I woke up this morning feeling hopeless. I don't know what's up with my "dark & twisties" lately. Normally they follow a pretty predictable pattern—well, not the timing necessarily, but the progression. I'll have a couple days where I start feeling a little down, then a day or two at rock bottom, and then a few days of gradual improvement… and then we can all go on with our lives for a few weeks or… however long it takes for the next round to start.
But the past two weeks have been nutty. I have been up and down and all around, with no rhyme or reason. It changes from hour to hour. But the one thing that has been consistent is that the mornings suck. And this morning was, I think, the worst one yet. I felt angry and lonely and overwhelmed and… just plain hopeless.
So I got up and decided to catch up on some reading. First I read this. Tricia is an amazing woman (And after I read this post just now, I tried my best to come up with a different way to say it and just couldn't…) whose husband died suddenly of influenza less than a month ago. She is suddenly raising two boys on her own while mourning the loss of her best friend and her biggest fan and her co-parent and so many other things. She is… well, she is someone who puts one foot in front of the other every day in a whole new reality she never thought she'd face. I might be facing a different reality than I thought I would too, but I definitely wouldn't compare my wounds with hers. While I have never met her personally, she is a friend of a friend, and I think about her and pray for her constantly.
And then I read this. Actually, I had read it before, but I read it again this morning. Dear, sweet Olga. Olga and Kareen and now Peter… and so many more like them. And so many more who have preceded them to the institutions. Alone. Afraid. Hopeless.
Apparently, I just needed a little perspective. I'm not saying that my entire day was fabulous after that, nor am I saying I was thankful for someone else's problems to be worse than mine. I'm just saying… perspective.
And tonight I came home from a meeting where I heard about people who are living in poverty, whose husbands are dying of AIDS while trying to provide for their families, who are seeking God but getting confused by the devil's schemes. You can read more about them here—and you should, because I'm going to be talking more about it in the months to come. (It's the bottom half of the page—the section about Mozambique.)
I came home with one word on my mind: hope. Yes, I may have times when I am down, when I am overwhelmed, when I feel empty. But I am never hopeless. How do I know? Because the second I got home (and got all three kids in bed), I looked up the word "hope" in the Bible.
So whether you are having a bad day or in the midst of a tragedy or somewhere in between, here is what I found that spoke to my heart tonight…
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth. –Psalm 121:1-2
(OK, this one doesn't specifically mention the word "hope", but "help" is close enough. This is the passage that was running through my head before I even started the search…)
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,
even as we put our hope in you. –Psalm 33:22
But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you. –Psalm 39:7
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God. –Psalm 42:5
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him. –Psalm 62:5
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Savior;
my God will hear me. –Micah 7:7
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:19a
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23
God bless & good night.