If you’d have told me 2016 would end like it did I would’ve said you were straight up crazy.
I could never have imagined feeling such joy when my baby went to kindergarten (because she would finally get to do all that she’d been eagerly anticipating) or beginning work that so perfectly weaves all that I am passionate about into one purposeful position.
I could also never have imagined my father-in-law’s death.
Not in a million years.
I told you that I entered 2016 hopeful. When I chose my Bible Verse of the Year it was an honest struggle because I wondered how to calmly balance shock/grief and your well-wishes when we were in disease management mode. This year had nothing on us. The doctor, who understandably cannot know all things, made mention of years and a positive response to chemotherapy. Cancer was going down.
Only lung cancer took me down instead. With abrupt speed it ripped love from my life, mocking my understanding and testing my hope with a headstone and the toughest parenting year of our life as remains.
There is safety in the black that hides us from the voices. Answering the hard questions. The need to feel put together when the batty mind games strike.
How could this happen? Why must this be so hard?
I begged Jesus to take my cup of suffering. My hands lay crossways over my heart with desire to piece back together all that was invisibly broken. My mind exhausted from navigating life pain I didn’t plan.
When this is true. When life looks different than we want it to, can we still enter 2017 with hope?
Circumstance won’t rob us of hope. Sight will.
The desire to be okay was the very thing that was suffocating me and it might be the very thing isolating you.
With our eyes and attention drawn to what isn’t, disappointment and heartbreak naturally follow. This isn’t something we need pretend away or hide. There is healing place for it in the light.
But emotion cannot be the final dictator of our well-being.
We must look into the Face of hope rather than at the idea of hope.
Hope is a choice.
When the situational brokenness of life weigh us down we must let the Truth of who God is reign supreme.
Making this decision isn’t always easy. It requires trust beyond the heaviest of moments and demands that we mentally defy all that is crumbling in front of us.
No simple task but the only way to peace.
I entered 2016 with hope driven by a smile, largely dependent on an earthly outcome. I will hang the new calendar with hope driven by the eternal, fully dependent on promised victory.
What will you choose?
The beauty in choosing eternal hope is that it doesn’t always have to look hopeful. We’re freed to remove the mask of “okay-ness” and just be. Sometimes we will appear joyful and other times completely broken. But, the guarantee of an intimate God who has overcome it all + caring community who embraces authenticity means healthily making it through in the Light.
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