Apr 14, 2010
This weekend our family went to our church’s Spring Retreat. The theme of the weekend was “I Hope.” We looked at lots of Scripture passages about hope, and talked about how we can apply hope into our daily lives.
But for me, hope is a really scary concept–really scary.
I remember feeling, in my darkest days of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), that hope is what God tells you to do so he can distract you, then sucker punch you in the gut with reality.
At that time, hope for anything good from God felt impossible. It felt like we only got calamity. And I know I “should’ve” stepped back a bit from our circumstances, taken a broader view, looked at the big picture and then I could’ve seen how good we had it–one healthy child, a home to live in, a car that got us where we needed to go, a job that paid for all of what we needed and much of what we wanted. And that did help sometimes. But I still had a deep, gaping, bloody wound.
I was stuck. So deeply stuck in the hopelessness of Felicity’s death. So confused. So wounded. I don’t think saying, “People in Cambodia (or North Korea, or Congo) have it really bad, Molly. Just look around and get over yourself,” would’ve have been healing for me. It might have taken the “bad thoughts” away quicker, but would it have healed the wound I was feeling or mended my broken view of God?
I think taking a broader view of God’s world can be incredibly helpful for getting us outside of ourselves, don’t get me wrong. But it’s insufficient by itself for healing when you’re up against some deeply painful personal issues.
I was dealing with questions like:
- Is God trustworthy?
- Does he listen when I pray?
- Does he care about me and my anguish?
- Has he forgotten me?
- Have I wearied him with too many requests?
- Am I being punished or “taught a lesson”?
- Is my loss “small” in the big picture of things? Does it matter to God that I’m still so sad?
And of course a really simple division that one can make about hope is that there’s hoping in our circumstances and hoping in God and who he is. As you can see from my list of questions above, my circumstances and who God is were pretty enmeshed. And I think that’s probably the case for most of us. Our hearts aren’t so easily compartmentalized, are they?
Anyway, there was (and is) lots of undoing that needed to happen for me to begin healing. That’s another post. But I realized this weekend that I am still so afraid to hope for the arrival of the twins. Kind of like, if I want it too much, God’s going to teach me a lesson, smack me on the hand, flex his muscles, and show me who’s boss.
I want to believe that God flexed his muscles already and showed me who’s boss by giving these babies to begin with. I don’t want to see a taking again. But I suppose on some level, we all have to be prepared for that.
So how do I hope that these babies are going to come? How can I hope in God (who gives and takes away) and not get that tangled into my circumstances? is that even possible for those to be completely separate?
I’m afraid I can’t wrap this thought up with a pretty bow and present it to you all figured out. These are my wonderings, my laments, my questions that I wade through as week #20 with two babies in my belly pushes on. I desire to hope, but I’m still slogging through what that means. It’s messy, this slogging. Who’s with me?