In thinking about my last six months, and even last year, I realise have spent a lot of time in sadness. Crying for myself and my family. For sleeplessness, for overwhelming emotions, for negative behaviours. It has been a dark time. A wintery time in my heart.  This is not your average way to start a blog on hope, is it? 

But in this darkness there have been glimmering stars. Friends who have encouraged me, said a prayer for me, and watched over our family during trying times. Friends who have called me the minute they received a text message cry for help.

These precious friends have enabled me to hold on to hope where I couldn’t see any in front of me. They have spoken words of truth into my heart when I felt surrounded by uncertainty and a lack of clarity.

As mothers, it is easy to be buffeted by the changing ideas on the best parenting strategies, and knocked over by the stormy swell of toddler emotions, to lose our compass as we hear advice from friends and family. But our responsibility is to hold on to the anchor of hope.

We hope that we can maintain our course as women and as mothers. We hope that our children will grow and change, longing for the caterpillar to become the butterfly. We hope that the values we teach them when they are small will become understood and reflected in their lives as teens and adults. We hope that our current sorrows will be turned to joy in the future.

A song I know and love frequently comes to mind when I think about hope.

So take heart
Let His love lead us through the night
Hold on to hope
And take courage again... *

I like the way it is written “take courage” It’s so easy to think that parenting is too hard; that disciplining doesn’t work; that it’s impossible to decide which is a battle and which is a war, and who knows which strategy will work in the battle OR the war! Despite this, we sometimes need to literally take our courage back up off the ground from where it fell. We need to take heart, because without heart, without love, we are sunk. Hold on to that hope for a change. I have always remembered a shampoo ad from when I was small, “it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.” Keep re-calibrating to your course, keep checking that map, keep searching for a star sparkling in the night.

Although I didn’t feel like there was a lot to hope for in the middle of the chaos surrounding me, I managed to hang on to a slender thread. As I write this, the sleeplessness of a tiny one has improved; emotions have evened out; and best of all, we are now witnessing positive behaviours that bring joy to our hearts. My friends kept reminding me to place my hope in God and He will keep me afloat.

Jessica Denholm

WA MOPS Conference Coordinator
*Take Heart, by Joel Houston.

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