“I have found it very important in my own life to try to let go of my wishes and instead to live in hope. Hope is open-ended.” Henri Nouwen
I don’t remember turning on the stove. Or putting the kettle on the burner.
I was upstairs, listening to music stream, eyes intently following words trickling across my computer screen halting at times, in staccato-like bursts. Like a reluctant seamstress at the helm of a runaway sewing machine, my thoughts were carrying me far away from where I was sitting.
I forgot water was boiling. I forgot I wanted tea.
Until I caught the smell of something. Burning.
I didn’t know where my writing was leading me that morning. But, if I stopped to analyze where it was all heading — if I paused to question the value of what I was doing — I would lose the moment.
I would no longer be fully present.
I would begin spectating — evaluating, judging or worrying — instead of living in the moment — out of an open heart.
I separate myself from the moment and analyze, rather than experiencing the moment.
I forget hope is open-ended.
Because hope isn’t a destination.
Hope is a journey of the heart.
Hope is a gentle breeze rustling autumn leaves to lay a blanket of yellow and crimson over the earth.
Hope keeps our hearts warm, so it can find its way back home again.
The Things That Surface
Writing is a lot like life really.
There’s a lot of waiting.
You don’t know where the words will lead. Yet, for a glimmer of a chance, you have to take the risk of making room. To wait.
You have to take the journey —
to make some space in your heart,
to be present,
You have to hope that small voice inside you is real.
Finding Home Again
Waiting is hard. When we wait, the things that are unspoken surface in us: our dreams, our desperations, and the memories we thought had long ago faded somehow ebb and flow into focus in differing intensities.
In waiting, we find ourselves in the middle of our journeys. We may be asked to trust God to do something new. Maybe that something new is staying the course where God is calling you, when everyone else around you seems to be moving on. Or maybe it is time for you to leave where you’ve been.
The truth is that we are all in the process of waiting —
because we are all on the journey of faith — of finding home again.
Waiting For God
Advent reminds us we are all in the process of waiting.
And because this is true, Advent reminds us we all need hope.
As I helped four-year-old CJ light the first candle of hope earlier this week, I felt an ache in my heart.
I didn’t understand why. A heaviness seemed to wake up with me the next morning.
The following night, as I placed my hand around eight-year-old TJ’s to light the candle the second night together, I felt a flicker longing again.
After getting ready for bed, I went around the house, turning off the little LED lights in Christmas candle votives that lined our windows, I felt a tinge of sadness ehoing in the serenity of evening solitude.
Thanksgiving was wonderfully meaningful and restful, celebrating with friends who have become family.
But, I did not celebrate with my family of origin. Yet, I did not give myself any room to grieve.
I realized this Advent season involves letting go of what I’ve always wished for.
I realized this Advent involves waiting for God to meet me in my grief.
This is the first year the little girl in me is learning to walk out into the world.
She is finally allowing herself to say goodbye to what has never been, to what is lost.
She is doing what she could not do before — letting go of the home she wished had — to find the real home Jesus has always intended for her to experience. With Him.
The little girl in me longs for a soulful Christmas.
She longs to be happy.
To be present.
In a way she’s never dared herself to embrace.
She wants to dare. To dream again.
Grieving what is lost is part of this journey of hope.
So she can be real. And fully live into her story.
A Soulful Christmas
Like a runner breaking out of starting blocks, I flew down the stairs.
I imagined a kitchen engulfed by the lick of orange flames.
Instead, I found a kettle smoking on glowing red burner — unable to whistle because the cap on the spout was left open. Forgotten. I instinctively pulled it off the stovetop and found liquid metal dripping, splashing onto the floor.
The bottom of the kettle melted.
And so has my wounded heart.
Have you taken the first steps of Advent to remember what it’s like to hope again?
Let’s stop spectating and fully experience each moment fully.
Let’s be present. As is.
Have you ever wondered how your heart can feel full — yet long and ache — in the quiet corners of your soul as well? It can because it’s breathing and alive.
Never Too Late
It’s never too late to start Advent. Right where you are. As you are.
It’s never too late to make room for the little girl in you.
It’s never too late for hope.
Jesus whispers —
I’m here. With You.
