against hope

“hope against hope.” i’ve never really understood that phrase (in rom 4:18) until now.

lately, i’ve just been hoping to not hurt anymore. i’ve been hoping that the storms would stop. i’ve been hoping against fear and disappointment and heartbreak and the pain of loss. but – fact is – it was pointless. life is like that. it’s unfair. it offers blows like that everyday, all day, and always when it’s inconvenient. sometimes one right after the other after the other. this world sucks.

pain is unavoidable in a broken world…and no amount of hoping against it happening has made it stop. i need to hope against hope – in other words, hope when it seems like there is no reason for it. i can’t conjure up hope within myself. it’s something that is put there. i have no control over it.

and not only was i “hoping against” all the wrong things, but i came to realize i had been casting it in all the wrong places. i would put my “hope” (or desires, really) in people or dreams or ideals. they would constantly occupy my mind, and if i ever lost it, i’d scramble for a replacement. i couldn’t be without something. so here i am at the end of myself…again. i have been so scared, so hurt, so lost…it has been a whole new level of despair. i have no idea what to do with myself. my thoughts have been so scattered. i see myself chasing pieces of paper getting violently tossed around by the wind. i can’t keep up. they blow away from me as i reach out to grab them. all i can do is snatch up what i can and grieve the loss of the rest.

so, i have resigned to just get through each moment. as long as i’m breathing, there’s something to be alive for…there’s hope. i may not know what or why, but He has to be enough. i have such a strong desire to know what’s going to happen, or at the very least, have something to base my thoughts on…but that’s not how it works. “hope that is seen is no hope at all” (rom 8:24). just hope because He has given me breath to do it.

if anything, it will allow me to be surprised.


“how did you forgive them?”

i had no idea how to answer that question when it was asked to me recently. it’s funny how i’ve become so immersed in the process of healing and recovering and obeying God that  i assume what i’ve learned is elementary to everyone.

hearing that question stopped me in my tracks. it brought me back. back to nights when i wrote words like this:

trying to wash it all the way with all these tears/but the shame inside just won’t disappear

i lie awake here tonight/fighting back the shadows of a past i would sooner forget

hold me, Jesus, hold me close tonight

because come daylight, all this hurt inside will have no place to hide

i had to inventory all those painful, shameful memories of the abuse. and for some reason, the memories were easiest to recollect in the night. in the dark, where they were always hiding.

it was hard having to do this, but i was equipped with the knowledge that i wasn’t doing it alone. that i needed to pull it out of hiding (with Christ holding me) and bring it to the light of day so we could watch it dissolve.

and with each painful memory came the command to forgive. i can’t answer the “how”… i just did. i did because He told me to. beyond all that, i couldn’t and wouldn’t have done it. it was in His hands now. and as i look back, i understand. i see how it freed me, and the bigger picture of Who He is.

for every time the memories won’t go away/for every time I want to curl up and hide

for when I think the hurt is here to stay/Lord, give me the strength to forgive again

when both my cheeks are sore

when i don’t think i can turn my head anymore

give me the strength, Lord…


to forgive/to forgive once again

i’m broken and crushed/oh God, the pain is too much

but to give is to receive/again and again, let forgiveness be expected of me


for every time the lash fell on His back/for every time they lifted their hands

even as He prayed for His cup to pass/Jesus had the strength to forgive once again

when He hung there, broken and torn/when the sins of the world made it too hard to breathe anymore

He had the strength to hang on just a little more


He forgives/He forgives again and again

Christ was broken and crushed/oh God, my pain’s not enough

You gave so i could receive/again and again, let forgiveness be expected of me

there is freedom in forgiveness. whether the one who has hurt us accepts it or not doesn’t really matter. forgiveness releases us from the bondage of bitterness and resentment and allows us the chance to heal. how they choose to respond is their own affair. my abusers chose to deny everything, and that’s fine with me. i don’t hate them, i don’t wish evil upon them. i simply determined nothing will come between me and my relationship with Christ.

“Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”(Colossians 3:13)

Christ is our ultimate example in this.


who do you need to forgive?