Hope, Transition from Complaining

Following the Trail Back to Hope

Sometimes it’s the very thing that makes you wild, the thing that feels as if it may be your undoing, which ultimately saves your life. For me right now, the pebble in my shoe is a 15-foot speed boat parked parallel to the north side of our house. The college-aged son is a project magnet who resurrects dead motors for fun and profit, so this is just the latest in a parade of snow mobiles, outboard motors, go- carts, and things that go vroom which have come to heighten the hillbilly panache of this country hill in Maine.

On the other hand, when I recall that his tinkering has made him eminently employable, and when I consider all the lesser things an almost-19-year-old could be doing with his free time . . .

And so, annoyance finds its grumpy way back to gratitude, and I follow its trail to the other transitions–much grittier and more sensitive–that need to happen around the fault lines in my following life:

  • The dizzying yo-yo of the number on the scale holds me in awareness of this truth: It is only by grace that we ride the bucking bronco of temptation to its mastery;
  • An overwhelmed middle-age brain keeps me depending upon God for strength in my weakness and for the next sentence whenever I teach or write;
  • My slow-to-hear-quick-to-speak way of finishing peoples’ sentences and igniting small, unnecessary brush fires reminds me every day to put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience just as I put on my shoes or my makeup.

Meaningful change often follows on the squeaking hinges of regret and repentance.

The Transition to Hope

In the waning weeks of Israel’s existence as a nation, Jeremiah tutors my soul in this spiritual discipline of transitioning from annoyance to hope. The record shows that he had invested 23 years of his life faithfully delivering an unpopular message of God’s impending judgment to a people who much preferred happy talk from lesser prophets with dubious motives. His reward for services rendered was a sentence of house arrest in the palace of disgruntled King Zedekiah.

Transition into Hope, G.K. ChestertonAs Babylonian armies camped around Jerusalem and hammered together their siege ramps outside the city walls, Jeremiah purchased a field in an act of unreasonable hope. Of course, according to G.K. Chesterton, “It is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength at all.”  Pushing against hopelessness, Jeremiah handed over his seventeen shekels because, in his mind, God’s promise of restoration and return to the land was as real as the shining silver in his hand.

When the siege ramps of despair are already leaning against the walls of my heart, that trail back to hope seems like more of a journey than I can manage. And of course, it is–apart from God. Likewise, reading on, I see Jeremiah, by a power that was not his own, transitioning into a glorious paean of praise:

“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” (Jeremiah 32:17 NKJV)

Seeing this, the “Ah” of Jeremiah becomes an “Aha!” on my lips as I discover, as if for the first time, that there is nothing—no transition, no messy in-between—too complicated for God. He stands ready to help when I lean into the impossible or find grace to forgive the unforgivable. His Great Power is put on display in surprising ways as His outstretched arm effects the miracle of another day’s transition into hope.


 

Thank you for joining me today on the path toward hope,

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Michele Morin

Michele Morin is a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. She has been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 30 years, and together they have four sons, two daughters-in-love, two grandchildren, and one lazy St. Bernard. Michele loves hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop her in her tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. She laments biblical illiteracy and advocates for the prudent use of “little minutes.” She blogs at Living Our Days, and you can connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

78 thoughts on “Following the Trail Back to Hope”

  1. I love the transition that you make in this post from irritation to hope to praise! There were many, many times when I had to take a deep breath and hold my tongue when my teenage boys were up to something that felt “like a stone in my shoe” (like holding band practice in our garage). I followed the same thought pathway that you did – they could be doing something much worse – and tried to smile. I also have been enjoying the G.K. Chesterton quotes. I will have to go back and re-read some of his works.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gosh, this really hits home. How many times do I get annoyed at my mom when we are out taking photos. And then I have to remember how blessed I am to have this time with her!! We are all so different, and if we can embrace those differences….
    XOXO
    Jodie
    http://www.jtouchofstyle.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often find it harder to deal with those pebble-in-the-shoe irritations than the major trials of life. The big things I almost can’t help but give over to God and trust Him for, because there’s absolutely nothing I can do about them. But those little irritations – especially if someone else is doing something *wrong* or at least not to my liking – where is God’s hand in that? Well, it’s right there like it is with the big things. I don’t know why I feel I have a *right* to steam about them. I need God’s grace and hope every bit as much in the little trials as the big ones – maybe even more so as the everydayness of them makes me forget. Thanks for the reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for these beautiful words on hope, Michele. I know that I have felt the Lord literally walk me through that transition from grumping to seeing His hope also. Sometimes I think that is a miracle just as great as the answer we are watching for! Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely agree with you Bettie. Something changes in us when we come to God desperately asking. I guess we could say that it’s the first step in receiving whatever He chooses to give us–even if it’s not what we had in mind!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll try to ensure my annoyance finds its grumpy way back to gratitude a little quicker today! Thanks for a lovely post. #thatfridaylinky

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your final paragraph is EVERYTHING!! Lord help me to remember it every minute! Especially as I have two boys barreling toward the teenage years! Blessings, friend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Here’s how that last paragraph came about:
      I actually had a dream that in my Bible, Jeremiah’s prayer included the word”Aha!” instead of “Ah.” I woke up and thought about hit for a long time, because I am such an Aha girl when it comes to discovering good things about God. I seriously need to find my way back to His good intentions toward me as if I didn’t have ten thousand examples of it in the past. So . . . may you also find His surprising grace in these years leading up to male teens!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s so easy to get stuck in our list of things that drain hope instead of standing sure in the promises that give hope. Thanks for the reminder to stop the list of hopelessness and turn my face to HOPE!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great when readers let me know exactly what resonated with them. I think God arranges words as they come, and He brings us into contact with the words we need to read at the right time!
      So glad to hear from you!

