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.

But for the first time in my life, I find myself a little bit jealous of my sister’s name. Namesake history aside, I’d rather have hope than roses.

I have a tendency to expect the worst or at least keep my expectations “realistic.”

Two examples:

– 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.

#Hope is my middle name. Maybe not on my birth certificate, but definitely in #Jesus via @emilyrconrad