2016 is not yet here—but it is coming! A year for HOPE. I don’t have my Christmas tree up yet….I will show you when I do, but my heart is already looking at 2016. I know. Stay in the present…but I find it hard sometimes. I keep straining to peek into 2016.
Before the New Year gets here, I wanted to share a little encouragement to those who may already have your blanket ready to pull over your head and hide for the next few weeks of seasonal festivities. I have one too…although, I pull it out much less often.
In 2013, I spoke at a Covenant Hospice event these words:
I was there to share an encouraging word to those who had suffered loss that year. It was the Christmas season—a time when we who have lost someone, remembers the heartaches of losing. More than losing a battle—or losing a game. This loss bears heavy on each person for months and years. Every anniversary we are reminded of the pain of loss. But today, I want to remind us of the HOPE we have. Let 2016 become a brand new start for each one.
Hope remembers. Hope can hear the past; the funny stories, the sweet songs, and Hope chooses that which is good. Hope realizes the present and has a determined focus to help someone else each day and believes firmly that tomorrow holds new life….as we are in Christ Jesus.
Hope rejoices. Psalms 146:5 “But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper-whose hope is in the LORD their God.”
As odd as this may sound, when my sister, Wanda was leaving this life, my younger sister, Aimee began telling funny family stories. We began to laugh. It was just the immediate family—and we felt at ease in the Presence of God. I even felt in my spirit that Wanda lingered a bit longer because she loved to laugh and loved a good “Aimee story”.
It’s okay to laugh—just as it’s okay to weep. We need both. It is a washing of the eyes and soul. And we all need that bath.
Hope is resilient. Hope resolves to continue on. Hope anchored in Christ recovers readily from the winds and waves of life. Hope pushes us forward, knowing “forward” is where healing and growth takes place, not with our heels and heart digging into the past dry dirt of yesterday. There’s no nourishment in the past.
As we navigated through our first Christmas without Wanda, I felt like I walked around wearing my clothes wrong-side-out. I felt turned around and upside down. This was new. I was not sure how I was supposed to transition through this season of life.
The joy of the LORD truly became my strength. I discovered that laughter is possible again—and love continues on. Even after they’re gone. And even with fresh tears, I can smile and rejoice at a new day coming!
Yes, our futures do look different when they are gone—but Hope can take that seat at the table and we can feast on the joy of the LORD. It takes time to see this—as that first year I didn’t feel that “Hope”, rather I felt the reminder of Loss. Navigation is painful—and often difficult. But when we allow the God of hope to guide our hearts and minds—it is possible.
We are approaching our 8thyear of her home-going. Memories still flood the heart—but Hope stands strong beside each one. We remember all the blessings and we rejoice in God’s gift of life—and we become resilient as we keep our faith, trust and HOPE in Jesus Christ.
After all, Hope is a choice.
© 2015 Angie Knight- The Knightly News. All rights reserved.