Control, Hope, Trusting God

Hope: What It All Comes Down To

@JeanneTakenaka +Jeanne Takenaka

Do you ever get halfway (or more through the year) and wonder how you’re doing with those aspirations and areas of focus you decided on in January?

If you’ve read this blog for very long, you know I am a One Word girl. I don’t make resolutions, because I’m far too prone to break them in a weak moment. 

Instead, I ask God to give me a word to focus on for the year. Some years, I resonate with the word right away. And I see how God weaves it into the fabric of who I am.

Other years, I receive the word. I study it. 

And I wait. 

And wait for God to make some grand change within me. Or at least give me new understanding about it.

Hope. 

That’s my word for this year. And I’ve pondered it. Meditated on it. Tried to see what God wants me to learn. 

Please don’t think that I believe I have it all figured out.
I don’t.

Over the past couple of months, as the threads of my life have unwoven in places, I’ve tried to understand what God wants me to learn about Hope. What I am supposed to apply? 

We’ve walked through some heart-breaking things with the boys. 

Can I just confess that, instead of looking to God—my Hope—I’ve tried to figure out what needed to be done and moved forward with my plan?

Instead of pressing into the Lord, and waiting for Him to show me hope in these situations, I’ve been in “deal-with-it” mode. 

Yes, I’ve prayed about what’s happened. But I haven’t waited on the Lord. I haven’t put my complete hope in Him to work in the hard situations.

I haven’t trusted Him with my burdens . . . at least not enough to completely leave them in His hands.

I’ve been in “what’s-the-next-step” mode, looking for what appears to be the best option. 

Instead of relying on the Lord, I’ve relied on myself.

As I consider Hope, I’m discovering that a huge amount of waiting on and trusting Jesus is involved. 

I know this in my head, but living it on a heart-level? 

Yeah . . . I haven’t been so good with that. 

There’s a difference between pressing into the next thing and pausing to remember that God is with me in it all. 

My mind is so quick to try to process the details without letting my heart process.

When life happens, I tend to get going on the next thing. Consider the contingencies. Make a plan. Too often without consulting the Lord, or pausing to simply feel. 

To process on a heart level what the changes in life mean for my heart. Or for our family on a heart level. 

God has impressed in me the need to slow down in the pressing forward and begin bringing everything to my Father of Hope. He doesn’t expect me to be an automaton just moving forward into the next thing. 

Part of hope is engaging with Him when the hard seasons hit.

Leaning into Him. 

Allowing myself to feel the losses, the disappointments. 

The hard. 

And then to remember to turn to Him because He is my hope. The One who has the answers. And often those answers look different than my conclusions. My plans. 

Living in hope includes slowing down enough to really connect with my Father—the God of Hope.

Sometimes exercising hope is choosing to roll my burdens onto the Lord’s shoulders. To let Him carry the weight of my heart. 

It’s remembering that, really? It’s not all up to me. 

I am a vessel God can use in the lives of those I love. But when I try to be God to them? That’s when I become burned out and discouraged. And those I’m trying to “help” become frustrated. Usually with me. 

And sometimes with God . . . if I misrepresent Him.

I’m not sure at what point this year I turned from hoping in God to hoping in Jeanne, but the Lord’s shown me it’s time to make a choice. I can continue living as if all the fixing—all the making-the-family-run-smoothly—is up to me. 

Or I can wait on the Lord and hope in Him. 

It’s time to open my hands and hold them palms up to my Father. And put my hope in Him rather than in myself. 

What about you? What does hope look like in your life? What is one thing you’ve learned this year?

Click to Tweet: There’s a difference between pressing into the next thing and pausing to remember that God is with me in it all

I’m linking up with #RaRaLinkup, #TellHisStory, and Holley Gerth

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33 thoughts on “Hope: What It All Comes Down To”

  1. Beautiful essay, Jeanne; the honesty, emotion, and hope truly touch my heart. And the pictures are so good, and so well-chosen!

