Life is hard. In recent months our family and our church family have dealt with a lot. Many of you are finding yourself in the same place. Overwhelmed. Grieving. Struggling. Tired. I wanted to share with you something that has been on my heart in the midst of these trials. This comes from a place of deep trust in the Lord and in His ways. This comes from a place of faith in the midst of struggle. I believe that peace is possible even in the most difficult of circumstances. In writing more and more on my blog about depression, I have been so blessed to have conversations online with many women who reach out to me that have never talked about their struggles before. There have been those that are just waiting for God to heal them or are desperate for their life circumstances to change. And here is the difference in the kind of peace I’m talking about, this kind of peace, the kind that surpasses all understanding, it can be found even in the most difficult of circumstances. We don’t need our circumstances to change to find peace. Because peace is a Person. His Name is Jesus. Sweet friends, peace is possible no matter what is going on around us because we have a living hope in Jesus. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3-7 The Word of God is living and powerful and this passage is one of those times that I get a little excited about what we are learning. A living hope! Did you catch that? Our hope is ALIVE, not dead. When something is alive it is still breathing, there is still a heartbeat, there is still LIFE. This is the hope in us. INSIDE you and me is a living hope! This living hope is Jesus. Friends, our hope is not in our circumstances. Our hope is not in the doctor’s report, how our spouse behaves or doesn’t behave, how our kids turn out, whether or not we get that new job, none of these things. When our hope is in these things, we will be disappointed. But, hope in God never disappoints. He has our best interest at heart. Even though we may not like it, through the difficult circumstances He is forming us to His image. He is sanctifying, cleansing and purifying. If we can just hold onto Him through the storm, on that day when we meet Him face to face, all the fears and doubts and trials will fade away. He is preparing us for an eternity with Him and we can look forward to that day knowing that our every tear will be wiped away. No more death. No more suffering. No more sickness. What if you’re reading this and you are thinking, that sounds great, but HOW do I find my hope and peace in Jesus and not other places? Well, I can share some of the things that help me. I read a quote once that “hope takes a practice” and I believe this to be true. {Edward Welch.} Sometimes we have to FIND joy, we have to COUNT our blessings, we have to PRACTICE hope. This isn’t a works based gospel, this is readying our hearts for the Lord to do His thing. This practising hope is confessing and repenting and surrendering to the will of the Father. There is peace in surrender. Finding Peace Do not neglect the Word of God. I am so passionate about the Word of God, I share a lot about PRAYING His Word, memorizing it, meditating on it. Why? Because when our mind is fixed on Him, He fills us with His perfect peace. Isaiah 26:3 Breathe prayers. When you don’t have words because of your discouragement and suffering, just whisper breath prayers up to the Lord. All-day long. “God, I need you…” “Lord, I’m desperate for You…” “God, You alone are my hope!” Speaking the gospel, even aloud, is very good for our hearts! Don’t isolate yourself. As hard as it is, God, in His sovereignty, God gave us the Body of Christ. We were meant for relationships. Don’t stop going to church. Worship is a powerful thing. When we take our eyes off ourselves and place them onto praising Jesus, our problems begin to diminish. Also in this category would be the idea to get help if it’s needed. Don’t suffer alone. Often, in our shame, we don’t tell people we are hurting. You may even need to speak with a doctor. Don’t keep it all inside. We were made to communicate and give and receive encouragement. Use reminders. We are human, we need reminders of God’s love and the hope He gives. Print off pretty verses, like the one below. Write on notecards and place them around your house. Set a timer on your phone to go off every hour, have it say “be thankful.” Whenever your phone alarm goes off, name 3 things you’re thankful for.