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31 Days to Keep a Tender Heart: October 23

 
Have you ever been afraid to hope? I have.
I imagine hope like a little plant with bright flowers that wants to grow in the soil of my heart. I’m afraid to let this little plant bloom and grow because it can open the door to disappointment. Disappointment, when it encounters hope in my heart, rushes in like the secret police discovering a fugitive. Cruel disappointment crushes hope and forcibly removes it from my heart. This leaves a gaping hole that hurts. I can feel where hope used to be and how it was torn away.
As a result, I am extremely cautious about letting hope grow in certain areas of my heart. In areas like work, where I perform well and disappointment only visits rarely, I actually enjoy when hope blooms and grows. I will even pitch in and help to cultivate it. But, in other areas, like in the area of hoping to be married, I almost never let it grow.
A good friend from church pointed this out to me the other day. She said that I can feel hopeful every day because any day can be the day that God brings a man into my life. I responded that I can’t do that because every day that my hope is not fulfilled is a day that disappointment comes. And disappointment every day is too crushing to risk. She responded that this was a bad confession on my part.
I knew then, as I know now, that she is absolutely right. My fear of disappointment in the area of meeting a man and getting married is so enormous that I tear out my hope anytime it starts to sprout. I vigilantly watch to make sure that I am not feeling hopeful about ever meeting someone so that I am not at risk for being disappointed. But, as my wise friend observed, this is a bad confession.
Isn’t God big enough to provide for this need in my life? Wouldn’t it be better to let hope grow up in my heart and fill me with all joy and peace in believing that God is at work in my life? (Romans 15:13) And doesn’t God love me enough to comfort me whenever I meet disappointment?
I have decided to open up my heart to hope once more. I confess that it is terrifying. Every time I catch sight of it, I want to run over and tear it up by the roots. I keep listening for disappointment to come banging on the door to punish me for being foolish enough to host hope. Then, God lovingly reminds me that there is no disappointment that He cannot heal. He promises to heal every broken and hurt place in my heart with His mercy and grace, by Jesus’ blood. God reassures me that there is no disappointment that we cannot overcome together and that He will never leave me.
So, don’t be surprised if I start to seem more hopeful to you. I’m growing hope in my heart.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #586: Sharing a bathroom with Karyn and Ava, which allows me to actually see them for 5 minutes in the middle of the week
·         #587: When my schedule changes for my good and I get to eat lunch, spend 2 hours in the prayer room and leave early at the end of the day
·         #588: Opportunities to share with my clients that God really is enough and that He really can give them joy in His presence despite their painful circumstances
·         #589: Sharing intercession with Jesus over these beautiful people that He has entrusted to my care
·         #590: Moments where I encounter someone who already has something I want and I can remind myself that He’s not done with me yet
·         #591: When I ask God to remind me of things that I am certain to forget and He does

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