Sometimes we just have to adjust our Jeremiah 29:11.
That verse has become a noun to me, a possession of sorts I proclaimed after losing my husband so suddenly four years ago today. One of the most frequently claimed verses in our world, it goes “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future “. — Jeremiah 39:12 NIV
Shortly after Dean’s memorial service at our church, I stood in front of my bedroom mirror and declared that verse mine. I know my husband is heaven. I went so far as to write the verse location at the top of my mirror as a daily reminder to look up, and focus on those good promises from God. Truthfully , I’ve left it on the mirror for over 1,450 days, cleaning around it. It’s become a little cloudy, it’s own little dusty box of “promise”.
Recently I’ve encountered some business and life roadblocks that have challenged me and truthfully, sent me to a place of deep questioning, analysis, and lamenting. This is a tough life to do solo. It’s not what I had planned. My “hope” defined today is different than it was a few years ago. Problems come like waves off the ocean and adaptability forces the reconstruction of who we are with each wave.
I’ve also learned that while God promises the Israelites and ultimately all of us Hope in this verse, it truly is a bigger hope than their daily dilemmas — it was an eternal hope in a forever future. In reading the entire chapter and studying the context, I see that what it really means is that we don’t avoid or escape pain and trials, but we learn to thrive even while in the middle of them. We look up to our hope and future.
Today, I erased that tiny permanent marker verse. A bottle of windex, a sponge, and it’s wiped clean. Bare.
An hour later, however, I brought my colored sharpies and replaced the verse location with the entire verse, written out around the entire perimeter of my mirror. I still claim it, from a different spot in the valley of life. I will continue my hope perspective. I choose to live and rejoice in the love of God and the compassion of friends and family who bless me daily. I’m still a Jeremiah 29:11 girl.
Friends, do you have a loss ? A person, a relationship, a dream ? A business, a vision, a friend, a church family? God is in the restoration business. Daily he re purposes people who feel the loss of all purpose and hope. Let’s Clean off that mirror in our hearts and pray to “reset”. You may not write the word “hope” on your mirror, but you CAN write it on your heart.
Christ came to save the world . As a griever we need a Savior, and someone who understands. God knows our grief first hand,for he gave his only son to die for you and me. He knows our pain . He gives us a hope . He has offered us a route through the unpredictable life path We are each uniquely called to travel, wrap sped in his love, call and commandment. He takes ugly and broken and makes something new, if we don’t quit and if we are willing adventurers .
I’m re-writing my Jeremiah 29:11 and reminding myself that I’m a student on this grief/life journey, I’m surrounded by friends, family and a church family that encourages and supports me. I am blessed, I am loved, and I still have a hope and a future. Thank you, God !
If you or someone you love is grieving the loss of a loved one from death, please consider attending a 13-week faith-based GriefSHare series. Go to griefshare.org
to find a class near you.