It’s Thanksgiving week. Some are busy packing suitcases, some are busy making grocery lists, and some may just be wondering how they’ll ever make it through the day.
Giving myself space to grieve can feel like every raw nerve gets exposed. But lots of hard things end in good places, and grief is one of these things.
Death is not a delicate process and it takes some Holy Spirit help to stay centered in the midst of it all.
Bring the habit of hope straight to your inbox.
I wasn’t born with a habit of hope but I'm learning what that means. When I discovered my precious daughters had been sexually abused, the anger, panic, anxiety and grief completely overwhelmed my already somewhat pessimistic outlook on life. Though the perpetrator was eventually sent to prison, the conviction did nothing to heal the heart wounds left in his wake. Family trauma is like a shoddy vacuum that spits debris all over everything--the harder you work at cleaning up the mess, the worse it gets. When detail after horrible detail kept emerging, I didn't think I'd ever be able to see the good in life again and I had no idea how to help my girls recover. Abuse seemed to color everything--every memory, every motive, every dream. There were days I did not know if we'd survive. Life closed in on each of us one of us in different ways and for different reasons. As a single mother, I tried to stay connected to my faith, but there were days, no-- months, when I could barely breathe a prayer let alone read a word of the Bible. I was living in a tsunami of grief and anger for the trauma and abuse my children endured. I wish I could say I always responded well to the pain, but I did not. Still, I am learning our lives are more than what happens to us or our broken responses to it. Healing includes letting go of, or at least learning how to interrupt, the mental habit of constantly circling every awful thought and memory. Healing includes creating space--even just a crack--for a bit of light to shine in. Misery, shame, and fear thrive in the darkness of despair, but the light of hope always dispels them because it is it's nature to do so. Hope makes room. When start looking for grace, we get better at noticing it. When we are open to forgiveness, we get better at extending it. Jesus, the eternal Hope-Giver, paves the way. The same God who spoke light into darkness at the beginning of time still speaks light into all our dark places today. He is recreating every dark thing for a beautifully redemptive purpose. He makes our hearts big enough and strong enough to hold grief and grace and the same time. Regardless of the pain we endure by our own hands or the hands of others, God provides what we need to live each day in a habit of hope.