To make this journey.
“And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod,
[the wise men] returned to their country by another route.”
~ Matthew 2:12
An Advent Prayer of Hope: A Soulful Christmas
Lord Jesus, tenderly touch our hearts.
Deepen our longing to seek quiet spaces,
to confide in you in ways we’ve never dared,
to find that still small voice behind a heavy heart.
Because we are always on the journey of waiting,
you are always coming for us,
in places where we’ve forgotten to feel.
Help us to let go of our broken wishes,
so we can hold onto you
and make the journey to hope again.
Comfort us when we are anxious in the waiting,
over the many things that trouble us.
Help us to really believe,
and guide our heart’s homecoming in you again.
Are you longing for a more soulful Christmas? How is Advent speaking to your heart this week?
How is hope a part of your journey today?
Pull up a chair. Be present in this moment with me. Click to comment.
Psst... Remember tomorrow is our Thursday Faith Jam. May the writing prompt bring you to a quiet place inside your soul and spark a soul conversation to share with us in community. The writing prompt was inspired by readers’ response to last month’s post “Four Movements To Be At Rest & Be Yourself.”
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Oh Bonnie, your prayer resonated deeply with my heart! Thanks for sharing…
Hope beautiful and tender moments are touching your heart this week, Marina!
Thank you for sharing. 8 days will mark 6 years since my father passed away. Just before Christmas. It also marks the time when I stopped truly celebrating the season. For months now I’ve had “tuggings” on my heart to open up and HOPE again. As I read your blog, I felt a dam burst. Thank you. Your words reached me in a place no one else could, and its there I found my hope again. More importantly, I stopped running. Thank you so very much.
What a beautiful picture of hope — the “tuggings” on your heart — like the hand of a Friend reaching out to touch yours. To let you know your are safe. You are home. Thanks for sharing such tender moment here, Lisa. Merry new Christmas.
Whenever I see a post from you in my feed, I get really excited to read what you have written. And, beautiful as always 🙂
“…To confide in you in ways we’ve never dared……Help us to let go of our broken wishes…..Comfort us when we are anxious in the waiting…” Yes, yes, yes. Prayers of my heart.
I’m hoping and waiting for God to lead me into the next step of my life.. and as you said waiting is hard… but God meets us where we are 🙂
Keep bringing the whispers of your heart to the surface — and your waiting will become a movement to lean in — and free your heart to take next steps by faith. To explore. You have what you need for this journey ahead, Kadi. God in you.
I will be 60 years old this month, and I find myself alone in this town for the first time in my life. I am also in dire need of a job. I am living in hope because I love Jesus and I know he loves me. He wants me to prosper and live an abundant life. I am drawing near to him, that he will draw nearer to me. He is my hope, my strength. I am trying to wait in this time of uncertainty without fear, and your words this morning have spoken to my heart. This writing is beautiful, and I thank you for your words.
Happy birthday, Robbie. You were made with a beautiful picture in mind when God placed you here — at this time — and even at this place. He is with you — each step you take ahead. I pray for open doors for you, friend. And for courage to reach out and let others join you in this season.
Thank you for your heartfelt post today. It moved me deeply.
Dear Lynn, thank you for being present with me this morning. You being here moves me deeply.
A beautiful post, from a beautiful heart…. Thank you and bless you~
Wish we could visit — and I could listen to all your heart holds for this Christmas. Thankful for you.
A journey of hope…… through grief and sorrow……. I really do understand I have experienced this, yet I wish the grief and sorrow and pain and loss and heartache sometimes would just go away. I hate it when friends tell me God will not give you more than you can bear. I disagree. He gives me more than I can bear all the time, so I can experience him bearing it for me. Thank you Bonnie for this reminder that there is HOPE through it.
Yes, the grief and sorrow lifts — let’s make room for moments to experience hope. Like the wings of a butterfly, one wing may be grief, but the other in the pair is hope. I pray for dew drops of hope to touch your heart and make this Christmas season a nurturing one of hope for you, Katie. Hugs.
“you are always coming for us,
in places where we’ve forgotten to feel.”
