I recently came upon an image that I quite liked. Basically, it said "HOPE. Hold On, Pain Ends".

Wow. Whoever came up with this is a genius. How many times have you felt hopeless? You know...that feelings that nothing is going right, that the world is such a hard place to be in, that your life keeps throwing obstacles at you, and that you just want to SCREAM?!

I think I'm the queen of hopelessness. I've had my share of days that seemed like life was ending. That nothing would ever get better. I remember the days in the hospital when I would ask the doctors when I would be out of there - and they would look at me and stare - we all knew that I did not have a good chance of even getting out alive.

I recall the days in the ICU, when I had the breathing tube and dialysis. I would open my eyes for a few seconds and see darkness all around me - and then I'd feel the soft touch of my mom, dad, or sister next to me. And the next thing I knew, I was out again (the medications they gave me to put me to sleep really worked!).

Those days were painful. I remember thinking that I would never get out of the hospital. That my life, as I knew it, was over. That this was it - I had lived nineteen years of my life, and now it was over. I had no hope...I had lost it as my hospital stay got longer. As my coniditon worsened from being underweight to pneumonia to kidney failure to shortness of breath to breathing tube to blood transfusion...well, I felt that I was going to die. For sure.

But something that my family, friends, and community did for me was amazing. They always came in to visit me and smiled. They told me, 'just pray. God will help you. Be hopeful'.

I admit, at that time, I was praying. But I did not think that God heard me so well. I mean, if He heard me, why on earth was I struggling so much? Why wasn't I getting better?

The truth is, God WAS listening. He listened to me, my family, and my friends. He performed miracles with me that I could not believe. At the time when the entire medical team thought that I would surely die (the days in the ICU with the breathing tube, dialysis, blood transfusions, high blood pressure, heart failure, the NG tube, and multiple IV lines), God heard us. He felt our need and He answered us. He gave us hope. He reminded us that if we just hold on, pain will end.

So, I've learned to have HOPE. Even when everything - to be blunt - 'sucks'. Even when my world is so crazy and I feel sick and tired of living my life. It happens to all of us - but the most imporatnt thing is to have HOPE.

Because pain WILL end. Because "the Lord is close to the brokenhearted; He rescues those whose spirits are crushed" (Psalm 34:18).

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