Since my friend, Layla, is having a word of the year party (scheduled for early Monday a.m.), I thought that would be fun to join. I am not one to often make New Year’s resolutions. Those seem to be lists doomed to fail for the most part, so why set yourself up for that? But, as I approach my 5 year blogging anniversary the first of February, this is a good time to stop and count my blessings.
Choosing a word for the year seems to be a good way to start the new year off on a positive note. A sweet word can stick in your head and heart and help guide the way through the days and months that lay ahead in the coming year. So, why not a word? I pondered and thought and read some devotions, bouncing a few words around that I thought I could embrace.
And I came back to one that continues to grip me.
At four letters, a little word, but a powerful word.
What do I put my hope in? Who do I put my hope in?
Oh, that has certainly varied over the years. As little girls, most of us hope for a Prince Charming to come along and sweep us off our feet. A wonderful knight in shining armor that we can fall in love with and one who will complete our lives, bring us happiness and with whom we will live happily ever after. Magical words. You know, just like the fairy tales we grew up reading? Oh yes, I had those hopes and dreams too, as a little girl blossoming into a young woman. I looked for my Prince. Found a few hopefuls and had my heart broken along the way. Married this one and that one. But, unfortunately, my Princes didn’t complete me, in fact made my life worse instead of better in so many ways. I’m sure I was not the Princess they had hoped for either.
Those dreamy young-girl hopes were dashed. Reality was not as I had hoped for in my dreams and life did not turn out as I had imagined.
What do you do when your hopes and dreams don’t come true?
It would have been so easy for me to give up with what happened in my life the last year. To crawl under the covers and go into a deep depression. Hide from the world. I could have easily stopped blogging. How in the world do you talk about the ugly side of life on a happy home blog? Grief, loss, and failure was a big part of all of that.
One year ago, I was sitting in a big house, alone, facing the realization that my life was about to change in huge ways that I couldn’t even imagine. The man I was married to had just run away from facing some big responsibilities, instead choosing to leave me with the aftermath of his horrible choices, all of which created a domino effect. A house that I had lovingly made a home for the past 5 years was going into foreclosure and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. I was also sifting through lies and truth, trying to get to the bottom of what I was really facing. I still don’t know the 100% complete truth, but I knew plenty enough then to know I had to get out of that situation as quickly as I could. Edited: My ex-husband ended up serving jail time in AL, facing some serious financial fraud charges. Life can certainly turn ugly sometimes.
Feeling pretty hopeless at the time, it seemed that my life was crumbling to pieces. I ran home to the safety of my parents, which is the best thing I could have done.
Oh, that the Lord has brought me this far!
And now, for me, my reality has taken me down the path of gratitude. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, for the disappointments in life that have come my way, instead of wallowing in self-pity, I choose to keep hope at the forefront of my mind.
Not hope in a new man. Nope, not that, not yet anyway. One thing I have discovered in my personal journey is this: No one person on this earth can make you happy and complete. You have to find that in and for yourself and the only one in whom we can find wholeness and healing and true joy, is the one who created us.
Jesus Christ, he is my hope. He is the man that I count on and rely on. I know his promises will always be yes for me, promises for a brighter future, a good tomorrow. And that gives me more peace and contentment than money could ever buy. Not an easy life with no problems, but I know that He is always there to walk with me no matter how rocky the road. And boy, was last year rocky.
In spite of lost houses, failed marriages, and money woes, I’m hopeful for a future that will be better than anything I’ve experienced thus far. Finding a little fixer-upper house will be one of those things in my future that I’ll be looking forward to the most. I will be so excited when that happens and will wait for the right one, which gives me hope that I can find something affordable. I just know it’s out there waiting for me!
I have no idea if God will bring love into my life again. If He does, then I’ll know it and be ready for it, but it’s not going to be something that drives me. Besides, anyone that comes into my life will have to run the gauntlet of family and friends. They’ve got my back. A complete background check wouldn’t hurt either. 🙂
I can be content single, enjoying my friends, both single and married and loving life. I have a joy and a purpose and blogging is a big part of that. God has blessed me so much this past year in bringing me through the torrential rain, into a place of safety and peace. And gratitude. And joy.
