Hope Deferred

We are 1 in 8.

It came as quite a shock—The realization that having kids was not going to be easy.

It doesn’t hit all at once...but seems to flow in wave after emotional wave. Despite what we’ve always heard, having babies doesn’t always follow effortlessly after love and marriage.

2018 marks year five that we’ve been hoping, wondering... Will this be the year?

And as much as the baby longing grows, I’ve never wanted predictable. Cookie Cutter. Typical. Nevertheless, I was not expecting this particular struggle. I mean, my sister has 5 kids for goodness sake. And nothing in my health history points toward any particular problem.

And yet, here we wait in the 1 in 8. I have learned more than I ever imagined about searching out the good. Looking for silver linings. Not in a happy clappy kind of way, but as a mode of surviving this season. So I offer a different way of looking at 1 in 8. Did you know that both of those numbers stand for new beginnings? Now how about that? Hello 2018!

Let’s look back at our journey.  My husband and I got married in July 2012. In August 2013, I got off birth control. By the end of 2013, we were officially not NOT trying. In 2014, I started tracking my cycles and taking some basic steps. By the end of 2014, my husband and I were on the same page: “We’re trying.” In May 2015, we had our one and only positive pregnancy test.

I just deleted my attempt at summarizing the story. Maybe loss shouldn’t be summarized. It still stands as one of the hardest memories. Not only did our one positive pregnancy end in loss, I was hosting a baby shower for one of my best friends the very next day after we got our news. In the middle of the shower, I had to ask the host for a tampon because the bleeding had started. “I guess we won’t be throwing you a baby shower any time soon,” she said innocently.

I guess not.

Shattered. To this day I don’t know how I didn’t run out of that house crying, screaming, & swearing.

That was three years ago.

Lord, WHATTTT?! This is your best design??? I know my circumstances don’t change your character but NOTHING about this feels like your goodness or your kindness or your love. I know my perspective is limited. Yours is NOT. So BE BIGGER. Show me in a tangible way that you are who you say you are!

My conversations with God went something like that. For years.

If you are the God who brings water from the rock and streams in the desert, show yourself. If you are the God who calms the raging storm with three words, “Peace, Be Still,” do it! I’m clinging to the hope that you are the God who creates the times and the seasons. Still here hoping that you are the God who fights our battles and lifts our burdens. The Creator God who brings beauty from ashes, gladness from mourning, praise from despair. Are you not the God who brings the starry host out one by one and calls them each by name? And even still, you know the number of hairs on each of our heads. If that is who you are, make it real! Tangible.

And so He began to prove Himself over and over. Not right away, of course. He won’t be rushed. But He will do it. He will turn our lament into praise. I watched Him do it, over and over.

I don’t think we would ever choose the thing that causes us to know God the most. So far in my life, this is it; this is that thing. And when I come to the end of myself or simply have no energy left to sit in this hope deferred another day, I return to this quote by Fredrick Faber:

"In the spiritual life God chooses to try our patience first of all by His slowness. He is slow: we are swift and precipitate. It is because we are but for a time, and He has been for eternity. Thus grace, for the most part, acts slowly. He works little by little. Sweetly and strongly He compasses His ends, but with a slowness which tires our faith because it is so great a mystery. We must fasten upon this attribute of God in our growth in holiness. There is something greatly overawing in the extreme slowness of God. Let it overshadow our souls, but let it not disquiet them. We must wait for God, long, meekly, in the wind and wet, in the thunder and the lightning, in the cold and the dark. Wait, and He will come. He never comes to those who do not wait. He does not go their road. When He comes, go with Him, but go slowly, fall a little behind; when he quickens His pace, be sure of it, before you quicken yours. But when He slackens, slacken at once: and do not be slow only, but silent, very silent, for He is God."

As I write, I am one day removed from receiving news of our third failed IUI. I mentioned this is year number five we’ve been hoping for a baby. Do you know the significance of the number five? It means God’s grace & goodness. And even though we’re enduring this latest disappointment, I will continue to believe 2018 will be a year of new beginnings. A year beginning and ending with God’s grace and goodness, for me and for you! Let’s ask God for eyes to see it.

He Will.

The hardest years in this journey were when God seemed so silent. It was a fight to recover joy.

It can take time to remember those things that you truly enjoy. What brings lightness and laughter to your life? It’s so important to intentionally seek those things out. Here are some practical ways I have actively sought joy:

1 . Starting a blog and @convivial_life was a deliberate choice to start writing again, and to keep celebrating! Convivial means fond of eating and drinking in good company. It’s my little space where I share food adventures and create space for delight even while holding debilitating pain.

2. Sharing the ways I’ve seen God at work as often as possible

3. Keep exploring and seeking out adventure. Ask God for laughter in your marriage, in your life, with friends, and then look for it.

4. Get outside as often as possible and find fun ways to move your body

5. Find the voices that remove stress from your life. For me, some of those voices are Nancy Ortberg, Shauna Niequist, Tim Keller and Brene Brown.

6. Fill your mind with Scripture

7. Seek out your cheerleaders and find your dream defenders, those who will pray you up and cheer you on when it feels to difficult to go on hoping.

8. Notice who you’re brought into contact with and make the most of every opportunity.

Jackie Toscas - Waiting in Hope Contributor. Lives in Arlington, VA.

-Waiting in HOPE- Hope Deferred