This One’s for the Wanna-be Hopeful

This morning started out bright, sun coming up behind our house in confident pink and orange glory. And I, mood highly swayed by the weather, picked out a skirt from my closet to wear and hopped in the shower once the kids were off to school, ready to face the day with energy and focus.

I got dressed in my skirt with a pair of green flats, even played with patterns a bit.

skirt weather

But by the time I fixed my hair, the cul-de-sac was draped over with a gray cloudy blanket and I felt my soul sink a little with it. While I thought the day was going to be all skirt and flats, it turned into sweater and boots.

That lying sunrise.

It’s times like this I find it best not to fight. Just change clothes.


The world and the internet has felt a little like that for me lately – I have a hint of hope, but then cloud cover.

Motivation to do productive work somehow morphs into discouragement.

The desire to practice silence and solitude ends in mind-numbing distraction.

What seemed like a great conversation in the morning leads to second-guessing in the afternoon.

 Anyone with me?

I know this colorful mix of joy and grief is all a part of being human. But that doesn’t keep me from wishing the shadows away sometimes.

I'm thankful for hope, the kind that doesn't expect always sunshine, but the kind that holds on no matter how things appear, the kind that reminds me how I feel about things isn't the ultimate truth. - emily p. freeman

I’m thankful for hope, the kind that doesn’t expect always sunshine, but the kind that holds on no matter how things appear, the kind that reminds me how I feel about things isn’t the ultimate truth, the kind Ellie Holcomb sings about in one of my favorite songs:

In the shadow
In the sadness
Holy Spirit come.
Won’t you rise up like a promise
On the wings of dawn?
Cause even when the darkness covers me
I settle on the far side of the sea
No matter what I do I can’t outrun your love.

-Ellie Holcomb, Can’t Outrun Your Love

I listen to this song as a way of practicing what I know is true, as a way of remembering the love of God, as a way of hoping in the middle of shadows, as a prayer.

And I grab my sunglasses as I head out the door. Just incase.

A few weeks ago in a newsletter, I hinted that I’ve been working on something I’ve never done before. It’s for anyone who wants to embrace hope no matter how things appear. It’s for the already, the almost, and the not-yet-hopers. It may be for you. And next week, I’m finally going to tell you what it is.

Be sure not to miss next week’s announcement by joining over 10,000 readers who receive Chatting at the Sky delivered into their inbox. Sign up with your email address right here!

What about you? Where do you most need hope these days?


  1. says

    I’m absolutely with you. For me, I draw so much from outside of myself, looking for motivation through acceptance from others, the weather, external circumstances etc. I think looking inward will help me be more hopeful. ?

  2. says

    You said exactly what I have been feeling since the first of the year. I imagine writing, I think about it, I have conversations in my head, but the reality falls short a lot of days. And the weather has definitely colored my thought processes way more than I should let it these past few months. I feel like I’m in wait mode and the record is stuck in the same ole groove and I’m hearing the same two notes all the time. It eventually has to change, right? That is what hope is for. Hope is our lifeline.

    • Kasey says

      Yes, I feel the same way! Much like everything is in slow motion and I really want to get moving in real time but I can’t find the right button. The longer I’m in this setting though, the harder it is to get out of it. I keep telling myself once the season is over, things will be much different, but I can only pray that this is true!

  3. Jeniffer says

    This has been my year. Thinking I’m over despair only to be sucked back in. Getting my energy back only to have a humbling week that leaves the house a wreck. I cannot wait to see what’s coming next week!!

  4. says

    Oh how that swinging to and fro, to and fro can be so exhausting. I’ve always thought the cadence for my life was stepping forward a few steps, then stepping back less than a few, and so on. Lately it feels more like the Pirate Ship at the fair that swings back and forth, back and forth, growing more powerful in it’s momentum as time goes on. And I can wake up strong, ready to take on the crazed forces of the swing, but by breakfast I’m sick and tired and wishing for a slowing in the madness.

    Hope’s there. Sort of looking like a creepy carnie not how I’m expecting it to be. But I don’t think God’s a seek-and-find sort of hope giver who’s wishing for me to see that perfect, sparkly hope, but, instead, He’s pushing me to be thankful for the banged-up, less-than-perfect but entirely functional sort of hope. Maybe that’s just what I need?

