How to Cope with Losing Hope

It’s funny what time does to hope. Not funny haha, but funny in the sense that I never thought I’d see my hope in something grow rusty and begin to crumble.

I think it’s easy to have hope early in the game. When you think you have all this time or when you think something is going to go a certain way. Your way. And when it doesn’t, BANG! SHATTER! Now, you have to put the pieces back together yourself into something that makes sense.

So what do you do when you find yourself adjusting the tapestry that God has given you of your life? And what do you do if you don’t particularly like that tapestry?

The right answers consist of praying about it, having faith that it’s for the best, and thinking more about others than yourself.

But those answers don’t necessarily make me feel any better, do you?

Other options include, taking control of your life and making whatever you want to happen happen. Or you could wallow and fester in bitterness and resentment.

Those options may sound tempting and cater to our wounded souls, but I don’t think either are healthy options.

Taking control of your life may sound empowering and give you a brief moment of inspiration, but what you don’t see happening is that you are putting yourself in a yoke of your own making.

You’re making yourself carry the weight of the world. You’re hinging everything on your goals and your dreams. And while you may have those for a reason, they shouldn’t tie up your identity, because after all that strife, they still might not go the way you planned.

Bitterness and resentment are also a yoke. A very ugly one at that. While it may seem like you’re approaching life with a realistic perspective, you’re often weighed down with that negativity and it leaves you feeling more lost than ever.

I guess that’s partly why Jesus talks about a different yoke.

28Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Might I point out that His yoke is still a yoke. But He is on the other side, taking on most of the weight and guiding you on where you should go. You can’t get away from the yoke. So which one are you going to choose to have on you?

That brings me back to the right answers I mentioned earlier. The right thing is not always the easiest thing or the most empowering thing. It requires surrender. It requires trust even when you feel like you’ve run out of it. It requires effort, not in taking on the world, but giving your world to The One who can use it for His best.

I know it’s not glamorous, and quite frankly, I’m struggling with wanting to do any of those things. But I know those are the steps to wholeness, to peace, and to joy. How do I know that? Because, while lost hope may cause a tear in my tapestry, faith keeps it from completely unraveling.

I’ll hang onto that while I work on allowing God to mend the rest.

Papa John

I talked to my grandfather the day before he died. I’m so thankful that I followed through with the urge to give him a call. I’ll forever be replaying that conversation and our final “I love you” before we both hung up the phone.

Even though we knew with his failing health, that the day would be soon, hearing he was gone still felt like a punch to the gut. I’d never lost a grandparent which made the reality all the more somber.

I never knew him as Grandpa. A friend of the family actually gave him his nickname. Papa John.

When we moved to SC from our home in western NY, we saw a lot of Papa John’s pizza joints. I wasn’t used to seeing them, so every time we drove by one, I thought of my own Papa John.

Papa John had a strong emphasis on family and that shines through in all my memories of him. He’d buy plenty of minutes so that he could call me and my brother every Sunday. Early birthday and Christmases, my cousin and I would get matching clothes and toys to make us feel like sisters. He’d be the first to throw us in the pool and call us a “Candy” if we complained about it being too cold.

Family can be messy, but he did his absolute best to keep us all together even when we were states away.

He bought a bunch of my books and shared them with everyone at his church. I’ve always appreciated how much he supported my ambitions.

I write to process things. So of course, I took to my journal the day he died.

“I’m selfishly upset that he will never read my future books, meet my future husband, and hold my future children. When I describe him, I will say that he was full of humor, opinions, and a strong desire to keep our families connected. He was a carpenter, a musician, a companion, a father, a grandfather, a great-grandfather, and a Christian. When you talked to him, you would find yourself in a conversation about end times, the Buffalo Bills, and Dot’s Sunday spaghetti.”

He wasn’t perfect. In fact, the family we have today is made possible through forgiveness, steadfastness, and all around effort.

Make that call, forgive that person, send that invitation, because you never know when it will be the last chance you can.

I miss him already, but I will take away his zeal, his humor, and his desire for truth, and carry it with me always.

I love you, Papa John.

Papa John and me. 1994

Summertime Vibes

I used to hate haikus. I thought they were the stupidest form of poetry, always so abrupt and confusing. When my poetry class got to the lesson on haikus, I rolled my eyes and scoffed. However, thanks to a professor of mine, I discovered what hidden jewels haikus have to offer.

I thought I’d give you a peek at my summer. As a camp director, I’ve gotten to do more “summer-y” things than I have in a long time. It was great and I look forward to more! I’m sure you can relate or at least live vicariously through these words.


Sun-kissed and sandy,

Bathing suits and Chaco lines,

Sleeping in damp cars.

Stretched out highways,

Feeding giraffes and perched monkeys,

Lemonade slushies.

Old picnic tables,

Too many waterbottles,

Mulch in between toes.

