you can't have one without the other.

This past week I had the privilege of speaking to the men and women's golf team at Hope College. I was asked not because I am a golfer (obviously) or an alumni of Hope College (which I am) but because I have a story. I know, we all do. Trust me, my self doubt and insecurities did not let me forget that. But my story is not one to keep to myself. It is filled with His promises. His patience. And His presence.

I am beginning to piece this all together. The doubt, the fear, the anger; they were a huge part of my story. I painfully admit, they still play a role. Thankfully, they aren't the lead characters anymore. God is.

As I worked through my story, I realized the two can co-exist. For so long, I thought I shouldn't hurt if I really had hope. I know that sounds silly.  Even writing it, I can't believe I was believing that lie.

I face timed one of my sisters to go over what I had prepared to share at Hope. I have three older sisters. She and I have been pegged as the emotional ones in the family. I like to think she is more sappy then me but if I'm honest, we both can hold our own in the "wear our emotions on our sleeve department" pretty evenly.

I thought I had practiced enough on my own. I felt prepared for the parts of the talk that would hurt and cause me to be a bit more emotional. What I didn't plan for was the two of us getting hit with raw feelings.  Man, did we cry. I can't speak for her but I was surprised with the part of my story that hurt so bad. It really hurt. The difference for me this time is I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt, I still have hope.

Yes, a hope of a cure, for sure. But finally I have a hope of His promises. A hope of His patience. And a hope of His presence. It's so freeing to say that. It's even more liberating to believe it. Finally, the freedom to trust in Him.

Don't be disillusioned in thinking I have arrived. That couldn't be further from the truth. But those college kids made me realize that hurt and hope can co-exist. Actually, there has to be both to search for the purpose to the pain.

Thanks, Hope College men and women golf teams, for challenging me in my journey and allowing me to share my story. I believe we were all made for something more.

Holly LeBlanc