Where is Your Hope Today?
by Lorie Marcum
Do you remember a time in your life when you were happy? Really happy?
When was the last time you felt:
Stable, Life was easy, Content, Connected,
Valued, Peaceful, Periods of joy,
Protection, and Provided for?
For me it was the beginning of my journey called life. For the first 15 ½ years I had no idea I possessed all these precious emotions and securities. For a woman, these are imperative for happiness. In my mind and in my spirit as much as I can remember, I felt all these emotions and life was a little like the land of Oz.
Then devastation, abandonment, lies, pride, and too much dependence on self showed up. It came so fast and furious the day my Daddy died I had no idea these days would be the darkest of my life. I would never experience that darkness, denial, believing the Deceiver, pride wisdom and dependence on self, more than in those next 20 years.
Has there ever been a time in your singleness that you didn’t even realize that you had gone through something like this until it was over? Do you believe you are in that dark place now? In times when we are alone, when our spirit feels the absence and abandonment of connection and the One who loves us most, the days cannot be darker. But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Psalm 17:8 Consider hope inactive on your part but active in the hands of God and what He will do for you!
For me, that darkness was of course the day my Daddy died and what followed. Looking back, I call it what it was. Abandonment. I don’t for one minute believe that my Daddy left me voluntarily, that’s not the issue. But with Daddy gone, my mom in her own personal survival mode, as well as my brothers and sister, I was abandoned in a home with others but left to survive alone.
I bet if we all look back into our lives there is some abandonment that left its mark. I had a best friend since first grade who moved out of town as we were entering 7th grade….I had no idea how much of an abandonment issue that created in me. Someone I saw every day, spent every Friday or Saturday night with for six years suddenly gone. And this was back in the day well before the tiny black box we all hold in our hands today called the cell phone. Nothing remained to connect us but actual letters we had to write with a pen or pencil and wait for them through the long journey of the United States postal service.
Do you have any abandonment in your past? Was it a parent? A sibling? A husband? A child? A friend? A boyfriend?
What resulted from the abandonment in my life was years of doing it myself, survival. Sound familiar? Life didn’t stop just because my whole family essentially died the day my Father died.
Oh my gosh, throughout those years I began to believe the lie that doing it myself and becoming a survivor was something to aspire to, to be proud of. Its not necessarily a bad thing, except I did it out of fear and without the One who loved me more than anyone in the world. Because of the One who loved me so gave me gifts, talents and intelligence, I began to believe I just plain developed those on my own. A lie that the Deceiver thrived on me believing. Pride that did so much damage, I believe could be in part, the reason I am single today and may remain that way until my last breath here.
At that time, I became the leader in my family with my sister and my mother – an instance of the child becoming the parent. I was a leader in high school, a leader among my friends, the leader in my first household at 19 (well when you live alone, guess who gets to lead?), and as life went on a leader in my professional life to the point I was president of a women’s professional group that was one of the largest leading groups in Louisville. I was a child of God who was fully capable so He wouldn’t have to worry about this child. I could do it on my own. Wasn’t I fabulous?!
No. I was prideful, I was arrogant, I was judgmental and I was exhausted…..I was broken and I was SOOOO alone, anxious, pressured, lonely, insecure, scared and depressed.
But no one on the outside knew it. I kept that happy face on, I continued to strive to succeed in the eyes of society, I never let down friends, extended family and all the while trying to find a family of my own. I will never forget the day I found the scripture, God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.Psalm 68:6. I had no idea I was actually being rebellious. I was a prisoner in a parched land. You know why? Because I never slowed down enough to let God in. I just assumed I was doing the right thing. Always being the person who had the answers for my family and others. I just assumed that what God gave me I should use for good. And in addition, back in my subconscious I thought there would be a moment when I had done enough good for self and others, life would become happy again. That I would feel all those things again I had felt before my life turned dark. This is where I look back and realize my idea of God was like Dorothy’s impression of the Wizard in Oz.
But guess what else. I got tremendously mixed up in sin and the friends who loved me who thought they were being kind to help me justify it. The Deceiver reveled in my loneliness leading me into temptation and my emotions keeping me there. It makes me sick to remember it. Bile in my throat. But God didn’t leave me there. He did not allow anything in my life that I could not get through WITHOUT HIM. In fact, I am sure He intentionally allowed things in my life I could not get through on my own. And He has said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 2 Cor 12:9. This, my sweet sisters, is where I am in total agreement with our brother Paul. NOW, I boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me and others may see it!
I recognize much sooner now when God is reaching out to me….can you believe He reaches out to US? Just like a loving parent does when we see our young ones starting down a wrong path. He does it in many different forms but usually is saying the same thing. I usually hear it three, four, five times…maybe more. The same thing from friends, family, scripture, books, sermon, devotions, songs, radio show.
I challenge you to look for that one area God is asking you to focus on. And then, maybe the hardest part, ask Him for forgiveness for trying to do it on your own and humbly appeal to Him to show you how, what, when…..
Abandonment is dark, it does so much damage and it hurts. God is light, He heals and He is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, ……(Galatians 5:22, fruit of the Spirit).
Be patient with yourself dear one. Until next time, see what God has for you: “I am the LORD, your Holy One, Israels Creator, your King. This is what the LORD says –He who made a way through the sea, A path through the mighty waters, Who drew out the chariots and horses, The army and reinforcements together, And they lay there, never to rise again, Extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: Forget the former things; Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert And streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:15-19).
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