The Hope Deck actually began not as the 'Hope Deck', but as a thank you gift for precious friends who, by the power of the Spirit have walked (and continue to walk!) alongside me and my girls during a time of deep suffering. A time where it seemed there was no end to the waves of depair sweeping over us.
When the girls dad told us he was leaving to figure some things out, I don't think any of us expected he wouldn't return. When my next door neighbor, fellow momma and close friend shared her desire to leave this earth, I couldn't imagine I would be speaking at her funeral two months later. When her husband nearly died of a massive heart attack 6 months after her death, I could not fathom how the kids grandma could step in to be a day in, day out single mom or how I would be able to lend support. All of this happening within spitting distance of each others homes - so much loss, so much grief, so much sadness... it was too much.
My wrestling with God began to look like a WWF match.
The lovely thing about being in a place of despair is when blessings come around, and they do, it's like giving a starving cat a can of wet food. You devour and delight in those moments. It's like the skies part and the heaven music plays.
We soaked in every little way God showed his care for us... and rejoiced. All of the socks matching up out of the dryer? Rejoice! A double rainbow? Rejoice! My girls gaining an intimacy with Jesus that only comes from walking through suffering with Him? R-E-J-O-I-C-E!
I tell this story with a bit of humor today. There is still sadness, but some time has passed. Some healing has taken place. There's been an experience of God's care that is engrained within each of us. Not 'words on a page' kind of understanding, but in our bones... this deep knowing of God's care and love for us.
Hope has been stirred in our story, and I 'hope' it will be in yours too --
Hugs, jen :)