As I sit here in my favorite chair sipping on a scrumptious cup of steaming hot ginger mango tea, with my favorite fuzzy blanket wrapped around me on this bitter cold January morning. Fortunately, I am the only one up and loving the quiet still morning of a new day, the first full week of a brand new month and year! I truly treasure this time, my brown lab named Sage curled up at the base of my chair. She truly knows me so well. We have our little ritual, “Takin Time Out” to reflect upon the possibilities I have set for the year, the week and the day… I am so keenly aware of God’s beautiful presence. As I have finished my devotional time, I have lifted my friends and family up in prayer, the recent death of a friend who fought a long hard battle from cancer lays heavy on my heart for her loved ones she left behind. I know she is in a much better place celebrating with our Lord and Savior but oh how she will be missed.
There is so much tragedy, sickness, selfishness and pain, yet I am filled with HOPE! HOPE for a cure, HOPE for renewed strength, HOPE for a brighter tomorrow and HOPE for courage to begin again. Just as the scripture states “We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” Hebrews 6:19.
Another scripture comes to mind found in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “So now faith, HOPE and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” I truly think most people give more importance to love and faith than they do to HOPE, but HOPE is the foundation for the other two. I read an article once that really resonated with me…the author stated HOPE is our positive imagination. Let’s dig a bit deeper, HOPE is really something that can’t be seen, something that is not present. Once it does become present there is no longer any reason to HOPE for it, so really HOPE means you are looking at something that you can’t see with your eyes. It is your imagination or something your feel with every inch of your heart, soul and mind working together. It gives us anticipation and courage. I love the saying HOPE is the only thing stronger than fear! Therefore, HOPE is very powerful and without it our lives would be empty!
HOPE is truly a beautiful thing, it is stronger than Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz clicking her red shoes or the prince holding the single glass slipper in Cinderella. How many of us have crossed our fingers HOPING for the best? HOPE makes it possible to live with our feet firmly planted on the ground while our hearts and mind are committed to the vision of life that is far bigger that we are.
I have a few friends named HOPE, they are very gentle and kind spirited women. I decided to look up the meaning of their name. HOPE is a unisex name derived from the Middle English HOPE, ultimately from the Old English word hopian referring to positive expectation or to the theological virtue of HOPE. Maybe that is why they are so uplifting? Many times it is given to a set of twins or triplets Faith & HOPE or Faith, HOPE and Charity.
How many women who are reading this had a HOPE Chest prior to getting married? I know I did, it was made by Lane and packed with handmade items that my mother and grandmother’s gave me. I had starched embroidered pillow cases and tea or dish towels for each day of the week along with a crocheted afghan and oven mitts. I have been married almost 30 years it now stores precious outfits my children wore as a babies, don’t laugh but I also have my HS cheerleading uniforms and a couple of blankets. It is lined with cedar and makes everything smell so good. Personally I think they are a thing of the past, neither of my girls had one nor do they probably have a clue of what one is. They still make a great storage unit or sturdy bench to sit on.
There are so many people who have shared their testimony of hope, Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel a Romanian-born Jewish-American writer and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of 57 books and many reflect his circumstances that were built on HOPE! One of his famous quotes is, “Just as a man cannot live without dreams, he cannot live without HOPE. If dreams reflect the past, HOPE summons the future.” I also think of Corrie Ten Boom and what her journey through life encountered. I can’t even imagine yet it reflects one of HOPE. One of her quotes I love, “the only place of refuge, the only place of HOPE, was within the shadow of God’s wings. That is where HOPE lies also.” So powerful!
Have you ever felt HOPELESS maybe things were not going well in a relationship, a job, or you are fighting an addiction. Have you hit rock bottom? Maybe you are trying to lose weight and nothing seems to be working. Perhaps you are taking care of a loved one who is ill or aging. All these things are part of the cycle of life. HOPE will see you through…
I am reminded of a children’s story, “Hope for the Flowers”. It’s the tale of two caterpillar’s Stripe and Yellow. They both want something more from life than just eating and growing bigger. They get caught up in a caterpillar pillar, a squirming mass of bodies, building a caterpillar tower. Each one determined to reach the top so far away it can’t be seen. Finally disillusioned, one of them discovered that being at the top was not who he really was. He quickly came down and began to spin and spin and finally entered into a cocoon the place of darkness and stillness. He had no idea how long he had slept but in his dreams he had HOPE that he was more, he awoke and found that he was inside a chrysalis. Once he had pushed his way out, he realized that something was very different. His body had changed, and he was no longer a caterpillar. He had undergone a metamorphosis. He now had two, beautiful, brightly colored wings. He had become a butterfly! He flapped his wings and took off into the sky. He was flying! He flew off in exhilaration, over the hills, over the caterpillar towers and beyond, into his wildest dreams.
This year will hold unexpected joys, sorrows, moments of faith and fear, wishes fulfilled and dreams abandoned. There is much we do not know but there is so much we do know with absolute assurance. There is HOPE…a new year with the pages unscripted. We lift our pen and begin to write a new beginning. Remember HOPE stands for:
HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “maybe” when it seems the entire world is screaming “NO”! Dear friends never give up as you are “Takin Time Out” this week, look deep into your imagination, what is in your heart, mind and soul seeking…what are your hoping for? Until next time let your imagination continue to give you HOPE as you set out with your new set of wings to pursue those dreams!