My favorite blogger, Jon Acuff, wrote about hope yesterday. I don’t know if he ever went through infertility—most guys don’t seem to volunteer that information—but he definitely understands how it can feel to long for hope. To think you’ve grasped it, and then feel it slipping away. He writes:
“Hope is one of the first things that disappears when you get lost. Your ability to see beyond your current circumstances is chased south by the shadows. Your ability to dream and plan and hold visions close to your chest fades until hope feels foreign and far away.”
He’s right, and it can happen in an instant. One minute, you think this could be the month when everything changes, when all the meds and shots and office visits and heartache become worth it. Your hopes are high… the counts look good… and then… no heartbeat on the ultrasound.
As the shadows deepen and the realization chases hope away, a part of you knows you’ve got to reboot and psych up to do it all again. Muster some more hope, even if you’re not feeling it. Because otherwise, how are you going to keep doing this? And what other choice do you have?
As the tears start to fall, you wonder, will it ever happen for us? Jon writes:
“There’s a temptation to believe you’re doing something wrong if you don’t feel hopeful 24/7.”
That’s a trap a lot of us fall into, thinking “it’s all about me and what I did (or didn’t do).” We start doubting the hope that seemed so prescient just before we got the news. We begin thinking that this moment’s lack of hope not only mirrors a past full of failures, but also foreshadows a future of many more. And then, we sink into the darkness of despair.
We want to escape this awful place — this terrible feeling — and something urges us: grieve the past, push through the present, and seize control of the future. It’s the only way to get what you want. Believe in yourself, and don’t give up. That’s the only way. It’s what’s working for everyone else.
Don’t fall for the lie.
God says, receive my grace for all that is past. Trust the plans I have for your future. And meet me here in the present. I will give you peace in the midst of uncertainty. Trust me with all your heart; don’t trust yourself to make sense of this. Believe that I have a plan and a purpose, and I will show you the way out of darkness into hope and a future [Prov 3:5-5, John 14:27, Jer 29:11].
Despite our hunger for hope and our desperate need for help, we’re tempted to turn our backs. To say, No thanks, God. I want a baby, and you didn’t say anything about a baby. I want control, and I think I can have a baby if I find the right doctor, and take the right medicines, and eat the right foods, and get the right exercise, and do the right things, in the right order, at the right time, on the right month…. And, I hope that’s true.
I… I… I….
What if it’s not true? What if you’re not in control of this story? Then, what happens to your hope? The shadows lengthen at the thought.
But, what if you’re not meant to be in control? And what if that’s a gift? What if you haven’t failed? What if it’s just not time yet? What if God intends to transform your experience before your baby comes? What if there is so much that you don’t understand?
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…. [Eph 1:18]. There is a hope that transcends the moment of bad news, the blood counts and test results of this day, and the despair that’s guaranteed to be part of this journey. It’s hope with staying power.
It took me awhile to find it, and longer to trust it. But it changed everything.
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com
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