    What have I learned about hope this year? A line stolen from a movie says it best (the movie is The Rock”, and it’s Sean Connery who’s speaking):

    “I nurtured the hope that there WAs hope…”

    For what it’s worth, my One Word is usually a phrase; this year it was “The good may die young, but badass lives forever.”

    Bring it. I’m still standing.

    Hope it’s OK to let Tom Petty finish my comment in his inimitable (and sorely missed) musical fashion.

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    1. Andrew, that song is perfect. Thank you for. your encouraging words. And I think you’re right. Sometimes, we have to hope that there is hope. I’m thankful our Lord is the God of Hope. If we can look to Him, we can find reassurance. As for your phrase, I believe I’ve seen that around a few times this year. 😉

      I continue to pray for you and Barb, my friend!

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  2. Jeanne, Praying for you to find complete answers to your prayers from Almighty God..A “know so” instead of a “hope so”. Rev Charles Stanley encourages everybody to pray Col 1: 9-14 every day & personalize it. God bless you.

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    1. Frances, thank you for the prayers. I know God will give us the answers in His timing. That passage in Colossians is such a good passage. thank you for sharing it here. I need to establish the habit of praying it. Thank you for your encouragement!

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  3. Beautifully encouraging and challenging words. Thank you for sharing from the heart! Blessings to you as you lean in the hope we have in Jesus!

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  4. Jeanne, in describing the struggle we all feel at times, you have described hope beautifully. After reading your words, I sat thinking for a bit and was reminded of Romans 5:5: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment.” May you & I & each of us keep holding onto the hope we have in Jesus!

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    1. Thank you for your encouragements, Joanne. I go back to Romans 5:5 often. It’s a mind-focusing verse/end of passage, isn’t it? I’m thankful that our God does not lead us to disappointment. If we hold onto the hope we have in Jesus, He can/does strengthen us, doesn’t He? Sending you a hug.

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  5. I think we’re a lot a like J! I’ll also get moving and make a plan instead of allowing time to pass to observe and see and learn God’s way. I can fear I’ll fall into despair if I don’t move first. Hope is what we have to hold on to during these times–His never-ending hope. You reminded . me that my word for the year is Perseverance which, I must admit, struggling with! And continually pray for God to fan His flame of hope and strength in my heart. And pray this for you too!

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    1. Lynn, does it sounds terrible to say I’m kind of just a little bit glad I’m not the only one with some of these struggles? Not that I want anyone else to struggle with waiting and trusting God, but it’s a bit of a relief to know others I know also deal with this.

      Perseverance is a strong word to learn how to live out daily! May God give you His perspective as you live it out in His ways. Thank you for that prayer about God fanning His flame of hope in each of our hearts. I’ll pray for you this week!

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  6. Ah … Jeanne, I’m with you on this. We’re in the early phases of trying to get Lilly through a knee injury, and it’s hard to juggle the need to trust God with my desire to try and set everything in place exactly how I think it should be. Phew. Thank you for this reminder to hold all those plans loosely and continually bring my fears and disappointments to the God of all hope.

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    1. Awww, Lois. I’m so sorry to hear about Lilly’s knee injury! What a disappointment and a perspective shift for your family! I know how hard it can be to hold all plans loosely, and yes, bring all those fears and disappointments to the God of Hope. It is such an intentional choice! I’ll be praying for you guys as you walk this out.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I struggle in the same way. It’s easy to know in our heads that our hope should be in God and even to pray about it, but then to pick up our burden again and try to sort it by ourselves. It is so freeing though on those occasions when we do manage to let go and trust God to deal with it.

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    1. Lesley, it’s kind of a relief to know we are not the only people who struggle with issues of hope, isn’t it? May we both have more of those occasions when we let go and trust God with the things we’re dealing with. Thank you for stopping by, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so impressed with your follow through, Jeanne. One Word, resolutions, goal setting never worked for me. So to hear what you’re learning and discovering as we move through September is a powerful example that yes, we can focus, with God’s help. And He can teach us huge lessons and give us important invitations in the process.

