Hope: One Word for 2015,  Messy Faith,  Personal and Spiritual Ramblings

Hope: One Word for 2015

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I started out 2014 seeing a lot of hurdles to climb. I saw a lot of stuff within our home that was messy, hard, frustrating, and unpleasant. A lot of days looked hopeless.

My husband was working a low-paying temporary job. We hadn’t yet learned how to navigate the veterans benefits system. I didn’t have healthcare. We weren’t in counseling. We were living in a small apartment and pretty unhappy there. We were both struggling with anxiety and depression.

At the beginning of the year I sat down with a new journal and a pen and wrote the following words:

My 2014 “Impossible List”

Below, I listed 11 things that I wanted to see happen in our family during 2014. I’m not really sure what I was doing. I don’t really pray much, but I think this was a prayer list of sorts. Or maybe a dare. A dare to see just how much God really cared for us – if He did at all.

And look what happened:

1. Russ to get permanent position or a new job

  • After 10 months working the same awful job, losing that job, and going through a brief period of unemployment, Russ started his new job at the VA on December 15th.

2. Russ to get a raise in pay

  • While Russell’s new job pays about what his old job did, we have extra income coming in through VA benefits.

3. Us to buy our first home

4. Us to conceive of our next child

5. Me to get up to five piano students

  • I realized quickly that this didn’t mesh with my goals for #whitespace nor would it be possible given Ezra’s needs. I’ve let go of this and am totally okay with being in a season of not teaching.

6. Me to be able to attend Allume

7. Us to start a home Bible study

  • We hosted a small group at our home for four months before it was disbanded for reasons beyond our control. While this was difficult for us at the time, we have since joined another small group at another church that has been a pure balm for our souls.

8. Us to get back into regular counseling

  • We have both been seen for therapy individually and together as a couple, even though it’s taken cycling through a few different providers to find a right fit.

9. Me to get health insurance

  • No-cost healthcare has been provided by my being eligible for the VA Caregiver Support Program.

10. Me to get more involved in music at church

  • This happened, although later on in the year I backed out of all ministries to focus on family and recovery, a decision I’m totally okay with.

11. Russ to get his disability claim processed and us to get paid regularly through the VA

  • Russell’s claim was processed in March and we have been getting paid ever since. We also received eight months of back pay which we put into investments.

There’s a lot of ways in which seeking whitespace in 2014 gave me space to muddle through my belief system – to question and doubt and wonder what I really believe. That’s been really scary for me. Some days, I feel like I’m holding onto belief in God by a thread – as if I ask enough questions, it will all unravel and I’ll be left with nothing.

There are so many things I’m unsure of and so many questions I have about what the Bible really says and what it really means – and what it all means for me.

But this list has shown me that God is real to me and that He cares about me and my family.

As I walk into 2015, I have hope. I want to continue to look for hope – even on days when things feel hopeless. I want to share hope – in the midst of sorrow, hatred, confusion, mess, spiritual wrestling, and doubt – with all of you.

That’s what my new series, Redemption Stories, is all about.

Make me an instrument of Your peace
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is darkness let me shine light and
May Your love cause us to open up
Cause us to open up our hearts
May Your light cause us to shine so bright
That we bring hope into the dark

Some days, life’s circumstances are so overwhelming and the questions and doubts swirl around me so strongly that the only thing – and I mean the ONLY thing – I can hold onto is hope that God will hold onto me through it all.

Everything rides on hope now
Everything rides on faith somehow

Here at Beautiful In His Time, I can’t offer you answers. I can’t offer you good theology. I can’t offer you put-togetherness, sound counsel, or self-help. I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not, or in a place that I’m not.

But I can offer you hope by living a life that chooses to believe that hope is real.

Hope: one word for 2015

Hope for the hopeless, Your love is
Strength in our weakness, Your love is

Walking into 2015 I have no goals or resolutions. I’m also not making another “impossible list.” I’m growing a life and taking care of a family that faces daily challenges. That, in and of itself, is enough for me to handle. Rest, whitespace, recovery, settling, grace, and hope are going to be the things I’m going to gather around my soul and cling to.

It is enough to have hope.

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