All tagged hope

Hi guys.

It’s been a while.

There are a bunch of reasons why I haven’t really been able to write recently. One big one is I have my two littles home with me for the summer and, well, that takes most of my time. J

But I have to admit, the biggest reason why I haven’t been able to write is because I’ve been walking through something really really hard. After returning from an incredible trip to Bhutan at the beginning of June, this hard blindsided me and I’ve been working on catching my breath ever since. The problem is, the hard is part of my daily life right now, so catching my breath is more of a gasping day-by-day nature. It’s one of those hard things you can’t walk away from; one of those hard things that doesn’t have a known expiration date.

So here I sit in the middle of my hard and I’m wondering what to write to you guys, because I feel as though there is so much burning within me waiting to come out, and I desire to write even though my heart is very heavy.

Here’s the thing – I’ve been talking so much about seeing eternity, about seeing the REALITY of God in the midst of the “reality” of our situations. A bit ironic I suppose to have that as the burning message in my soul as I walk through some of the most difficult weeks of my life. But maybe it’s not as ironic as I think. Because you know, God doesn’t inspire us with messages to share just so that other people will be encouraged to walk in courage and freedom. No, somehow – I am convinced – somehow every lesson He allows His mouthpieces to share are in fact lessons first and foremost for themselves.

I realize even right now as I write that His wisdom and His Love are extraordinarily intimate…

Courage, Dear Heart: A Lesson on Hope

“Courage, dear heart.”

-Aslan, The Voyage of the Dawntreader

Lucy was heading into a place of great darkness when these Aslan whispers were carried on the wind by a bird flying above her head. These same words are whispering now over me, too...

Courage, dear heart.

You don’t know what’s next. You don’t know why you’re here. But courage. Courage, dear heart, because I know.

If I know that He knows, and I believe that He loves me, and I’m convinced that all things are for my good (Rom. 8:28), then my heart should rise to meet the whisper flying on the wind, grabbing it with both hands as I breathe in the courage of knowing my God is near.

And that He can be trusted.

Today, I look at what’s in my hands. I look at my time and the things that I’m doing with it. And I don’t fully understand what it’s all about. Actually, I don’t really understand it at all. But with all the grit I can muster, I put my head down and I move forward and I write, because it’s all I know to do right now. This writing and this studying and this speaking truth. This loving my children, my husband, and my friends, and this taking it one day at a time and believing that there’s a purpose for this season, even though I don’t understand.

This season is different than the ones I’ve had before, but isn’t it funny how in every season we can find what’s wrong? In every season we can uncover heartache under a rock and then let it fall on top of us, thinking that our lives are over.

This is silly and crazy and yet it’s the human condition, isn’t it? Because oh, there’s this longing inside of us that just knows there is more. There’s so much more and we can feel it fleetingly in the breeze that blows through our hair, or in the smile of friend, or in the moving chorus of a song, but just as soon as we reach out to grab it, the more we tasted slips through our fingers and we wonder if it was something we simply imagined. Because isn’t hope the very thing that causes disappointment? If we hope for that fleeting more to take root in our lives on a more consistent basis, won’t we fall into despair when…

Well…

When it doesn’t?

Valley of Trouble, Gateway of Hope: Experiencing the Heart of Jesus

I will return her vineyards to her
    and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
    as she did long ago when she was young,
    when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
Hosea 2:15, NLT

Oh how this season has been a valley. Oh how I had thought that coming here, that this act of obedience was going to take me to joy, to dream-fruition, and to passionate service for the Kingdom. This was my expectation. This was my hope. I obeyed and I came and I made all of the immense changes because I thought that it was time, time for the dreams to awaken, time to take Your hand and to follow you into destiny.

Then I arrived. Any my heart sank. And nothing was as it was supposed to be. And trouble started to come upon me, not in drops, not in showers, but in waves. Wave after wave of trouble and heartache and the cries of “Why God?” and “Where are You, God” and “Have You forgotten me?”

Oh Valley of Trouble, how you broke me. How you brought me to my weakest point and left me on my face on the floor, unable to move. I didn’t know you were coming. I didn’t know that making this change and walking in obedience was going to bring me to this place where trouble was a flood around me, a valley of bones surrounding me, a desert of hopelessness and fear and brokenness with no oasis, no end in sight.

Yet here I stand.

Today.

And I say with fullness of heart…Thank You, God. Oh thank you for the Valley of Trouble.

But why oh why would I thank Him for this? How can I be broken and battered to within an inch of my life and say thank you? And not just thank you, but 100% without hesitation, I would do it all over again. Have I gone mad? Have I lost my senses?

Fall is in the Air: Change is Coming...Let Hope Arise.

Fall is in the air.

The trees are still green, but daydreams of lying under a canopy of gold and looking up through the leaves while the sunlight plays in dapple drops on your face make you smile, because you know what’s coming. You know it’s not far away…this season of autumn-crisp days and pumpkin-scented everything.

Mmmm…yes, hope is stirring.

Hope is stirring in anticipation of the changing seasons because you know that the season coming brings the warmth of blankets and family and cider and curling up with a good book with no guilt at all.

And maybe, like me, the hope inside your soul is stirring, too.

Because maybe as the seasons change outside your window, the seasons are changing inside as well. Maybe within your heart, the darkness of the shadows that have been hovering is being dappled by sunlight drops of hope that have fallen through the leaves of doubt and fear.

Repurposed: How to Have a New Outlook on Life Even When Things Look Bleak

“Siri, tell me where the coolest Starbucks in Dallas is.”

She gave me ideas for a few, but this one – this one looked special. I read a couple of articles about its unique interior design, about its rooftop garden. So when I walked in, I looked around before I ordered my coffee (yeah…crazy).

Long, black iron community table with tall iron chairs. Leather wingbacks and plush wall-installed sofas. Blown-glass chandeliers.

As a Starbucks-vibe connoisseur (the coffee is ok, but the Starbucks vibe? Oh yes, take me every day. To me, finding a new Starbucks feels like Christmas)…I was absolutely impressed. But what I loved the most was the shiplap-esque wall, and the gorgeous repurposed wood hanging artfully and beautifully from the ceiling, creatively covering up the air ducts.

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. It took my breath away. Did you ever just see something so beautiful that you felt like you almost couldn’t breathe? It hits different people in different ways by different means…for some it’s architecture, for some it’s flowers, for some it’s Picasso (you’re weird if this is you, but that’s ok, I like weird people).

He's in the Darkness: Enduring the Dark Night of the Soul

It’s so dark here.

Darkness like that cave we visited on a field trip as kids. They said, “Turn off your flashlights and then put your hand in front of your face.”

So we did, and it was like we didn’t even have hands, like our hands were phantoms, lost with the rest of us in the darkness.

The darkness is complete and the silence is, too. Silence that can’t be described, like a room without windows or doors, without the whirr of air or the creak of a hinge.

I ache for a thunderstorm. That roaring, loud crash that is so obviously a message to run to safety; that rain that drenches me and makes me cold and I shiver and I shake, but at least I’m feeling something.

I dream of busy streets. That rushing to and fro, the honking of horns, that race that makes me feel like I’m doing something even if all I’ve done is cross the street alive or drive my car from one end of the city to the other.

I long for light, for a sunny day in the mountains where you almost have to close your eyes for a moment because it’s just too good, it’s just too beautiful.

But it’s dark here and I’m lost, my soul a phantom like the hand in front of my face.