“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30
Sisters, I am weary. Are you?
I have a difficult person in my life and at times, the challenges I face with this particular relationship seep into every single other aspect of my life. Everything is affected, and the burden feels incredibly heavy. Unbearable even, in those weakest moments.
I have been having a lot of those moments lately.
But last week, as we celebrated our risen Savior on Easter, I was reminded about where my hope comes from. During worship, the mood in the auditorium was joyous, victorious, and grateful, and slowly I felt my heart filling up with those things, too. Truthfully, I came to the cross this Easter out of a sense of duty - I just wasn’t feeling it. Life is full and sometimes hard and I wasn’t making room for Jesus, and let me just tell you how well that was going. It wasn’t.
So on Easter morning, I was sitting in my seat thinking about the prep I needed to do for our meal and still a little mad about having to force my children into their dress clothes. As the music started, I tried to find those Easter feelings, and they just weren’t there. I couldn’t find the joy, and I certainly wasn’t in the mood to celebrate anything. The weight of the burdens I have been carrying had left me too weary for any of that. And so I just sat, and tried to turn off my brain, and wait. The Eastery feelings weren’t there, but do you know who was?
Jesus walked out of that tomb, and straight to my seat. He came to me with arms outstretched, and as I let the music take hold, I realized something. Because of Jesus, there is hope. There is hope for that difficult relationship. There is hope for resolution for any challenge that I face, big or small. Because I have my faith, because I believe that God is the way, the truth, and the life, there is always hope. There is also rest, and there is a promise that we do not have to shoulder our burdens alone. Jesus rose, so that we can rise, too. With this knowing in my heart, I found my Easter feelings.
It’s not magic - my challenging relationship is still challenging, and it probably will be until God sees fit to mend it. This is still a difficult season, and I am still weary. BUT, it is not a weariness without hope. I trust my God, and I know I am not alone. Sisters, you are not alone, either. Jesus walked out of that tomb and straight to wherever you are, with His arms outstretched. He wants to share your burdens and offer you refuge. All you have to do is let Him. How beautiful is that?!
I really cannot imagine a life without the hope that God has promised us, and I am so very thankful that I don’t have to. The hope I have through my faith has sustained me over and over again, and encouraged me to press on when the load gets heavy, as it is now.
God often reaches me through music - and so I am sharing a few favorite songs which speak hope and encouragement to me when I don’t have the strength to do anything else but listen.
Jesus Paid It All
Behold (Then Sings My Soul)
Great Are You Lord
Erin is an administrator, freelance writer, photographer, and former single mom. She contributes regularly to HERLIFE Magazine and KC Parent Magazine. She has been a mommy blogger (Single Mom REVEALED, This Heart and Mind, and Life and the Outcome) for many years, focusing on providing an authentic depiction of life as a single mom. She is also currently working on her first book - part memoir and part single parenting survival guide.
Erin is married now, but after over 10 years on her own, she will always have a heart for the mamas going it solo. It is a privilege to walk alongside and equip single moms to not just survive, but to THRIVE.
HOPE … something we all want. Many of us seem to be on a life-long journey, searching for Hope. We begin to believe, and hope, then life happens and hope is sucked out of us. How do we bring this search to an end? How do we settle our soul in hope? One dear momma recently wrote to us about her personal challenge with HOPE.
Hope...I'll be honest and tell you all that the past few days I've been struggling with hope.
Issues with my oldest son seem at times to get worse than better. "God, do you really hear my prayers...do you see the pain in this mama's eyes and heart?" ....You are my only true hope, Jesus...help me not to lose hope but to stand firm and trust you IN the process.
Two days ago, a co-worker’s sister-in-law, a single mother of 2 small children took her own life. She didn't have hope.
That same day, my friend, a 50-year old single mother of two teen girls, came by to talk to me. Her voice trembled as she told me some unexpected news. She felt a lump in her breast. She went for a scan. The doctors were concerned. She went for a biopsy...alone. They casually told her they would call her in 48 hours. Her entire life could change in two days. I hugged her tightly. I prayed with her and told her I loved her. I can't begin to imagine what she feels. She has no family here and her mother passed away 2 years ago. The fact that she went for the biopsy alone gave me a deep ache in my heart. My heart still hurts. I wish she would have called me to be by her side. I told her when they call and if they ask her to come in that I want to come and hold her hand.
