The Power of Hope
(Please listen to Caroline’s story by clicking the white play button at the top of this post. You can read the transcript of the story below.)
When you understand you’re not an orphan, and that you’re adopted, then you can rest, because you can trust Him. I think that’s been a huge part of our infertility story. Going from a place of feeling like you’re striving and you’re performing and if you pray a little harder, or if you eat a little healthier, or if you declare certain amount of times, or if you go up the altar x more times, then you’ll get a baby. Then God’s going to notice you and then He’ll grant you the desires of your heart. But there’s a shift that takes place when you–again, it’s Romans 8:15. I’m no longer an orphan, I receive this spirit of adoption. When you know Whose you are, you can know who you are, and when you know who you are, there’s no performance. So all the performance gets stripped away and then you can rest. And rest really is that ultimate form of trust. Of God, I trust You; so I can rest in Your goodness. I think so often, we lose sight of just how loved we are. I think that it’s easy to let fear get brought into the equation.
You know, my husband and I have been through a lot of loss with my nephew who passed away from cancer and his father who basically, immediately passed away from a brain aneurysm. And last year he [my husband] got diagnosed with cancer. What does the enemy want to do? He wants to bring fear in. But 1 John 4:18 says, ‘perfect love casts out fear.’ And it says perfect love that changes everything. But I think it’s hard to understand the perfect love without the Holy Spirit to reveal it to us. Without that perfect love, then we don’t know how to operate from a place of rest.
I was heading to Kansas City to see a friend and I had gotten on the airplane. I was reading a book, minding my own business. The book was in regards to fertility. I don’t remember what book it was. But as soon as I got off the airplane, I was just in the terminal going to find [my friend] because she was coming to pick me up. Someone started running after me and they tapped me on the shoulder. They were like, “Excuse me. I need to talk to you. I saw the book that you were reading on the airplane, and I couldn’t help but notice what it was.” Which of course, here I am thinking, there’s no way anyone’s gonna see whatever I’m reading. And she was like, “As soon as we landed, you turned your WiFi on, and you went straight to the Bible app. So I assumed you were also a Christian.” She was like, “I want to let you know that I go to church that believes that God heals infertility. We believe in life, and I want to invite you to come to our church because we’d love to pray for you.”
At the same time, she handed me her business card. Well, it turned out she lived just five miles down the road from where we lived in Texas. Keep in mind, we’re now in Kansas City at this point. In addition, her business card had a ministry on it that my husband used to volunteer for. So there was immediate connections right there and right then. I remember how much hope was released in that conversation. She prayed for me in the airport. And I just, I can still recall texting my husband and being like, you won’t believe what just happened. Because to know that there was someone, or a whole church, or congregation that would believe for something that we were told would never happen, just meant everything.
So after I got back home to Dallas, we ended up connecting and stepped foot into the church, she then suggested. Sure enough, everything changed. I’m sure so many people can relate. You walk into a church, and, you know–this is home. That’s exactly how we felt. So while we were once in an environment where it was just, Hey, sorry you’re going through infertility. I’m sorry, you’re never going to have kids. We’ll hug you and grieve with you. We were now in an environment where worship was alive. Where you could feel the presence of the Lord. Where the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit were acknowledged. Where people would believe that even if you were in a hard season, that God had a better story for you.
So we did receive the Holy Spirit and we were hungry for all of it. I often get asked, “Were you and your husband on the same journey?”, and we both were. We couldn’t deny what we were seeing. We couldn’t deny the healings that were taking place. We couldn’t deny the hope that we had received. We couldn’t deny what it was doing in our marriage and our life and just even personally. So thinking back on the airport story, I called her my “Airport Angel.” When she approached me, I think I was hungry to know–you’re saying that what I’ve been thinking is true, in the sense that infertility is not the end of the story. It’s part of the story, but it’s not the end. And that there are people who are willing to believe with us. I think that changes everything.
For us, we received the Spirit when we were at a healing prayer. Their healing prayers just modeled where you are invited on a Saturday, it’s just come and go, you kind of write down your need. They pray for you probably in groups of three or four and this couple just asked us, “Have you two received the Holy Spirit?” And we were saying, “No, but whatever, whatever is going on here, we want it.” Because again, we can feel the tangible presence. We can see the hope. We see that worship is alive. That the church looks alive when a lot of churches and people, including myself before that, looked dead. Again, the life that I was living didn’t look like it was producing fruit or alive. And so it was at that time that we received the Holy Spirit and I don’t think we thought much of it. We just thought we want whatever these people have, and we want what they’re carrying. Because you can’t deny it. You can’t deny what you’re seeing. You can’t deny healings that are taking place. You can’t deny what the Lord was doing. Now at times were we like, “Well, this is different”? Absolutely. It was different, but we knew we wanted more of it. Yeah.
Soon after going to this church, I would say was really the turning point for our infertility journey. When we first got diagnosed with infertility, even though the doctor said it was absolutely impossible to physically have kids medically, not that there was a 5% chance or 10% chance, but there was a 0% chance we would ever conceive. We still had hope in that moment. I knew that God was good. I knew that He didn’t give me this desire to tease me or torture me. But it was a desire that He had put in my heart. But at the same time, was very bound to thinking that I had to prove myself to Him. So I got really caught up in doing all the things I could do on my end. So researching all the healthy foods that we could eat. Which in content, I don’t think is bad. But when it’s out of, you know, kind of a religious mindset, it turned to be really unhealthy. It was more about seeking out what we could do to become pregnant. I still remember, again soon after going to that church, going to healing prayer and crying to them, because the night before I had had a glass of wine. I was in such bondage thinking that because I had a glass of wine that God was punishing me and wasn’t going to give me a baby.
