This statement is dangerous. I’ve been on both ends of it; I’ve personally said: “I’m not getting my hopes up“, and I’ve told others: “don’t get your hopes up!“. But who am I to steal someone’s hope? Better yet, why would I want to rob myself of hope? Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised me.
When we use the phrase “don’t get your hopes up“, we are promoting the unfortunate, yet popular mindset of‘always needing to get what we want’. We casually state “I’m not getting my hopes up” in order to selfishly protect our emotions. When we announce this disclaimer before we even begin to explain our true desires, we are trying to avoid the ‘hurt’ that comes when things don’t go ‘according to our plan’. “Don’t get your hopes up“, implies the low likelihood of a successful outcome; and this statement immediately lowers our expectations. It’s like holding an umbrella up on a partly cloudy day just because the potential of ‘rain’ is present. Instead of enjoying the moments of pleasurable sun, while accepting some intermittent clouds, it’s easy to allow the uncertainty of some ‘rain clouds’ to diminish hope altogether. We’ve all been guilty of “popping open an umbrella” before a raindrop even falls; expecting a downpour just because the odds are not in our favor; “not getting our hopes up” before the sunshine even has a chance to prevail. Words are powerful, and when we preface our conversations with “don’t get your hopes up“, we are discounting our ability to raise our expectations and pair them with infinite acceptance.
See, the problem does not actually consist of ‘not getting what we want‘, but instead, our unwillingness to accept what we’re dealt with, and work it out for good. This past week, we found out that our baby boy, Theodore, had a stroke. On top of countless other complications arising from Teddy’s open heart surgery and cath lab procedures, we were told a few days ago that he suffered brain damage due to a blood clot that formed. As parents, this is absolutely devastating news. While watching our son get wheeled away for a cat scan, we were hopeful that the scan results would come back clear; “our hopes were UP”. Our emotions took a hard hit when the doctors showed us the image of his brain, with a big dark spot, indicating impairment to his left parietal lobe. The doctors explained that Teddy’s stroke is the reason behind his right arm and right leg not being as active as his left extremities. Although we did not receive the news we wanted to hear, I had to make a conscious effort to accept the outcome, then purposefully raise my hopes again. Not easy. But I now “get my hopes up“, that Theodore will beat the odds once again; that he will fully recover and regain complete function over the right side of his body. I will accept the disappointment for what it is and still work towards the best outcome for Theodore; because it’s how we react that allows us to “fall right side up”.
‘Hope’ sometimes needs to be learned the hard way. Real hope is based on God’s Word, and not my own wishes. Although I wish my son never had to endure such pain, my hope for Theodore’s favorable outcome is based upon God’s Word in Isaiah 53:5. God is up to something in our lives; even when I cannot feel it or see it, I know God is working it all out behind the scenes. I’ve learned that it’s easy to have ‘hope’ when good things happen, but also easy to let go of ‘hope’ when God seems silent. I’ve learned that it’s ok to not always get what you want… but if we continue to hope for what we do not yet have, we will wait for it patiently (Romans 8:25). Patience is the proof of hope; and I am choosing to work on my patience every day. This journey has been incredibly hard, and not at all what we wanted for our family… but when times get tough, we can either panic, or we can pray; we can either say: “don’t get your hopes up“, or “keep your hopes up!”. And in the middle of this storm, I will choose to always pray and never lose hope (Luke 18:1).
-️ Momma Bear, Praying Isaiah 53:5
MY ‘TEDDY BEAR’ PRAYER:
Please pray that we continue to place our hope in God. I pray to not just maintain “wishful hope”, by being optimistic with “wishful thinking”… but rather to have “certain hope” – not ‘wishing’, not ‘feeling’, and not ‘expecting’, but KNOWING for certain that our circumstances will work out for the Glory of God.
Please pray that my below “hopes” come to pass in God’s perfect timing:
-I HOPE that Theodore fully recovers from his stroke; that his right side of his entire body matches the great strength of his left side, in Jesus Name.
-I HOPE that Theodore can begin his breast milk drip-feed within the next two weeks; better yet, that he will eventually be feeding right off of his Mother, in Jesus Name.
-I HOPE that Theodore will be approved much earlier than expected for his next major open heart surgery; and that the surgery will be a ‘Comprehensive Glen’ instead of the ‘Norwood’, in Jesus Name.
-I HOPE, above all else, that God intervenes and that Theodore’s heart will be made NEW and WHOLE by the miracle working power of our Almighty God; ‘HLHS’ has no power over my son’s life, and nothing is impossible for my God, in Jesus Name.