My Story of Hope

9 Jan

Photo by Collecting Wonder

In this post I’m going to share a story with you that I have shared with few people.  It begins a little over a year ago, in October of 2012.  This was the time when Jody initially began to experience shortness of breath and frequent hospitalizations.  It was the first time our lives were being seriously impacted by Cystic Fibrosis and I was having a hard time dealing with it.  I felt, in one word, hopeless.  It was hard to stay positive about a progressive disease with no cure.  Every major coughing spell (which happens a lot for someone with CF), was a reminder, a smack in the face, that we couldn’t get away from this disease.  I missed (and still do), being able to do the things we’d always done.  I believed the lousy statistics about Cystic Fibrosis and lung transplants.  I began to dwell on the negatives, fearing the worst for our future.  It was a hopeless feeling.  And so I began to pray that God would restore my hope, but I wasn’t prepared for the way that He would do it.

There have been few times in my life when I can say with confidence that God spoke something to me, this was not one of those times.  This time, God’s message to me was loud and clear.  It came in the form of random daily encounters, always with the message of hope.  I wish I had written these things down because I don’t remember all of them, but I’ll share with you some of the ones I do (in no particular order).

  • One day I was driving by myself in the car and was passed by an 18-wheeler with the word “Hope” written in big bold letters on the side of his trailer.
  • Another time I turned on the radio in the car only to hear the words, “… and here are your words of Hope for the day…”
  • One morning I was sorting through a box of childhood things my Mom had given me and found, at the very bottom, a daily inspirational flip book titled, “Words of Comfort & Hope” (I don’t recall having this as a child, nor do I know why I would have ever needed it).

    Yard sale mug & childhood item

  • I love to drink my coffee/tea in a big mug.  This summer I was browsing at a yard sale and glanced at some mugs a lady was selling (I love to yard sale shop, but have never looked at mugs before, I just don’t need any more).  Oddly enough, I could see that of the batch she was selling there was one big mug in the group.  I walked over, picked it up and had to chuckle when I read what was written on it, “Bee (actually a picture of a bee) hopeful, believe in miracles.”  It was probably the best 0.25 cents I’ve ever spent and has become my favorite mug, and a daily reminder.
  • One day I received a thoughtful message from a relative letting me know that she is praying for me for hope.
  • Another day I walked into a patients room at work.  Her bedside table was covered in books.  I asked if she likes to read (an obvious question I know).  Her response, having never met me before, was, “Yes, and I have a book for you.  It’s called “Hope Beyond Reason.”  She went on to explain that it was a book about a pastor who had cancer and wasn’t expected to live, but did.  She didn’t know my story.  One of these days I’ll get around to actually taking her advice and ordering the book.

There were more encounters like this, they happened often, and I couldn’t get away from them.  I knew God was trying to tell me something, and even though I had prayed for hope, I still rejected it.  As God spoke to me, I spoke back, pointing out those ugly statistics and grieving for others close to me who had lost loved ones far too soon.  But the messages continued until one day, after yet another sign, I surrendered the fight.  I remember literally saying aloud, “Okay, God, I get it!”  And you know what happened?  The messages/encounters instantly stopped.  After a month or two of signs from God and resisting His message, He knew I had finally gotten it and accepted it.

Receiving God’s message in my life was actually the easy part.  Living it out was, and still is, the hard part.  Jody will continue to get sick, sicker than I’ve ever seen him.  Both my responsibilities and stress level will increase.  People with CF are still dying (just this past week another CF wife lost her husband).  Despite all of this, God is calling me to choose hope.  And so, I hope that the progression of Jody’s disease will be mild and that we’ll be able to accept and adjust to each new stage.  I hope that his transplant will come at the most perfect time, before he’s too sick, making recovery extra difficult.  I hope (and this is the hard one for me), that his transplant will be a success and that he will live far beyond the time that statistics say he should.

My reminder to choose hope

Am I scared to death of the “What if’s?” Absolutely.  There are many impacts of Jody’s disease that I fear.  Obviously I know that having hope doesn’t mean that everything is going to turn out the way that I want it to, it could be the exact opposite.  Regardless, I am working to turn my fear into hope.  I am choosing to believe that having hope in my life means that no matter what happens God is not going to leave me hanging.  As a reminder of all of this, I bought myself a “hope” necklace.  One charm is purple, the color which represents Cystic Fibrosis, and the other two charms create the phrase, “I will hope.”  When I put this necklace on, or when I look at it in the mirror, I am reminded to choose hope.  This is a work in progress for me, but it sure beats the alternative, which is hopelessness.

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6 Responses to “My Story of Hope”

  1. Dianne January 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM #

    I know it is hard but just to let you know I am hoping & praying with you Tiffany!
    Love & Prayers, Dianne :0)

  2. esjttp January 9, 2014 at 9:20 AM #

    Tiff your words are so inspiring.I will be adding HOPE to my prayers for a miricle. Love you both,sharon

  3. lattelit January 9, 2014 at 9:46 AM #

    Oh Tiff, this is beautiful. I am hoping along with you and it made me teary to see you really beginning to embrace that hope. Even if it’s hard to do, hope is ultimately life-giving and fear just ribs us of that life. I love your necklace and think it’s an amazing way to claim that hope for yourself and your family every day. Love you guys!

  4. Pam W. January 9, 2014 at 11:17 AM #

    Wow! I totally get your post! You could have written my story…just with a different word. Mine was, and still is BELIEVE. It is truly amazing how God can use one word to reach us, teach us, encourage us, and confirm our faith in his sovereignty. You are in a unique place…a place where you DO BELIEVE God is ultimately in control and HOPE His will for Jody and your family is the same as yours but; you also keenly understand the frailty of humanity and the reality of statistics surrounding that.

    God is revealing himself to you in ways that you would never have understood except for through this painful journey. It will strengthen your faith regardless of how the journey continues. Be grateful for this beautiful awareness.

    Thank you for including us as you travel this bumpy road. You have reminded me of all those times God revealed himself to me too. I needed that today.

    HOPE is alive and well and we will BELIEVE that God has a perfect plan for all of us.

    Praying for all of you. Funny how you came to mind today BEFORE I turned on my computer and saw your post. Each time that happens I say a prayer for you. God is good ALL the time…ALL the time God is good!

  5. Ruthie January 10, 2014 at 6:56 AM #

    Thanks for sharing, Tiff! I so much appreciate your vulnerability and find your words and spirit very inspiring! You have my respect —- and continuted prayers for all of you! What a beautiful family! I love you all!

  6. Marilyn Titter January 10, 2014 at 9:30 AM #

    You said it beautifully. Hope is what you must hang onto. God comes to us in so many ways, being mindful to his messages takes listening and you did. I will be there for you whenever you need me. Your family is always in my prayers. Hope that you will have the strength to deal with whatever comes your way.

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