Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Dangerous Ground

I’m afraid of disappointment. I don’t think that is unique to me in any way, shape, or form, but it is true. I hate the thought of wanting something desperately and then having to face the terrible aftermath of dashed expectations when what I want does not become a reality. This is why hope can be so dangerous and potentially devastating.

I tried to think back, and I have decided that my first memory of encountering “hope deferred” is from when I was three years old. I had wanted a premie cabbage patch doll with everything in me, and then for some occasion (I can’t even remember now) I got one. It was wonderful. I remember being so proud of her and treasuring her above all other toys. The only problem was that my mom, shortly after giving me the doll, heard something crazy about cabbage patch kids becoming demon possessed—I’m not kidding!—and whatever she read advised her to remove all such potential hazards from the home. This meant that just days after receiving what I had most hoped for, the little premie was taken from me and tossed in the garbage. I can still remember the disappointment I felt because of that over 22 years later! As I was thinking about this, it crossed my mind that if I had never received the cabbage patch doll in the first place, I no doubt would have zero recollection of having ever been disappointed. So, what does that mean? I think the closer we get to the realization of what we hope for, the more devastating it is to have it ripped away.

From that initial encounter with disappointment at the tender age of three, I have gone on to experience many other instances of hope going unfulfilled, some serious and some very, very trivial. Most recently, I have traveled the painful road of miscarriage and the loss of my grandfather. In both cases, I prayed fervently and hoped with everything in me for a different outcome, but God’s answer was “No.” While incredibly disappointing, looking back I do not regret for a second hoping for a different outcome in both of these situations. Lord Tennyson said it’s better to have loved and lost than to never loved at all, and I think the same can be said for hope.

Yet, as I sit and write, I am faced with a situation where hope is something that I long to hold on to, but at the same time I am frightened to reach out and take hold of it. The closer we get to Poppy’s birthday, the more I realize how much I do want to get to that day. This hit home yesterday in a fresh way when I heard the news that a couple who has been traveling the Trisomy 18 road along with us lost their little boy at 36 weeks. It’s something that I have known in my head to be a possibility, but in my heart I have held out hope all along that we would make it to her birth. Hearing this news devastated me for them, and it made me remember all over again that I can’t take one single day with Poppy for granted! For some time, one of my prayers is for God to take Poppy home in his perfect timing, not mine, since He alone knows the beautiful plan He has for her life. But yesterday I had to ask myself, if God took her now, would I truly be okay with that?

I have been reading some verses on hope, and as I was going through them, I noticed that almost all are referring to the future certainty those who know Jesus have of spending eternity with Him. Romans 5 says, “hope cannot disappoint.” Psalm 71:5 says, “For you are my hope; O Lord God you are my confidence.” Any “hope” that I have in anything other than Jesus is always going to have the possibility of disappointment, but hope in Jesus is the safest thing in the world because it is something that we await with absolute certainty. I can safely hope in the fact that Jesus is faithful and that He will provide for us and meet our every need. So, I will do this. I will hold on to this hope with all my heart. At the same time, I will continue to hope and pray for specifics. I will pray that I get to hold Poppy alive on this earth. I will pray that she gets to spend some time here with all of those who love her. If God chooses to say “No” then He will get me through like He has in the past. But the possibility of disappointment isn’t going to stop me from asking God for big things. I know He loves me, and because of this I know I can trust my heart with Him. He will not allow me to suffer more disappointment than He can help me to bear.


Anonymous said...


My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus Name.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Kate said...

i found your blog through Boothe and Copeland Farley and I have been blessed by your openness and honesty. i just wanted to comment to let you know that i am praying for you and your family. praying for peace and comfort and God's perfect understanding. Boothe's little sister said that we, as prayer warriors for conor and her, would stand in the gap and pray the hard prayers. the prayers that you hope, but don't want to be disappointed if they are answered in the way you want, so i will pray those hard prayers for you and your family. you just continue to do the best you can. you have many people, most who will never know you this side of heaven, standing in the gap for you.

Laurie said...

Hi Angie,

You have been on my mind and in my heart more than usual, having read about Jonathan. I wanted to shelter you from the pain of hope disappointed, as if I could even try.
I am praying that the Lord keeps your eyes on His hope and that all fear and anxiety stays far from you. I do not have the words to try and encourage you so I am taking it up with God on your behalf. This road less traveled that you walk is such a burden in my heart for you and the girls who have walked there before you and their footprints are still so fresh on this path. I will never understand this and will never like it, but I will trust God with keeping His promise to never leave nor forsake you and not give you one ounce more than you can bear in Him. May His peace, love and joy be all over you now and in the days to come, and I pray He give you the precious time with Poppy Joy that you and Nathan need and the strength it will take to continue walking forward in His hope. Bless you abundantly Angie.
Prayers won't stop for you.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Anonymous said...

We've never met, but you are on my mind constantly. I rush to the computer multiple times a day to check for any updates on your blog.

I want you to know that I am praying for you and your sweet Poppy. I pray that God will give you the desires of your heart and that you will get to spend some precious time with your little girl.

I am hopeful for you.

Anonymous said...

My prayer for you: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him." Romans 15:12.

sarahdodson said...

WOW. The Lord has given you tremendous insight about hope. Your writing is a joy to read. You are an encouragement to others and a beautiful mommy to your Poppy Joy. :)

Dee Dee in NC said...

Praying. Hard.

Grammy said...

Dearest Angie and Nathan;
I'm "standing in the gap" for you. I am praying a deep abiding joy for you that can only be found in Jesus. A favorite passage of mine is Ps. 43:3-4 "O send out Thy light and Thy truth:llet them lead me... Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy..." Jesus will be there for you day by day--one step at a time. I know! I love you dearly, Grammy

Emily said...

