Between Faith and Hope

Living in faith is hard. Having faith means having hope and hope can be painful. It can be especially hard when seeing so much heartbreaking news. On Easter my pastor walked us through the doubt Thomas had in believing Jesus was alive.

It’s hard to believe in the hope of Christ at times.

When churches are burned down in St. Landry Parish in Louisiana.

As the Norte Dame burned last week.

When families worshipping are violently killed.

When a young mother has to be put into a comatose state to prevent her condition from worsening .

It’s hard to hope in the midst of all that. To doubt that God cares about any of that. To have hope in the middle of hardships and pain.

In these things I see the care and love of God. I watch as people donate money to rebuild churches. As people sing hymns in the streets of Paris, worshiping, weeping and seeking. As people come together to grieve for worshippers killed at their Mosque. As Christians endured this tragedy this past Sunday. As prayers for Rachel Held Evans trend on Twitter, I see faith and belief and love take hold.

I see Jesus. He is there in the midst of it all. In the grief and the coming together, the messiness of it all.

Having faith doesn’t mean having everything fixed. It doesn’t mean everything is just right.

For me it means sitting with hope in the midst of hardship. It means sitting in grief because grief doesn’t negate hope. It means making room for questions but also for answers.

Having faith allows me to reach for hope when I fear the pain it might bring. Faith has allowed me to understand hope in the struggle. Sometimes it looks like living in the in between of faith and hope. In all of it Jesus meets all of us.

Expanding My Bookshelf

I love to read well everything! Books, articles, Twitter, the side of cereal boxes Reading has been a habit since I learned to read. One of the best experiences is being pulled completely into another world. So much so that it takes a few minutes to adjust to the real world.

Something I’ve been working on is expanding the authors I do read. It’s easy to get into the habit of reading the same or similar writers again and again.

Taking the time to read books written by people who have different life experiences only helps to enhance empathy and knowledge. Two things that can seemingly be absent these days. Below will be a list of some of my recent reads. Take a look at your book shelf. If you have a majority of authors from one race or gender, or ideology then it’s time to expand that bookshelf. Take a moment to google or heck ask your local librarian for suggestions.

Making time to read can be daunting. There seems to be so much to do each and every day. Making time to read has been a challenge at times. I get sucked into social media at times. I have to remind myself that it’s ok to read a few pages or if I am able to finish a book in one day. Or if I’m just not liking a book, it’s just fine to set it aside.

This is also something I’ve applied to my writing but that’s another post.

Books and articles are more nuanced and not as reactive as social media. They take time, thought and research to create. Cost isn’t as prohibitive thanks to your local library and e-libraries. I love using the Hoopla and Libby apps! If you have to return an unfinished book, when you borrow it again the LAST PAGE YOU READ IS SAVED! (As you can see this part really excited me ).

I mentioned Twitter earlier because it has been such an a great place to find new authors. Authors that have challenged me and expanded my library a little bit more. Such as Sarah Bessey and Rachel Held Evans and more recently Kaitlin Curtice and Candice Marie Benbow. I also have to thank the podcast Levar Burton Reads which has also introduced me to other authors such as Ken Liu and Octavia Butler.

I’ve started to incorporate more non- fiction books into my rotation such as Stamped From The Beginning by Ibram X Kendi and The Cooking Gene by Michael K. Twitty.

Challenge yourself in what your reading. Expand your shelf a bit more.

Some other Books I’ve read recently, list is far from comprehensive.

The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips

Maisie Dobbs Detective Series by Jacqueline Winspear

Letters to the Church by Francis Chan

The Last Days Of Cafe Leila by Donia Bijan

I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown