Welcome to Day 23 of HopeSpeaks: 30 Stories in 30 Days.  Learn more about the HopeSpeaks campaign and submit your story here!   See all HopeSpeaks stories here!

By Stephanie AnnMasse’ Williams:

As I reflect on the happenings of the past several weeks, I think about the recent passing of my brother.  I take a walk in the rain to hide the tears.  Some might say that there is not much to be hopeful for.  Some might say I live in a land of despair.

I would be the first to disagree.

My brother and I were born and raised right here in the heart of Detroit.  We grew up on the Northwest side of town.  From the moment my brother and I were born, some forty-three years ago, my parents took us on strolls throughout this GREAT City.  For me, those strolls quickly began to progress to walks and now into runs.

I have walked many blocks in this city.  I’ve walked Up-town, Down Town, on the West side, East side, the North and the South sides.   Over the years the neighborhoods have changed and people have come and gone.  Where there were once homes vibrant and full of life, fields now sit abandoned and neglected.  Many vacant lots look like a sun-scorched land.

One thing I’ve noticed is that while people’s surroundings have changed, their stories have remained the same. People struggle with some of the same questions so many of us struggle with.  Questions like, If God loves me, why did I lose my family to divorce? Why did I lose my job to the downsizing of Corporate America? And why didn’t He stop me from the poor decisions I have made?  

After listening to their stories, I’m careful not to give them a simple, easy answer, but rather I look them in the eyes and briefly share my story, which has been full of heartbreak, pain and much disappointment.  I then share how God really does love them and wants to heal their pain.  How God desires to use their struggles in life to make plain and straight the way to His plan for their future.

Often I feed them and take them water, but more importantly, I encourage these individuals to pursue an intimate relationship with God.  I pray for many as they welcome Jesus into their hearts.  I assure them that Jesus invites them to ask the hard questions of life and to look for the answers that can only be found in relationship with Him.  Typically when I leave, their countenance has changed.  There is renewed hope and a sense of peace.

Some of these people I may never see again until we make it to heaven.  But seeds have been planted and I expect their lives to bear fruit.  As if mirroring this hope, many of our once-vacant lots, formerly dry and desolate, now host community gardens in full bloom.

You see, even in the land of despair, hope grows there.

Photo Credit: Jon Shave

16 Responses to “Day 23: In The Land Of Despair”

  1. This is awesome Stephanie. Thank you for your honesty and insight! It’s so important to remember that hope is always blooming.

    • Hey Mo! Thx so much for your input and insight. Your stories and many others have truly blessed me this month. Again, you are doing a awesome job on this site. You are putting in countless hours and lots of energy and effort. Yes, hope is always blooming! Thx to you, ichilly and others the word is getting out. Smile

  2. shirley woods says:

    This is such a vivid story! God bless you Stephanie for sharing. You rock! 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. Choosing to spread Hope and Jesus in spite of personal despair is awesome and an example to ALL of us! You are living the Great Commission.

  4. Stephanie, you are a HOPE dealer! Thank you! I am challenged to give hope to others, too!

    • Thx Chris. But, I believe on your blog as part of your description you indicate that you are in deed a ‘Hope Dealer.’ We’re on this journey together. Truly that is what we are all called to do…be Ambassadors for Christ.

  5. Stephanie you are an amazing woman!I learn so much from just being around you and witnessing the way that you love people. Thanks for sharing your story and continuing to spread hope to all around you every day!

    • Thx Sarah for your words of encouragement. However, your strength and courage inspire me. You have truly been a blessing to me, our children and our entire family. “We luv ya Ms. Sarah.” Smile

  6. Wow, awesome story of hope. All of us need to be experts at telling our story! Love you

  7. Oh Stephanie! I love the way you put your heart out there… and wrote the truth with such grace… the same way you life your life.
    You are a walking, living example of the Hope of JESUS!

  8. I must admit that I just today read this. I’ve known you for over 40 yrs now and I must say I am awe struck by work of God’s grace in your life. You are love. And you are loved by all that are blessed to know you. Stay beautiful sis.

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