As I have been re-reading Robin Gunn’s newest novel Becoming Us in preparation for my next summer gathering with a few close friends, I am contemplating my “sweetest things.” In response to a conversation that occurs in chapter 5, each of us must bring one of our “sweetest things” to share with the group. I’ve been having trouble determining just what I might share.
Then I read a letter to readers at the end of the book Waterfalls, in which Robin writes “Glenbrooke represents to me the sweetness of life: family, friends, enduring memories, and the comforting evidence of God’s love. Through the midst of it all, Hope comes tiptoeing in, wearing feathery gossamer blue and sprinkling wish dust all over us. What would we do without hope?”
In this, I have found one of the sweetest things.
Just over three years ago, I had a miscarriage. I wasn’t very far along – only about 12 weeks – but the loss struck me deeply. I hid myself away that night, the room darkened and my tears ripping me apart. I cried for the loss of the little life within me. I cried out of physical pain. But my biggest hurt, the one that created an emotional avalanche, was the loss of hope. In those difficult hours, I saw a dream I’d held for years slipping further and further away.
My husband held me as close as he could and cried with me. As he consoled me, I called on God to bring me peace with the passing of the tiny little child, and with the loss of the dream. I begged Him to see me through the void to the other side where hope had to be waiting for me.
Over the following few days, various family members and friends asked how I was doing. Thankfully, my faith was strong enough to truly believe that my little baby was just where God intended – with Him. Peace calmed me like a soft breeze off the ocean, and I replied to each question from that place of peace. “I’m doing okay. Better than okay.” And it was the truth.
I had peace. But I did not have hope.
As a teen, I envisioned a house full of children. Six kids, I told myself, with at least one set of twins. Of course, after I got married and had my first two children, I realized just what a toll pregnancy and child-rearing would take on my body, not to mention the C-sections I’d endured since God decided to bless me with 9-pound babies. I lowered my number to three. I wanted three healthy little ones to adore.
It sounds selfish to me now, to say I wanted more. God gave me two incredibly gorgeous, smart, talented, creative, and hilarious little men to guide through this world. Who was I to want more?
But I did. I really wanted three. That night, with my husband’s arms wrapped around me, I cried because number three had been taken away – and I would not get another. We would be done with two. The hope of a third fell silent.
What do we do without hope?
We put one foot in front of the other. We trust that God has a new hope for us, when the path diverges from the one we had been securely walking. We wait for God to move. We listen to his still, small voice. We watch Him work his miracles in our hearts as He plants that new hope within us.
The minute I lost that baby, the road I was on took a sharp turn that I did not see – but God did. He saw every moment that would restore my hope and rekindle a long-lost dream. It didn’t happen in a matter of days, or weeks, or months. Even now, there are moments when my heart aches and a tear slips down my cheek. Yet, slowly, a new sweet thing has grown in my heart. This time, it is not a hope I tended and watered and prompted along. It is a desire placed within me by the One who created me.
This seed of a new dream took root when I binge-watched Elizabeth in When Calls the Heart as she overcame obstacles and watched a grieving community find hope again. It grew during a quick conversation with writer and producer Brian Bird who suggested that I read If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland. From there I discovered the idea that my creative work is God-breathed. With that knowledge, I began to hope in the new direction God has been calling me.
I took a step of faith and wrote about those little Godwinks in my first blog post in January of 2017. Since that post, this little root of hope has wiggled its way into the empty spaces of my spirit that were left vacant by the miscarriage. Through two interviews with author Robin Jones Gunn, I’ve discovered just how much my Father in Heaven showers me with grace and hope – and I learned that the romantic interest in a novel must always arrive in the first chapter. From interactions with writers/producers Michael Berns and Kirsten Hansen, I’ve been given inspiration, guidance, and real-world knowledge of just how intense the screenwriting process is – and that art really does imitate life.
As only our God can do, my cup of hope is now overflowing. He has gifted me with strong-as-diamond friendships. Filled with faith and a desire to honestly fulfill His purpose in their lives, these friends are my “Kindred Creatives” and my forever friends. I’ve found my people. They encourage me. They hold me accountable. They remind me how important it is to be true to myself, my family, and my calling.
This new hope – the one my God of Miracles had waiting for me on the other side of heartbreak – wasn’t a single replacement for the hope I’d lost. It has come in a hundred different forms through a hundred different moments. Each interaction, blessing, and revelation has been a stitch in the seam that put my hope and my heart back together. With hope renewed, I have been given a new dream. Bringing His hope to others is the cornerstone of this new dream: my first book. And someday, my first screenplay.
With this new path shrouded in mystery that only my Maker will reveal in His time, I hold onto the promise of Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hope in my God is the sweetest thing.