When Hope Swoops In and Unties the Knots {Or — The Cure for a Week of Doom}


It was a week in which I only wrote one post. About a sofa. And now it’s a Saturday and I’m writing a serious post and not a fun Saturday post with weekend treats. What’s going on?

Behind the scenes there’s been an abundance of angst and crazy and stress. You’re probably thinking, Oh Marian, that’s because it’s the end of the year and you have children and all. May is always like this, silly girl! 

That would be a logical guess. And it’s true. But I’ll be honest with you — all of the crazy? It was mine. All mine. I get to own all of it and it’s rather humiliating and ridiculous because I’m a grown-up. I should know better. I do know better. But sometimes emotions + circumstances + a hard heart + spiritual apathy + other stuff that I won’t mention equals complete and utter ugly. If you saw me this week, you would probably assume that everything was just fine. But behind the scenes, we had the kind of ugly that you pray the Lord will erase from your children’s memories.

This morning my husband and I were talking. He was telling me about this strange dream he had in which he was at an amusement park and a ride that was supposed to go briefly under water {while everyone was strapped in with knotted ropes} sunk to the bottom. It came back up to the top but he realized that it was going to go back down and stay there, that they would all drown unless someone intervened. He took a huge deep breath when they came back up and told himself to remain calm while he unknotted the ropes with the last of his breath and pushed the platform up through the surface of the water before everyone drowned.

I said to him, Well that’s really weird. Because I had a dream that I boarded a bus that was going to purposely drive off a cliff to the doom of all the passengers. I got onto the bus knowing this. It was awful.

We talked about dreams and how you’re not supposed to analyze the details but rather how the dream makes you feel. Often it’s an indicator of what’s going on in your real life. I laughed and said, We both had dreams that we were on a sinking ship {or bus in my case.} We both had terrifying, doomsday dreams. How appropriate.

My husband’s response surprised me. I didn’t feel terrified that I was on a sinking ship. We were all going to die and I saved everyone’s life. I felt like a hero. 

The irony made me smile but it was also significant. Who was calm? Who was the hero? Not me, that’s who. I was not sane. I was freaking out. We were all going to die and I wanted to live after all! But instead of trying to save the day, I got hysterical and cried a lot. {And also? I was putting on make-up. On the bus of doom. But that’s probably a dream analysis for another day.} The point it, my dream was a nightmare. I had no hope of survival.

And that’s an appropriate summary of real-life things. I’m freaking out about quite a lot and my husband takes deep breaths and unties the knots that keep me from drowning. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes he unties the knots by telling me the truth I don’t want to hear. Sometimes he unties the knots by meeting everyday needs even though no one is doing a single thing to meet his everyday needs. And sometimes he unties the knots by listening to me when I text him about my crazy state and replying with this:

It is okay. I have been there. I forgive you. We are all sinners in need of grace. I am convinced there is no normal. Only perceived normal. We are all truly unique. I love you just the way you are right now. Just like I loved the girl who threw a rock through my window.

{By the way, that girl with the rock? She was me. In college. He should have known what he was getting into.}

And because I have to tell the truth, we have fought like nobody’s business this week. I’ve been unbearable. That sweet exchange I just quoted — it’s not because we’re skipping arm in arm through a bed of roses, gazing into each other’s eyes and smiling. A better analogy would be tripping through a path of thorns, glaring into one another’s faces and spitting daggers. {Full disclosure: I did most of the spitting.}

Some weeks are just ugly. At times it’s okay to shake off the dust, bury the carnage, and forge ahead. Other times, it’s best to put on your truth goggles and dig until you get to the bottom of the mess. I’m still digging and sifting and wincing at what I see. It’s going to be a process.

But there’s one thing I already know.

I had lost my Hope.

Every last bit of it. There are several legitimate reasons for the loss but it’s enough to say this — I slowly allowed the air leak out of the balloon until I was completely and utterly deflated.  When we don’t have Hope, we’re left with one alternative. Despair. It’s the worst place to be but when you’re there, you can’t snap out of it. You can’t resolve to get it together or think better thoughts. Sometimes you can’t even cling to Truth because you’re not sure you believe it.

Sometimes it takes forces outside of yourself to pull you out.

It takes Grace showing up on the scene. She shows up in the words of a husband who loves you anyway, rock-throwing and all. She shows up in a bit of extra sleep, in a good sweat at the gym even though you didn’t want to go, in a chocolate milkshake from QT. She shows up in the hilarious things your kids say. She shows up in the sweetness of their freshly-bathed faces. She shows up in the sunrise of a new day and in the release that comes from crying all. week. long. She shows up with a soothing voice that whispers over your shoulder,

Honey, you’re going to be okay. There are hard things. There is heavy baggage. You’re afraid and feel crushed under the weight of Too Much and the fear of Not Enough. It feels like certain realities will never change. Be grateful for what is right in front of you {especially the freshly-bathed faces.} I know you haven’t been able to cling to Truth but can’t you see? Truth clings to you, even when you’ve lost your grip on Truth. God is faithful, even when you’re faithless. And you’d be wise to consider your own words about receiving your own life, challenging as that seems right now. This is your song. Sing it. Or at the very least, try to hum along.

Oh and here’s your Hope back. You’re welcome. It’s dim and fragile right now but the more you look at it, the brighter it becomes. Don’t take your eyes off the Hope.

So that’s where I sit on this Saturday morning in May. {And if you’re wondering, yes, I am writing this while sitting on The Sofa That Won’t Die.} Nothing has really changed except for the arrival of Hope and Grace on the scene. And while I may not be soaring like a hot air balloon above the horizon, I am no longer lifeless and deflated. Air is slowly pumping back in instead of steadily leaking out.

Am I weary and discouraged? Yes.

Concerned? Of course.

Afraid? Still.

Angry? To be honest, yes. 

Steady and sure? Not at all.

But Hope has breezed in with her sweet and sneaky ways — propping me up, showing me the gifts, replacing fear with love and exchanging laughter for tears.

Today nothing is tidy or fixed or resolved. But there is Hope. And my heart slowly swells with possibility.

Wherever you sit this weekend, may Hope breeze in and be the companion that sits beside you.




  1. Mom says

    Just got in. Just read this. Just prayed for you. Just thanked our wonderful God for hope renewed.

    Tomorrow is the first day of an untouched week.


  2. Kristin says

    My friend…..thanks for sharing. You are not alone….you are not the only couple. By sharing we realize that we are not alone in our thoughts and feelinigs and ugliness. I often wonder why my ugly rears its head so often….You are loved….His mercies are new every morning.


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