Gifts of Hope

Hope, the word is so dear to my heart that I chose it as the name for my firstborn daughter.It is hope that has kept me afloat in the face of great difficulties.

When I was a child, I lived in a very abusive household. Food was ofen witheld from me for days at a time. This was one of my mother’s cruelest punishments, and therefore, one of her favorites. Night after night, I went to bed hopeful. Sometimes it would pay off. A friend would invite me to their house for dinner, a neighbor would ask me to babysit and I’d eat with her kids, and just once in a while mom had a good day and cooked a meal and allowed me to eat with her. Ultimately, my hope paid off in a major way, much bigger then even the best Big Mac and fries.

My hope had been whittled away by years of mistreatment and what I perceived as wasted prayers, I was down to just one last hope. Hope of a new life, of being loved, safe, and well nourished. I was fifteen years old when I finally told someone how abusive my mother was. I was believed! My mom was diagnosed with schizophrenia and I went to live with my aunt. I never had to go hungry again.

Things were so much better, yet I was still full of pain. I had not dealt with all the damage done to me in my short life. So, I was free from my past…… but not really. It was always there. The pain invaded my dreams while I slept, gnawed on my soul while awake. Even in the happy times it lurked in the shadows, waiting for my guard to drop so it could devour me once again. I escaped this pain by losing myself in drugs. They gave me the brief periods of euphoria I longed for. That painless, fuzzy oblivion was my best friend. It was also killing me.

When I was sixteen I became pregnant. It was the slap in the face that brought hope back into my life. If not for myself, than for this innocent child growing within me. I hoped and prayed that my drug abuse had not harmed my baby. I got help and went sober cold turkey as soon as I knew I was pregnant. I hoped I would be a good mother, that I could provide for my baby. I hoped I would raise a person who would want to bring hope to others. My days and nights were filled with hopes and dreams for the tiny passenger in my ever-growing belly. On the evening of January 15, 1995, Hope Taylor was born into the arms of her mothers prayers. A perfect baby girl, wonderful in every way. I was only just starting to realize the hope she would bring to my life.

Hope is nearly four years old now, and she has taught me so much. With Hope I have learned that with God, nothing is impossible. I have learned that patience and love matter way more than rules and consequences. I have learned that every breath is a blessing and a joy. She has taught me to play now, work later. I have learned that I want to be more childlike. I have learned that good people can changge the world. Most importantly, I learned that God never leaves me, even in the darkest hours. All of these things are gifts of hope, given to me by a nearly four year old girl, whose face is always covered with grape jelly, whose eyes light up the room, and who loves her mommy almost as much as her mommy loves her.

Thank you so much, Hope. You are a ray of light in the darkness. A hope of a better tomorrow, and a joy to behold. Thank you so very, very much.