How do you define HOPE? It can be easy to define hope solely in light of what we 'want' to happen or what we ‘expect’ to happen. When it doesn’t happen the way we “hoped,” we can lose hope. But Biblical hope is hope that is dependent on the faithfulness of God. Let's revive hope together in this episode with Valerie McMahon.
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[00:00:00] Denisha: We are gonna get started today with a free gift cuz who doesn't like free, helpful things? Have you ever felt like you were not enough? Maybe as a wife, as a mom, as a friend, as an employee? You're not alone. That feeling of not being enough stems from an emotion that we don't like to talk about, and that's.
[00:00:24] Denisha: And you know us at Reclaim Story, if there's a topic that affects our lives, that prevents us from living the abundant life that Jesus came to give us we have to tackle it. So here we go. We've created a free ebook called Shame Off You With 10 Steps to Help You Shatter Shame in your Life. You can find the link in the.
[00:00:44] Denisha: If you're on our email list, we send it out last week to you, or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll make sure you get that right away. In today's episode, we're gonna talk about hope. How do you [00:01:00] define hope? It can be easy to define hope, solely in light of what we want to happen or what we expect to happen.
[00:01:09] Denisha: But when it doesn't happen the way we had hoped, we can lose. But biblical hope is hope that is dependent upon the faithfulness of God. It is an absolute trust in God's promises being fulfilled. So Valerie and I are going to talk about God's faithfulness today, and we hope that you are blessed by this episode.
[00:01:32] Denisha: Welcome to Living the Reclaim Life podcast. I'm Danisha. We're glad you're here for conversations that revive hope, inspire healing, and encourage you to live a vibrant life with Christ. So grab a cup of coffee as we chat with today's guest, Valerie. Today we get to talk about one of my absolute favorite.
[00:01:54] Denisha: Awesome. When I saw your notes for this episode , I thought, oh my goodness, this is gonna be [00:02:00] such a blast. You guys, we are gonna talk about hope and my life verse is Romans four 20 and 21. So when Valerie sent me the notes for this episode, I was like, this is gonna be great. . Yay. This one really gets me excited.
[00:02:15] Denisha: So we're gonna talk about hope today and not the hope that's based on us and what we want, but the hope that's based on God's promises.
[00:02:24] Valerie: When I think about Danisha, I think about how often have you heard people say like I love pizza. And I love my dog and I love you, and I think about that with hope, right?
[00:02:34] Valerie: There's so many times where during a course of a day I'll be like, oh, I hope, I hope we get outta the door on time. I hope this will happen. I hope that will happen. And we often can define hope by our expectations. And I do that a lot, but I wanna read another verse for us to get us started.
[00:02:51] Valerie: And it's Romans 1513, and I know other people who have this as their life first Danisha and I love it as well. And it says, may the God of hope [00:03:00] fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him so that you may. Overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. And Danisha, I was just thinking how last month we talked about being unstoppable, about being praise and prayer warriors in the battles of our life.
[00:03:18] Valerie: And I feel like. Talking about hope this month just goes hand in hand with that because like we talked about last month, you guys, is that we cannot produce joy on our own, right? Joy and peace, just what it says in this verse comes from God. And that's the same with hope, and we want to inspire and encourage you this podcast and throughout this whole month, that hope is not something that we have to produce on our own.
[00:03:43] Valerie: Hope comes by the power of the Holy Spirit. Isn't that I love that. That's so reassuring. So I want to leave you guys, or start off with this quote to just marinate on as we talk today about hope. And that is that hope is not founded [00:04:00] on the fulfillment of our expectations, but that hope is founded on the fulfillment of God's.
[00:04:08] Valerie: Promises and we're gonna do a little Bible study again, we like to do that the first of each month, and I get to talk about one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament, and that is about Abraham. And I love teaching about Abraham and Sarah, and if you don't know the story, you can find it in Genesis chapter 12, which is the very first book of the Bible.
[00:04:29] Valerie: But Abraham is such a great example to study about the journey of hope. And I'm just gonna give a recap. Like I said, you can read the whole story, but Danisha, even in his old age, I love telling my kids about this. , was like, yes, I had you at this age. And they're like, yeah, mom, that's old.
[00:04:46] Valerie: I'm like and the Bible, Abraham was nearly a hundred years old when he had his first child, but even in his old age and with a barren wife, a wife that could not get pregnant and. I know [00:05:00] that may touch on some hearts listening to this, but even in the Old Testament, like a wife who could not get pregnant, could not have a child, that was really hard in that society.
