Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about what hope actually means and how to integrate it into my life.  A month ago my youngest sister's 20 month old son unexpectedly passed away while taking a nap.  Carter had contracted a rare virus at 6 days of age that caused global brain damage.  The doctors, at the time, offered little to no hope that Carter would even live, let alone live a life with any value.  At the time, while that little baby was still in PICU and on life support, they suggested to my sister and brother-in-law that they take him off of life support, extinguishing any and all hope for Carter.  Matt and Emily prayed that God make that decision for them, for that was not a decision they could ever make on their own.  Within two days Carter miraculously started to show signs of improvement; hope of life!  He came off life support ON HIS OWN!  At that point, the doctors still offered little hope that he would ever eat without a feeding tube, breathe without oxygen, see or hear.  Again, within days Carter proved them all wrong as we all prayed that God define Carter's life, not man.  For 20 months Carter defied all expectations for life set by doctors and specialists.  He nursed again at 2 month, came off a feeding tube and ate baby food with a spoon, laughed, smiled, picked up his head, rolled and lived a life filled with joy.  It was a life lived without expectation, just plain hope.  God defined the parameters of Carter's life, not man.  And through this little boy, we all began to see God Himself.  In Matthew 18:3 Jesus says, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  For the first time in my life, I understood what Jesus meant by this.  Life is not to be lived with expectations set by us, parameters drawn by man, but lived as a child.  A child filled with pure joy, accepting all that comes their way with open hearts and minds.  

As I watch my own children grieve Carter's death, I am in awe.  They do not carry the heavy burden of expectations for life that we do as adults.  The rejoice in his life, sweetly cry as they remember him and miss him, but are so excited that he is with Jesus.  They believe, without doubt, that God took him to be with Jesus because it was his time and today, he is laughing with Jesus in Heaven, and why should we be sad about that?

I am still processing all that I have learned from Carter's 20 months of life.  I think the lessons will continue to come, and with each one, I receive a deeper understanding of what hope really means.  There is one lesson that  I learned very early on in Carter's life.  The day we all gathered in his little PICU room in August 2010 and prayed that God make the decision for us, hope entered that room.  I experienced, for the first time in my life, the peace that surpasses all understanding as I placed my hope in Christ alone.  

I would like to share with you something that I wrote on the long plane-ride back from CA a few weeks ago, as we brought my sister and her little family back to the East coast for Carter's funeral and memorial.  The word "hope" was resonating with me so loudly that I pulled out my I Pad and wrote what was on my mind and heart.


The word hope alone resonates with such assurances and comfort.  But when it is all you have left to cling to, it becomes a life ring, so difficult to hold onto as the waves keep crashing down, loosening your grip, knocking you under, leaving you gasping for air.  You cling to the ring with faith that it will keep you afloat, for what other choice do you have?  Yet exhaustion seeps in, over and over. When will the storms calm, the waters still and the rescue come?  You cry out for help, over and over, trying to believe you are heard by the One who sees all, the One who is our Hope.

In no way can I say that keeping my Hope alive is easy.  It is quite the opposite.  My faith is often one of the hardest choices I make each and every day.  In the eye of the storms of this life, as I gasp for air and feel my life ring slipping away, it is then that my Lord tightens His grip, gently securing me in Hope; Hope that I am never alone, that He will not fore-sake me, that despite the value I place in the things of this world, I am not OF this world.  He reminds me that HE is all I need and that in His grip I will not drown.  He quenches my thirst with His peace that surpasses all understanding, just as I feel dehydration sinking in.  He brings laughter just as the tears begin to flood my vision.  He brings joy in the present, allowing the weight of the past and future to escape me for that moment.  

He is my Hope.  The One who can calm the raging seas around me, keeping me safe, in His arms, safe and afloat.  Oh my Lord, tighten Your grasp, keep me secure in the life ring, carry me through these storms.  Grow me my Lord.  Make me your servant, strengthen my faith, keep my Hope alive.  Amen.

It was Carter's passing that finally pushed me to start this blog, a blog I had been talking about writing for a long time.  Too many of us wander this life without hope, without knowing where to place our hope.  This is my attempt to share with you where that hope can be found, in Jesus Christ alone.  I am praying for all of you who read this.  Please share my blog and share with me your stories and HOPE.  

Jesus said, " I am the Way the Truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, 
but by me." 
 John 14:6

God bless you,