Thursday, January 16, 2014

Life Stories are Hope Stories

I was trying to decide how to present my writing about hope when I happened upon the TV show “Tribal Trails”. A young woman, whose name I missed, was talking about how they take their life stories to the youth of reservations in Canada and the USA. She called them “Hope Stories.”

“Hope Stories” Yes! Life stories are hope stories.

When we share what we’ve gone through. When we share what we have learned. When we shared how we've survived. These are hope stories for another.

Many times we hesitate to share them because we are afraid of what someone will think. More often than not people are encouraged when we share. Things in our story may resonate with them. They no longer feel so alone. They hear something that may help them to move forward. They are encouraged.

I remember when I first went to a healing group here in my hometown. It was scary to walk in and to identify myself as one of them. But in the end it was liberating. It was freeing to hear others share their stories because I recognized myself in them. This lifted the feeling of isolation and shame. Others had been there. Others felt the same thing given the same situation. I was no longer alone.

One of the life stories that gave me the greatest hope while I was healing was Jesus’. I held on to the verse that said, “For the joy set before Him He endured the shame of the cross.” He endured shame.

There were stages of my healing that were incredibly messy. Extremely humbling…I’d probably even say humiliating. Times where there was much room to be misunderstood and I was misunderstood. I knew though that if I wanted to get well, emotionally and spiritually, I had to go ‘there’. I knew that ‘joy comes in the morning'.’ It might be dark for awhile. It might get confusing. But I had to persevere.

I held onto Jesus, my hope and my salvation. He endured the shame, a much greater shame than anything that I was experiencing, so I could too.

I also gained hope from the written stories of others who had gone through similar things as I had. I’m very glad that they shared their stories so that in hearing them mine could be ‘normalized.’ It gave me understanding and knowledge that helped me believe that I could make it through. Their stories were hope stories.

After awhile, once I was strong enough emotionally and spiritually, I began to share my story with others. To share about our deepest wounds too soon can be counterproductive so I was careful who I shared with initially. Then the audience became larger and larger. Today, the basics of my story are up on the world wide web.

The basics are on the web because I currently contract my services to a website where all of us working at this site share a bit of our story. The individuals who come to us for coaching/counselling feel hope when they see that we’ve been there. If we’ve come through it then there is the hope that they will as well. I confess that I felt quite vulnerable at the thought of having it there for all to see. But it is part of who I am. It is part of what makes me me. And if my story can give others hope then I am willing to share it where it is needed.

Occasionally, someone who feels no hope comes to me. They don’t believe that they will ever get past whatever it is that is holding them back, or that they will never heal from the depression that currently has them in it’s grip. I ask them if I can lend them my hope until they find their own. If they say yes then I share this poem with them:


Lend me your hope for awhile.
I seem to have mislaid mine.
Lost and hopeless feelings accompany me daily.
Pain and confusion are my companions.

I know not where to turn.
Looking ahead to the future times
does not bring forth images of
renewed hope.
I see mirthless times, pain
filled days,
and more tragedy.

Lend me your hope for awhile,
I seem to have mislaid mine.
Hold my hand and hug me;
listen to all my ramblings.

I need to unleash the pain and let it tumble out.
Recovery seems so far
the road to healing a long and lonely one.
Stand by me; offer me your presence.
Your ears and your love
acknowledge my pain. It is so real and ever present.
I am overwhelmed with sad and conflicting thoughts.

Lend me your hope for awhile,
A time
will come when I will heal
and I will lend my renewed hope to others.
Eloise Cole

Life Stories are Hope Stories. I’m thankful for the stories that are shared in the Bible. I’m glad for those who shared their stories during my healing. Whenever appropriate and with appropriate detail I will share my Life Story to bring hope to those who are open to hearing. I hope you will too. You never know who needs to hear exactly what you have to share.

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