Sometimes it is hard to hold on to hope, especially as our children become teens, college students and young adults. I often hear women long for the days they could simply put their disobedient toddler in time out or out of harms’ way into a play pen! There is an adage handed down from generation to generation:” When children are little they step on your toes, but when they grow up they step on your heart.” So just what is a mom to do when raising her tween, teen or young adults becomes a challenge—or her worst nightmare?
Hold On Pain Ends
But HOW do you “hang on to H.O.P.E.?” In the past several years, I have been parked in the book of Psalms, praying verses as I have been writing and editing on Discovering Hope in the Psalms. Here are four things to do to hold tight to H.O.P.E.
Hold God in His Correct Position
Observe Healthy Daily Routines
Pray with Positive People
Extinguish Fears and Lies
Hold God in His Correct Position:
You will find it easier to hold on to hope if you hold tight to God! God is the Creator and sustainer! God is your shelter, your refuge, and your shield. God is also the King of Kings and the Sovereign Master Chessman, moving the pieces of life around for our good and His glory!
When I wrote Becoming a Brave New Woman, I encouraged women with a quote from my friend, Jill Savage, “Look at the mountain MOVER not the mountain!” While going through a prolonged stressful season lasting several years, one of my favorite verses became: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalms 73:26)
The word “strength” in this verse is very powerful: God is your “sure stone mountain, your solid rock” which means you can have hope in this ever-changing world because the ONE unchanging element is GOD. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
His character remains the SAME—reliable, steady, and certain.
In Romans 15:13, the Holy One is called The God of Hope—one title—you cannot separate hope from God because to hope is only as good, as strong, and as powerful as the PERSON you are placing your hope in!
Observe Healthy Routines:
Because God interconnected our body, our emotions, and our spirit, when one area responds positively to His plan, all the other areas are affected positively too. The psalmist relays this connection in an example from Psalm 30:10-12:
Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help. [A cry for emotional help.] You turned my wailing into dancing; [emotional help came, so there is a positive physical response] you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, [a recap of the emotional help that was received] that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever [positive spiritual result occurred].
Enjoying the gift of physical health can help you spiritually as well. When a person feels hopeless in one area of life (marriage, parenting, finances, etc.), it is easy to let your entire life unravel. Instead, keep those healthy patterns and routines going! Do the next right thing. You might not know all the answers, you might not have much wisdom for the path ahead, so just do the next simple wise choice in front of you: Get up, make the bed, have a daily quiet time in God’s Word, go on a prayer walk, exercise, clean your house , turn on praise music. And go to your Moms in Prayer meeting. These simple things build up the truth in your mind, elevate your soul and perk up your body with the release of happy endorphins.
Pray with Positive People:
In one strenuous season that included-
- A health crises for my husband
- All three sons experiencing sport injuries including one son who was rushed to the E.R. with life threatening trauma
- My brother’s heart attack (I cared for his family while his precious wife cared for him)
- My husband feeling pressured to resign his role as lead Pastor
- Being separated from our church family after 15 years of serving there
- Selling our home and moving
- Launching one son into college
- A wedding of another son
- Financial stressors
Only women deep into God’s Word could handle my ongoing level of pressure, trauma, drama and stress. Instinctively, I leaned on the friends I had personally discipled and ones I developed over the years in Moms in Prayer— because they knew how to pray Scripture to empower, encourage and equip! These women also knew how to hold on to HOPE and hold HOPE out to me and my family! In Psalm 71:14 we are told the secret to finding and sustaining hope:
But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. (Psalm 71:14)
The word hope is a verb, so it is an action we choose, to wait expectantly for God to move. I like to say, “Trust while you tarry” or to wait patiently (and sometimes painfully long) for God to show up and show off! After doing a word study to summarize the meaning, this hoping is to be exercised: surpassingly, repeatedly, increasingly, intensely, exceedingly, continuously, regularly, consistently, and perpetually! When I drew the verse in my Bible art journal, I pictured a geyser of ever-flowing hope!
The key to securing a hope like an eternal spring is also in this verse, “praise you more and more.” The “more and more” means to accumulate or gather praise—and in gathering, we fuel hope. In my stressful season that I mentioned earlier, I printed verses and turned them into posters, flash cards and recorded them to listen to them over and over. I went to bed playing scripture songs so hope rocked me to sleep. And I surrounded myself with people who loved God, loved God’s Word and loved me and my family—and expressed those precious promises to us.
Extinguish Fear and Lies:
The devil will stir up anguish, fear, and disaster scenarios to push you to playing negative thoughts over and over in your mind. To keep a tight grip on hope, you will need to become proficient at quenching the lies of the evil one. The Bible is clear on how to do this, and Christ modeled it when he was in the desert being tempted by Satan—he quoted the Word out loud!
During a season when I was praying one of my sons away from faith-eroding influences and unwise personal choices made in his college setting, I daily prayed verses of faith.
I made prayer cards of verses describing what kind of young man I knew God created him to be, the man he could choose to become, not the boy I saw stumbling through life making missteps.
And within the course of a little over a year, my husband, myself—and my Moms in Prayer group—saw him make a 180 degree turn back toward God and the faith of his youth.
The power of praying Scripture is captured beautifully in Psalms 43:3- 4: Send Your light and Your truth; let them lead me. Let them bring me to Your holy mountain, to Your dwelling place. Then I will come to the altar of God, to God, my greatest joy. I will praise You with the lyre, God, my God.
If you dig into this passage, it captures God who dispatches the kind of light that breaks the darkness (as in a sunrise) and truth that displays His faithful care. And the word, “bring” means God will lead, guide and make opportunities with the end result of dwelling with God in a way that produces joy.
Have you joined a Moms in Prayer group yet? It’s one of the best ways to hold onto hope as you gather with other women to pray for your kids and their schools. Find one here.
Pam Farrel is a leader who believes God moves as moms pray. Pam is the author of 45 books, including several that feature Moms in Prayer, like 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make; 10 Secrets of Living Smart, Savvy and Strong; 7 Simple Skills Every Woman Can Make and Got Teens? She is also wife to Bill, and together they Co-direct Love-Wise. Pam speaks often at marriage, parenting, family and women’s conferences. She is mother to three sons, three daughter- in-laws and four grandchildren.