Balmy rainshowers,

Thank God for air-conditioning!

Cut grass every week.

School is out, camp’s in,

Packed lunches and dodgeball games,

Back to school again.


Summer will always fly faster than any other season, in my opinion. If you were to describe your summer as a haiku, what would it look like? Feel free to leave them in the comments, I’d love to read some!

Post-Grad Life: 4.5 out of 5

Another episode of Post-Grad Life is here, where I talk about how I’m doing during this particular part of the journey.

If you’d like to catch up on previous episodes, here’s the last couple I wrote!

Post-Grad Life: The Year of Rejection

Post-Grad Life: 2 Years of Purposeful Living

After how many years does post-grad life just become life? I haven’t decided, because truthfully, I feel like I was walking the campus merely a year ago.

As I creep up to my fifth year out of college, I’m once again reminded that time doesn’t slow down or speed up, it’s just gone before you realize it.

So, where am I now?

I’m dealing with growing pains.

When I was a kid, growing pains felt like tingling in my legs and a strange kind of soreness. It wasn’t painful per say, but it was uncomfortable.

These growing pains are equally uncomfortable. But instead of lying down and hoping to ride it out, I must take a more active role in nurturing these changes.

Over the last year I started a new job, one with the future in mind. I’ll admit it’s a great job for me. It’s the first time I’ve had a salaried position and a chance to move up. It allows me to participate in what I love while still having a little time to write. It couldn’t get better, but it could change.

And change is uncomfortable.

I also started looking for a house. I don’t want to rent. I want to build an investment. Again with the future in mind. But I don’t need to tell you about the housing market.

Between not having a chance at a winning bid and looking at some real fixer-uppers, it’s easy to see the possibility of owning slip further away. And while I really want a house, I’m faced with the expensive reality of being a homeowner.

Reality is also uncomfortable.

So yes, on the scale of discomfort, I’m a 4.5 out of 5. But here’s what I know.

While I’m experiencing these growing pains, I know that when I’m on the other side of them, I’ll realize that I’m just a little taller. Not really, I’m 5’1”, but I will have grown in some way.

The boundaries of my world will have expanded. My strength and endurance will press on longer. My trust in God reach a little bit deeper.

These growing pains are setting me up for some great things like having a home, being independent, and becoming a better leader. I look forward to seeing what that will all look like.

Then, I’ll be able to relax and thank God some more. Until the next growing pains start.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” -Ephesians 3:20-21

July 4th! (poem)

I hope everyone had a fabulous 4th of July weekend!

We can say what we want about this country (one of our freedoms), but when it comes right down to it, we are blessed as a nation. I don’t want to take my freedom for granted, because it certainly didn’t come cheap.

I’m proud and thankful to be an American, and I hope those of you reading are too.


Ode to Independence

O hallowed day of celebration

We raised one voice in declaration

The call of liberty did so demand

That We The People take a stand

It did not come without toil and woe

But we now reap what they did sow

We honor you red, white, and blue

May Valor, Innocence, and Justice be true

Do not forget “In God We Trust”

For all we have will one day be dust

America the free, all under the sun

And always remember from many, one.


Copyright © 2021 Leah Jordan Meahl. All rights reserved.

Running Just to Catch Myself

I’ve been dealing with mind mush for the past few weeks.

My foot hit the gas and I feel like I haven’t been able to slow down enough to put two words together in my writer’s brain. Or in even in my actual brain. Though I haven’t been able to control many of the circumstances surrounding this fast-paced month, I haven’t done a good job of seeking God’s peace in the midst of it.

I have a habit of always filling the silence with something, especially when I’m busy and I just want to veg out. It’s a mind mush of my own making.

I’d like to caution against this flaw in my routine, by reminding myself that the reason I feel like I haven’t caught up to myself in weeks is because I’ve stopped rejuvenating my soul with God. I’ve turned to other mind-numbing comforts instead.

If you need to know what a mind-numbing comfort is, check your appstore—you’re sure to find one.

So, how do I break out of that cycle? One choice at a time.

Delete the app.

Unplug the TV.

That’s a good way to start.

Instead, search for edifying content. Sermons, faith-building podcasts, peaceful music. Open your Bible and don’t close it until something has taken root in your soul.

We need to practice turning to God, who can actively build us a place of safety and rest, rather than turning to distractions and pretending that they have any value.

Somedays we’ll make great choices and feel good about ourselves, and somedays we won’t. The key is to continue to align our priorities with God.

I know that when I start to do that again, my mind mush will become clear.

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” -Psalm 91:1 (NIV)

Faith Like Captain America

I’m a Marvel fan, so I hope you’ll allow me to geek out for just a minute.

Do you remember the scene in Avengers: Endgame when Captain America is battling Thanos by himself? Cap is strong, but he doesn’t necessarily have the upper hand.

