What is hope?
Is it a feeling?
Or is it a decision?
Can we force ourselves to hope for a better future when all seems lost?
Is a better future even possible?
THE DAY I LOST ALL HOPE
I remember it as if it was yesterday.
In 2013, when my ex-husband and I separated, I went to get my things from the house. Everything was thrown into one room, one big pile, representing my life of 42 years and marriage of 22 years.
How is this possible, I thought to myself. How is it possible that my life and marriage ended up in this mess I saw in front of me?
Was my life so insignificant? Was this all I was worth?
As I stared down at the pile, I felt hope leaving me. I knew that nothing will ever be the same again.
My dreams and aspirations buried themselves underneath the pile stacked on the floor.
How will I ever rise above this mess again? Is it possible?
The only answer I could find was a definite NO.
From that day on I functioned on autopilot.
WHY DID I LOSE HOPE?
As I am writing this blog, I did some reflection and asked myself the question, why did I lose hope. My discovery was somewhat surprising, yet makes perfect sense.
I had NO CONTROL
Suddenly everything changed. I lost my home, my business, my ministry, and none of this was my choice. My life reduced to one pile of stuff in one room. I faced an uncertain and daunting future.
Everything OVERWHELMED me
With everything, I mean all the emotions that rushed through me at once. Anger, frustration, sadness, doubt, anxiety, fear, only to name a few. The strongest was the feeling of loss and uncertainty of what the future held. I never knew I was able to feel so many emotions at once. Hence, feeling overwhelmed.
I was NOT ABLE TO SEE BEYOND the pile on the floor
Nothing else mattered. That pile was all I had, and it was not much. I did not know how I would rebuild my life again. or how I would provide for my children.
I felt WORTHLESS
Seeing that my life could fit into a pile of stuff, thrown on the floor, ripped every piece of humanity from my heart and left me feeling worthless.
HOW HOPE SLOWLY FOUND ME
Just as I was about to give up on life, my daughter and my friend came into the room. They picked up boxes and slowly started to sort through the mess on the floor.
This is when I realised; I WAS NOT ALONE; PEOPLE STILL CARED.
I knew I could not stay on autopilot. I had to face life again; for my children’s sake.
Facing life ONE DAY AT A TIME
I started doing what I could, nothing more and nothing less. Only what I could, or at least, I tried.
Keeping to my ROUTINE
Allowing ourselves to sit in a puddle and feel sorry for ourselves is a dangerous place to be. Keeping to my daily routine helped me to feel alive, and that gave me a small glimpse of hope.
Taking back CONTROL
We often mistake having control over our lives as having everything in order, knowing where we are heading and having a foolproof plan of action to get there. However, this is not entirely true. I learned to take control by changing the smallest of habits or beliefs, which in turn causes a ripple effect towards hope.
Seeing things DIFFERENTLY
Despite my circumstances shouting “all is lost”, I tried to find beauty in each day. I tried to focus on what was good. Slowly but surely, my heart became thankful again.
Allowing myself TO FEEL
I willed myself to feel every emotion, even if it was just a silent cry. I knew I had to, or I could face certain emotional death.
Having GRACE with MYSELF
The biggest lie we tell ourselves, especially as Christians, is that we need to have it all under control. Even when we feel hopeless, we need to stay positive.
However, nothing is further from the truth.
God never expects us to have it all together. If that is true, then why do we need God? His heart and desire for us are to sit at His feet, be honest about what we feel and allow Him to bring healing and restore our hope.
I learned this the hard way.
MY FINAL BREAKING POINT, WHEN HOPE CAME BURSTING THROUGH
One night, as I was sitting in bed, I journaled every hurtful, angry and rebellious emotion I felt. I was never allowed to be honest with God, so I thought that if I write down how I feel, He would be less angry with me. I wrote everything I felt down in my prayer journal, without any expectation that God sees or understands.
Later that night, my view drastically changed. My son entered my room and asked if he could join me for a bit.
After a while, he asked if he could pray for me, my response: “yay sure”. Every single hurtful, angry and rebellious emotions were addressed by my son during prayer, WITHOUT HIM KNOWING WHAT I WROTE IN MY JOURNAL.
At that moment, the floodgates of heaven opened up and poured down on me.
I remember thinking that God actually does care about me and what I am going through! He knows what is going on in the deepest corner of my heart and He is ok with it.
What a relief and revelation.
I cried as never before. I felt loved, understood and yes, hopeful again.
God has grace with us, every step of the way.
So why can we not find it in ourselves to show ourselves some grace along our journey?
Till this day, I still do not know whether hope is a feeling or a choice. I cannot say that my actions restored hope to my heart. Neither can I say that it did not.
I know that the actions and support my friends and children gave me, made things bearable. I believe that everything my children, friends and I did, contributed to me finding hope again.
However, I know that God broke through like a ray of sunshine during my darkest night and showered me with love and compassion.
And perhaps that is the only real definition of hope;
- knowing that God is a Good Good Father
- knowing that we are LOVED by Him and
- trusting His heart, even when we do not see His hand.
Not always easy, especially when we are in the midst of the battle.
However, it is still true to the core.
Today, I am living a life filled with meaning and using everything I went through to help people take control of their lives and find the joy of a meaningful and purposeful life.
Our lives are significant, even when we cannot see it. Hope helps us to hold on to it, even when all seems lost.
You can read more here about what I have learned in: 7 Essential things I learned from my story