Day 19 – Ordinary Beauty of Hope (and free printable)

Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Psalm 131:3b the Message

Hope is only present when things are lost. Or stolen. Like a brother’s life, a mother’s memory of her children, dreams that will never be realized.

This is where hope is found, in the valley of the shadow of death.

One of my closest friends lay dying in a hospital bed brought into her home. Hospice nurses had been monitoring the morphine to ease the pain from the cancer that was winning its fight. We’d been called to come, a small group of us, friends who’d been living life together, raising our babies together, going on vacations and hosting holiday parties. We were the core group at our church and she had been the youth leader for several years.

The time was getting close, the nurses know this. One of our former pastors had been called and word was sent out for us to gather, once more, and we did.

We came from out of town and out of state and we each had a moment at her side. Even though we heard soft moans coming from her she didn’t seem aware of our presence. I didn’t know what to say to this woman I considered one of my  closest friends. Nothing would seem enough. I should have said them in better times but we don’t. We don’t blurt out things like, “I have such a good time when we get together.” You just don’t and then you stand next to her bed wishing you had.

pain hope


So this pastor friend called us together, and  in their family room where we’d shared more laughs than tears, he began reading the 23rd Psalm and he talked about this valley with the shadow of death.

I’d memorized that Psalm as a child like so many of us had. It’s words were comforting but the shadow part never seemed to fit for me. Right in the middle of all these good things was this somber part about death.

Death was why we had gathered. The shadow of death was in the room, it was looming over us and we were awkward in our lack of understanding the gift of this moment. But he walked us through the verses, focusing on the hope that is with us and brighter than a shadow can ever be.

Shadows cannot overtake us. They have no substance, no life. Our Hope is Life, the life, our life.

It was her life we would celebrate and the eternal life we knew she would receive. This was our hope and hope was the light that would split through this shadow of death. Maybe not at this moment, when the reality of our friend taken so soon numbed us with shock and denial. The hope might not spread its rays through our grief just yet but we see the flicker. Like a pilot light on a gas stove, hope is always there.

Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always!

Download a free HOPE printable here



More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

5 thoughts on “Day 19 – Ordinary Beauty of Hope (and free printable)

  1. Linda Stoll

    And Debby, you’re so right. In so many situations, there are not words. There is nothing to speak. But hope … this we can hang on to.

    Your heart words have inspired me today …


    1. Debby Hudson

      Thank you Linda. Being silent is a hard one to learn, we see it as not “doing”. Presence speaks louder than most words. Thanks for sharing your words and presence here today.


  2. carlybenson

    Debby, your writing here is beautiful. “Shadows cannot overtake us. They have no substance, no life. Our Hope is Life, the life, our life.” This line stood out but I loved it all, and I’m grateful that we always have hope whatever the circumstances.


    1. Debby Hudson

      Thank you Carly. Most of the time I’m writing reminders to myself and how a good a reminder that we have Hope!


  3. judikruis

    The last moments with loved ones are often difficult. Hope is a fitting word that brings a measure of peace. Bless you


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