Hoping to Hope
I read a devotional everyday. Ok. Well that is the intent anyhow. I had made the New Year’s resolution to do so. I have a lovely variety of books to pray with, bible reading and a devotional that I have loved for many, many years called God Calling. It is a very humble book with loving words pouring out from the pages. It has always amazed me in the eighteen years or so that I have had the book, each and every single day that I have read from it, it has meant something significant to my life. EACH time!! Not only that, but it also has this uncanny little thing about birthdays. With all of the people that are close to me and have been through the decades that I have had this, it is well-suited to the person that I know that has that particular birthday. Well there was one person that it did not suit, but that is still a very impressive oddity that this devotional has. For instance, my birthday is April 19th. I will only share with you the beginning line of this particular day’s devotion, but here it is:
“April 19 – Life Is A Love Story
You need Me. I need you.”
Could there be words better suited to my life? I really don’t think so at all. Would everyone with the same birthday see that and feel that it was so relevant? Perhaps not, but I would hazard to guess that they would find something within the text of the message that follows that pierces the truth of their spirit. Those who know me well would know just how much those words suit my life.
I have not been able to get myself to read this daily so far this year other than the first few weeks and then again for the last couple of weeks.
Here is today’s passage that followed the devotional and the reason that I decided to write about this wonderful devotional in the first place:
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory.” 1 Peter 11:7
The message touched me deeply. He is saying to me what He has been saying to me for a while. That all of the struggles that I have been enduring over the last while have not been in vain. That all of this heartbreak and disappointment are part of my journey to a higher calling in becoming who He created me to be. It is so very hard to stay strong when life is so harsh and many of you know how tremendously I have been hurting over the last six months. I had a bit of a revelation last week though. I have known for years that God has called me to minister to the broken-hearted in life. I have already ministered to many through the last six years who have been broken-hearted, some who’s story broke my own heart hearing.
As I have wept bitterly since the end of the summer, first at the rude awakening of learning to live with the fact that I am not able to gain control of this ridiculous, deforming disease and then later at losing the man who loves me more than he has ever loved anyone in his life to go to someone who’s life circumstances were better suited to his liking. I knew the day would come, for only twice in the last two years of our three-year relationship did he tell me that perhaps there was a hope that we would be together, but knowing this did not make losing him any easier than shattering. It truly broke me in a way that I did not know I could break. Frankly, I was surprised by the depth of my pain and it was so difficult for both him and for me. He still loves me and I love him and that is enough to know. Our story is one of the greatest love and beauty, but he never promised anything other than it was. On top of that, I have been watching my eldest daughter’s drug addiction spin out of control and I just can’t get through to her. Such a beautiful child. Such a shame to have her go through this. (Although I stand in great faith knowing that she will be completely healed!)
Today I read those words and again He reminded me. I am not going through this in vain. He reminded me that part of serving Him to what He has called me to is understanding the broken hearted to whom He has called me to minister. So here I am. Broken-hearted. Wanting to better serve Him and wondering when He is going open the doors again for me to pour out His love on those He places in my path. Last week, on a very bad day full of self-pity and loneliness, I got it. I mean, I really, really got it. Feeling ridiculously stupid, I got it. I am truly one of His broken-hearted and now, with having lived this and knowing that He will continue my healing, I got it. I had to live it. I guess I should be thankful, but I really am not so thankful yet as my heart and emotions are still so raw. Yet I will thank Him anyhow knowing that He has great plans for my spirit and knowing that He will heal me. But as for now, I am not a lot better than shattered still.
One thing has changed for me though. Hope. I had lost all of my hope for the first time in my life a few months ago and I did not know that I even could lose my hope. I am one of those very resiliant people that has ALWAYS had a smile on my face despite the dire circumstances that anyone else would have thought I was in. No, not me. I would see, feel and live the harshness, yet I could sing happily as I walked down the street delighting in whoever I was with or just at the pretty sky or nice things in the shop window. No matter how dark my day, the sound of my children’s laughter would melt away the clouds and send me smiling on to the rest of my day. Sure I would cry when things went wrong but I would no sooner blow my nose and wipe my tears away then the sun was shining over me again. It was like I walked around carrying my own personal, never-ending bottle of happiness. All who have known me have always said that it is my smile that is the most touching for it was always real no matter what the day brought me. I always had hope. I remember weeping in the basement at the harshness of something my ex-husband had said and a few hours later I was singing with my kids and dancing around the house with them (yes, really, I would do a dance train with them around the home starting from the kitchen down the hall hopping over to the front door area, over to the family room, skipped to the dining room and then would spin my way back to the kitchen with the little ones copying my every step. Follow the leader to a good Christian kids song was one of our favorite things when they were tiny!)
This time, some time last fall, hope left me. I stared at the empty balloon that used to be hope, but it was a dead, flattened piece of rubber. I was finished in a way that I did not know that I could be. I could only stare into nothingness vainly trying to see something better than the physical and emotional pain I was in. I came to realize that my hope had left me and it sent me into an even greater depression. I was just so sad.
Hardly able to pray, I started to pray for hope. Just to have my life-long partner of hope back again. Slowly I heard it starting to whisper in my ear again. It is still hard to hope some days as nothing at all has changed for me.
Except my hope to hope and that is a big enough change for me.
I hope you all have a great tomorrow!!!
Oh – by the way, if you are interested in taking a look at the devotional that I was speaking of, there is a free online version of it. Check it out at http://www.twolisteners.org. You will have to click onto the “God Calling” tab. Take the time to read about how the book came to be as it is a pretty amazing story. Have fun!