Category Archives: Hope
God has given me this abundant life. A family I love. Work that invigorates.
And yet I want. I want some parts of my life to be different. I think “what if. . .” and “If only. . .” My mind wanders and I think about my life and what it might look like “if only. . .”
And then I come back to the present. But I find I’m only partially here. I leave a small piece of me–part of my attention–in that place. In the “If only” place.
I’m like a puzzle with one missing piece. Set out on the table, put together, yet not complete. The puzzle makers search for the missing piece and come up short. Disappointment after all that work. And then the sigh, oh well.
When I live in the “If onlys” and “what ifs” I imagine God’s disappointment. After all, He has orchestrated this life. He knows my disappointment. My frustration. My expectations. My hopes.
He also knows how it impacts those around me. Those He gave me to love completely. Those who aren’t getting my full attention.
What would my life look like if I fully lived the life set before me? No “if onlys.” No “what ifs.” What if I just lived in the present moment and focused my full attention? What if I celebrated this life fully with thanksgiving? What if I just trusted God fully? Had faith?
Would this life begin to look like the life I dream about? Or perhaps, become more abundant than I could ever imagine. . .
I think of Christ and wonder whether he ever felt as I do. As He carried the cross, I wonder if He ever thought “if only. . .”
“let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” – Hebrews 12:1 ASV
I’m joining Lisa-Jo at Gypsy Mama again for 5 Minute Friday. Join us! Just write for 5 minutes–no edits, no extra time–just write and post. The theme today is “If I knew I could, I would. . .
If I knew I could find the words that would convince you that God loves you, I would drop everything and spill those words out for you to hear and watch your eyes and heart light up.
If I knew the acts in my life that would show you how much God loves you, and what peace you would find if you knew Him, I would stop everything else and just do those things that would show you.
If I knew I could find another person in this world who could help you to see God and have faith the way I do, I would push aside my introverted nature and introduce you to that person and serve you tea and cupcakes while you talked.
If I knew that I could point you to a passage in scripture that would speak to your heart and show you His, I would sit with you in silence as you read and pray for God’s presence at that moment.
If I knew that I could pray for God to pursue you and prepare your heart and that nothing I could do would help, I would pray anyway because I love you that much, and because I know God loves you that much, and because I know hope and faith and love prevail. . . .
Sometimes I just don’t want to write.
My mind just wants to be numb.
My heart just doesn’t want to feel.
I don’t want to pour out the heartaches and wounds of this tired soul.
I’d rather sit alone in silence.
Hold it in.
Pretend that life is perfect—or at least just fine–in these four walls.
Just not feel or even blink at the chaos that unravels around me and then lands in my lap a tattered mess.
But who would I be kidding?
I need to write.
It frees me from the loneliness of this life.
This broken, shattered life.
It gives me hope.
And in the distance, I hear an echo.
“That is my life too.”
I find community.
I find others with wounds like mine.
Others who know that life is not perfect within the four walls of our homes.
That we are not perfect wives or mothers or daughters or sisters or friends.
Others who know the heartache of loss and love and loneliness.
And in that community, I find hope.
I find renewal.
I find peace in the unraveling chaos.
Because, in the midst of community, I find Christ.
He draws close and He is in the midst of it all.
The healer of wounds.
The one who knits us together when the unraveling begins.
The one who holds fast to us when the world has emptied us of all hope.
The one who gives hope to the hopeless.
I skipped out to the mail box as a young girl with blond pig-tails swinging wildly, excited to retrieve the mail for mom. But then I heard it. The sound of a plane over head. Suddenly my joy turned to fear. I reached the mail box, covered my ears, crouched down, and tried to hide. The fear overwhelmed me. I don’t recall the exact sensation, but I recall how terrified I was of planes. I don’t know if it was the noise or the fear of a crash. I know mom would ask me as I shuttered in fear, what was it I was afraid of? I couldn’t tell her. I just was. I had no words to speak about how I felt.
As I move through Holy Week, I have no words to speak of Christ’s death on the cross and the resurrection. Instead, I wonder whether, if I had lived during that time, whether I would have been struck with fear and an absence of words. I wonder whether I would have been one who refused to speak up for Christ or one who refused to listen to Christ.
I am certain I would not have spoken up. And I imagine, like I did as a kid, I would have been wrought with fear, a fear I perhaps could not articulate.
That is difficult to admit, but I admit it with certainty. Today, I don’t find it easy to talk about the resurrection because I find it intellectually incomprehensible.
Understanding it and believing it required a transformation from head to heart–an inner knowing. Faith. Belief in things unseen.
So, as I move silently through Holy Week, I reflect on my own failings, but I look to the cross. I read the words of another who reminds me that I am precious and dear to God, despite my failings. He covers me with His grace. I find peace at the foot of the cross. On my knees. In silence, but not afraid.
“All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all.”
–Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness
Sometimes we fail to say things to our children when we are thinking of them. Sometimes, it is because we don’t have the courage. Other times it is because we don’t have the time or the opportunity. Or, sometimes, we don’t know how they will respond. I thought I would occasionally post letters to my children to inspire others to share their hearts with their children, too. This first letter is to my son who is now 21 years old and who, last night, had to make a difficult choice to sacrifice a friendship he has had since first grade in order to try to save that friend’s life.
My Dear Son,
You have grown into a young man—one any mother would be proud of. You know the meaning of friendship—of true friendship. The Greek call this philia –fondness, appreciation, and loyalty to those you hold in community.
Your passion for life and those you care about drive every part of you. I admire it and at the same time I see it as a cross you bear. Your friendships have been characterized by loyalty, availability, honesty, trust, listening, nurturing, and a sense of finding a kindred spirit. But they also have been characterized by conflict, sacrifice, forgiveness, grief, and disappointment.
The depth of your friendships, the love you have for others in your life also means that you have had—and will continue to have—a sense of responsibility for those you care about. I know that you have had to choose, on occasion, doing what is right over the relationship. It has meant not just calling out your friends but also standing beside them when they desperately needed a friend they could count on. It has meant seeking help from family and friends to save the life of a friend. It has meant agonizing over the choice and ultimately choosing love and life, knowing that someday your friend might turn back to you, and may even thank you—hoping that you will have restoration.
It has also meant grieving deeply at the loss of some of your closest friends—whether the loss was because of death, or distance, or doing what was right. I have grieved for you, as I can’t imagine at your age having endured the loss that you have already endured. I know you have sought to understand loss and that, in many respects, it has eluded you. But I know that you have faith that someday you will heal, even if small scars remain. That somehow loss and grief will shape you in a way that will remind you that loving others was worth the pain of loss.
So I pray that you will continue to love deeply and value friendship above other things, for it is part of the fabric of who you are. It has been imprinted on your soul as long as I can remember. And, while it has been a burden at times, it has shaped you into a man of integrity and given you great joy. The way that you love others in community beautifully reflects Christ.
As C.S. Lewis wrote, “Friendship is not a reward for our discrimination and good taste in finding one another out. It is the instrument through which God reveals to each the beauties of a thousand other men; by Friendship God opens our eyes to them.”
With love always,