[00:05:08] Valerie: You talk about feeling not enough, like she probably felt I'm not enough. I'm not enough for Abraham. But God told Abraham, he said, I am going to make you the father of many nations that your descendants. Are gonna be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the grain of sand. Can you imagine God told Abraham to leave the comfort of his home and to go to a land that he didn't even know where he was going to leave everything behind.
[00:05:37] Valerie: Can you imagine that God saying, okay, I'm going to fulfill this promise, but I need you to trust me, and we're gonna talk about how trust and hope go hand in hand. But I wanna read from Romans four 18 through 21. This is what touches on Dan's life first. So listen carefully, and if you are able to look it up on an app or in your Bible, please do [00:06:00] against All Hope Abraham in Hope believed and so became the father of Many Nations.
[00:06:07] Valerie: Just that hi, as it had been said to him, so shall your offspring be without weakening In his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead since he was about a hundred years old, and that Sarah's wound was also dead, and here's Denise's life first. Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God being fully.
[00:06:36] Valerie: Persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised. Danisha share why that is your life first. I
[00:06:45] Denisha: love this verse you guys. So there was a time, and it was probably, gosh, 12 years ago now, and we went through a super rough time as a family. , and I remember sitting on. Living room [00:07:00] floor. And I had the Bible in front of me and I was reading through Romans and I don't even know that I was looking for hope if I was honest.
[00:07:07] Denisha: I was more doing it out of obedience. Like I should read my Bible. I'm not in a good spot. And I just remember reading through and this verse jumped off the page at me and it's Romans four 20 and 21 and it was talking about a Abraham, right? And his Valerie just read says he did not waiver through Unbel.
[00:07:26] Denisha: In that moment, sitting on my living room floor, I was wavering through unbelief. I was pretty sure that what I was facing was bigger than God, and that wasn't true, but it's how it felt. And when I read this and I started connecting Old Testament to New Testament, I thought Abraham did to waiver and unbelief.
[00:07:46] Denisha: I thought, wait a second. He ended up sleeping with his maid servant to try to create the child that God had promised in his timing. Waiting for God and I thought, what a beautiful New [00:08:00] Testament. Lens on Abraham's story, and I needed that because I was sitting and I was not only wavering, I was going for a swim, I had a floaty.
[00:08:10] Denisha: I was like having a snack in unbelief in this very moment. And so when I read that saying Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promises of God, it helped me to feel a little bit more normal to go, okay, I am wavering through some unbel. But it's it's okay because hope is coming. Yes.
[00:08:29] Denisha: There is some redemption. And then the next line that said he was strengthened in his faith, gave glory to God. Being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised. And so I began declaring that over my life with my name in it for years. To this day, I can quote that scripture off the top of my head.
[00:08:47] Denisha: It's probably the longest one that I know all in, like verbatim. But I would say, and Danisha did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promises of. Although I was, and then I would declare I am [00:09:00] strengthened in my faith. I give glory to God and I am fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he's promised.
[00:09:06] Denisha: Amen. And it really encouraged my faith. So that is absolutely my life first.
[00:09:10] Valerie: And I love when I was. Studying about this, a commentary I found says, by hoping against Hope. Cuz when you read that first part, it says, against all Hope Abraham in Hope believed. And you're like, okay, what does that really mean?
[00:09:23] Valerie: So I love what this commentator says. He says, by hoping against Hope Abraham is setting the hope that comes from God's promises. Any hope he could have in the world or in the natural order of things. And that's what we were talking about a little bit earlier, about, what we want to happen or what we expect to happen or, even sometimes we can put our hope in things that are false and misplaced, and we'll talk about that later.
[00:09:50] Valerie: But it's, he goes on to say, it's interesting that even at a hundred years old, this was not easy for him, right? He was human, he wavered, he went above God's [00:10:00] timing. By conceiving a son through his servant Hagar. I like what this says. His hopes became inverted, but God renewed his promises and Abraham renewed his hope.
[00:10:12] Valerie: And doesn't that speak to our faithful God, is that even when we un waiver, even when we sin, he is still the promise keeper. He is still faithful and his faithfulness Danisha helped Abraham renew his hope. So it goes on, and Abraham renewed his hope in them until the day came when Sarah finally gave birth to Isaac.
[00:10:32] Valerie: As we see from Abraham's example, it is only by setting hope, against hope that we can expect the fulfillment of our deepest desires, and we can persevere through life's greatest challenges. Hope in. Anything else will only frustrate and disappoint us, if not outright destroy us. That is what at stake when we hope against hope.
