holding on to hope
Married to my wonderful husband, living in a house we love with our dogs and two or three kids... that was the picture in my head when we began our journey to start our family.
 
Whether or not this classic American dream was the picture that filled your head, most of us started into this journey of starting a family with a definite picture of what our family would look like.  But infertility strikes like a rock hitting a windshield and that dream starts to crack.  With the passing of time and recurring unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy, the cracks grow and some of the pieces of the picture start to fall out leaving a broken, shattered image of what your family was “supposed to” look like. So how do you hold on to hope when your future is so uncertain?
 
It was only through my walk down the emotional path of infertility that I realized what hope actually is.  It is not really what you’re feeling when you’re looking forward to an expected outcome or what you think you want.  It's not the trivial word that we toss around daily - oh, I hope she's coming to lunch today, or I hope I can find that pair of new shoes. Rather, hope is the ability to endure and confidently push on no matter how painful the journey gets.  Hope is the act of putting our faith in a God who has a destiny far better than the dreams I can dream for myself. 
I’ll admit it was a difficult process for me to find and grasp hold of this hope.  I always thought I wanted two or three kids, but as the years clicked by and yet another treatment proved ineffective, and especially as I dealt with the heart wrenching pain that came with our miscarriage, I was faced with a real fear that I may never actually have a single child.  It was hard, I was hurt, I was scared, but I knew I was a child of a God that would never forsake me.  I knew He promised that He had a plan for me and it would be good, but I had to come to terms with the fact that His plans may not look anything like mine and the reality that if that were true, then they would be better.  I desperately needed His help to truly believe that.  With all the faith I could muster (which at times I struggled to scrape together) I finally allowed myself to feel all the feelings... fear, anger, hurt, anxiety.  I asked Him to diminish those and replace them with hope in His plans for me, not for my plans for me - and He did.
Though it took effort and practice to trust His plans were better than my dreams, the hope and confidence in Him was instantly present in my life, in my heart, and in my ability to smile through the tears.  Hope is a gift described in Hebrews 6:19 as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  So when the picture of your dream is shattering and your future is uncertain, don’t be afraid to search the depths of your soul for that anchor.  It is there and will keep you grounded and give you security to hang on to God’s promises.
 
Hope is what’s left when the expectations change, the dream is shattered, another pregnancy test turns negative and you get the phone call you have been dreading.  Hope is the driving force that keeps us fighting for what we long for.  It is the beautiful gift that allows us to still find joy in the desperate situations and gives us strength to smile through the tears.  Hope is the one thing you can always hold on to.  Psalm 71:14 “But as for me, I will always have hope.”  Hope is the result of putting your faith in a God that loves you more than you can ever imagine and trust His promises that He is in control.
 
Romans 12:12 says “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” 
What a beautiful way to live.
 
My husband Rob and daughter Haleigh
 
If you are on this road of starting your family and would like to hear more about our journey, I would encourage you to read more here Hope and Perseverence - The IVF Option.  If you are considering or pursuing adoption, please read my friend Jenny’s amazing story Faith and Obedience - An Adoption Journey.

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