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A girl with stories

Retrospective Hope December 25, 2013

Filed under: Anti-trafficking,Freedom,His truth — Amanda Lynn @ 1:04 am

“This is the end of December….This is the end of December?!” These are the lofty, complicated thoughts that hit me this week. I guess I’ve reached the age where I start saying things like, “Where did the year go?”

Nevertheless, here I am, wrapping up a year of hope.

At first, hope was something I expected to find. It was seemingly ready and available.

It was easy to see hope when surrounded by others who had it in steady supply. It was easy before I heard about girls as young as 11 being sold for sex to grown men. Not only this, but that they are beaten, starved, humiliated. That’s when hope took on a whole new definition. (This is heavy, but stick with it for a minute)

When you’re waiting for test results that could easily alter a young life, when you’re waiting to hear how old a survivor is, when you sit down and hear her story in her own words….this was when hope started to look a little different.

“Small” successes are invaluable now. People who gave money and time to provide a home for these girls, seeing girls show up for group counseling sessions “just to be together“, seeing them smile and take a nice, deep breath when they come into the office. Those are the new hopes I have.

What never changed in all this was my reason for hope. He stays constant, unchanging.

The darkness may shift around and cast shadows that change, but the Light is eternally steadfast!

Because even when things are darkest…He sees light. The darkness is as light to Him!

Even when I walk into the dark…a great LIGHT has been shown.

When the darkness is overwhelming….I can rest assured the Light will not be overcome.

Instead, the Light overcomes the darkness time after time after time.

In this Light, my own deeds of darkness are exposed. My performance-driven, overachiever who wants to see big progress, who want to fix it and bring a good report, who wants to use her own strength to accomplish it all…

Those things, He’s told me to lay them down. The burdens I carry for the hopeless, they’re not mine to carry. I am utterly dependent on Him to show me which things I am to lay down and which things He’s supplying the strength I need to lighten the load.

See, this load called “trafficking” it’s one of those big, heavy, hard-to-carry loads that are often awkward to try to share. The only thing to do with a load like that is to lay it down.

In this laying down and taking up only what is mine to carry, I have become utterly dependent on the Lord. In Christianese, this doesn’t sound like a bad place to be and it might look nice on a spiritual resume. But let me tell you friends, it. is. hard. work.

I see now that dependence is a real gift.

There is hope in waiting for Him to take care of it all with his providential hands. These hands of His are working all things together for good and are not going to quit when they’ve begun a good work.

This December, I think about how seeing Hope’s first coming must have been hard work too. Who knew that over 2,000 years ago, amongst a subjugated people with no king of their own and no sign of military help…would come out of the stump of Jessie, a Savior. No one could’ve seen it.

We have to train our eyes to see Hope in the unlikeliest of places.

Why should the eye be so lazy?

Let us exercise the eye until it learns to see.

:: G.K. Chesterton ::

Hope is Someone I could never have done this year without. I’m grateful that even when I don’t see Him, He still sees me. This Light shines faithfully on the unfaithful.

In this year I see that hope is as steady as an anchor, but it’s also diverse and applicable to most every context you can imagine.

These past few weeks, I’ve been in Hebrews. This is so timely as I come to the end of 1 year with The Covering House. In these 12 months full of hope and of change and of hard, hard times…I see that God has brought me back to where he started this blog and this journey.

Hebrews 3 is where I was reading when God confirmed His call on my life to head to Africa…right there in the middle of college He whispered, “Do not harden your heart”. Out of that word came this blog, a trip to Namibia, a meeting with a girl named Melanie, and a heavier burden for the modern abolitionist movement. Through this, He took me to grad school and to The Covering House and to this year celebrating hope.

Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

:: Hebrews 3:6 ::

Sometimes all of us can see it, sometimes no one sees it but you, but the Light is breaking through.

I love that phrase “light breaks through.”

