Growing up, and still today, people often comment on my name, noting it as beautiful and what not. For a long time, I didn’t fully appreciate having a name packed with meaning and depth.
As a fourth or fifth grader, I was challenged to think about the importance of a name when reading Joan Bauer’s book “Hope Was Here.” The story talks about a girl named Hope and her journey in discovering the importance of her name.
While puns about my name, especially after choosing to attend Hope College, continue to flow from the mouths of people I meet, “Hope Was Here” still challenges me to think about what it means to have hope and how to live a life with a hopeful mindset. Having the name Hope does not make me predisposed to being a hopeful person any more than Nicole having her name makes her more likely to have the “victory of the people,” which, according to babycenter. com, is what her name means. I do, however, think a lot of my hopeful demeanor can be credited to my parents.
My parents are amazing people, and both of them have sacrificed a lot for me to get where I am today. My mom raised me as a single mother until I was 11 years old. When I was 11, she got married and the man she married adopted me. That can sound kind of confusing, but basically, I’m one-half adopted, and my parents rock.
As a kid, my mom raised me to be hopeful. Even when things in our lives weren’t going as planned, she never made me feel like I couldn’t achieve whatever I put my mind to. She was always there encouraging me and cheering me on.
My Dad wanted to adopt me upon marrying my Mom. I am still in awe that he would want to take on the burden (because let’s be honest, kids aren’t always the most fun to have) of raising someone else’s child. But even more than that, he has never, not once, treated me as if I were anything but his very own.
My parents have exhibited such great acts of sacrifice in an effort to give me, and my sister, the best that we could have. This has not always been a walk in the park. As with any family, life is not always easy. Plenty of things have come up in our lives that make our day-to-day routine difficult, and at points, it has seemed like more and more bad things were piling up.
When I have faced difficult situations, my parents have offered me some really great advice. Most recently, my Dad talked to me about the importance of being patient, reminding me that things will not always fall into place in my timing. Instead, I need to rely on God and trust His plan for everything.
With my wedding coming up quickly, my Mom has been offering advice about learning to live in a codependent relationship, something that is difficult for my independent spirit. I take her advice to heart, especially as I am slowly realizing how similar the two of us are. (This has been my, “Oh my gosh. I am turning into my mother” moment.)
My parents approach life with an attitude of hope. They’ve seen hardships, yet they continue to live with a hope-oriented attitude. Sure, they aren’t happy and smiling every second of every day; that wouldn’t be a realistic expectation for anyone’s life. But more often than not, I see them pursuing life with a strong belief that things will ultimately get better.
I once heard a pastor say, “Hope is an emotional reservoir of power built upon the confident expectation that something good will happen in the future.”
I believe this statement to be true. Hope is powerful. It’s more than a name of a person. It’s more than a name of a college. It is a powerful word that throughout the Bible authors use to describe the hope that we all can have that God will bring good into this world. Through the reconciliation of our sins on the cross of Jesus Christ, God promises that those who believe in the saving work of Jesus can experience God’s glory and goodness in eternity with Him.
My Mom named me Hope, and my parents have demonstrated the importance of living a life oriented around a hopeful attitude. This created in me a desire to make hope a bigger portion of my life, to make it a habit, to make it something that I think about often, to remember that I can make it through difficult times because of the hope available to me through Jesus Christ.
So, while it might be extremely cheesy for me to be writing one of my last columns for the Hope student newspaper about the importance of being hopeful, I’m going to embrace it. And I challenge anyone who reads this to seriously consider what our motto “Spera in Deo” really means and how youu might apply it to your life.