A tear trickled down her cheek, past her nose, leaving a wet streak from tear duct to chin. The heaviness had been hovering, edging nearer until it draped around her like a dark suffocating blanket. Loneliness mocked and voices of inadequacy sniveled in derisive, biting anger.
She shivered despite the stifling weight flung around her highlighting all the ways she was found wanting.
Shame and guilt flounced in too. This was so often the case. When loneliness and lies demanded entrance, shame and guilt were their ready henchmen.
It was easier to accept the accusations than it was to defend against them. Thing was, she knew some of them to be true. Too many of them.
More tears traced the streaks along her cheeks.
Why couldn’t she ever get it right? Why couldn’t she make other people happy? Why couldn’t she walk in freedom? Why was it so hard to believe she was loveable? To actually live loved? Why did comparison flow easier than gratefulness and condemnation shout louder than compassion?
Fumbling for a Kleenex, she whispered His Name.
Three-fourths of her prayers recently had been this one word. Simply calling out His Name. Jesus. Her Savior. The One who had chosen her. Chosen her in all her flaws and failings. He’d paused for her. He’d looked at her. He’d seen her. He’d smiled at her. And He had poured out love so astounding and He had saved her.
She’d never known a love like this. Compassionate Christ carrying grace and peace and hope and comfort.
He wasn’t offset by her emotions. He didn’t mock her fears. He listened patiently and attentively to her questions. He reminded her of who she was in Him.
Dropping sodden tissues, she lifted her red-rimmed eyes upward. Exhaling quavering breath, again she whispered, “My Jesus.”
And our Jesus heard.
I think about this woman. Fighting against the lies and the voices. Reaching for Jesus and truth and the Hope He alone brings. The Hope He alone brought many Christmas seasons ago when His infant cry split the air.
Truth is, I find myself in this woman. Perhaps you do too. I’m prone to believe none of us have to live too long on this earth until we’re capsized by doubts and lies and insecurities.
Tears trickle and we question our worth.
I can constantly see the places in my heart still in need of my Jesus’ refining. Rarely, do I need them pointed out. I’m already aware. Rarely, do I manage any kind of success in my pursuit of perfection on my own.
As I commiserate with this woman and I find my own tears among the crumpled Kleenex, I find my heart and soul breathing in the clean fresh air of hope.
Hope really does not make sense. It can’t be explained in neat and tidy columns. It isn’t all that practical. Perhaps, even feels a bit abstract.
I found this definition of hope and delighted in it.
“Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.”
Wiping away a few stray tears with a mind of their own, she picks up her journal. The orange cover with watercolored ranunculus spilling across it brings a bit of a tilt at the corners of her mouth. She slips the lid from her favorite gold gel pen and begins to loop letters on the lined page.
The verses never mention hope but they’re shot through with it, as golden and shimmery as the ink in her pen.
Psalm 88:1 “But I call to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer meets you.”
Psalm 116:5-6 “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is compassionate. The Lord guards the inexperienced; I was helpless and He saved me.”
Hebrews 4:14-16 “Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.”