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Hope Twinkles in the Dark. 

Confession. I often wonder how and why I’m here. At MOPS. On the board. In ministry. On Earth. Not because I don’t feel called or equipped, but because it just doesn’t always make a lot of sense. 

There has been a lot of darkness in mine and my families lives, lately. Physically, emotionally, and yes some days: spiritually. If asking God what the heck he’s doing and why, is spiritual darkness. ( I’m not convinced it is.)

I feel hope anemic. Not lacking in hope for the eternal, but the temporal. The daily. The little stuff that puts me over the edge. The iffy sump pump, the fussy furnace. Finances. I’m trusting… But not always very hopeful. I trust God regardless, but I’m not always hopeful that he’ll work everything out to my preference. Maybe that’s maturity, maybe it’s a lack of faith. Depends on your theology. However, Advanced cancer and its unwanted gifts with purchase does that. ER visits. Hospital stays. Doctors appointments gone awry. Exhaustion and all the other special gifts cancer brings. 

Recently, an often misquoted verse in Romans has been popping up in my life. Everywhere from music, to Pinterest and at a tattoo convention. Romans 5:6-8. Misquoted as: “he loved me at my darkest.” Translated as “he loved us while we were yet sinners” I can see where the misquote comes from. Being lost in and to sin is darkness. I’ve been there. The darkest. But it’s the paraphrase/misquote that’s haunting me. “He loved me at my darkest.” 
I don’t feel like I’m at my darkest, but I definitely feel like I’m stumbling around in the dark.i have bruised the shins to prove it. 

I like the misquote, because, I believe God loves us in our darkness, as well as at our darkest. All of it.

The darkness of unanswered prayers, of unknown future, of fear, regret, frustration and even anger with god. I believe God loves us in whatever darkness we experience. We all have darkness that we face. They just have different names. Think for a moment about something that you’re in the dark on. A decision? A plan? A struggle? Sickness? Family issues? Sin? Consequences or pain from another’s sin? Waiting? A wanting? A longing?

Make a note of a darkness you’ve experienced or are experiencing. Just one word.

In all this darkness, I’m learning to enjoy and savor moments of light. A freezer of meals brought over by bossy friends that won’t let us face this alone. The very hands and feet of God at work to feed us. The beauty of creation as it bursts with spring blooms. A sleeping child. Even a college boy who fell asleep at his desk. My snoring beagle and my husband being in his recliner at home. Each of these have ignited glimmers of hope and even joy in my heart, when I’ve been my most anemic. 

Hope can also appear dimmed by the bright light of the urgent and the false security of the sunshine perfect. Sometimes when things are great, we lose sight of hope. We forget we need hope.

Darkness is where I find my hope shines brightest. I’d posit, that darkness is where hope takes root and grows, until it reaches out and carries us toward the light. Like some holy jack and the beanstalk, minus the beans. 

Sharing hope in both the light and dark, is what MOPS does.. One mom finds her hope ignited, then, shares it with another. 

One candle lights another, the light grows, darkness fades. MOPS gives women a chance to see beyond the bright light of the daily and the urgent and into the darknesses that they experience and find a glimmer of hope in stories and lives and truths shared on sofas and around table. Their hope grows in breadth and depth. From hope in post partum, to nursing and potty training to toddler tantrums to finding the ultimate hope in Christ. One flicker at a time.

  Maybe like me, you sometimes wonder why you’re here. There are so many other things that beckon. Work, family, study, church…I’m not the first to wonder if I can make a difference in the face of huge challenges. Esther asked some of the same questions…Esther 4:6-16

I know this, like Esther, I am called for such a time as this, whether it makes sense or not. Whether it’s convenient or not. I also know each one of us holds that sacred calling as well. 

When hope dims, when we wonder why, look for the light. When struggles come, trust in his voice. Trust in the calling he’s already placed on your heart. I want to follow God so close that like Esther I can say: if I perish, I perish. 

 I pray that we’d remember that aside from planning and committees, and strategies. And reports, we remember that we are about offering hope one story at a time, from one mom to another. For such a time as this we are called to shine hope in the dark. Imagine the light of every mom being lit with hope from within? The world would be changed. 

Lord may it be so. 

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