We Will Be Hope Warriors

When my two uncles, friend, aunt, grandfather, and baby all died in a six year period it occurred to me that it might be easy to lose hope.

I didn’t lose it easily for other people. I still prayed for good things in the lives of my friends, and I still asked the Lord to move in situations outside of our family. But I did struggle with wondering if God had decided not to be good to me anymore. During that season—many, many times during that season—I wrestled with a persistent feeling of expectant grief and lost hope.

Like I was waiting for the next sucker punch of life.

I lived that way—like the next major loss was hiding around the bend—for several years. Even smaller losses crumbled me, like totaling my car, or losing our beloved English Bulldog, and in many ways, I felt like God was being silent. I couldn’t hear Him well, my times with Him in His Word were dry, and when I wrote here in this space it was raw and fragile. I wore weariness like a straight-jacket, all bundled up inside of my low expectations and heartfelt disappointment.

Thankfully, things have changed.

I’m still easily emotional. I still have a gut response to take things personally, and I still wonder how God can seem so far away even when He says He’s so close. But in the last two years I’ve realized the secret behind why a man (or woman) can say of the Lord, “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him (Job 13:15, ESV).

Hope is a Choice

Weariness is a feeling. Grab onto that for a second with me?

Today, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior, and fight for it with everything I have.

Hope is a choice. Weariness is a feeling. 

Feelings can lie, and they don’t have to direct our lives. But we women, we get a little feisty when someone tells us our feelings are wrong, don’t we? We say things like, “don’t tell me how to feel,” and, “I can’t change the way I feel!” But the truth is, if our feelings don’t match up with the Word of God, something needs to change. Only one source can be 100% right, and I’ve walked this road long enough now to know that when I feel the most right, I’m probably wrong—in presentation, if not in truth.

If my feelings and the Bible don’t match up, what needs to change? Me.

Here’s where the application comes…

During my season of grief, I often felt like God wasn’t there, like He didn’t see me, didn’t hear my prayers, didn’t care. But the Bible says all of those feelings I had were wrong. It doesn’t negate my feelings to know they’re wrong—I very much felt alone, and unheard, even a bit unloved—the Bible simply tells me a different story.

God loves me, hears me, sees me, and yes, is fighting for me, even if I can’t see it. 

I believe it’s true, because God’s Word says it’s true. And it’s that simple truth that kept me from staying in a place of perpetual hopelessness.

I’m not trying to say our emotions are always wrong or that we don’t have a right to our own feelings. Sometimes our emotions are very good, alerting us to danger, or revealing a deeper issue within our own hearts that needs attention, healing, and the grace of God. But they certainly can be wrong . . . or at least in need of tweaking. God gave us emotions as a barometer—they tell us both what’s happening in our hearts and in our surroundings. Sometimes, they’re right on the money, but more often than not, they need to come under the authority of the Word of God.” (From How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don’t Control You: A Mom’s Guide to Overcoming).

Oh, my weary friend, I know you feel like giving up sometimes. I know you feel like God is far away, and that maybe He doesn’t really care about what you’re going through. But it simply isn’t true. He sent His Son to die for you, to prove His love, and really, what more could He sacrifice to prove it than to give up Himself? He loves you…and today?

Today, I’d like to start a hope revolution.

A movement that says, “WE WILL CHOOSE HOPE! We will be hope warriors—fighting, clinging, desperately holding to the truth of God’s Word that says He loves us, and is fighting for us, even when we can’t see it or feel it.”

Why could Job choose hope? Because He knew who God was. He trusted God’s character in spite of great loss, great disappointment, great grief. He chose to believe in things unseen, and trust in truth over feelings. We can, too.

We can fight for hope with everything we have. And as we choose to believe what God’s Word says about our lives over what our circumstances tell us, no matter how horrible they are at the moment (remember the story of Job), we’ll find that our feelings will follow suit. I don’t write this as a woman who has never known pain, or heart-wrenching loss. I write it as a woman who knows loss and disappointment, and has come out on the other side.

This is the secret to joy in the midst of pain. This is the secret to overcoming on a daily basis. This is the secret to finding, and keeping, hope.

Today, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior, and fight for it with everything I have. I hope you’ll join me. (<<—Tweet that!)

Pray with me, friend?

Jesus, help me. I do believe, Lord, help my unbelief (Mark 9:24)! Sometimes, when I just can’t see You, or feel You near, I lose hope. But today, with your help, I choose hope. I will be a Hope Warrior. Help me fight for it with everything I have. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Red Letter Words Comments Graphic

to the older moms, who’ve raised their children well

Someone took the time to write a comment on a blog of mine the other day (not here) that was long, and I think, intended to teach me a lesson (it’s been taken down, so don’t worry about trying to find it). And while I don’t think she was trying to hurt me, she did.

From her comment, I can deduce that her children are grown, and doing well. Women in this season of life have a unique, special, and God-given opportunity to minister to women like me, teaching me along the lines of Titus 2:4-5 to love my husband and children, and be self-controlled. Honestly, the church needs more women in this stage of life to rise up and invest in the next generation. We’re desperate for help, wisdom, someone to tell us we’re doing OK, and gently instruct us in how to do better.

But I’ve been seeing something among the body of believers that just breaks my heart—women who have raised their children well, totally missing the point of Titus 2—cutting instead of cleansing, bruising instead of bandaging, crucifying instead of edifying.

why is it that we would rather bruise than bandage?

Why is it that we would rather bruise than bandage? (<<–tweet that).

