by Emily Conrad
Hope isn’t my middle name for nothing.
When my sister spoke those words—her middle name is Hope—I got to thinking about how maybe I ought to do more to celebrate my middle name, Rose, which has been passed down to me from my mom.
Gifts from people I love are special to me. Whether physical things or a middle name, they remind me of those I love and relationships that sustain me. So, I’ve always appreciated the history of my middle name, but I haven’t really celebrated it.
I have one little rose bush, and I’m sure I could plant some more. Maybe I will.
I have a tendency to expect the worst or at least keep my expectations “realistic.”
– I have a publisher for my debut novel, Justice. Exciting, right? Very. And yet I’m concerned that when it comes out, readers won’t like it. (From watching other writers’ social media, I’m thinking this is a common fear, but nonetheless, it’s no fun.)
– I entered some writing contests. The winners will be announced at the conference I’m attending this week. (Whew, that came up fast!) Since entering, I’ve been telling myself there is a lot of competition so I’m not likely to win, even if my writing is good.
But then a week or two ago, I dreamed that my novel came out to great reviews and that I’d won two of the three contests I entered.
For one night, apparently, I’d changed my middle name to Hope.
Though I haven’t seen how either of those situations work out in real life yet, I still feel refreshed by that dream.
When we look to the future we have a choice: we can let negativity have its way, or we can hope. The realistic part of my mind tells me that all the things I hope for won’t come true, but either way, I’ll have to wait to see what will happen. I’d rather wait with hope than with discouragement. Later, if disappointment comes, instead of using that as an excuse to despair, I’d rather use it as a chance to reset with a new hope.
No matter what else fails, as Christ followers, we serve a good God who gives good gifts, and we know that He has plans for our ultimate good. Our ultimate hope in Jesus Christ will not disappoint us (Romans 5:5). We can always, no matter what, hope in Jesus.
When discouragement and negativity come knocking, even in the most challenging situations, we can hold our chins high and refuse them at the door saying, “Hope is my middle name.”
After all, it’s true. Hope is our middle name. Maybe not on our birth certificates, but definitely in Jesus.
Love this! Discouragement is something I've struggled with as well. I think it's one of satan's biggest tactics because, really, it's the opposite of faith and hope. BTW, I'll totally read your debut. <3
Great encouragement, Emily! I tend to think really negatively about things to come, too. (I love that you dreamt about a better outcome!) But we should live as if "Hope" is our middle name. Because you're so right, we have the ultimate fulfillment of ultimate good in Jesus! The End. Period. 🙂
Thanks for this encouraging post, Emily! It seems that though I don't always have time to read each post when it comes out, the ones I DO read come to me right when I need them! I'm at a point in my life where I'm waiting for an answer to one of my life's biggest hopes. Thank you for the reminder that even if our earthly hopes and dreams are disappointed, we will never be disappointed in our Saviour!
Thank you for this encouragement, Beth! I just love how God coordinates timing on inspiring posts and then getting the right post to the right person at the right time. He's always at work!
Why thank you, Rachel! It'll be an honor to have you as a reader (of my novel–I'm already thrilled to have you as a reader there!) 🙂 I don't usually think about discouragement as the opposite of faith and hope, but I think you're right that it is. So grateful to have His hope-filled Word and encouraging community to help combat it!
That dream was such a game-changer, a gift from God to help show me a different way. We always have hope. The End. Period. (As you put it so well) 🙂
You are the rose. Great post. I love it, "Hope is my middle name"
I really love your authentic writing! It blesses and refreshes and I pray God blesses you abundantly for blessing so many through your gift of writing! I can't wait to read your book!! Proverbs 11:25 the generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed!
Thanks, Mom 🙂 You know, since I got the name from you, it only seems fair that you let me come steal that rose bush of yours that I'm always admiring… 😉
Thank you for this blessing! It means so much <3