Several years ago I stumbled onto the writings of Sarah Bessey, and devoured her books Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts like it was my job. I couldn’t get over how each word that she wrote resonated with me so strongly. Different pieces of each of those works have stuck with me and I find myself pulling up passages frequently in different seasons. For example:
“Miracles sometimes look like instant healing; and other times, miracles look like medication and patience and discipline.. . . .Miracles sometimes look like a kapow! lightening-striking revelation; and sometimes miracles look like showing up for your counseling appointments.” (Jesus Feminist)
My miracles have looked like medication and patience and disciple and showing up for counseling. Every. Single. Time.
“I want to be part of a people who see the darkness, know it’s real, and then, then, then, light a candle anyway.” (Out of Sorts)
But without a doubt, what I turn to the most from her books was a poem she shared at the beginning of “Jesus Feminist”, written by Idellette McVicker.
Manifesto: Let us be Women who Love
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.
Let us be women who Love.
Let us be women who make room.
Let us be women who open our arms and invite other into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.
I highly recommend you read the whole thing here. I love the way it makes me catch my breath, and the way it makes me examine myself.
A bit further down in the poem there is this line:
Let us be women who breathe Hope.
This sounds like an impossibility in some ways. But I’m trying.
Breathing Hope in and filling my body with it. Exhaling Hope and spreading it to those around me. Requiring Hope as I require breath to sustain me. Scrambling for Hope as I would scramble for oxygen when I find myself deprived.
I’m not great at it, and many times when my anxiety begins to spiral I have to fight for that Hope and that breath. And many times, I can’t fight my way back alone and someone else has to talk me out of my vortex and back to breathing.
It’s been not quite a year since I started this blog. Yesterday I went down the rabbit hole of reading my older posts: the chapter-based story of my journey, my thoughts on fear and love and growing older and motherhood.
And when I got to Bella’s story I found myself tearing up again.
Beautiful Bella. She is doing so well today. So full of life and promise and joy.
I cried to remember her darkness.
And I cried in gratitude for how far she has come.
Sometimes as I go through the grind of life, it’s easy to feel a safe distance from her story. Easy to think of it as a thing that happened in the past, a foggy nightmare with fading details that I can’t quite touch. But when I read my older entries, it comes back in a wave of emotion and I remember everything. Where I was when I got the original phone call. The first conversation. The recognition that I had not told her my story. The prayers. The feel of her carpet under my back as I fitfully slept with one eye open. When I try, I can remember almost the tiniest detail.
But she is doing SO WELL. With therapy and medication and love and support; those patient miracles. I look at her and my heart is lightened.
She was the catalyst to my speaking out, and starting the blog. . . .and writing it has been therapeutic for me, as well as a way to remind myself to breathe Hope for others.
And so, I write for Hope; to light a candle against the darkness for those doing battle.
I write to breathe Hope to those who find themselves alone in this darkness for the first time, scared and ashamed and questioning God.
To breathe Hope to those who have been in the darkness for so long they no longer remember the Light, whose friends don’t know, who are highly functioning or barely functioning, but fighting.
To breathe Hope to those whose anxiety causes them to chew their nails beyond the quick, to cry in fear of the smallest change.
To breathe Hope to the teens and young adults who don’t know how to ask for help, who aren’t sure who to talk to, or how to face the idea that this isn’t just a phase of growing up.
To breathe Hope to the parents and friends and supporters of those of us who struggle, who are exhausted and broken and fearful, but not giving up.
To breathe Hope for myself, through reminders of improvements, of miracles, of the faithfulness of God.
Hope that progress, small and steady, can be made.
Hope that can be found in the belief that Jesus hears your cries, and holds you closely.
Hope that there is purpose in this journey, and that joy can still exist – both within the journey and on the other side of it.
I won’t pretend that the darkness isn’t real. But I will light the candle regardless.
There is always still Hope.
God has you, however distant He may feel at the moment. He is holding you and He loves you – so cling to the Hope that comes with being held and loved.
Hope is still here. Tomorrow may be the day that the light breaks free.
Keep breathing Hope.
Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you.
I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.