Hope...defined as "the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best". I've often been someone who hopes for the best. As I've shared before in this place, I'm a natural optimist...sometimes a realist...and sometimes a pessimist but mostly an optimist. And sometimes that has gotten be into trouble. My hopes were not met, and I ended up disappointed.
It may seem easier to not get your hopes up but I don't believe that is the way God has called us to live.
(Trigger warning- I will be sharing my pregnancy story which may conjure up feelings if you've suffered a loss. I'm so sorry if that is you, and I understand if you don't want to read further.)
This pregnancy has been very different than my pregnancy with Luca. You may remember, God told me through a dream that I was pregnant before I even tested. We had been trying for months and I was expectant that it was going to happen. Luca was my promise from God. I held onto that through the whole pregnancy.
This one came very differently. No dream, no word from the Lord, just a positive test when I was least expecting it. A few days after I tested positive I experienced some spotting. I didn't know what was happening but in that moment, I remember giving it to God and hoping for the best. Thankfully the bleeding stopped and at our 8 week ultrasound things looked great.
I had a routine doctor's appointment at 9.5 weeks and my doctor pulled out the doppler. It was very early, and the baby was very tiny at this point so I knew there was a big chance that I wouldn't hear the heartbeat. She searched for a couple minutes and we couldn't find it. I was a bit disappointed but knew I would hear it soon. My lovely doctor booked me to come back two weeks later instead of four to calm my nerves.
Two weeks later at 11.5 weeks the heartbeat can usually be heard. I went into my appointment pretty hopeful that I'd be able to hear that beautiful sound. With Luca, we heard it at 11 weeks. I had a resident doctor instead of my usual doctor that day and after asking the usual questions, he got the doppler out. He informed me that he wasn't as good at it as my normal doctor so if he couldn't find it, he'd grab her. After five minutes of searching, he went to get my doctor. Right before he left the room I remember him saying, "Even if we can't find it today, don't worry. Everything is most likely okay." I don't know if doctors are supposed to say those kind of things, but I so appreciated his optimistic outlook in that moment.
My doctor comes in the room a little while later and tries another doppler. After what felt like ages but was probably about 10 minutes of searching, we don't hear anything except for my heartbeat and the placenta. She had searched and searched and searched. Thankfully she booked me to come in three days later to try again, and encouraged me not to worry even though I probably would.
Those three days felt like some of the longest days of my life. Through those three days I had to FIGGGHT for hope. My mind wanted to not get my hopes up. My mind wanted to prepare me for the worst. My mind wanted me to not be disappointed.
But my heart longed for hope. So I did what I've done in hard circumstances in the past, I opened his word, declared his promises, praised him and got prayer warriors praying.
I turned to one of my favourite verses in Romans...
Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping...20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. Romans 4:18&20-21
It was a tough three days. My mind and heart battled it out.
During that time I was reading Anne of Green Gables and came across this beautiful quote. At this particular section, Marilla was trying to help Anne understand the real world.
"'You set your heart too much on things, Anne," said Marilla with a sigh. 'I'm afraid there'll be a great many disappointments in store for you through life.'
'Oh Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,' exclaimed Anne. 'You mayn't get the things themselves but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs. Lynde says, 'Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.' But I think it would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed.'"
And I couldn't agree more with Anne. It would be worse to expect nothing than to be disappointed. Life is hard, but there is always hope...always.
image by andrearhowey
His peace came in waves over me and I held onto hope. I'd expect the best and if the outcome wasn't what I planned, God would be there for us but in the meantime I wasn't going to let my mind go there.
So James and I went into the doctor's that Friday morning, trusting God (shakily, but still trusting). Our doctor went to business right away and at first touch we thought we heard the baby's heartbeat but then she felt my pulse and realized mine was 130 bpm. After a couple minutes of searching we heard a movement, that my doctor said was a baby moving and seconds after that, we heard that precious heartbeat. 166 bpm.
I know not everyone shares the same story as us and a lot have suffered loss. My heart breaks for you and my prayer for you is that you would keep hoping because God isn't finished with your story yet.
Easter is just around the corner and I'm reminded of how hard it must have been for Jesus' disciples after He was crucified on Good Friday. Those three days must have been full of despair and heartache but thankfully that's not where the story ends. Three days later, He rose in Victory. He triumphed over death and proved that hope exists in Him.
Life is hard but there is hope. Keep hoping, keep trusting, He's not done yet.