I haven't written much since the beginning of the year and once again it's because we have dealt with a longer period of high pain levels. I can say that the last 4 weeks have been better, but the battle with pain is constant. It is only through the power of prayer that I have pushed through each day. It has meant that we as a family have had some hard times because it is incredibly hard to be sweet when the only thing you want to do is bury your head under the pillows and stay in bed.
It is only through hope and faith in God's promises that I've been able to get done the absolutes as Mama and wife. It has been because with each moment there is the belief that God is able to take my pain away either in this life, in his return or in death. It is because hope is such an important part of every moment that I decided to see just how many times the word hope occurs in the Bible. It occurs 167 times in 159 verses in the NIV version of the Bible. It occurs 18 times in the book of Job, 31 times in the Psalms, 10 times in Proverbs, 7 times in Jeremiah, and 9 times in the book of Acts. When you take a look at where the word is used most frequently it is in times of pain or trials. When Job and his friends are talking Job questions why he still hopes and his friends question if he has enough faith in his hope. In Lamentations 3:19-33, Jeremiah offers up this prayer:
19 I remember my affliction and my wandering,
the bitterness and the gall.
20 I well remember them,
and my soul is downcast within me.
21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
25 The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the LORD.
27 It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young.
28 Let him sit alone in silence,
for the LORD has laid it on him.
29 Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope.
30 Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him,
and let him be filled with disgrace.
31 For no one is cast off
by the Lord forever.
32 Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
33 For he does not willingly bring affliction
or grief to anyone.
He reminds us that God wants only good for those who love him and obey his will. He reminds the people that though they have been torn from their homes that God has not forgotten them. It is so often through suffering that God allows us to minister to others. It gives us a perspective on the pain others feel. It helps us to know how someone might be best helped during periods of grief or isolation. So yes, we can be thankful for the tough times. They bring us to our knees which is where we are closest to the Father. It refines our character and makes us better for the pain or trial we've endured. Hope is a four letter word that should be at the very center of who we are, for it is only through hope that we can get through the moments, days, weeks, and years of suffering. May we find strength in knowing we serve a God who hears each heart felt plea and stores our tears in a bottle. He is not blind to our pain and there is joy to be found in the comfort he sends our way.
Are we keeping our eyes and heart open for the answers and comfort he sends? If we fill our hearts with bitterness, then we will lose sight of the joy and comfort that can be found in even our darkest moments. It may come in the form of an article we read, a smile, someone who has been there and listens, and it can come from jumping in water puddles after the rain. It may come in quick hugs and “normal” conversations and it comes in the form of prayers being prayed by many that we don't even know.
It has been all of these things that have seen us through this last 6 months. It's been cards received in the mail, and the recalling of scripture hidden in my heart. We thank you as a family for all you do for us. For those of you who I've never met yet you read my blog, you to have been a source of encouragement. When I'm house bound and unable to teach in a class setting, you allow me to continue to carry out the command to teach. It helps me to feel useful to the kingdom even when I sit alone at home in the dark.
The last four weeks have also restored a portion of hope. To be able to get out in the sunshine and to spend time with my boys away from the house has been medicine to my soul. It has been a blessing to celebrate another triple shot of blessings that come from Agape's Run For a Mom, Mother's Day, and Gotcha Day celebrations. It is being able to be at church surrounded by both my physical and spiritual family while my sweet boy presents a lesson that he put together without my help. It has reminded me that each day holds blessings without number, and that I can conquer the blows that the Deceiver sends my way because God hears and answers prayer.
May your day..life be filled with hope in the knowledge that God does care and He is with us. In all things may we bring honor and glory to the Father, amen.