I admit it. In the past, I have hoped too much. For too long. Or possibly, placed my hope in the wrong things. I'm still not really sure. I feel like I staked my life on a hope that was dashed upon the rocks of a very harsh and unkind reality that stole everything. My dreams for my family, my community, and my calling were all snatched away in the span of one day.
Finding a reason to hope has never been my problem. I am hopeful to a fault. It is perhaps this hope within me that kept me going, kept all the plates spinning and caused me to refuse to give up.
I spent every Saturday night for many years, opening up the church, leading others, and leading myself to a place of consecration, surrender, to adoration and thanksgiving at the foot of the cross. Literally, I would lie down on the stage at the cross and pour out my heart and all my hopes to Jesus, trusting that somehow, "... in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 (NIV)
I'd check my heart to make sure I fit the criteria. I am called, check. I am doing His purposes, check. I love Him, check. He works all things, check. All things together for good... ok Lord, I'm holding on to that one, in belief and faith that you will do it.
I would pray for my children, my church, my friends, my family, and my husband. I thought my tenacity was a good thing. I thought He would come through. I really thought He would turn things around for good. I was looking for it, hanging onto that hope.
But it didn't go the way I thought it would.
In a few days it will have been 2 years since I lost everything. A lot has changed since that day. I haven't learned how to dream yet, but I am learning to hope again.
In my year at school at Bethel, Kris Vallotton used to always say, all things work together for good in the end, so if it's not good yet, it's not the end.
As much as I have wanted it to be the end over the last 2 years, it hasn't been. My life has not come to an end. So if I'm still here and God isn't letting me end, it must mean that He has a purpose in my existence, that He can make something out of my mess, and that alone is reason to hope. I can feel it slowly rising.
At times I have wondered why it is such a slow process. (Moses and the children of Israel must've thought the same thing, I mean 40 years is a long time!) It only took Jesus 3 days, but He's the very Son of God so I figure I should adjust my expectations, but resurrection for me has been an agonizingly slow and painful process. I don't want it to take any longer than absolutely necessary.
I am beginning to understand that my ability to rise from the ashes is a choice, not a natural accident. God won't do it for me. Life certainly won't do it for me, in fact the natural forces of this world will do quite the opposite to keep me in my place. I must refuse to stay there. Refuse hopelessness. Refuse to let loss frame my life or tell my story.
I will dream again. I will live again. I will hope again.