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Finding Hope

Shortly after my youngest was born, I discovered I had an umbilical hernia that required surgery. Besides having my wisdom teeth removed, I had never had surgery before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But having successfully birthed two 8lbs 14oz babies I thought, “How bad could a little outpatient surgery be? Right?"

I remember waking up in recovery in such excruciating pain unlike I had ever experienced before. I could hear the moans and confusion of those around me. The beeping from monitors. The hum of the nurses busy attending to their jobs. As I continued to scan the room, I willed someone to make eye contact with me. Desperate for someone to notice I was awake and offer me some relief for the pain I was in. I remember thinking, “someone ask me my pain level! Please ask me my number!! I am a 10! Far beyond a 10! Someone please notice me!!” Eventually a nurse did come over and we got things sorted out.

As I think over this distant memory, I realize this wasn’t the first time, since becoming a mom, that I had felt that desperation inside. Dying for someone to ask me my pain scale. Willing for someone to notice me and see the ache behind my smile. Feeling hopeless that someone would actually be able to see that I was drowning in my own life and throw me a life raft.

For years I felt so utterly alone and completely defeated as a wife and mom. Terrified that the life I had dreamed of for so long had only ever been a mirage and I was now stuck in the sink hole that is motherhood. Suffocating under the weight of all I lacked. All my failures. All the things I felt so unprepared and ill equipped for as an adult. The harder I tried to show up and prove that I had it all together the more discouraged and overwhelmed I felt.

As I navigated the rough waters of being a mom, from long and painful labors, to postpartum depression, to thyroid and hormonal issues, to an eroding marriage, every expectation I had for the perfect trophy wife and mother life were completely shattered. I had dreamed my whole life of being a mom. In fact, I had put every egg in that basket. Planned, prepped and rushed through life to find my soul mate, get married and have that baby. I longed for the promised place of prominence and acceptance under the labels of wife and mother. I had always been so assured that was my purpose! I just knew that was where all the pieces of my life would finally fit together and I would feel whole and complete.

The reality is that life never turns out the way we expect. For a while I fought against this! I wrestled against things not going the way I wanted them to. I grieved the life that I thought I would have. I tried my best to push everyone in to the mold I thought would achieve some resemblance of the life I wanted. But it never worked. No one fit. Especially me. I was so miserable! I hated being a mom! And I hated myself for that. I had become invisible in the illusion of the perfect life I had created as a barrier around me. My life, my failures, my pain, it was consuming me! I was being eaten alive by guilt and shame. What I didn’t know was that the issues I was seeing were not the actual issues that were robbing the joy from my life.

Yet, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassion never fails! They are new every morning great is your faithfulness.

In my frantic search for security, I wasn’t able to see that God, in his great love and mercy, had been chipping away at my life and all I was placing my identity in. The more I grasped for control, the more he began to remove pieces of the façade I had built around me. And then suddenly the walls were down. And as the ash began to settled, it became clear that the core problem was not a depressed mom who didn’t deserve to have kids, but a broken girl who needed healing that only a great heavenly father could give.

The saying is true, one of the hardest things you will ever have to do is heal while being a mom. But I write this today to assure you that it is the most powerful and important thing you will ever do. To rise above all that has broken you. All that has defined you and labeled you and find a new name in Christ. A new place of safety and a freedom to shed your tears and speak your truth and find true and lasting healing.

Just as it was important for me to address the brokenness in my body from my hernia, it is equally important for us to address the spiritual and emotional brokenness many of us carry. Whether from our past or present circumstances. Had I continued to ignore and suppress the signs and symptoms I was seeing, or had God answered my prayers the way I wanted and taken away the pain and hardships I experienced, I would not have had the opportunity to see just how expansive the love of my Savior is and in him find the healing my soul desperately needed.

The broken places in my life, that I was sure I would never survive, once surrendered into the hands of a loving father, have become some of my most cherished memories with Jesus. Because it was in my most broken moments, when I had no other option but to turn and completely lean on Jesus, that I was finally able to let go of the life I longed for and it was the most beautiful thing to experience.

I can still remember the way I saw God smile when I finally let go and surrendered the shambles of my life to him. It wasn’t a cruel smile, rather one of complete excitement because he already knew exactly how it would all turn out and he was finally going to have full reign to create a miracle far beyond what I could ever dream up. I realized I wasn’t in a tug of war for control with a dictator who just wanted to laugh at my pain and manipulate my life for an ego trip. But rather that I had a kind and gentle father who saw the whole story, the whole map of my life, and desperately wanted to lead me safely through each step of the way.

And as I sat back and watched God go to work in my life, I saw him touch and heal the unrepairable. Over and over again he did the impossible. Giving me courage and strength when there literally was none. Showing me his hand on my life. His protection. His angels. Revealing to me that not at any point in my life had I ever been alone. And he promises the same to you.

God aches and cries with us in our pain and disappointments. But I believe he is equally full of joy for what he expectantly longs to give us tomorrow. In light of who God is, we can trust that whatever he asks us to walk through i always a means of pruning us for something greater. But to fully receive those greater things, requires surrender of our desires for his. Trust in his timing. And acknowledging that maybe we don’t know the best plan for our lives. It requires an opening of our hearts to the possibility that if God asks us to let go of something, it’s not because he wants to devastate us, or cause us pain, but rather to teach us reliance on him and prepare us for the incredible gifts he longs to bestow on our lives. Things he can’t gift us when our hands are too full with what we want and the desires for our life that we are gripping so tightly too.

Letting go of the life we have dreamed of and the places we have found identity in is a painful process. Whether that be a loss of a child, a marriage, a loved one, relationship, a job or home, or grieving the expectations of how each of those would turn out. Whatever category you fall under, I want you to know that an almighty God sees you today. He sees your heart breaking. And he wants you to know you are not alone. I know it feels so impossible! So unfair! And the thought of climbing the mountains ahead of you unbearable. In all God is working on in your life that, right now, feels so out of control and so incredibly painful, I want to assure you that he is indeed, crafting a magnificent masterpiece with your story.

I know that it hurts now. I know it feels like you won’t be able to take another step under the crushing weight of your current circumstances. But I can assure you there is good coming. The light may be dim, maybe you even feel the light has gone out completely. I have been there too. And how I wish I could take your hand today, wipe your tears and beg you to keep going. To gift you the same hope that was given to me. To urge you to take the next step, even if you can’t see it. I can promise you that as you seek God every day, he will reveal to you the light at the end of the tunnel. HE will be the light in the dark that illuminates a path before you until you come out on the other side. He is working all things for good. Even the things that don’t feel good right now.

This I recall to mind and have hope, his mercies, love, faithfulness… this is the hope I long to give to you. He is our way maker and our miracle worker; and I guarantee you, when the light has gone out, he is still working. Making a way for your miracle where there is none.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

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