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I love Easter. I always have. Chocolate bunnies, dying eggs, matching family Easter outfits, and the seemingly never-ending Easter lunch. At least those are the things that defined Easter for me as a child.

Let’s be honest, the idea of Jesus dying on a cross (for me, for us) and being resurrected three days later was a bit confusing, especially as a child. Yet as I have grown up in life and in faith, I have come to find that Easter is the ultimate story of hope. 

Season of Lent

This year we kicked off Lent on our Winston-Salem campus with a big, delicious pancake breakfast for supper on Fat Tuesday. Following the meal the students and staff present were invited to write down a prayer request on slips of paper that I turned into a prayer chain. During the Lent season I was able to share these prayer requests weekly with cottage staff and students via email. 

Prayer Requests

Sometimes the email included a prayer to read aloud in cottages or in offices. Sometimes the email shared a link to an uplifting song or poem. I had full intentions of sending these out every day, yet as we all know, life moves fast. It turned out to be a weekly email that I looked forward to sending. It was time I could sit and look at the chain. I could read and think about the precious hands and hearts that wrote these requests. 

Requests like: 

I pray for our cottage. 

For our cottage parents. 

For friends who are arguing.

I pray that the kids here get to go home with family or to Youth Independent Living for a better life.

The prayers of this Lenten season have brought me to tears many days. They’ve led me up to the cross and that Easter story. I’m grasping onto the hope that it holds, in ways I have never quite held onto before. 

Prayers for Hope

Hope for wholeness and love. For peace and understanding. Hope for joy and substance-no matter what life throws our way. 

I have learned a lot about what hope looks like through my work at Crossnore. Hope looks like friends hugging after a long day at school. It sounds like laughter coming down the halls in a cottage. Some days hope, for me, comes in the form of my son, Beau, being ushered around campus in his stroller, as I hear all about the school days of all the kids that I just adore. Other times, it is found as I sit and work quietly on the chapel porch.

hope of easter

 As Spring makes herself known fully, we remember that Christ lived and died to teach us about God’s great love. And as I laugh and learn and cry with our beautiful students, I am reminded that hope is all around us. It may not always be big or grand, but it is there. Hope is resilient, ever-present. 

Maybe this year you are able to focus on the joy of those chocolate bunnies or matching outfits. Perhaps you are living through the heavy prayer requests for a better life. No matter where you find yourself today, I hope that you are able to breathe in deeply. That you find a glimmer of hope in your own world. 

Hope does not always look like we think it will. But as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, as we soak in the joy of God’s goodness, my prayer is that we can all give thanks for whatever goodness is sustaining us today.