"...but hope in Jesus is the safest thing in the world because it is something that we await with absolute certainty."

These simple words hold more truth that you could ever possibly know. I, as you likely know, stand on the other side of this mountain you are facing. I know that every moment with your daughter is to be cherished. I recognize now how sacred every drive in the car with Miller Grace dancing to the music she could hear from within my womb really were. You're right. You should love every moment. And you should also keep asking God to take Poppy home in His perfect time. You may never be "okay" with that, but you will be peaceful with it and I am living proof that it can be a breathtakingly beautiful sight to behold, even when your heart is broken. You have been chosen to be the only mother of God's amazing creation, Poppy Joy. That is a blessing and an honor... and worth every moment of heartache and sorrow attached. No other treasure will ever quite compare to this time with this girl.

Trusting in Jesus really is the safest thing in the world. Every time I mount the hill where Miller Grace's little grave is, I am filled with the peace and certainty that the time I will see that beautiful girl and my Lord IS coming and I await with certainty. That's it exactly. Thank you for find the words my heart has been looking forward. Keep seeking Him, every step of the way. This journey,though it is likely the most difficult of your life, is a sacred one. Just like David, God has big things for you and your family of four on the other side of this current calamity. Praise Him. Your hope is safe in Him.

pipsylou said...

I am praying specifically that you will have 2 months with Poppy Joy. You are right about hope. We hope in these things because we KNOW God will fulfill our ultimate hope, to be home with Him, no matter what!

Praying for you,

Kenzie Stanfield said...


I too am so glad through all of the fear and uncertainty of the future, that we can put our full trust, all of our hope in Christ Jesus. Thank you so much for posting on my blog... I find so much strength through others that are walking this road, and those that have walked it before us. I am like you, praying for things that I don't know God will chose to say "yes" to, but I continue to pray... and I know that others are standing in the gap for us as well.

A friend of mine is currently going through some difficulties with twins and they don't know if both, one or either will make it. She said she talked to a Christian counselor because she was questioning how exactly to pray for the situation... This counselor told her that praying for healing is always right, no matter what... as long as you are praying for the healing on God's terms. If that means he will heal our babies on this side of Heaven- fantastic! If that means that he will heal them when they are in his arms- that is great too... Healing will occur either way. That gives me comfort and I now feel more certain that for us, praying for healing, among other things more specific, isn't wrong but it is what we are called to do.

I will be praying for your family and I would love to talk about your journey through all of this as well. If you want to touch base, my email is kenzie.stanfield@yahoo.com.

Many blessings,

~If you wouldn't mind, I would love to post a link to your site on our blog. As I mentioned to Yvette, the more people praying for each of our families and knowing that we aren't walking this along is a great thing.

Kim said...

Angie, I found you through Jonathon's blog and have created my own blog and have added you to it. I wish we didn't have to meet under these circumstances. I too am going through this horrible t-18 journey. After reading about Jonathon I was so upset - I had been reading mostly hopeful stories of having some time with our babies alive. I never thought that asking for even an hour, a day, a moment with our babies is too much?? After Jonathon went to Heaven I decided to get connected in order to keep my sanity. I pray that you have time with Poppy and that I have time with Mary Grace. I remember Boothe Farley saying that she was scared to ask for a certain amount of time because the more she would have the more she would want, so she asked God to take Copeland at the right time. I know that's what God will do and I do trust him, but I HOPE he gives us a little time. I will pray for you and Poppy and am sorry you have to endure this. My blog is: marygracesummons.blogspot.com.
Sisters in Christ, Kim

Anonymous said...


I thought of you when I read this. I'm praying for you. Let me know if you need anything.

Thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother,
And I know I heard him say...

"A Mother has a baby."
This we know is true.
"But God, can you be a Mother
When your baby's not with you?"

"Yes, you can," He replied,
With confidence in His voice.
"I give many women babies
When they leave is not their choice.

Some I send for a lifetime,
And others for just a day.
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay."

"I just don't understand this, God
I want my baby here!"
He took a breath and cleared His throat
And then I saw a tear.

"I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your baby smile
With other children and say,

'We go to earth to learn our lessons
Of love and life and fear.
My Mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here.

I feel so lucky to have a Mom
Who had so much love for me.
I learned my lesson very quickly;
My mommy set me free.

I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep at night
On her pillow's where I lay.

I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear.
Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I am here.'

So you see my dear sweet one
Your child is okay.
Your baby is here in My arms
And this is where he'll stay.

He'll wait for you with Me now
Until your time is through.
And on the day that you come home
He'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother,
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start."

Anonymous said...

Angie and Nathan: I am praying for you to have time to love on your baby girl, to feel her in your arms, to kiss her warm cheek. And I am praying God's strength and comfort when you must let her go.

So Blessed said...

I stand before our precious heavenly Father as a stretcher-bearer...lifting your dear family in prayer today. May you be comforted and strengthened in your journey.

jeanne said...

Angie and Nathan, I've had my own days of hope-less ness....I know God doesn't compare ones trials with another but I find myself doing that nonetheless. I don't know the road you are on but a dear friend that lost his twenty-something daughter in a car accident, consoled me with these words. He said that you are invincible until God is ready to bring you home. So ultimately Poppy is invincible until God is ready. I 'hope' that is a comfort to you. You are a true blessing. Love and prayers to you.

Dianne Breakstone said...

I commit to pray for you tomorrow and will pray for the dr. appt and the birthday celebration. You are right about your Papa. He always found something positive in a situation and he gave us permission to have fun in the midst of tough times. Now you are teaching us as well! Love you. Dianne Breakstone