by Chrissy Hampson

June 13, 2018

Refrigerator Magnet with word HOPE

“I’m sorry, Mommy, but I broke your magnet . . .” Her voice trails off as she hands me the broken pieces, “HOPE” in a pretty white script, now missing the H. But it’s not the first time.

A gift from my mom, she thought of me when she saw it. A perfectly pink butterfly rests peacefully on the surface of the P, a symbol of both beauty and pain for our family. I imagined keeping this white, shining Hope for years—a visual cue to remember, to hope. And, she’s a cute little magnet!

But then it broke for the first time. Just a thing, just a thing, but that thing was meant to last. I had long-term plans for her! If the kids wouldn’t climb up where they shouldn’t, dirty feet on my counter-top, in order to reach the safest corner where Hope lived, it wouldn’t have happened. But someone did. And it did happen. Hope broke.

Meticulously, I glued her back together as best I could. She didn’t come out perfectly—a crack at the base of the O and P and then a large chunk missing from the top of the O . . . but it’s what I could do with what I had, and I still loved her.

Unfortunately, for Hope, her situation worsened because my youngest loved to line all of the magnets up in a row and so, after a season, I gave up on protecting this little word. I don’t know who broke her the second instance, just as I don’t remember the first. But this time I was in a hurry to fix her and didn’t have the proper glue so, in my impatience, I threw the wrong kind on and set Hope on a plate to dry. The next morning, she wore a new face as the the bubbly white glue bulged obviously out of the newest breakage.

“Ah, well . . .” I thought as I placed her back on the fridge, “at least the glue’s white like the words. Who really cares about this magnet but me?” Twice broken.

And so it didn’t surprise me too much the day my daughter handed me Hope, broken again.

This time it’s been a few weeks, and she still lies broken. I almost can’t keep my eyes off her.

    “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:1-5

Like my little magnet, I’ve been dropped on my head a few times. I’ve lost a piece or two and have not been put back together at all the same. I’ve got cracks that didn’t used to be there. I’ve had times when my hope remained broken for all too long.

But God has faithfully poured His love into my heart as promised and has not disappointed me. In those days when hope felt worthless and lost, I could still stand in that grace. And my hope and faith are bolstered because of those things.

We all have ‘broken hope.’ Put back together. Rearranged a little, sometimes a lot. Sometimes mended well. Sometimes leaving recognizable scars. Sometimes broken a long time. Not thrown away. Kept. Clung to even in the broken times, maybe especially.

And the more we break, the more we “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,” this God who knows you and me so well. I will fix my little broken Hope magnet and from my fridge she will shout out to me in her suffering that hope is not lost.

Chrissy homeschools her four kiddos out of a tiny 960 square-foot, two bedroom condo. She loves open spaces and nature, and so, seeks out those things in the midst of a crazy Orange County life.

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