Hope doesn’t move mountains, it helps us climb them

My last post totally doesn’t count as the lecture on hope. It was a sad one, eh? That post about dying with a self-inflicted overdose of too much hope was a bit of a romantic exploration of the downfalls of hope not succeeding agency, which should never be planned on. (No matter how cute of an old lady you plan on becoming.)  I’ve learned a few things about myself from writing it like I had better think twice prior to writing myself into a weeping mess and care for not knocking wind out sails and such. I’ve also exposed one of my personal battles of weakness and strength. (I’d do well to review my previous post: Your strength that still feels like a weakness). I’ve seen hope appear in disguise as things like cynicism, desire and even comic relief. I’ve found myself at the base of many barrel-bottoms of life smiling up at the blue sky, knowing that things would all work out. But at times, it still seems the trait of a fool as I consider what good hope is doing to me. And once I get started, I can craft up some hefty consequences of having too much of it. That only weakens how I treasure it and diminishes my trust in it.  I’m going to share a few more thoughts on hope, but with more of a sincerity of how it helps me be faithful and love this life the way I do.

Do you ever wonder why you have hope? Well, you were crafted out of a big glittering chunk of it. I believe we were created spiritually and existed as spirits prior to coming to this earth. I’ve imagined being created spiritually with so much hope that Heavenly Father might have even come back and shaved a little off the edge just so I could see straight. In this earth life, and too often, I have used it incorrectly thinking that it could will me some happy endings or dreams come true. Even after all I have learned in this life, I find myself trying to move mountains, for myself and others, with mere hope.

Dear friends, let’s remember that hope is intended to help us climb the mountains of life. Have you heard that faith could move a mountain? Yes, we’re told in the scriptures that those with faith could have the power to move a mountain. But what would that be good for? I don’t think God wants us to walk around with a mountain just to prove we have enough faith to do so. I’ve never met anyone who moved a mountain, does that mean that faith doesn’t exist? Does that mean that I haven’t seen faith yet in life? Oh, but I have. I could tell you true stories all day about people who have great faith and those who have proven faithful through difficult circumstances. I think that faith means putting our problems Heavenly Father’s hands with humble obedience, asking for His help, and letting go of our desired outcome with the sincere intention to “climb” what’s ahead if the problem doesn’t just go away. I have witnessed a miracle of faith in my life.

I was 19 weeks pregnant just one week before Christmas in 2006. I woke up, smiled, stretched, stood up next to my bed and blood rushed down my legs. I wasn’t in pain, but I knew it was serious. After an hour at the hospital I was shown a healthy baby fluttering about with what was described to me as a large tumor along the edge of the placenta. “What are those big black circles?” I asked. “Blood trapped in your uterus from the tumor detaching the placenta”.  The doctor explained that there was no reason to worry as the tumor may have been there since the beginning of the pregnancy. I explained that no mention of it was made 10 weeks ago at my last ultrasound. “Oh”, he said and a tear shot from his eye to the blanket that covered my legs. I decided to look at the tear instead of his attempted hopeful expression. “We’ll do more tests on Monday, rest until then, okay?”. I gently begged the nurse not to tell me the sex of the baby and rolled to the side as she had requested as gently as I could.

I couldn’t look at the screen any longer. Okay, doc, I’ll go home and watch my kids get ready for the Christmas party and just lay here.

I’ll lay here and wonder about the miracle of life, and why it doesn’t always turn out so miraculously.

After they left for the party, I tossed the pillow wet from my tears across the room and laid there looking at the Christmas tree and thinking quietly, blinking tears away because I didn’t care enough to wipe them. I thought, and said out loud, “God, I know you can move mountains. I know that you don’t always move them, but you give strength to climb them. This is my prayer: Move this tumor- or give me strength to endure and climb the trial ahead.

Prayers and blessings and hope from family members all washed off of my back like water, I didn’t think all that mattered much. It just seemed like scared people telling me to be brave. I wasn’t scared. I was at peace with the outcome no matter what it was. Monday morning came soon, and I laid there calmly with tears rolling out of the corners of my eyes. “Don’t tell me the sex of the baby, just check on the tumor.”  The doctor came in, and anxiously grabbed the ultrasound device and pushed hard from every angle. This made it hard to stay gentle hearted. I let out a grouchy sigh.

He seemed anxious. Did you bleed a great deal?”, he asked. “No, not at all” I answered. “Well it’s gone” he said firmly. The baby, I thought- and the tears increased. The nurse spoke back to him with annoyance and said that the Doctor had probably mis-interpreted the ultrasound, and that the baby was doing fine. There wasn’t a tumor today so there couldn’t have been one yesterday. Hmmmm. The doctor needed more convincing that it wasn’t there. He saw it, I saw it. And now nothing. It was gone. I joyfully gasped, “Are you sure?” His sincerest confirmation, “No tumor”. As the nurse looked around again, I touched her arm and asked, “A boy?” “Yes,” she said, “a healthy one”.  And then they left. I wiped the rest of the warm gel off of my belly and got dressed. I walked away from the hospital with the same feeling I went in there with, but the tears were different. Happy ones. I had been healed. A mountain was gone.

God doesn’t work as our assistant in those mountain moving matters- he is completely in control. I believe he assesses things once we’ve handed it all over. He knows what’s best. And if He determines it’s best, than it’s the best thing that could happen. Though we are faced with times that don’t make sense, his peace is available as we accept it. I believe that he wants us to have faith in him, so that he can bless us and by so doing, strengthen the bond between us. He has tried my faith in the past by not moving mountains. He has strengthened my faith by walking the mountain’s path with me, pointing out the beauty in the journey, filling my heart with strength where there was only sadness, and helping me see that my trust and desire for good things was okay, and was indeed hope. That’s even how the dictionary defines it. God blossoms my trust in good things.  Let him take your misery from the darkness of winter to an eternal spring, you’ll be surprised at how the mountain starts looking like something you want to stand at the top of.

Love Leah,