Do you ever wake up and want to cry because you are not sure if you have the energy to face the day? Do you go through each day wanting to finish all your tasks just so you can go back to bed? Has life become one big checklist for you? Do you want to start your journey to find hope?
In 2019, I felt my life was one big daily checklist. If I just made it through the end of the day I could crawl in bed and read. Fatigue, physical disease, financial stressors and feeling as if we live in the middle of nowhere had been major themes in my life.
Four and half years earlier, my husband and I moved from Dallas to a small town about 70 miles east. When we moved we thought it would not be a big transition. We were not really that far from the place we had called home and we were ready to leave the big city. David lived in Dallas for 40 years and I lived there for 20 years.
We could not have been more wrong!! It was a total change in lifestyle. The life out in the country is much slower and definitely a lot quieter. I have learned that when people describe their life as quiet it generally means they spend a lot of time alone.
The first year we had lots of friends and family visiting frequently. Over time the steady stream of visitors dwindled. We found new friends and started becoming grounded in our new life.
While the move to the country was a huge blessing in many ways, it was overwhelming in others. We are self-employed and our income dropped considerably in our first year in the country. The financial struggles of readjustment along with many other factors led to a flare in the Rheumatoid Arthritis present in my body. The decrease in income along with disease progression and several other factors led me to question my faith.
Not only did we have a drastic change in our social and business lives, but we also had a steep learning curve for the practical aspects of living in the country. Land management, water well repair and the overall do-it-yourself way that is prevalent out here was new to us. We also took on gardening and food preservation. In addition, a tornado hit our property in 2015 (You can read about that here). Let’s just say that watching “Alaska: The Last Frontier” was not adequate preparation for actually living in the country! We learned lots of lessons in our first few years in the country.
On the positive side, we quickly found community and made some wonderful, lifelong friends. Instead of fine dining and musicals, we go to a friend’s house for dinner and discussion. Instead of movies and the latest coffee shop, we go to someone’s house for tea or coffee and conversation. We opened our home for numerous worship nights, bible studies and other fun events. The lack of entertainment and dining options required us to actually engage with friends and neighbors. What a blessing!
In spite of the many blessings, there were many setbacks. The event that led to this blog was a 5-day hospital visit due to an unexpected MRSA infection. I had a wound on my arm that required surgery and daily wound changes. This was the culmination of many physical setbacks and it was the lowest point in my life.
I spend lots of time praying and pressing into God. I study His Word daily and counsel people applying biblical principles to all situations. Our lives revolve around Jesus. How can all this happen to me? I thought I was doing everything right.
When I left the hospital, I was mad at God. Where was He? Did He not see all that I was doing for Him? Did He not see that I worshiped and prayed every day? Why is all this stuff happening? What was I doing wrong? Was the bible even true and if so, how could I possibly believe it let alone place any hope in it?
Romans 5:1-5 says that “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. (Emphasis mine)
This passage shows hope as the end-product of tribulations. If that is true, why was I struggling with being hopeful? I know God is good and loving but it seems my heart and body had taken a beating over the past few years while doubt and unbelief gained a foothold. There was truly no light at the end of my tunnel, I struggled with hopelessness and loss of faith.
During prayer time one morning, I decided to do a 40-day study and daily devotional on hope. I desperately needed hope and I needed it fast! Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Emphasis mine)
I want true biblical hope, not some fantastical hope built on Hollywood standards that change depending on circumstances or feelings.
This study is for you if:
- You need hope to continue your life.
- You are in a situation that seems impossible.
- You struggle with depression or anxiety.
- You battle chronic disease, pain, and illness.
- You are exhausted and want to cry all the time.
- You are disenchanted with life.
The main scripture for our journey is:
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Theme song for our journey is:
My prayer for our 40-day journey:
Lord thank you for your Holy Spirit! I pray that as I begin this journey You will reveal to me Your definition of Hope and how to hold onto it until the end. I want to see people and events through Your eyes. Help me to take my eyes off of me and look to You, the author and finisher of my faith. You are the God of hope, please fill us with your joy and peace in believing that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen