When It Feels Like the Darkness Is Winning

As I’ve watched the news, as I’ve lived in my own shoes, as I’ve walked beside friends, this question keeps coming:

Where is hope?

Where is hope when the world is going crazy, when things spin out of control, when it feels like the darkness is going to suffocate all good out of existence?

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Current world events will cause us to ask this question. An honest look in the mirror will as well. In this broken world we struggle with addictions. We have loved ones caught in the snare of pornography, alcoholism, or in the cycles of anxiety and depression.

And many days it seems the darkness is winning. With each stumble, each setback, the darkness seems to close in, mocking our desperate prayers for hope, for deliverance, for change.

On these days, where is hope?

Hope doesn’t swoop in like Superman to save the day. It starts as a spark that grows over time.

I am a big fan of time.

I remember when the 10:00 news report was followed by the National Anthem and that ended the news for the day. In fact, it ended all television programming until early the next morning.

Hours of wonderful silence followed.

And that silence that gave people time. Time to think, to cool off, to rest. Time to allow ideas and thoughts to marinate. Time for people to figure out what they really thought about issues.

When it feel like the darkness is winning we tend to react, and more often than not, fear and anger win the day. Fear and anger drive out hope and replace it with hopelessness. “Hopelessness produces a refusal to see the potential of a new, bright, and good day… ” (page 86, The Healing Path) When fear and anger are driving, and hopelessness is thriving, we aren’t at our best.

Time also gives a chance for hope to grow.

Not a cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-the-best kind of hope, but a hope that “enables us to walk bravely into the future, confident things can be better than they are today.” (The Healing Path, Dan B. Allender)

And we need hope because we are raising children who will be the next leaders, voters, the next people of this world. Our kids need to see us fighting for hope because hope is so very important. Hope allows us to be courageous and compassionate and I believe that is the kind of people our world needs.

Hope clings to the belief that this is not the end. God will work. Good will come from this. “The quintessential cry of hope is found in the remark Joseph made after experiencing devastating physical, sexual, and emotional abuse: “God turned into good what you meant for evil.” (Genesis 50:20, NLT)” (The Healing Path)

I believe that the more we fight for hope, the more we will see sparks of hope grow into a flame.  Fighting for hope will help us communicate to each other with respect, even those who are on opposing sides of an issue.

So instead of  shouting across the canyon at the spouse who is struggling with an addiction, or at the person whose lifestyle looks different from ours, or at people who drink out of red cups at Christmas, or at people who say open the borders, or close the borders….

Fighting for hope will enable us to sit down together, listen to each other, wade through the fear and anger, and find an answer for a new, bright, and good day.

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Keep fighting for hope, dear friend. It is important for our lives, our world and our future.

 

Celebrating Life

The 31 day writing challenge was a wonderful experience. I wrote about topics near and dear to my heart, and I met new friends from all over the world.

I must have lived in a writer’s fog for the entire month, because I emerged from the 31 day writing challenge on November 1, ready to resume “normal” life and here is what I found:

Overflowing laundry baskets, partially eaten hot pockets on paper plates scattered around the house (Did I feed my children vegetables even once in the last 31 days?), and  project piles.  I could tell where the 4th grader’s cereal box book report was created, where the 6th grader’s leaf collection was pieced together, and where I sat to scribble random thoughts at random times. And I’m pretty sure something waved at me from the bottom drawer of my fridge.

But all of this faded into the background when my 9 year old said, “Can we plan my birthday party now?”

Birthday parties are serious business at our house.

I LOVE birthdays. They are the only days in your life when people say “You’re alive! Let’s celebrate!”

You don’t have to do anything brilliant or creative or clever. You just have to be breathing.

Throwing a birthday party is a fun way I can tell my children ” I’m so glad you are here and I’m so glad I get to be your mommy!”

And in their world filled with expectations from school and chore lists from home, and questions like

“Are you ready yet?”

“Are you finished yet?”

“Come on, we need to go!”

They need a day to celebrate.

We’ve done princess birthdays,

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pirate birthdays, and superhero birthdays. I’ve loved every one of them.

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I also love my children’s birthdays because they remind me of God’s faithfulness.  I spent a long time wondering if I would ever have children. Ten years, in fact, which feels like forever when you don’t know if the waiting will ever end. (Be sure to read Finding Hope in the Waiting .)

And this birthday felt important. Maybe it’s because Maggie is my middle child, the one who rarely finishes a sentence or makes a choice because she is sandwiched between two siblings who fully believe they can read her mind. Or maybe it’s because she’s at a point where she is questioning her own worth. I want to wrap her in my arms and say You are loved! You are not alone! You have purpose! I want to pour that truth into the depths of her heart.

So we celebrated Maggie’s double digit day in a big way.

When she hugged me at the end of the day and mumbled sleepily, “This was my best tenth birthday ever.” I knew we had celebrated well.

I’ve picked up all the paper plates with remnants of food (I think), and the project piles are gone. I’m still working up my courage to tackle the creature in the bottom of my refrigerator. But these things really are secondary, because 10 year old birthdays only come around once. Celebrating life is important.

I hope you find a way to make your day special, dear friend, for you, too, are worth celebrating.

You are loved. You are not alone. You have purpose.