Day 2: Laura Cunliffe

Romans 15:13
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

“Don't stop believin', Hold on to that feelin’. Don’t stop believin’, Hold on…”
The chorus of the famous song, “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey has been playing on repeat in my mind over the first days of this new year. When I first realized I had been humming this tune, I giggled. While a popular and catchy song, it is not the type of music I typically listen to. But a few minutes after dismissing the song, I thought about how poignant the famous lyrics were as I recap 2023 and look forward to 2024.
Most of you know that our family welcomed a new baby girl, Poppy, in May. She is the most perfect gift and a true answer to many prayers- certainly the highlight of this past year. What most in our Grace Chapel family do not know, is that just eleven months prior, we lost a baby at eleven-weeks’ gestation; a baby we had dreamt of and prayed fervently for, for many years. We believed in His mercy; and God had answered our prayers for another child.
While sorrowful, this loss was compounded by an eerily similar tragic loss we experienced before our eldest (now 9 years old) was conceived. I felt angry, desperate and confused. My heart ached and I began to question the Lord's love for our family. Why would God take back the fulfillment of an answered prayer? Was He truly good? Hopelessness had crept in.
Even as we wrestled with deep hurt, we experienced immeasurable love and care from our Grace Chapel community- a glimmer of hope. Friends and leaders prayed for us, prayed with us, made meals, shared encouragement and sat with us in our pain.
For those of you struggling to believe and contend for your answer to prayer- a child, a spouse, a job, a home- continue to hold on to hope. “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” (Hebrews 10:23)
Poppy, now 7 months old, was worth the many moments of anguish, doubt, persistent prayers, and will to believe. Hope certainly does not disappoint! (Romans 5:5)
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
Lord, we thank you for sending us Jesus to be the hope of the world. In this new year, we commit to trusting Your word and believing that You are who You say You are. Give us perseverance in times where it seems impossible. Let us rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer (Romans 12:12). In Your mighty name. Amen.

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