Today they called her at work and simply said, 'your results are in, it's positive, you have cancer.' As if she was just the next person on the list to call. She came to my office, I closed the door and held her as she wept in my arms. I begged Jesus to hold her and to speak to her through me...He did. I prayed with her. I told her I loved her. I told her she was brave and strong and she wouldn't walk this journey alone. I prayed that God would prepare the hearts of her daughters and to give her wisdom of what to say when she tells them. She is searching for hope.
Today I'm clinging to hope.
I've been thinking about a lot. The fragility of life. Nothing is promised. How we fight in the dark as we desperately listen for the voice of God to calm our fears and restore our hope when the strong winds of life try to blow us down. ~Val
We can live without hope…and die, spiritually, emotionally and even physically
We can live in search of hope…choosing each day where we will land, in hope or outside of hope
Or like my friend, we can cling to the One who is HOPE.
Over and over, it boils down to C-H-O-I-C-E. God has given us a choice, He continues to give us choices. 4000+ years ago, Joshua, preparing to lead all of Israel into the promised land said “choose this day whom you will serve.”
In the journey of HOPE, we get the same choice, who will we serve? We can place our hope in what the world has to offer:
We are invited to HOPE in a God who cannot disappoint.
We are invited to HOPE in a person, not a situation.
Unfortunately, there is no HOPE 101 class for us to take. But, we are not left without hope! Jesus gives us the keys to help unlock the right door in our search for hope.
Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope! Romans 15:13 TPT
God, you are the inspiration and fountain of hope, I draw close to you in my time of need. Fill me with this uncontainable joy and perfect peace. I choose to trust in you. Show me where I am not trusting in you and develop my ‘trust muscle’. Holy Spirit, you live in those who have submitted their lives to you. Surround me with those who know you, surround me with your super-abundance. I am created to radiate HOPE. Let your will be done, let your Kingdom of HOPE come in me and through me. Let my search for HOPE always end in You, Jesus.
Misty is the President and Founder of the international organization Mountain of Myrrh Ministry (M.O.M.). She is a Visionary Leader, national speaker, writer and transitional life coach. Her greatest life work has been loving and leading her family well. She has raised 4 amazing adults and is lovingly known as Grammy to her 2 grand-daughters. Misty has blogged for over 8 years on the triumphs and trials of being a single mom. She currently blogs for Crosswalk on all things related to our spiritual journey. Misty's passion for life is infectious. Misty loves to lead leaders, equip women and impart value to others. Misty has learned through experience how to dance through the rhythms of life and loves to invite others into the joy of learning how to celebrate in every season.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick. – Psalm 13:12
I have known that heart sick feeling deep in my soul.
My hope had seemed to have left without an explanation. Leaving without a note, last correspondence, or “good bye”.
It was like one morning I woke up and that hope was gone.
Bitterness took its place.
Because, really, it feels like we all get a little bitter after going through a divorce.
My bitterness was quiet. It wasn’t showy. It wasn’t something that other’s may have even noticed. But my heart felt sick.
When I saw other people were living out the dream that I had prayed for, the bitterness whispered to me that I wasn’t good enough.
When friends announced life events on social media, the bitterness took that opportunity to point out my lack.
After time I started to embrace Bitterness.
It became this strange friend that I took comfort in.
Hope would come home and knock on the door but Bitterness would tell me how Hope would never stay. Bitterness was there for me. Bitterness was easier to hold on to.
I would tell Hope that I would call them back but it never happened.
My heart was sick.
But I had decided I could learn to live with this sickness. It was a part of me now.
The Single Mom KC was invited to a Valentine’s Day luncheon by a local church.
Bitterness and I attended together but Hope and I left the luncheon hand and hand.
During worship God stepped in. I was singing with my hands high and tears running down my face. Hope came bursting through my heart and I could not postpone them anymore. Bitterness had no choice but to pack their bags and leave.
That day, in that moment, Hope flooded my life.
Nothing in my life had changed.
I was still a single mom.
I was still struggling financially.
I was still sometimes insecure.
I was still in need of a Savior.
But my heart was no longer sick.
I started to cling to those promises of God. Declare them over my life.
