What Does Hope Look Like?
When I first met Barry, he was wearing nothing a pair of beat-up shorts that very well could have been boxers. He hugged me as an introduction and within an hour of meeting, it was apparent that we were to be lifelong family. Barry is my father-in-law (or father-in-love as my husband’s momma says). He has a slight southern accent with all the fixin’s that come with it; talking smack to telemarketers, remote control master channel changer, and more stories than you could shake a stick at.
Last April, Barry shocked us all by giving his life to Jesus Christ. Twenty-six years of prayer had been fulfilled in one single moment at an Easter service at Momma’s church.
Like me, Barry is not one to show emotion in public, so imagine my surprise when, the day after Christmas, he announced that he cried at work. We were outside pushing Annemarie in a tree swing (told ya he was southern) when he made the announcement: “Well, I went and got all teary and weird at work today talking about little Annie.” Ummm, okay, what happened? “I was telling someone how she was real sick as a baby and then how you guys prayed and laid hands on her and stuff. When I saw that she got healed, I knew I had to get in on this God stuff cuz that was wild!”
For her first four months, Annemarie suffered with pyloric stenosis, acid reflux, and an incisional hernia. What that means is this: all my baby did was scream and puke. During feedings, after feedings (during the 45 minutes I had to hold her upright every feeding to coerce her food in the right direction), before naps, after naps, and during diaper changes. It was so stressful that I was sent to a postpartum counselor. On our second visit, she stated that my baby was even making HER depressed and she didn’t know how to console me!
Romans 5:3 says that “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope”. I wasn’t sure what hope looked like in the midst of all my sufferings, but I believed that one day, whether I saw it or not, God was going to bring about some hope.
On December 26th, God gave me a little gift. He showed me that through our family’s suffering, our dad gave his heart to Jesus. Barry now has his name written in the Book of Life. For that, I would do it all over again.