Last week at Essence, the Women’s Ministry of my church (Enjoy Church), myself and the other ladies in the leadership team had the opportunity to speak. So I thought I’d share what I spoke about there, here, but tweaked a bit to suit this platform better ;) Hope it encourages you!
HOPE MAKES YOU BRAVE
“hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls…” – Hebrews 6:19
For as long as I can remember, ‘hope’ has captured my attention and I’ve known it has marked my life. Through seasons of depression, it became the verse that got me through, and naturally became a key theme for my life.
This year, as Ps Georgie Baxter declared us to be Bearers of Love, Hope and Freedom, hope came the forefront of my mind again. And a few months ago I stumbled upon a verse that completely revolutionised everything I thought about hope and how I live:
“since we have such a hope, we are very bold.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12
Or in other words, hope makes you bold.
Hope makes you brave.
Hope makes you courageous and fearless.
Sometimes we can think that being a Bearer of Hope is telling people “there is hope in your situation” or to “keep the faith”. But hope is more than a feeling or feel-good positive expression that can easily roll off our tongue at times.
See, hope gives an expectation for the future. Hope sees beyond. But it’s what you do with that expectation that counts. Because, hope is merely the foundation for an action.
Like faith without works is dead. Hope without courage injected into it, an action or expression, is also powerless.
And so, this year as everything from Adore Conference and Essence has been layering beautifully, then realising that because I am marked by hope and am therefore bold, I decided to be bold and put action to it.
Hope gave me the boldness to deal with things I’ve never spoken about before. Being planted at Enjoy Church for over ten years now, I’ve heard Ps Shane say countless times “my heart, my responsibility.” No one knows what truly goes on in our heart except us. But it takes boldness to become vulnerable, expose unforgiveness, bitterness or whatever it may be, and pursue healing and wholeness. I realised that if I’m the light of the world, I myself have to be completely full of light. And if I’m a Bearer of Love, Hope and Freedom, those things need to be completely evident and outworked in my life too.
Hope gave me the boldness to launch The Free Woman – a new community and magazine celebrating the feminine heart. It’s been a dream since I was 9 years old, and literally less than one month ago became a reality when it was launched. The favour and opportunity already on this beauty is phenomenal, and I know that it’s because I am truly free that The Free Woman has been able to flourish.
What I’ve come to discover, as various girls locally and around the world are contributing to it, is that this platform is actually an answered prayer for many of them. Whether it’s a space to use and champion their talent or simply be inspired and encourage, this was an answer to their prayer.
As a 9 year old, I had a hope to one day create something like this. But if that hope had not been married to boldness and action, it would not have created an opportunity for others to step out and see their hopes become a reality too.
Hope gave me the boldness to stop shying away from relationship and community with others, and begin embracing it… No matter how scary it may seem. Being a friend, being purposeful in relationships, and open to people is one of the most rewarding and enriching things we can do.
This year’s tagline, “Girls making a difference”, is inclusive of all. It’s not a girl making a difference, but girls. Because our lives are interconnected, and I am, we are, better together.
See, hope makes us bold. Hope is tenacious, not complacent. Hope is an action, not a feeling or simply an expectation. Hope propels us to continue believing in the midst of a hard season and inspires us to live generously throughout all seasons.
In the Amplified translation, 2 Corinthians 3:12 says, “Since we have such hope, we speak very freely and openly and fearlessly.”
And In the Message translation, “with that kind of hope to excite us, nothing holds us back.”
To be a Bearer of Hope is to live boldly and bravely because we have hope.
We’re marked to leave a mark. The beauty of this is that it’s our choice whether or not we decide to leave that mark.