Monday, October 22, 2012

Raveling Hope

Part 1:  Aspirations

I was born in a hospital just a few miles away from my Grandma's house, but in reality, Grandma’s house was where so much of me was birthed.  I plant zinnias each spring because of the ones that always bordered her vegetable garden.  I became a teacher in great measure because of my fascination with her years in the one-room schoolhouse.  I'm driven to create because of her love of all kinds of crafts, especially ones requiring thread.  Crocheting, embroidering and always the sewing...I particularly remember sundresses for my dolls and a bright red vest for me to wear on Christmas morning.  One of my last conversations with her involved her frustration over not getting around to hemming a pair of pants she had recently bought.

As a child, I would sit in the family room, watching Guiding Light or The Price is Right  between her and Grandpa's recliners, picking through the embroidery floss bucket, trying to untangle the various colors of thread that had, over many years of use, become impossibly knotted.  Some of the skeins were still neatly folded and wrapped and I'd set those ones aside first.  The rest were leftovers from past projects, too long to be discarded in hopes that they might find a home on a future stitching project.  

In her 80th year, Grandma left us, the unhemmed pants still by her sewing machine.  And despite the many years of picking through the floss bucket, it, too, was left in a tangle on the day she died, just as impossibly knotted as the first time I had tried to sort it all out.  I think now about my aspirations for that bucket, how I hoped that one day I could actually unpick each thread and neatly wind it unto itself, finding the end for each beginning.  

For a long season, I lived life that way, too.  Picking through my walk with God in frustrated attempts to match the end to each beginning…wondering if maybe one day He'd answer that fervent  prayer…thinking perhaps if I just tried harder or spent more time working at it, I'd get to enjoy that blessing I saw delivered into the lives of others…believing the cynical voice that told me if only I hadn't committed so many sins then I would have a bucket of neatly sorted floss instead of a messy, unfulfilled life that I was beginning to scorn.  

From the outside, my life must have looked like a pile of those neatly wrapped skeins.  Great job, doting husband, cute little house with 2 cats and a dog waiting for us at the door each day.  But an inside peek at my heart would've betrayed the tangle.  Years of an undiagnosed fertility disease had taken their toll on my body.  Weight gained and hair lost...days spent in sleepy stumbles while my mind burned like an engine grinding hot.  I bounced between peaceful acceptance and desperate hope, one day giving up the dream of childbearing only to swing wildly toward belief in the impossible by the next morning.  It was an exhausting existence, nothing close to the rest that I yearned for or the deep shalom that I had read about in Scripture.  

I didn’t understand it then, but there are two ways to live in hope.  Soap opera actors and game show contestants are good examples of the world’s approach… characters searching for fulfillment but partnering with maybe...perhaps...if only... or contestants spinning for security while hedging with if I’m lucky…touch wood…fingers crossed.   It’s a posture that collapses us toward slow death.  Every time we’re brave enough to hold out a hand in worldy hope and yet come home with the same emptiness we left with, we die a little more and lose a little more of the courage needed to hope again.  We ache as the blessings arrive in other lives and the lack-conditioning of our minds leads us to believe that time and supply are running out.  Eventually, we find ourselves like the walking dead, shuffling through life, eyes downcast with no strength left to even cross our fingers one more time.   Worldly hope is a cruel master, ultimately forcing us to concede that the bucket of tangled floss is a lost cause.  At that point of reckoning, many people stumble over the precipice into dark depression.  I teetered at this edge, bent low by the crush of unanswered worldly hope, on the day our second baby died. 

Part 2:  Easing Into Darkness

I can still see the kiwi slices in the fruit salad.   Bob and I were on an anniversary trip to New York City and we had stopped for lunch just a block off Times Square.  I wasn’t feeling great so I ordered fruit instead of the pizza.   While we were eating, my phone rang.  It was the doctor’s office, calling with news that both shocked me and confirmed what I already suspected.  I was pregnant, but the hormone levels were too low and I should expect to lose the baby within a couple of days.   After a few moments of trying to unknot the words in my mouth, they quietly sighed loose as I thanked the nurse for calling and asked her to tell my doctor that I was sorry for another disappointing cycle.  For some reason, I always felt the need to apologize as if my failure to carry a baby was a terrible burden for those who were trying to get me to the fertility finish line.  When we lost our first baby one year earlier, I still had enough hope to experience the loss without losing sight of the promise.  Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you…  But after my empty arms had endured another barren turn of the sun, the cruel taunting of a doomed pregnancy was more than my soul could abide.  While the first miscarriage pummeled me with gut punches in quick succession...physical pain that dragged into emotional distress that bled into spiritual anguish…the loss of this baby split me numb.  I insisted on going to the Broadway show we had bought tickets for.  We did the walking tour of lower Manhattan.  I shopped for souvenirs.   Monday morning I taught my Senior English students about the masks of Greek theater as I wore one of my own, disguising trembling lips while the baby and remnant hope came unwoven from my life.

