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How Hope Helps

My grandma reading

My grandma reading "Consider It Pure Joy" by, Kristen Milligan just before her first biopsy for lung cancer in April

Today it is rainy outside. Here in North Carolina the pollen has finally subsided and the trees are full of green leaves. We are in the midst of spring. I was just sitting at my kitchen table with my young boys watching them eat their breakfast. They are ravenous as soon as they wake! My 3 year old asked me why it was raining. (He is in the "why" everything stage!) Over the past six months I have been reading a book that I cannot seem to put down. Clearly it is teaching me old truths with new perspective that are enticing. So trying to put together some logical answer for why indeed it was raining outside, while still trying to wake up at this early hour, all I could come up with was this: "honey, God lets it rain so that things around us can be more beautiful". You know what followed that... "but why mommy?"  I smiled.

Why does it rain in our lives? Sometimes it just sprinkles. We find out news that could lead to worse news. Sometimes it pours. We feel like the whole world is beginning to fall apart around us. Sometimes it floods. We feel like we may drown in it all.

An article I read recently, describes beautifully the "rain" in our lives & where hope can be found. When Life Hurts by Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, the book I've been so blessed by in the past months.

We have been in a season in our family where it's felt like the rain water continues to pour & it's inching up higher & higher everyday. Now don't get me wrong. I look around & am very thankful for all the good things in our life, big and small. Yet, there are somethings I just wish I could erase or repair. I tend to think I know best. I don't prefer the rain most days. I like sunshine. I like the way it feels on my skin & the way it warms my soul. When it starts to rain I initially want it to be sunny again. Although I've come to realize that sometimes rain makes things grow, bloom, and flourish in ways they otherwise could not have.

I saw this in some hanging baskets we had on our porch last summer. The sun beats down on the front of our house & life is busy so I did not always get around to watering my poor plants. They dried up within days in the heat of the summer. They needed water. They were thirsty for something more.

Sometimes when I feel hopeless, when I watch friends & family struggle through sickness, when I fight fear, when marriages crumble, & I see this broken world impact those I love... I long for something more. I long for hope in something greater than me. Someone greater, who can offer the living water that never leaves me thirsty.

I'm convinced that our Creator offers us that Hope. Even in the midst of the hardest downpours in our life, He has a way of bringing JOY out of our sorrow.

My grandma has lung cancer & does not want treatment, and yet she is content &  at peace.

My house where we used to live is in the short sale process, and yet life goes on & we have a comfortable roof over our heads.

My husband has juvenile diabetes & has been insulin dependent much of his life, yet he is able to function with technology & medicine.

My friend has Leukemia & is my age, and he and his wife are loving others even in the whirlwind with humor.

My son's friend has a skin disease that will lead to a shorter lifespan & daily pain, and they are fighting for a cure for EB.

My friend is in remission for cancer & is healing, so they are trying for more kids.

My family has deep rooted anger & emotional baggage, but I'm seeing glimpses of reconciliation.

My friends got a diagnosis they did not want, and they longed to begin IOH to care for you & many others.

Where there is suffering, JOY can exist too. This is how Hope helps. It's everything really.

Watch this video below to see a picture of Hope in the God who created us, loves us unconditionally, & promises to walk alongside us even when life seems hopeless: