Proclaiming Hope

If you have followed me for a while you or met me in person you may notice the presence of various shades of teal.  My website.  Images I post.  Mailers.  My Bible.  My Yeti.  My phone case.  This is not by chance nor because my favorite color is teal.  I surround myself with teal intentionally because of what it symbolizes – HOPE.

I cannot take credit for this revelation.  I learned this from a friend who was literally the first person I shared my story with after I felt God’s prompting to begin sharing.  God is so gracious that he gave me her as my first listener.

The first time I shared my story it was rough at best, but my friend was so gracious and encouraging.  My story resonated with her and she noticed three major themes:

1. God’s love

2. Faith in God is an anchor for our souls

3. God is our source of hope

She later gifted me a charm bracelet with these three elements: a love charm, an anchor, and a hope charm.  She custom ordered it and the anchor was placed on teal chords with the explanation teal symbolizes hope.  I love and treasure it.  And this is what I had in mind when I designed my website.  I have carried this through everything I do because my greatest proclamation when I share is – HOPE.

My friends this is my greatest hope for you – when you hear me speak or read what I write, you are filled with God’s love and hope.  Hope is never lost.  We may lose sight of it temporarily, but hope is always present and possible.

The month of April is hope-filled.  For me, Easter and the resurrection are synonymous with hope.  Jesus left the perfection of Heaven to walk this earth amongst flawed and sinful people.  He healed the sick, rose the dead, forgave sins, gave honor and dignity to the forgotten and overlooked, sought out the rejected, kept the company of sinners, denounced and silenced accusers, befriended and broke bread with those who would abandon and betray him, laid his life down as a sacrifice, and conquered death.

Why? Because we were worth it to him.  Because he loves us.  Because he saw us in our brokenness, our need and our sin and decided we needed rescuing.  A Savior.

Nails did not hold Jesus on that cross, love did.  Love for us.  Compassion and caring for us. The desire for everyone to know hope.  That good things are in store for those who love God.  That God can redeem every situation, even those that feel dark and unredeemable.

God can meet us in our pain, but he doesn’t want us to stay stuck there.  He wants to heal us.  To deliver us from our pain.  To restore our hope.

It’s ironic that April is also sexual assault awareness month.  At first glance, sexual assault seems like the antithesis of hope.  For many I am sure the topic of sexual assault brings an onslaught of negative emotions and I completely understand this.  I have been there, but I didn’t stay there.

My experiences with sexual assault took me through a spectrum of expected emotions – shock, disbelief, hurt, anger, fear, defeat, and hopelessness, but I didn’t camp there permanently.  These emotions were part of the journey toward healing, wholeness.  As I continued on my path toward healing, I also experienced the emotions of love, peace, comfort, forgiveness and ultimately hope.

That may sound odd, to arrive at such positive emotions through my experiences with sexual assault, but let me explain.  Amidst shock, disbelief, hurt, anger, fear, defeat, and hopelessness God reached out.  He overwhelmed me with his love.  God proved that he not only heard but answered my prayers. He brought people into my life to encourage me and walk alongside me on my healing journey.  He showed me he is still in the business of miraculous healing.  And all of this became tangible proof hope is never lost.

It showed me that healing is possible.  For.  EVERYONE.  I am not an anomaly.  If God can heal me, he can heal anyone.

Yes, sexual assault grieves me.  The fact that anyone has ever walked through it grieves me.  The fact that anyone would ever perpetrate it angers and grieves me.  But hope is not lost.

I have hope for all survivors.  That healing is possible and attainable.  I have hope for all perpetrators.  That hearts can be changed.  Attitudes can be changed.  Behaviors can be changed.

For many hope may sound intangible.  Uncertain.  Unattainable.  Even elusive.  But let me assure you – hope is real.

Hope is at the heart of everything I share.  Yes, I have had some dark seasons in my life.  I have walked through sexual assault.  I have battled breast cancer.  And every dark or difficult season has left me feeling even more hopeful.

Every dark or difficult season has proved God trustworthy and shown me that we never walk alone.  God hears our prayers.  What breaks our hearts breaks God’s heart too.

This life is full of reminders that – it is not supposed to be this way – and the truth is it isn’t. That feeling is a longing.  An echo of eternity.  A reminder that we were created for more.  For perfection.

This world is flawed and in it we can experience dark and difficult moments, but we have a future and a hope.  This is not all.  Jesus came to redeem us, so we don’t have to journey through this world alone.  

Most importantly, for those who trust Christ, we have the hope of heaven.  That perfection our hearts long for.  Wholeness.  Healing.  Fearlessness. Sinlessness. Health.  Life. Goodness.

Today, may we be reminded God is not just loving, but trustworthy.  He holds us and even in dark or difficult seasons, he can give us peace and hope.  Hope gives us confidence in every circumstance.  Hope draws us into freedom as we heal from our dark seasons.  Hope makes us bold.  Hope empowers us to speak up and speak out for what we believe in and the healing we have experienced.  Whatever we are facing today – may we be filled with hope.