What is it we do with a heart of anguish? We Hope…

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I bet it haunts you too. That image, you know the one?  The one of the vulture waiting. It caused a revolution at our house this week…Injustice has a tendency to do that.

We found our kids huddled together on the couch flipping through the “100 most influential photos” magazine that Time recently published. Joel sat down with them and I heard him explaining things like napalm. Famine.Vietnam. Nuclear bombs. I wanted to stop him. But they are getting older. These are conversations we need to have.

That night my daughter could not sleep. She was writhing and crying and calling herself a coward, selfish.  My E cannot shake it. She sees herself in that little girl. She knows how we are one.

Did you know the photographer that took that photo, later took his own life? Some accounts I read attributed the death to the guilt he felt, but that oversimplifies of course. I can’t help but wonder though, if we were made for more than to look and see? We were made to be hands and feet. We are active participants here, made to join Jesus in His ministry of reconciliation and justice.

I know we all feel uneasy right now, but it is not the first time the world has felt like this. I’m sure it has felt much worse. But this is when the helpers and healers, the poets and dreamers go to work. These are the conditions that breed the visionaries, the restorers, those who want to learn what it means to bind the broken-hearted. These are precisely the days we learn what we are made for, what we are to do. This is when we learn what good work is.

The difference for a Christian is that we do not give way to despair. We are the ones who subvert dread to hope. We are the ones who lead the pilgrimage in the darkness with our light glowing, the ones who never let the flame go out. We are the ones who cannot give way to complacency because this hope should move us to action.

Hope is our antidote to fear.

Hope prompts the movement from angst to action.

Hope will be our testimony and our gift.

Hope will be our dialect; our defining language.

Hope will be our reward and our calling.

Hope will be the trail we blaze and the direction we lead.

Hope will deepen as we trust Him more and Hope will be what transcends all our heartbreak and every insurmountable obstacle.

The only thing we can do with angst and fear is to set it ablaze with the HOPE OF CHRIST. We do the next tiny thing in front of us, that is all we ever have. We bring our tiny light to the dark. The small thing you can begin. It is such a relief just to start, such a release to move in the direction of hope. Fear cannot stand against such audacity. It crumbles.

And so. We hope.

(A few small ideas? The tiny things to move you in the direction of light? Below…Emilys first step. Or join us tomorrow? Our prayers never return void)

What is it you can do this week of hope, one small move, our single candle blazing that can move you in the direction of HOPE? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

I blog on hope a lot. Here are a few pieces from the archives:

We Wait…And We hope

Tell Me of Your Hope

Hope and Peace

Your Fear Makes Me Wonder

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Dear Me: A Letter to my Teenage Self

A letter to myself…I’m imagining she is 17. Mercy. You might know too much about me after you read this.

 

 

Yup. I sure am wearing brown corduroy shorter-alls…

Dear Melissa,

Oh honey. The world thinks you are winning these days, but the truth of the matter is, you’ve lost yourself completely. This is the year several boys confess love for you; that you are valedictorian; captain of the basketball team, the year that you stop eating. This is the year you pass out from the acid of your body eating itself and vomit on the floor of your first job while helping a customer. This is the year you sacrifice all your passions on a church altar that has nothing to do with Jesus. You learn the gospel of SHOULD NOT; soon you will learn you’ve never heard the true Gospel of Jesus. That he came to doctor the sick. To restore justice. To bind the broken with love. Somehow you missed that part of the story…all you heard was TRY HARDER. BE GOOD.

I want to tell you (and the girls who will follow you) not to take yourself so seriously. Relax. Laugh more. Go on some dates. Tell some people about the broken-up-to-bits inside…people think you got your crap together and it is really sending them for a loop. They think you are a Christian because you are too good for them. You know the truth that Jesus is the only glue that holds heart and head together in one place and sometimes the only safe place is hold up together with Him…alone.

You need to know NOW that you are an introvert. You forget that for most of your twenties and you wake up one day, with a gaping hole where once dwelt passion. Some babies die in your tummy. You blame yourself. You treat everyone badly. Mostly yourself. You stop writing. Really you do…Imagine? I know…it is how lost you get in your pursuit of that which you are not.

And then.

There will be a time, you birth a near ten pound baby. You will grow him inside that body you hate, with his big brown eyes, his strong heart, his stubborn nature (showing even then the way he just flat-out refused to be born…sorry to scare you but it really is awful). Then the way you will wake with him, fed him, clothe him. The way you will keep going no matter how tired you get. Then a baby girl will come along. She will scare you to death (mostly because you are the type of person who writes letters of regret to your 17-year-old self and know that she will too). And yet, you know she was meant for you, and you for her. And this little girl of ours? She has no time for a mother who hates her body…that kind of thinking is a fierce contagion. So get over that will you? I’m telling you…you are strong (TEN POUND BABY !*$#!#@).

You found Jesus there too…the other side of the end of yourself. He lives there still and I try to not leave that place very often.  Tonight, I ate fresh-baked cookies on the deck with the kids while the sun set. They told me they loved me “MORE THAN THE PLANET JUPITER” “MORE THAN CARS 2” “MORE THAN THE SUNSETS”. You are married to a man who chases Jesus with a fire in his belly and he makes you want to. You live in a cabin in the woods. Life is good.

 

 

I would like to tell you to do things differently; To not waste so much time trying to be someone, prove something, get somewhere. But the truth is I think that God used those times to make you who you are and you might even like her when you grow up.

 

 

With love, regret, and a whole lot of hope,

Yourself, Melissa, age 34

This post is dedicated to the release of a book (I’ve ordered but not yet read) by another ‘youth pastors wife’ down south.                          I read her blog and it is rich in Jesus, grace, compassion. Pick one up for a ‘young woman’ in your life that suffers from the           ‘try harder’ complex I suffered from…