  5. says

    I’m with Emily. I need hope sprinkled through all my days. So many things can turn the sunshine into rain – a click of the mouse – the wrong words – the list is endless. But then again, so is real hope.
    Excited about your news. A ray of sunshine!

  6. says

    I am so with you.

    I am having to lean on a hope that there is so much more God is doing than I can see. Honestly? I am ok with the hope that comes on sunshiney mornings and happy feelings and all the things going my way. But. God is teaching me this rich and deep and wide hope you write about here, the tenacious kind that sticks in the face of circumstances.

    I so like the way you think.

  7. says

    Emily, I am new to your blog but not new to you and your wonderful gift with words. I wanted to let you know that your words gave me an abundance of hope as I carried your book “A Million Little Ways” with me on a recent trip through Italy to celebrate a milestone birthday. Although I was completely in awe of the wonder that surrounded me in Italy, I had also just finished something in my life that left me feeling vulnerable and very raw and wondering what God had in store for me. God spoke through your words and the Italian countryside breathing new life into me where I had once felt death. Thank you for using your gift, your art to shine his light of love and hope to so many of us.

  8. says

    I’m with you. Even with the weather. I was ready to head out when the heavens opened up like a dam erupting. And this flip-flopping I have inside is making me sick, but you’re right. We have hope that holds on through sun and rain, good days and bad. I’m trying to remember that.

  9. says

    I timidly throw my hat in here. God has been showing me, teaching me, a hope that doesn’t rely on anything or anyone else except Him. He’s always true blue even when my hope runs low. I love that about Him.

  10. says

    another fair weather hope-full girl here too!

    always amazed at how quickly the pendulum swings between joy and grief as life shifts and shadows fall. i know where my hope is built and yet how often i find myself running the total opposite way. not always sure how to truly have a soul stayed on Him and yet grateful He never stops coming after me!

    your post left me choked up because oh, how.i.get.these.words.

    where i need hope right now is for our future~ my husband’s job is changing and there’s a possible move ahead of us. i thought at 40 we’d be past all this. haha. isn’t this the time when everyone’s settled down in their dream homes and retirement plans well under way!!?? but what were you saying about hope that doesn’t always expect sunshine.. the kind that holds on no matter how things appear.. the kind that reminds me how I feel about things isn’t the ultimate truth.

    yes, that! : )

  11. says

    Very true. Reading this made me realize that my way of dressing is the same as my attitude about life; layer up (so you are ready for anything) and hope for the best. That’s what I usually tell my kids when they ask what they should wear during this transitional time of year.

  12. says

    Oh, yeah girll! Right there with you! I hate how my moods swing with the weather {I struggle with depression all winter}. I so want Jesus to be enough, so I often feel shame about my weather related moods. Makes me feel better just knowing I’m not alone. All the more reason to share our stories, right? So that we know we aren’t alone. Today, I was in dreary day mode until 2:00 when the sun started shining. Thank you for sunshine, Jesus. And may I learn to thank you for dreary days, too.

  13. says

    Hi EMily. I am from Brazil and I love everything You write . I just finished reading GrAce for good girls and I am reading a Million litteris ways . Your books are such a blessing .

  14. says

    I know exactly what you mean. I will be praying for more sunny days and more hope–for you and all your readers who identify with this post. Remember you continue to be a blessing to so many of us through your words.

    Wishing you a lovely and blessed weekend.

  15. says

    First, I have a rug almost just like yours. Love that!

    The hope that I clung to in days gone by has rewarded me lately. And, the hope I have for tomorrow is all wrapped up in asking Him to help me to make my heart fully His. All of it! The cracks, splinters, spinning plate days, the happiness, the joy and the little places in my heart I didn’t even know existed – All His. I’m hoping it will be a lifetime journey.

  16. says

    This is exactly how I’ve been feeling lately and just this week I started a new blog called CreateHope to really focus on the hope that is in every situation.

  17. says

    I hope reading all these warm comments has brightened your day Emily – you are so loved, even by people who’ve never met you. Keep on keeping on, sister.

