“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” Literally.
That line comes from a verse of scripture at Proverbs 13:12. But that scripture doesn’t end there. It goes on to say, “but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
We are currently experiencing a global bout of heartsickness. The disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought feelings of deep despair and hopelessness to millions. Normalcy has been interrupted. Jobs and livelihoods have been threatened. Chaos and widespread panic has ensued. And heartbreakingly, many lives have been lost.
However, when this pandemic reached the US, I was already dealing with my own personal bout of heartsickness. I’m no special case. Many people were already dealing with the hardships of life in one way or another.
If we’re not careful, those hardships can usher us into hopelessness. As was the case with me.
My hopelessness came as a result of grief. Grief over the loss of our unborn baby.
The miscarriage hit hard. My heart was shattered. It was sick. And what’s worse is our unborn baby was to be named Hope, which made the loss of hope real on an all new level. I thought I would never stop crying. Until one day, I did.
That loss occurred just two months ago. Two months ago, I was broken, angry, rebellious and hurt. I felt betrayed by God. I felt He allowed the rug to be pulled out from under me.
But today, I’m able to reflect on that time with a smile. I am so far from where I was just two short months ago.
You may be wondering how.
I did the work.
I did the “heart-work” required to restore hope.
At a time when I needed to cling to hope the most, I allowed life circumstances to convince me to put hope on hold…to defer it for some unknown time.
But see, the second part of that scripture is key…”a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Trees begin with seeds. If I’m longing for the promise of a tree of life, then I have to plant the seeds. We have to plant seeds of Hope! But seeds can’t just be thrown into the ground haphazardly. The ground must be prepared.
Consider this…every month, a woman goes through cycles that are meant to prepare her womb to receive, carry and nurture life. The same is true for us with hope. We must prepare the soil of our hearts. We must be sure the conditions of our hearts are favorable and supportive of them acting as a womb for seeds of hope.
But how do we do that?
Through Honesty and Healing.
Where there is Honesty and Healing, there is Hope.
I got honest with myself. I got honest with God. I asked hard questions and braced myself for the answers. I got real. And in the getting real, I got healed. Healing can only occur when there is honesty. So, I sat in that space, honestly, and learned all the lessons the loss wanted to teach me and soaked up every drop of healing God had for me.
Before long, glimmers of hope began to reappear like fireflies in the night sky. I caught each one and planted them deeply in my heart.
I was reminded that this hardship was indeed leading me to hope.
I’d like to think that one of those seeds has already matured to a longing fulfilled. This project, Birthing Hope, was birthed through my process. And it is my prayer that this space will prove to be a tree of life and hope to many.
This project would not exist had I not done the “heart-work.” Had I not been honest and willing to position myself for healing to occur, I would still be riddled with hopelessness and plagued by the lie that echoed repeatedly in my mind–the lie that said the days of me birthing anything great were over.
Honesty plus Healing births Hope. This is a work of heart! This is the formula. It worked for me, and it will work for you, too.
Whether your bout of hopelessness is related to the current state of our world, something completely unrelated or, as in my case, a combination of both, the fact remains that Honesty and Healing are the two key elements necessary to restore hope.
If you are currently facing a situation that has you believing that all hope is lost, then I encourage you to do the following:
- Examine your heart
- Get HONEST with yourself
- Make room for the HEALING to take place
- Plant those seeds of HOPE, and
- Wait expectantly for the trees of life to spring forth!