Due to unexpected family circumstances, I need to pause my series on values and share a post from earlier in the year. As our family walks through a new season of difficulty, we’re still holding onto hope and trusting God as He leads us through these trials.
My niece loves to share daily weather reports with me. Jokingly, I tell her I don’t want to hear them unless she’s telling me the day is going to be warm and sunny. If she tells me about pending snow, rain, or cold temperatures, I feign disappointment that it’s not going to be a bright and sunny day. I can even handle the cold better if I know the sun will be making an appearance. Even when a foot of snow mounded in my front yard. You see, I’m holding onto hope.
Holding onto hope isn’t always easy, especially when it involves more than a weather report. During yesterday’s quiet time with God, I listened to a brief devotional about when hope is hard. The narrator talked about dormant hope. That phrase really caught my attention because, if we’re being truthful, each one of us has had times of dormant hope.
Dormant means temporarily inactive. During the winter, a lot of animals hibernate. Their bodily functions slow down as they enter a period of deep sleep.If we’re being truthful, each one of us has had times of dormant hope. #TellHisStory #Holdingontohope #Christianliving Click To Tweet
Seasons of Winter
I’ve had hibernating hope as I’ve gone through “seasons of winter” as my friend Jo called them. You know what I mean, right? Those seasons of trials and discouragement when you feel like you’ve been blasted with one storm after another.
I’ve referenced this before in previous posts, but I share it often because it was so life-changing for me. My family endured a two-year “season of winter” a number of years ago when both my husband and I lost our fathers, my mother had a second heart attack, our boys went through some life-alternating experiences, and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune issue brought on by the combined trauma of those experiences.
Grief, pain, fear, betrayal, and anxiety are common triggers that ravage our hope and faith like a January blizzard, freezing our hearts and blanketing us in a tundra of discouragement and disbelief.
How many times have we asked, “Why me, God?”
One of the most pivotal times in my life didn’t come from church or any sort of Christian event. It came as I sat by my son’s side in the ICU while he fought for his life. While sitting in a recliner next to his bed for ten days as a virus systematically shut down his organs, I prayed harder than I had ever done in my life, begging my friends on social media to pray as well. Prayers stormed Heaven’s gate from around the world. Then, one morning, I awoke at 4:00 a.m. and simply breathed out, “God.” I had no words left.
Then, warmth and peace enveloped me in such a way that I knew without a doubt it was the Holy Spirit’s presence. At that moment, my frozen heart began to thaw. My dormant hope sprouted new growth. No matter what happened, I knew God was with me, with my family. As my son healed and was released from the hospital on Father’s Day of that year, we celebrated his recovery. He wasn’t the only one being healed.
Our earthly circumstances may take us through periods of shaky faith, feeling like God put us on hold. Or even worse—He abandoned us. However, the more time we spend in His Word and lean into Him during these trials and challenges, the stronger we can hold onto Hope.Our earthly circumstances may take us through periods of shaky faith, feeling like God put us on hold. Or even worse—He abandoned us. #TellHisStory #Hope #ChristianLiving Click To Tweet
That 4 a.m. moment ignited my personal journey of realizing the impacting power of prayer.
Here’s the truth—no one wants to go through those trials because none of us want the pain that goes along with the loss, the change, the disrupted life. We’re so happy in our comfort zones, aren’t we?
But you know what? In order to allow God to work in our lives, we need to be willing to step out of our comfort zones and lean into Him as we talk together through those struggles.
Learning to Trust
Since that two-year season of winter, I’ve had to relearn what it meant to trust God. For quite a while, I had an apprehensive heart, fearfully waiting for the proverbial “shoe to drop.”
God remained patient and gentle as He worked in my broken heart and weary mind, reminding me of His constant presence. He put people in my life who spoke life-affirming prayers and offered spiritual truth and love to help me heal and grow. As time progressed, I moved from surviving to thriving.
I love God’s promise in Joshua 1:9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
As winter fades into spring, purple, yellow, and white crocuses emerge through the melting snow, alerting us to the promises of spring and regrowth.
God does the same with us. He warms our emotionally frozen souls and whispers hope to thaw our hearts. No matter what trials and challenges we are facing, we need to retain the joy of holding onto hope. God is with us through those cold seasons. It’s up to us to trust Him before the thaw—to hold onto that Hope. When we turn our faces to His Son, He shines down on us, warming us and allowing that dormant hope to re-emerge with renewed growth and promises of hope and a future.
What about you? How do you hold onto hope when life gets harder?