“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

I had a friend a few nights ago who sent out a text asking for prayer. She was hurting, the darkness reaching deeper than she could endure. She needed her people to battle with her, so she reached out and asked us to contend in the late hours of the night. And as I received her message and began to pray, hope filled me. I love this friend, and I can see the favor and the grace that covers her life. I can see that heaviness and despair are not the defining marks of her story.

I believe that what God says is true, that He is with her, He will not leave her, that His promises to her hold true. And so I prayed, and I hurt for her, and in that quiet hour of the morning, I felt a stirring in my heart for a similar thing, only this time it was also for myself. I felt this small whisper that said, “Hey, Mary Cate, you can hope for yourself in this way too.” And that surprised me because through this prayer for my friend I came to find that I am more hopeful for others than for myself.

And isn’t that how it always works? We pray, contend, and support. We see past our friend’s weaknesses and her struggles and grab hold of the promise of breakthrough. But when the table turns, and we’re the ones needing help, it feels so hopeless, like there’s no way we’re ever making it out of this. We can’t seem to see or believe that the same God who is working in the hearts of others is alive and active in our own hearts. We can’t comprehend that He is willing beyond measure to help us heal and grow, too.

I’m so guilty of this–believing that my sin and my sadness and the messy parts of my life are never going to leave me. And to some degree, that’s true because we live in a broken world. Through this conversation with God, I realized that I was denying myself the right to hope for my own growth, healing, and freedom. I was not allowing myself to live in the promises of God and refusing the relationship and grace He was offering me. And I bet a lot of the time you aren’t letting yourself live this way either. Because we live in a world that says that you must fix yourself, and you’re not lovable until you do.

The truth is that we serve a loving and compassionate God who will never leave us in our process. We can breathe. We can trust. We can hope.

What do you think would happen if we chose to believe that God and others care about us just as much as we care about others? What would happen if we chose to extend grace to ourselves, to breathe and hope for what is to come, instead of shaming ourselves for not being enough?

I don’t have all the answers. I’m just beginning to process this idea. But for today, I’m choosing to hope for myself in the way that I choose to hope for the people that I love. I’m choosing to rest and be kind to myself, and I’m choosing to welcome God into the scary and messy parts of my heart. I’m believing that I will always grow, I will always come to know and love Jesus and others more and more, God cares about me, and He is helping me become.

Hope makes the promise of change just a little bit easier. Even still, the change isn’t even the goal. A deep relationship with Jesus is the goal. For without Him and the revelation of His Great Love, the good that comes out of me would be in vain. There would be nothing substantial about it.

Romans 5:3-5 is stirring in my heart as I think about this newfound hope I have for this process.

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Hope is coming, my friend. Hope is already here. Even in the process, even in the darkest places in your soul.

You will not always be where you are today. The Father is coming to rescue you, to breathe life once again into your weary soul.

The thrill of Hope, the weary world rejoices. For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

You can rejoice for today. You can have hope for yourself. Take a breath, rest. And choose once again to trust, to believe, and to hope. Abba’s taking care of you.