I reached my turning point. One morning, I had woken up. I had had a dream and in the dream I was pregnant, and I was so excited thinking, Oh my gosh, this is it. This is the time I’m going to find out I’m pregnant. God, you’re so good. And waking up that morning and taking a test. It was negative and then starting a cycle. In that moment, I still remember the Lord saying, “Are you going to trust Me? Because right now you kind of look like a toddler who’s trying to make it happen. Who’s throwing a fit. Who isn’t even looking to Me for love or looking to Me for the answers. Instead, you’re trying to figure it out yourself.” So in that moment, He asked me to surrender. And thankfully I did. Everything changed in that moment. Because I was able to give it over to Him, knowing it’s not by my works, but it’s by His grace. It’s because of His love that I’m going to be a mom.
So what had been up to that point a year and a half of being pretty miserable of not being able to celebrate other people’s pregnancies, of living month to month, cycle to cycle. Being upset every time there was a new cycle. Again, trying all the diets and just being in bondage to little things like having a glass of wine and thinking God was punishing me. I was completely set free from all of that.
I’ve just decided I would rather live a life of just radical hope and faith and belief than going one day, and doubt or unbelief. We can’t read God’s word, and not be filled with hope.
What’s beautiful is, I haven’t had a baby yet. But this time has been the most amazing time. It’s now been a total of about seven and a half years of our journey of believing and it’s been amazing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Because at the end of the day, I’m like, “Lord, what I want is You.” And it’s so much more fulfilling than any baby can give me physically. I just truly believe, He is the gift. I think I’ve just realized that I don’t want to look back, whether it was two years or five years, or now seven years, or 10 years, knowing that I had wasted any time with Him. But that I had the choice and the option to live every day, in abundant life. I had the choice to live every day to the fullest and live it every day with Him.
I ended up quitting my job two years ago, which is really hard for me. The Lord had asked me to start a support group for women going through infertility. At that time, I was doing both and that worked for a little while, but I was also writing on a blog, which is totally a God story. Because growing up I was never a writer. I always struggled in that area. Clearly got my degree in finance. Still remember Him telling me to start a blog and I laughed. Here I am, seven years later, still blogging.
Pretty much everything I’m doing, I will tell you I never thought I would be doing it. And that’s what’s beautiful about being on this journey with Father is just, I just keep saying, “Yes.” I’m just like, “You have to have all of me and I’m just going to keep saying yes to whatever it is You call me to do.” And it’s included things that make me so uncomfortable like speaking on stages–which I absolutely and my natural can’t stand and despise. Yet, He has continued to call me to do it. It’s included things like write a book and continuing to blog and start a podcast and, and now lead a ministry that’s gone nationwide and worldwide. What’s so beautiful is when we do completely surrender, when we give up our life to Him, He writes such a [more] beautiful story, than we could. I would much rather be doing something where He’s given me the grace to do it.
We really feel like with Moms in the Making, we’ve set ourselves apart because we stand for life. And that God’s original idea and intent, going back to Genesis, was ‘be fruitful and multiply’ that He is–I’ve just been studying so much in Genesis that He obviously is the creator. The Creator lives on the inside of us. We are put on this earth to multiply and reproduce. And that’s not just babies. That’s what we’re doing spiritually as well. So what we stand for with Moms in the Making, ruffles the religious spirit. So much, that we get a lot of pushback. That I’ve just decided I would rather live a life of radical hope and faith and belief than going one day in doubt or unbelief. And so much of that has just come from reading God’s word. We can’t read God’s word, and not be filled with hope. Because if we understand it’s true, if we understand it’s alive and it’s active, and that we have resurrection power that lives on the inside of us. I will never get over that the same power that raised Christ from the dead lives on the inside of me. I have no reason not to be the most hopeful person in the world.
The world is all groaning for something and it’s, it’s that hope that they’re longing for. I love that Romans 15:13. It says, ‘Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflow with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in Him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with His super abundance until you radiate with hope.’ And I feel like this verse right here, how can we not get our hopes up, just reading this verse? There’s a fountain of hope that we have perfect peace and it all goes back, of course, to putting our trust in Him.
You know, I think some people look at me and my story, and I’ve been accused of this, which is why I think this; Well, she’s just in denial. She’s just in denial from the diagnosis. She’s just in denial from what’s really going on. Or, she’s just faking it or she’s not processed it or she’s pushing it away. But the truth is, I’m not denying what we’re going through, I’m just denying it a place to exist. I deny cancer the right to exist. I deny infertility the right to exist. I deny any health problems that are not perfect the right to exist. Because I know what God’s word says. And again, when we know Who lives inside of us, it changes everything.
One of my songs that I love is called “Get Your Hopes Up.” And it’s just so much more fun living in hope. I love Romans 4:18. ‘Against all odds, when everything looks hopeless, Abraham believed.’ And it goes on to say, ‘Because Abraham took God at His word, he became the father of many nations.’ And I just love, ‘against all odds,’ like Abraham was 100, he had no sperm. Sarah had no eggs. There was no physical way for them to conceive. Obviously their story resides much with mine, because that’s part of our story. But he had hope and he took God at His word. And that’s what I’ve just chosen to do. It’s God. Everything filters through the lens of God being good and everything filters through what His Word says. It’s so fun being hopeful.