Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hope does NOT disappoint...

Hope has become kind of a scary thing to me...

When you hope, you allow yourself to "eagerly anticipate" something...which can set you up for some pretty big disappointment when things don't turn out quite like you had "hoped" that they would. I've experienced a lot of pretty big let downs, and I think I've allowed myself to come to a point where I just don't even want to have any expectations any more. It's better to just not have any dreams at all to save yourself a horrible crash of disappointment, right? No. Wrong. Very wrong. Even if you say you're not hoping for something, it just makes you a bitter wait-er, rather than a hopeful anticpator. I don't want to be bitter and negative, but I also don't know how much more disappointment my heart can handle. Do you ever get to that point, too?

So, today, I found myself thinking about all of this (I've had a lot of time to think about things lately since I've been recovering from my laparoscopy) and I felt God speak so clearly to my heart:

"Don't be afraid to hope, Paula-Beth."

I had to sit and chew on those words for a moment, and then I realized that I've been basing my definition of hope on the outcome I desire for my circumstances. But I've had it all wrong-the outcome of my circumstances does not define hope. You see, I have to come to a place where I am willing to give my hopes and dreams FULLY to God. I can't just say, "God, here are my hopes and dreams. Give me the patience to wait on you for them." No, I have to come to a point where I surrender those hopes and dreams to Him and allow HIM to do with them as HE pleases, not as I desire. I have to learn to trust that His path is truly perfect and if things don't end up looking like I had "hoped" that they would, it doesn't mean my hopes have come crashing down. It just means that my hopes don't always look the same way through His perfect vision.

One of my favorite passages has become Romans 5:1-5. In that passage we read that "Hope does NOT disappoint us..." And that is what God is teaching me right now. He is reminding me that when my hopes are placed in His hands, He will never disappoint, because His plans for me are so much greater and bigger than I could ever dream up. He is teaching me to praise Him through the storms, because these aren't my hopes and dreams anymore--they are HIS, and when I place them in His hands, I can "eagerly anticipate" the outcome my loving Heavenly Father has in store for me.

So, I'm learning to rejoice in the hope I can have in my Lord, and I'm eagerly anticipating all He has in store for me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Enjoy the Ride...

We just recently got back from an AMAZING vacation to California! We went out for a dear friend's wedding and then spent several days just having fun as a family. There are so many memories I could share, but one in particular is on my mind today, and, as you probably guessed, it has to do with our precious little Lucy:-)

I'm constantly learning things from my daughter and about my daughter, and this particular story involves BOTH... I've learned my daughter is pretty much a thrill-seeker/has no fear of things you might think the typical 3 year old would be afraid of. There are the typical fear-induced things in her life, such as people dressed up in large costumes (the Chick-fil-a chicken terrifies her...I realized this when he came into the play area and I literally had to crawl up into it in my dress...not a pretty sight, let me tell ya!), but for the most part, she goes at life full-force. Take swimming lessons for example. She wanted to go out in the deep end by herself and jump off the diving board by her self (can we say she's learning independence or what?!) and then there's our family vacation...where we she rode the roller coaster not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR TIMES!!

Now, you're probably thinking a roller coaster for a three year old is not really all that thrilling, but from one six flags texas giant fan to another, let me tell you that this was not your ordinary kiddie-ride. Sure, it was a much smaller scaled roller coaster, but it definitely went fast, jerked you around, and had plenty of hills, twists, and turns...and she LOVED it! She referred to it as the "screaming dragon," because "it looks like a dragon and I can scream on it." LOL:-) And she showed NO fear on each ride--in fact, she had her hands up in abandon the ENTIRE time while she rode it (whereas mommy and daddy held on tightly with one hand on the bar in front of us, and one hand on our daughter!) She showed such a child-like faith and confidence that she was eventually going to end up exactly where she needed to be back to, safely firm on the ground after it was all over.

It all made me think of our spiritual lives. We often go through all of the unexpected "drops" (disappointments) and turns kicking and screaming, but why can't we just have faith that this journey, no matter where and how it made lead us, that we are going to end up exactly where we need to be, safe and sound. Why can't we just enjoy the ride?

So, once again, I see how the Lord teaches me through this precious little girl He has given DH and me, and I'm inspired by her...

I'm inspired to live life JOYFULLY, no matter how hard the climb is, how devastating the fall, or how unexpected the twists and turns.

I'm inspired to live with abandon, with my hands in the air, willing to joyfully accept it all as I have FAITH that God will never bring harm my way without protecting me.

I'm inspired to live life with great expectancy for what God has in store for me, knowing that He has promised good things for His children.

I'm inspried to live life confidently, haivng the assurance that no matter how we get there, He is going to get me to exactly where I need to be, safe and securely.

May we all be inspired to enjoy this ride of life God has us on...