometimes, hope is elusive. We know it’s out there, somewhere, but we can’t quite get a grasp of it. And if we catch it by the tailfeathers, maybe we’re afraid to hang on to it for dear life, because, what if that thing we caught is not really a hope at all, but a forgery of falseness that leads us daringly away from our tenuous reality only to dash us on the rocks below.

But I say hope is hope, and if it gives you something to cling to tightly, something to grasp even if it is no more than a handle to pull yourself out of the deepening water, then it cannot possibly be false hope because it is real and it is tangible and it is giving you what you need to make it through that hard moment on that hard day. And I say Jesus doesn’t want you not to hope because the Bible says that our God is the God of hope and He wants you to overflow with hope so that you have enough for you and enough to prop up the person next to you, too. And I want to be that hope-bearer, too.

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And sometimes, sometimes, I hear a tiny chirp of hope in the peeping of the baby chicks nestled safely in my library. And some moments, some days, I watch it grow before my eyes as tiny shoots of kale and broccoli break out of plump little dollops of dirt. And some days, some weeks, I smell a hint of hope in the air as winter’s gasping fades away into the sweet sweet baby breath of spring. My burgeoning homestead shows me there is hope, reminds me when I lose my hope, that Jesus is all of the hope.

It is the possibility of a better, healthier future. It is the summer harvest coming soon, with an unending supply of sun-warmed tomatoes, and delicious zucchinis, and melons snuggled in the dirt. It is the gleam in the eyes of my aging house kitty, invigorated by the joys of spring air seeping in through opened windows. It is the sound of laughter as my children roll haphazardly down the clovered hill, landing willy nilly, belly up, and head over feet trying to find the bottom fastest.

My sweet little baby homestead shows me my hope because it is the footprint of a Creator who came to give us all Hope in the form of a baby, born to suffer, and die, and raise again so He can be our everlasting hope, our one true hope, our greatest, our only Hope. And I have precious little to offer you, friend, but I can walk alongside you on my little patch of dirt and offer you what hope I have. And I can hand you baby chicks to cuddle in your empty arms or playful children needing to be tagged in the warmth of the sun. And I can pass you the freshest eggs, and maybe they will be help you find your hope and show you there is hope so you can remember all of the baby miracles and great big miracles that the God of Hope can do.

But I can do a little better, I can help you plant some seeds in a pot, or a mug, or an old egg carton filled with dirt. And I can introduce you to the One who really is our Hope, and IMG_0209together we can water those teeny tiny seeds of hope and place them in just so, so that as the sun shines on those little seeds and creates a miracle that makes them grow, His love can shine bright right on that broken heart you carry and make a miracle of hope to grow, right there, right here, right when you need it most on this day, this hard day in a series of hard, hard days.

I want to be a hope-bearer, too.


 

“Hope” is the thing with feathersimage

BY EMILY DICKINSON

“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 by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)