[00:10:55] Valerie: I love that. I love that and I summarize it by saying this against [00:11:00] all of what was humanly possible. Abraham believed in what was God possible and that is faith Danisha. Yeah. Isn't that faith? And faith goes hand in hand with hope because I like to say that faith actually feels hope, right?
[00:11:16] Valerie: And our measure of hope depends on our measure of faith and trust. Danisha, what, when we think of this, when we think of hope and faith and how that goes hand in hand, why? Why do you think we can lose hope? Like how? How do we lose hope then?
[00:11:33] Denisha: I think one is the weight of waiting. Proverbs 1312 says, hope deferred makes the heart sick.
[00:11:40] Denisha: But longing, fulfilled is a tree of life. And I think sometimes waiting for a desire to be fulfilled, waiting for a suffering to end, waiting for a financial situation to change. Yes, waiting for someone special to come into our life. There's so many different ones. What else can you think
[00:11:58] Valerie: of? I think of [00:12:00] even, I'm gonna share in a little bit, my story is waiting for a diagnosis.
[00:12:04] Valerie: Maybe there's a chronic health issue you've been dealing with. You're waiting for healing, waiting for a relationship to be restored. Waiting for a wayward child, that prodigal child to come home waiting for, and you can fill in the blank. And you know that weight of waiting, right? That weight, the feeling that burden that sometimes that long suffering we go through, right?
[00:12:28] Valerie: Abraham and Sarah did. Like how long Lord? You made this promise years ago, when is it gonna be fulfilled? And, I would like to share a little bit of an experience in my life when I started to lose hope. And it was during my third pregnancy. About eight weeks, 10 weeks in, I started I guess what you could call convulsing.
[00:12:49] Valerie: It. Was diagnosed later as a tick, if you're familiar with ticks. But it almost looked like a seizure. It was pretty scary. I was just shaking all the time. I didn't know what was going on. Fast forward a [00:13:00] few months of course I was, Carrying this child inside of me.
[00:13:02] Valerie: So there was a lot of fear going around is something happening to the child? Is this pregnancy going to going to last? And eventually doctors said, okay, we think this is stress induced, right? , which there's a lot of stress that your body undertakes when you're pregnant, but this is stress induced.
[00:13:18] Valerie: We think as soon as you have the baby, everything's gonna be fine. God was good and we had a healthy baby girl, but. The ticks continued and in fact they got worse. Sleep deprivation and everything, but the ticks got worse and it was still very scary. It, it, like I said, there was moments where my family was like, what is going on?
[00:13:39] Valerie: And then a year later, Danisha another health complicated what was already going on. And I even still have a few things that go on with that today. But I remember at one point, Holding my baby girl and thinking God. Am I going to be suffering from this for the rest of my life? And I really felt like I was losing [00:14:00] hope because I'm like, I don't know.
[00:14:01] Valerie: And I know there's people out there and Lord bless you, that are still dealing with chronic health issues and God continues to strengthen you. But I think that's what happened. And in fact, we named our baby girl her middle name is Faith because we just felt like God was calling. To faith. And again, going back to that, how that faith fuels hope, the more that God strengthened my faith that he was, keeping me alive, keeping me going and he did eventually bring a lot of healing to those health issues.
[00:14:33] Valerie: But it was that faith that fueled my hope and revive that hope. What are you waiting for? You may be waiting for peace, for healing, for rescue, for restoration. And we have to tell you, and this is the month of December. God's people were waiting a long time as well, over 2000 years ago, even longer than that, they from the time, early on, before Abraham, till past Abraham, they were [00:15:00] waiting for a savior.
[00:15:03] Valerie: And they were starting to lose hope, Danisha right wars and oppression. They were starting to lose hope. Will this promised Messiah, this promised savior that God has been telling us about will he ever come? And in fact, in Isaiah nine, six through seven, this is what the prophecy said, it said.
[00:15:21] Valerie: For to us. A child is born to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders and he will be called wonderful counselor. Mighty God. Everlasting father Prince, a peace of the greatness of his government and peace. There will be no and he will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness.
[00:15:45] Valerie: From that time on and forever, Danisha, I'd love to think about the greatest story, right? Jesus coming to this earth, the greatest story that would ever be told would revive hope. in the hearts of everybody who [00:16:00] believed. And I was like, I know you like definitions Danisha, right? Reclaim. I was looking up revive cuz I thought, what does revive really mean?