Thanos throws him, but he comes back strong.

Thanos beats him to the ground, but he gets back up.

Thanos breaks his shield…

At this point, it looks like all is lost for Cap and the whole battle entirely. Thanos is just too strong. Even if Captain America believed it was over for him, what did he do?

He strapped on what was left of his shield, stood, and faced him again.

And that’s when things got better. Like epically better.

The biggest threat we will ever endure, is the one to our faith.

Captain America’s perseverance is a picture of what I believe faith should look like. The biggest threat we will ever endure, is the one to our faith. The Bible continually urges believers to hold on and keep going strong.

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

-James 1:12 ESV

I don’t know about you, but my faith comes to blows with enemies all day, every day. Disappointment slams me to the ground. Unanswered prayers beat me over the head. Hopelessness throws me.

The temptation is to give up. Stop fighting back and just stay on the ground. The battle is lost.

Not if you’re Captain America. He gets back up, and so will I.

Satan wants nothing more than to keep us down, to push us away from a faith that pleases God. If we let him, he wins.  And I don’t want that.

Even when I’m at my lowest, wanting nothing more than to say I’m done, I’d much rather annoy the devil by getting back up again. If that’s the only thing it accomplishes, it’ll be enough.

Keep getting up, friends. We’re striving toward the greatest goal imaginable and trading it for a little bit of relief is not going to be worth it.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

-Hebrews 12:1-2

Remember what Jesus did? Remember why? Why should anything draw me away from serving Him, from loving Him, from being with Him? And yet, it’s hard. The temptation is still there.

That’s why I’m warning against it. Too many people have been lost because they believed their faith was a lost cause. They let go of the shield.

It’s so easy to forget that the battle over your soul is not between you and God. It’s between Him and Satan. Only one of them is for you. All you have to do is remember the team you’re on and not give up.

I’m writing this as a reminder for myself.

I don’t need Captain America’s faith. I need faith that endures to the end, just like Captain America.


More Verses for you!

[James 1:2-4] Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

[Hebrews 10:36] For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

[Romans 5:3-5] More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

[Revelation 3:11] I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.

What ‘The Chosen’ Reminds Me

Before there was an app and before there were even eight episodes, I stumbled on this show. Rather, I stumbled on a clip and went on an intense search for the source. I didn’t know what to expect when I paid to watch the first four episodes. Since that moment, I can say that I’ve never been disappointed in what I found.

 ‘The Chosen’ is the first multi-season, crowd-funded series about the life and ministry of Jesus. I didn’t realize my heart could be more captured by the story I’ve known my entire life until director, co-writer, and producer Dallas Jenkins reimagined the approach.

As much as I want to rave about the amazing cast, the authentic details, and the consistent tear-jerking moments, let me move on to describe several truths this show reminds me every single episode.

1. These people are real.

One of the most common praises is how the series successfully transforms the list of disciples’ names in the Bible into real people. People who had careers, hang ups, disabilities, families, and more. These quirks and personalities are so beautifully crafted that I’ve found myself connecting with even the most obscure of the disciples.

I’m used to seeing and brushing off the cookie cutter followers, but ‘The Chosen’ reminds me that they were people who literally walked, talked, camped, and served alongside Jesus. And down the road, these same people will suffer terrible deaths because of it.

Additionally, Jonathan Roumie’s exceptional portrayal of Jesus deeply reminds me of His humanity. He’s not someone who stares into the distance, preaches with a British accent, and only has one or two emotions. As a human, He wasn’t exempt from sweat, humor, annoyance, and exhaustion. (Chosen fans, that last one, am I right?)

2. Intimacy with Jesus is possible.

Seeing Jesus interact with his followers, family, and strangers reminds me just how relational He is. Sometimes it’s difficult to engage with Him in today’s world, because He’s not here in physical form where I can see His eyes, His smile, and get a hug from Him (things I desperately want). However, I’m reminded that even now, He listens to me, He teaches me, and He’s always there to comfort and guide me with wisdom and love. Just like with the disciples, I simply have to follow Him.

3. Following Jesus costs everything.

In a line from Season 2 Episode 1, Jesus states “I ask a lot of those who follow Me, but I ask little of those who do not.” Salvation may be a gift, but what comes after is less than easy. The disciples left homes, beds, money, jobs, friends, and family to walk in uncertainty, because they were certain about The One they were with.

I’m reminded of what they sacrificed and the conditions they endured, and I ask myself, “Am I willing to do the same?” The thought is both inspiring and sobering.

These are just a few of my takeaways. I also love how ‘The Chosen’ accents Jesus’s Jewishness which is often lost. And speaking of accents, I thoroughly enjoy each actor’s Middle Eastern dialect!

