"What does HOPE mean, Mommy?"

It never crossed my mind that she might not know! Duh! Only 10 months into the English language, and somehow I expected she automatically understood this concept that shapes my entire existence... and hers!  We'd been through the whole Make A Wish - "What does WISH mean?" thing, but I was completely unprepared for this one!  How do I explain real, lasting HOPE to my dying 8 year old daughter in words she can understand?  It's so much a part of who she is!  Her name ~ Rachel HOPE and her website ~ HOPEforRachel!  It's on Tshirts and bracelets and decorations throughout our home ~

   H O P E

I fumbled around for an answer while 6 little eyeballs stared at me from across the dinner table.  "Well",  I started, "It's not like "hoping" for an ITouch for your birthday, or even "hoping" for a mommy and daddy of your own.  Because even if you never get that ITouch or, heaven forbid, you never get a mommy and daddy, HOPE is still alive!  It's not what we're hoping for... It's who we're hoping in... Our HOPE is in Jesus!"   "So..." I asked Rachel, "If God doesn't send a new heart and decides to take you to heaven instead, is there still hope???"  I could see the wheels turning in that little mind of hers, so wanting to please me with a brilliant answer.  "No???" she answered timidly, sounding convinced she was probably wrong!  Thanks be to Jesus, she was wrong!  Kate piped up from across the table... "Yes!  Of course!  Because even if He takes you to heaven, we'll see you when we get there!"  Ahhhh!  Now we're on to something!

Hebrews 11:1 ~ Now faith is the assurance of things HOPED for, the conviction of things not seen.

I spent a full 24 hours chewing on the matter and doing a gut check on myself!  Where is my HOPE?  A sweet friend died this week following a full rejection of the heart transplant she received just a few months ago.  The memorial service is today.  Is hope still alive for her and her grieving mother?  And what if God decides to take our Rachel home too?  What then?  Will I feel the urge to dismantle my home from the many displays bearing any reminder of hope and silently declare that all my hopes have been dashed?

Hebrews 6:19 ~  We have this HOPE as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.

I admit it... I do "hope" that God's plan includes many more years with our precious Rachel.  I "hope" that His healing miracles abound in the coming months.  For that matter, I really "hope" that His plan is not to take any of my other children home before me either!  And while we're at it, let's add my husband to that list too!  I, like you, have many hopes and dreams for myself and for my kids.... But that's not the kind of hope we're talking about at all!  How grateful I am that my true HOPE is not pinned on circumstances that are unpredictable and ever changing or resting upon fallible human beings.  We are promised in the Bible that as believers we WILL have troubles, but we should not lose HOPE, because Jesus has overcome the world!  Our hopes do not rest in the here and now.  Our hopes rest on something far greater!

Psalm 119:49-50 ~ Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me HOPE.  My comfort in my suffering is this:  Your promise preserves my life.  

Jesus Christ is our living HOPE!  Because of this reality, the apostle Paul told grieving believers to "not grieve as others do who have no hope".  If we lose Rachel tomorrow, you can bet we will grieve... deeply!  Our home would never be the same again, after having her sweet, joyful spirit here
for nearly a year now!  And the more I fall in love with her, the more I realize how great the pain would be in losing her.  But we didn't bring Rachel home with any promises attached.  We didn't even bring her home based upon any hope of a medical miracle for her broken heart, though we would be thrilled if God's plan included that!  We brought Rachel home because we wanted her to know Jesus.  We wanted her to know true HOPE, found only in a sweet relationship with Him!  We've never promised her that we could fix her heart.  Nor have we ever promised her a new one.  But we have promised her that God has not forgotten her... that He loves her... and that He will never leave her.  Doug and I believe whole heartedly (pun intended) that God has preserved her life for a reason!  He's brought her to a home where she is deeply loved and daily taught the love of Jesus.  He's brought her here so that we could answer the life-altering question she asked last night... "What does HOPE mean, Mommy?"

Psalm 130:7 ~ HOPE in the Lord,  for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

The world's idea of hope is "to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfilment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire".  But the biblical usage of hope is an indication of certainty!  HOPE, in scripture, means "a strong and confident expectation"!  God's Word is full of promises for us, as His children, that we can find great HOPE in,... and stake our very lives on!
Romans 15:13 ~ May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in HOPE.

I want my children, and most especially Rachel, to know that our hope is not fixed on a healthy heart arriving in time...  God's plans may not be our own.  But we can have "a strong and confident expectation" that whatever His plans are, they are GOOD and filled with promises that give us great HOPE!

Psalm 146:5 ~ How blessed is he whose HOPE is in the Lord his God.


  1. Once again, your words are amazing.
    YOU are an amazing mommy. And I am impressed with Kate's answer, too.
    : )

    Now....pick up your phone and call me!!!!
    I miss you!!!

  2. Powerful my friend. Gracious how I love that girl!

  3. I needed that reminder today. Thanks Lori.

  4. Thank you for continuing to share your journey w/ us. I pray for your family. I have hope for you all. Love, peace, and God's blessings to you.

  5. Just found your blog from a friend's blog... wow. Thank you so much for your transparency and your testimony. It encourages me more than I can say. I will count it an honor to pray for Rachel and for your family. May God show up in a miraculous way, and soon... but your story of HOPE is a complete blessing.

  6. Lori
    you always leave me deep in thought, and tears, and today, I am really wondering, where exactly is my HOPE??? And what is it in?
    Thanks for sharing

  7. Hi Princess Rachel

    My name is Jenna. You are a brave courageous fighter. you are a special miracle from god, a gift from above, earthly angel,and you are a smilen hero. You are full of happiness, life, smiles, joy, fun,love, and spunk.

    I am praying for and your family, I am praying god brings you love, and hope. I am praying that god gives you a new miracle, so you can be with your family forever. I am praying for a lot of things, but especially a miracle!

    I was born with a rare life threatening disease, and have 14 other medical conditions, and developmental delays.

    I wrote this poem
    Each of us are Special
    Each of us different,
    No one is the same
    Each of are us are unique in our own way,
    Those of us who have challenges, we smile through our day.
    Those who of us who have challenges, we smile through our day.
    It doesn't matter what others say
    we are special anyway.
    What is forty feet and sings? the school chior

  8. Oh Lori!!!! You are amazing, Rachel is amazing and I am praying for your precious child!!! I love that first Hebrews verse and am clinging to it right now! You are giving sweet Rachel hope everyday by showing her and loving her in a way that reflects the Lord's love for her. God bless you sweet friend!!!


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