[00:16:07] Valerie: And I love this definition. It says become active or flourishing again. There was hope, but that gives us hope, right? That when we lose hope, just like I'm sure God's people, we're starting to lose hope. Will this savior ever come that. Never is dead. That hope can always be revived.
[00:16:27] Valerie: But this is what is so interesting about God's promises, right? And this kind of touches on, our human hope versus God's hope is the promised Messiah did not come as they expected. Danisha, right? They were expecting. A Warrior King, which I would've too. You're, they were under the oppression of the Romans.
[00:16:48] Valerie: They were suffering and they're. Okay, we are gonna have the savior. It's come, this valiant savior, come on, this white horse like wielding his sword and he's going to, conquer the Romans and we're gonna be saved. [00:17:00] Even his disciples, were ready to do battle. We see that, we see that later on when Jesus is being taken by the soldiers, one of his disciples like, cuts off his ears.
[00:17:08] Valerie: He's okay, let's go Jesus. Let's go. God had a different plan, and I know many of you know this, but I love just this time of year, right? We hear that phrase, Jesus is the reason for the season and we can often lose sight of what Christmas is all about, but this is what God did. God had a different plan to save his people and it was not through just rage and warrior battle, but it was through love.
[00:17:36] Valerie: and humility, and it was love packaged in this new born baby, born to a virgin. On this starry night in a cave with animals. Danisha and I were talking about all the animals. We have in our house. We could have our own major scene, but just in this dirty, stinking stable would come the [00:18:00] hope. Of the world, and he would be called Jesus the savior of the world.
[00:18:04] Valerie: He would be a prince with no palace, but his reign would no, no end, and he would come to serve and not be served, and then he would humble himself. To death, taking our place on the cross, bearing the sins of the world so that the hope of a restored relationship with God the father could be fulfilled.
[00:18:29] Valerie: Amen. Amen. Danisha, how, we've been talking about hope, we've been talking about the greatest story ever told that would revive hope. But how? How is it that we have this truth, but how can hope be all around? But we don't recognize it.
[00:18:46] Denisha: I think that's so true. I think one of the things is what we choose to focus on.
[00:18:50] Denisha: , if we're like today, even, as you and I kicked off and we prayed, it was like our focus shifted to what God had planned to [00:19:00] what God was gonna do. And for me, I know if I am focusing on negative things, Then I lose hope. I begin to, you know what we focus on? We empower, right? Yeah. So if we focus on the word of God, if we focus on the hope in him, it's almost like we can't be disappointed because he will always feel that maybe not always the way we want, but he will always be there.
[00:19:22] Denisha: He is a constant, no matter what our life is doing.
[00:19:25] Valerie: Yeah. I love that. Yeah. And I think, we touched on this a little bit, is that we could ask ourselves, what are we placing our hope in? What are we focusing? Is it a hope that will not last? I think so much in our culture, right?
[00:19:38] Valerie: Like I said we say it all the time. I hope this will happen, I hope, da. And we can misplace our hope. Even in people, God just revealed that to me even yesterday. I was, we're open and honest here on this podcast, a reclaimed story, but I was expecting my husband to fulfill something that only God could fulfill.
[00:19:57] Valerie: And again, that misplaced hope. It's yeah, [00:20:00] it's a bonus. It's a blessing, right? When humans fulfill our hopes, but it. God's thinking you're gonna be disappointed. , if you always put your hope in people because people do disappoint you. They're not perfect. And so we have to think about that. Are we putting our hope in people in things that can never fulfill what only God?
[00:20:20] Valerie: Can.
[00:20:21] Denisha: And if I'm honest, one of the things that I think I put my hope in when it's misplaced is security. I want consistency, security systems like, and not security systems, but I want ,
[00:20:33] Valerie: I have system of security.
[00:20:35] Denisha: Exactly. I like systems. I like, I'm a planner. Predictability. Predictability. That's a better word.
[00:20:41] Denisha: I like to know what to expect and like financially. We're not, wealthy by any means, but I like security. I like knowing that, okay, we're gonna be okay. Yeah, and when my faith gets tested sometimes that's when it gets highlighted in my life. That my hope has been misplaced in treasures of this world, [00:21:00] or in the sec, the fact of security itself.
[00:21:02] Denisha: I can make that into an idol. Yeah. And then sometimes I've realized, okay, in this moment I'm trusting on this thing or this person, instead of trusting that God sees this and it's not a surprise
[00:21:14] Valerie: to him. Yeah. And I think about that. I struggle with that with timing, right? , we say a prayer and we're like, okay, God, I've prayed this prayer, I've done this and that I'm being obedient.
