Hope – How can such a small word make such a big difference in a person’s life? I guess that depends on who or what you are putting your hope in! For so many years my hope depended on temporal things that could dissolve in an instant. I did not know what faith was and I was clueless about where to buy a mustard seed.
“It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
I guess I had dignity (pride) and integrity (honesty) mixed up with faith. I remember after my cancer surgeries, my mother told me, “Sandy, walk into the room with your chin up and your head held high. It will be hard at first, but you can be a lady with dignity no matter the time, place or circumstance. Honey, the scars are not going to go away. You are going to have to learn to defeat them or they will defeat you!” I think those words will be engraved in my mind forever.
Mama was not being insensitive, but she knew I had a rough road ahead in this journey called life. Keeping my dignity would help me get over some of the bumps and ruts in the roads ahead. If I knew then what I know now, the signs would have read: danger ahead, no U-turns allowed, slippery when wet, so try not to cry too much!
Little did I know those words would echo in my ears every time I walked into a room where people did not know me. Time and time again. I prayed, “O God, just once do not let them stare at me so long and hard. Sometimes I feel as if their eyes are devouring me and are looking all the way into my soul.” At first I wanted to stare back at them, and stick my tongue out at them, but then I remembered after the surgery, my tongue wasn’t long enough. Mom was right, I was just going to have to accept it, but the only way I could do that was to have some hope in my heart. Where could I go to find it? It was many years before I found the answer. Someone finally came along and told me, “You are praying to God to help you, but you do not have the faith to believe that He will.” Well, that was not what I wanted to hear! I didn’t know how to find hope, much less faith!
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
So, I asked and shortly thereafter, it was given to me. No one put the answer in my hand I had to go search for it. The funny part is that it was in my heart the whole time. The problem was it was laying dormant waiting to be brought to life by the One who put it there.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
God had been in the shadows waiting for me to acknowledge His Presence. My pride and dignity overshadowed Him. As I look back over the years, I realize it was Him that gave the strength I so desperately needed. I know now that it was His sovereign will over my life to have the cancer because He used it to make me become the person He needed me to be! Now, when I walk into a room, I still hold my chin up and my head held high, but it is not because of pride or dignity. It is because through His grace and mercy, He turned my scars into badges of victory. The scars show a victory and have become the trophies in my life that lead me to Calvary! Believe me when I say, there is not a better place to be!