Hope. What would you label it? An emotion? An attitude? A way of thinking?
We all have moments or seasons in this life where discouragement settles in and hope loses ground. I know I’ve been there before and I’m quite sure I’ll experience it again.We all have moments or seasons in this life where discouragement settles in and hope loses ground. But it's not a place I want to stay ... What about you? #surrenderedheartsbook #hope Click To Tweet
It’s a battle we fight every time we wait.
Our thoughts begin to wander to the when, where, and how. Sometimes the wait is long and we want to declare we will wait no more. That the time is now. We want to put God on our timeline even when we know it doesn’t work that way.Putting God on our own timeline will never work! #hope #surrenderedheartsbook Click To Tweet
We each have our own stories of learning to wait. My lessons were carved indelibly into the framework of my soul both while we waited for our Selah to come home through adoption and in the years since she has been home as we wait for her to be healed. There were times discouragement found a far too comfortable place in my heart. I remember the weight of our challenges feeling overwhelming and of landing stuck where the light of hope and truth struggle to shine.
You see, I’m a follower of Jesus and I know the hope found in Him.
I’ve lived it and I’ve experienced His redemption. But, still that doesn’t stop me from sliding into where the enemy loves to trap me – into hopelessness.
How about you? Have you been in that place before? Are you there now?
The interesting thing is I write a lot about hope. Because I write about it, I read a lot about it, too. A favorite of mine was the book, The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. In it she refers to hope in a way I hadn’t thought of before.
“Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process.” – Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection
I’ll be honest. That statement didn’t sit well with me at first because, to me, hope is felt in the heart. In the soul. It is something given to me by Jesus.
But I couldn’t let that quote go. I wrestled with it. Eventually coming to the conclusion that it didn’t contradict my belief at all!
When we believe there is a God of the Universe who is in control and is faithful to His promises, we are able to set fear aside. By setting it aside, we give ourselves freedom to set goals, step toward them, and believe in our capability. That is a series of cognitive processes. A series that when put into action, ushers us right into where hope happens. Where conviction is felt and hope is firmly planted. It is then we know that with Christ, all things are possible. And we say,
“I can do this.”
“I can get to the other side of this trial because I know God is in this.”
“I can focus on the next right step because God gives me just enough light.”
“I trust God with this situation and believe He is working all things together for my good because I love Him.”
“I can step fearlessly and with confidence through discouragement and onto my something better because God’s power is in and for me.”
But often when the discouragement sets in, weariness takes over and we stop putting those cognitive processes into action. We stop doing the next right thing. Rushing and pushing toward the next challenge on our life list, we forget what is most important. We forget that as followers of Jesus, our focus needs to be on Him and our next action step needs to be accessing the battle plan found in His Word.
The battle plan we can only find if we open our Bibles.
One morning in the midst of my discouragement, I was whining pouring out my heart to God. I realized I had once again, instead of focusing on Him and His word, slipped into focusing on my trials. As I humbly asked for His grace and mercy, it happened.
It was a scripture I have read a multitude of times. One I’d previously highlighted and to which I’d written the word “beautiful” in the margins.
In that moment, the “beautiful” washed over me as emotions of humility, awe, desire, and HOPE captured me.
Everything He is and everything I hope for was right there in those Words. They held my deepest desires for not only myself, but for all who are in my life. In that moment I set fear, discouragement, and weariness aside.
And I grabbed onto hope.
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. –Ephesians 3:14-19 NLTEverything He is and everything I hope for was right there in those Words ... #Discouragement #Hope Click To Tweet
Those Words were not simply ones to read as head knowledge, but ones to pray and claim as truths. Praying scripture is powerful. It changes circumstances. It grows an indescribable hope because it puts us in alignment with God’s Will and God’s promises.Praying scripture is powerful. It changes circumstances. It grows an indescribable hope because it puts us in alignment with God’s Will and God’s promises. #discouragement #prayer #hope Click To Tweet
It’s what got me through on the days I declared I would wait no more. The days when my prayers weren’t answered the way I’d hoped. It’s what got me through when discouragement threatened my hope.
So, will you join me in keeping our focus on God and His Word? Will you join me in praying scripture? Will you join me in stepping out of discouragement and grabbing onto hope?
Just in case praying scripture is new to you, I’ve provided a little example. Simply fill in the blanks with whomever you have on your heart. From here, you can open your Bible to the many promises of God written within the pages. Each can be prayed with confidence knowing they are in alignment with God’s will and desires for our lives.
This hope is why I wrote the book.
It might be the story of our adoption, but it’s not just about adoption. It was birthed out of hope. The hope we carry even today as we wait for our Selah to fully find freedom. It’s a book about surrender and trust – about living life as God calls us. And it’s about the miracles possible when we do. Friends, I’m so in awe of what has done and beyond excited for what He will continue to do!
Here’s a peek into what the book is all about.Here's a peek into what the #SurrenderedHeartsBook is all about! Surrendered Hearts- An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust #booktrailer #adoptionstories Click To Tweet
Want to know more about the book and the Live Surrendered bracelet?
If you haven’t signed up yet to receive updates, you can do so right HERE (or fill out the form below). Over the next 2 months I will be sharing pieces of our family’s story – the before, during, and after of international adoption. I’ll also be sharing resources and guest posts. And of course on launch week, there will be a party with giveaways! Subscribing will get you my occasional updates. It also gets you full access to my resource-filled Library of Hope! It has a ton of stuff in it to help you meet life’s challenges head on with the best tool we have – the hope of Christ!