Monday, December 23, 2013

A Thrill of Hope (Jacob)

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this phrase over my life. Especially during the Christmas season. It seems like a line in a song that gets sung and lost in the build up of a chorus.

To be honest, I’ve never really thought much of this line until my wife, Kaitlyn, artfully wrote it on a chalkboard on our fireplace. How true it is now.

One year ago this Christmas season was one of the most difficult times of my life. Newly married of 3 months, I dealt with the first loss of someone so close to me, my grandpa to cancer, 2 days after my mom had a 6-pound tumor removed from her stomach with the fear of it spreading throughout her body, unhappiness with the “real-world” and questions of is this what my life is supposed to be like. I found it very hard be joyous during Christmas. I fell victim to the motions of Christmas season just trying to scrape by. Jesus’ birth was an afterthought. I was foolish.  I remember a conversation with Kaitlyn a few weeks after my grandfather passed away that we hadn’t listened to Christmas music or any Christian music for that matter. I don’t know if I was mad at God because of all the pain I was going through with the uncertainty of what tomorrow would bring or I was just too exhausted and preoccupied with trying to please myself that I didn’t have time for Him.

Marriage was exhausting, work was exhausting, sickness was exhausting, and I didn’t have much hope of getting out of this rut. In January, Kaitlyn and I sat down, most likely after an argument where I yelled a lot, and we decided we were done and let’s start over. Let’s pick up and move, quit our jobs and move back to Missouri and be closer to family, because family is all we need. That night I prayed to God more than I have prayed in years.  I told God that this is what we were doing because we needed family and happiness back in our life. I had a job lined out where I was going to make a decent amount of money and I would get my MBA at a school in Springfield and Kaitlyn would find something and we’d be happy. Right before I was to put in my two weeks at my job God had a different plan. I was offered a position at a great growing company in NWA out of nowhere. God told me take it, and to stay. Telling Kaitlyn we would stay in Arkansas and I was going to take this job was one of the hardest conversations we would have. I broke her heart because we were so emotionally exhausted all we wanted to do was run away from here, she didn’t understand, but trusted me as her husband. To make it fair to her, I told Kaitlyn she could leave her job, and we would figure out something for her that would bring her happiness. 4 weeks later I was at a lesser paying job that had potential, and Kaitlyn was unemployed. My mom called and at her 1 month check up she was cleared of all cancer. She was healed. Kaitlyn got an e-mail from our church saying they needed host homes for small groups, and we started praying about that. 2 months in to my job I got a promotion. Things were falling into place, not in the way I told God they were going to fall into place but in how He wanted them. God was at work in the Snelson homestead. We were happy.

It was very apparent that God was blessing us. Kaitlyn and I knew that we had to give Him the credit. I spent several years running from God and His voice, it sounds cliché, but I was tired of running. It was no longer about me. We needed to live it out, all for Him. Kaitlyn and I decided to open our home as a host home for a small group and I was asked to lead. We have not been more blessed to share our struggles with two other amazing young married couples and the hope that God gives us. My faith has grown, my marriage has grown, and I have grown.

On July 3rd, Kaitlyn shared the best news I could ever hear. I was going to be a Daddy. In those few seconds after Kaitlyn told me no panic went through me like I thought would happen. God gave me such a beautiful peace, He had chosen US to be parents. It is amazing to see where we have come from in our one year of marriage. We have placed our hope and trust in God, I no longer try to tell God what I’m doing. I listen for Him to tell me where to go, and where to take my new little family.

This Christmas is different; there is a joy and faith in the Snelson home greater than we have ever had. I fall asleep every night watching Harlow Robin dance around in her mommy’s tummy. I wake up every morning giving God the glory looking at those words Kaitlyn wrote on the chalkboard on the fireplace; it has quickly become my favorite decoration in the whole house. Life can be cruel and messy, but there is Hope. Don’t get lost in life and overlook the real reason for hope even when you can’t see it. There will be a time of rejoicing coming if you put your trust in Him. Why worry, when He already has it figured out. It really is thrilling.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

How true it is.

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