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Finding Hope in the Midst of Sleepless Nights and Challenging Days

January 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Book Club, Mercy, Sarah Reinhard

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The Church of Mercy (Week 4 of 6)

Finding Hope in the Midst of Sleepless Nights and Challenging Days

Do you ever feel tempted to quit? I’m in a season of life that has me, in a very physical way, stretched to the limit. I haven’t had a night of uninterrupted sleep in over ten months, and there have been some days and nights recently that have been particularly challenging.

But, you know, it’s a privileged time in my life. This is a blessing, I remind myself, praying even as I roll my eyes that God helps me want to want it.

The hardest part, for me, is when the sun is shining and my eyes are heavy and the workload is piled high around me. It is then that hope seems distant, even though there are smiling small people at my feet and lovely cascades of sunbeams all around me.

And so I find myself especially touched by Pope Francis’s admonition in today’s reading:

Ours is not a joy born of having many possessions, but of having encountered a Person: Jesus, in our midst. This joy is born from knowing that with him we are never alone, even at difficult moments, even when our life’s journey comes up against problems and obstacles that seem insurmountable—and there are so many of them! And in this moment the enemy, the devil, comes, often disguised as an angel, and slyly speaks his word to us. Do not listen to him! Let us follow Jesus! We accompany, we follow Jesus, but above all we know that he accompanies us and carries us on his shoulders. This is our joy; this is the hope that we must bring to this world. Please do not let yourselves be robbed of hope! Do not let hope be stolen! The hope that Jesus gives us.

The Church of Mercy, Chapter 20, paragraph 4


It’s so easy to let it go, let it slide, let it sit on the back burner while I attend to pressing and urgent matters, like poopy diapers and hurt knees and the baby’s proclivity to small objects in his mouth (and his older siblings’ proclivity for leaving such items where he will find them).

But in my work, the work I do outside my role as wife and mom, it’s just as easy to forget and/or neglect hope. People are…well, they certainly make the work of ministry and witnessing and everything harder, don’t they? Remembering that the work will remain, even after I go to bed, and that the reason I’m doing the work I do is to help others…it’s so tempting to quit. To give up. To walk away.

Discouragement, a wise friend told me within the last year, is never from God. And I can’t help but think that discouragement is the opposite of hope.

It doesn’t take much for discouragement to take root, to weasel its way into my most important projects and work and relationships.

The answer is Jesus. May I always turn to him for the grace to remember that.

READERS, PLEASE NOTE: Due to a scheduling error, we will be ending this book and beginning our next book on the same day – 2/9.  Please find a copy of The Second Greatest Story Every Told by Fr. Michael Gaitley as soon as possible so you can begin reading with us on February 9 – it’s sure to be a great book!

Reading Assignment:


Discussion Questions:

1. What steals your hope or feeds your discouragement in your life? How might you turn to Jesus in an intentional way this week to help build hope and fight discouragement?

2. Do you have a special prayer or invocation that helps you remain hopeful? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!

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About Sarah Reinhard

Sarah Reinhard continues to delight ”and be challenged by” her vocations of Catholic wife and mother. She's online at and is the author of a number of books for families.

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  • LizEst

    Great post, Sarah! I make a morning offering, even if it is ever so quick. When things get challenging, which is very often, I try to recall that…and offer the same– saying, in my heart, “offering, offering!” God bless you…prayed for you at Mass today!

  • Elizabeth

    This same passage is what spoke to me, Sarah. My husband, suffering with dementia from Alzheimer Disease, is currently feeding the discouragement in my life. My frequent go-to prayer is “God, come to my assistance; Lord make haste to help me!” from the Liturgy of the Hours Night Prayers. Psalm 71(Prayer in time of Old Age…we are in our late 70’s) is especially helpful to me. Now, I will add it to my daily prayers. Parts of Psalm 69 are also good…for any age.

  • Tina Larin

    Sadness, beyond a doubt is what truly robs me of my joy and hope; and Pope Francis admonishes us, “Do not be men and women of sadness: a Christian can never be sad! (pg78). OK……………easier said than done, right! I have begun to realize that sadness comes more easily on days of exhaustion which brings depression and despair which in turn breeds more sadness! I am reminded by Pope Francis that, “Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time.” (pg7). Remembering that the Holy Spirit lives within me I strive to replace the negative thoughts in my mind with His encouraging thoughts. I ask Him often to direct my will, focus my attention, and teach me to pray. This simple invocation helps me to remember His grace in my life and as you say Sarah, “to want to want” the grace I have been given.

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