Hope is my Home

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The few days between Christmas and the New Year are such a gift to my contemplative heart. It’s a liminal space, hazy with the beautiful swirl of the nostalgia of the past and the promise of the future. I spend those in-between days pouring over my journals from the year, remembering the joys and the heartaches and looking for the golden threads woven by the Lord throughout my year. Then I start pressing in and asking for a word to carry as a banner over the upcoming year.

This past Christmas night, I told the Lord I wanted 2019 to be marked with joy. As quickly as those words escaped my heart and lips, I heard a whisper: “Where your HOPE is, there your JOY shall be, too.” I knew right then the Lord was illuminating HOPE. I went home that night and started looking up and writing down as many “hope” scriptures as I could find, and the more I read and the more I wrote, the more I knew HOPE would be the marker of the coming year.

It was the sweetest of gifts to hear him speak HOPE over my 2019, as 2018 was full of some of my greatest disappointments and deepest hurts. One of my dearest friends literally spent twelve hours with me on one of those liminal days, listening to my heart and pouring into me. She spoke a truth my heart desperately needed to hear: “Carrie Beth, you do not reside in disappointment. It is not your address. It is not your home.” When I asked myself the natural followup question—“Where IS my home?”—I immediately heard “HOPE is your home.”

I started reading through the year’s journals and was shocked at how many times HOPE was mentioned in 2018—either in my own thoughts or words spoken over me or in messages from church. And then right as the clock was about to strike midnight on New Year’s Eve, a Bethel worship set shuffled through and I heard Jenn Johnson declare HOPE as “the joyful expectation for good” over everyone listening.

I love how the Lord works—he knew I’d need manna to carry me from the hurt of 2018 into the hope for 2019, and he showed up in the sweetest way, reminding me time and time again that HOPE is who I am and that HOPE is my home.