  18. says

    Oh I’m with you alright. So very with you. Second-guessing is my middle name. And I’m all sorts of excited and curious about whatever it is you’ve got up your sleeve. Or sweater. Depending on the weather.

    Happy weekend. : )

  19. says

    oh so with you Emily! I feel like that oh so often! thanks for the beautiful reminder of hope – not based on the weather or my moods or nuthin’ temporary like that, but on the Rock that is our LORD! :)

  20. says

    Yes, this is exactly where I’ve been lately…I’ve even tried to bridge the gap yesterday with boots under skirt. Frumpy. I’m hungry for a creative infusion, praying for Holy Spirit energy and focus. The virtual world feels just…well…virtual. I know people still need those small cups of wisdom and encouragement, but I wish I could see the water spill out a little as they pass by to grab those little paper cups.

    Prayed with a spiritual director about it yesterday. All I know is that He is the Giver and I just can’t conjure it up. I’m offering prayers for both of us today. Blessings, Emily.

  21. says

    I’ve been feeling the same lately, especially about writing. I’m a Bible college student, but I’m a writer, too. Right now I’m working on a term paper about something incredibly important to me; this isn’t just an assignment, I know that the Lord has called me to write this. But the enemy absolutely hates it, because I’m trying to bring to light many lies he has been telling the church; I haven’t been able to write and it is so difficult. Prayers covering my writing process would be awesome. Thank you for sharing this.

  22. says

    I love reading your posts. I love how God uses your humor and honesty. You are such a blessing to so many. I have your book, “A Million Little Ways” and it has inspired me to do some writing as well. Even if no one ever reads it, it is like my worship to Him (kind of like my piano playing too!) thanks! Keep on being you. God is using you!

  23. says

    I can relate to how fast the weather and my mood can change in a day…I did a double take when I read your post because I posted yesterday on the topic of Hope and I paired it with several Ellie Holcomb songs…funny, huh? Love the song you shared …just love Ellie :) Hope you get to wear your green flats and skirt soon…

  24. says

    I’m right there with you, Emily. The weather determines my mood and my clothes, too. Except for the days when I *think* I remember what the weather *should* be like and walk out the door completely not dressed for what I walk into. And I’m sure the other mom’s at my son’s Kindgergarten wonder what world I’m living in. :- And so do I. I am HOPING right now that what I feel I’m being led to do is in fact what I’m supposed to be doing and I do it all and only for His glory. That’s a BIG Hope. Thank you for your words, as always. Can’t wait to hear your BIG announcement next week. Eek! 😀

  25. says

    Right there with you, sista.

    “The world and the internet has felt a little like that for me lately – I have a hint of hope, but then cloud cover.

    Motivation to do productive work somehow morphs into discouragement.”

    Right there with ya. I need hope to remember that it’s not what I do that determines who I am. It’s who I am that determines what I do.

  26. Jeannie S says

    Wow, so many comments with the same sentiment. Yes, desperate for hope. Looking forward to what you will share.

  27. says

    It’s like you typed out the words from my own head. I think it’s something that “creatives” can feel and we just get each other. It’s like a constant struggle everyday. An idea, convo, mindset, can seem so so so clear and then within hours, minutes and seconds that idea no longer seems usable and I am consumed with doubt. A lot of probably that probably coming from comparison. I’m not saying my friends and family don’t understand but for those who are move visual and creative, I think we just feel like this in a more intense way. It’s when that shadows gets in the way of your work, but like every great artist, I just have to remember, no piece of artwork was created without any effort or pain. Sometimes grief, and numbness are what makes the most beautiful pieces and eventually the sun comes back out!

  28. says

    Me too Emily. Sometimes it’s so painfully hard for those of us who are both blessed & cursed to feel this life so deeply. Mostly blessed…surely blessed…but troubled and tormented all the same. Hope the week turns sunshiny, in more than one way, for all of us. {hugs}

  29. says

    I know this is a delayed response, but I first heard of you at the (In)RL conference. So that being said, I’m new to the blogging world :-) Ironically just before that conference I started a blog “out of the blue.”

    I can relate to what you are expressing in this post. Almost too well! Like many of the folks who have commented, this has been a tough year for me. Not horrible, but tough…… Thanks for sharing your thoughts, it has been a great encouragement to me today.

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