When you cannot find the light at the end of the tunnel, what is there to cling to? When the daily struggle of life seems too much to bear and you have nowhere to turn, what keeps you going? At the end of the rope, when the covers over your head are too thin to drown out the nastiness of the world, what is your blanket of protection? Sometimes the answers to these questions seem too difficult to think about, and the rainbow at the end of the storm seems too hard to reach. What keeps us moving forward?
Growing up, life was difficult for me. I lived in a home with a lot of chaos. There was a host of dysfunction including illegal drugs, domestic violence, and abuse. In my heart of hearts I always knew that there was something better out there. My anxious little girl self knew that someday, I would be better than what my home was. I held onto the HOPE daily that I would survive the hell that I was in and come out on top. There were times when I was in the car with my parents and I had no idea where I was going. I would sit in the back seat and HOPE that the next turn was towards my favorite fast food restaurant – Jack in the Box! I loved their egg rolls! When I got a little older and I understood life a little more, I would run to my Granny’s arms down the hall, cry with her as she prayed to Jesus and HOPE that this Jesus that she prayed to was real and that He heard her prayers and somehow would fix this horrible mess that we were all in.
That day, November 21, 1994, I lost HOPE. It was the day that seemed so familiar to me. My mom came to my school and told me, yet again, that we were leaving. I had been to so many different schools up to that point; I knew it was just going to be a repeat performance. I did not want to believe it. I wanted to run. I wanted to scream. I did cry. I was very angry at my mom. But we left. We left my school, my friends, my Granny who was my protector, and everything that I had ever HOPED in. It was gone and I was devastated. Ironically enough, we moved to HOPE, Arkansas.
We moved to Hope where I found a new kind of HOPE. It was the HOPE that I had always known was there. It was rough for a long time. Several months of turmoil surrounded my relationship with my mom and me. I missed my friends and I struggled to make new friends. I excelled at school just as I always had. I was invited by a friend from school to attend church. One thing lead to another and one Sunday in August of 1995, HOPE came rushing in like it never had before! It was the HOPE that my Granny had spoken about all those many times in her bedroom right beside me while I trembled with fear. It is the HOPE that is only found in Jesus Christ. I had it and it felt like nothing I had ever experienced before.
Suddenly, at that moment, my entire life made more sense. All of the abuse, neglect, drugs, and life that I was dealt, it was not something that was done to me, and it was for a purpose. It was to show me that I can overcome anything because of Jesus. He had His hand on me that entire time and even though I did not know Him personally, my Granny never stopped praying for me and He never stopped loving me even though I did not know Him. He suffered so much more than I ever did or ever will…all for ME….and YOU! Everything that I ever went through was worth it, just to know that one day, when I die, I will see Him face to face. That…is HOPE!
When there is nothing left, HOPE can keep us going. The desire to think that something is possible is what HOPE is. When we hold onto the idea that something is possible, we can keep moving forward. Christ has promised us eternal life and “with Him, all things are possible” ~Matthew 19: 26
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
~Romans 5: 1-5