“I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. Hope is open-ended.” Henri Nouwen
I don’t remember turning on the stove. Or putting the kettle on the burner.
I was upstairs, listening to music stream, eyes intently following words trickling across my computer screen halting at times, in staccato-like bursts. Like a reluctant seamstress at the helm of a runaway sewing machine, my thoughts were carrying me far away from where I was sitting.
I forgot water was boiling. I forgot I wanted tea.
Until I caught the smell of something. Burning.
I didn’t know where my writing was leading me that morning. But, if I stopped to analyze where it was all heading — if I paused to question the value of what I was doing — I would lose the moment.
I would no longer be fully present.
I would begin spectating — evaluating, judging or worrying — instead of living in the moment — out of an open heart.
I separate myself from the moment and analyze, rather than experiencing the moment.
I forget hope is open-ended.
Because hope isn’t a destination.
Hope is a journey of the heart.
Hope is a gentle breeze rustling autumn leaves to lay a blanket of yellow and crimson over the earth.
Hope keeps our hearts warm, so it can find its way back home again.
The Things That Surface
Writing is a lot like life really.
There’s a lot of waiting.
You don’t know where the words will lead. Yet, for a glimmer of a chance, you have to take the risk of making room. To wait.
You have to take the journey —
to make some space in your heart,
to be present,
You have to hope that small voice inside you is real.
Finding Home Again
Waiting is hard. When we wait, the things that are unspoken surface in us: our dreams, our desperations, and the memories we thought had long ago faded somehow ebb and flow into focus in differing intensities.
In waiting, we find ourselves in the middle of our journeys. We may be asked to trust God to do something new. Maybe that something new is staying the course where God is calling you, when everyone else around you seems to be moving on. Or maybe it is time for you to leave where you’ve been.
The truth is that we are all in the process of waiting —
because we are all on the journey of faith — of finding home again.
Waiting For God
Advent reminds us we are all in the process of waiting.
And because this is true, Advent reminds us we all need hope.
As I helped four-year-old CJ light the first candle of hope earlier this week, I felt an ache in my heart.
I didn’t understand why. A heaviness seemed to wake up with me the next morning.
The following night, as I placed my hand around eight-year-old TJ’s to light the candle the second night together, I felt a flicker longing again.
After getting ready for bed, I went around the house, turning off the little LED lights in Christmas candle votives that lined our windows, I felt a tinge of sadness ehoing in the serenity of evening solitude.
Thanksgiving was wonderfully meaningful and restful, celebrating with friends who have become family.
But, I did not celebrate with my family of origin. Yet, I did not give myself any room to grieve.
I realized this Advent season involves letting go of what I’ve always wished for.
I realized this Advent involves waiting for God to meet me in my grief.
This is the first year the little girl in me is learning to walk out into the world.
She is finally allowing herself to say goodbye to what has never been, to what is lost.
She is doing what she could not do before — letting go of the home she wished had — to find the real home Jesus has always intended for her to experience. With Him.
The little girl in me longs for a soulful Christmas.
She longs to be happy.
To be present.
In a way she’s never dared herself to embrace.
She wants to dare. To dream again.
Grieving what is lost is part of this journey of hope.
So she can be real. And fully live into her story.
A Soulful Christmas
Like a runner breaking out of starting blocks, I flew down the stairs.
I imagined a kitchen engulfed by the lick of orange flames.
Instead, I found a kettle smoking on glowing red burner — unable to whistle because the cap on the spout was left open. Forgotten. I instinctively pulled it off the stovetop and found liquid metal dripping, splashing onto the floor.
The bottom of the kettle melted.
And so has my wounded heart.
Have you taken the first steps of Advent to remember what it’s like to hope again?
Let’s stop spectating and fully experience each moment fully.
Let’s be present. As is.
Have you ever wondered how your heart can feel full — yet long and ache — in the quiet corners of your soul as well? It can because it’s breathing and alive.
Never Too Late
It’s never too late to start Advent. Right where you are. As you are.
It’s never too late to make room for the little girl in you.
It’s never too late for hope.
Jesus whispers —
I’m here. With You.
To make this journey.
An Advent Prayer of Hope: A Soulful Christmas
Lord Jesus, tenderly touch our hearts.
Deepen our longing to seek quiet spaces,
to confide in you in ways we’ve never dared,
to find that still small voice behind a heavy heart.
Because we are always on the journey of waiting,
you are always coming for us,
in places where we’ve forgotten to feel.
Help us to let go of our broken wishes,
so we can hold onto you
and make the journey to hope again.
Comfort us when we are anxious in the waiting,
over the many things that trouble us.
Help us to really believe,
and guide our heart’s homecoming in you again.
Are you longing for a more soulful Christmas? How is Advent speaking to your heart this week?
How is hope a part of your journey today?
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Psst... Remember tomorrow is our Thursday Faith Jam. May the writing prompt bring you to a quiet place inside your soul and spark a soul conversation to share with us in community. The writing prompt was inspired by readers’ response to last month’s post “Four Movements To Be At Rest & Be Yourself.”
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