What I wrote about was a specific season of our lives—a specific day really—that was tough and felt out of control. And while I do write a lot about those days (because I know we all have them, and I want to encourage you to cling to God through them), our days aren’t always out of control. We have some good ones too. But she somehow missed that, and assumed that our lives are like this all the time.

I’m strong enough in my faith to evaluate what people say about me through the lens of prayer, scripture, and my inner circle of friends who really know me. But even though I went through this process with her comment, and found it to be untrue, I had a hard time shaking it off.

We’re coming out of a rough season at The McGlothlin Home for Boys. Surgery, sickness, and book deadlines have made us all weary, and in some ways, our defenses are down. So each time my boys have disobeyed me this week, I’ve heard her words accusing me, “you need to control your children…” and honestly, it’s  been an intentional fight on my part to put those words firmly in their place (behind me…).

Mean Mamas

I’ve written before about how the online space seems to give us license to be mean, but this type of mean literally breaks my heart. Not just because of the way it affects me, but because I know that many of you out there who read what I write aren’t in a strong place in your faith. You’re grappling, struggling, and holding on by a thread.

Beyond that, not all of us have easy children. Some of you are dealing with situations out of your control that literally crush you under a weight of guilt and fear every day, and it takes every ounce of strength you have to trust Jesus through it.

There’s no place for “you need to control your children…” in that.

Please understand, I’m not saying we don’t all need to work hard to teach and train our children (to obey, to love others, to be kind, to love Jesus), but when you don’t know a person…don’t really know what they’re going through, and only have a small glimpse of the life they lead, those words are just better off unsaid.

So here’s my heartfelt plea to you, mama—the one who has raised her children well, and now has a wonderful opportunity to pour into those of us still mucking through the hard season of mothering.

Be nice. Use your words to build us up, not to crush our spirits. If you see things from afar, keep your thoughts to yourself until you’ve taken the time to know us. Because what you see from afar might not be the reality. This works both ways, actually. If we’re obviously struggling, reach out and give us your time, space, ministry, and love. And if we’re smiling on the outside, we might be dying on the inside. Reach out, give us your time, space, ministry , and love.

Your words carry more weight than you know, and the enemy of our souls wants to take them and allow them to eat away at our confidence in God’s ability to redeem our mess.

We need you to be nice.

We need you to speak life. We need you to care more about the health of our souls than putting us in our place and making us feel bad for our mistakes.

Don’t miss this opportunity to leave a legacy…especially if you did it well.

Next time you get a criticism (whether online or off), consider following these simple rules to figure out if it’s worth your time.

  1. Pray and ask Jesus to protect your heart, but also to reveal any truth you need to see.
  2. Go to God’s word and let it teach you on the subject at hand. Are you wrong? Is the person who has hurt you approaching you with a correct spirit? Are they trying to edify or crucify? The answer to those questions go a long way in how you receive the criticism.
  3. Ask the people who know you best how they see the criticism. Be open to their answer, even if it’s negative, but in general, trust the people who really know you over people who don’t. Words written on a page can be misconstrued. It’s harder to do that when you’re walking out life with someone.

Pray with me, friend?

Lord, we all get it wrong sometimes. It can be hard to see our own faults, especially for those of us just trying to survive a difficult time. We do need people to come alongside us and show us our sin, and we know you discipline those you love. Protect us today from those who come only to bruise instead of bandage, and bring us loving women who have raised their children well to come alongside us and lead us to you. In Jesus’ Name.

Red Letter Words Comments Graphic

Like this article? You might find these resources helpful:

Encouragement from REAL Titus 2 Women (a follow-up post)

Hope for the Weary Mom: Where God Meets You in Your Mess

How to Control Your Emotions, So They Don’t Control You: A Mom’s Guide to Overcoming

Surprised By Life: Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned (Free)

*This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something using them, I’ll receive a small portion of the profit. Thanks for supporting my ministry!

Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned

No one really likes to be sucker-punched by life.

Even the good surprises can leave us wishing we’d had time to prepare, but if we choose to look at those surprises through a slightly different lens, believing that God is in even the worst of what life can bring, we’ll come out a little better off on the other side.

Your Response Matters to God

Have you ever been totally surprised by life? I mean knocked down, bowled over, totally out of left-field surprised by life?

If you haven’t yet, just give it time.

Surprise might come in the form of something good, like a new job, a new love, an unexpected pregnancy, or a prodigal child returned home. It might also come in the form of something bad, like being looked over for a promotion, the loss of a loved one, the terrible twos, or a child whose heart seems far from God.

In the last several years I’ve experienced several of these surprises, some from the good category and some from the bad. I bet you have, too. Think back with me over the last year of your life and try to remember some of the things that have happened to you and your family. Then try to remember how you responded to them.

Was your response pretty? Or pretty ugly?

That’s the topic of my newish little resource, Surprised by Life: Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned.

Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go as Planned (a free resource from Brooke McGlothlin)

I say “newish” because I actually released this resource several years ago. As I looked at my branding, got a new site design, and released my first traditionally published book (which is STILL $1.99 on Amazon), I decided it deserved some time and attention.

Brooke's Inner Circle — Join and receive her free eBook today!

So consider this a new and improved version of Surprised by Life. It’s  my Valentine’s Day gift to you friends. Get it 100% free when you subscribe to my monthly-ish newsletter. Just enter your email address is the box below, and be sure to follow the directions in the verification email you’ll get right away. If you don’t, you won’t get the resource, and we wouldn’t want that to happen!

Happy Valentine’s Day!