2017 rang in peacefully as I sat in my grandparents living room with my grandpa and watched the ball drop in Times Square on television. 2017 was a year that I prayed would be firmly planted in hope. Little did I know how desperately I would need to cling to that hope this year.
The first months of 2017 came in quietly. I traveled to Louisville Kentucky for the ELCA Youth Ministry Extravaganza. I spent time with my beloved family and friends. I journeyed from Ash Wednesday, through Lent to Easter. And then life shifted.
In April, I found myself having to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. After many tears, thoughtful conversations and numerous prayers, I resigned from my current job. There I was living in liminal space; living between what was and looking towards what was to come. Where would God lead me next? In those days of liminal space, I found myself trying to cling tightly to hope; hope grounded and anchored in my own faith.
My last day at my call was May 31st. In June, I found myself clinging to the promises of life-giving water that only Christ can give. The days were bittersweet and weary. I found myself hanging to hope even in the midst of this unexpected change.
Later in June, I traveled to Colorado and my favorite continuing education event in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains. It was exactly what my heart and soul needed. In fact, it was hear that hope began to show itself to me. On the top of a mountain, over 10000 feet in the air, I experienced one of the holiest moments I can remember in my life.
With Ellie Holcomb’s Red Sea Road playing in my ear, holy tears streaming down my face, hope changed everything! (You can read more about that experience here:My Little Chapel on the Side of a Mountain) Hope began to birth the promise that I would never be alone. Hope renewed my faith that all things would become new again.
And the truth, my friends, is that hope truly does change everything! Hope birthed a new amazing opportunity for me. Hope anchored my soul as I began to see a renewed vision for God’s journey for me. And it is because of hope, that I am content clinging to the hope that Christ never leaves us or forsakes us.
There were days this year when I couldn’t see hope clearer. In fact, I wondered if it was there at all. But God knows what we need and Christ knew that 2017 would be a year I needed to cling to hope. And hope found its way into my heart, soul and mind because as my friend Susan continually reminds us, “HOPE changes everything,” Indeed it does. And now I know that more than ever!
(Come back tomorrow and I’ll share my 2018 One Word. I may have made a slight nod to it in this post. Can you find it? Or have any ideas?)