God’s plan for me is to prosper me and not to harm me. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Nothing can keep me from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39)
God formed me with intention and knows me intimately (Psalm 139)
God has given me strength to get through anything. (Phil 4:13)
God will restore my life. (Deut. 30:3)
To keep Hope, I must make a home for Hope.
Hope lives in those promises. Hope lives in my faith. Even when my circumstances don’t add up to what I want in my life…. My faith is bigger than that. Hope thrives in my thankfulness. Hope flourishes in my trust in God.
And my heart is well.
Monica is a BoyMom, lover of Jesus, appreciator of all things pink, and a self proclaimed romantic. She is navigating through life as a single momma to two little ones with coffee in her hand and grace in her heart. Monica's desire is to inspire and be inspired; sharing hope as she clings to it as well. She is California-raised but now resides in Missouri with her two precious boys.
How could this be happening to me? Hadn’t I been through enough? My day started on December 18, 2015 with excitement waiting for the return of my daughter from a missions trip until I heard the words, “I’m sorry to tell you but you have breast cancer.” Wait, did I just hear that correctly? Cancer?! Triple negative, grade 3 tumor, fast growing breast cancer. How could it get any worse? Are you kidding me? Just a couple of months before that my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. And just a few months before that my 26 year marriage ended. With all that had already happened I had to gather my seven children around me and tell them their mom had breast cancer. Where is my hope?
No partner, no health insurance, no plan whatsoever. Things were dark. I went through that Christmas with the attitude that I wasn’t going to make it to see the next Christmas. It was scary for all of us. During the holidays I watched a video with some experts talking about cancer and how to survive it. One of the doctors shared that attitude had a lot to do with it; cancer patients with an attitude of hope, joy, and thankfulness were the ones who survived. Something in my brain flipped a switch. I had a choice about how I handled this. I choose joy, and gratitude. Where the enemy wanted to kill and destroy, the spirit within me shouted, “This is not how I’m going down. I’m not afraid to meet my maker, it’s just not my time yet.” I set out on a journey with my new friends, Joy and Gratefulness, to figure out how I was going to survive this.
Part of finding joy in this journey meant reaching out for help. For years and years I had been the person serving everyone else and now I was the one in need. It was hard to switch gears but I felt like it was a lesson in learning how to receive. I contacted church leaders, friends, and neighbors who gathered around me. Not only did I receive an abundance of prayer but also abundance in the area of finances. I was able to get insurance and have the surgery to remove the lump and get the proper treatment that I needed. Every medical need was provided for me through several different sources of gifts.
During this time my faith was tested for sure. I knew His name is Jehovah-Rapha, the Lord who heals. If that’s who He is then that’s who HE is! Period. How can He NOT heal? Do I even need to ask if I know that’s who You are and what You do? I asked but I sensed healing was already mine. Even so, doubt and fear crept in. After several months of treatment I questioned the Lord and asked Him, “How will I know when I’m really healed?” The very next day all financial sources came to a halt. All of them, one by one emailed or called me to let me know they were ending for various reasons. I didn’t understand why this was happening. As a matter fact, I took offense in my heart and I thought God didn’t love me because He was not going to provide my medical treatment anymore. I had a major pity party that entire weekend.
That following Monday I had a scheduled doctor’s appointment. When I got there I asked him what they do if the patients run out of money for treatment. He smiled and said sometimes God answers your prayers through provision or lack of. At that moment it hit me, God HAD answered my question. Three days earlier I had asked him how I would know if I was healed. He gave me my answer by drying up the funds that I didn’t need anymore. I had exactly enough money, almost to the penny, to pay for that last doctor’s appointment. He had shown Himself to me as Jehovah Rapha the healer, Jehovah Jireh the provider.
It’s now three years later and I am totally cancer free and healed. I can look back and thank Him for cancer. That sounds a little strange but I’m grateful for cancer and all He taught me during that dark time. Not that God gives us diseases, but he allowed me to go through that dark night so that I could see another facet of my God and King. I am so grateful for all He’s done for me. I couldn’t have gone on this journey without the hope that He has given me.
Is there an area in your life where you need hope? There are over 120 times where HOPE is used in the Bible. Here’s just a few. I invite you to do a word search and look some up for yourself. Read them, sing them, write them, recite them, hang them on your walls, anything to let them sink into your heart and mind. He is the God of HOPE.
Acts 2:26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope
Romans 5:3-5 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Psalm 119:116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.