Adventures in Single Parent Holidays: Week 4: Hope

hopeThe days after Christmas can be some of the toughest for single parents. While a month of festive preparation can serve as a beautiful distraction, the realization that the holiday has passed can be a let-down of sorts. Of the realization that life is going to get back to normal. Because many of us aren’t entirely thrilled with our current normal. It’s not the one we wanted. Or prayed for. Or ever in our wildest dreams, hoped for.

But, I want to challenge you in this next week ahead. Because a New Year is upon us. A year that can fill you with dread, or a year that can fill you—and those around you—with hope.

For some of us, hope seems unattainable. I mean, of course we want to rest in that happy place where we can see good things up ahead. But, it seems fleeting. Like something we can’t seem to hang onto. If you feel that way, consider this:

Maybe it’s not hope you’re trying to hang onto at all.

Is your hope melancholy? Are you hanging onto the hopes you had in the past and lamenting the reasons they never happened?

Is your hope something you’re trying to force? Are you trying to cram what you think you want in life into a box you’re calling hope?

Is your hope too shy? Are you too scared to look forward for fear of changes that it might bring?

While we may all hope in these ways at times, hope is none of these things.

In fact, hope is one of the most powerful things in the world for a believer. Because our hope is not in us. It has nothing to do with us. Our hope is in a life-changer. A builder. A dreamer. An eternal optimist because he’s already seen the end and knows—knows—that what we are going through will lead us to something beyond what we would have asked for ourselves.

And though the struggle can be difficult, we are called to stay in it. To bear down with him, and do the hard work of healing and repair so that what comes out on the other side is exactly what he planned us to be.

Something more beautiful that we could have ever

hoped to be in this life.

Because we were willing to be changed. To put our former “hopes” aside, and instead give in to his hope for us.

Hope is more like trust. Like believing with all your heart that what lies ahead is better than what lies behind you. Not because we are especially good at managing our own lives, but because we’re terrible at it, and yet what lies ahead will still be great. Because it’s not us who runs this show called life.

God alone is in control.

And his plan for us is always better than anything we could plan for ourselves. Even when it doesn’t seem that way. Even when we think we’ve totally ruined it all. We’re looking at a small piece of the picture of our lives. We can’t see how all of these ripped pieces will one day fit back together like a beautiful old picture that’s been cracked with age, and wisdom, and a life well-lived.

And though the cracks will still be there, everyone who sees it will think it beautiful. Not only that, but they will be drawn to it in a way that they can’t explain and the closer they come, they’ll realize that the simple piece is even more beautiful than it would have been if it had never been torn.

Don’t you have a few pieces that are already beginning to form a picture? One that is somehow better—and more beautiful—than the shape it held before?

There’s nothing more beautiful to God than the broken. He’s not the God of the perfect—though he himself is perfect. He’s the God of the broken. Of the lovely mistakes that bring us to his feet. Of the hearts that ache, because the ache draws us nearer to him. Of the hearts that hope—even when hope seems fleeting.

Because he wants to show us that our hope is not wasted. That what we wait for, and pray for, and wait for some more—is what he wants to give us all along. A life of peace, and love, and joy. To be filled with hope that though our circumstances may seem torn, we trust in him that they are simply being shifted in order for his light to shine through us more effectively.

Not only in our lives, but in the lives of those around us.

To fill them with hope.

 

 

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