I suppose that depends a lot on if you are an optimist or a pessimist huh?
I am an optimist, so I always look for the hope in every situation. But I didn’t always do that.
Experience has taught me that there IS always hope, despite the circumstances.
“Well, then, you must not have had hopeless circumstance, like my circumstance”, you say.
Maybe not, but I have had some circumstances that I could have viewed as hopeless.
I was 26 years old, no boyfriend, never married. I had been through College, had a career, been set up on blind dates, been set up on not so blind dates and even went out on dates with guys I met online and nothing was working. Many of my friends were already well into their marriages or newly married or about to get married and there I was with not even a serious boyfriend. I knew MY Mr. Right was out there somewhere, I just didn’t know how or when I was going to meet him. I was increasingly frustrated with the fact that MY timeline was not God’s timeline. It was beginning to look hopeless.
Later in life, I had two children with my Mr. Right – I am jumping ahead in the story, I’ll come back to the “how we met”part in a minute – they are 13 months apart. Right, I had a 13 month old and a brand new infant. There were nights that I felt like I wasn’t going to even make it through the night because as soon as I fell asleep, someone was up (not to say that my husband wasn’t helpful, he was up too). The days were ones of just “getting through” learning how to be a mom, a parent and making sure everyone got fed and no one got hurt. There were many times I felt hopeless in that I would “never” get through a day or a night. But I knew that God gave me these boys for a reason and that I was the best mom/parent for them and somehow, someway I we would all get through it together. I had a little bit of hope.
Four years ago, we discovered that we had non-mortgage debt of $43, 500. The math “said” there was no way we could pay off all that money by the date I had set – my 40th birthday. We had 3 years, 8 months and 27 days to pay off ALL that money. I knew it could be done because I had HOPE.
Hope is defined in several ways:
1.the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best: to give up hope.
2.a particular instance of this feeling: the hope of winning.
3.grounds for this feeling in a particular instance: There is little or no hope of his recovery.
4.a person or thing in which expectations are centered: The medicine was her last hope.
5.something that is hoped for: Her forgiveness is my constant hope.
verb (used with object)
6.to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
7.to believe, desire, or trust: I hope that my work will be satisfactory.
verb (used without object)
8.to feel that something desired may happen: We hope for an early spring.
9.Archaic. to place trust; rely (usually followed by in ).
Which definition of hope works best for you?
Fourteen years ago, I met my husband. I was 26. My hope in God’s plan was not very strong for no other reason other than it was just where I was in my faith journey. My prayers to God basically consisted of “yelling” at Him when things weren’t going right because I tried too hard to make God’s plan and timing my plan and timing. Quite literally, one night after coming home from a date that didn’t go so well, I slammed the door, pointed to the ceiling and yelled, “Fine! You do it!” and denounced “dating” right then and there. About two weeks later, I met my husband. I knew when I met him that he was my One. We married 18 months after we met and have been married for 12 years.
Eight years ago, we welcomed our first child into the world. 13 months after he was born, out second son was born. At this point in my faith journey my hope in God’s plan was a little stronger and more secure. I had hope that I would “survive” motherhood because well, lets face it, it wasn’t like I was the first woman to ever bear children. Plus, one advantage of marrying and having children later in life was that my friends has already recently been through what I was going through. So, I had hope that I could get through it too.
Four years ago, I was 36 and my faith journey had come a long way in ten years. I knew that I knew that I knew that God’s plan for my life was greater than I could have even imagined. At this point, I have had practice discerning the difference between God’s plan and MY plan. I have learned too to just “go with” God’s plan. Although, I am still a little stubborn at this point because I am NOT patient with God’s timing.
I have come to love the Bible verse, “Be still and know that I am God”. I didn’t always follow it, but it frequently came to mind. I have a really hard time “being still”.
So, when I set the goal to pay off all that debt by my 40th birthday, I had a strong HOPE that some way, some how it would be done. My HOPE was strong because my faith was strong. See definition #9? Where it uses the word TRUST?
I TRUSTED that the plan introduced to me (FPU) was the plan I was supposed to follow. I TRUSTED that this plan was HIS plan for me and my family to “get better” with our finances. I TRUSTED and I had HOPE.
Thirteen years of marriage, two boys that are now 8 and 7 and the only debt we have now is our mortgage.
A seemingly hopeless situation and then a hopeful situation and then a situation of trust AND hope.
Hope is powerful and once you got it, you got it. You begin to see the hope in every situation, despite the circumstances.
Isaiah 11:1-10 is a wonderful passage on HOPE.
No matter your “stump” [situation] have HOPE that a shoot will come from it and bear great fruit.
It may take time but TRUST in the fact that our timing is, most often, not God’s timing.