Monday, January 13, 2014

Life Themes: Hope

I ended my last post with this verse"If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31)  Right now I find great comfort in this verse.  Almighty God-----for ME.  But it occurred to me that the confidence that this verse inspires or doesn't  depends a lot on our current opinion, impressions, or belief system about who God is.

Ladies, you will know what I mean by this statement:  All mirrors are not created equal.  Can I get an, "Amen"?  I have two mirrors in my house big enough to show me all that I need to see.  In one of the mirrors I usually look great.  It flatters me and makes me look my best.  I call it my skinny mirror.  The other mirror, well not so much.  If I look in THAT mirror before going out I feel dumpy and not so good about myself.  I've come to think that reality is somewhere between my two mirrors and so can adjust my thoughts about my current outfit accordingly.  Or I can just stick with my skinny mirror! 

I think how we 'see' God, how much trust we put in Him, how much faith and hope we have in Him are directly representative about what 'mirror' we're seeing Him through.  Are we in a place where our minds are filled with distress and doubt and therefore have distorted our image of Him?  And, therefore, ourselves.  If so, we need to stop and stare and refocus our view by the Truth of Who He Is.

Some of us always have a sound track of music in our minds.  Some of the songs are quite short-termed; music that we've been listening to recently, the irritating but catchy song that we just heard walking through the store.  Then there are the songs that resurface from our deepest, default memories when our minds are pretty blank otherwise and we just feel like singing.  Songs that have inspired us, challenged us, made us who we are.

One of my default songs is:
My hope is built on nothing less 
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness 
And I dare not trust the sweetest frame 
But wholly lean on Jesus' name 

On Christ the solid rock I stand 
All other ground is sinking sand 
And all other ground is sinking sand 

Hope.  Something challenged me to consider recently that if I had to pick one thing to call the theme of my life, what would it be?  I decided that it would be:

Not that I have always walked every single day in hope.  Not that I have always been a source of hope for others.  But when whatever happens in my life, whatever layers are of things that shouldn't be there are stripped away, whatever lesson I end up learning, it always seems to somehow come back around to hope for me.

"Hope isn't about knowing how things will come about.

Hope is envisioning the future and choosing to enjoy that now.  Hope is really about rest.  Resting in the imperfections of today because you believe that tomorrow there is possibility.  Sometimes the hope isn't for the change as much as it is for the change in me."

If you've seen me much lately I may have been wearing this around my neck:
(I need to learn how to do those cool, focused on the object but blurry around the edges photos!)
I had fun recently selling some jewelry I've had for ages and getting some new things that make me smile instead for my next season of life.  Since working at an artisan jewelry shop before I had my first child, I see jewelry as an art form and wanted a few things that not only brought me joy to look at but meant something to me as well.

A while back my daughter's hope had fled.  I felt helpless.  I didn't know what to say or how to best support her.  I was just muddling along day by day trying to show love and hope fueled by His.  So I got this.  I want her to see hope 'fastened around (my) neck' (Prov. 6:21) when she looks at me.  A tangible reminder.

It's surprised me, however, that there are days when I struggle to wear this myself.  Days when I find myself shying away from the word 'hope'.  Those are the days I realized that I need to clean my mirror that lets me see my Father.  Unfog the reflection of my heart.  So I guess you could say this visual representation of a concept has become a barometer of my own heart as well.  Hope fastened around my own neck challenged me instead.

"Resting in the imperfections of today because you believe that tomorrow there is possibility."  And embracing that NOW.  

There is always, ALWAYS hope.

Our son, Aaron, got to go to an adventure camp this past week. (Thanks, Mark and Kerrie!!!) An awesome thing for a 15 year-old boy.  We picked him up at the bus depot last night and as he exited the bus I looked forward to seeing a big, happy smile on his face.  But there wasn't!  While he'd had a fantastic time, a few days before he'd hit his mouth on a rock while white water rafting and couldn't.  His swollen, cracked and puffy mouth was just too sore.

May we find a clear vision of who God is so we can have hope in our hearts today.  But let us also look for those whose hearts have been bruised and are sore, who can't smile for themselves, and model a life filled with incomprehensible, irrational, irrepressible hope for them as well.
(Because you never know the other half of everyone's story......)

When darkness seems to hide His face 
I rest on His unchanging grace 
In every high and stormy gale 
My anchor holds within the veil 

His oath, His covenant, His blood 
Support me in the whelming flood 
When all around my soul gives way 
He then is all my hope and stay 

On Christ the solid rock I stand 
All other ground is sinking sand 
And all other ground is sinking sand