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February 29, 2016

Where Does Your Hope Reside?

I don’t hide the fact that I’m a Christian.  It’s prominently on my website and I talk about it on my blog and Instagram quite often. And that means that my decisions, my plans, my desires, my hopes almost always stem from God.  I say “almost always”, because I’m still human, am not perfect, and sometimes try to rely on myself instead of Him.  Those situations usually end up less than ideal but thankfully, He doesn’t hold them against me.

Our church is walking through the book of Ephesians for the next several months and yesterday’s teaching hit on the topic of hope for several minutes.  And as Ben and I drove home with a sleeping baby in the back seat, we started talking through the discussion questions that our church posts on the teaching app each week.  The question that got us talking and reminiscing the most was this:

Bill White spoke of hope as the oxygen for our souls. If you do not find hope
in God you will search for hope in other things. What things do you find
yourself placing hope in that leaves your heart and life deprived?

This idea of hope became more real to me than ever two years ago when we found out our first pregnancy wasn’t viable.  I will never forget laying on that table looking at the ultrasound screen and not seeing a baby… my heart was broken into a thousand pieces in that moment.  But God used my husband in that instant, which changed my perspective for the rest of my life.  Ben kissed my hand and whispered to me that “Our hope is not in this and God is still good.”  It still brings tears to my eyes to remember that Truth spoken to me in such a crucial moment.

Because the truth is that anything we put our hope in, other than the Lord, will disappoint us.  

I LONGED to be married.  I’d been in and to countless weddings but had never been the bride.  I wanted a wedding that was my own!  I had an incredible life and wanted more than anything to share that fun with someone who loved me!  And even though God did bring Ben and I together and we enjoy our life SO much, anything could happen at any moment to take that away.  Ben could do something that disappoints me, we could have an argument, he could get into an accident…  And if I’m putting all of my hope in Ben or my marriage, then where would I be if something were to happen to him?

The same is true for anything else… a child, a new house, a better job, a dream job!  I managed to find my dream job and am so thankful to do what I love.  But it has so many disappointments that I don’t even dare list them for fear of scaring off any future photographers :-)  So why do I keep going if there are so many disappointments in this job?  Because my hope isn’t in it.  I take all of the no’s, the rejections, the criticism, the heartbreak and I keep walking because I know that at the end of the day or at the end of a really hard week, God is still God and He is still good.

And what if He decided to take it all away from me tomorrow?  What if I lost the use of both of my hands and couldn’t even hold a camera?  It would be horrible, but I would still have my hope in the Lord because He is always the same no matter what I may be walking through.  And if He needs to take photography away from me for some reason, then I’m all ears to learn whatever it is He needs to teach me!

This topic is a big deal to me.  And apparently I blog on it about once a year!  So big in fact that I had it tattooed on my wrist a couple of years ago.

self-portrait-blog-101

And this excerpt from that post explains it…

Throughout all of it, God kept putting the word HOPE in front of me.  It was one of the first words out of Ben’s mouth at that first appointment.  It’s the center of Romans 15:13 as I talked about in this post back in March.  And after one of the most physically and emotionally difficult crossfit workouts sometime in the midst of it all, God clearly said the word hope to me as I was struggling to catch my breath.  So, I wanted to always have that reminder in front of me.  That God is my hope… not anything or anyone else in this world.  And so it’s now on my wrist as a tattoo.  God marked me and grew me and transformed me through all of this and I didn’t ever want to forget what He’d done.  So the word Hope in on my left wrist in Hebrew.  It’s always in front of me, it’s always with me, it’s always reminding me that God is my hope.

I know this is a long post… it’s close to 1,000 words!  But I truly want everyone reading this to put their hope in the One who will NEVER leave you or forsake you (Deuteronomy 31:6).

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