When I was thinking about doing a year in review post the first thoughts I had were pretty negative. It was not a normal year, and our plans had to change. I’m sure that most people had to learn to adapt in many ways this year because of the pandemic. For us, a traveling ministry family, traveling was somewhat hindered and ministry looked different. I would rather not complain about it, I have ranted and complained enough this year…
Instead I will talk about hope, and briefly review what 2020 was like for our family(We are a semi-nomadic family of 7, traveling part-time in our 36ft. RV for ministry).
Here is the brief review:
January – Indiana, Mississippi, Alabama, for ministry.
February – A quick trip to South Carolina to visit the Billy Graham library/museum (amazing and inspiring) then to Georgia to check out a missions program for our daughter Jessica. Ministry in Louisiana and then Texas.
March – Ministry in Texas, visit with my parents who were work-camping there, covid hits America, starting with the toilet paper shortage…(oh my goodness)
April – Ministry in Oklahoma, back to our home in Indiana.
May – Jessica finishes High School, her graduation is online, we participated in our living room with grandparents.
June-December – It’s a blur because of the pandemic, it feels a bit like one long day on repeat in some ways. However, we were able to minister in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Missouri, and return home in between ministry opportunities. We went to a wedding in July, had a big birthday party for our Sophia in August, and made a quick trip to D.C. in October. We have spent time with family over the holidays, but everything has been a little bit different.
So, what does hope have to do with this year? Well, when things don’t go our way, sometimes it is hard to hope. It’s easier to expect the bad, and this year has been exhausting in many ways and full of disappointments. It’s hard to have hope for 2021 and beyond. But hope is vital. Too many people have become hopeless and discouraged, depression has been wrecking lives all across the world, with some even tragically turning to suicide – we must have hope. But how?
I think hope is a choice. Just like love is a choice, and faith is a choice. Sure, some people are easier to love than others, and some things are easier to believe than others, and some things naturally make us feel more hopeful. But ultimately we choose what we will love, and believe in, and hope for.
If hope is a choice, that means that I am the one in control of my feelings. I can choose to hope, or I can choose to despair.
So, let’s talk about hope. The phrases come to mind, “That gives me hope” or “I’ve lost hope” and they paint the picture of hope as a thing, something given or something lost.
Hope as a gift. But even if it is a gift, you have to choose to accept it, you can reject the thought of hope when it comes to mind. You can weigh the risk of being delighted by hope against the risk of being devasted by disappointment and choose to reject the thought of hope.
Hope lost. If hope is something you can loose, you can try to find it again, or you can give up your search. When hope is lost, despair, the opposite of hope is waiting to embrace us in darkness.
Misplaced Hope. We are hopeful about something, or we put our hope in something, or someone. But if we put our hope in something or someone that is not reliable, where does that leave us? Disappointed. So, I’m not suggesting that you put your hope in just anyone or anyone. It is important where you place your hope.
From where does my hope come? My husband gives me hope and fills my heart with love, my kids give me hope for the future with their bright smiles and fantastic ideas, every sunrise and sunset gives me hope for tomorrow, when winter changes to spring and then summer and then fall and then winter again, I have hope that life goes on.
But ultimately, above everything else, even when times are bad and everything seems to be falling apart, I have hope in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We just had Christmas, which reminds me of the beautiful, amazing story of a Savior born in the most unlikely of places in a pretty terrible time. Isn’t that just how God does things? He births hope in the darkness, in ways that we would never think up.
I can place my hope in Him, He is worthy of it. He never fails. I will choose to hope in Him, no matter what.
Hope gives strength. When living with disappointment, or in discouraging or difficult times, the gift of hope gives us strength and courage for tomorrow. Here are some great quotes about hope:
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” – Dale Carnegie
“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” – St. Augustine
“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” – Helen Keller
I will leave you with one of my favorite verses about hope.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1-5
Thanks for reading along! I hope this new year finds you filled with hope!
If you would like to find out more about our ministry, Kingdom Pursuit Ministries, or more about this Jesus that gives me hope, go to www.kpministry.org