Little Hope

Crystal had come to the end of her ropes. She was crying frequently and expressed little hope that she could overcome her depression. She had become extremely disillusioned because her fairy tale marriage of sixteen years hadn’t turned out happily ever after. Rod wasn’t abusive or unloving, but he also wasn’t the nurturing, attentive husband she fell in love with.

It was four years after Crystal received a promotion at work and they bought a house. Both of the new changes required extra work and longer hours at the office for Crystal. She assumed Rod would understand and step up to help carry the load with household chores, after all, they discussed the extra responsibilities it would require before signing the papers. She quickly became disappointed and frustrated by his selfishness and insensitivity. He wasn’t able to understand but focused on the things that were important to him.

One night, going to bed exhausted and alone, while Rod stayed up watching his sci-fi movie, Crystal cried her tears in the pillow, talking to God, “I hate my life.” “Ever since I was a girl, I struggled competing for love, trying to prove myself worthy. I’ve learned not to expect anything God because I will only set myself up for disappointment and pain.”

As a child, a teenager, a young mother, Crystal had experienced terror. Her emotions ran the roller coaster of hate, fear, confusion, anxiety. The abusive trauma became so emotionally overwhelming that she learned the secret of disassociating and for her defense, she would zone out; get small and run. To survive on earth in the world of cruelty and hypocrites, she learned to wear a mask. Crystal couldn’t ‘fake it’ forever so instead she became increasingly reclusive, and took no chances, becoming paralyzed, losing hope, feeling despair, and suicidal.

Being raised in a Catholic home where Crystal attended church weekly, she learned to fear God instead of understanding His love. If she was in trouble, her mother would say, “Pray harder, work harder because you did something wrong to deserve the punishment.”

Have you ever been depressed? If you’re human, of course you have. Have you ever been in despair and lost hope? We’ve all fallen short, doubted our faith and wondered in darkness. Maybe not as deep as Crystal, but we can relate to her losing hope in some form.

In times of despair, a great source of strength is our friends and family staying near us, giving us those gentle touches and looks that communicate their sorrow and care. When we face troubled times, we should never forget that God remains close by, ready to supply us with his love and comfort. This can give me the courage to go on. It takes courage to live on earth and pursue the treasure of eternity with My Father in heaven. Courage comes from faith in God. Our relationship to Him is forever. I know this in my heart, but honestly, sometimes I just want my husband’s strong arms to hold me close with a warm sincere heart, saying nothing, just comforting me like Jesus would. Let me know you’re on my side, protecting me in the darkness.

Fear of the unknown is like fear of the darkness, I am afraid because I can’t see what is ahead. God does throw light on my distant future. Psalm 27: 1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?” God’s face is not always visible to me when I’m in the dark path, but I’m still in His care and He is guiding my final destination with a light onto my path.

God promises help in time of need. This should give me boldness to face the hard times. In 1 Corinthian 16:13 we’re told, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” Rely on God, our despair will turn to hope, and our hope will be courageous.

What Motivates You to Give Thanks?

Scripture: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18  

Thought: Thanksgiving is “a prayer expressing gratitude.” One of the beautiful things about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it motivates us to give a specific time to reflect on the wonderful blessings we all enjoy. While we may not have as many things as other people have, we can all be thankful for friends and family who love us and the life God has given us. As I look back and gratefully recount His faithfulness in my life, my confidence in Him grows. God provided what I needed, guided me through confusing situations, and delivered me from difficulty, hopelessness and temptation. As in Job, I didn’t always understand the tribulation, but I trusted His promise, He wouldn’t abandon me and He knew what He was doing. In all things, it is good to give thanks to the Lord. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show your gratitude to your loved ones as well as thank God for the divine blessings He has showered upon you.

Action: No matter our situation we can be thankful for what God has done with us this past year and for what He promises to do for us this coming year. Glorify Him in everything. What is your thanksgiving blessing? Restoration, family, health, job, relationships, unconditional love, freedom, forgiveness, second chance, recovery? Celebrate this festive occasion by giving thanks to everyone who’s been there for you, and express your gratitude to Our Almighty God with Thanksgiving prayers.

Prayer: Lord, in everything I give you thanks. I lift my hands in praise for all that you have done for me. Thank you for the splendor of your whole creation, for the beauty of this world, for the wonder of life, and for the mystery of your love. Thank you for the blessing of my family and friends, and for the loving care which surrounds me every day. I also thank you for those disappointments and failures that led me to acknowledge my dependence upon Your mercies alone. Thank you for the men and women who have sacrificed their lives to serve and make this country strong, they are models and an inspiration of your sacrificial love. Give me strength to live another day serving you and not to turn coward when difficulties transpire. Help me not to lose faith in other people but strengthen me and keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude and meanness. Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away my joy and gladness with You. Open wide the eyes of my heart that I may see good in all things and all people. Bless me with new vision of Your truth and give me the cup of strength to those that are hurting. May I see where you are calling me to share random acts of kindness, Your love to give away. Above all Father, thank you for your Son Jesus Christ, for the truth of his Word and the example of his life, for his steadfast obedience, which he overcame temptation, for his suffering and dying on the cross, through which he overcame death; and for his rising to life again, in which we are raised to the life of your kingdom. Thank you for the free gift of your Spirit, for my salvation. In the name of Our Strong Deliverer, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I pray with thanksgiving. Amen.