This week as we continue our Renewal Through Christ series, I am thrilled to introduce my friend, Angela Parlin. Angela’s writing is transparent, authentic and real. She makes her readers feel comfortable being themselves without the facade of being perfect or having it all together. Her heart for Christ is evident though her words as she seeks Him and invites you to do the same.
Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and mom to three rowdy boys and one sweet girl. She loves to spend days at the beach, being with her people, devouring books, and organizing closets. But most of all, she loves Jesus and writes to call attention to the beauty of life in Christ, even when that life collaborates with chaos. Join her at www.angelaparlin.com or on Twitter.
Today Angela will be talking about the fourth aspect of renewal we will be exploring together: the renewal of hope.
Hope for the Deepest Why
Sometimes life pulls us away from our hope. We get busy. We’re distracted. We’re extremely forgetful. Trials and difficulties abound, and our hope gets lost in the middle.
Other times, we lose hope because we’re wading through dark seasons, through the deepest whys.
I remember one such season. We were in the middle of a move, living in an apartment until our new house was finished. We had just left the church we called home for a decade. We had to say goodbye to our dogs. And then my young, healthy friend ended up with cancer.
I remember sitting in the driver’s seat of my car. My husband called and said her fight was over.
It was the day before Valentine’s Day.
I scratched hows and whys on black and white pages, in blood red ink mixed with tears. How wide and deep was this why.
Only four months earlier, she’d given birth to her third son. That’s when they found the reason for the extreme pain this pregnancy. We sat in shock on the sidelines, limping along beside our friends who traveled this terminal road. And then they worked their way to the end of things. So quickly. Too soon.
The day before Valentine’s this year, I pulled an old journal out of the cabinet. The one with the desperate words and water stains. It’s been six years, I realized.
Reading through, I remembered that season when everything felt so fragile. So easy to lose. I knew she was going to be with Jesus, and that it was better there by far. But my Mommy-mind struggled to accept it.
I remembered the way my hope wavered. How I felt lost sometimes. I’d stare at my son, who attended preschool with hers, and imagine it was him, losing me.
I also remembered the way she led me back to hope.
She knew how wide and deep the whys. She knew how firm the answer.
When we gathered in a packed auditorium to celebrate her thirty short years, she’d left us a gift. A list of songs to sing. Strings of familiar words she’d chosen specifically, to point us toward our Hope.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know, Who holds the future.
Life is worth the living, just because He lives.
It didn’t all come together for me right there. I struggled for a long time to trust God’s plan, especially when thirty-year-old Mamas have to leave three little tinies behind.
I have to admit, Because He Lives, wasn’t the answer I was looking for. What did I want? Maybe a fairy tale to hold onto, to escape into. Certainly for this whole horrid event to rewind and play out differently.
But this was the truth, and it still is, so over these years, I’ve held on to it. On the mountains, in the valleys, in the wide open spaces, and all the trails along the way.
We hope in Jesus…Because He lives.
“And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead…in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:19-22, NLT