Nearly every milestone in my life happened later than expected. As a little girl, I watched others blossom and mature faster than I did. I felt alienated and left out when most of the girls in junior high were stuffing training bras while I was still playing with baby dolls. I was often the target of ridicule because I was younger than the majority of classmates.
If my life were a novel, a fitting title would be “Late Bloomer.” Fast forward 25 years, and I was basically in a different chapter of the same book. In my early 30s, I was still unmarried. I didn’t have a husband or kids. It’s not easy being the last and only single girl in a circle of friends. I was keenly aware of the loneliness and isolation creeping up as my friends started having “couples” events, and I was always the third, fifth or seventh wheel.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been resilient, but shame and negative thoughts would flood my mind and eat me alive. Many times the lies consumed me, and I believed I would never have a family.
When God finally answered my prayers, and I vowed to spend my life with an amazing man, I was overjoyed. I was 35 years old and wanted to start a family quickly, but infertility and recurrent miscarriage would keep our prayers unanswered for nearly four years.
The Cycle of Hopeless to Hopeful
My life has been a series of waiting seasons. Whether it is actual reality or not, it seems as if I am always catching up to everyone else.
Whether I was simply waiting to become a woman or eagerly anticipating the true joy of becoming a wife and mother, I have felt the agony of walking through long periods of endurance training, having my patience tested beyond what I thought I could handle.
I watched in silent sorrow when friends united in marriage. But what brought me to my knees, desperate and completely wrecked, was the realization that I had four children in heaven, and I was once again starting over. After that I dodged baby showers and first birthday celebrations just to protect myself from feeling inadequate.
I could throw a really good pity party, and each time I allowed myself to dive deeper into that pit, the more I felt sorry for myself. As the enemy got a tighter grip, the harder it became to feel the Holy Spirit inside me that comforted me and guarded me from feeling alone.
Through all of my experiences, I’ve come to understand that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. I’ve learned that there is no greater way to break a woman’s spirit than to rob her of HOPE!
But our all-knowing, awesome God also understood that we would need a lifeline, so He provided it in Proverbs 23:18. “For surely there is a latter end [a future and a reward], and your hope and expectation shall not be cut off” (NIV).
That’s great news!
I had mastered the cycle of going from hopeless to hopeful.
Even when I couldn’t feel the Holy Spirit, His loving grace fueled my faith. The truth is I was never left alone! All I had to do was shift my focus from my circumstances to the possibilities ahead. The one constant through all of my struggles was a feeling in my gut—a knowing deep inside of me—that no matter how my circumstances looked, I would be okay.
Turning my eyes toward God afforded me the opportunity to define my identity in terms of who I truly am instead of what I lack.
My courage and bravery to stand up in friend’s weddings and host celebrations for expectant moms was mustered solely by a power greater than myself. It was God and God alone that ultimately allowed me to keep HOPE thriving in my life.
What is HOPE?
The dictionary defines HOPE as a feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. As a verb, it means to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence.
With all I have experienced I’ve come to now think of HOPE in a new and meaningful ways—ways I feel the Lord has led me to understand.
H – Happy and Healthy
O – Open to Opportunity
P – Persistent yet Patient
E – Eagerly Expectant
Happy and Healthy
The Holy Spirit always prompts me to do what is right, but ultimately the decision is mine whether or not I will wallow in self pity.
In long seasons of wait, there will be ups and downs. I choose to pick myself up, dust myself off and move forward. Keeping my chin up, staying optimistic and happy allows God to move in my life in beneficial ways. So when the going gets tough, I choose to put a smile on my face and let the tough get going.
Open to Opportunity
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that God desires me to move. He expects us to have an open mind and to make good choices in our lives.
I made an effort to get out and date when I was searching for a spouse. I leaned heavily on God for guidance, but I was proactive in seeking my husband out. I didn’t sit idle and wait for Prince Charming to show up at my front door. Be open to whatever the Lord leads you to do and remember, with God the light is always green unless He pushes the brakes and turns the light red.
Persistent yet Patient
To keep my eyes focused on the truth, I assertively ask God to reveal details about my current desire. Communing with Him about my husband-to-be or my future child let Him build up my HOPE, which in turn fueled my faith!
I also sought out scripture and made a fitting verse my mantra. Standing on the word of God helped me build a solid foundation for HOPE because His word is true, binding and unchanging.
He is the unfailing God, and when He says your spouse is coming … He means it! This truth brought peace to my life and allowed me to be patient.
I endured my seasons of wait by remaining appreciative for the blessings I had and also for the ones to come. Thanking God for what is still unseen causes you to shift your eyes off the negative and onto a positive, which is a great way to build up a wall of HOPE.
HOPE for the Future
My current waiting season has been nearly four years. My husband and I deeply desire another child; however, we have suffered through countless months of let-down and grieved three miscarriages. When cycles go by in which we have not conceived, I fight to keep myself healthy. I don’t have to be emotionally taxed and drained. I take captive any thoughts of jealousy and refuse to focus on what I lack. I choose to rejoice in the end and remain thankful by keeping my eye on the promise that a sibling would be born.
I might live the rest of my life as a late bloomer. But while I am expecting, I will do my very best to protect my desire, persevere, keep HOPE alive, fight against attacks of the enemy and remain thankful for what is to come.