If there is a single word God has especially put on my heart for this year, it is HOPE. I cannot help but observe that we are WIRED to hope! Toward the end of 2020, there seemed to be a sense of relief among many that the year was soon to be over. We WANT things to be better. We WILL for things to be better. We BELIEVE things will be better. … And it’s when we waver or lose that belief that we start to fall apart.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has taken a toll on mental and emotional health on people of ALL ages; but God has created us with resiliency too. Are you hopeful for a better future? Do you believe there are better things to come? No, I didn’t say perfect; I didn’t say a future with NO problems. But BETTER. A future full of beauty and good things.
We are three months into the New Year. Maybe 2021 (or the recent sunshine!) has rekindled a sense of hope for you. Don’t let that spark die! If discouragement tries to snuff it out, reflect on what is true… and HOPE:
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
God promises us hope and a future!
Isaiah 40:30-31 (NIV)
“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Even young ones get weary and stumble. If we hope in the Lord, no matter our age, we will find new strength!
God created your whole being – physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. Engage God’s lessons of hope for you and your family in physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual ways! Here are some ideas for cultivating hope for ALL AGES:
(adapted from https://brainpowerboy.com/hope-activities-for-kids/)
- Grow a plant! Growing plants gives an opportunity to nurture, and teaches patience in hope, in anticipation for new things coming to completion. It can be an exciting hands-on way even for young children to begin to learn these concepts.
- Make or build something! Take it a step further by gathering some scraps and recyclable materials. Something beautiful, unique, or even functional can be created from what would otherwise be a mess.
- Share stories of hope! Find Bible stories, and share your own personal stories, of how God has fulfilled his promises. Find age-appropriate books about hope and read them together.
- Give to others! Actively participate in the hope God provides by using the resources he has given you (i.e., time, energy, creativity, finances) to give to others.
- Set and reach goals! Set small, attainable goals. Help your children do so too. Brainstorm together what is needed to reach each goal, what obstacles might get in the way, and what can be done to overcome those obstacles. A sense of purpose and accomplishment can fuel hope.
- Connect with other hopeful people! Make a list of people in your life who will encourage you in hope, and make it a point to connect with them on a regular basis. Actively participate in your church community.
- Practice gratitude! Recognize what God is already doing and providing. Think about the GOOD things that have happened, even in 2020. This doesn’t mean ignoring any grief and loss you’ve experienced; it means recognizing ALL that has occurred, including the good.
Now, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NIV)
Blessings to you, and a happy, hope-filled spring!
Mrs. (Bethany) De La Cruz