Why You Should Hang On, Hopeful

I strained to see straight, hands anxiously gripped the steering wheel between swiping at tears. “Lord, have mercy.” I poured out my heart to the wide-open, early morning sky.

Sometimes it is too much.

I didn’t ask for this.

Life is heavy. Heavy with pain, pale with uncertainty.

There is no emptiness here. Life is full up and teeming over, no one is asking for seconds and hope is but a thin shadow on the wall shrinking away the closer you get.

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I know what it is to live here.

Life laced with anguish, praying “No, God, no. Please.”

Wishing you could rewind the day, the phone call, the news, the reality…wishing that rewinding would somehow erase it all. Praying beggar prayers, knowing that no matter how hard I pray, the ache won’t disappear.

This is real life and in real life, sometimes you have to just dig in your heels and plunge forward, straight into the thick of the angst.

Sometimes fiercely believing in redemption is simply not enough. 

“From the end of the earth, I call to you…” I turned the corner, right there by the half-frozen creek bed edged with snow-covered trees. The sun hit the windshield and glared, blinding rays of early morning gold. I hit the brakes, pulled down the visor and those words flashed through my mind, me swiping at tears and peering ahead.

“From the end of the earth I call to you, God. From the end of the earth…” I paused, trying to come up with the rest of the verse. “From the end of the earth, I call to you…when my heart’s overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

 Sometimes your life unravels. Somebody hit pause in a rather forlorn place in the story and the pause button got stuck.

Maybe you know what I mean?

Sometimes there ain’t nothing else left to do.

So you keep on making supper and washing windows and tackling projects and making lists and going to church and changing your son’s diapers. You keep on smiling and singing and laughing. You keep on doing the next thing and the next thing and the next. You try to write – that one thing you love doing – but the words stick and nothing flows and what is there even to write about anyways? You try and you manage to spin a few random posts, but the blog is really just falling apart. And the most startling aspect is that you don’t know if you even care.

Does breathing equal living? You think about that a time or two, between laundry loads and scheduling conflicts.

Forget supper…you don’t know what’s going on with your family, what’s happening in your church, what’s going on with the club ministry.

And this feeling of being stuck at pause is lasting for months not days. You wish there was a conclusion you could come too, so you could write the blog titled “What to Do When You Feel Stuck”, but instead you sit writing the blog you want to call, “Help, I’m Stuck”.

I cry out to God.

I cry out to God.

I cry out to God.

He says nothing. The air is full of the silence. How can emptiness feel so very full anyways?

God says nothing, and it feels like I cry from the ends of the earth.

And I wait and I wait and I wait.

I sit in the silence and I wait for His reply.

It has not come.

And the only thing I am sure of when I feel stuck?

He will come.

So I’m telling you that I don’t have the answers and I can’t see the way, but I’ll tell you what I do when I feel stuck –

I hang on, hopeful.

Because my Redeemer lives.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” – Philippians 1:6

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6 thoughts on “Why You Should Hang On, Hopeful

  1. I hope that in replying to this email you’ll get this. Your posts always seem so practical, so touching, but this one was for me from God. Just wanted to say thanks. I love your heart, I love it when you’re so real with us, and what a blessing! You’re in my prayers. Love ya, sis!

  2. Since Thursday when I read this I’ve been trying to think of something to say in response, something comforting but not dripping sympathy, true but not rigid, personal but not embarrassing. You know. The perfect words.

    So this is just me saying I don’t have those words, but I’ve been there too, stuck for months in painful waiting, and I love you and I care. And I know that even when God seems silent and writing doesn’t work and these horrible things that should NOT be true about the world seem to be–He is there, working in amazing and gentle ways, and He loves you intensely. You already know that… and I’m blessed by your faith.

    “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 5:5)

  3. I know I’m reading this a few days late (kept looking at that email notification and thinking, I really want to go read that), but it’s been between loads of laundry and scheduling conflicts and diapers and trips to the doctor’s office and school… Your words, Renee, your words are always right on time, even if I don’t read them right when you share them. I busted into tears reading this. I keep asking, and waiting, and failing without Him…but you’re right. The Word is true. He will come. We can wait together, yes? ❤

  4. Thank-you, Caroline! I am always blessed to hear from my readers and I am glad to know that God used my words to speak to you. God bless you in whatever you are facing and love to you today! Thank-you for your prayers.

  5. Jess — we can wait together, most definitely. I love that Jesus uses His people to reach into each other’s lives, especially when they have no idea that is what they are doing. God’s timing is always accurate isn’t it? Love you dear!

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