A couple weeks after Ginny died, I was sitting in a coffee shop listening to the song “I Place My Hope” by Ellie Holcomb. When I heard the lyrics, they took on two meanings. Hope meant what we typically think of hope, but to me hope also meant Virginia Hope. The song says, “I will lift my eyes from this fragile life, For you will rescue me, you are my prince of peace, And I will lift up my soul to you who makes things whole, Oh, mercy love of old, in you I place my hope” I imagined holding Ginny’s fragile body and placing her in God’s hands. I imagined him making her whole in heaven. I surrendered my hope for Ginny’s life to him. It was heart breaking and also freeing.
I began to realize I need to place all my hope in God. I had no choice but to surrender my hope for Ginny. But what other hopes do I need to place in him? After the loss and grief, it is easy to surrender my own life to God. I was so raw and had so little vision for my life; I needed God to make me whatever he wants me to be. I almost didn’t have the strength to lead my own life so I give it to him.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
In other areas though, it would be much harder to completely trust God. What do I love and cling to too much to trust God with? Definitely Daniel. The thought of placing my hope for Daniel’s life and our marriage in God’s hands scared me. He means the world to me. I can’t lose him! But the truth is, I have no control anyway. My worry and fear and clinging does not add a day to his life. Handing him over to God is an act of trust but it is also just coming to terms with the truth that I have no control.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.’” – Matthew 16:25
The same is true for the lives of our potential future children. I can plan and plan, but really I have no control. I found myself thinking, “If we do decide to try for another baby, we should time it so the baby isn’t born in flu season.” I caught myself and laughed at my own hubris – 1) like I can even decide when we get pregnant, 2) as if non-flu season gives me power to protect my baby’s life. I have to continuously make the conscious decision to surrender control of our future children’s lives. I hand them over to God because he is the one with control and he is who truly knows best. If he gives them or takes them away, they are his. I can choose to trust and praise because we have hope in both life and death.
“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’” – Job 1:21
What is the benefit of surrendering and placing hope in God instead of myself? The physical will disappoint every time, but hope in God does not put us to shame. It is freedom to enjoy moments without worry. It is trusting that no matter what happens, our future is full of love and unity. It is no more fear. We don’t have to try to protect ourselves by holding anything back. We can go all in. It is setting our eyes on something bigger and more beautiful. It is embracing the fullness of life.
“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:5
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:17