In my mind, a valley is not a hard place. A valley is a good place. A place of respite, reflection, rest.
I have decided to dedicate this month to HOPE. HOPE is a valley that we can return to over and over again that is a place of respite, reflection and rest.
Climbing the mountains is the hard work, descending down the mountains is equally as hard. Both of those actions require fitness, expertise, equipment, muscle, brawn and strength.
I offer you a place today of respite, a place to reflect and rest for a moment.
Papa Joe and I put our Christmas tree up last Thursday night. I had gone shopping that day for a few decorations that I knew were needed. Last Christmas, I just put up the bare necessities and because grief was so fresh in our hearts, I could not bring myself to get out any of the Christmas decorations that I had used in past years.
I had a new tree and decorations in the front of a closet. They had been given to me by a dear friend who was moving out of state. We did not have a lot of money so we added a few new ones to them and we also made some out of Christmas paper, pine cones, glitter and ribbon.
My Christmas decorating theme ended up being what I would call a “country rustic” instead of the “antique pastels” that it had been in the past. We ended up really liking it.
There was a certain peace that we experienced with those simple decorations last year that we had never experienced before. It was also the first Christmas that was our Christmas (just Papa Joe’s and mine) because as I have mentioned before, we have been a blended family since we have been married. There had never been a time when we were alone together, just the two of us. The combining of all of these factors ended up adding a very subtle sweetness to the bitterness of the sorrow that we were experiencing.
This year I was looking forward to decorating and we started sooner than usual.
As I was shopping and thinking about decorating, I bought a new wreath for the front door. I looked, a little, at decorations and added a couple of inexpensive rustic ones. A thought crossed my mind as I was shopping, ever so gently, it was just a word, the word HOPE. At first I thought it had come from my own processing thoughts but I realize, now, that it was whispered from God’s heart into mine.
What a beautiful word is the word hope. Hope fills our hearts with the unknown unexpected that we hope for. Hope is not something we can grasp, yet it is a thing. It is the future. It is what God has in store for us. It is in the future. If we have the ungraspable hope, we have full knowledge that the things that we hope for in the future are real even though they do not physically exist.
It was God who decided for me that this Christmas would be a Christmas of HOPE and that the word HOPE would be on my door to greet those who enter and that I will place that word on my Christmas tree, too, in bold letters.
Those who enter my dwelling place will enter a place where HOPE dwells. A place where anytime there is a knock on the door, the prodigals will be greeted with a welcoming smile, because they have been HOPED for.
HOPE means that I am expecting those answers to all of those prayers that have gone up to the Father through His Intercessor Jesus Christ to one day be looking me in the face. HOPE is the reason that Jesus came to this earth, He wanted us to have the gift of HOPE. His death and resurrection gave us the gift of HOPE.
So, I have decided to grasp it as my own this Christmas.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope.
I will rest in HOPE.
And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.
My HOPE will make me strong.
Can I count the ways that He strengthens me every day?
HOPE born through love for the beautiful little girl whom I unknowingly bonded with at birth who is my flesh and blood but not my daughter. We will be reunited one day.
Yes, when you knock on my door this Christmas, HOPE will greet your eyes at the door. When you enter my dwelling place you will find hearts that have newly born HOPE in them.
When you look at my Christmas tree, dressed in the newly conceived dressings of a “rustic theme” you will find the word HOPE gold hung on that tree because somehow with the decorating of that same tree last year, a seed of HOPE was planted ever so gently in my heart that is coming to full fruition in this heart of mine.
HOPE in my dwelling place, HOPE in me which is His dwelling place.
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
See you on Thursday….it will be a special day!
Love and blessings to you