5 glimpses of hope in despair

Have you ever had one of those moments in life that could have been lifted from a movie? A couple of days ago I was feeling incredibly low – the worst I had felt in a while – and went for a walk. It had been a pretty grey day but had stayed mostly dry. As I got to the end of my road the heavens opened and it poured with rain.

Depression and rain. The weather could have been my tears. Just like a scene from a film where the character’s day goes from bad to worse.

Don’t ask me why I was low because I honestly couldn’t tell you. I’m not even sure if I know myself. Sometimes things can get a bit much and crying has always been a way for me to process the hard times. I do know that I desperately wanted to know that God was there, but at the same time I wanted to push Him away in all of my anger and frustration. I guess it is a bit like a child who wants the reassurance of their parent when they are hurting, but may still lash out at them because they are so overwhelmed with emotion.

In all of my honesty towards God, He was ministering to my heart even when I was reluctant and even cynical about it.

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Nature

When I was going through unemployment, I had times of feeling incredibly low. I would walk outside, reflect, pray. I would occasionally see a Pied Wagtail. It’s black and white tail moving up and down as it hopped along the pavement would lift my spirits. Recently, I have been seeing them again at the right time and I feel a deep peace in those moments.

Birds always have a way of bringing me joy.

Washing the dishes (my least favourite chore), I look out of the kitchen window and often seen sparrows sitting on the fence.

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Matthew 6:26

The countryside is also good medicine for the soul. This tweet gave me food for thought the other day…

Friends

I am thankful for the people that God has brought into my life over the years through some of the lowest moments as well as the good ones too. On a particularly bad day, a friend from university called me up out of the blue to catch up and it was such an uplifting conversation. It was a chance to be real and honest about the pain, but also a time to just be blessed by their words and a listening ear.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Prayer 

There are times when it is so hard to pray yet God knows my heart. In times where it feels like I am in the valley, I know that my prayers are still heard by God. What is even more incredible is that I have a husband who fights for me and covers me in prayer – when I am in the battle, he is right there fighting with me and sometimes for me! For all of those who pray for me or have prayed for me or will pray for me – thank you. It’s powerful and effective.

‘Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.’ Romans 8:26

Music 

Sometimes music calms my heart and the melody and lyrics lift me to a place where I am able to breathe again. The songs of many worship leaders in particular have led me to a place where even in my darkest times, I am able to know the truth that God is with me – even in the worst of it. I wrote a page of songs that came to my mind and that I listened to, even when I didn’t feel like it. It was like a domino effect. Knock one song in my heart and the rest came crashing in!

Growth

As long as I live there will always be more to learn. It is often in times of adversity, when our character is tested and refined, that we grow. One of my favourite verses is:

‘…we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.’ Romans 5:3-5

Nobody likes to go through pain, suffering or hardship of any kind but that is often the place where we grow. For me, it has always been through times of suffering that my faith in Christ has grown deeper and stronger. I’m not going to lie. There have been times – often in the same moments – where I will question God honestly and sometimes I have really experienced doubt. That makes me human at the very least. God knows me inside and out and wants my heart and for me to be honest before Him – He can bring beauty from brokenness. I’ve seen it. The fact that I am writing this blog post shows how one heart can be transformed in a 48 hour period. Just ask my husband.

What I have learned this time…

I am praying for a bigger vision of who Jesus is and what He did in His life, death and resurrection and what he continues to do and why this is important for me and others today. This is completely counter-cultural as we naturally want to look to ourselves for answers, but I believe for myself it is necessary to overcome some of the valleys that I find myself in. Trusting that Jesus will never leave me, even in the storms of life is a great comfort. Trusting in the who, what and why of Jesus is what sustains me; His grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12: 9).

 

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I am a Christian, writer, award-winning blogger, wife and mum living in South West England. It's great to see you here and I hope you'll find something which will help you to know more of Jesus.