The months leading up to 2020, I prayed for God to give me a ‘word’ or vision for the New Year. 2019 had been a very tough year of transition. Many doors closed that I felt were ‘God-directed’ and I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of both disappointment and confusion. Countless mornings I cried out “Lord… what is YOUR will for my life, my business, my journey” Show me Lord, the straight path; make it clear, and I will follow…..” Doors continued to close and I had no other choice but to ‘stand still’; be obedient, and pray.
Closing in on this season full of doubt and questions, the Lord kept laying the word HOPE on my heart. Everywhere I turned, this word seemed to present itself. I would see it posted on a sign I passed, or in a scripture I read, or it would crop up in a simple conversation. HOPE- the powerful and positive expectation of something not seen, a light in the darkness.
After many weeks of this ‘constant’ tugging on my heart, I decided that the Lord was directing me to share with women, such as you, about HOPE. The truth is, I had absolutely NO idea how, or for that matter, why He was giving me this directive. I prayed for HIS leading and (please LORD, HIS teaching) I needed a manual. This was way out of my comfort zone. I was absolutely not equipped.
I googled the word HOPE and combed through online resources for my manual. As I was doing some last minute Christmas shopping in a large 'big box' store, I decided to cruise through the very small inspirational book section. There it was… all by it’s lonesome, My manual. “100 days of HOPE” just lying there. Only one book. Nothing else on the barren shelf.
I had secretly bargained with God that I would commit to sharing the message of HOPE for the month of January. A way to get the year off to a fresh and ‘hopeful’ start. Count it ladies, that is 31 days. This book was labeled 100 days. I looked up to the heavens and softly, but emphatically thought, ”REALLY Lord, 100 days!?!? That is a really loooong time.” I am so uncomfortable doing these videos… are you sure???
I put on my ‘big girl pants’ and started to share the messages of HOPE from my manual on January 1, 2020. I called it ‘Restoring HOPE in 2020”- in our own hearts to the deepest corners of the world. The series was a dedication to our ministry division at Gracewear called the ‘Hope Restored Project’- to support organizations on the front lines in the fight against Human Trafficking
Some days the messages were good, some days they were just sort of OK, and other days I felt that maybe, just maybe they did offer HOPE to some. At first I tried to post every day, then life and travel got in the way, and my messages were a little sporadic. Then, not wanting to force an unauthentic message, I chose to post when the spirit led me to share something not so scripted, but really from my heart.
After the 100th day which by no mistake fell on EASTER. Resurrection Sunday. However, little did we all know that around day 75, our world would be faced with a pandemic of such magnanimous proportion that it would literally STOP life as we all knew it. Schools have closed, our children all came home. Churches closed, businesses closed, sporting events closed. Our nation, our world has closed. For now. Sharing the message of HOPE in 2020, has taken on an entire new meaning. We have been encouraged to look to the ONLY one that knew before time that this was going to happen. Everything has a plan and a purpose. This PAUSE has caused us all to take a step back to truly BE STILL and Know HE is God. Families are sitting at the table sharing a meal, playing games that do not involve a screen, talking and sharing thoughts and dreams.
Was this the way we had HOPED our lives would be 2/3 of the way into 2020. I don’t think so. We all like to be in Control. This situation has taken us down to the one place we all fear. Lack of Control. In this PAUSE that WILL pass, my HOPE is that you are able to take the time many of us so desperately needed to TRUST the ONE who is in Control. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
In HIM and HIM alone, is where we can place our HOPE. The Hope and Glory of Jesus. Who died for us, so many years ago. The One who will RISE and SAVE us all from the chaos and sins of this world we live in. Maybe, just maybe… the world and it’s circumstances will have a new meaning for us all this year. And that our new normal will have an extraordinary new meaning with a foundation of Restored HOPE- in both the valleys and the victories. Praising God, Trusting God – no matter what we are facing. This my friends, is my prayer of HOPE for you.