Don’t Lose Hope: Dissipating Despair and Discouragement

 
 
 

I thought I was doing so well and that I had this grief thing licked, then I had a trigger set me off.

Last night my brother-in-law called with news from the NTSB about their report on the plane crash.  As we talked I expressed my faith in God’s plan for our family and that this accident had an important purpose and was meant for our learning and growth.  After I hung up the phone, I went downstairs to talk to my boys.  I again expressed the same thoughts to them with more emotions rising to the surface this time.  After telling them good night, I found myself closing the den doors and sinking to the floor in tears.
 

The despair over this old wound being opened began

 to consume me and I openly sobbed.

 
I called and talked to a friend who comforted me with some scriptures to read and then I called another widow whose husband had also died in a plane crash.  We discussed and expressed confusion with the findings.  We talked about our futures and conversations that we had had with other widows who had remarried and still were struggling missing their husbands and with trying to blend families.
 

Everything just looked bleak and hopeless.

 
As I climbed into bed, despair and discouragement overwhelmed my thoughts.  I read some of the scriptures that my first friend suggested and I felt some better.  I began to pray and pray for help until I finally drifted off to sleep….
 

Normally I would wake to a new day, but today the feeling of despair and discouragement lingered.

 
The weather had canceled early morning seminary for my children so they got up a little later than usual.  My best friend who normally runs with me did not call because of the late start and because I was getting over the flu.

 

After my kids left I crawled back into bed…
something I have never done except when I was ill.

 

I just wanted to talk to Scott.  I missed him so very much.  Finally at 10:00 my friend called and I pulled myself out of bed.  We ran and I talked things out.  We grabbed some lunch and I came home to fold clothes.  Still the feeling would not leave.  I thought,

 

“What is wrong with me?  This never lingers this long.”
 
Then I realized that I was not following my normal “get out of grief routine.”  I had talked to all of my friends, but I hadn’t spent some time really studying the scriptures and the words of the prophet for comfort.  I needed to do that and really get on my knees.

 

I thought of a talk about Hope from General Conference that I had read and highlighted shortly after Scott’s death.  I had sent a quote from that talk to some friends in the morning as an inspirational thought, but I realized that I really need to delve into it again. This is what I learned, and this is how I turned my head around….

 

 
THE POWER OF HOPE VIDEO CLIP

Hope has the power to fill our lives with happiness.

“Hope is a gift of the Spirit. This kind of hope is both a principle of promise as well as a commandment, and, as with all commandments, we have the responsibility to make it an active part of our lives and overcome the temptation to lose hope.”

 
 

If hope is a gift, then it is something we have to pray and ask for.

 

But Why Then Is There Despair?

“The scriptures say that there must be “an opposition in all things.” So it is with faith, hope, and charity. Doubt, despair, and failure to care for our fellowmen lead us into temptation, which can cause us to forfeit choice and precious blessings.”
 
 
Faith -> doubt
Hope -> dispair
Charity-> failure to care for our fellow men
Satan uses the opposites to make us forfeit choice.
 
“The adversary uses despair to bind hearts and minds in suffocating darkness. Despair drains from us all that is vibrant and joyful and leaves behind the empty remnants of what life was meant to be.”

 

Satan uses despair and depression to bind us.  The downward spiral traps us deeper and deeper until we have forfeited all of our ability to choose to get out.

“Hope, on the other hand, is like the beam of sunlight rising up and above the horizon of our present circumstances. It pierces the darkness with a trust in the loving care of an eternal Heavenly Father, who has prepared a way for those who seek for eternal truth in a world of relativism, confusion, and of fear.”

 

“Hope is not knowledge, but rather the abiding trust that the Lord will fulfill His promise to us. It is confidence that if we live according to God’s laws and the words of His prophets now, we will receive desired blessings in the future. It is believing and expecting that our prayers will be answered. It is manifest in confidence, optimism, enthusiasm, and patient perseverance.”

 
Hope = light
Despair = darkness
 Hope goes above and beyond the now.
Hope is trust in the Lord
Hope can break through despair
 
“In times of distress, we can hold tightly to the hope that things will “work together for [our] good” as we follow the counsel of God’s prophets. This type of hope in God, His goodness, and His power refreshes us with courage during difficult challenges and gives strength to those who feel threatened by enclosing walls of fear, doubt, and despair.”

 

Hope is in Jesus Christ and his abilities to fulfill all of his promises. We show it by patiently continuing the course while we are waiting on the Lord, showing confidence, optimism and enthusiasm along the journey.

 

Hope gives us the skills to be proactive in bearing and dealing with trials. Hope is an active thing, not passive- thus it requires effort on our part to exert it. Hope can sustain us through the dark times until we get back to the light

 

“There may be times when we must make a courageous decision to hope even when everything around us contradicts this hope”

 

“Each time a hope is fulfilled, it creates confidence and leads to greater hope.”

 

Remembering that God has kept his promises in the past helps us sustain our hope through times of trial. It gives us the courage to get through and battle our doubts.

 

“Hope sustains us through despair. Hope teaches that there is reason to rejoice even when all seems dark around us.”

 

Hope allows us to last when it is really, really hard, because we know eventually it will get better

 

“And to all who suffer—to all who feel discouraged, worried, or lonely—I say with love and deep concern for you, never give in…

Never surrender…

 

Never allow despair to overcome your spirit.

Embrace and rely upon the Hope of Israel, for the love of the Son of God pierces all darkness, softens all sorrow, and gladdens every heart.”

 
The key when it is hard is to press forward, to never give up but to continue in our hope and do the very best we can to further the kingdom.  Our service along with our hope will sustain us.
 
 

 

 

A MOTHER”S HOPE VIDEO CLIP
I know with certainty: her faith overcame her fear, and her hope overcame her despair. She was not a woman who would sit and bemoan tragedy. She moved. She put her faith and hope into action.
 
 
I had to remember these words from this talk and the notes that I had penned months ago.  We can choose not to despair, we can choose to have faith.  I DO have promises that I feel that the Lord has made to me.  There is definitely plenty of struggles ahead for me, but there are also chances for joy and I can’t let despair stifle those.  I can’t let despair stop me from reaching out to others.  So as I write this and share this I am fighting against despair.  My hope is that it will lift you and help you and that together we can push back some of the dark.

 

 

Questions to Ponder:

1. What does our hope need to be center in?

2. What things can you do to strengthen your hope and push away despair?  How does prayer and scripture study help?

3. How can you make hope more active in your life?

Comments

  1. wrote on December 13th, 2013 at 1:20 am

    jkmilligan

    Great lesson learned! Thanks for sharing! You shared so many great quotes. Hope as both a principle of promise and a commandment is something that is too often overlooked. At times Hope seems to come easily and other times we have to work through despair. I love this scripture: “And what is it that ye shall a hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.” Moroni 7:41