Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hope When There is No Hope

We are so excited to hear from Leisa Wimpee in this guest post.  She has been an inspiration to so many through her hopeful attitude despite her difficult struggle with infertility.  You can follow her personal blog at: embracingtheroadlesstraveled.blogspot.com

Who am I? I am you.

I am the woman who has waited for 8 years to get pregnant. Well, waiting seems a silly word when I have been through four surgeries, two full rounds of in vitro, two miscarriages, an ectopic pregnancy, countless rounds of other medications, herbs, diets, oils, exercise, Chinese medical treatment, 4 specialists, acupuncture, positive thought processes, 9 children talked to us about adopting, thousands of dollars in adoption fees, and more time than I care to admit spent on it all.... Waiting seems such a passive word when I turn back the clock and look at what tools I have added to my belt to fight infertility.

Fight. I like that word. It's not so passive as wait. I have fought my way through infertility.

The problem with fighting is that there are always war wounds. In my case, a depleted bank account, an unhealthy body, wild side effects, and a wounded heart that doesn't know quite what to feel.

I can figure out how to fix my bank account, and wade through side effects and slowly regain my healthy body back. But there is one thing that is most difficult to come back from, and that is, my wounded heart.

My poor heart has been bounced back and forth between hope, excitement and despair more times than I can account. When I think of my heart, I imagine it full of scars. Yet, somehow, even though there are times where I have felt completely through with trying, I still find myself rising up out of the ashes to try again. Why on earth would I do that to myself? After all of my investments and after all of the scars on my heart why would I try again?

It is because something deep within me whispers that I will have children someday.

Someday my home will thrive with life and love, bumps and bruises, tantrums and screams, laughter and light. And I want all of it. It's because every time I hold my sister's little boy and watch him grow my heart is filled with love. It's because every time one of brother's children tell me that they love me, part of my heart heals. It's because every time I reach out to a friends child in need I see hope in their eyes.

And I know. I know that someday all of this pain will be worth it. I know that someday, to the extent that my pain reaches down into the darkest parts of me, someday it will be filled to that same extent and greater, with that same joy, light, and love children bring me now. Someday my pain will be gone, but not forgotten. I know this because these little children in my life already are beginning to do that. But for now I will choose to fill it with something different.

Hope.

6 months ago, 2 days before Thanksgiving Day, my husband and I received devastating news.

Our final attempt at in vitro had turned up with a negative pregnancy test.

We reacted differently then we had before. This was not our first rodeo.

We truly had felt 100% certain that this one would work. We had no doubt in our minds at all. Tears ran down my husbands face and I blankly stared ahead in absolute shock. I was certain I had heard the answer wrong. There was just no way that it was negative. We stared at each other realizing that everything about our future had to be re-arranged AGAIN. There is no way to explain the kind of exhaustion that comes from throwing everything you have into something, all for it to not work out, and then having to pick up the pieces of your life to arrange them into a new future.
I found myself reviewing my life. The last 7 ½ years of it.

And I found myself staring down a choice.
(It's funny I say choice now, because 4 years ago I would have told you that I was so consumed in my pain that I felt like I had no choice. That I was lead all over the world and my life, by the pain that so achingly was in the forefront of my heart.)

But now older, more experienced, and yes, perhaps a little wiser too, :) I realized how unhappy I was with who I was, when I allowed pain to consume me. And I realized that I had a choice. I could choose something different. If I did it now. Right now, in the moment of realization, I could choose to be proud of what I had become in spite of the pain. In spite of what I did not have and what I could not be.
And in that moment I realized. I wanted my life to mean something. I didn't want to look back at my life and only see that my time was made up of sadness and treatments, medicines and Doctors, meaningless jobs and hours of crying, of wishing and hoping and endlessly trying to have children. I didn't want to look back anymore and see that my time was just spent waiting. I wanted all of that sacrifice and time and experience to mean something.

And so. In that moment. I chose Hope.

In modern English we have changed the definition of hope.  Its definition has become so flimsy. As if it's so weak that it can be washed away. As if it's only a possibility. “Oh I hope that it rains tomorrow.” The very ending of that sentence rings in uncertainty.

I remember that feeling. I remember asking someone, “How can I have hope, when time and time again every month it is dashed away before me? I'm afraid if I hope again for next month that my heart will be injured. And if I continue to do that, before long my heart will be so numb that I won't be able to feel anymore. So how do I hope without getting hurt?”

If we come to understand and know truly what hope means then it gives us a power and strength beyond our own capacity and helps us rise above pain and unending fixation on what we do not have. It allows us to act and have purpose, when life seems to offer none.

The Greek translation of the word Hope is Elpis which translates to “Expectation of that which is sure, or certain.” The Latin Spero – means “Expectation with a promise of good things.”  In Hebrew there are several different translations because of the way the word is used. One of them is Seber meaning “To wait” but it includes the piel Hebrew ending making the verb an intensive verb. For example, instead of “cry” the piel ending turns the word into “Sobbing” this shows us that Seber is not passive but actively waiting. In Psalms 16:9 The ending of the verse “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope.”  Translates to “a submission in total confidence and trust.”
This kind of HOPE then, is not the kind of hope that next month I will be pregnant, or that the medicine will work out, or that the Doctor will be right this time. No, this kind of HOPE changes you. It has changed me. It is the total confidence, trust, and expectation in the end result when every thing is said and done. It is the confidence that someday I will hold my children in my arms and that nothing can change that!

This hope has changed the way I see myself.

It has changed what I want my life to be like now, and what kind of legacy I want to create.

It has changed my view from seeing only the day in front of me to having confidence in what my life will be.

It has brought me true happiness with my life that I have now.

It has changed asking God for children in my prayers, to adding “What would you like me to do with my time in the meantime?”

Now when I am faced with difficult news, or sorrow, or reminders. I only feel a hint of that pain. It's as if HOPE has lifted me above what has caused me pain in the past.

Real HOPE takes your mind off the day to day “wondering if” that most people define hope as, and solidly moves your mind and confidence to the grand finale of the future.

Now when I think and ache to have children, I'm not moving forward in an obsessive state of mind trying to find SOMETHING that will get me pregnant or bring children into my home. Now, I feel calmly inspired to act only specific things, which has freed up my time, my heart, and my resources, while giving me peace and confidence that I'm moving forward to the end results of having our family completed.

Most importantly to me--I feel purpose. As soon as I started asking God what He wanted me to do with the time that He has given me while waiting for a child..... purposeful, meaningful, projects, events, and people to help, have entered my life. I am filled with happiness and joy in discovering who I am in God's eyes and my purpose in the meantime. It's brought me so much joy to finally be able to say, “I am happy with who I am becoming in the meantime while I have HOPE in God's plan of us having children.”

HOPE has to change from hope that every month I will be pregnant, hope that the procedure will work, or hope that the medicine will work, to HOPE that is rooted in the confidence in the end game and in the One who is running all the plays.

And it all begins with a choice. To be more. To be happy. To not be overrun by pain. To choose to be more than just your pain, or your diagnosis. To find out who God wants you to be and what He wants you to do in the meantime.

So no, I do not choose to wait. I do not choose to fight. I do not choose to give up on my dreams. I choose HOPE.

And now I have HOPE when there is no hope. Are you with me?

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