Hope Gifts

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while and haven’t been able to find quite the right words. I’m not certain I have now, but a fresh perspective brings me here to try.

While we were walking through our journey of infertility, we fought hard to keep hope that one day we would have a little one join our family. Nick and I firmly believe that God decides when babies come and to whom. So, we knew that He had a plan for our family, and there was a chance it did not include babies. And yet, as the door hadn’t been fully closed on that dream, we dared to hope.

Each passing year and each negative result put a strain on that hope, but a little flame always managed to burn. We did things for each other to encourage that hope. I bought a couple of Cubs onesies as a gift for Nick with the dream of our little fan wearing them one day. He bought me jewelry that signified hope and family as a reminder that he still was hoping, too. These gifts and the accompanying letters were a precious sign to one another that we could see the other in the light of parenthood and it was good. We even set aside a room as a nursery in our new home in the hopes that God would fill it. His Word is on the studs in the walls as a sign of our hope.

Nick’s Mom joined us in that prayer and wrote a verse in the walls that she prayed over her own children. Oh, how we pray that Hailee will be one who seeks after God!

And, although we weren’t “social-media-public” with our journey, there were many people who were walking with us and encouraging that hope.

My Mom and Dad constantly checked in, even when they didn’t know what to say. They remembered us on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when they knew it might be hard for us. And, unbeknownst to us at the time, they were storing up toys and treasures to give when we were finally able to give them the good news.

My friend and mentor, Bridget, arranged a night of prayer with our old small group that we might seek God together. She sent constant texts of scriptures and prayers for our hearts.

My best friend, Jamie, sent a bracelet and a beautiful necklace that spoke to us as a family. She constantly checked in and believed for me when I was struggling to hold to that hope.

There were so many other moments along our journey. There were Skype dates with Karlee where she encouraged me to keep going and a rose bush from my mother-in-law on Mother’s Day because she knew it was a tough day for me. We were given a painting from my Grandmother for our nursery before there was a nursery. There were texts from my sisters-in-law when we got bad news and prophetic words from the one who called me a mom before any of the others, who believed it for us right away). So many prayers and so much encouragement was given from our small groups and our family and friends. I couldn’t possibly catalog them all here.

And, Amy, my best friend in college, somehow knew a little girl was on the way for us. Years before we knew it was true, she sent a hope box full of little girl things and notes of encouragement. For those who might not know, Amy is the one who made my wedding shoes. When I told her Nick and I were getting married, her response was, “I want to put Cinderella in her shoes”, (which brings joy to my heart as much today as it did then).

Nearly 3 years before Hailee was born, she posted this:

And, not only did God give us the child, but He gave us a little girl when family history tended to predict a boy! Truthfully, when I received the box, it was such a beautiful gift, and yet, hard to receive. I desperately wanted to believe these gifts would get used one day, but sometimes hope is hard. They stayed in the box in my closet until well into my pregnancy. It was such a beautiful moment for me when I could include her sweet gift in Hailee’s newborn pictures! What grace God has shown us in giving us the desire of our hearts!

This week, I sent a hope gift of my own to a friend who is praying that God would say “Yes” in a big way for her own little girl. It was in the sending of this gift that I realized the risk and hope my own friends and family took. I desperately wanted to send something that would encourage my friend and be tangible evidence of our prayers for her and her family. But, what if God says, “No”? What if that gift never gets used? Will it cause her more pain than joy?

I thought back to my own stash of hope gifts. These momentos and gestures were tangible evidence that someone else believed, too. And, honestly, sometimes they carried the belief when I was too tired to do so myself. Here are a few of them:

My encouragement today is to tell you to do the hard thing. If it’s in your heart to do it, there’s a reason. Someone may need that word of encouragement or the gift that seems impractical. Maybe it’s a onesie for a friend who is waiting for a little miracle or a bridal magazine for the friend who is dreaming of finding a lifelong partner. Perhaps, it’s just a quick note, a scripture, or a chat over coffee. Take those moments. Do the hard thing. There’s a reason you’ve been prompted to do it. You may never know how much someone needs it. Hope is always worth the risk.

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