“It’s this truth that leads me beyond the fear and into the desire to have another child. I rest my head in peace at night with thoughts of this child and know without any uncertainty that she. will. be. I have absolute joy about this! The hope and joy I feel wipes out my fear and leads me to faith in what You are doing” –Aug.2, 2011
It’s hard to know what to share on this blog of mine and what to keep hidden in my heart. I actually journaled this blog post back on December 13th about a week after I found out I was pregnant. It is the story of the child I carry, baby Hope. It is the story in which her name was born. It is more than just a name to me, it’s a story…my story. To share, even a tiny part of this journey, is to reveal just a glimpse of my heart….but even a glimpse, to me, is A LOT. ;o) It is a story that involves a word I’ve written about before here on my blog ;o) It’s that little word… fear. A word, that as women, we seem to make a special place in our hearts for.
This post is actually based on an entry in my Prayer Journal that I wrote back on August 2, 2011 towards the end of my long journey with fear….a fear that slowly crept inside my heart after my mom passed away and grew into a raging sea last March when I miscarried our third child. It was my dad who realized the depth of this fear and encouraged me to fight through it before moving forward with another pregnancy. I share this only because it reveals the fear that, I believe, captivates so many women today.
“Hope is born of suffering. This is what it means to be held.” –Natalie Grant
As I sat quietly in my room, I bargained with God and begged Him to just let me adopt a child. My heart was torn with fear and love, but I had already set my mind to the fact that we would adopt our next child.
I pushed aside my desire to conceive again and settled my heart on adoption. I made this decision and THEN proceeded to consult the Lord on His direction. My heart was in the right place and my intentions were right, but sometimes our “good intentions” aren’t what God has planned for our lives.
My heart was never at peace with adoption, but because my fear of conception was greater than this lack of peace- I decided to continue on in my quest of adoption. I was even able to get my husband on board with it- which, in my mind, was a “sign” I was walking in the way of the Lord….or so I thought. I called my dad and put him to work by asking him to call a dear friend of his who worked closely with international adoption. I became more and more confident that this was the right decision for “my” family….our family. I began to “see” things that I perceived to be “signs” that I was on the right path. I remembered my mission trip to Russia and how my heart melted for those little children. There was even a woman in my Bible study that adopted twin boys from Russia. I thought to myself, “she can tell me all I need to know about adoption.” I was so involved in seeing “signs” that affirmed my heart’s decision of adoption that I almost missed God’s whisper. I’ve always been cautious when perceiving what seems to be “signs” from the Lord. I’ve always known in my heart that if you have to go looking for signs you are doing God’s will then you better step back and seek HIM a little longer before moving forward on making a decision.
One morning, I sat looking at a bracelet my girlfriends from our hometeam gave me and I began to think about the little word that was etched on the bracelet…hope. As I sat on my bed that morning I reached for an old prayer journal and began reading prayers dated back to the summer of 2008- the summer Presley was conceived. After reading through this old journal, I grabbed my pen and newly bought note pad and began to write. I documented prayer after prayer for weeks until one afternoon as I sat quietly in prayer heard a whisper…”how dare you make a decision based out of fear. Where’s your faith? Don’t you know that God is greater than your circumstances?”
Immediately, an overwhelming sense of guilt came over me and I knew I had a bigger problem than conception….fear! Fear was ripping at my heart and left me stranded in one place….not moving forward. It was holding me captive. My joy, love, peace, hope and faith…all held captive by a fear. The fear of loss…loss of eye sight, loss of another child through miscarriage, and loss of life. You name it, I feared it. I knew that I would not be able to discern what God’s will was for my life until I worked on my fear. As I continued on in prayer for the next several weeks, I began to write down plea after plea. “Please God, just let me adopt!” For what reason? ALL based on fear.
Then, just as the whisper came so swiftly to me those weeks before when I sought God’s guidance, the image of two little girls re-entered my mind. One girl, who now had a face I recognized and the other that remained unseen. It was an image I had had before….before Presley was even conceived. It was an image that overwhelmed my heart and gave me the peace that the decision to conceive again was the right one.
It wasn’t an image that I created from a desire within me, but one that came in the quietness of a busy day. I always desired to have a family of boys. Once I married Joey those desires changed to having a family of girls. Slowly, as my desires changed, the image of two little girls filled my heart. As time went on I began to see my husband’s deep desire to have boys change to a desire to have girls.
I’ve always prayed that God would fill me with the desires of His heart so that I would desire the same. Of course, I did this out of fear of disappointment. There were many things in my life I desired that weren’t in alignment with God’s will. Finally, one day, I just gave up ;o) and in exasperation said, “give me the desires of YOUR heart, God. Place in me what you desire for me.” After this, I began to trust and look to God to affirm the desires of my heart.
I wish I could say that this “asking of His desires to be placed in me” was an act of selflessness- an act of courage. But, let’s be honest, it was purely a selfish request. I didn’t want to be let down, disappointed. So I found myself surrendering my desires to God and asking to be filled with the desires of His heart for my life. It was my way of keeping disappointment at bay.
When I finally came to the realization that God’s plan for our family wan not adoption, but conception :o) I began to work on my fear and the mistrust that I had in the one who is the Author of all hope. I began to seek Him wholeheartedly in complete brokenness. Even when I failed, He still proved Himself faithful by placing me in Bible studies and with people who completely spoke to my heart. I tried to seek God actively day to day, but there were days I failed. I began a prayer journal, got involved in Bible studies, read books (What Women Fear by Angie Smith), talked with women who also struggled with fear, spent time reading the Bible, and talked with my family counselor in San Antonio who had helped us work through our grief after my mom died.
Slowly, over the next few months, I began to see and feel a change inside of me. I looked passed the fear and replace it with hope……hope that came from trusting in God completely. He’s never promised me one single day beyond the one that I am given each day. He never promised me that my journey would be painless or easy. However, He has promised me the gift of Hope through trusting in Him for all things.
I know in my heart that I am living in His will and doing what He has asked of me- to carry another child- a baby girl who will be a constant reminder of Hope. He sealed me with a perfect peace that passes understanding. He sealed my heart with hope and took all my fears from me the day I made the decision to try for another child. I prayed that God would replace my fears with a quiet confidence sealed by a peace that passeth understanding and He did this for me. He has sealed my heart and my thoughts to be of Him. Even when fear is expressed to me through others, their thoughts of fear never enter my mind…..for God is the only one who directs my thoughts, and guides me according to His will for my life. He has my life cupped in the palm of His hand and will carry me to a hope fulfilled.
…His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
…For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name, He will call upon me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation!”