Jeremiah 29:11 says it so well and is one of my favorite verses of the Lord’s love for Israel. I can hold this promise in my heart as well.
This year, I will have hope in:
- First and foremost, Jesus as the Lover of my Soul.
- My family, who love me unconditionally
- My friends, who support and love me through it all
- My purpose and work, from sharing this blog with all of you to experiencing so many new and exciting things that I know are going to come along this year, including a brand new blogging conference, Haven, that I’m privileged to head up here in Atlanta.
- New opportunities and open doors that I can’t open myself, but only God can do. I gladly trust Him to do that.
- Enjoying life one day at a time and really reveling in the journey. Living life like never before.
And my hope is this, that these words will speak to someone out there who is losing hope, wondering if there is an answer for you. Does God really care about you and your situation? I hope my life and experiences will speak to you and let you know that yes, there is hope, always. When we trust in the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, He will never let us down. His plans are so much higher than anything we could ever dream of.
We all face trials and difficulties in life and what and who we put our HOPE in will determine the outcome.
I know I’m not the only one who has gone through divorces and disappointments. It happens all the time to so many women. No one ever goes into a marriage with intentions of failing and you can come out of divorce feeling like a great big Loser, with an L on your forehead. For those of you who have experienced hard marriages, I feel for you. I know exactly how it feels to live in disappointment, deception, emotional pain, and loss.
If you found your Prince Charming as a young woman, had his babies, and are now living happily ever after, you are blessed indeed. Be thankful every day for that! It didn’t happen that way for all of us. That was my dream too, to meet my Prince Charming, have a couple of kids, and to live happily ever after following God’s perfect plan.
One thing for sure, I cannot give up. YOU cannot give up! We must keep going and know that there is a reason for it all. Hard times make us stronger. I’m definitely stronger than I’ve ever been, but my strength is not in myself, it is in my Lord. Not on what I can do, but on what He can do. When I am weak, He is strong. It feels so good to lean on Him and not try to fix it all myself, as I so have a tendency to do.
And one thing I know. Nothing is impossible with Him!
Nothing, do you hear me?
A small word, with a heaping helping of meaning. Hope endures. Hope believes when we can’t see.
Do you have a word you are clinging to this year? Please leave a comment if you do, I’d love to hear it.
Rhoda, what a wonderful post and it brings to mind a word important to all of us – grace. You have been given so much grace to overcome the setbacks in your life and through sharing these moments, you have given your readers the hope that through God’s grace they too can overcome life’s obstacles. Thanks for putting your heart and soul out there for us today. It makes all the design stuff pale in comparison.
Rhoda, sounds like we have lead similar lives. My last marriage ended 9 years ago and left me filing bankruptcy and my home being foreclosed upon. It was devastating. 5 years later, I was able to buy a home – something I never thought I would be able to do again on my own (and a legal secretary’s salary). It’s not the big nice house in the nice neighborhood like I lived in before. It’s small and it’s cute and it’s mine! I have lived on HOPE – and faith in my Redeemer. How wonderful it is that we serve the same God. The same God is watching over both of us and loving us and giving to us the things that our husband would not. Thank you for sharing your story and, most of all, for sharing your faith. I don’t know how anyone makes it through difficult times without good friends, family but, most importantly, a relationship with Jesus Christ! May God continue to bless you.
I too, have had to deconstruct my home and face up to some ugly truths in the last few years. I am finally filing for divorce this year. This blog posting helped me feel less alone. Thank you for writing everyday and bringing beauty and inspiration into all of our lives.
[email protected] says
I’m so sorry that you had to go through all of that but so happy that you had faith to lean on HIM. He will bring you through it, keep on hoping and praying.
Candace Yergensen says
Thank you for your vulnerable and honest post….I came across a verse the other day that spoke to me,””I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how.” Psalm 119:32 The Message
I love that you have hope, and can speak into other girl’s lives, who are experiencing dashed dreams and plans. Love your BLOG! Blessings, Candace
Rhoda, you are such an inspiration…a joy to ‘know’ you. What a message you have just sent out! I am so proud of you and for you…I just love your sweet parents too. Best wishes to you this year.