In the weeks that followed, I went through the motions of living, but mentally and spiritually, decay had set in.  At the edge of depression’s abyss, I sat down and quietly eased over, giving myself to the slope and into the growing darkness.   Busy days of teaching kept me anesthetized but functional. I managed to hide my darkening mood from all but those most familiar with my struggle.  Sending regrets to a colleague’s baby shower was really my way of saying, “It’s too painful to see your growing belly.”  Late night grocery store trips were planned so that the fewest number of people would see the mascara cutting jagged paths down my face as I had hurried past the baby food aisle.  Even church became an unsafe place to venture after I made the mistake of attending on Mother’s Day.  Seeing all the parents beaming at the front of the sanctuary with their infants, knowing that I should have been holding a newborn that month as well, left me in a heaving pile of anguish in the middle of the pew.  Eventually, the only place I could hide was in sleep.  Every chance I got, I found a bed or couch to tuck into and detached myself from the pain.  The morning alarm became unbearable and many nights I half-prayed that I simply wouldn’t wake up. 

That’s the funny thing about my grief.  I still prayed.  Still wrestled with God.  Still demanded answers from Him and railed against His perceived abandonment of me at my lowest point.  I never stopped believing in Him, though I no longer trusted Him with my life.  In place of a loving, kind Shepherd I imagined a cruel, indifferent bully with the sovereign right to treat me any way He wanted.  Harsh words, yes.  But a mind feeding on despair has great power to warp one’s vision.  Mercifully, as the unraveling continued, there was just enough light reaching me as I slid down the slope to keep breath in my body.   Having seen others spiral into depression, I knew where I was heading and had enough clarity to admit that I needed help.  Taking my life never entered my mind; I just wanted to somehow live it, with or without a baby, absent the searing pain that each day brought.  Knowing that I couldn’t maintain the pretense of peace for much longer, I made one of the wisest decisions of my life and reached out to a counselor at our church.    

Part 3:  The Second Way

Hazel was so kind and generous with me during our first visit.  Her invitation, “Tell me why you’re here,” was like a pin prick to a water balloon.  I vaguely remember sobbing the greater part of the time and perhaps sputtering out a few sensical words that gave her a clue as to why I was in need of counseling.  I spent the rest of that first session leaking into a puddle while she mopped me up with Kleenex upon Kleenex.  In the weeks that followed, we began to talk about the deep issues that were hardest for me to grasp, particularly those involving the promises of God and the subject of hope.  Having been raised in the church and making many of my life decisions – which college to attend and which man to marry – based on my understanding of faith in Jesus and God’s plan for my future, I couldn’t comprehend now how to process the agony of this very significant aspect of life.  Was I asking for something outside of God’s will?  In Genesis, He told man from the very start to go forth and multiply.  Was I being punished for some grave sin that I still treasured in my heart?  In Hebrews I read that He forgives our wickedness and remembers our sins no more.   How was I supposed to joyfully declare, Jesus is my hope! or heed Zechariah’s charge to return to the stronghold, prisoner of hope, when I understood hope as nothing more than a game of roulette that sends us bouncing through life like a marble going round a wheel?   In my rawest whisper, I begged to know why surrendering my shattered heart to Jesus was any better than living like those in the world who cut a path through without Him.   Everything I thought I understood about God’s love was unraveling and I feared I would come to the end of my days like Grandma’s bucket of tangled threads.    

What I didn’t know at the time was that God had begun a new journey for me, one that eventually took me into the revelation of the second way to hope and the rebuilding of life with a sure Cornerstone.  When the world speaks, I hope means perhaps, maybe, if I’m lucky.  When God speaks to us, hope means you can confidently expect goodness from me.  It’s a dramatically different outlook that stands firm in spite of expert statistics, past experiences or the comparison to someone else’s outcome.  And as I continued to counsel with Hazel, I realized it was an aspect of my relationship with God I didn’t have.  Looking back, I could see that my hopes about having a baby had been worldly from the beginning, primarily dictated by health problems that started in my teens.  

