Tuesday, June 17, 2014

June Hope Chest- Hope Hangs On by Carolyn Berger

When asked if I might want to write an article on hope, my first thought was “me, write on hope when this past year I’ve felt so hopeless”.  I needed to pray about it, and God, in His infinite love and wisdom, renewed in me where my hope truly was to be found.

Hope is always embedded in our lives.  A priority hope of mine is that all of my family will come to know Jesus Christ.  As I write this, my hope is to be Christ honoring and that I may be of an encouragement to someone.  

Hope is a little word that carries much longing and anticipation.

Sometimes our “hope” is shaken, shattered to the core, and that occurred in my life on February 21, 2013 – that day my youngest grandson, Kyle, committed suicide.  

Hope flared in me that morning – we were ready to leave for Indiana to celebrate my oldest daughter’s special “50th” birthday.  Everything packed, I felt I needed to call my mother one last time before we walked out the door.  As our conversation was about to end, she reported some news that was coming over their home scanner.  My Mom was giving me information but didn’t seem to be connecting to the report – I connected immediately.  The address was the home of my youngest daughter - - -  it just could not be.  The suicide was a young man - - -  no, it had to be a mistake!  I started to shake and pray that it was all wrong and my daughter would be angry for me calling her and even believing such a report.  

But my hope came crashing down that morning big time. 

 I desperately tried to call my grandson, I got his voice mail.  I tried my daughter, no answer.  Then she called back and by the way she said “Mom”, her world and mine came crashing down.   

Days, months, over a year – this would be a test of faith that I never would have expected, imagined or wanted.  I hung on, not to a rope of confidence in Christ, but to a thread.  But you know what?  Even if you hang on to a thread, He is at the other end and He promises He will never leave nor forsake you – HANG ON.

I’m not one of those people that can quote a Bible verse and tell you where it is found, but over the years the Lord had planted just the right verse seeds in my heart to get me through some very difficult times.  Proverbs 3: 5 and 6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths”.  It has always been one of my favorite verses but now I had to dive in it and swim in it or I would not make it through the deep grief and pain of losing my beloved grandson I was experiencing.

Many times I wanted to express how I was feeling and couldn’t but then a song came on the Christian radio station either related to my deep sorrow or gave me a song of hope in a dark time.  I sat in many parking lots listening to the Lord speaking to me through a song. 

 Today I still hear “My hope is in the Lord” playing in my head especially when I begin to start down the road of questioning or self pity.  It amazed and still amazes me how the Lord knows just what we need.

With a suicide there is many a  “I should have” or  “I could have” – guilt was consuming me. Along with deep sorrow and unending grief, the Lord began to nudge me – I must begin to move forward.  I wasn’t sure how but again He provided.  I had lunch with a friend and she mentioned a Bible study that was starting and immediately I knew that if I didn’t attend I could wallow in questions for a long time and become bitter over something I could not change.  I signed up and it wasn’t an easy study for me, each lesson was drenched in tears, it was like He was cleaning out a wound and pouring His cleansing balm into it . . . it hurt but it also began a healing. 

As I prepared for Spring flower planting I saw Kyle’s little handprints in a cement slab we have in our yard, I cried – Jesus cried too.    I mourn, I don’t think that ever ends - -  but I also still hope because “My hope is in the Lord, who gave Himself for me”.  

He gave Himself for Kyle too and my focus will continue to be on what was given and not what was taken.  

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