May 14, 2019
Hurt, Hope and Making it through Life's Hard Times
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!” (Psalm 42:5, NLT).
Friend to Friend
The other day someone asked me about our infertility. It felt a bit like being asked about an old scar, one that has faded and become so familiar it feels more like a freckle.
This question was part of a radio interview; the host wanted to know what I would say to a woman in a similar situation. I paused for a very long time, reaching back into those memories like one might a trunk in the attic.
I pulled out a single memory like a brightly colored scarf. I held it up to the light and watched the dust drift down. The scene on it was a particular Christmas morning. We were visiting my in-laws and I felt certain I was pregnant. I jumped out of bed and practically skipped to the bathroom only to be devastated again. My husband found me and put his arms around me, my tears soaking his t-shirt.
I could sense the silence on the radio line. I cleared my throat. “Feel the hurt,” I said to the interviewer, “It is real. Cry the tears. Yell into the pillow. Be sad and mad and confused.”
Then I thought of another memory in my life, a morning curled up under the covers, Bible in my hand, coffee next to me. God took me to the third chapter of Genesis where Eve is called the mother of all living. I began to understand in that moment all women are mothers because all women bring life into the world in some way. I started to believe my story might be different than what I imagined—but it could still be good (and it is).
“Feel the hope,” I said to the interviewer, “It is real. Embrace the unexpected. Trust the story is still being written. Be curious and strong and brave.”
You may not have walked through infertility but if you are alive on this spinning earth then you know what it is to have trouble and heartbreak. You know what it is to be disappointed or discouraged or tired. I think in those moments we tend to choose one of the options above.
We ignore everything but the hurt.
Or we ignore everything but the hope.
We do this because we’re afraid. We think if we don’t hope then we can’t be disappointed. Or if we don’t hurt the pain can’t overcome us. We might have some mixed-up spiritual ideas—that God doesn’t like certain emotions (even though He created them all) or that pure suffering somehow brings Him more glory.
But the reality is hurt and hope are part of every hard experience. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God!” (Psalm 42:5).
Hurt reveals our emotions to us so we can heal. Hope gives us the strength to persevere through that process. The wound slowly transforms. Then one day someone asks us about it and we’re a bit startled because we suddenly realize what once felt like it might kill us has, in fact, taught us something about being fully alive.
We don’t have to be afraid of hurt.
We don’t have to be afraid to hope.
They are both part of what makes us who we are, part of our beauty and strength and scars.
Dear Lord, sometimes choosing to hold onto hope is a painful process. Remind me today that I don’t have to be afraid to hurt or afraid to hope. You are making all things new. You are the God who redeems and restores. I will trust in You as I choose to hope through the hard days.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Today, feel the hurt. And then feel the hope. Look back at one or two situations that felt hopeless and remember how God can bring good from even the hardest moments.
More from the Girlfriends
Holley Gerth is a bestselling author, encourager and life coach who loves empowering women to embrace who they are and become all God created them to be. Her new devotional Hope Your Heart Needs is filled with 52 encouraging reminders of how God cares for you.
Originally published Tuesday, 14 May 2019.