Hope Deferred

No new updates. There are some things percolating that we’ll surely post as soon as we have definitive information.

Nate and I are taking a mini-sabbatical of sorts at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City. This is about the best place on the planet I know of to just let down … rest … process what we spend most of our lives running from and usually only allow to dance on the periphery of our minds. I can honestly say my heart feels healthy, after just even a few days here. There is something cleansing about just sitting with your thoughts before God – all of them. The raw, the imbalanced, the messy and the rare few that are actually pure and untainted by all the junk of the world.

I’ll save a more detailed description of The International House of Prayer for another post – it’s noteworthy for sure. For now, I’ll just tell you about my morning.

I come into the prayer room (picture a conference room, comfy chairs to seat 800 about ¾ of the way full of people from all different walks of life, and live, spontaneous music that sounds like it’s produced—it’s so good). They’ve got a time set aside each week for “pre-natal” prayer. They’re praying for the pregnant ladies and believe me–there’s a lot of them out here. I try to divert my eyes. It has become a knee-jerk reaction for me when I see a pregnant person. It’s almost like what you do when you see a couple fighting or a mom disciplining her child in public. I can’t quite explain why pregnant woman elicit the same response in me. . . maybe it’s for fear of the feelings that can well up in me, but nevertheless…my eyes dart to the ground as I see what seems like a line-up of hundreds of them (read: 10) all dressed in trendy maternity clothes, glowing, other-worldly, and rubbing their bellies. A few of them look barely 20.

The feeling comes rushing back that I so want to push away: envy. Perfect place for me to face it, right? My often-peripheral thought now pervades my thinking because I am sitting here, basically naked before God, and can’t really ignore the green thoughts pouring out of my mind.

And here’s what I hear being sung from up front shortly thereafter (and you wonder if this is coincidence): a wet-behind the ears pianist singing about hope deferred. Out of the mouth of this 20-something comes seasoned insights only a 50 year-old stumbling off the battlefield of life should have. He’s singing about the one true and constant hope, Jesus, when all else is lost …and even when it’s not. I shrink in my chair feeling eerily like this young buck is reading my mail. I’m slightly fearful about what other exposing-of-my-heart lyrics God might put on his lips to sing in front of this group.

After I get over the fact that God actually is not only hearing my thoughts but wanting to speak into my moment, I realize that this envy isn’t about these girls. It’s not even about being pregnant or one day being a mom. Those are side-bars to the real issue at hand:

Am I willing to say everything, God, yes everything I will give to you? It’s one thing to say that about cars, houses, jobs, etc etc …but what about children? They aren’t “bad” in any way. Being a mom is a good thing. I was made for it. God designed it … so why would even this be a lesser hope?

The object of my hope: that’s what this whole thing is about. Am I hoping in the promise of God to make me a mom … or am I just plain-and-simply hoping in Him?

You see, I know it’s God’s desire for us to hope … to dream … to imagine … to explore. He is limitless and He wants His people to be limitless in their dreams, hopes, and desires for life. The point at which this becomes limiting is when the “end” becomes the thing I’m hoping for and not Him. Why? Because it fades. Empty-nesters can tell you that about parenting. Retirees can tell you that about their career. Athletes, even in their prime, can tell you that about their sport.

I know this – yet my default response is to put my hope in something which cannot ultimately support my hope. For right now, it’s being a mom. I look at those plump little things sitting in the back of the prayer room having people pray for them and their little ones in-utero and I think: that’s it. If I can get there I will be happy. And until I get there things won’t be quite right.

And He, ever-so-gently, whispers to me …lift your eyes. Dream bigger. Hope higher.

He doesn’t see me in the way that I (everyday) struggle with seeing myself: one who is missing out. He sees me as one who was created – from the very day I was conceived – to be a lover of Him. And this deferred hope in having babies or adopting children or whatever it may be for me the moment … serves as fuel for this love, believe it or not. And that One, that object of my hope, He doesn’t change. He doesn’t fade. There is no end to Him.

As I read back through this post I’m slightly dissatisfied. I’m finding some of these posts are ending up more like “morning devotionals” you’d read from a “½ Off!” paperback at Sam’s club or in the grocery store aisle. I guess this is just where I find words to be limiting …cause this stuff I’m writing about is so stinkin’ real to me these days and a blog doesn’t do justice to the way my heart is becoming more and more alive as I see even just a few more glimpses of Jesus. It’s like I want to be the town crier for all the people out there whose lives aren’t shaping up the way they’d anticipated and say: even here you can find Him. Press on. I promise there’s life even here. Unfortunately I’m stuck with a fleeting attention span and a less-than-what-I’d-want-it-to-be-vocabulary.

Oh well. Tomorrow I’m going to try adding fresh ginger to my home-made carrot juice. Could make for an interesting post that’s a lot easier to funnel into words on a page than the oozing-bleeding-heart stuff that comes as we’ve waited on more news of our adoption …