"Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope."
Psalm 119:49 (NIV)
I recall the moments of despair. I couldn't see my way out. Three small children were depending on me and that thought was overwhelming. I would cry in the middle of my mobile home floor, feeling desperately lonely. I wondered if I would have food to feed them or a way to keep them warm.
Child support was $142 a month, but I rarely received it. I worked a full time job, took in laundry, and worked as a waitress during holidays. When all three kids would get sick at the same time, my life felt like a nightmare. The thought of driving off a cliff entered my mind more than once, but I couldn't bear to think what that would do to my kids for the rest of their lives.
I wanted someone (I would have settled for ANYONE at times) to just even pretend to care about me. Would rescue ever come?
Then one day I made the decision to look for the good. My baby went to the potty (hey, that was a big deal). My oldest waved from the school bus. My son poured on a heart-melting smile. Choosing to laugh more than cry and finding the fun in each day was often like seeking buried treasure. But most days the good was there; it just wasn't as noticeable as the bad. Focusing on those moments felt like breath in my lungs.
My theme song was Carole King's "Beautiful" that says, "You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face." Gray had dominated my days for far too long, the sun needed to shine in my life again.
I remember purposely watching other moms who had happy kids to see what they were doing right. And those who seemed to have peace, even in the middle of their meltdowns particularly intrigued me. What did they have that my ‘pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps' mentality wasn't fulfilling?
Jesus. They simply had found the Prince of Peace who sends the Counselor into your heart when you accept Him. Watching those examples made me hunger for that relationship in my own life.
Now, as I look back, I see the string of choices, the dots that all connected. They all brought me to this very day. This day when I am sitting at my breakfast table, peering at the stars glistening in the sky, writing this note to you, my friend. The note says, "You can do this. We can't possibly see the road ahead or try to understand where it is going, but I guarantee you the Creator of the universe is connecting your dots."
Dear Lord, I need your help to make it through today. I need to notice the good. Don't let me forget You've brought me through every struggle I've ever faced. Remind me to share that good news with others who need to hear it. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Deuteronomy 31:8, "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." (NIV)
Genesis 21:16a-17, 19, "And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, 'What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water." (NIV)
What memories allow me to see God's divine hand in my life?
How do I share that hope with others?
Who may be watching me, hoping to find lasting Hope?