To Carry Hope


To-Carry-HopeIsaiah says that, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
 They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 41:30)

I have been there before, standing on top of the mountain, arms stretched to the heavens, praise pulsing through me and belief radiating out of me. At times, I have stood on the edge of glory holding only the weight of my brittle bones while fire burns within them, and even my flesh cannot hold the holy heat. I have seen the bush all in flames and heard my name thunder from the ash. I have soared on the wings of eagles and touched the hope of the Lord while my toes barely graze the tips of grass. My strength has been renewed. At times.

At times I have run, feet pounding hard ground, salty sweat beading above my brow, the race that grows with each step and shortens with each minute. My breath, a steady whistle to the drum of legs churning. These eyes of mine, focused and pin-pointed to the target of a race well run and a spirit regenerated. Change and relationships, callings and desires splash me like a Dixie cup of cold water spurring me on. I have run and not grown weary.  At times.

And yet still, there are times when I am left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot. I am all walk and no run, all crawl and no soar. I am inch by inch, breath labored, bones heavy, burned out bush brittle inside of me.  Each friend, every hymn, a staff beneath me. Each ray of God, every gentle prodding, a rod behind me. Where I had once stood on the edge of glory, at times like this, I stand on the edge of collapse. But I do not faint. Though doubled over and eyes drawn, I do not faint.  At times.

Yes, I have seen the top of the mountain and I have felt the wind in the air. I have run in faith with lungs clear and breath steady. I have also stumbled and fumbled along the blurry line of faith and doubt.

For at times we can hardly keep our feet on the ground as we grab the wings of eagles soaring in blessed belief. At times we cannot keep our legs from running as the wind of conviction blows heavy to our back.  And still there are times when it is enough, no, it is all we can do, to put one stubborn foot in front of the other and not faint while doing so. It is all we can do to keep breathing as we walk.

Is it better to soar than to run? More faithful to run than to crawl? Or perhaps is our strength renewed, as the scriptures say, when we carry hope with us whether we soar, sprint or slug (Isaiah 41:30)?

Could it be that God forms us just as much when we hide in the shadow as when we shine on the peak; that perfect Love is chasing us in spite of our strength, no matter our speed?

I have stood on the mountain and soared.  I have drudged through the valley and crawled. But hope, blessed hope, I have carried with me. And my strength has been renewed.

Settle Monroe
I am grounded to the earth in a beautiful life with two sons. I am rooted in heaven with the promise of life eternal with another son who leapt into his Father’s arms in October of 2011. I write about the joy and pain of living heart-broken but heart-swollen in the valley of love and loss at my blog, As I Walk.
Settle Monroe

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Settle Monroe
  • Once again, absolutely beautiful writing. This was so timely, you have no idea! Thank-you! xoxo

    • Settle Monroe

      Thankful for timing, and your kind words.

  • Thankful for the hope we have to be renewed by His strength.

    • Settle Monroe

      Yes, Debbie. By His strength…

  • Beautiful.

    • Settle Monroe

      Thank you Tiff.

  • Holly


    This line:

    “Could it be that God forms us just as much when we hide in the shadow as when we shine on the peak; that perfect Love is chasing us in spite of our strength, no matter our speed?”

    is so full of hope and grace that it almost overwhelms me. Thank you for putting into words so much of what my heart has felt but has been unable to articulate. That is one of your gifts, friend–putting soul aches into words.
    Thank you.

    • Amen.

    • Settle Monroe

      Holly, thank you.

  • That is a beautiful verse! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Settle Monroe

      Esther, thank you for your encouraging words.

  • Amen. (These words, sweet Settle, are honey to my soul today. Bless you for your obedience in writing them out so beautifully.)

    • Settle Monroe

      Amy, I am so thankful that something from me could touch something in you. Thank you for your kind words.

  • Anne-Marie

    We keep finding ourselves in the valley when we think, at last, there will be a little peak time. But writing that place seems to bring comfort to others, as you have sustained me with your words today. Thank you Settle! Love your beautiful way with words.

    • Settle Monroe

      Yes, Anne-Marie, aren’t we always looking for a little peak time? 🙂

  • Oh! I have been living this too. I’m in a time of renewal that feels deeper and more real than any I’ve ever experienced before. And yet I know there are more deserts out there for me, someday. Part of my renewal was accepting that I’ve been crawling for a long time and asking God, finally, to lift me up. Perhaps we’re closer to Jesus’ feet when we’re crawling, even though it doesn’t feel that way.

  • fiona lynne

    You have such a beautiful way with words. This sung to me. I’ve experienced these three places, and what hope that he can form us in any one. He uses where we are, and he renews our strength. And maybe I’d add another place – not the running, not the soaring, but not the crawling either – times when I’ve wandered aimlessly, not suffering but not understanding either, not hurting but not moving with purpose either. That he still chases me, even there. It’s just all grace.

  • Tiffany

    So true – your gift of putting into words exactly what a heart broken by the loss and forever love of one son but so full with the love and life of a husband and your other sons- still so thankful for your hope.

  • Jose R.

    It is really nice. But i thought that our timing isnt Gods timing. That even though we can soar we like to do things our way. So arent we supposed to do things in Gods time and in his way? Because to me, He knows much better and much more about what he says.