This blog post is part of a series that I began for telling our story. You can read the first post here.

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Romans 5:1-5:

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

This is always the first passage that comes to mind for me when I think about hope. Suffering gives endurance, which gives character, which gives hope. This is how God created us to be.

I would love to exchange my suffering for good times. But at the same time, I know that the things we have experienced in our marriage have produced incredible fruits in us. We have grown in ways that would have been impossible if life were simple and easy. And I firmly believe that our story gives encouragement to others.

Each day of our journey with our daughter brought a new level of endurance. We were fully exhausted. Having a newborn is a kind of tired that only new parents understand – you live in a sleep-deprived state and cannot begin to figure out what to do next. Then, when she got sick and we were living in the hospital, sleeping in fold-out chairs and eating cafeteria food, we found a new level of tired. Thankfully during that time, others took care of the “stuff” we couldn’t remember, from watching our dog to picking up mail and taking out the garbage. After we came home with hospice care, folks brought us food every other day. We endured each moment, through suffering and exhaustion.

The character building came during and after that time. Grief is another kind of exhaustion, when you cry out every tear in your body and sob until your stomach aches. And through it you learn who to trust, and how much. You also find a special kind of strength to get up out of bed again, even if it’s only to brush your teeth.

I’m sure I will have more to say in the future about hope. Today it’s hard for me to get my thoughts to quite gel. So for now, I’ll leave you with one of the better-known Emily Dickinson poems:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –
I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Next post coming tomorrow.