Around the age of 14, my body began to rebel against its fertile design.  The monthly rhythm and hum of hormonal gears working in concert began to jam then slip, causing domino effects throughout my body.  The common advice for dealing with a reproductive problem in the late 1980s was to eat better, exercise and if all else failed, try some fertility drugs.  At one consultation, the same obstetrician who had delivered my brother a decade earlier told me that if he could bottle my disease, he’d make millions because every woman would trade her first born for a life without monthly cycles.  Never a thought that whatever was eating away at my endocrine system might be a hazard later in life.  No offer to consult with others in the field to search for solutions.  Just a shrug that casually dismissed it as ‘one of those things.’ To a teenager, his nonchalance seemed quite reasonable and I wore my disorder like a badge of honor as if I had a special pass to get out of taking a mandatory test that all my friends were suffering through.   Teens aren’t known for having remarkable foresight and the thought of telling a potential mate that marrying me included the baggage of a barren womb never really gave me pause.  As a Sophomore in college, I met that potential mate and by my Junior year, Bob and I were serious enough to have that discussion.  We talked about adoption and joked about running a shelter for dogs and cats if we decided having children wasn’t for us.  I laughed nervously about the unknown, for the first time with a nuace of unease, as I wondered if the one I loved could really accept that my body might be too knotted to ever bring forth new life.   

Three months after I graduated from college, Bob and I married, initially immersing ourselves in a life that was too busy to consider babies or orphans dogs and cats.  But soon that maternal nesting instinct began to needle me and I once again began to consult with doctors, at last discovering that a decade of fallow fields had been caused by something called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.  There was no cure.  Treatment consisted of trial and error administration of various drugs.  Miscarriage rates were higher and successful pregnancy rates were lower for PCOS than other fertility disorders.  So by the time we were ready to grow our family, I had earned my master’s degree in the art of pessimistic realism, convincing myself that it would be easier to accept defeat if I was prepared for it ahead of time.   When we began our efforts to   overcome the fray of infertility, I voraciously read everything I could find on polycystic ovaries and became familiar with every reason why it was unlikely we’d ever triumph with a successful pregnancy.  My whole mindset was stitched closed by a vocabulary that included phrases such as “if we’re the lucky few,” and “maybe we’ll beat the odds.”  I practiced getting the “I’m sorry, not this time” phone call each month and had a cheerful response ready in case anyone asked about our progress.  

But then came the first loss, so crushing and bewildering.  All my years of building the defensive mindset proved useless.  My heart, wrapped in layers of steely presumption, still bled with anguish when the doctor confirmed that the tiny heartbeat I had been sheltering in my womb was now still.   Days later as I whispered my love and goodbyes, I solidified my resolve to never be caught in wanton hope again.  4 more times that year, we fastened our faith and hands together to no avail and then came the call in the pizza shop at Times Square.   After that, I was in a free-fall through my days with only the night offering any respite from the turmoil.  As I was in no shape to manage the rigors of work, grief and the consuming demands of going through fertility treatments, we decided it would be best to set aside our efforts to conceive and enter a season of pause while we processed the events of the last year.

As I was paused, paralyzed really, Hazel came with her soft smile and boxes of Kleenex, patiently listening, encouraging introspection and pointing me back to the real meaning of hope found in the Word.  I suddenly felt like a novice in my faith, in need of the proverbial milk though I had been clamoring for meat.  I discovered that essentially, I was an unbelieving believer with so many seams in need of repair…faith, God’s goodness, trust, love, rest.  It was frustrating and overwhelming to consider the work at hand, but comforting as well because each repair made was hope-mending.        

Soon, I sensed a new path opening up through the ordeal of infertility.  Learning that it was appropriate to expect goodness from God, I cautiously turned myself toward the promises given to those in the body of Christ.  Promises of victory in Romans 8 and 2 Peter 1; of strength in Isaiah 40 and 41; of rest in Matthew 11 and John 14; promises I needed God to deliver in this life, not the sweet-by-and-by.  I had read them countless times, but with eyes clouded by worldly hope, I could never believe them.  As my eyes adjusted to their new prescription, it was shockingly delightful to at last clearly see and believe that God was fully able and willing to make good on His Word.  I was also encouraged to consider that if the Father had given His greatest gift at the cross while I was yet a sinner, why would He now withhold a lesser gift from a daughter who was redeemed?  That realization alone lifted incredible weight from my soul because I had never allowed myself to think of God in such generous terms.  There was always a price to pay, a work to perform, a sin to beg off before I could hope to receive from His bounty.  Learning to align my thinking with Biblical hope was strange and uncomfortable at first and I caught myself slipping into old habits quite often, especially during the raw moments of grieving.  Eventually, however, the funereal shroud that draped my days began to slip off.  Not overnight, but ever so slowly, I noticed the familiar feelings of dread weren’t greeting me at the sound of my alarm clock.   Not long after, an entire morning would pass without tears.  And in the course of time, I no longer felt compelled to have an emotional plan B ready should plan A fall through.  The anticipation of ruin was slowly being replaced by a fledgling expectation of a good ending.  I was learning to mingle with hope in the way that hearts have been meant to all along.  

