– An Advent Post –
We are near the end of the first week of Advent. The week of HOPE.
The past year and a half has been an incredibly hard and painful season in which I have learned that hope is not always a feeling. Sometimes hope is a choice.
The list of heartache, loss, pain, suffering, and death is too long to go into here, but there is one thing I feel prompted to share with you as this week of hope makes way for a week of peace.
On Wednesday, February 23rd, I could hardly wait for news from my daughter and son-in-law as they were headed toward their ten-week maternity appointment and ultrasound of my first grandchild. But as the time stretched on and we didn’t hear from them I began to worry. Finally, my phone rang, and my heart was gripped in a stranglehold as the sound of my son-in-law’s voice was obviously filled with tears. The baby was dead. He or she had died three weeks earlier. It was a week later, on Wednesday, March 2nd that my baby gave birth to her first baby with tears and sorrow.
But as we mourned, we hoped and believed that God would give us a little one to hold soon. That hope grew as my daughter became pregnant a second time. In the midst of our hope, sorrow struck again on Monday, May 23rd as we said goodbye to another baby we never got to hold in our arms.
Month after painful month hope held the hand of suffering. And, if I am being honest, often I felt the hand of suffering more than I felt hope. But I clung to the only thing that could anchor me to hope. Jesus. I fell on my knees before Him again, and again and uttered verse, after verse, after verse of hope and trusting in His plan, saying,
“I wait for the Lord; I wait and put my hope in His Word.”
~ Psalm 130:5 CSB ~
Following my middle daughter’s senior play I was taking a picture of my four kiddos, and right as I snapped the picture my oldest daughter pulled out an ultrasound picture with the words “7 weeks 2 days” written on it. And when I saw the “2 days” I cried as I was filled with hope. Two days! Two days gave me so much hope because it was two days longer than any of my other grandchildren had lived. Two days may not seem like much, but when you are looking for hope, two days is so much.
Hope, peace, and joy have all been felt immensely the past six weeks, but I would be lying if I didn’t say that it has also felt like my breath is suspended between hope and fear. The fear of what if we don’t get to hold this baby in our arms.
The day of my daughter’s ten-week ultrasound was one of great tension and moments of holding my breath as I both hoped for good news and feared this ten-week ultrasound may end the same way the first one did.
It did not. The baby was alive and well, and even waved at my daughter and son-in-law, as if saying, “Don’t worry, Daddy and Mommy, I am still here and very much alive.”
However, the ultrasound also revealed that my daughter had a septate uterus, which is the leading cause of miscarriages. It is likely what caused the loss of my first two grandbabies. That night my husband, I, and our three children still at home drove to their home, laid hands on my daughter’s belly, and prayed for a miracle and that God would heal her uterus and make it become one instead of separated.
An ultrasound the following Monday to check on it and how baby was doing revealed God had provided the miracle we prayed for. Her uterus was no longer divided in two! But now she had a sub hematoma, an internal hemorrhage, that if it burst could cause her to lose the baby, and the threat would remain for up to twenty weeks of pregnancy, possibly longer.
Again, we gathered as a family to pray, and praise be to God at my daughter’s twelve-week appointment and ultrasound the radiologist confirmed that we had yet another miracle. The sub hematoma had almost completely dissolved! It was so small that if the radiologist didn’t know that she was supposed to be looking for it, she wouldn’t have seen it!
I have prayed that God would open my eyes to really see Him this Advent season. To see Him and truly experience the hope, peace, joy, and love that this season represents. My soul especially needs it after such a long season of deferred hope. And each day I am seeing God more and more. But let me tell you where I am seeing Him most in each day. It’s in the miracle of life in each day! Each day that my grandbaby lives in my daughter’s womb is a a miracle and it brings me a thrill of hope! Which is what I have begun to call this little pear sized blessing…a thrill of hope!
As I said at the beginning of my post, hope is not always a feeling, but a choice. Since May of 2021 hope was seldom felt, but I walked in obedience to God’s Word, and chose to remain in hope.
In times of suffering and sorrow it would be so easy to hold the hand of suffering. To lie in bed and cry, and weep for what you lost. But it is only in choosing to hold the hand of hope that we can let go of suffering.
I just learned from Annie F. Downs this week that the Biblical Greek word for hope sounds like “el peace”. I found this so fascinating because as I choose hope, even when I don’t feel hopeful, the act of choosing to put my hope in Him brings peace to my suffering.
I know that our family has not been alone in experiencing a long season of suffering in the year of 2022. I have spoken with many who 2022 has been the hardest year of their lives.
My prayer for you is that you will remember that hope is not always a feeling, but a choice. And a choice that will bring peace to your suffering. Fall on your knees, let go of the hand of suffering, give it to God, and choose hope. And may the choosing of hope bring peace to your suffering and bring you the excited feeling that only a thrill of hope from Christ can give.
Verses you may like to look up:
While you choose hope take time to listen to “O Holy Night”. Click here to listen to my favorite version by Barlow Girl.
And just because I know you are dying to see the picture of my daughter announcing my third grandbaby and my little lemon sized grandbaby now…