The Hope Bird sat on my desk for a day before I noticed something odd about her. A spot of glue glistened on her feet.
As I picked her up and looked closer, I realized that a tiny crack ran the whole circumference of her underside, another cutting straight across her tail feathers.
My heart sunk. The Hope Bird had been broken before I found her.
I wondered if I'd been a fool not to notice the broken places before I'd bought her, a fool to pay money for a bird held together with glue. But I only wondered for a moment before I knew this:
The Hope Bird is me.
I, too, have fallen, broken apart, pieces of me snapping clean off. And I've lain on the ground, shattered and defeated, believing I'd never survive, never be whole again.
But from that place in the dark recesses of life, I've looked over at the Hope Rock, still whole and held together, and I've waited for the Breaker and the Healer to gather up the shards of a life and make something beautiful out of all this pain.
And this is what I hadn't known before. This is what He wanted to show me that day I found the Hope Bird in a little town far from home:
This is faith: Hope carved into the Rock.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
Hope has been my companion since the beginning of my recovery nearly eight years ago. And I've held onto it like a treasure, letting it whisper joy and promise into a life that once knew neither. But it wasn't until the losing and returning of my Faith that I discovered something I'd been missing.
Hope and Faith were never meant to be separate.
I'd had Faith since I was just a little girl. I was certain of things I did not see--that there was a God, that He'd paid the price to redeem me, that life with Him was the only life worth having. But I was still a child when the breaking began and Hope slipped away before I even knew what it was.
And when Hope finally found me in my early 20s, I began to hope for things I'd never even dreamed before. I hoped that this God I loved was a good God. I hoped that He would never abandon me, no matter how worthless I felt. I hoped that He could make something beautiful out of the mess of a life I'd lived.
But I was never sure of any of it.
When death came and Faith left, Hope still carried me through days pitch-dark with emptiness, but I wondered if I'd ever believe again in the God I'd loved for a lifetime.
Now I see what I haven't wanted to see before. I needed to lose my Faith in order to truly find it.
God carved Hope into His own hands the day He ransomed me from Satan's grip. And when I build my life on Faith, I build it on the Rock of Him, the One with Hope engraved right on His Heart.
And I still fall and break apart. But He never does and I just wait here on the ground for the Hope God to gather me up and fit the pieces back together.
I'll still bear the scars of being broken, cracks running across the pieces of a life. But they're not a record of destruction. They're the evidence of Love that heals and holds together.
Just like the nail scars in Hands that died to reach me.
Yes, this is Faith: Hope carved into the Rock.
And that Rock is the only place to build a life.
727. Afternoon chat with a friend over extra-spicy chai
728. Sharing a free lemon square, both of us puckering from the delicious tartness
729. Another blanket finished, last ends woven in
730. New art project beginning, colors of sunshine taking shape
731. Friend's first knitted sock, finished and fitting perfectly
732. Rain drying up before the drive home
733. Finding clarity in a complicated task
734. Peeking underneath the chair before pushing back from the table, checking for sleeping kitties beneath
735. Blog comments from a friend, filling up my inbox
736. Hard tasks completed, one more step taken down the path of treatment
737. Leaving the house without a coat--and being too warm in a sweater
738. Afternoon drive with the sunroof open
739. Blanket of beauty taking shape faster than expected
740. Hunting through photographs of color, choosing the perfect ones for the project at hand
741. Waiting all day for a surprise package to arrive on a friend's doorstep...
742. ...and then finding out it arrived at exactly the time He wanted it to all along
743. Reconcilliation after hard years apart
744. Love stronger, truer after the storms
745. Digging out old poems and finding Him speaking the same
746. God Who doesn't leave, even when I beg Him to
747. God Who breaks with Love, heals with Himself
748. Long hours of sleep after too many nights without
749. Dad who cooks at 60% power, makes me laugh until it hurts
750. Not being the only one to make mistakes in the kitchen
751. Only two extra hours of work, not four
752. Scent of cucumber-melon lotion lingering all day, catching me off guard
753. Cloud rim around giant circle of blue--ocean in the sky
754. Tree branches waving in the wind--evidence of the invisible
755. Mother's Day tea date with mom and siblings
756. Tasting sips of everyone's drinks
757. Wandering through a street market on a Sunday morning in May
758. Buckets of tulips in pink, orange, yellow, and happiness
759. Vendor selling tea and sips of joy
760. New tea tucked in my purse
761. Riding home with the top down and the sun up
762. Wearing sandals to church--first time in long months
763. Patch of road covered in pink cherry petal snow
764. Safe passage through hard evening of ministry
765. Ending the day with a cup of the best chai I've ever tasted
766. Finding words and quiet hours to write them in
767. Hope Bird broken before I found her
768. God speaking truth through the brokenness
769. Losing my Faith
770. Finding the Faith I've been needing for a lifetime
771. Hope carved into the Rock
772. God picking up the pieces, building me into beauty