Faith without hope is possible but hope without faith is not.
I met my husband about ten years ago, and we got married in 2013. We both wanted to start a family quickly. We thought it would be easy, but little did we know how much this journey would teach us.
I do not remember the exact number of negative pregnancy tests I held in my hands in the first two years of our marriage. Each one made me more insecure, more desperate, more anxious. Although people around us told me that I was young and had a lot of time to fall pregnant, I was still shattered because I had hoped and wanted a child early on in life. In my despair, and although being absolutely healthy, we agreed on starting a treatment. However, before we could, I held my first positive test in my hand.
Two months into the pregnancy, I woke up one morning from a nightmare.
I had dreamt somebody had killed my child. I knew something was wrong and decided to pay the gynaecologist a visit. My world came tumbling down after he told me our baby had stopped developing, and I was going through a missed abortion. He suggested a D&C to remove the sac but I decided to allow nature to take its course. At 12 weeks I went through the most excruciating pain. I had contractions for 3 days and finally on 27. December 2015 it was all over.
I cannot say what was worse: Having to tell my parents and my parents in-laws that I was pregnant but was about to loose their first grandchild, the process of pushing and knowing I would never hold our baby, or the fact that I will never see my baby grow up like I had imagined her to. When I shared my sad news with some people, many did not know how to react and although they tried to give me hope, by the things they said, nothing felt appropriate.
For one whole year my husband and I grieved until we started trying once again.
To boost our chances I went through 3 rounds of fertility pills. It was a hard process on my body. I gained weight and with every cycle, we hoped, prayed and claimed a child. But we were disappointed every time.
Martin Luther King Jr once said:
“But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars”.
That time of my life felt very dark. I did not blame God for what had happened but I struggled to see purpose in it all. I struggled to see the stars.
I remember this one time, after the doctors suggested to do IVF, breaking down and telling God how I now doubted his faithfulness. That confession was the turning point in my journey. The minute I spoke out what I was feeling I realised, I was loosing hope.
We can never loose hope in this life because when we do, we lack the drive we need to continue with God’s true purpose for us: To be joyful always, and pray continually while giving thanks to him.
I realised that I had put my hope in so many different sources just to get a baby: in doctors, in studies, in medicine, in my own dreams instead of trusting in God’s faithfulness and His timing. I am not saying one should not be thankful for science, medicine, etc., they are all God given and may be the instrument to your miracle, but I knew, IVF was not mine.
I knew I had to put my trust in the only source of true, everlasting, unwavering hope, which is in God. For me putting my hope in God’s promise meant believing he would want the best for me. It meant that although I would not understand everything, I needed to believe he was faithful in it all. I remember that autumn day in September 2016, when I surrendered this desire of becoming a mother to God. I hoped from that day, that one day I would hold a baby in my arms. My sadness turned into an inner contentment. He held me in his palms. He held my baby now in his arms and he would never forsake and leave me.
On November 18th, 2016, I held the fruit of this rediscovered hope in my hands: A positive pregnancy test. And although the next nine months were a battle of anxiety and fear, knowing that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, I hoped. I hoped that all would go well. I prayed that my baby would thrive. I held on to my faith, surrounded by people I loved and who loved me. People who prayed with me and hoped with me throughout my journey. People God sent to be my stars in the darkness. People who gave me a glimpse of God’s kindness and goodness.
In 2017 God’s faithfulness became visible in form of our baby boy. We named him Joshua. His name means God is salvation, he saves and he heals. As described in the Old Testament, Joshua was a companion of Moses who led the Israelites into the promised land. It was apt, as God took us on a journey to discover the true meaning of putting our hope and trust in his promises.
Today when I doubt or loose hope, I remember God’s words to me: “ Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” ( Joshua 1:9).
Faith without hope is possible but hope without faith is not. To hope is a choice we can make. Choosing it every time leads to a lifestyle driven by positivity, strength and courage, and ultimately resulting in true inner joy and contentment. To hope is to choose to hold on to God, the brightest star of all in the time of darkness. He is the true meaning of HOPE.