there is always hope


“This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.” (1 Timothy 4:10 NLT)

Brokenness is all around us; it is great within us. The days are long, the battles difficult and continuous. No matter where we look, there is darkness, sorrow, pain surrounding us in waves. 

But for us believers, our hope is in the living God.

This hope, it gives meaning to our battles and our suffering. On those days when we work hard and it seems like everything is falling apart. On those days when we continue to struggle, this battle seemingly never-ending and only getting worse day by day. On those days when we are one step away from giving up — there is always hope.

No matter the amount of times our hearts have been broken. No matter the pain or grief we bear. We are all hurting — and we are all looking for hope, for healing, for something to help us with our broken hearts. Our brokenness is carried in the hands of our living God, who made heaven and earth. We have a hope greater than any heartache or sorrow: the hope of heaven, a beautiful eternity with Jesus Christ. The hope of a future with no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:3-5a)

Even when we walk through the land of sorrow and suffering, we never wander alone. Our hearts are held together by the scarred hands of our Lord, the God with us — heaven bent down in humility to walk through the broken road before us, so that we would have enough strength for all that we face.

God is never far away, beloved. He is with us in our suffering, His heart breaking right alongside with ours. He is with us in heartbreak and sorrow, His soul feeling the pain that has captured us tight. When He walked on earth, He experienced betrayal, brokenness, death, sorrow, loss. He is near to the brokenhearted, for He knows well what it is like to carry a broken heart.

There is no darkness that His light cannot overcome. There is no sorrow or shame, no brokenness or pain that the power of His grace cannot overcome.

He is a shield to all of us who trust in Him, all of us who surrender our hearts and give to Him all that we have and all that we are. He loves you, just as you are. He loves you, right where you are. He is always right here, ready to listen to your heart and your prayers.

There is hope because nothing can separate us from His love.

“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

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you still matter


Dear one — I hear the fears running through your mind, I feel the iron grip that your strongholds have on you. It hurts, beloved. It hurts so much, I know. Those words, they cut so deep and the wound just does not heal. That person having left and gone, it hurts and your soul echoes with the condemnation that you could have done something more. This silence, it shouts that you are not worthy and you cannot help but agree.

But that is not the truth, beloved.

Your spouse walking away? Your friend telling you she no longer wants to be in contact with you? Your child leaving with all that bent anger, walking away from you and the Lord? Your parent telling you once again that you are not enough, that you will never be enough? Your sibling refusing to talk to you at all, to take your calls? Your church family wounding you every time you go to church?

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:6-7)

That is not the truth, beloved. You are not what these people, what these circumstances deem you to be. Though it feels real, it is not the reality. Because you matter. Oh beloved, you still matter. You are still loved.

I know this moment, these circumstances do not leave you feeling like you are loved, by anyone at all. It feels like you do not matter anymore. But that is not the truth, my friend. You are loved by a good Father, One who gave His everything to save your heart. You are loved by the God With Us, by Him who knows your heart inside out and decides to stay. You are loved by the Almighty God, who parts the Red Sea to make a way where there is no way.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

This is not the end, beloved. You are loved. You are a chosen vessel of God. You are being refined for now, for a glorious purpose coming along the way as you bring glory to God. You are His masterpiece, beautifully and wonderfully made, and your story is being written like the great poem it is. The Lord is not done with you yet, He is creating beauty out of ashes and it will all become something glorious.

And I know, it is not easy to leave these things behind, to let go of all this that feels so real because the pain is real, because the hurt is written in the scars of your heart and because you carry the weight of it all on your shoulders. But in this moment, for this small period of time — let these words of truth be engraved on your heart: you still matter. You are loved. You belong. You have been chosen.

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)

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practicing hope

River Seine

“We shall draw near to God, not by trying to avoid sufferings inherent in all loves, but accepting them and offering them to Him. Throwing away all our defensive armour. If our hearts need to be broken and if He chooses this as a way in which they should break, so be it.” (C.S. Lewis)

It has been a long week, for the both of us. Mainly because I have been losing sleep, getting lost in the midst of the hours slipping through my fingers, in the fears woven into the darkness of hopeless dreams, in the ebbing pain seemingly rooted in my soul. We have felt this, in the moments of hurt and despair bleeding through the messy heart of mine. You have felt this, seen it behind the crumbling of my soul, the hardness of my heart. Sleep deprivation has done just that, stolen the smallest bit of strength that have been mustered up in my soul and left me bare, vulnerable. My heart has been heavy and tried, too many times for me to keep holding on to joy and we have both felt the weight of the world pressing my heart.

Sometimes, in the midst of the storm, it feels like drowning.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His,
and give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
weeping may endure for a night,
but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:4-5)

But it is there, this glint of brightness in the midst of the mess and the shattered dreams — these broken hearts turning into broken hallelujahs, given into the hands of the Redeemer of us lost ones. Here we are reminded that it is never our suffering, but the will of the Lord. The pain echoes loud in our souls, our weary bones feeling the weight we have been carrying — but now it is time to put away our defences, laying down that wall we have set up around our heart. So we choose to be broken for a purpose, setting our eyes on the of a morning to come, full with joy because we know — that it is His love that carries us through the valley of the shadow of death, through the darkest nights and the loneliest road.

