Hey Friends —
As I shared recently, this summer has been hard. Real hard.
I hadn’t expected my post to resonate with so many of my dear friends. I thought y’all were having a blast this sunny season. I’m grateful you could share with me how you are really doing, too.
Isn’t it amazing how social media can convince us everyone is enjoying a summer overflowing with sparkles, sunshine, and sensational family reunions?
When the reality is many of us are feeling lonely, worn out, and desperate for a fresh share of hope.
On the one hand, I’m used to it in my personal life.
I learned early on in ministry, not to be surprised when struggles make the scene. Pretty much without fail, every time I’ve geared up to launch a new Bible study or ministry project, there has been opposition.
With Live Full Walk Free releasing later this year, I expected trials and tests.
However, this summer’s setback threw me for a loop. Big time.
Whereas I can’t go into specifics or details (thanks for understanding) — please know your continued prayers for my marriage would be super appreciated and welcomed. In the meantime, I’m clinging to God and His Word. A verse that has been helping me navigate these challenging circumstances is Hebrews 10:23 —
How do we hold on to hope — keeping a firm grip on God and His promises — when we’re faced with seasons of disappointment or discouragement?
I don’t have all the answers (trust me!), here’s what I’ve been learning, friends —
1. Be Honest.
One of the things I’m mindful of — I must have safe places where I can be honest and share how I am really doing.
I heard a woman share on Oprah once (don’t judge) you have to “Feel, deal, heal”
For me, part of being honest is allowing myself to ….
- Feel – feel the hurt and disappointment (which, let me tell you, as a former addict is not easy). Sweet friend, we cannot selectively numb. We must be honest with our feelings.
- Deal – find healthy, life-giving ways to cope. Talking with a trusted friend, counselor, or journaling my thoughts and prayers.
- So God can heal –believing God can heal, repair and restore hurts and disappointments — if I give them to Him.
I’m super thankful for the few trusted confidantes who have allowed me to be honest and share how I am really doing.
2. Be Open
Confession: when life gets hard, everything in me wants to hide and isolate myself. How about you?
But I’m learning, if I want to victoriously journey through this hard stuff, I need to stay open and vulnerable. I’m asking God to help me keep my hands and heart accessible to Him and His work.
I keep asking myself, “Cindy, are you living with open hands or tight, clenched fists?”
3. Be Prayerful
Sweet friends, I believe with my whole heart that God is near to the broken hearted. If you too have found yourself in the midst of challenging circumstances, please don’t stop talking to God. Please be prayerful.
Some days my prayers have been more articulate and expressive than others. At first, it was just a lot of nonsense and gobbledygook through puddles of tears.
I believe HOW we pray in the midst of despair isn’t as important as IF we pray.
Remember, pray is just talking to God. Keep talking, friends, keep talking!
4. Be Expectant
I believe we serve a God who brings beauty from the ashes, and I’m fully expectant in His perfect timing God is going to redeem every bit of this yuck. But does that mean I’ve been expectant since Day One? Um, no.
During the dark days when I didn’t have the strength for hope, I had a small band of girlfriends who spoke words of hope and Truth over me. They wouldn’t let me give up or throw in the towel, and reminded me of God’s goodness and grace, His power and His provision.
If you’re going through a season of struggle, please be expectant, friend. Hope on to HOPE. This isn’t the end of the story, I promise.
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. –Hebrews 10:23 NIV
- Be Honest.
- Be Open.
- Be Prayerful.
- Be Expectant.
How are for you, friend? How do you navigate through the storms of life? What are you holding on to for hope? I’d love to hear from you!
Want to see a real-life picture of HOPE in action? Here’s a snapshot of me and my man from this weekend. The first time I’ve truly smiled in his presence all summer. Thank You, God.
Thanks for stopping by *She Sparkles*! I’m thanking God for the gift of being honest, open, prayerful, and expectant before you.
With a hope-filled heart–