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Prisoners of Hope

Ready to quit

That’s it. I quit. I simply can’t do this anymore. Maybe homeschooling teen boys isn’t the best idea.

Closing the door behind me, I allowed the churning washing machine to drown out the noise throughout the rest of the house.

Seriously??? Who tossed detergent all over the walls and sides of the machine?

 Scrubbing furiously the mess off the wall, I longed to clean the fury staining my heart.

Screaming at my kids left me exhausted, filled with guilt and shame. This opened a door for a thought-waged war.

  • You should’ve put them in school.
  • They are regressing.
  • You are holding them back.
  • Their attitude is from yours.
  • You’re ruining your family.
  • You should quit.
  • You can’t control them.
  • You can’t write to encourage people; look at your own mess.
  • You are trapped.

Prisoner of circumstance

I confess I’m prone to feeling a victim, a prisoner, of circumstances at times. As I escaped to the laundry room, all my thoughts were condemning messages lacking all hope.

My husband called to check on me. He offered his best effort at encouragement. “There’s hope.”

“There’s no hope. Well, yes, there’s hope in Jesus, but there is no hope for this situation. I’m stuck.” Why couldn’t I simply shut my mouth? Every time I opened it, words flew out that filled me with regret. I knew they weren’t true.

Prisoner of hope.

These were the words I saw in my notes app hours after my tantrum. Prisoner of Hope. I’d typed it exactly one month ago when I read Zechariah.

“Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.” Zechariah 9:12

We aren’t prisoners of our circumstances. We are prisoners of hope. And He calls out to us, “Return to your stronghold.”

Return to your stronghold

I’d abandoned my stronghold while allowing the enemy to build his own.

A stronghold by definition is a well-fortified place. Scripture grants insights to both sides of strongholds.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

I was allowing my fears to run as wild as a toddler drunk on red food coloring.

War Well

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” 2 Cor 10:3-4

“The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm 9:9

Back to Him I flee. Back to the safety of His embrace.

Return, O prisoner of hope.

We don’t let ourselves become prisoners of the enemy because we’ve been set free. We are redeemed. We are His prisoners of hope.

“Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9

You are a daughter (or son) of the King. He comes to you.

I’d felt a raging monster, yet here He comes to me. Gentle. And I melt in His tenderness.

“Tell Daughter Zion, “Look, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.” Matthew 21:5

Our burden bearing King came toward us riding on a burden bearing animal. We need not carry the burdens, entrapping ourselves under the back-breaking weight.

What burdens do you carry? Your King is coming to you. He came. He is here. He is coming again.

You are His beloved, His prisoner of hope. Don’t let the enemy lie to you. You don’t belong to him. You aren’t his prisoner. You are a prisoner of hope.

 

 

 

 

 

The Blessing of You

Rain porch

After a full fall schedule, I sit here with few words.  Seeking Christmas released the last week of August, and I haven’t stopped until this week.  My last official event took place Thursday and Friday, so now I breathe.

The Lord has challenged me, encouraged me, and sustained me.  And He has blessed me wildly.  And not the way the world may recognize. (Remember this post?)  Seeking Christmas hasn’t broken records, topped charts, or won awards in its first season….yet I feel wildly blessed.  One of the ways the Lord has blessed me is through you.

Your words slipped into my inbox, your notes coming quietly through Facebook messages have filled my heart with encouragement and allowed me a glimpse at the work the Lord is doing in each of you.

I write to inspire and encourage….you.  I pray for you.  I connect with you when I write.  And the Lord has blessed me by bringing each of you into my life.  Writing has brought me an unexpected gift.  You are a gift and a treasure to me.

Through readers of this blog and readers of Seeking Christmas, I have come to love people I have never even met in person.  I have seen the goodness of the Lord in the lives of once strangers brought into my life through words shared, hearts revealed, and passions grown.

I sit here now watching the rain puddle on the porch- realizing I have months worth of life to catch up on.  But it can wait 2 more weeks. We are quietly seeking Christmas in our home. Each Christmas holds the same truths, yet each Christmas looks different.  Even when we are living out traditions year after year, each season may look different.

My prayer today is that we pause.  That we pause and reflect on the true meaning of it all-that we seek the true holiness of it all.  He is coming.  His birth was humble and simple, the message profound and turned the world inside out.  May he do that in our lives this season with the simple gifts of Christmas:  hope, love, peace, and joy.

Seeking Christmas is a 7 day family devotion that guides families into intentional times of worship and activities that focus on discovering the true meaning and gifts of Christmas.  It holds the same truths for each family using it, but will look different in each home.  Your family can create your own unique memories and experiences while Seeking Christmas together through guided devotions and activities.