“Practice Resurrection.” It is the final line in one of my favorite Wendell Berry poems. I joke with my husband all the time about my desire to have a pet peacock. But apparently, they are loud and make a mess on your roof. Peacocks have to be one of God’s most creative masterpieces. Their fans of feathers in iridescent blues and greens, those signature “eye” patterns, and elegant, otherworldly headdresses make these birds true works of art.
Apparently, peacocks earn their beautiful feathers by literally crunching on thorns. Live long enough and you are going to know the taste of some “thorns” too, those knocks and losses in life. I like you have a resume of the hard and heart-breaking. The September 11th terrorist attack in downtown New York City. My first-born son Charlie treated for stage 4 cancer. The devastating funeral for my friend who took his own life. A sad miscarriage. A lost dear friend to brain cancer. And the Covenant tragedy which took me down to my knees. Easy it would be to raise the white flag of defeat, decide that I just don’t want to participate in a world that can so easily break my heart and steal my hope.
I am a huge admirer of the saint, Archbishop Desmund Tutu, who said, “I believe with a steadfast faith that there can never be a situation that is utterly totally hopeless. Hope is deeper and very close to unshakeable. To choose hope is to step firmly forward into the howling winds, baring one’s chest to the elements, knowing that in time the storms will pass.” I believe God built us to resurrect over and over again. Hope is encoded in our souls.
Dig for courage, reach out for help, trust that one day you will find the province of joy again, stronger, braver, more beautiful for having been broken and masterfully healed. Transform into living luminaries who light up the darkness for others.
Last weekend, I had the honor of performing a wedding in the prayer garden for Thurston and Hayley Cromwell. One of the most difficult moments for me as a pastoral minister occurred three years ago, the morning I climbed on the bed with Thurston’s three, brave children (Anna, Caroline, and Isaac) and helped them say goodbye to their dear mother Tanya who had fought a courageous battle against breast cancer.
I’ll never forget beautiful Isaac, getting up to speak at his mother’s funeral. He said, “My mama loved me. I loved my mama” and then sat down. How could the sun ever shine as bright again?
In Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he said, “May the God of green hope fill you with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope.”
The truth is God never stops working on our behalf.
God holds our broken hearts in His hands and with tenderness, creativity and love makes a new way for us. In this particular story, God has written the most beautiful next chapter. The fireworks of love spark off Hayley and Thurston. They are true love birds. They met on Bumble, and after a three hour “meet-cute” at Urban Grub on 12th South, they just knew. God had worked a unique miracle. The most beautiful part of this story is witnessing how God is in the delicate details of our lives. When Hayley said “Yes” to Thurston, she also said “Yes” to being a mom for the first time. Isaac was born with Downs Syndrome, and Hayley grew up with a brother also with special needs. God is tender. God is creative.
God will make a new way for you and for me if we dare to trust and choose to abound in hope! Everything is always more than it seems with God. Be patient with God’s timing. Live your life confident that God has you, and won’t let you go.
Live in Hope,
P.S. THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased a copy of SOULFULL!
If it moves you, I would so appreciate you posting a review on AMAZON BELOW!
SOULFULL is a Christmas gift that you can feel so good about giving. There is a nudge of hope on every single page! You can order SOULFULL for yourself and for those you love here: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/717385/soulfull-by-farrell-mason
OR: Reach out to me because I have lots of books and I would love to write a special message inside for your friends, family, teachers, co-workers! I’ll even wrap if you need me to!!
It was the CMA’s this past week in Nashville! I have been a Reba fan since I was in high school. I love this one!