Hope: The Anchor for My Soul, Not My Plan

I wrote this piece for an online magazine but it did not get picked up. The crazy part is that I wrote it months ago when my hope series was the tiniest of ideas. Thought it was a great way to close the week, so here it is!~~~ Hope can be a tricky concept for many us, especially those of us who have gone through any kind of major struggle, trauma, loss or tragedy in our lives.

I am a survivor of infertility and loss.

Through our infertility journey hope at times was our best friend and at other times was our worst enemy.

You see my faith did not grow strong until after our infertility journey ended. And you may be surprised, as our journey ended without the desired result of babies. I usually tell people there is nothing like being a mental health therapist who struggled with infertility to make you be pretty mad at God.

And yet, here I am, my faith the strongest it has ever been.

This strength was not found in hope, but rather in allowing myself to doubt and question. And yes, to even be angry with God.

It was within my doubt, questioning and anger, and allowing myself to fully embrace it all, that His clarity washed over me.

And hope shined again; a healthier hope that is.

Not the hope that if we kept trying, kept praying, kept doing what society told us to do that God would do our will because we had hope.

I had to learn to let go of this hope because if I am truthful it was only the hope for things to turn out the way I wanted; how I thought things needed to be.

It was the clarity of a healthier hope that came with learning to practice active acceptance of what we cannot change balanced with the trust that He holds the end of our story.

Within my working faith, within the doubt and the questioning, I allowed enough room for hope to be a true anchor.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. (Hebrews 6:19 NIV)

This work has allowed hope to be an anchor for my soul, not a hope for my plan, but the clarity and trust in His.

And, so I will continue to hold His hope for my life, even if it has not necessarily turned out how I planned.

Because, I know he has the end of my story, and I trust it is amazing.



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Living In the Tension

I cannot tell you how many times I have said this phrase in my office lately.

Living in the tension.

Another way to describe my concept of the complicated grey.

Because nothing in this life is all good or all bad, despite our brain literally being wired to over-categorize and to think in the black or white or in the all or nothing.

Life is simply just too complicated.

I believe our happiness lies  in living in this tension between the two worlds; living in this complicated grey.

It is the best way to describe how my life and my recovery has been after surviving infertility and defining my own happy ending. I must practice this work of living in the tension because this recovery is complicated. It includes lifelong losses of the infertility journey. It includes managing, and therefore being a thriver, of anxiety and depression. And, it includes practicing the daily work to be better than okay.

It is what it is.

As a mental health therapist I have heard the phrase it is what it is in many contexts.

Half of me believes this statement can be about acceptance. The acceptance of things that cannot be changed. The acceptance of our circumstances. The acceptance of what is not in our control. Many of us could be happier and healthier people with this work in active acceptance.

But the other half of me knows that this statement can also be used in an apathetic way. The way to declare powerlessness. The way to assume being the victim. The way to choose to stay stuck, stand in our own way and not change our lives.

Where we find our magic.

I think recovery for all of us must lie in the tension between active acceptance and this passiveness. In other words, perhaps we must work to find our place between the two. And embrace that feeling lost between the two just may be where we find our magic; where we actually find ourselves.

At least that is where I have found mine, as it has only been in embracing this tension that ever upward was born within me and is my love to share with the world.

The work of living in the tension between overcoming the lifelong losses of infertility and defining my own happy ending.

The tension between the sadness of not being able to be a mother and the freedom and joy of being a childfull mother.

The tension between the days that the sadness, anger and unfair bitterness strikes and the days I know I am okay, actually better than okay because of this journey.

The tension between soul crushing sadness and emptiness and the deep knowing breath of my version of mothering.

The tension between the hard anxiety and depression days and the choosing to practice recovery from both.

The tension between feeling alone in the pushing and delivery of Ever Upward and trusting that God has it all in His hands and perfect time.

The tension between never fixed and forever changed.

The tension between knowing what I know and trusting what I can't.

The tension between soul scars and always healing.

The tension between accepting what is and hoping for what could be.

The tension between the struggle and the choice to practice recovery.

The tension between doing and letting it be.

The tension between fighting until our enough and everything and never giving up on ourselves.

Simply, and yet utterly complicated, it is the tension of our epic lives.

Because, It is within this tension, and the complicated grey, that the brilliant colors of ourselves, and of life, emerge; embracing that within this tension our ever upward will be born.