Falling Into Hope

Somewhere along the way I lost my grip on hope. Maybe it was during those days that I leaned, with a baby on my hip, to adjust my mama’s IV line and put balm on her dry lips. While she drew near to the edge of glittering eternity, maybe it was then that I began to draw away. I didn’t know what to do with a God who would answer desperate prayers by letting cancer steal the rest of the days we wanted to hold her here.

When God didn’t obey me, I wanted to punish Him by closing my eyes to any of His work that would make me feel. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. But I was. I didn’t want to trace the fingerprints of Hands that would let death pass through them.

The Christmas before my mom died, it started snowing just as the sun went down. I nursed my newborn and watched my big girl snuggle into the soft pillow of her mammah’s arms while the little lights inside shimmered off snowflakes falling like fragile dreams, warm moments safely protected from the cold. All of us knew it would never be the same again.

I dreaded all of it the next year. The cinnamon and sparkles and candles felt fake, and my favorite music scraped my heart like fingernails on a chalkboard. I went through the motions because of my kids, but the place in me that used to flutter with excitement had stilled and hardened around the edges.

That year ended and another began, and as the suffocating weight of new grief rolled back a little, I began to choose hope again. Choose it desperate and bold, wrestle it in the dark like Jacob wrestled the Angel of the Lord. I had to believe God is good, and I gasped for evidence like breath. I guess that’s why I’ve focused so much on beauty over the last few years. I’ve needed to hold to my soul a flaming reminder of God’s character, to brand myself with truth.

He is good.

He IS good.

He has to be good.

I need Him to be.

There are seasons when clinging white-knuckled to hope makes the difference between giving up and going on. But eventually even the strongest hands can’t keep holding on and experience-hardened edges cut deep wherever we grasp.

Eventually we have to let go. And we have to fall.

There are days and months and years that so much of the evidence on the surface seems to testify that God has moved on and forgotten us. Sometimes heartache rolls in like waves, one crisis followed by another and another and another with barely enough time to breathe between.

Looking back I realize that my hands were already slipping three years ago, before we even left to move overseas. And when we landed there in the middle of difficult circumstances, the waves came hard and fast and shook my desperate fists loose. Hope dangled like a frayed rope, and I went down.

It’s the best thing that ever happened to me.

I didn’t know until I was sinking that the hope I thought I needed to hold onto was actually holding onto me. I had been playing on the shoreline. He was pulling me into His depths.

There’s a kind of hope that’s only found when He’s pressing in on all sides, when the reality of His weight stills our flailing. When I grew too weary to fight for a grip, that’s when I started to see His all-aroundness.

Hope has never been something I have the power to hold onto. My hands are too small.

Because God is Hope.

Choosing hope means choosing Him. And choosing Him means being His.

I am His when the day feels right and things are falling into place.

I am His when my world has turned on its head and I don’t see how the sun can keep rising.

I am His when I can see what He’s doing, and I’m His when I’m a tantruming child beating on His chest.

I’m His when I can feel hope fluttering soft in my chest. And I am His when my heart is stunned and I can’t feel anything at all.

My grip on hope doesn’t matter, because Hope has a grip on me.

Here, where I’ve lost my grip on hope-dreams and fallen headlong into the Author of Hope, this is where I can finally be still enough to know Him. This is where I can see the tendrils of Hope – of Him! – woven through the fabric of my days. Instead of grasping, my hands are open to feel the echoes of Hope in the littlest things, from the wetness of water, to the warmth of coffee in my favorite mug, to the thrumming under my palm of a precious heart still beating.

Each little glory echo whispering in the quiet:

He is good.

He IS good.

“Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world” ~ Psalm 46:10 (NLT)

4 Comments

  1. Nanc
    Oct 12, 2017

    WOW!!!

  2. Awesome! Touched me deep in my soul and spirit. Thank you.

  3. Carol Fisher
    Oct 13, 2017

    Is this an excerpt from your book??! I hope so!!! VERY GOOD!!!

  4. Laurie Young
    Oct 13, 2017

    A timely read! Thank you for sharing such HOPE.

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