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If "hope is the thing with feathers," then my allotment flew South long ago. Because I've been trapped in the icy grip of a spiritual drift for some time - plodding numbly along, wondering why it felt like it was always Winter but never Christmas, alternating between trying to Do It Myself and crying out to God, admitting that I can't do anything on my own, and begging Him to either change my circumstances or give me the peace and strength to make it through them.
But neither seemed to happen. Whatever phase was wearing on my last nerve would pass, only to be replaced by something worse. I counted gifts. I prayed (desperately). I read my Bible when I could. I tried to make the best choice for each day when Brooklyn's naptime arrived and I had to choose between lunch, a shower, household tasks, or a nap of my own. And I waited - waited for Hope to return.
At last it dawned on me that perhaps my heart wasn't a very inviting place for Hope to perch - I do have a tendency to ride on whatever high or low was most recent, instead of holding onto the good even through the bad. Bad just makes me look for something good that's new, instead of looking back at what's already (or always) been.
So I rubbed my frozen hands together and opened my Bible and a journal. I got caught up on IF : Equip studies, agreed to work through a series-long reading plan our church started recently along with Adam (reading the Old Testament passage on our own in the morning, the New Testament together at night, and discussing both), wrote down my thoughts and struggles and prayers, and prepared for an inner housecleaning next month (Adam and I are doing a condensed version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment, which will hopefully also provide material for #write31days). I also picked up my knitting and went outside with it, reveling in creation and Creation, and pausing to listen to the Creator instead of just complaining in His direction like I am wont to do.
And a funny thing happened... Hope returned. Circumstances as a general whole haven't really improved, there's still quite a bit of physical and emotional stress, and I haven't really felt a surge of inner strength or coping ability (today I barely won the battle to not put Brooklyn down for her nap early - she didn't really need it any sooner, but I sure did) - but there's Hope. We explored the River Market district as a family last weekend, and I spotted this stone at a Ten Thousand Villages shop - I picked it up, drawn to the cool, smooth reality of it - a tangible way to hold onto Hope.
How do you hold onto hope?