(Photo by Tara Gourley)

I have seen daffodils break through the ground after one of the longest winters I have known.

I've seen sunshine after the rainstorm.

I've witnessed forgiveness that followed murder and lies.

I have heard the stories of lives transformed from sin and shadows into light and love. I've seen the change firsthand.

I've watched hard hearts melt at the strains of a song and the smile of a child.

I've wondered at how the sun still rises brilliantly after the hardest of days.

I have seen the brightest smiles come from dark, impoverished places.

I've been loved at my ugliest.

I've looked at lives reconstructed from disaster.

I have cried tears of joy after sobbing those of anguish.

I have heard a poor little boy pray in Spanish, accepting Christ into his life.

The most beautiful face I know has a scar.

The loveliest hands have them too, from where they were pierced by nails ... Those hands have held me; they hold me still.

My sin has been washed away by the blood of my Beloved.

So excuse me if I have hope.

Pardon me if I don't believe this world can defeat me.

Forgive me if I refuse to believe all is lost.

I have seen. I have heard. I believe.

The darkness cannot drown out the light.

I may face desperation, discouragement, doubt, despair, or desolation, but I will never face defeat, because He. has. won.

Death fought Him and He conquered.

Satan thought he had the victory for three whole days ... how blatantly wrong he was.

No gravestone reads, "Here lies Jesus," for the grave no longer holds Him. He resides elsewhere.

He's moved into the hearts of His children. He lives in me.

So nothing can take my 


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