– Hope McGlothlin. { Psalm 30:11 } –

Hi friends! My name is Hope McGlothlin, and I’m super thankful and excited to get to share a little bit of my testimony with you today. I was so blessed to grow up in a family that attended church every week since before I was born, so I knew in my head from a young age that Jesus loved me. But it wasn’t until I was about 10 years old that I really began to understand this truth in my heart.

At that age, I lost my grandfather to pancreatic cancer. It was the first family death I had ever experienced, and it hit me hard. I remember coming home from the funeral and crying in the shower. My tears fell…but so did my worries, concerns, mourning, and pain. It was the first time I ever really had to cry out to God; it was my only response.

Yet amidst the mourning and the sadness, I felt this indescribable sense of peace. It was like the pain was still there and the tears were still flowing, but they were accompanied by a sense of calmness and even joy beyond my understanding. I began to hear this small voice in my head say, “Child, you are okay. Come and just rest in me,” and I knew it was the Lord. It was like I could feel His tangible presence for the first time, I could sense His Holy Spirit, and it changed my life and relationship with God forever. I began to understand that He was not some faraway deity judging me from the sky; He was a loving Father who was close to me, always with me and wanting to comfort me.

In the months after the funeral as I learned to continue processing the grief and sorrow that came with the loss of my grandfather, I knew I could turn to the Lord for comfort. Whenever I started to feel the pain again, I would start praying, and just like that, I’d sense this peace beyond understanding surround me, a peace from God. I would come to the Lord at the end of each day, just talking to Him like He was my friend. As I spent more time with Him, I realized how loving He was, and I began to try to seek Him in every action, just wanting to please this good, good God I had come to know.

In that time He provided so much growth, revealed so much of His love, and gave me so much peace, but there were definitely moments of difficulty too. As I began to know and love Him more, Satan tried to step in, and for the next few years, the love that Christ had filled my life with was also combated by overwhelming fear and anxiety. I struggled with fears of robbers, terrorists, ghosts, cancer, natural disasters–you name it–and I worried about my grades, performance, and identity. While His love never changed for me, I began to distort it in my own OCD/anxiety way, and looking back, I can see that I started to mistakenly and unconsciously view the Lord as more of a judging, stern God, not as the loving Father He truly is. I knew He loved me, but I forgot what that meant, and instead I condemned myself for each and every mistake or sin I made and busied my brain trying to think of ways to please Him. I didn’t realize it then, but I was burning my little heart out with the heavy expectations I had self-inflicted, meanwhile missing out on the love and GRACE of God: the pure, unearned favor He had for me simply because I was His child.

But where these struggles increased, God’s grace increased all the more. He was pursuing me during that time with His love, just waiting for me to turn around and run to Him. He was working through my wonderful friends and family as they cared for me, through my counselor as she helped me navigate my mental health, and through my church. Over the years I struggled with anxiety, I also slowly but surely found healing and peace. God broke down every lie that Satan had tried to make me believe and replaced it with His Truth, and I have found more freedom in Him than I ever thought possible.

In the years since, the Lord has continued to lead me out of anxiety and into the most incredible adventure of faith. I am still a work in progress, and I still struggle sometimes with anxiety. BUT GOD. He has never stopped pursuing me, never stopped chasing after my heart and bringing me back to Him. Even amidst my struggles, He shows me more of His love, and He teaches me everyday that falling in love with Him is truly the most incredible thing. With each struggle has come a greater understanding of Him and growth in my faith. I love that in each part of my life He’s shown me this constant story of turning the broken into beautiful, the bad into good, the pain into wonder, the ugly into awesome. This is what He does, it is the heart of who He is. God makes all things beautiful, He makes all things new. I am by no means a perfect Christian or a perfect person. But I serve a good, good Father, and I love that He does not measure me by my own performance or attempts at perfection. He loves me so much. He sees me as His daughter. And He has made my brokenness beautiful.

Now that I’ve experienced so much joy and freedom in Jesus, He has given me this deep passion to share it with others. It’s certainly not something that comes from me but rather from Him, from a natural overflow of His love in me. With that kind of love, He just naturally makes you want to share it with others. Through lots of prayer and searching, He’s shown me that He is calling me to do so vocationally by working in a ministry or nonprofit setting. And after more prayer and discerning, I have decided to pursue His call by studying Social Work and Intercultural Studies (Missions) at Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. I am so indescribably nervous about this big transition coming so soon, but I am also so indescribably excited and expectant for all God is going to do. He has never failed me before–rather He’s done so much more than I could ever imagine–and I know He will do the same here.

As I’ve been writing this post and reminiscing on this crazy journey of life He’s brought me on, God has reminded me of these two verses in my heart:

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.”

{Psalm 34:5} “Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

Through Christ, this is the TRUTH for US! We get to claim the abundant and incredible life Jesus has already purchased for us. It’s already waiting for us, all we have to do is say yes. Then we just get to stand back and watch all He does. I can promise you we’ll be in awe.

San Antonio, Texas.

-Hope.

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