All in Hope

I think we’d all agree that the practical responsibilities of parenting are hard work, but what I find infinitely harder than the day in and day out things that are required of me is being the kind of parent I desire to be. Having a loving, kind, patient, joyful and thankful heart in the big and small stuff — now that’s the real challenge!

Take the other day, for instance. It was a very difficult day at the end of an awful, terrible, no good, very bad week. While I was driving in the car on this particularly trying morning, an “unnamed child” was yelling at me from the back seat because his pants weren’t tight enough, his shoelaces weren’t tied correctly, his shirtsleeves were too long, and the sky was too blue.

Gripping the steering wheel tightly while using up every last ounce of self-control left in my body, I begged, “Lord, you have got to change my son’s heart!”

The Best (and Most Resisted) Words a Mama Can Say: "Help. I don't know what I'm doing."

Death can provide an exclamation point on a life that was already expressing the glory of God. 

My friend passed between that one-day-will-be-thin sheath of death and life and I tried to remember if I'd ever told her how much of an imprint she'd left upon me.

Claire and I shared a small city but couldn't have been more different, back then. She had six children. I had none. My womb was empty -- and sometimes I wore a suit to work. I was fumbling through my twenties, both unsure of myself and also overconfident and she had bigger concerns than her weekend plans. She'd earned her grey hair.

In a recent interview, Sally Lloyd Jones, author of the Jesus Storybook Bible, offered such simple but profound advice on giving hope to children.  

Here is a just a portion of what she said:

Children look to us for everything. But in all that we’ve given children, have we forgotten to give them hope? Have we left them in despair -- looking at what they should do but don't? Looking at who they should be but aren’t? How do we give hope to children? When we take the focus off them and put it back on God where it belongs. They don’t need to be told to try harder, believe more, do it better. That just leaves them in despair. We need a Rescuer.

As we gathered around tables set with gold, blue, and green chargers topped with china; iced water poured into crystal, flowers brimming over vases, we also noticed several lovely, mismatched little pitchers scattered amongst the setting. Some were plain creamware, others cut-glass, some painted with dainty flowers, others edged in gold.  Joining us at the table set in her kitchen area, Sally Clarkson picked one up and reflected, “We wanted you to take with you a reminder of your need to be filled, as you constantly pour out to your families at home.”

You're not the only mom that feels like screaming today.

You're not the only one holding back frustration's tears.

No, there are many whose gaze falls on cracker crumbs, unfolded clothes, crusty dishes, and needy little faces, feeling despair's crushing weight. "It's only getting worse," the voice inside tells them. "You're failing. There's no way off this life-sucking treadmill."

But you, my sister, are not past hope.