By Mandy Woodhouse
In the early hours of the morning, before I was fully awake, I heard the Spirit of the Lord speak these words to my heart: "It's time to REPLANT HOPE.”
(according to Lexico UK Dictionary):
1. Plant (a tree or plant which has been dug up) again, especially in a larger pot or new site.
2. Provide (an area) with new plants or trees.
3. Surgically reattach to the body (a part that has been removed or severed).
"Hope" in the world's eyes often sounds more like a nice wish, or a desire for something specific to happen. But from a biblical, Kingdom perspective, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and hope's strength is in His faithfulness.
This is different from biblical "faith." Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as "being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Faith and hope are complimentary, as faith is grounded in what
God has promised and hope is the confident expectation that what God has promised will manifest. Hebrews also says that hope is the anchor for the soul; it makes secure our mind, will and emotions, and fastens them to faith.
I am convinced that hope is one of the areas that has the most spiritual warfare in a Christian's life. This certainly has been the case for me.
The Fight for Hope
"God is not a man, that He would lie,
Nor a son of man, that He would
change His mind;
Has He said, and will He not do it?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”
Like many in the Body of Christ right now, there are promises the Lord
gave me years ago that I am still waiting to see come to pass. One promise in particular has been a 13-year journey, and through the valleys and peaks of emotions along the way, God has spoken to me over and over that His promise is not "delayed" but for AN
APPOINTED TIME. In this, I have to continue to remind myself of what God has actually spoken to me. "WHAT DID GOD SAY?" is perhaps one of the most spoken phrases in my journal and heart these past 13 years.
My ministry is called "Outrageous Hope" because hope, when seen through the eyes of the world, looks pretty outrageous sometimes. And it can certainly feel outrageous in my own emotions, which is why I MUST stay anchored to hope
and continue walking in faith, knowing that God is not a liar or one who would change His mind.
I see so many other
Believers in my spirit who are crying out to the Lord for the promises that He has spoken, sometimes years in advance. You may hear the "suddenly" prophecies and tune out because, like me, you have heard these words for longer than you feel like you can stand,
and it's just DIFFICULT to swallow, although you trust your God. I've been there. I was there even recently.
I believe the Lord showed me that the key for this season, to remain outrageously
hopeful, is in REPLANTING yourself in HOPE yet again.
have a dwarf orange tree that has been in a cute little pot on our back deck since July 2021. It's grown since we got it and has produced beautiful-smelling buds several times in the past six months. We have cared for it properly and enjoy having it.
About six weeks ago, my husband noticed that the leaves were starting to look unhealthy. It was still green and being cared for, but it was not looking quite as vibrant as before.
He quickly discovered that the tree had some small caterpillars hiding in its branches. These little guys were sucking all the nutrients and life out of the orange tree and causing it to quickly look more like a giant stick in a pot instead of a healthy dwarf
My husband, Carston, decided to treat the tree by picking the caterpillars off of it, and then he REPLANTED it into a much larger pot. It took a few days
for the roots to get used to the new soil, but the tree is now absolutely thriving! The branches are spreading, the leaves are healthy again, and it appears a more vivid green than even when we first got it!
This morning, when the Lord spoke to me and said, "It's time to REPLANT HOPE," this is the exact picture that came into my mind. I feel like for myself, first of all, and for the Body of Christ in this new era, HOPE needs to
be replanted into a bigger space, with deeper soil and a place to grow!
What Does It Look Like to Replant Hope?
The Lord showed me that, sometimes, hope needs a bigger space to grow. Replanting into a larger space is a faith response because we are stating our trust in the Father to cause our hope to grow into the larger new space around
it. Hope needs a place for the roots to go deep and get anchored so that it can get healthy again; and its branches, and thus its fruit, can begin to expand.
13:12 says, "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life." I feel like the Lord was showing me that it's not the postponement of manifested desire that makes the heart weak, ill or grieved; the heart gets this way when HOPE
is no longer the anchor.
To replant hope, in order for it to grow, looks first like expanding my faith again. Revisiting what He said, waging war with the prophecies
and, more specifically, the Scripture that He has spoken into the promises over my life.
It also looks like reminding myself of His goodness. Seeing through the lens
of a GOOD FATHER, who has my best interest at heart, helps me to remember that He always keeps His promises. In marinating in these truths, it's nearly impossible for sickness to overtake my heart. Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the thoughts that I think toward
you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Replanting hope also looks like keeping an open heart with trusted friends
who will remind you who you are and who God is. Essentially, it's like my husband plucking the nasty caterpillars off of our orange tree. This weekend when my hope was shaken, I had three girlfriends who were this for me. One friend laid hands on me and spoke,
with great authority, hope into my soul again! One was reminding me that my emotions were valid, but that I wasn't meant to stay in that place. The other just sat with me while I cried. All three friends are trusted, fiery women of God with whom I know I can
share my heart, and they will not allow me to stay in the "valley of weeping" for very long (Psalm 84).
hope looks like surrendering to the process. When my husband replanted the orange tree, there was a brief, natural process of its roots becoming used to the new soil and settling in. This is so true in the natural as well, when our hope is expanded because
our faith is being stretched. This is where one of my favorite verses of all time comes into play, Zechariah 9:12: "Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.”
Prisoners of Hope and the Cord That Binds
The Hebrew word for hope in Zechariah 9:12 is the word tiqvâ, which means not just an expectation or a thing longed
for, but it refers to a cord that binds. The Lord showed me years ago that I was to become a "captive" of hope – to bind myself to hope with everything I had, and then expect Him to restore DOUBLE for everything I may have lost out on in the meantime!
When we tie ourselves to hope, it means that we are fully surrendering to the process. It means that come what may, we are going to be defined by our OUTRAGEOUS HOPE.
Come what may...I know what God has said to me.
Come what may...I know that He is a good Father.
what may...I won't shut my heart down or try to be "strong" in the emotional process. I will open my heart to healthy people and allow them to remove the life-sucking lies from my branches!
what may...I will trust God in the process of hope, because I have tied myself to it and will not let go.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life" (Proverbs
13:12). The more that I bind myself to hope, the more I realize that the tree of life, and everything that I TRULY want, is found in Jesus anyway. My heart never has to be "sick" when Jesus is the tree that I am eating hope from!
It's time for us as individuals and as Church bodies to replant ourselves in hope; to anchor in, allowing our roots to go deep. It's time to bind ourselves to hope and live outrageously hope-filled lives. THIS is our portion!
By Mandy Woodhouse
528 Ellsworth St. SW
Albany, OR 97321