Hope

The past few years have not been easy for me. I moved back to Madison to be closer to my parents and, if I’m being honest, to get away from a relationship that I didn’t feel was going to ever be healthy or functional. It just was not right. Fussing, fighting, together, not together. It was a vicious cycle.

Once back in Madison, I found it extremely hard to find a job. See, being my son’s only parent, I am unwilling to take a job that will keep me from spending time with him and that will keep me from being able to experience life with him. I refuse to miss ball games, school art shows, plays, class parties, being able to take random day trips, etc. I refuse to miss these moments: (that little figure by the water is my son)
It may not be the most beneficial choice in the financial sense, but money is just money. You can always get money one way or another. Life, though.. you only get one. Since he is already missing an integral part of his (his father), I have to make up for that in any way I can.

Back to the main point. The past few years have been difficult. I couldn’t find a job that was beneficial for myself and Mini-Me. I decided to REALLY go back to school and stop just talking about it. When it comes to school, I have to work harder than some in order to retain the information I am supposed to be learning. I spend a lot of time doing school work, so that, too, cut back the time I would be able to work to an even smaller timeframe. Luckily, through volunteering actively with the youth group, I was offered a summer internship at the church we were attending. It was such a blessing. Then, someone in my Sunday school class asked me if I would keep their new baby from around 8-12 on weekdays while she taught at the preschool. I would be able to have an income, go to school, AND still be able to spend time with my kid. In late July/early August, we moved to a new house after a summer of fearing and worrying that we were going to be homeless after my landlords decided to sell their property. (Long story for another day.)

Life has just been a whirlwind lately. Very many downs and a fair number of ups. I would never have been able to get through it if not for having some amazing friends and having truly awesome parents helping me the entire way. At some point in our life, we are the one being helped to our feet. Other times we are the ones doing the lifting. C’est la vie. It’s life. It’s our calling as humans, but more importantly it is our calling as Christians. We are supposed to love others and lift them up when they need help.

There is fear in needing help. There is fear in helping others. Many Americans are scared of allowing refugees in to our country. They fear they pose a threat to our safety. The places these people come from are recently known for their hatred of Christians. So I would say those who are scared are not totally misguided in their fears…. but a well-known passage in Romans should give us hope ane help us realise we can help in spite of our fears. In Romans 8:28-39, Paul says this:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified, those he justified, he also glorified.
What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all– how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died– more than that, who was raised to life– is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

I believe that our soul is what God promises these things to, not our human bodies. Our bodies are just the means which we use to act out God’s calling. We fear for our safety and the safety of our children.. but what do we really have to fear if the end-game for us is to be in heaven with Christ? Fear is a very hard thing to overcome. I didn’t sleep very well after hearing of the attacks in Paris because I know it is only a matter of time before there is another attack closer to home. Last week, I found a book by Charles Swindoll. You may remember me mentioning another of his books in this blog post. (I apologize for the crazy font colors. When I updated my settings, some things refused to be changed, so you may need to “highlight” to see parts of it. Bleh) It’s titled Hope Again: When Life Hurts and Dreams Fade. I haven’t had the chance to get very far into it, but a prayer on page 22 really speaks to me about these situations.

A Prayer for Hope Beyond Suffering
Lord, mere words about hope and encouragement and purpose can really fall flat if things aren’t right in our lives. If we’re consumed by rage and resentment, somehow these words seem meaningless. But when our hearts are right, we hear with new ears. Then, rather than resisting these words, we appreciate them, and we love You for them.
Give us grace to match our trials. Give us a sense of hope and purpose beyond our pain. And give us fresh assurance that we’re not alone, that Your plan has not been aborted though our suffering intensifies. 
Help those of us who are on our feet right now to maintain a compassion for those who aren’t. Give us a word of encouragement for others living in a world of hurt. 
Let us never forget that every jolt in this rugged journey from earth to heaven is a reminder that we’re on the right road. 
I ask this in the compassionate name of the Man of Sorrows who was acquainted with grief. 
Amen
(Originally posted on my old blog on November 17, 2015)
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