When the darkness draws close, when we think we have lost sight of hope — it is our choice to choose again, to sing praises to the Holy One and pour out our hearts to the Maker. We choose to remind ourselves that these tears are here only for a season, that joy comes in the morning and we will find ourselves in the arms of Love once again.

How are you practicing hope today?

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how to hold on when your heart aches

Rue Mouffetard & Saturday morning street market.

So many times these past few months, I have tried to return to this space, this desire to stop at this place where I know I belong, to let the words spill out from a heart ready to be vulnerable — and yet, the words seem to want to linger back, not quite forming into what I want them to become, grace overflowing in the midst of the overwhelming life.

In the moments of deep aching and stinging hurt, I confessed — I need to keep hardening my heart a bit because the pain is otherwise too much, the hurt taking over everything else. Because when did I sign up for having to walk through this path, to fight this battle once again and bear a parent’s drinking problem in a world already so messy? But his comment broke through everything, the weighty shift of focus with these words — if that is why it was so hard for Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene? These drops of blood that He sweat because He could not to harden His hard against the pain of our brokenness.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” (Matthew 26:36-39)

Is this not always the answer, to finding our way through the darkness of despair — to walk with Jesus into the midst of the exceeding sorrow and deep distress, to stay there with Him and to watch with Him. Is this not always the answer, to go a little further and kneel down on our knees, to fall on our faces and surrender all that we ever held in our hands and pray those words that have changed every soul since the beginning —

Not my will, but Yours, be done.

And so we come, our knees raw and our hands barely catching on as we fall down once again, the aching too great to be contained within our hearts and the brokenness felt immensely in every part of our soul, these waves of sorrow now so high they are drowning us in the midst of this storm raging on. Yet we know, the soft whispers that we are barely able to speak out for the fear and weariness and yet, this simple but essential prayer, no matter how silent it is spoken, is always the key to Heaven breaking through — not my will, but Yours, be done. 

“And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:41-44)

Now I know, beloved — that confusion is woven into the fabric of pain, made so immense by everything shouting loud how you did not deserve one step of this journey you had been set on, all of it overwhelming and just plain too much. I know, how every step makes you want to harden your heart against the hurt, barely able to hold on and in every moment wanting to give up. How there are no words left in the midst of the breaking of your heart, the sorrow drowning and the ache stealing the light.

There are no words, I know — and yet, this is what I want you to hear, these words I needed to hear to hold on: it is okay to hurt. Never is hurting a sign of weakness, a sign of failure too big to be overcome by grace. This hurt — you do not deserve it, and the confusion is truly overwhelming because of all this. The ache in your heart so intense, it is a sign that you are a human, too.

So let your brokenness be just that — the breaking of a heart aching so greatly within you and yet, we know, that light can shine through to the darkness only through the cracks, the broken corners and fractured pieces of your heart, now being made new and the light so brilliantly bright inside of you. Somehow, these faint rays of light tell us what we barely dare to hope in the best of the moments: that our broken hearts are part of His plan, the whisper of our hearts barely holding on — not my will, but Yours, be done. So we trust, these words of our Saviour, bleeding love right through every word: He has prayed for us. He is praying for us, that our faith should not fail.

It will all be made well.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32)

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a way to see in the dark

like driving through the fog

“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” (Matthew 4:16 NLT)

November always comes with a darkness that surprises, the depth of it that surrounds the days completely and makes us forget the light so easily. Every year, it seems, I am reminded of how my heart is just the same, the darkness of it managing to surprise me. The sparks of light in my heart, in my soul, seem to be easily missed and forgotten.

My friend, it is never that the darkness will be more powerful than light. Because knowing our God, we know that His Love can and always will shake the earth at its core, shake us at our core. Yet, somehow, the light that comes to us so easily at any other time of the year, seems to escape us these days and this, it makes my heart ache. Us focusing on the darkness and missing the light, makes my heart ache.

Just how easy it is for us to be swept up in the whirlwind of darkness, of busyness of the season and forget — that we now belong to the Light of the world. That seeds sown in the darkness, are still seeds sown and matter just as much. That love reaching out in the darkness, will meet its target just as well, even if fumbling around more. That kindness poured out in the darkness, will fill our cups to overwhelming just the same.

“The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

And yet, the eyes of the Lord search the whole earth, for those who are His. There is no corner left dusty and dark, no heart that has been broken too many times, no soul that has wandered too far — for Him to reach and to mend. There is no sorrow too deep, no grief that has wrecked beyond hope, no heart left in loneliness as our gracious God comes to those who are His, us who need Him desperately.

Whatever trial that is knocking on your door, whatever testing that is stealing space of your heart, whatever tribulation that is pushing you down to the ground.

There is always hope for us wandering hopeless, for us lost in the sideways of busyness or highways of darkness. There is always our faithful God to cup our broken hearts and bandage our wounds, to break all our bondages with a touch of His scandalous love.

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3-4)

Just remember, beloved. Some days it will seem like all this darkness is taking over and you are being buried deep into the ground of forgotten items. But that is never so with our God, with Him who breathes life into you. Rather, He is planting you deep, giving you space to grow your roots in the firm ground and grow upward toward Light.

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