Where Have I Been? (Living Without Hope)
My dear Sisters for Real,
I've been quiet for quite some time now. People have been asking me why I haven't been blogging or writing. "I haven't heard from you in so long!"
I could blame it on being busy, but that would be less than the truth. The honest answer is that I've been losing hope, and without hope, I languish. My creativity dries up. My effort wains. My happiness fades.
Yesterday, a coworker asked me where my smile went. It was a loving question, coming from a concerned heart. I gave a half-truth of a reply. She seemed understandably skeptical. Her parting words to me were, "Find your joy."
I wrestled all day and night with those words, and have come to this place today: here, at my computer, pouring my emotions on to the screen - believing that this will do less damage than when I poured my coffee over my keyboard. (Yup. Happened. Fried my harddrive. Please say I'm not the only one?)
My sleepless morning hours brought me to this realization: I had allowed a lie to rob me of my hope. I don't want to go into the specifics yet (I know will have to in the future - this is Sisters for REAL, after all.) But for now, let it be enough to say that I had given up the fight in one specific area of my life. I had accepted defeat.
And oh, HOW HOPELESSNESS KILLS JOY!
Pervasive, insidious, deadly hopelessness.
It started with a tiny, little lie - a suggestion that things will ALWAYS be this way. Immediately, something inside me agreed with that lie. Things will never change. This is my lot in life.
That lie grew larger with my agreement. It shifted, subtly, into this new lie: This is God's plan for you. Other people have His blessing in this area, but He wants you to go without.
I agreed with that too. After all, isn't being a Christian all about sacrifice and dying to your self?
My acceptance of that lie worked its way into my heart. It created a hole from which my joy and hope drained, a bit more every day, until my reserve was depleted.
Through the wisdom of a Sister for Real, who boldy challenged me when I spoke that lie aloud, and through the gently leading of the Holy Spirit who stirs me up and makes me uncomfortable to force me into prayer, I have seen the lie for what it is - straight from the pit of hell, designed to destroy me.
Our enemy is constantly whispering the words intending our destruction. Some are easy to recognize. Others are wrapped in half-truths and deception. This lie, for me, was so simple and clear it seemed true. And my agreement gave it power to take my joy. ENOUGH.
The Bible shows us clearly that God's plan is to bring us life, abundant life, and to give us joy and hope. God fully comprehends that hope is part of what helps us live and breathe. It anchors our soul, Any statement that destroys my hope isn't from God. It must be fought off, battled with, wrestled until it surrenders - even if it leaves me wounded.
My hope is not in my circumstances changing, but in GOD who rules my heart. I may never see things work out the way I want them to, but I can always return to this truth: my God is for me, not against me. In this, I place my hope.
With hope, I will face this new chapter of my future. Next month, I return to school. I will be obtaining my Master's Degreen in Theology. It will take 3 years. I don't know exactly how all the details will work out; working full time, teenagers in every sport under the sun, pastoring, finances. I panic, almost daily, about what this change will mean to my already overly-hectic life.
But I do know this: my God, who has good things for me, will walk with me every step of the way. He will not leave me, or forsake me.
Hope is restored.
Are you wrestling to have hope in one area of your life? Is there something specific about which I can pray for you? I'd love to hear from you, my sisters.