Do you ever struggle with wanting to be real and wanting to be healed? Sometimes I do. Even though I realize the two go hand in hand. I used to shy away at times with being raw and revealing a tattered version of myself because in those moments of transparency and vulnerability – I show the broken pieces of who I am, revealing parts which are healed, and parts still in the process.
The enemy wants us to see this beautiful road of healing as a dead end. He wants us to give up and remain broken. His goal is for us to not trust, to question the intentions of those around us and to halt any progress we may be making. Those are the days that look like us being angry, staying in bed, choosing to listen and choosing to believe his lies mimicking an unhealthy and sometimes jealous self-talk. We tell ourselves we are not good enough, that God may have forgiven me but no one else has. That everyone is keeping tabs on our mistakes, and we will never be good enough.
These are lies we choose to believe when we feel hopeless. We choose. You and I choose each time we utter a word of hate to ourselves or anyone else. We have power over our enemy and we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
The darkness of my past, my failures and all the hopelessness throughout my life is not only what led me to a closer relationship with Jesus, but also what led me to my love of writing and now you. The days I am patient with myself are the days I love myself even more for being flawed. If it weren’t for that hopeless place, a place that had me chasing unhealthy relationships, also allowed my self-talk to mirror my enemies. It was a place my worth was calculated in hands that held deceit and pain. But, I would not be who I am today without being in that place. And, I love who I am right in this moment, and who I am becoming more of each day. Because God, created me to be more than the lies, more than the judgement and more than my shortcomings.
It was here that I discovered the hope buckets and my desire to fill others buckets regardless of how empty my own bucket was because I knew God would provide through my obedience. He reminded me of this after reading about the Widow and her small jar of olive oil in 2 Kings 4. The oil kept pouring and filling jar after jar until no jars were left. Sometimes we think we need to fill our jar first but the truth is we can pour from just a little, and fill something or someone else.
Imagine each of us carries two buckets, one for ourselves and one for whomever we meet along the way. The bucket for who we meet along the way is full of hope, and our bucket is low. Each morning no matter how low the full bucket became the night before for whom we meet, it fills again. But our bucket only becomes full by pouring into others. God provides an overabundance of hope in the buckets but if we do not pour it into others, we suffer an internal drought of hopelessness.
The empty bucket is a life without God, without service and without the act of love. It is not just hopeless but also helpless. The full bucket is comprised of God’s promises to us, love, hope, guidance and a desire for more than we could ever hope. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel, the rainbow after a storm, and a new life following death. It’s the positive to every negative and elation to every depression.
So, I set out on a new path, a path of just Jesus and I, where for every pain, question, fear or frustration I started going to him and Gods word. And, let me tell you, there is power in that little book of mighty words! Each verse brought me to life, each story reminded me how imperfect some of the people Jesus’ so dearly loved – and it gave me hope. And, I wanted to do the same.
Each day I began speaking to others what I needed to hear, and what I heard when I went to Jesus. If I was feeling down, I reminded others how to feel empowered. If I felt unloved, I reminded them of Jesus’ love for us and how it never waivers. If I felt lost, I reminded them that each time one sheep wandered off, Jesus left the ninety-nine. No matter who the one was. Or who the ninety-nine were. We are all equally favorable and loved.
And this gave me hope. Giving hope to others, filled my buckets each time. There was no resentment when someone else didn’t fill my bucket, because Jesus was pouring into me as I was pouring out for him. There was no question of my worth to others because God told me I was more precious than rubies, and worth more than many sparrows and my redemption wasn’t covered by silver or gold but of the blood of his dear son. Man’s opinion of my worth can never compare.
That’s the beautiful thing about hope, there is no limit nor price for it. Faith, hope and love are a trinity of the heart in my opinion, and these three sentiments will never run dry as long as your pouring into others. Our lives are much better examples of God’s grace with the tattered edges and holes of failures and struggle strewn throughout. Because in those moments of repair, the moments of stitching each flaw together and God interlaying broken piece by broken piece and lining them with gold creates a beautiful creation of both who we once were as broken and something now healed prepared to hold hope for the next person who’s struggling.
My prayer for you is that you pour into others buckets with the same reckless abandonment a child would, spilling over and soaking everything in close proximity.