To be clear, I don’t watch ‘The Chosen’ as a substitute for my personal study of Scripture, nor do I depend on it to keep my faith in Jesus alive and well. This show is an excellent form of quality entertainment, and because of that, as well as these reminders, I will keep watching. I hope now, you will too.

To watch and donate to help others watch, go to www.thechosen.tv. Or search for ‘The Chosen’ and download the free app in your Appstore.

Meanwhile, I’ll be re-watching episodes as I wait for more of Season 2!

Waiting-a poem

Have you ever felt like you were in a waiting season? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think anyone handles those well. For me, it’s definitely a struggle. I try to lean on God, but not before getting really frustrated with Him. Don’t worry, we work through it.

Even though it’s uncomfortable, the Bible is pretty clear that waiting is a good thing–a God thing. It’s difficult and that means God is using it to mold us (James 1:2-4 NASB).

Patience is a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and it must be, because no other fruit makes me question my sanity more. When it comes right down to it though, I’d rather wait on God than do my own thing. I don’t have to tell you which one of us actually knows what He’s doing.

Meanwhile, I’ve dusted off the rhymes and awakened the angst to bring you this poem. Just like with any trial, you have to dig for the encouragement.


Waiting

For the moon to appear,

For the first newborn cry,

For the snow to melt away,

For the candlelight to die

An unbearable test,

A neverending delay,

A wave with no crest,

A night with no day

The horizon is nearer than you,

The stars much simpler to grasp,

Is it all just a game to be played,

Is patience more like a trap?

If it all were to end,

And we say our goodbyes

Could I let you go,

Or would it just be a lie?

When it truly is finished,

And that moment arrives,

Joy may be thriving,

But hope won’t survive

Today, I choose expectation,

Tomorrow, the silent war,

Until the victor has won,

And I’m

Waiting…no more.


Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
-Psalm 27:14

Jesus is Not Like Our Other Relationships

Something I love about my best friend is that she will listen to me ramble on and on because it’s what I do and it’s how she takes an interest in my life. I’ve also told the same friend that having a relationship with Jesus is similar to our friendship. It’s two people making an effort to be connected with each other.

But I take it back.

I believe it does take effort to have a relationship with Jesus, but I no longer believe that it’s the same kind of effort it takes to maintain one with anyone else in your life. I always thought using examples of everyday relationships with friends and family would help people understand what it means to have a real bond with Jesus.

But it’s different. Why, you ask?

Let’s discuss the most obvious. He’s not really here—I mean physically. When my best friend is out of the town, we video-chat, but it’s not the same as having her with me in person. The dynamic changes.

Jesus and I don’t get to have coffee dates where we hug and catch up on everything that has been going on in our lives. I don’t get to see the glimmer in His eyes as He watches me talk. I don’t get to hear His voice or His laughter. It’s not the same, and I struggle with that fact.

I don’t mind prayer, but picturing Jesus listening to my nonsense seems less productive and more difficult than Him actually sitting across from me explaining His plans.  

Which brings me to my next point. With Jesus being a sovereign being, He has a plan and doesn’t necessarily need to come to us for help. He doesn’t get into a bind and come running to us for advice like a good friend would. He doesn’t need our support or encouragement; therefore, we can’t treat Jesus like we would our best friend.

The two sides are too uneven. We go to Jesus for help, comfort, and direction, and it’s sometimes it’s hard to know what He’s telling us. Our prayer time then becomes all about us and that too seems lopsided.

I broke down in the car one day and I realized I was so upset because I couldn’t get a hug from Jesus and I couldn’t hear Him tell me that everything was going to be alright. And I thought, what kind of relationship was that?

Because He’s all knowing, He knows us too well. He knows our innermost desires and secrets, and sees the things we’re too embarrassed to show. And yet, we only know what has been written about Him, like an ancestry book. Reading about someone is not the same as picking their brain directly.

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus is alive and He does minister to us. It’s just not as black and white as I once believed.

I broke down in the car one day and I realized I was so upset because I couldn’t get a hug from Jesus and I couldn’t hear Him tell me that everything was going to be alright. And I thought, what kind of relationship was that?

It’s a relationship that requires faith.

He’s not physically here, but we can always reach Him. No amount of time can make Him forget about us. Jesus always knows what’s going on, and while He’s not standing right in front of us, we know He’s working on our behalf all the time.

He has a sovereign plan, and though He doesn’t need our help, He still gives us a purpose. He has gifted us with personality, talents, and passions that work in His plan. What a privilege to be apart of it anyway!

He knows us too well, and yet He still listens. We don’t need to put up a front or catch Him up on what’s He’s missed. He allows us to share knowing that He is already working on those prayers in some way.

With Jesus, it’s different.

For now, I will sit alone in my bedroom and pray, knowing He’s there. I will walk into work knowing He’s with me. And I will cry knowing that He understands.

Until I can finally see His face, I will be content in the knowing.

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