    Thank you …

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    1. Thanks, Linda. I’ve been thinking about what God has tried to teach me about hope for the past couple of months. I finally clued in recently. Ummm, yeah. It took that long. I love what you said about how God teaches us and gives us important invitations when we listen to and learn from those lessons.

      I always appreciate the insights you bring to conversations!

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  9. Jeanne, I struggle along these same lines, one day committing my way to the Lord and the next day frantically grabbing boot straps and to-do lists as if it all depended upon me. May we rest in His provision and in his wisdom and trust His perfect timing.

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    1. Michele, we are such fickle creatures, aren’t we? It’s such a day-by-day, even moment-by-moment choice to keep our hope in God, to wait for His leading and to trust when He has different plans from us. I’m relieved that it doesn’t all depend on me. Now, to live that out. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Again, I’m so sorry for this deep trial you’re going through, Jeanne. You’re not alone in trying to “fix it.” It’s hard to let go of the plans we have for our children and our family. It’s so easy to feel like we have failed and we have to do more and say more instead of remembering to let go and let God who has all power to turn things around and to bring beauty out of ashes. Thank you so much for this encouraging reminder to press into our God of hope, to engage with Him, and to grieve over our losses with Him. To let Him carry the weight of our hearts. To process things in our hearts with Him. May God hold you and your family closely to His heart of love and hope and carry you through! Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy, I’m so glad you enjoy the photos. I love when I can capture a photo of a butterfly. 🙂 They symbolize hope to me too. Yes, I do go through times where the best things I can do for my boys is to release them into God’s hands. I have already done this, but somehow, I have a knack for taking on more responsibility for them than I was meant to carry.

      I’m thankful our God takes me as I am, where I am, and meets my needs. And makes me more like Jesus. One step at a time. Thank you for your words and your hugs!

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      1. “I’m thankful our God takes me as I am, where I am, and meets my needs. And makes me more like Jesus. One step at a time.” Thank you, Jeanne. These words comfort my heart this morning. ❤️

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  11. Hope is an emotion that I associate with my boys, too. They all eventually found their paths, even though they were not the path I would have laid out for them. They are all adults now, and happy in their lives. All are kind, introspective and thoughtful. I guess that is what I should have hoped for all along!

    I love your one-word focus this year!

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    1. Laurie, being in the throes of the teen years, I’m discovering it can be difficult to see beyond the current crisis (one of which we had yesterday). I am encouraged by your words that they eventually find their paths. And, after watching friends whose children are older than ours, I have seen how the path kids follow is rarely the ones their parents hoped they’d pursue. Thanks for the reminder to hope and pray for the big picture things–good character, content with who they are being among them.

      I so appreciate your wisdom!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful words of wisdom and encouragement. I find myself being impatient and saying “I got this God”. And I know he is up there just shaking His head waiting on me to quit and so then He can do it right. By the way, your photos are fabulous.

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    1. Oh, Anita. You are describing me! “I’ve got this, God!” Like that two-year-old who says, “I do it!” It is comforting to know God waits for us to be ready to accept His help. He doesn’t give up on us. Right?

      Thanks for your kind words about my photos. 🙂 I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  13. Remembering it’s not all about me seems to be a recurring theme in my life. I just had some strong reminders from God this morning in my quiet time about a similar thing. I pray we all feel the hope of God and know that is enough.

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    1. That theme seems to be weaving through my life too, Mary. God has used recent circumstances to remind me things are so much bigger than me. That He’s got it. That it’s not all up to me. And it’s most certainly not all about me. 🙂 Praying that with you, friend.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful post. I too have had struggles with my 2 boys. But my word would be believe. Believe that you lead them on the right path, that you set a good example for them, and that they will find there way.

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    1. Wendy, “Believe” is also a great word. I love the confidence that comes through your words here. We have to believe that we are doing our best as moms and that God fills in our gaps. I appreciate your words. I’ve had those days where I have worried about being a less-than-stellar example for our boys. Thank you so much for your words here!

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