Sparks of Hope

Each of us fight battles as we live, day-by-day, in this broken world. If we keep our eyes on the battle we are sure to grow weary. When we recognize the sparks of hope around us, we find rest in the midst of our battle.

Sparks of hope are vital in the fight for hope because they awaken a quiet, fierce strength inside of us.

Sparks of hope remind us that we are warriors. Hope Warriors.

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Sparks of hope stir our courage and remind us that hope is worth fighting for. Feeling courage reminds us that we are not meant to live life numb.

Sparks of hope are a reminder in the midst of our battle that there is a bigger story. And that our part of the bigger story is worth telling.

Sparks of hope sharpen our focus and our determination that the free fall will not define us and the darkness will not win.

The sparks of hope that give me courage usually involve words, beauty, and music.

A beautiful sunset reminds me of God’s faithfulness and His promise to never leave me.

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A Bible verse on the drive through window of a coffee shop reminds my heart to hang on to hope.

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A line in a movie may speak to me in a way the screenwriter never could have known.

The lyrics and music of a song reminds me that I am not alone. (This song also makes me dance.)

Sparks of hope remind us who we are and what we are fighting for.

What sparks of hope have you seen lately? I’d love to hear about it.

What Is Brokenness?

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As I’ve put thoughts to paper and shoes on the idea of fighting for hope, I’ve described Hope Warriors in this way:

“Hope warriors are people who know their own brokenness, who aren’t afraid of the brokenness they see in others. They are people who say ‘I am with you. You are not alone.’

What in the world is brokenness and what does it have to do with being a warrior? Warriors are brave and fierce and broken things should be fixed.

Right?

When things are broken, yes. Bring on the duct tape and the superglue. But when people are broken, it is a different matter altogether.

Brokenness is messy and scary…. and beautiful. It takes courage and ferocity and tenacity to deal with our own brokenness. Brokenness is something I couldn’t describe until I saw it lived out in the lives of Hope Warriors around me. And I wanted what they had.

To me, brokenness is seeing ourselves for who we truly are and accepting our story for what it is. It is looking at all the things, the ingredients, that make up our life – things that happened to us, things that we did to others, all the success, failures, and regrets. It is looking at ourselves honestly.

And that takes courage.

To know our own brokenness means that we stop running from ourselves and our story. It means that we look ourselves in the eye and see us for who and what we really are. None of us are as put together or confident as we would like people to think. On the flip side, we are also not as worthless as we’ve made ourselves believe.

Brokenness is bringing these two misconceptions into the light so that we can see ourselves for who we truly are, we can see our story for what it truly is, and begin to live. Once we stop running from our story, we can begin to write the next chapters of our story with purpose.

We don’t face our brokenness alone. Our brokenness is one reason God came to be with us in this world. Jesus was sent to “bind up the brokenhearted.” (Isaiah 61:1) He left the perfection of heaven to be near to us in our brokenness (Psalm 34:18), and to heal us (Psalm 147:3)

The Hebrew word for broken in these verses shabar, which means to break, crush, destroy.

So we could read it like this:

The Lord is near to those whose heart has been broken.

He was sent to heal those who hearts have been crushed.

He heals those whose hearts have been destroyed.

The word shabar also has the meaning “to bring to the birth.” I love this meaning because   when our hearts are crushed, it gives room for the birth of something new. The birth of realizing our need for Christ, the birth of clear sight, the birth of a new direction for our life.

So, the crushing gives way to something beautiful.

The crushing itself is not pretty, or graceful or easy. But we don’t have to fear it. We can see it for what it is, and then let it give birth to something new in our lives. Because sometimes the hardest, most ugliest things end up being fertilizer for the most beautiful.

And as we grow more comfortable with our own brokenness, we can be gentle with the brokenness in others, and reach out to them saying “You are not alone in this.”

Brokenness is messy and scary, beautiful and brave…just like you.