Welcome to week six of the Summer Sizzle Blog Hop Series. I have so loved sharing these amazing posts from faith-filled friends who encourage and bless me daily.
This week I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend, Lori Shumaker. I hardly know where to begin to tell you about Lori. I just love her heart. And we have mom things in common to gab about in our basketball loving boys and adopted daughters.
If you ever have the opportunity to sit with Lori and enjoy her hospitality, you will find yourself extremely blessed. She loves and encourages BIG! Can you tell I just love her!
So give her a big welcome and don’t forget to visit her blog and follow her on social media. All the links you need are at the bottom of the post.
When Hope is the Only Thing that will Conquer the Storm
Waiting demands hope.
I do not believe one can truly exist without the other.
Whether it is the accomplishment of a lifelong goal or for the chocolate dipped ice cream cone from DQ, I waited for the prize with hope in my heart (or my taste buds!).
I think waiting is the way in which God refines my ability to maintain hope. And since I’ve spent the larger part of seven years in a significant season of waiting, I’ve had plenty of time to break it down. What I found are two very different types of hope. Related and both a part of day-to-day life, but still very different.
I call them God-Sized hope and cautious hope.
Cautious hope speaks of desired outcomes, whereas God-sized hope is unique, eternal and never circumstantial. It is not dependent upon events or outcomes. It is a guarantee.
You may already know this about our family, but in case you don’t, our daughter is a sick little girl. Her list of diagnoses is overwhelming. From her eyes to her spine, to her heart, to her mind, she is afflicted. On Saturday, April 9, 2011, we arrived on U.S. soil with our daughter whom we had been told had only a speech delay and a heart murmur.
On Monday, April 11, I was waiting at the doorstep of our pediatrician’s office. That morning marked the beginning of a journey to uncovering a multitude of illnesses in our little one.
It began the journey to physical, mental, and emotional healing.
Some of her diagnoses are typical and we have thankfully been placed on a treatment plan and the issue solved or monitored. However, much of her diagnoses are either rare or relatively unresearched. Those diagnoses entail what I call trial and error treatment plans. Sadly, there is a lot of trial and error. With each newly presented treatment plan, decisions must be made. Is it a plan we can carry out? Has potential? Is worth more time, effort, and money? More often than not, we decide to try the plan. After all, how could we, with good conscience live wondering if the one treatment we maybe didn’t try was the answer? So we trudge on.
In the beginning, I held onto the hope was given to me by doctors in the shape of prescriptions, plans, and therapies. The darkness would lift and I would feel the hope that just around the corner, our sweet treasure might be healed. But the corner arrived as a dead-end and with that dead-end, my hope would plummet and fall.
I didn’t know where to find balance along the pendulum of hope and acceptance.
There was wrestling with God.
There was anger. Often.
I cried. A lot.
I didn’t want to hear what He had to say. It was my desire for my daughter to be healed the way I envisioned healing. The stress that was wreaking havoc on our family needed to go away.
I wanted easy. Simple. Wrapped up nicely in a bow.
God is good.
But He had a different plan. His plan was not about my desired outcome.
It was about a hope that says, ”I trust your sovereignty, Lord, and I know that whatever comes, you will walk through it with me and we will be okay.”
That’s a God-sized hope.
My daughter is making some progress. One of the treatment plans we are currently in the midst of is called IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin). She receives the transfusions two days in a row each month. She just completed her 14th treatment. We have witnessed some progress, but it appears this treatment is long term. When she goes longer than one month, her immunity system begins to fail again. Therefore, we continue waiting, hoping, and believing.
We are cautiously hopeful.
But cautious hope takes in the reality that someday she may not live independently or care for herself. She may carry these painful symptoms throughout life on this side of the cross. It’s not a thought I bear easily. I want my baby girl living free and I want a reprieve from the storm our family faces. However, cautious hope isn’t big enough, strong enough, or unique enough to cover that storm.
But then there’s God.
It is a net of hope that makes all the difference. With it, I can walk through the storm knowing that if I fall I will be saved.
Knowing I will be saved abounds my capacity to endure patiently.
And when I endure patiently all darkness is conquered.
It’s a battle that mandates I pick up my armor daily.
When I don’t, I feel it. The joy seeps out. The worry, anger, and disappointment seep in. I suffer and the enemy cheers.
So I hold onto it. That God-sized hope. It’s always there, but in order to conquer the darkness and endure patiently, I have to make intentional choices to:
Find it – Look for it in His Word and in the testimonies of others.
Focus on it – Keep my eyes and ears tuned sharply into that hope; Don’t be distracted by the lies whispered by the enemy or the distraction of things that didn’t go my way.
Feel it – Breathe it in deeply repeating hopeful phrases and scripture on the inside and outside. Speak the spirit of hope over my life. Speak in terms of victory and not defeat.
I know that I am not in your life situation right now. Even if I knew the details, I couldn’t fully understand your journey because it’s yours and I haven’t walked it.
But I can tell you this.
My heart is with you. I understand the painful wait. I understand being frustrated with God and the world around me. And I can tell you something even more important. God does understand. He feels your pain and He knows your ache.
He is aching for you.
Although I don’t have the answers as to why it is as it is, I do know that He has a whole lot of hope He desperately wants to pour into you as He takes your hand and walks you through this storm.
I can say I know that not just because someone else told me. Or even because the Bible tells me so! It is because when I had lost worldly hope, He reached down, saved me, and filled me with His God-sized hope.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” -1 Peter 3:15, NIV
Bio – Lori is an encourager at heart. She has spent her life learning of the hope and victory available when we embrace our identity in Christ. Today, when she isn’t busy being a wife and Mom to her three children, she teaches, ministers, coaches, speaks and writes to share that hope with others. Wherever you find yourself today – walking through the difficult, needing to get unstuck to follow your purpose, or simply experiencing a season of beautiful chaos, Lori’s blog found at www.lorischumaker.com is a place where you can get a virtual hug from someone who truly understands. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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