Waiting in Hope

The workshop I am presenting with another Charis Ministries colleague at the Jesuit Collaborative Conference this week is titled, “Waiting in Hope: Accompanying Young Adults Through Transitions.” As a young adult, I understand in a very real way the multitude of transitions young adults go through in a short period of time. I have lived through many major life transitions in the last 10 years, and I watch daily my friends and my peers go through many transitions themselves.

The question I am asked often by others in a period of transition (whether planned or unplanned) is, “How do I hold on to hope in this time of change?” There is not always an easy, cookie-cutter response to this; however, there are a few prayer tools that have sustained me through the years, many that were taught to me by wise Ignatian friends and mentors.

The one I find myself turning to during my current transition is a take on the “Mirror in the Field” reflection in Fr. Joseph Tetlow‘s guide to the Spiritual Exercises, Choosing Christ in the World. In this reflection, we are invited to view a mirror in the field that “throws all its light from its heart,” and we are invited to consider how God throws all of his light to us. I often imagine myself standing in front of the mirror or at times imagine myself lying on a beach absorbing every ounce of light that is being thrown my way. Even when I want to pull the dark, uncertain, challenging spots of my transition away from the light, I remain completely open to receiving the light from God. I imagine God bringing light to the unknown, scary pieces of my transition.

Praying with this image does not give me answers right then, but it so often brings me an increase of faith, hope, and love. This prayer is one that remains in my back pocket when I need help waiting in hope. Every time I pray this prayer, I am thankful for the wise, Ignatian mentor that shared it with me and taught me how to pray with my imagination. Many of you who read dotMagis are wise mentors for those in their 20s and 30s. Know that your impact, wisdom, and mentorship are gifts to us during the many transitions we face!

How do you wait in hope in times of transition or uncertainty? What tools would you teach a young adult going through a transition?


  1. Thanks for your reflections and postings…this was of great help in allowing me to process my own thoughts on how to facilitate a scripture group on the topic of “hope during times of transition”..God Bless and please keep me in prayer as I lead a small group of adults through a difficult period of change and transition in our home parish

  2. Waiting in hope for me means not listening to those little voices chanting “what if . . . ”
    I read a quote somewhere about living the questions as well as the answers. I take this to mean that we need to be prepared for the answers, so sit awhile with those questions & doubts.
    And sometimes it is just blind faith. Knowing that the change we NEED will come. God has wonderful things in mind for all of us.

    • Marg,
      Too bad those “what ifs” sometimes get a hold of us! Sometimes, all we can do is figure out the “next right step” in a transition. It does not give us all the answers, but it helps us “live the questions and the answers”!

  3. Accepting the inevitability of change is something we learn gradually over the life span. It is gratifying to see young people turning so firmly toward the Lord for guidance during transitions. As someone who has not been a ‘young adult’ for quite a long time, I can point to one particular way that God has guided and comforted me during major and minor transitions in my life.
    Jesus drew our attention to the natural world around us when He suggested we observe the flowers in the field and the birds in the air. Nature, in all of it’s manifestations, guides me during times of transition. I can watch the ever-changing sky and feel comforted knowing that change is part of God’s plan for me ( and everyone.) I can observe a sunrise in late November and trust that the sun will return slowly bringing spring and growth and green to my world again. I can live through a harrowing tropical storm, with high wind and thunder and lightning only to witness the sun’s rays drying the rain a few hours later. I can walk in my garden and see that birth, growth, flowering, fruiting and dying are all part of the plan.
    God’s creation teaches me to welcome change, no matter what it is and to trust that whatever happens, He is with me and I need only to have patience, to wait in hope.
    God bless you during your presentation and thank you for this post.

    • Barbara,
      You spoke to my heart on this one. I am a nature loving girl, and I, too, find hope in the rhythm of change and of the seasons in nature. Over breakfast today, two young adults were talking to me about this very image and how the seasons of death and re-birth are reminders that our lives pass through this same thing.

  4. Hope is patience with the lamp lit. — Tertullian
    This has me thinking of ways to help keep the lamp lit for some of the young (and not so young) people in my life who are in transitions of various sorts…

    • Michelle,
      I used the analogy this weekend of if God closes one door and opens another, our hallways of transition can feel very dark. My challenge to all of us in the room yesterday was, “how can we bring light into people’s darkened hallways of transition?”
      We all need a little help keeping our lamp lit at times!

  5. I think we all struggle with waiting in hope when faced with a major transition, especially as we struggle with the uncertainty of the outcome. I tend to be like the Israelites and review my history with God to remind myself that God has not abandoned me in the past & God will not abandon me in the present or the future. Prayer is definitely a tool that can keep us grounded and more at peace. And there are many ways to pray – sometimes in difficult times I have cried out to God, sometimes a written prayer answers the need, many times just conversing with God and other times just sitting quietly picturing myself in God’s presence. Each person has a unique way of making that connection which gives peace, hope, faith and love.
    Becky, I will be praying for the conference and for you as you give your presentation.

    • Love the review my history idea, Lynda! A rummaging backwards of our lives to remind ourselves of where God did not forget about us, yet got us through the major transition. Thanks for that suggestion!
      Thanks for the prayers, Lynda! The presentation went well and it re-affirmed my passion for the ministry I do to and with those in their 20s and 30s. There were some very wise men and women in the room that reminded me of why we have so many reasons to hope in the first place!

  6. Please write more about this waiting in hope. I am 29, turning 30 in a few weeks! And have been going through a series of major transitions for the past 2 years. It’s been a rough ride. I’d love for you to elaborate more on this in future posts.

    • Stephen,
      First of all, know you are now on my daily prayer list in my journal. My 20’s brought many major transitions, and it is only through walking through those experiences that I can write about what I’ve learned now. Thanks for the challenge to write more about this topic– I accept, and I will do that in the near future.
      For now, I hope that you can lean on your circle of support and all things that help keep you grounded as you wait for the new life to become clear. If I can pray for something specifically, let me know!

  7. I definitely struggle with waiting in hope. The key for me is to make an effort to stay in touch with God through prayer. Although it sometimes feels forced when I feel disconnected, just the routine of prayer usually leads me to a greater sense of peace and expectation. As I continue to grow spiritually, I still seem to fall back on simple prayers to get me through life’s challenges. Thank you for such a thoughtful reflection. I love the image of lying on the beach and soaking up all the light.

    • Jody,
      Prayer definitely tends to keep us grounded, doesn’t it? I, too, find that the most simple prayers come back to me so naturally during life’s challenges. The Examen often tends to find me again during life’s many transitions as well.


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