It was a busy Thanksgiving morning, my mother-in-law, my husband and I were in the kitchen doing holiday things when the phone rang. For as long as I live I will remember that call. My dear friend’s son had been heinously murdered in West Palm Beach, FL. I ran to the building adjacent to our house and sat on the floor and cried out to the Lord, “WHY, GOD, WHY?” And, I wept uncontrollably. That was 1998 and the memory is as vivid as though it was yesterday. For the next year I cried my friend’s tears as she numbly walked through the days and nights of lonely despair.
Tragedy struck again in 2002 – 5 a.m. on a warm, humid July morning, again, the phone rang with a wailing ring that can only mean troubling news. My daughter’s fiance had been murdered, her hysteria still echoes in my ear.
Sorrow upon sorrow. The following weeks became a blur of activity. I traveled to my daughter and the two of us and two friends traveled across several states to the funeral. After arriving back to her home, a memorial service for his many local friends. There were visitors, family members and friends, and then the hushed quiet of being left alone with your broken heart and memories of what was. I didn’t want to leave my daughter and begged her to come home with me but she wasn’t a child and wanted to try getting on with her life.
I came home to my husband, my work, and a major kitchen renovation! My body came home but my heart was still with my grown up girl. I went through the motions of everyday life. I would look at my husband and burst out crying. I prayed but the words just seemed staged and insincere. We went to worship services and I could barely sing songs about the goodness of the Lord – my heart was aching and my praises were mute.
For weeks, and then months, every where I turned the scripture from the Psalms would be in my sight and my hearing, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning.” It just seemed surreal that in the space of four years, our family was touched with such tragedy. It seemed I had lost my hope and then one day toward the close of the year 2002 I was searching for a scripture and I stumbled on Romans 15.13. Now may the God of Hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Something happened in my spirit that day, Hope flooded over me and my sadness began to subside. It was as though Hope walked in and despair went running! Over the next several years, my hope was tried and tested but it prevailed!
My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ love and righteousness…yes, those are words from an old hymn but they have become the theme of my life. God Himself is Hope and in Him we have eternal Hope. I have shared my testimony of Hope many times and before one such public testimony the Lord gave me a word, Hope based on anything less than Jesus Christ is as futile as wishing upon a star. Hope is not wishing. Christ’s Hope is as solid as the strongest rock and as sure as the rising sun. It is free for the asking, it will never cost you anything and yet you will gain everything.
My hope for you is that you will embrace Jesus Christ, The One who is Hope!
Rejoicing in Hope until next time…
(A lot has happened since this photo of my daughter and I in 2009! We’ve both gotten six-years older and that pretty black dog, her beloved Sam, went to heaven this past January.)
Linking this re-post with:
Women with Intention Wednesday
I had tears as I read this! So thankful that we have hope and peace in the Lord! It may not be circumstantial peace, but it is eternal! I’m your neighbor at #coffeeforyourheart and #threewordWednesday.
Kristen, thank you – I’ll be returning the visit momentarily!
So beautiful – this testimony of hope… of mourning, yes – and then the joy that comes… eventually, it does come!
Yes, morning always does arrive! Thanks Karrilee.
Wow! Susan, thank you for sharing and most importantly the reason and source of your hope!
Christina, amen! Thanks for visiting.
Kristin Hill Taylor says
The promise that joy will come is amazing to me. Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
It always does, Kristin, it always does!
Anita Ojeda says
thank you for sharing your testimony, Susan. I’m so sorry for all of your losses. Your ability to spread hope to others is a shining light to those around you.
Anita, turning our “tests” into testimonies!!!
Susan, you were dealt so much. In the midst of tragedy and hardship, it is so hard to find that hope. I love those words from Psalm 30:5 but I also see where those words can be so difficult for those hurting. Jesus is indeed our hope and he is a hope I want to always cling too! Love Ya friend!!
I hadn’t read this post before. I’m so sorry for your losses. I find that the Psalms are the first place I turn when I’m feeling overwhelmed or broken or devastated. There is so much comfort in the verses you shared. Thank you!
Alesha – David knew how to address “the blues”, amen?
Bethany Boring says
One of the reasons I love reading your blog is your ability to share how our strength comes through our struggles. You always share life the way it is, refusing to sugar coat the tough stuff. Thank you. Your words are powerful!
Oh Bethany, sugar-coat? Not me, girlfriend!!!!
The only place to learn hope is in the midst of tragedy, sorrow and fear. Thank you for sharing your journey with us here.
Wendy, these lessons are so dang hard!
beth willis miller says
Susan, I love your open, honest, and transparent sharing in this post…I was right there with you when those phone calls came in…that Romans scripture is one of my favorites…so comforting and so true…Many blessings to you sweet friend!
Kelly Balarie says
Oh my, I can only imagine how you must have felt. How difficult. I praise God that he brought your heart around to full rest in the sacrifice of his blood. Powerful story. Thank you for joining the #RaRalinkup with Purposeful Faith. It is a joy to have you.
Kelly, thank you – I enjoy adding my posts to the linkup!