Part 4:  The Valley of Achor

As an English teacher, the history of the word “unravel” is intriguing to me.  Its mate, “ravel,” dates back to the 1500s when Dutch weavers used rafelen to describe the process of unweaving something they had already woven.  So a tapestry can both unravel or ravel and end up the same: a dangle of threads once wrapped around each other, now hanging loose and separated from the body of the design.  But the intrigue continues because “ravel” also means to make something tangled or confused.  How?  The longer the unwoven strands grow, the more likely they are to twist and become knotted.  So the same threads that raveled loose can ravel bound.  And the same thing can happen to us whenever we have need of hope.

 God’s design for my body had always been masterfully planned, even before He set about the weaving of it in my mother’s womb.  And 31 years later, awe-hushed while He knit triple restoration into my emptiness, I slowly came to understand that there never had been an unfruitful thread planned for the fiber of my body.   The collapse of my reproductive system was not a matter of divine punishment or Almighty dereliction.  For years, I wrongly assigned it as such when, in fact, it was the rafelen of the enemy who has connived for the destruction of God’s goodness since he first slithered into Eden.  Had I been hunting for truth in the Word from the onset of trouble, I would’ve found it in the gospel of John where the plumb line of God’s love for life drops hard and fast: the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly (John 10:10).  

One of the greatest insights I gained during my time with Hazel was realizing that the most crushing days of depression unfolded as I worked hardest to accept destruction, believing that God was the thief and He had no plans to lift the weight of cystic ovaries from my body.  It wasn’t the latest failed pregnancy test or news that yet another friend was expecting that darkened me most.  It was always the suspicion that God, who said He loved me and would provide for all my needs, was hearing my prayers and then callously severing life from life, as one might trim a thread off the cuff of a shirt.  I could tough out the physical pain, endure a season of emotional upheaval.  But the fear that life hung at the whim of a heartless Pharaoh and not secure in the hands of a loving Savior pulled me apart the most.

Truthfully, I began to unweave myself from God’s protection and provision long before I raveled into depression.  Little things like choosing to believe that a doctor’s report was more authoritative than God’s Word or boasting to friends about my body’s convenient dysfunction rather than boasting in the Lord’s faithfulness were all little inchings away from the place where restoration would eventually be found.  Deciding to follow the world’s path of hope with its wishing and hedging and hang-wringing led me into my own Valley of Achor where trouble chaperoned each dusty step.  I squandered years there, defensively pulling away from trusting God’s plan, all the while making myself available to the true thief who was seeking to devour my life.     

The book of Joshua tells the story of Achan, a man who veered from the path of trusting God as he tried to hide riches taken during the Israelites’ defeat of the city of Jericho, something that had been expressly forbidden.  With sin in the camp, God’s protection was blocked and the army suffered great loss at their next battle.  Once it was discovered that he had been secreting the gold and silver in his tent, Achan and his whole family were put to death in a valley that was then named Achor, or Valley of Trouble.  

These Old Testament stories are hard to read and harder to grasp and I shudder with thanks at the gift of being born into the age of grace rather than the era of law.  Yet I still think about Achan and wonder if he wasn’t doing what I did…hedging his bets and taking matters into his own hands.  I think of his years spent wandering the desert, hoping for the long-awaited arrival at the Promised Land and how it must have been hard to wake up day after day to scorpions and blistering sand underfoot.  Perhaps he worried that Plan A might not pan out and so it seemed prudent to start working on Plan B.  Maybe the Babylonian gold in hand seemed more dependable than the honey of the promise.  In any case, he followed the pull of the thief and raveled himself away from the Master’s design.  Right into the hands of death and a life cut off before its time. 