[00:21:26] Valerie: but boom. Like, where's the results? And we, that's when God's okay. If you're placing your hope in me, like we just said, do you remember how long my people waited? There was a reason they waited. Like I knew just the right time to send. My gift of my son and to the world. And we have, that's where that trust comes, that where faith and hope go hand in hand.
[00:21:47] Valerie: We have to trust God's timing that he will fulfill that hope, that he will fulfill that promise. And like you said, sometimes it's not in the way we expect, but it's in the way that God deems according [00:22:00] to his purpose and. I wanna touch on, I know we're gonna touch on too a little bit later, but if you haven't had a chance to go on our website and read our stories of transformation, I gotta tell you, Danisha, I.
[00:22:13] Valerie: I know hope is revive for me the more I hear other people's stories. Yeah. Of hope being revived in their life. And we have many stories on our website and we are gonna continue to have more. But when I read our stories of transformation that revises hope for me and why is listening to other people's stories revive hope in our own?
[00:22:35] Valerie: I
[00:22:35] Denisha: wonder if it's because they've gone before us in some way. Maybe something they're wrestling with looks like something we're wrestling with. And those stories of transformation, they're not, sometimes we hear those stories of here's what God did and it's always beautiful and perfect.
[00:22:51] Denisha: And what I love about our ladies that have shared is that they tell the. And I can relate to the struggle I may not be able to relate to, and they were [00:23:00] healed and everything was great. And I might go, I'm not there. But when I hear the struggle and the wrestling and I see their process with the Lord, that gives me faith just to lean in and hope that I may not know the end, but God knows what he has planned.
[00:23:14] Valerie: Exactly. Exactly. And I think about Those stories, and even sometimes we have to do this for other people, is that we have to be a hope placeholder. Like we have to hold hope for people until they can hold it themselves. And I feel that in those stories, it's like reading that it's that you can be like, okay, this person has hope.
[00:23:34] Valerie: It's almost like it becomes this placeholder for us. It's okay, I can hold. I can hold on because they held on. I wanna read another verse. Romans five, five says, and hope, speaking of shame, where we were talking about shame not too long ago, and hope does not put us to shame because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
[00:23:59] Valerie: And that's what [00:24:00] we're talking about, is that when love came down, when Jesus came down and was. To us, the gift of hope to the world hope was revived. And the greatest act of love would be demonstrated through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus giving his life on the cross. And what I love is that he did not say dead, right?
[00:24:19] Valerie: People probably thought hope was dead. They were like, what? What? Now? He's dead. What's going on? And when he arose from that grave just three days later, I love this, Jesus became our living. Hope talks about that in one Peter, and that's what I want us to take away from today and want you guys to be encouraged with is there is always hope.
[00:24:43] Valerie: There was always hope because Jesus is alive and he is our living hope, meaning that when we call on him, when we call on his name, just whispering the name Jesus. activates hope. Remember that definition of revive, of that [00:25:00] activating hope, and that's what the name of Jesus does, the name of Jesus. Jesus.
[00:25:04] Valerie: Jesus. It activates hope, and hope flourishes when we put our faith in
[00:25:11] Denisha: Friends, if you're listening, I wanna tell you that hope can be revived for you. Through Christ, there is nothing that you're facing that is too big for him. One of the things that we focus on is reviving hope, one story at a time.
[00:25:28] Denisha: And you might be in a place in your story where it doesn't feel like a lot of hope. Maybe you're feeling hopeless right now. You're not alone, that other women have gone through hard things and are going through hard things as well, but that we can be a community of reclaimers that support each other and walk with each other, not just when things are going great, but when things are hard as well.
[00:25:53] Denisha: So we hope today was an opportunity to revive some hope that no matter what, we can be [00:26:00] strengthened in our. That we can give glory to God and that we too can be fully persuaded that God has the power to do what he says he could do. We'll see you same time, same place next week. Thanks for listening. I pray you found hope in today's conversation and maybe even feel a little less alone in your story.
[00:26:23] Denisha: Stay connected with us on Facebook and Instagram at reclaimed. Wanna learn more about living a reclaimed life and how you can be a part of our growing community of Reclaimers? Check out our email@example.com. All of those links and more will be in the show notes. And if you enjoy this inspirational podcast, be sure to subscribe, rate and review.
[00:26:46] Denisha: Not only will you be the first one to know when new content comes out, but it is also a huge help in helping us reach more people to live the reclaimed life.[00:27:00]