What love, what compassion! He really is that good. This was a beautiful post, Bonnie. <3
Thanks, dunlizzie. I can only imagine the beautiful landscape you see in your part of the world. And may Christmas bring you many more moments of beauty. New. Just for you. 🙂
I pray that you experience a totally joy filled Christmas that is overflowing with love and God’s healing presence.
Melting the kettle to the stove? I can’t tell you how many kettles I have melted because I did put water in them and then got on the computer upstairs only to completely forget about it. Until I smelled something burning. Yup, I had to replace the burner coil, too. My son went out and bought me an electric tea kettle that shuts OFF automatically when it reaches the boiling temperature. And we won’t go into hard boiled eggs I’ve exploded on the stove, too, for the same reasons. Now I stand by the stove and when it comes to a boil with the egg in the pot, I shut off the burner, put a lid on the pot and then let the contained heat cook the egg. So fear not! You are far from alone. LOL!! Have a very joyous Christmas!!
Christine! You made me laugh. Exploding hard boiled eggs! Can you see mine exploding — egg whites all a mess in the pot too? 🙂 Yay — I’m not alone! LOL
My egg exploded all over the kitchen. I had to clean up bits of egg everywhere and that wonderful sulfur smell was just delightful.. LOL!! The bottom of the pot, on the inside, was all charred too, but it didn’t melt to the stove because I heard the loud pop of the egg exploding.
People will think I’m a disaster of a cook, but actually I’m not. I just cannot put anything on the stove and sit down in front of the computer. It only happened with boiling water for tea (but that’s now solved) and eggs.
I do need to let go of what I have longed for. I need to be present in the present. I need to reflect joy in my waiting. I need to hope. I need to persevere in hope, this time not in what I have longed for, but in Him.
Bonnie, thank you yet again for so gently leading me back to where I wandered from. I am still numb but your words are filtering through.
Have a blessed Christmas with your family, dear sister.
Thank you! I’ve done the teapot thing too. Ugh. And eggs.
I am resonating with your longing and your grief. I have written a few posts about this myself in this season. The most recent two really echo what you are saying here. If you have time you can read this one about when God entered my manger heart: http://heartshomeward.blogspot.com/2013/12/when-god-entered-my-manger-heart.html
I truly believe after talking with my prayer partner that Christmas (Advent) is the time when we see all that is not as it should be — that we see our need for a Savior. In our attempts even to honor Him, we are broken and something is missing. We groan with creation for His perfection to enter into this reality of our lives. Thank you, as always, for telling the truth — and about the waiting while writing: yes! It is so true. We sit to write something and the voice of our inner writer leads us somewhere unexpected, revealing our hearts. God bless you, Bonnie.
To hope and dream while waiting is certainly appropriate during Advent. All the faithful of Israel were doing just that the night Jesus was born. Little did they know their Messiah, Emmanuel, WAS finally with them–in human form!
As we wait and hope for our personal dreams to come to pass, we can affirm the promise of Isaiah 65:24. “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear.” God is most assuredly “coming for us” to meet needs and work in people’s lives–in the ways he knows are best.
P.S. Add me to the list of absent-minded writers who has burned up a tea kettle!
Thanks so much for your encouragement, Bonnie. With a deep aching and longing in my heart, I especially reflect on: “Grieving what is lost is part of this journey of hope. So she can be real. And fully live into her story.”
Giving myself permission to grieve for the loss of a friend and my son’s situation, but opening my heart to the joy of Jesus’ birth.
It is difficult to wait when you have experienced terrible pain and loss. We lost our son, Clint seven years ago. He was such a blessing! He was only 25 years old and had such a wonderful future ahead of him. Our lives have been chnaged forever. It is so hard to keep hope for the future. Gail
You said:she is finally allowing herself to say goodbye to what has never been , to what is lost. Letting go of th home she never had.
As a read n follow along on your journey, I am reminded of my own losses. The holiday season is always a bit dificult when spending it with family of origin is not an option. We are/I am bombarded with messages on tv about family. This too makes a constant reminder of what is not.
Every year I must find ways to make it from thanksgiving thru new year. Always a challenge.
I’m glad u have friends you can be with.
Such a great point appointing Advent making us wait…I will wait upon The Lord.
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