Hope for the Heart During Recovery: A Short Memoir Piece
Years ago, I put my hope in something that not only failed me—it ensnared me.
Proverbs 13:12 says:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
I had a longing to settle down with the guy I had dated while attending high school; however, we broke up after spending a couple of years being together. All. The. Time.
We came so close to getting married we even scoped out affordable homes we liked. I couldn’t wait to set up house. Decorating and all things domestic appealed to me more than college or a career did.
A big gap was left in my heart when we went our separate ways.
Because I’d always enjoyed running, I looked to it and the gym as my way to cope with the stress and grief of loneliness. Looking back, it was a good thing my boyfriend and I broke up; for not only was I too immature to settle down, it would have been a disaster to put my hope of emotional salvation in a flawed relationship.
I needed a flawless Savior.
My childhood family had severed after a long period of turmoil. I needed healing—not another hopeless home.
Hope is a critical component of good mental health. Missing or misplaced hope messes with the mind.
My misplaced hope ended up messing with more than my mind. I couldn’t control the chaos in my childhood or my young adult years, but, unfortunately, I decided I was going to try controlling my body weight and size. I allowed my fear of fat to lure me into a worship of fitness, so instead of learning healthy coping strategies, I strategized a lifestyle around muscle and fitness which caused me to suffer more than ever.
I unknowingly embraced eating disorders.
Although they’re much talked about now, back in the late seventies and early eighties they weren’t as widely known. So I slipped into a mental illness that wreaked havoc with my mind and body. When I found myself despising me and what I was doing, I tried to stop the self-destructive behavior only to fall deeper into the pit of it. When I reached the bottom of bottoms, I called from the deep and God rescued me with His love.
I called from the deep and God rescued me with His love.
According to the Bible, hoping in His love is wise.
Psalm 147:11 says:
The LORD delights in those who fear him,
who put their hope in his unfailing love.
I’ve shared this story before. But today I want to focus on the hope aspect of recovery, because I’ve been watching people around me struggle to have and hold onto hope.
A friend, who also found her recovery in Christ, recently said, “I don’t know how anyone can be well without Jesus in their heart.”
I nodded in agreement because I remembered how hard I tried to have hope, have normal, and have joyful in my heart. I struck out on all three. Yet, when I delighted myself in God, I was able to secure a home-run in all three of these desires.
Psalm 37:4 says:
Delight yourself in the LORD;
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Holy hope happens in a heart who is happy in Him.
Delighting myself wholly in an earthly relationship rather than with the Holy One didn’t end well, nor did over-focusing on my appearance.
When I find my “happy in Him—God” during a temptation to wallow in unhappy, He puts holy in my heart. I have no hope or holiness on my own.
Holiness only comes to a heart hallowed for Him.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) gives us the following hope:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
And God is faithful;
he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.
But when you are tempted,
he will provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
This verse was one of my main weapons in my battle against eating disorders. When I focused on the promise in it, hope rose in me and enabled me to believe God could and would help me.
He did—indeed—help. He healed me.
The memory of the miracle He wielded in me reminds me to trust Him. In each of my temptations to find hope or happy in something outside of Him, I have an opportunity to experience a holy moment when I choose to trust…
God is enough,
God is faithful,
and God provides.
During the days of dearth brought on by disappointments or the divorce of our desires, we must dig into the hope found in the Word of God.
Words such those found in Romans 15:13:
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.
I eventually did set up house and spend decades enjoying domesticity. God brought me a man who is not only committed, but who desires the peaceful lifestyle of having a stay-at-home partner. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a blessing to us.
I delighted, God delivered.
Psalm 62:5 says:
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.
Hope in Christ, dear friends; He is the God of Hope.
I’d like to close with a poem:
Hope for the Heart
Hope in God’s power
Paves the way for win
When we’ve trusted in Christ
Who wipes away our sin
Hope prepares the heart
To be found in Christ alone
When we believe He’s enough
To bring us safely Home.
Blessings of Holy Hope ~ Wendy
Have you witnessed a recovery in Christ? Have you experienced one? I’m nosy-to-know.
(Today, I’ve shared pictures I took of our home and garden last May. A recent snowfall has created quite the havoc of broken branches on our .77 acre place. You can see snowy pictures in my previous post. Soon I will post what I learned about “Patches of Pretty” in a messy situation. I’m so glad spring is near.)
Here’s a link to my latest podcasts on HopeStreamRadio: Walking With Hope
Here’s a link to my SoundCloud page: Walking With Wendy