So I cut my hair, quit my job…I’m turning over a new leaf. This also means a new season for my writing. Up until now I have tried to decide on “topics.” You know, covering this that and the other thing. But now, I am putting pen to paper with the uncut version of me.
This is uncomfortable. Sure, writing about my big butt or hairy arms was bad, but that felt like pie compared to this. This is the ugly. This is the underlying pain and struggle that that lives deep down. The stuff I wish we all talked about more. So here it is, me talking about it.
Truth be told I have been totally consumed by fear and death lately. The tragedy, pain, suffering, and unpredictability of this world is terrifying me. But this is a direct contradiction to my faith and so it makes me feel weak and doubtful. My prayer journal today reads this:
Lord, I keep on going back and back and back again to fear. Fear of death. Fear of something happening to my children. Fear of tragedies out of my control. This world is so sad. So painful. So evil. But my children, my family and loved ones they are so pure, so special, so precious and so vulnerable. Lord Jesus and I am so overwhelmed by the impossibility of protecting my children all the time. I can’t. I want to believe in the power of my prayers, but sometimes evil feels more powerful. But since you have given me a choice I choose you. I choose Hope. I choose to dwell on your forever promises.
These feelings come up, and I push them back down. Sandy Hook…Boston Bombing…Oklahoma…children dying…parents dying. I can’t run from it! Its everywhere and in so many different forms. It is here that the eternal clashes with the temporary.
I have never thought much about hope until now. The word “hope” in my mind was always so flimsy, whimsical, and happy. “Hope” was just one of those Hallmark words you put alongside “faith” and “love.” True Hope is so much more meaningful than that. Its deeper and carries eternal meaning.
“I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have HOPE:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:19-22
This Hope in God’s love, compassion, and paradise is all I’ve got and I won’t let it out of my grip. But how? How to I focus in on that when the world seems to be crumbling around me?
1. I don’t watch the news anymore. Ever. I will inevitably hear about the tragedy through word of mouth, I will pray for and weep with the mourning, but I no longer news binge.
2. I talk about heaven with my kids. At first it felt weird, almost grim to talk to my kids about heaven. But now it gives me peace to hear my kids cheerfully singing songs about about how in heaven there are no boo boos, no crying, no sadness, and no darkness only light (that one they particularly enjoy because they hate bedtime).
3. I focus on today. Every time I am tempted to worry about the tomorrows and the “whatifs” I reign in my brain to soak up the moment I am in. Making a list of things I am thankful for has helped. I use this app: One Thousand Gifts.
4. Also I might tattoo “Hope” on my body as a constant reminder. Just kidding Grandpa! (well kind of).