Hope. That word has been churning in me for awhile lately. In extra ways. And the last few days, I've had this verse swarming around inside my head:
I've learned over the years that when something gets stuck in my head, it's not by accident. The Lord plops it in there because He wants me to hear something.
So I've been letting it sit in there. Thinking about hope as an anchor. An anchor. An anchor makes you stay put. When a boat is anchored, it stays. It doesn't stop rocking and rolling from the storm, but it stays put. Secure.
And I can look back on so many "storms" in my life, when I've chosen to hope. Choosing hope doesn't stop the storm, but it keeps you anchored. You may still rock and roll with the storm, the waves may still batter against you, but you are anchored. You are secure.
When my mom so slowly was drained of life from that ugly brain tumor, and when she died: my hope in the Lord was my anchor. I was tossed in the waves, I grieved deeply, I HURT, I was angry, I ached for things to be differently. But I stayed anchored to the Hope that there was a future, that I would be happy again. It is unfathomable to me how anyone goes through something like that without hope.
And then a few weeks later my first baby was born, a perfect 8 pound 7 ounce package of hope.
When my sweet 5-year old little girl was lying lifeless on a pool deck, then flown across the state on life support, then lying in that ICU, hooked up to so many machines, naked and exposed on a icy-cold cooling pad...we literally were not allowed to touch her. Not even her cheek, her hand. We could only talk to her. She was very fragile. We wept, we prayed, we clung to hope. And it anchored us. The storm was brutal, we were battered in a way I can't even describe, but we stayed anchored.
When the storm settled and our precious girl was given back to us, we stayed anchored. To the Lord and to each other. Tough days followed, tough weeks followed, but that anchor of hope kept us secure.
And last winter, as I was battered from a storm of anxiety, my only anchor was hope. Dark, dark days. I truly wondered what my future held, but I never wavered from hope that the Lord held my future. As that storm quieted and finally left, I was left standing right where I had dropped my anchor: safe, firm and secure.
Just a few examples of storms I've faced, and I think it's so good to look back and see the faithfulness of God. When we anchor with hope in Him, our future is firm and secure, no matter what the storm, or what toll the storm takes.
In the midst of those storms, I couldn't imagine the pain being gone. I was unable to see through it to know that there really would be a day when that pain didn't impact me every day. But I still had the hope to cling to.
And yesterday, I cried over a lady's death...a lady I had never met yet was deeply touched by. She died from the same type of nasty brain tumor that my mom died from. Seeing her images brought back so many images of my own. I realized I've blocked out a lot of the images of my mom's face from when she was ravaged by the tumor. In my mind, and I'm thankful for it, I see my mom in her healthy days, face unchanged by the tumor. But yesterday I remembered those images clearly. It hurt my heart. And then it encouraged me. I was able to see freshly how much the Lord had healed. I miss her, that never changes. But I'm having a very happy life. I'm okay. And there were days I wondered if I would be okay.
So my prayers have been strongly focused on that lady's two sweet daughters. I relate to their pain. I know they share a strong faith. I'm praying that they keep hope as their anchor. Hope in a future. As unimaginable as it is, the extreme pain of a storm does fade. I remember during each of those storms having days that I just wanted to not hurt. I wanted the physical ache of grief to just stop.
I can't speak for every single storm in this life, but I can speak for the same God that offers hope in every storm. And I know He's faithful and He redeems and He promises a hope and a future.
I'm so very thankful for hope. Where would we be without it?
My very favorite line ever from a book comes from Have A Little Faith by Mitch Albom. It's the last line of the book:
"I am in love with hope."
Yes. Be in love with hope, choose hope. Let it anchor your soul.