September 27, 2023
Written by Kayla Daughtridge, Grow Zone Volunteer Coordinator at Port City Community Church
I have been choosing a word every year since 2011. In seasons, I have struggled to stick with my word consistently throughout the year. Some years have been easier than others to focus on my word and to see what God is teaching me through that lens. I often choose my word with an idea of how I hope to grow throughout the year, and every year, God reveals something completely different than I expected. So, as I prepared to choose a word last year, I don’t know why I expected anything different.
After years of struggling with infertility and devastating loss, I was going into 2022 carrying heaviness and grief that I desperately wanted to leave behind. So, I chose HOPE as my one word for the year. I thought that if I focused that year on having a daily perspective of hope, I might make it through and find the healing I so desperately craved.
What I didn’t consider at the time was that I was placing my hope in my circumstances. I was setting the weight of my hopes on the answers I hoped to find from the fertility clinic and the specialists. I was placing my hope on the deep desire to have children and build a family.
Last year I tangibly learned the hard lesson that those things cannot bear the weight of my hopes and expectations. They weren’t meant to. Instead, I often caught myself so distracted by the depth of the pain of navigating loss after loss, heartbreak, layers of grief, and disappointment, all piling up on top of the hope for an outcome that was not in His plan for us that year. But man, did I hope it would be.
Through the pain and heartbreak that seemed to consume my thoughts every moment of every day last year, God so gently reminded me that my circumstances aren’t where He is asking me to place my hope. They will never compare to who God is. They can’t bear the weight of all that pain and grief. Only God can.
In Psalm 42, David reminds us to hope in God when all else seems hopeless. As I fought through the hopelessness of the last few years, the beauty of what placing my hope in the Lord means genuinely started to sink in.
Instead of placing my hope in what I desperately desire God to provide, I am re-learning to put my hope in Christ alone. Regardless of the outcome. I am learning to trust in the Lord as my portion and to look for ways He is making beauty from ashes and turning mourning into joy.
God, not my will, but yours be done.
Now, it’s a hard lesson to learn, so I don’t have it figured out fully yet. Maybe I never will. But I know that I can start each day by slowing down. By taking a breath and asking myself: where am I placing my hope?
Is my hope dependent on my circumstance, or is my hope found in Jesus Christ?
Do I believe that Jesus can carry that weight?
Do I place my full trust and faith in Him amidst the challenges and heartbreaking circumstances? Do I trust God to redeem and restore? Do I trust Him?
This past year I have battled with loss and months of failed fertility procedure after failed procedure. I have battled grief, pain, heartbreak, financial burden, and uncertainty. It’s not been an easy year to challenge my understanding of hope.
But amid the challenges and struggles, I have found peace by abiding in Jesus and finding comfort by resting in Him – by seeking God above everything else and trusting His plan for me is good. By remembering Lamentations 3:21-24: “But I call this to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
Where are you placing your hope?
Do you trust God to redeem and restore the heartache and pain that you face?
Lord, not my will, but Yours be done. Thank you for Your new mercies each morning. Help me remember Your steadfast love and faithfulness, Lord, especially when I walk through grief and pain or seasons of waiting. Remind me to place my hope in You and not in my earthly circumstances. Remind me of Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.