Some 650 years later, the Scriptures speak again of Achor, this time in a book known for its story of redemption.  There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.  There she will sing as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. (Hosea 2:15)  In contrast to the misery of its first mention, the Valley was now become a place of redemption and life reinstated.  Where dry bones once lay piled, verdant fruit now grew.  And where the wailing of grief once named the valley Trouble, songs of praise now echoed up the slopes.  The beloved of God had been freed from the tangle of her bondage and she was rewoven according to the design of her youth.

My years in the Valley of Trouble numbered fifteen, half my life by the time I reached the door of hope.  At one of my final counseling sessions, I was able to show Hazel proof that the vineyards were indeed fruited again, this time with the promise of exceedingly abundant life.  An ultrasound picture outlining a cluster of three tiny hearts, just a few weeks old, brought out the Kleenex box again, this time for the mopping up of jubilation.   It was a season of commencement in my life, of being raveled from the barren and rejoined to the fertile.  As the babies grew in my righted womb, I held the Father’s sure hand and took wobbly first steps, now guided by true hope and confident expectations about His good plan for this pregnancy.   And how needed was that firm hope!  Perhaps at another time I’ll recount the days of breathless waiting we faced when cramps and bleeding threatened the vineyard or when doctors insisted that to preserve two hearts, one should be stilled.  The pins-and-needles journey over the rocky terrain of high-risk pregnancy ended seven months later with the indescribably joyous birth of three tiny babies: two fair brothers and a wisp of a sister.  All together they weighed a mere nine pounds, but our arms and hearts were suddenly loaded with more life than we had ever dared to dream they might be.   


Today as I was cleaning up the Legos from the toy-strewn playroom, I came across a pile of pants that I have been meaning to hem.  Somehow they got mixed in with the stuffed animals and I had forgotten about my plans to tackle them before the cold weather arrived.  It snowed last night, so I’m clearly behind schedule.  As I refolded each pair, I smiled at the remembrance of Grandma’s unhemmed pants, relieved to be in a long line of women with unfinished to-do lists.  Although she would have been delighted to sew sundresses for a new generation of dolls, Grandma never got to meet the triplets, or any of the other ten great-grandchildren who have been added to the family since her death.  But I have great peace in knowing that she has been busy with the babies who left us too soon, perhaps rocking them to sleep, maybe telling them funny stories about their mother or bouncing them on her knee while singing Ride a Cock Horse.  Most assuredly, she is eagerly waiting with them for the day when all the threads in the bucket of this woe-filled, unraveled world will be wound right. 

I couldn’t write that with conviction some years ago, when I depended on worldly hope as the tether for my soul.  But today I am confident that the second way of hope is the place where I want to be bound.  It’s the shelter of Proverbs 18 and the rest of Matthew 11.  It’s the healing of Isaiah 53 and the freedom of John 8.  It’s everything I was searching for, but couldn’t believe would be found in Jesus because it’s a message that a broken world rejects as too good to be true.  But now that I see with eyes that are not my own, I understand the fullness of what happened at the cross.  Love took not only my sin, but also my broken frame upon Himself and paid the awful ransom demanded by the curse of Eden.  Long before I ever knew my body would need repair, He secured my wholeness by laying down His own.  With that doubt-shattering revelation in mind, it now seems so foolish to pull away from God and ravel out on the whims of chance.  I tried it and found nothing but despair.   So these days you’ll find me as a prisoner in Zechariah’s stronghold…excited and expectant that God has even more goodness planned for this life unfolding.  Is your heart in need of that shelter?  Does your mind need rest from the endless picking through knotted thoughts?  Do you need a reason to believe that healing and restoration are still part of God’s plan?  I invite you to join me in the prison of hope where all of these freedoms are found.  Room for us all has been readied because the goodness of God has no end.  Selah. 

Post Script: for the waiting and the wounded

It’s been over seven years now since we brought our bundles home.  Life is abundant, intense, messy and there isn’t much time to pause and remember the ache of a quiet kitchen or a spare room waiting to be painted pink or blue.  Most days, that season of life seems so far away, and yet in a blink I can be back in the waiting room smelling the antiseptic and coffee, hearing the nurse call a would-be mother with test results that would crush her day, seeing the women like me lining the walls, heads bowed low as we waited to be summoned back to an office where our hopes clung to the words of a doctor doing his best.   I remember my last appointment in that room.  At 10 weeks-pregnant, I was ready to transfer to a perinatologist who would oversee the rest of the triplet pregnancy.  We had arrived at such a joyous milestone and yet I felt such overwhelming guilt.  Not wanting to upset the other women in the waiting room, I asked to say goodbye to my doctor and nurses who were like family to us in a back room where no one would hear the words of encouragement and congratulations.  Ironic, isn’t it?  The very people most in need of hope were the ones I was hiding from because I thought that my answered prayer would wound them deeper.  As I slipped out, I remember meeting one woman’s gaze and I realized she knew.  I offered a weak smile, wanting to give her so much more, but still hindered by the remnant fear feeding on the lie that addition in one womb meant subtraction in another.  Fear kept me from sharing hope with her then and I have battled it again in the sharing of my story now.  But I won’t be cowed this time.  I can’t finish this post until I spend a deliberate moment with those women who are still struggling through the aches of infertility and those women who still have tender wounds left from their days on the battlefield. 

