Hope is ONE (and names are significant)

My sweet, sweet Hope is now One. Oh what a year it has been!  
When we found out I was pregnant for the second time, there were a lot of uncertainties in our life. This new child would enter our world right after her daddy’s internship and seminary work were complete.  We had raised support for James to intern at our home church in Omaha (shoutout to Brookside!) but that had to come to an end in May 2013, and this sweet new baby was due June 16. We had no idea where/if he would have a job when she arrived.  
We started the name game early. The boy name was decided in a matter of minutes. We both loved it, and in fact, still do, so here’s to praying no one in our family takes it before we get a chance to name a boy! The girl name took a bit longer.  Even after we confirmed that in fact my husband had a budding sorority on his hands, we were left uncertain. A name is a big thing.  It is significant. (Cue Johnny Cash “A Boy Named Sue“!) I liked Hope. And, to be honest, about seven others.  But I mean I really liked Hope. James wasn’t so sure.  
Finally one night, after lots of prayer about our family’s future, the unborn girl in my womb’s daddy said “I think we should name her Hope.”  He went on to explain that even though our life was so uncertain and our future so undecided (in our eyes), our hope and faith is in Jesus alone to rescue, redeem and provide for us.  He has rescued and redeemed us into a relationship with Him, and ultimately in the end, that is enough.  So hope was a significant thing for our family throughout that pregnancy.  And God’s provision for us cannot be understated.
I had a lot of contractions way too soon, but thankfully they weren’t doing much. Until one night in May.  We had been out to visit a church in an unknown place in New York earlier that month, and James was one of two potential candidates (out of many applicants!) for an associate pastor position. On May 20, 2013, James got the call from the senior pastor at the church that he would be the official candidate for Grace Chapel in Clifton Park, NY.  This meant he would return for another visit where he would guest preach and then be confirmed or denied by the congregation.  We certainly hoped and were trusting that this was going to work out!  
That same night, I could not sleep. My back started to hurt so intensely that I woke James up, we called his mom to come stay with Bailey and we headed to the hospital.  Four weeks before this sweet girl was due.. 
After about twelve hours in the hospital (the first four or five hours spent trying to prevent labor through rest and hydration) our sweet Hope Avery arrived, healthy and happy. Technically pre-mature, but no NICU stay required. 
Did you catch the significance of the timing there? The night before Hope was born, God began to unfold his plan for our family’s future.  It still wasn’t guaranteed, but the potential for a full-time with benefits job had gone from 50/50 to about 95% through that one phone call. Where we were so uncertain, but filled with hope (physically and spiritually!–get it? pregnant joke..) God was firm and working. 
3 1/2 weeks later, James returned to Clifton Park to preach a sermon on June 16, 2013.  Hope’s original due date. Two days later the congregation met and he was confirmed as the new Associate Pastor of Grace Chapel.
I write this from our tiny apartment living room where it appears we will be indefinitely thanks to outrageous home prices in this area. Although our living situation is significantly less than ideal for two toddlers and a stay-at-home mom with one car that daddy needs for work most days, I am once again astounded and amazed at the provision and incredible timing of the Lord’s work in our life.
Our hope is in Jesus, and I pray with all my heart that Hope’s hope will be in Him as well one day. 

I did nothing to mention how incredibly attached this girl is to me.  When the above is happening, she merely leans into my arms and all is well. (These last two photos were literally taken minutes apart. From meltdown to smiles) 

(Photos taken by my awesome sister-in-law Julie with Thirtyfourthstreet Photography)

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