I love it because it means we’ve set up an outpost for the Kingdom, it means God’s way of life has been established for even just a moment here on earth, it means for just a while we saw the way we were always meant to live. Redemption. Wholeness. Beauty. Light. Hope!

It means that for a second everything fit and we caught a glimpse of the true intended humanity. It means something rises up in our souls when we see it, and we offer the only due response: “Praise His name! The Hope of glory!”

This year has shown me that no situation is more hopeless than my Savior is gracious.

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So, here it is – a snapshot of hope in black and white in these last several months.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who create beauty.

November 2013

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Abba. Father. We ask for relief for Syria and hope for us all.

September 2013

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This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek

:: Hebrews 6:19-20 ::

So, we stand…even when the seas require an anchor. We stand and look toward the Light.

July 2013

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No amount of or lack of obedience will counteract grace. It is infinite, matchless, boundless, untamed. Let’s let this grace works it’s way into our hearts and minds and then react in the only way we are able…in radical gratitude and love. “No guilt in life, no fear in death! This is the power of Christ in me!”

This is the hope we have!

May 2013

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Let’s be a community of women, gathered together to live more whole-hearted, to sharpen, challenge, love and inspire one another and then we’ll send each other back out into our worlds bearing the mandate given to our girl Eve…to be fruitful, to bring life into the dark places; speak life and hope into the hard places.

May 2013

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Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

:: Ephesians 3:20-21 ::

Night For Freedom: Hope Unseen

April 2013

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It is a daily surrender of what pride tells us in exchange for what the Truth is. The glory there is that even this exchange of lies for truth serves to remind us that the whole point of living is living in hopeful dependence on Him, of following Him one faltering step, one triumph over fear at a time.

April 2013

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You, brave-hearted who live with your hearts open, to the good and the bad…beat on and don’t be afraid because the Lamb of God has a heart of faithfulness toward His beloved.

Hope’s promises are sure!

March 2013

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Love hopes all things: (personal favorite!) it never stops hoping for the resolution and reconciliation of all things under heaven. It is resilient and tenacious in its expectation.

March 2013

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And as we fight for others (in all kinds of  beautiful ways only God can pull off) we’ll keep coming back to our freedom too. He is our only hope. {Romans 8:24-25}

And friends, Hope does not disappoint.

February 2013

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This Hope doesn’t begin in any one place in history. This Hope is not uncertain or wishful thinking. This Hope has always been, is unfaltering, is going to be here tomorrow and is one hundred percent certain.

Jehovah Elohim: My blessed HOPE

For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

:: Romans 8:24-25 ::

January 2013

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So, I entreat you, sister, to approach that dream with boldness.

I can promise you this…it will. be. worth it. 2013; a year for loads and loads of hope.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think,

according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church

and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen!

:: Ephesians 3:20-21 ::

January 2013

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So, staying with purpose on purpose is the plan for now. And with that plan for 2013, I have HOPE.

It’s all about this hope in the promises He has made.

December 31, 2012

Looking to 2014, I know Hope’s not going anywhere, sure as my soul (Hebrews 6).

I’m not usually big on the “naming your year” deal, but I have this hunch that 2014 is going to be a lot about growth and all things being new.

It’ll be about finding redemption in unlikely places and giving thanks in the mystery of this tension of the Kingdom being here and not yet. This darkness I see? Jesus knows all about it and it will be alright. Because the chaotic, polluted, sinful darkness is exactly the kind of place He chose to be born into.  It’ll be about watching darkness around me as it is REDEEMED, MADE NEW and then about giving THANKS for this miracle of grace.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of HOPE the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

For now, in this season, I am filled with hope and expectation in the waiting. Christ is coming!

He was always there, the Alpha, the First, the Beginning. {Genesis 1}

He has come, Immanuel, God with us.  {Matthew 1}

He is ever-present, our Helper, God with in us. {John 14}

He is coming, Faithful and True on a white horse, God forever with us. {Revelation 19}

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