By Mikal Tecle
There’s a new song that was just released by Bethel Music called “Get Your Hopes Up”. It’s a typical up-tempo Bethel song. You know, where you naturally clap on the 1-2-3-and 4 and you kind of want to jump to the same beat. Those songs are usually not my thing. I prefer their slower-paced worship music that has me on the floor literally feeling Jesus’ arms wrapped around me. Yes, those are my jams. But this one was different.
As I listened to this song I immediately had a vision in my mind. I am going to call this a prophetic vision and you’ll see why once I explain it. I saw myself dancing, leaping, as if I were flying with such a beautiful smile on my face. Not that smile that’s pretty because you are wearing just the right shade of a NARS red matte lipstick. No, this smile required no enhancements— A smile that truly came from within. No crooked set of teeth or set of braces could make this smile any less. It was BEAUTIFUL.
Here are the lyrics:
I see the sun waking up the morning
I feel the wind on my back with promise
There’s a garment of praise for heaviness
There’s a new song burning inside my chest
I’m living in the goodness that He brings
Get your hopes up
Lift your head up
Let your faith arise
Get your hopes up
Our God is for us
He’s brought us back to life
Christ before me, Christ behind me
I am firmly held
In His mercy, never-ending
I’ll remind myself
As you all know, we are just entering a new year, 2018. And three days after celebrating the new year, I also celebrated my 30th birthday *raises the roof and shouts whoop whoop* (I was clearly raised in the 90s). This year is the first year in a LONG time— maybe ever —that I am genuinely excited and HOPE-FULL for the new year.
I remember meeting a young lady in my early 20s while getting my bachelors. We attended the same college, but she was a couple years older than me and pursuing her masters. She was the type of girl who was extremely goal-oriented. Everything was written out and there was a plan for it all. As I aged into my late 20s, we remained friends and made it a habit to spend some time around New Year’s together as well as travel together during the summers. Every year around the end of December, she would start talking about her goals and aspirations for the upcoming year. From financial, to relational, school, work, and everything in between. Then she would ask me, “What are your goals for the new year, Mikal?” I would attempt to make something up, usually food related since I had really bad body image issues, but nothing more than that.
The truth is, she would ask that question and I would immediately be overtaken with anxiety. I had anxiety and fear about my future. I couldn’t shake it. On New Years Eve, I would get into this depressive state and be consumed with FEAR. Others would sing, drink, be merry, and I would think to myself, “What other horrible things will come to me this year?” “What other traumatic experiences and heart-breaks will I have to learn to overcome?” I was shook. Shaken with fear. EVERY. YEAR.
My childhood was pretty traumatic and unstable. My mother passed away when I was 10, I was molested multiple times by multiple people between the ages of 8-13 and we moved— a lot. 3 continents, 3 countries, 2 states and 8 homes. All before I was 9 years old. Then when I was 18, I left home and caused my own set of traumatic experiences by getting into unhealthy relationships with men. Leaving me cheated on with an STD, and the worst thing - having an abortion. All this by the time that I was 22 years old. The first 22 years of my life were, well, hard. So, every year, I would subconsciously think of these things and it was obviously enough to make me believe the lie that my future would be just as bad as my past.
But Jesus gave me hope…
Ok, so not immediately and not freely, it took work. I am thankful that from the time I turned 25 until just recently, I put in a lot of work into gaining the freedom that my Daddy wanted so desperately for me to have. I took classes, went to counseling, talked to mentors, journaled and had ministry sessions. I wanted nothing more than to feel free from my past hurts and traumatic experiences. I knew Jesus could do it. I had faith. I knew that I would wake up one day with pure HOPE in my heart and today, I can say I have finally reached that point.
This New Year’s Eve, I PARTIED. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this goody-two-shoes, wholesome Christian girl turned ALL the way up (with family and in a safe setting). But, yes, I sho’ did. I danced the night away with my brother and cousins. The countdown began and I had butterflies in my stomach. It was good. It was REALLY good. A couple of weeks before the new year, I had already began writing down my spiritual goals, financial goals, oh, and future business goals (Which I KNOW is from God because there’s not a business bone in my body). The point is - I could see. I could see my future looking bright, joyful, full of goodness and mostly, full of HOPE.
I am no longer afraid. I wish I could say I have reached my quota of the amount of “bad things that would happened to me” in the first 22 years of life, but unfortunately that’s not how life works. You see, I know there will be more heartache. I know I will experience death again. I know I will lose friends. I know that I will make mistakes, but His grace really is sufficient, and His goodness is unending. I know my Daddy now and I know Jeremiah 29:11 is real. I know He won’t let me down.
The vision of me dancing in freedom will happen because I know that “there’s a garment of praise for heaviness” and there really is “a new song burning inside my chest.” “ I am living in the goodness that He brings.” Regardless of what you’ve been through, let’s reshape our minds together. Let’s focus on His goodness, His never-ending Love for us and let’s fill our hearts with HOPE again.