Day Twenty-Seven: How Did You Get That?

One of the difficult things for me, about exploring hope this month is that I know it is a gift. It isn’t a result of some formulaic process. Through this month of reading, researching, and passing on what I have found. I have not yet found the miracle way to create and grow hope in any circumstance.

31 Days of Relishing Hope

I’ve felt a little like the kid at school, the first day back from Christmas break. Remember? Everyone would talk about what they did and what they got. Inevitably, there was the kid who would say, “Lucky! How did you get that?” How do you answer that confusing question?

It’s confusing, because getting that special gift has less to do with “how” than it has to do with “who.” Who gave it to you? Do you think they would give me one too?

I would love to tell you who gives me hope. He has endless supplies of it and would love to give you some too. His name is Jesus. Maybe you already know him, but find yourself needing a little hope-pick-me-up. Tell him about it. Take a little time out of your day to pour out your hopes and fears to him. Like any good relationship, you’ll need to be as honest and real as you can be. He can take it. If you’re angry, let him know that. If you’re hurting, tell him. If you find yourself doing something you know is wrong and will ultimately hurt you, tell him about that too.

The real truth about lasting hope is that it comes out of intimacy with Jesus. I can share the ways that he has helped me foster hope in my life, or you could get started figuring out your own ways with him today. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Most of the times that I go running to Jesus asking for hope, He gently points out how I’ve got the wrong focus. He shows me how the thing I’ve put my hope in is not him, and will ultimately let me down. He usually reminds me that he can give me that thing, but it will probably disappoint me. Yet, there is this thing in the intimate walk with Jesus that is so inspiring and full of hope!

31 Days of Relishing Hope

When we have cleared out all the stuff that wants to come between us. When I have listened and accepted his gentle correction. We are in that sweet communion. And he says, “Hey, do you want to come and do this thing with me today? Come with me.” I want to tell you that I then find myself doing things I never thought I could, and going to places I never would have imagined, and that is true. But the hope doesn’t come out of successes, or adventures, or even fun surprises. The hope comes out of the closeness to Jesus. And that, you can enjoy today!

31 Days of Relishing Hope

This is day twenty-seven of a thirty-one day series on Relishing Hope. You can find all the other posts here.

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A Gift of Wonder

My mom is going to kill me for telling this story. . .

When I was very little, we lived in a large house in Ohio.  From what I’ve been told, this house had multiple levels and these levels were rented out to poor seminarians and their families.  We lived in the attic.

On a cold winter’s night in December, my mom was suddenly concerned by the fact that there was silence.  She wondered where her two young children, my brother and I, were, and what we were up to.  She was right to worry.  It was about this age that my brother and I found the chewable tylenol and finished it off between the two of us.  Eek.  But this time, when she happened upon us, the scene was very different.

My brother, Mat, and I were two little curled up bodies looking through a frosty window mesmerized.

“Look, Kitty.”  This was my brother’s pre-preschool version of Kristy.  He couldn’t say his r’s or his s’s.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” he breathed out in all 2 1/2 yr. old wonder.

This drew my mom in even closer.  She wanted to know what we were looking at.  She wanted to see what put us in this hushed state of amazement.  She looked out of the window and saw a Christmas tree, sitting in the neighbor’s window, all lit up.

Now, I will tell you that when my mom tells this story, she talks about how her heart broke in that moment.  You see, we didn’t have a Christmas tree.  We couldn’t afford one.  She was worried about how we would be affected by this, but that is her story to tell.

Mine is very different.  When I go back to this moment, my 4yr. old body curled up to the condensation stuck to the window, looking at the big colored bulbs of the neighbor’s Christmas tree, I feel wonder.  I feel the short arrested gasp lodge in my throat.  I remember holding my breath in disbelief.  I remember feeling my chubby fingers pressed up against the coldness of the glass.  I feel the dawning of the understanding of beauty.  I have these as my memories.

My memories are not of the lack, or the “supposed to have”.  My memories are of a gift.  A gift of beauty.  A gift of wonder.  A gift of grace.

As I sit as a grown person now, and stare at a Christmas tree sitting in my very own living room, I cannot help but be transported to a time when I could not imagine the beauty of a Christmas tree.  And, I hear a sweet little voice from my past whisper, “Look, Kitty.  Isn’t it beautiful?”