Today, our cute and cuddly baby girl is 2 months old!
These two months have been the craziest, most joyful and heart wrenching two months of our lives. Both Lawren and I have felt every emotion out there, and we are still holding on. Our days have been filled with laughter and tears – prayers of thanks to God, and prayers of “why God?!” Yet, here we are, staring at our little miracle and overjoyed knowing He has gifted us with two whole months with her.
I find myself reminiscing a lot. My mind often goes back to those unknown days of my pregnancy, feeling her kicks and hiccups, yet feeling sick to my stomach knowing her future with us was so unknown. My mind often goes to that weekend when I was induced, that even though we didn’t know what her birth would look like, we were still filled with a peace from God. My mind often goes to those first couple of days in the NICU – seeing her for the first time – all bruised and marked up, getting to finally hold her and feed her and the joy we felt in being able to do the simple, everyday things that I might have taken for granted if our situation were different. My mind often goes to the frantic drives back to the hospital because we didn’t know what was happening with Hope, praying that God would show His mercy and compassion and help her – and He has. My mind often goes to the way He has answered our prayers, usually different than what we were wanting or expecting, but Him showing us that His ways are higher than our ways, and His understanding is unsearchable.
I have learned a lot in these two months. I haven’t done the best job while learning (picture a toddler having a tantrum), but I am learning. I am learning to cherish today and not let my thoughts go to tomorrow. It is a discipline that I really ask the Lord to help me with, and He has. I have also learned that Hope belongs to the Lord. That He has given her to us and our job is to take care of her the best we can – but ultimately she belongs to Him. That takes a huge weight off, especially when we are consumed with fear of the unknown. We can try our best, but God is the one sustaining us and her, and giving us wisdom as we continue to ask for it. My greatest lesson I have learned though can be summed up in these words: “Even if, yet I..”
These aren’t my words. These are words that I read in a devotional a couple of weeks ago (and I can’t remember which one now!) and they are based off of Habakkuk’s prayer in Habakkuk 3:17
17 (Even if) Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 GOD, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. – Habakkuk 3:17-19
This passage can often be our prayer when things are going well. We can start to imagine bad things happening to us and start praying “God, even if this happens, or that happens, yet I will still keep praising you. But when those terrible things do show up – because really, we are all going to go through trials – those words “even if, yet I” can really sting.
But just like it says in Job “shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive disaster?” (Job 2:10) Basically, will we rejoice in God when things are going well, and curse Him when they aren’t?
I will often read that prayer and think:
Even if Hope’s seizures continue…
Even if Hope’s challenges are greater than we imagined…
Even if we spend another night at the hospital..
Will I be able to truthfully say, yet I will rejoice in the Lord? Ha – truthfully, in the heat of the storm, I haven’t been able to most days. But that doesn’t change the fact that He IS good despite our situation and that He DOES deserve to be praised.
I don’t know what you are going through – but we are all going through something, and it simply comes down to us choosing to keep our eyes on Him. Choosing to worship when we are only able to do so while crying on the floor. Because if we believe that He is good and faithful and trustworthy, we can cling to those things even when the days ahead look grim.
The most amazing thing is finally feeling His peace on the days where I’ve reached the end of myself. He always does show up, and I may not “feel” Him every moment but those are the times I need to trust what His word says – that He hears my prayers and is near. Thank God!
Don’t try to do this life on your own – hold onto the only HOPE any of us can ever have – Jesus.
Naming our daughter Hope forces me to remind myself that our HOPE isn’t in a diagnosis, a bad day or week, or even a great day. Our HOPE is only in God. Our refuge, our strength, our well proved help in times of trouble.