Rhoda, I was to touched by your post. Hang in there and keep the faith. I’ve been single since 1989 and raised 3 kids alone and now I’m an empty nester. Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday on the OWN network sure has some things that lift the spirit too if you haven’t seen it. I wish we all lived closer and could meet up for one big ladies blogger party. Keep up your wonderful blog. You’re in my prayers. Thanks for sharing.
Rhoda, know that you have touched many you will never meet – and I am one. I’m humbled by your faithfulness! A beautiful testimony from a beautiful lady. Thank-you! May God’s peace be yours.
What a wonderful post! You are so courageous to share so much of your life with us, but I see from many of the comments, you have given encouragement to others. I too have gone through the “broken dreams”and have a few years of difficulties and stress. I am happy to say I think I have reached a good place, not my version of my happily ever after, but nevertheless, it’s a good place. I’ve learned to live alone, depend only on myself, excel in my career, and most importantly, not be sad when I close my eyes to sleep. So my word for this year is ‘grateful’. I am grateful that the recent past is behind me, I have people that love me and stand behind me, and that I have picked myself up and stood tall. I hope that your hope becomes grateful by this time next year! Hugs to you!
Wow! Amazing post, Rhoda. How wonderful that you are using your circumstance to glorify God!!! He truly is the Author and Perfector of our lives, and your trust in him is such a witness. I have read your blog for years, and this is your best post yet. 🙂 Praise Him for the hope that you have……
Meadowsweet Cottage says
I sincerely HOPE 2012 brings some peace and closure for you. And a little fixer-upper for you to nest in! Hope is the perfect word for you–stay strong, Rhoda.
Kelly @ Kelly Day Interiors says
Thank you for sharing this post. You are absolutely right that often times we look at others and think they have it all. The truth is we are all fighting a hard battle to various degrees. I wish you all the best as you face these challenges.
[email protected] says
Late to comment, but just wanted to say, been there, and it really does get better. Not just better than right now (which, I’m guessing, wouldn’t take much!), but better than what you had before. Hope you can grab onto whatever higher power works for you, and don’t let go, and look back only for the purposes of figuring out how not to go there again.
My own falling apart is the thing that got me interested in the whole idea of making a home, so our journeys are a bit backwards in that. I’ve got a life today I couldn’t have imagined 6 years ago. It’s better than anything I once thought possible. I wish the same for you.
What a wonderful testimony! I have read your blog for a long time but never have commented…I am sending a cheer of support and admiration to you right now!!
Hope. What a beautiful, life changing, awesome word!
Thank you for sharing your story.
Vicki V says
I really love this post. You are an inspiration. Your life is a wonderful testimony to God’s faithfulness. He will NEVER leave us or forsake us.
I have followed you for many years…. Marveled at your creativity…Admired your love and devotion to your “Heavenly Father”.. and your constant love and devotion to your family and friends… They are all with you Rhoda.!!! We do have you in our prayers…. you seem like a family member of mine…. HOPE is an awesome word to choose for this new year…. I am also having some challenges…health issues…and will be retiring from my lifelong profession of Nursing…. I will miss it beyond belief…. but I am “hopeful” my retirement will be “OK”??!!… We have 3 precious children and 7 equally precious grandchildren…. I will continue to follow your blog… and just think of you daily…. xoxoxoxoxoxo
How honest and forthright your post is! And how great to hear how you are holding up! Some times it is so hard to “let go and let God” but how buoyed we are when we do! Thank you for sharing.
I have been following your blog for 3 or 4 months now and so appreciate your hope in the Lord and for the future. Today I needed to read that when I am weak he is strong. My mom is going into hospice in the next day or so and my heart is broken. But God will be strong when I cannot be. Thank you for this wonderful blog. I admire your strength.
Velvet Hodges says
Thank you so much for being “transparent”. I know your words are such an encouragement to so many. We were never promised a bed of roses. Life is hard. Our beautifully wonderful God sees it all. Nothing goes unnoticed by Him. And, yes, through it all we can have hope, joy and love trusting in the one who knows us best, Jesus.