It was difficult to write this post, not because of embarrassment about talking about very personal issues or wincing at the thought of digging up grief again.  I almost didn’t write this post because I knew that women like you, still trying to conceive or still troubled by time in the valley, would read this.  And the thought of injuring your hurting heart, even with a testimony that contained so much healing, nearly stopped me. 

When I was in your shoes, I didn’t want to hear about success stories or how to trust God more in the waiting season.  I just wanted to know the most direct route to having a baby or to finding peace about remaining barren.   So often, my prayer was “God, show me the things I need to do to get to the other side of this.”  Sometimes it was an impatient prayer, but often it was just because I was so weary of walking.  I’m sure I would’ve scoffed at the idea of learning to rightly believe as an area in need of attention.  It wasn’t something I could check off a list or research on medical websites.  If you’re like me in that regard and thrive on being organized and in control, please know that learning to hope isn’t part of a magical formula.  Getting into the right mindset about God’s goodness doesn’t flip a switch that sets all things immediately right.  Part of His love for us is that we aren’t circuit boards, but rather companions.  And like any relationship, hoping in the Lord is a journey that unfolds with twists and turns along the way.   But starting on that journey is essential to being led into the blessings and restoration that He has prepared for us.   I cheer you on to that new endeavor, and reach out an arm of support because I know how weary the journey has made you already. 

Another important thought that I feel pressed to share about is that while this post hinges mostly on the subject of hope, I know that I’ve really only touched on one factor of the infertility struggle.  There are so many more aches that you carry each day: relationship fractures with family members and friends who have never walked this path and can’t empathize with the depth of your pain; the strain of finances and the endless trail of insurance and billing forms that make the process even more sterile and detached than it already is; marital conflict between you and your spouse when decisions about treatments have to be made; days troubled by moral considerations about how far to go and when to stop.  Bob and I grappled with these and many other issues during our journey and I could write a book about the multitude of crises birthed by an infertile womb.  What I’ve written about is a broken bone, when, in fact, the expanse of trauma caused by infertility is more like a gunshot wound.  My heart knows how your heart bleeds and how on many days, you wonder if you’ve lost too much blood to survive.  I didn’t write about all those other issues, but I know they are real and also require consideration and sensitivity when dealing with your wounds. 

It’s important to know that just as my change of heart didn’t happen overnight or even in weeks or months, the collateral damage of infertility took time to heal as well.  Reading this post might make it seem like I moved quickly from despair into confident hope and a life renewed in every way.  But the truth is, what took me a month to write about actually took me over ten years to live.  I’ve only really come into a full embrace of Biblical hope in the last few years.  And there are areas yet in my life still shaded by the events of those empty days.  The seed of hope was planted just before the triplets were born, but I struggled to grasp that mindset for a long time.  Renewed thinking is a spiritual battle and the old thought patterns and hurts creep in so easily as the enemy seeks to turn us back toward doubt and fear.  My journey from wishful thinking into confidence in God’s Word was neither quick nor easy, but I praise Him that it was His battle and He was faithful to bring me to victory as promised.   And the good news is that as we grow in confident hope, all areas of life that have been ravished by the thief respond to restoration and healing.  

My prayer is that as you read this story of my journey through the Valley of Achor, you’ll find there a well of living water to rest by and be refreshed by.  My prayer is that as you read about my raveling out and weaving in, you’ll be able to talk with God a bit about where you’ve been constructing hope and whether there needs to be a reworking of the threads that bind you to Him.  My prayer is that as you read this perspective on the two ways to hope, you’ll have that moment of revelation about God’s unalterable love for you and from this day forward, you will have every reason to believe that healing and restoration are part of His plan for you as well. 
Jeremiah 29:11
I recommend these resources to help you continue learning 

about God’s plan for healing and restoration.  Each one 

has been tremendously helpful to me over the last 

several years.

No comments:

Post a Comment