The difference between feeling hopeful and having hope is all a matter of trust. We are called to hope and believe that Christ will work all things for His glory and our good, but so often we are unable to trace His hand in the midst of our trials. We lose hope when we cannot see.
Yet God is so good in our weakness to give us glimpses of his hands at work, helping us see the hope that the Bible speaks of, not a wish but a promise, not a maybe but a certainty, right when we need it most.
I realized this weekend that my husband and I were hopeful for Grace but we didn’t have hope.
They tell you that after two months of your child being away at the residential therapeutic program, you won’t see much change. They tell you to hang in there, life transformation is a long- distance run not a sprint. They tell you not to lose hope, each visit gets better than the last.
But God gave us a gift. He poured hope over us like a heavy rain. From the moment Grace ran into the room, tears streaming down her face, launching herself into our arms– we could see God had been moving. Not chiseling away at the walls she had built up, but bulldozing and crushing them beneath the weight of his great love for her.
The hard heart had been softened, the bitterness had melted, the anger had turned to sadness. I was looking at a living, breathing image of the beauty that only lives in brokenness. There was a radiance that been lost over the years that was shining forth like a beacon of light. She was so beautiful.
Our hardened hearts had melted too. In that moment, we knew without a shadow of a doubt that this messy, difficult, long journey that God had us on, was certainly his perfect plan. Every sacrifice, every ounce of suffering, was for this redemptive moment and for all of the incredible moments to come.
We enjoyed four hours together on Saturday, laughing and talking and healing. Loving on and encouraging her in ways we’ve failed to over the years. We learned all about her life away, her struggles and her fears. We got to know the devoted staff better, interacted with other broken families who are walking the same road, and were encouraged by the powerful testimonies of young girls who are nearing the end of the program. We also had the sweet gift of attending their local church together. We met Grace there in the morning and were blown away by the kindness and love this congregation had for the girls and their families. We cried all through the beautiful worship and were moved by watching Grace take diligent notes throughout the sermon. It’s a program requirement but what she wrote was so sincere. She’s learning some incredible life disciplines and is working so hard respect the boundaries in place. We couldn’t be more proud of her and can’t even imagine the woman she’ll be when she returns home.
When it was time to say goodbye the tears rolled in again, but we held each other, prayed and asked God to be our strength, our hope, our joy in the midst of suffering.
We asked Grace how others could pray for her and she requested this: prayer for protection from negativity, help following all the boundaries, comfort when the sadness overwhelms, and to do well in school. Thank you for praying for Grace and for every sacrifice made to give her this gift.
This is the hope we have for Grace “He who began a good work (in Grace) will be faithful to complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” – Philippians 1:6.