To the girl struggling to find hope this season,
Hope can feel elusive, especially this time of year. Outside the world shouts “be happy” with twinkling lights and bustling stores filled with holiday décor but inside you feel a bit dim. You wonder if you will be able to endure this hopeless holiday season once more without exploding or imploding.
Friend, I see you. And friend, I want to tell you that it’s OK that you feel the way you do.
Our emotions were given by God. If you don’t believe that to be true you need only to look at scripture to be assured. Jesus was God in the flesh. Jesus got angry and threw over tables. Jesus wept. Jesus loved his friends and family. Jesus also got up in their faces from time to time. (Friend, read your Bible…it’s really good!)
My point is this, if you are trying to stuff your feelings in order to put on a happy face this season. Stop. God never asked you to not have feelings. He gave them for a purpose…embrace them, explore them, kick out the ones that don’t belong, but feel them. They are a sacred gift; they are part of your humanity.
I started off writing about hope and moved on to feelings pretty quickly and here is why. Our feelings are an important part of life, but we must learn to discern when our feelings are sabotaging us. Feelings unchecked can take a bad day or a bad relationship or a bad situation and make us feel that life is hopeless. Feelings can make us decide that things will never change. Feelings can tell us to give up when we should hold on. Feelings can tell us that it would be better to just stay in bed until after Christmas. Feelings can lie to us.
We must learn to check our feelings against scripture. We must hold up our feelings to the light of truth and see if they can stand in the light. Have you ever noticed that feelings of sadness, depression and hopelessness prefer a dark bedroom with covers over your head? Girl, there is always a time and place for a good cry, but when we are done staining our pillow with mascara tears we must move towards the light. This is where we find hope.
What does moving towards the light look like? It looks like opening the blinds and opening your Bible. It looks like rather than replaying a situation over and over in your head you recount it to God in prayer and ask Him to help you overcome it. It looks like boldly declaring in the morning, “I can’t change this hopeless fill in the blank, but God can”!
Simple steps like this are the cornerstones of hope that will lead us to the solid rock foundation we find in Jesus. Starting with these steps moves us out of the natural and into the supernatural place of hope beyond hope in a hopeless situation. This space is where you enter into the glorious mystery of God’s realm. I know because I have been there and when I drift, I always find my way back. When everyone around you can look and ask, “how can she still have hope?”, you know you have tapped into the true source of hope that only Jesus gives.
This is hope. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth for us. When we couldn’t make ourselves right with God, when the world was too broken and people were breaking each other, when obedience to God was impossible and humanity couldn’t measure up to the standard of holiness, He came. He didn’t turn his back and walk away. He came near and whispered as gently as a baby cooing, “I will make this right, I will stand in the gap for you”.
Sister, you are loved. You are cared for beyond measure by a God who came down to earth to die for your sins to make you right with Himself. The division between you and God is not there. This is where your feelings will lie to you. You can’t earn this kind of love. You can’t justify yourself in the court of grace. When God came as Jesus, then died on the cross, then rose from the dead, then promised to return he had you in mind. He did it all for you. You simply believe it and receive the blessing of everlasting life.
Everlasting life outshines all the dim things on this earth. Everlasting life reminds us that this world is temporary and so are it’s worries and hurts. It reminds us to endure knowing we have a friend in Jesus to journey with us the whole way. Everlasting life is our future and our hope.
Friend, if you were here with me right now I would take your face in my hands and breathe the weary but stubborn hope I have into you. I would remind you that you are loved beyond measure by God and that He provides temporary support in the form of other humans. I would encourage you to reach out to a safe human and tell them, “I’m not OK today, do you have some hope to share?”. I would help you write down a prayer to God giving Him all your worries and hurts and asking him to spark a flame of hope in your heart. Then I would hug you and whisper in your ear that you are going to be OK, and that I will too, because Jesus promised he would never leave or forsake us.
Your partner in hope,
Here are some Bible verses to remind you of the hope you have in Jesus.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13 ESV
Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12 ESV
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 ESV
But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 ESV
For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. Romans 8:24-25 ESV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 ESV
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4 ESV
“And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. Psalm 39:7 ESV
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 ESV
Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18 ESV
So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:7 ESV
I'm just a girl, standing before my God, knowing that He loves me and wanting others to know that love too.