Thursday, September 3, 2009

Got hope?


What does that word mean to you?

In some sort of funny word association game, the first thing that comes to mind is a character from thirtysomething. Which is weird because I haven't really seen that show all that much. (Though I Netflixed the first season now that it just became available because, well, I am Thirty-something.)

I also think of my friend Stephanie. She has three boys and just found out she is expecting a girl! They are naming her Hope. Click here to see the fun way she announced it to all us stalkers.

I also think of things I flippantly hope for. Here is a random list:

Things I Hope For

1. I hope Andrew doesn't cry when I drop him off at preschool.
2. I hope I don't gain too much weight during my pregnancy.
3. I hope my DVR can keep up with my demands.
4. I hope Matthew doesn't have to work late tonight.
5. I hope my neighbors are happy that I finally weeded my flower bed. (Only took me about six hours.)
6. I hope we are able to avoid getting really sick this winter.
7. I hope my crockpot potatoes are ready soon.
8. I hope I don't misspell anything in this post.
9. I hope we have some great fall weather this year.
10. I hope I get an iPod for Christmas.

But in all seriousness (even though I'm serious that I'd like an iPod...hint, hint, Mom....), in thinking about the word hope, I looked its definition up online. I picked out three definitions I'd like to share and discuss.

hope (n) -- the feeling that what is wanted can be had or events will turn out for the best

hope (v) -- to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence

hope (v) -- to believe, desire, or trust

I think you have to consider what or whom your trust is in. When I was in the seventh grade, I really hoped that I would get tickets to the NKOTB concert for Christmas. I had a feeling that what I wanted could be had. I looked forward to it with desire and reasonable confidence. I desired the tickets and trusted that my mom would get them. My hope was in my mom. I wasn't certain I would get them, but I hoped I would.

And I did.

We rocked it out at that concert in March of 1990. We were hangin' tough.

I think that when things go well, it is easy to hope. When you generally get what you want for most of your life (barring a few minor disappointments), hoping is something that you take for granted.

Here I am on the morning of April 24, 2008. I hoped that I would have a healthy baby that day.

Here I am holding Benjamin almost an hour after he was born. I was blissfully ignorant of what was to come. You see, I had put my hope in my own desires. In looking at that first definition, I really think I wasn't hoping at all. I was assuming that things would turn out for the best. But whose best? My best. The "best" that I thought was best for me.

But as you know by now, God had other plans. God's "best" meant a new life for me. A life that at first just seemed full of new worries, doctor's visits, crushed dreams, and this child who was not what I had hoped for.

In October of last year, a day or so after his open-heart surgery I hoped I would see Benjamin's smile soon. It was so hard to see this...

And then I did.

After his intestinal surgery in January, I hoped he would soon learn how to sit on his own. Then on February 10, I literally walked into the living room and saw this:

And it was about that time that God changed my heart. He showed me that hoping in Him was far more rewarding than hoping in anything my mortal mind could conceive.

And so I began to hope that I would fall in love with my sweet little Benjamin.

And I did.

Here he is just this morning at Wal*mart. After 16 long months, he can finally sit up in a cart like a champ. You have no idea how nice it was for me. And naturally, I had to snap some pictures.

(I hope he doesn't look too much like Gollum in this picture! LOL)

I know that God is teaching me new things about hope all the time. And He's using Benjamin to do it.

Which is just fine with me.

There couldn't be a cuter teacher.

To read more stories of hope, go to (in)courage or click here.


Sarah said...

Oh MA...another post, another tear. You are great at this. Book?

Denise said...

What a great post said it all just perfectly. We do take our good life for granted too much of the time an when God changes our plans it always turns out better!!! Guess what...I was at Walmart this morning too!!

Stephanie said...

You rocked this post, Angela. Thank you for thinking of me.
Here is what I think of when I think of hope...

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my HOPE comes from him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken." Psalm 62:5,6

Love you~

jenn said...

What a wonderful post! I seem to get in a rut and hope for what I think I need and want--not what HE has planned for me! This is a struggle I work on daily!

I hope ;) you have a great weekend!

The Wood Family said...

What a great post Angela! Beautiful. Benjamin looks like he was loving the buggy.

JILL said...

I just love seeing when B learns something new. I know you snap the pictures because you are so proud - but he always has the biggest grins on his face... he is as proud of himself as you are of him!
Love the cute baby toesies!!!
I agree - I can't wait for your book... and all the great photos you have to put in it!

heartchild said...

I love this post. Thanks for sharing it. It is so encouraging to see how far Benjamin has come.

Tricia said...

I like how you explained hope changing over time and God staying the same. May God bless you.

Laura said...

Soooo sweet! It is so wonderful how God knows what we need and in time we begin to see that.

Beverly said...

what a beautiful post!

Sharon said...

Beautifully written!

paula said...

Love Baby B! Great post. I think of all the things I hoped for and actually prayed for but God knew best not to answer my prayers. Sometimes He does me a favor by NOT answering my prayers! How hard to know. Knowing God knows best is what enables me to begin each day. Never thought of Baby B being our teacher but you are so right! Cuter than any teacher at MY school! Love, Mom

Mary Jo said...

Awesome post Angela. Thanks so much for sharing again! And Benjamin looks like a little stud man sitting up in the cart. LOVE IT!

Diana said...

You give me hope. Hope that people can truely have beautiful unconditional love and faith. Hope that I too one day might have a heart filled with such patience, understanding, and trust in God. You are beautiful and wonderful and you and Benjamin give people in similar shoes hope for the obstacles that lay before them.

The O'Neils said...

I love this post! I hope this helps me realize how fortunate I am to even have Presley here and forget about the things that had not hoped for. :)

count it all joy said...

Oh Angela, I had a lump in my throat the whole time I was reading this post. Firstly, because it is so beautifully written and easy to identify with and secondly because I wanted to say "You ROCK!". You know when you really admire the way someone lives their life and the way they mother their children and you just want to let them know? Well, now you know. Oh, also because Benjamin is ridiculously cute. Meredith xo.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for reminding me where(and in Whom)my hope lies. The shopping cart pics make me smile--my little guy just started sitting in a cart,unaided,about a month ago.:-)