You Are Not Alone
1- Week Bible Study –
Based off of the book, “Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children”
Available on Amazon
Click here: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B016OKS7NG
I scroll through the news and cringe. Another day full of tragedy, despair, and unreconcilable differences. Another day of headlines putting black and white text to tear-drenched lives. And I feel helpless to change any of it.
But I don’t need a news feed to feel helpless and hopeless.
I often battle this within my own soul.
If you’re like me, when feelings of despair or discouragement creep into my heart, I go ahead and pile guilt on top, like a nice juicy cherry on a terrible cake.
Because Christians shouldn’t feel hopeless, right? Cue the “shoulds”… the list of everything a “good Christian” should do and a “good Christian” shouldn’t do.
Hopelessness tops the list.
I’ve been fighting a battle against hopelessness. We adopted two children and birthed two children all within twenty-one months. One of those children was eventually diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Naming it was like a breath of fresh air. I’d been drowning for so long, feeling like a crazy person. If you know much about R.A.D., you’ll understand why I felt despair. And you’ll understand that I was living a story I had not in my wildest dreams planned on living when we became parents.
I know I’m not alone.
Raising a child with special needs took a huge toll on my marriage. Eight years into parenting, and our marriage was on the executioner’s block. We needed help. A year of marriage and individual therapies, and medication for trauma, we were finally in a healthier place. During this year I got on my knees and prayed for hope. In fact, it was my word theme in 2015.
I needed it desperately. I knew I should have hope. I have Christ! And isn’t He my hope? Then why did I still feel so hopeless?
Here’s what I uncovered:
Biblical hope is not a list of whimsical cliches. “It sure would be nice if…” or “I would like it if…” or “I wish…” It is a confident expectation and desire for something good in the future. When Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” it means, in the words of William Carey, to “Expect great things from God.”
Hope is believing and expecting with confidence. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1, emphasis mine). And what do we believe and expect?
“The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalm 147:11, NIV).
We put our hope in His love. In knowing that we are radically, unequivocally, relentlessly, and undeservedly loved by our Father, Savior, and Friend. When we live from this experience (not just knowledge), we find hope a lot less disappointing and our circumstances a lot less stifling.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
If it’s easy, why do we lose hope so readily?
I believe I lose hope when I lose connection with who I am in Christ. The more I live from the position of adored daughter, the greater my capacity for hope. The more I listen to the lies that I am unloveable, unwanted, and forgotten, the more I fall into despair.
And sometimes I lose hope because hoping hurts. It creates an ache. A waiting. A recognition that something I long for has not yet arrived. It’s uncomfortable and painful, so we work to snuff it out. Be content with what we have. Prevent longing. Dreaming. It’s easier to numb our hearts and turn from hope.
We’ve been disappointed. Disillusioned. We forgot we are loved.
I entered foster care and adoption with a sense of nobility. We were rescuing these kids. Giving them a new course. They would be grateful. They would become things they never would have dreamed, because we chose them. And we would be “good Christians.”
And then… Free will. Brokenness. Trauma. Grief. Addiction. Rebellion. Disorder. Slander. Pain, so much pain. And somewhere in the struggling to breathe, in the surviving, recovering, and protecting, I lost sight of my loved-ness by God. My disillusionment clouded out truth. And I lost hope.
Friends, it is time to reclaim our hope! “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 11:23).
Have you lost hope? Or are you feeling the tugs of despair on your heart? Are your thoughts settling in resignation? Join me over the course of this month as we walk together through the hope of Christ and re-staking our claim on this holy ground.
You are not alone.