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tshirtIs hope dispenser an appropriate descriptor for a resume?

When I was a young counselor working in the addictions field, some of my favorite work was encouraging the parents of teenagers who were struggling with substance abuse problems. These parents were understandably terrified. In many cases, they had no idea how deeply ensconced their child was in the use of drugs and alcohol until the situation blew up and they landed in my office. They were drowning in guilt, anger, confusion and overwhelming fear.

Over a period of weeks, months and sometimes years, my job was to ask these parents to show up, trust the process and expect a miracle. In the early days of their child’s recovery, their family’s life seemingly blown up beyond recognition, hope was a herculean leap of faith. I asked them to trust me and let me carry the hope until they could grab onto it for themselves. In many cases, I invited them to act like they believed in the process until they actually did. I asked them to grab hold of the 12th step advice to “fake it till you make it.” They were some of the bravest people I’ve ever known.

When I was pregnant with my oldest, a group of these parents with whom I had walked the road of recovery threw me a surprise baby shower. My favorite gift was a giant purple t-shirt with the words “Expect a Miracle” emblazoned in big white letters. They were so tickled with themselves for finding a tangible reminder of my mantra to them during their dark days of hopelessness and so excited to speak those words of encouragement to me as I anticipated becoming a parent myself. As I looked around the room that day and thought about the stories of heartache and healing those dear faces represented, I knew miracle was exactly the right word for what I had witnessed. Twenty three years later, I still hang on to that purple shirt.

I collected so much wisdom from my years in the 12 step program. Show up and do the next right thing. Trust the process. Expect a miracle. One Day at a Time.

In moments of hopelessness and despair, sometimes all we can muster is putting our bodies in the place where we hope someday our hearts and spirits will follow. We begin to walk the path because someone we trust says it is the right path to get where we hope to go and we can’t see any other better options.

We go grudgingly, half-heartedly, skeptically. But we go. We show up. We put one foot in front of the other and move forward haltingly, one step at a time.

We fake it ’till we make it.

And somewhere, deep down in our guarded hearts, beneath the fear and cynicism, we notice a spark of hope. Maybe healing really is possible. Maybe God really does care. Maybe miracles really do happen.

Friend, I have no idea what challenges you face today or what mountains you are climbing. Perhaps you need someone to hold hope for you until you can grab hold of it for yourself. Maybe you need permission to act like you believe until you really do. Maybe you need an invitation to show up on the path to healing even though you aren’t sure you believe it will do any good.

Allow me to be your hope dispenser.

Show up. Take deep breaths. Do the next right thing. Trust the process. Expect a miracle.

It’s ok to fake it ’till you make it.

Romans 12:12 (NIV) Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 

Welcoming my friends from Suzie Eller’s #LiveFreeThursday, even though today is Friday. Visit Suzie’s blog to read more wise words on the topic “grudgingly.” Also linking up today with my brave Friday Five friends talking about People I Admire. Love my link up friends!!