My womb once held a promise. A future. A hope and a dream. A child with ten fingers, ten toes, two eyes, one nose, and one spirit fashioned directly by the Light Himself. A child with my DNA bound and woven into the written notes of his or her being.
“He might be this,” and “she might do that…” My expectation grew as my baby developed and the beauty of the dream began to unfold. “I wonder what his voice will sound like?” “I wonder what her hands might create?” “I wonder whom he will befriend?” “I wonder what humour she’ll make?”
A future. A delight. In this baby I have placed all of my hope. It is a miracle already becoming. A love growing and growing and growing… until… a sharp pain tears at my right side. I feel like I’m being ripped apart—gutted from within. The enemy has come to steal, kill and destroy again. “No, no-no-no, not again! Make this stop! Make this pain end and keep my dream safe… breathe, Catie… just breathe!”
The baby is not growing in the right place—I can feel it. He or she is outside my womb and in my tube. The pain is screaming at me and my baby is crying because it is not safe. “Oh Father, make the pain stop! Oh God, oh God, oh God—no, not again!”
I am bleeding on the inside and my dream is drowning. My hope is falling beneath the desperation of immeasurable, immense agony, and then it slips from my line of sight altogether, whisked away by the dark of night and an emergency room handed to me beneath a fleeting ‘entrance’ sign beyond ambulance doors.
“You will die unless we remove the dream. We have to take…”
“No!” I cry, I beg, I plead with the doctor. “No! Please don’t take my dream! Please don’t take my promise! Please, please, please! I won’t let you! I won’t…”
A clinical tool pricks my arm and my words move slowly, groggily under the directive of someone who has made my choice for me…
“I’m so sorry, sweetie. I know you desperately wanted this dream, but right now it is killing you. You… take one… be… ok for…”
I am down for the count. Anaesthesia has taken hold of my body and I am forced to succumb to the incisions, the sterile slicing, and the clinical and calculated removal of the dream from my body. They search for any last torn woundings to sear closed and then toss my dream in the trash as if it were nothing. Nothing…
“…didn’t… well… took a… infection… she’s finally waking from the anaesthesia,” I hear a nurse say to my mother as I come to. “I’ll go get the doctor.”
I can’t open my eyes—more to the point, I don’t want to open my eyes. Where my dream once was, there is now an empty space. No baby. No tube. I feel violated and broken. My dream is gone for the third time. For the third time it has been stolen from me—ripped from my body—and I am left behind in a compartmentalised, sterilised environment to figure out what went wrong.
“Why am I not safe for a dream to reside in?” I say to Father. “What is wrong with me? Why do my dreams always leave? Why am I always left with an empty womb? I hoped in this dream. I prayed over this dream. I felt this dream growing inside me, and now it has been taken from me against my will, yet again. Why?”
“My sweet girl, I cannot go into depth with you about this just yet—you’re not ready. You need some time and space to heal a little first.”
“But I hoped. You said that hope was a good thing!”
“Daughter, your dream was beautiful but your hope was misplaced.”
That stings. A lot. I feel anger wrenching my souring gut along with the after-effects of anaesthesia. I grit my jaw. “What do you mean?”
“Your hope was in your dream, but your hope was never designed to rest in your dreams. Hope is a person… but hush… no more questions for now, Catie…” My Father picks me up in His arms and cradles me gently like I am accustomed to Him doing.
“It hurts, Father! I’m so—ugh!—im so angry at you, at me—at this whole situation!” I strike weakly at His chest with my fists, but He grabs hold of my hands and holds them in His own. He rocks me gently and I can’t stop the tears. My grief is a flood.
“It would’ve been better if I’d not have dreamed in the first place! ….I want to hurt everyone who tells me about their new baby—the fruit of their dreams—their effortless labours, their new houses, their perfect marriages, and their perfect lives! I hate myself and I hate my life right now!”
“I know you do.” He loves me even at my most grief-stricken. My most poisonous. “Catie, when you are ready to move through the pain and sadness, I will walk through it with you… But please let Me help you. Please let Me love you…”
At first, the wounds from the emergency surgery are all I can see. They are raw and tender to touch. I have to make an effort to keep them from becoming infected—bitterness and resentment must be avoided at all costs. The wounds take a while to heal and then the stitches are removed. Eventually, they begin to settle into scars… slowly… slowly.
The love of others begins to soak through my skin. Like light filtering gently through open shutters, I allow their hearts to warm my own, and I give my heart permission to warm theirs. My dreams are still gone, but my beloveds are not. My dreams are still gone, but He is not.
“Father,” I say one day as we walk the fields of Grace. “I am ready to dream with You now. I am ready to process with You now. I understand that I cannot afford to place my hope in the next new dream—I will instead place my hope in Jesus and enjoy the possibilities, the fun, the joy, the life and the Kingdom the dream reflects.”
I have an empty womb, but I feel the seeds of many dreams and the possibilities within those dreams floating about me in the atmosphere. I know that when I am ready, I will stand with my hope anchored securely in Jesus and He and I will pluck a dream seed from the atmosphere together. Or maybe we will pluck more than one seed—who knows?
And the dream will not be determined by the intensity of my willing it to grow, or of my hoping it into being, or of my bulldog faith, or of my fancy words or meditations: It will grow as a result of heart rest and of my being grafted into the person of Hope.
Yes. Hope and I will dream together. He and I. Me and Him. We will plant together and water together. We will watch the dream grow organically. The purposes and possibilities of the new dream will be endlessly beautiful. And whatever shape the new dream takes and whatever the new dream’s outcome, my hope will rest securely in Him.
Photo by Nazym Jumadilova