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    1. I’m enjoying my slow and detailed read of Jeremiah’s prophecy this year. He’s certainly taken a huge role in my writing during this process!
      Thanks, Elizabeth, for this encouragement!

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  8. We humans are amazingly made that we do not give up HOPE and fight for whatever we’re having hope in to be there even when we know it will not be. God’s gift of HOPE keeps me sane at times, and I feel it is necessary until my mind can accept that all HOPE is gone–or not. What a true quote that Hope begins when all things seem hopeless. I so agree with you on his tinkering led to his knowledge of things that cannot be learned sometimes other than hands on. Mine are amazing that way, and as a parent, it was sometimes frustrating. My grandson when I babysat him had such imagination and wanted to make things out of other things and would sometimes cause me frustration, but then I finally had to understand that what he was doing was necessary for his brain. Great sharing of a scripture blessing. 🙂

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    1. Oh, thanks, Peabea! And I’m such a fan of that Chesterton quote, because I do believe that we live so much of our days oblivious to our great need. We would say, maybe, that we are living “by faith,” but we find out what that really means when the wheels come off and we don’t know what the next step is going to be.

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  9. I love the phrase by G.K. Chesterson. What an impactful statement. How many times do I forget to have faith, or hope, and just plow through a situation. I also love what you said about being quick to speak and slow to listen and having to put out brush fires….I can witness!

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  10. I like how you describe it as a spiritual discipline to make the transition from annoyance to hope. The perspective we choose can really make a difference, and remembering God’s grace and power to transform helps a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it may be a stretch, but, one thing is certain, and that’s the truth that it won’t happen without the engagement of some pretty serious spiritual disciplines, so I’m glad you’re with me on this, Lesley!

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  11. Michele, I appreciated your honesty and was inspired on how your turned “lemons into lemonade” by looking at the bigger picture.

    I had never heard that G.K. Chesterson quote before. Excellent!

    Thanks so much for sharing. I leave here edified. 🙂

    Like

  12. Reading this today is a balm to my soul, Michele. I had to chuckle about your son’s projects adding to the hillbilly panache of your property! Love it! And your insights from Jeremiah.

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  13. What insightful words of Chesterton’s. So true.

    Love this: “When the siege ramps of despair are already leaning against the walls of my heart, that trail back to hope seems like more of a journey than I can manage. And of course, it is–apart from God.”

    I used to think King David was such a “good man” for turning His lips to praise in the midst of hardship (just like Jeremiah). Now, I see the truth. He was leaning into a good God, who poured out His Spirit in abundance upon David in his weakness, as David pressed in with his honest laments. I only see that as I, like you, am coming to see that: “of course, it is–apart from God.” Praise Him!

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  14. Irritation with others is just self-centeredness exposed. we get frustrated and angry with others because they are interrupting or interfering with how we think thing should go. We’ll go along way toward being like Christ when we genuinely try to understand their point of view and might even learn to show compassion and love. thanks!

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  15. Your post made me think about a challenging time right now for my husband. We have a short period of time to get a project done to meet some governmental mandates with our property. We aren’t young enough or talented enough to get the job done and it is so frustrating for him. Getting older isn’t easy, and now it is coming to our attention. – Margy

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  16. What a wonderful post, Michele! I definitely needed to read this today. I love the Chesterton quote you shared and think I’ll have to print it out and put it somewhere! Thank you! And, as always, thank you for sharing your words with us at Encouraging Word Wednesday!

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  17. We often wonder why these little trials continue to pursue us don’t we Michele? But when we look back on our journey and all the little hurdles we’ve overcome, we see that they are what developed our resilience and tolerance – and that there is usually a silver lining mixed in there somewhere.

    Thanks for linking up with us at #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM xx
    Leanne | http://www.crestingthehill.com.au

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    1. Isn’t it great to remember the rear view mirror perspective when we’re in the midst of a hard season? I struggle with this, but am slowly learning, and I guess that’s why I write about this particular issue so often!

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  18. Such powerful words of hope! Jeremiah’s example of praise in the midst of pain can certainly get us through our ho-hum moments in life, and remind us to turn our grumbling into gratitude! Thanks for sharing with #BVN!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Wow, just wow… you are a skilled wordsmith! I always love reading anything you write from regular encouraging post to your book reviews ! I loved this post so much and had my Aha moment as I was reading your story about your son … I love having you be a part of the #TuneInThursday community.. although, I found this post over the new linkup always #iheartverse today

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  20. What a lovely post with many well crafted sentences! I had to chuckle at your “hillbilly panache” comment. Our little one acre farm inside city limits is laden with hillbilly panache. 😉 Thank you for sharing the wisdom and hope of Jeremiah at Words on Wednesday. -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    Like

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