Weeks ago, my Jesús left this world and went to live in heaven with Jesus. From the moment, I lost him I have clung to the Lord declaring there is hope. I may be crushed, I may struggle to breath, the room may be spinning but in the midst of all this there is hope. Today, the room still spins sometimes and it is still difficult to catch my breath when my thoughts wander to what it would be like… I still hold onto the truth; there is hope. There is always hope. Our Father will not leave us hopeless. I know that. There have been many days, though, despite believing and knowing it, I have not seen it. I have learned much these weeks of what it means to stand firm. To believe truth when everything you see and feel speaks the contrary.
Today, I see hope.
Seeing hope has more to do with perspective than I realized. Seeing this hope encourages me through the days that feel less hopeful. I see hope and I want you to see it too.
For two years Jesús and I visited a local children’s home every week; sometimes multiple times a week. With time and intention, the 86 children at this home became like family to us. Through times of play, crafting, projects, tutoring, coloring, adventures, and more we bonded and they came to know and love us; and expect our visits. I know now we became family to them.
After Jesús went to heaven I wrestled with how I would share this with the kids. I love them so much and I want nothing more than for them to know God. I want them to experience His love and hope in their lives. I prayed somehow, in a way only God could, that He would use this loss as a way for them to know Him more. I cried out for them to experience him. I prayed for hope.
My first day back we celebrated Jesús’ life together with a beautiful release of over 100 balloons. 100 friends and family releasing a symbol of their love for my Jesús towards the sky. We prayed together and shared his favorite cookies with everyone. The youngest children colored a drawing of Jesús in heaven, full of joy, running free.
We talked endlessly of our favorite memories of him, how he made us laugh and of heaven. Heaven became a real place to everyone that day, because heaven is now where their friend Jesús lives.
Now I continue my visits without Jesús. The oldest ones understand that he won’t be back. They often ask about heaven and tell me they imagine he is eating his favorite cookies, running, or playing somewhere fun. The oldest ones have learned that heaven is a place free of sickness and pain. Because of our conversations, they now know heaven is paradise and the only way there is through Jesus and the salvation He offers us.
The youngest, though, do not quite understand. “What do you mean he won’t come visit? What do you mean he isn’t back at home?” When I come in they still ask me where he is and through the sting of the pain I remind them of heaven. We talk about God and His plan for us and how one day we can all go to heaven if we accept Jesus into our hearts.
This ongoing conversation has sparked a flame of interest in the hearts of the littlest children here. The questions have begun to flow: “Where is heaven? Who is God? How do we get there? What does God do? How do I know God?” You can imagine.
This is where I see God faithfully answering my prayer for hope.
Because their friend, that was more like a brother to them, is suddenly gone and with someone (God) they don’t know well, they want to know Him. They want to know about God. They want to know why Jesús is with Him. They want to know where his home with God is. They want to know what God has done and continues to do. They want to talk to God. They want to know about heaven and know how God created the earth.
They want to know. And they want me to tell them.
An opportunity for the love that brought my son to life to live on in the hearts of many. Seeing love multiply. Hope.
My visits continue to be without my Jesús, but they are not empty. They are now full of Bible stories, songs about God (and Father Abraham, a favorite of Jesús). They are filled with questions and wonder.
These children I love so much are filled with wonder, amazement, and hungry to hear more about the God that loves them.
And that is just a glimpse of the hope I know I can hold onto. There is always hope.