I’ve been in a fight for over a decade.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m fighting with Hope, wrestling in the desert through the dark of night, begging for a blessing. But this long-standing fight, this particular back and forth of daily cries and deep sighs and tears rolling down cheeks, is a fight for hope, a fight to hope, a fight of hope.
Even now, writing these words brings tears to my eyes. It’s true that hope heals but also? Hope hurts. It’s risky.
When you’ve hoped for something time after time, month after month, year after year, but then everything stays the same, it’s easy to become resigned. Numb. Disillusioned. Apathetic. “God is working in our waiting” sounds lovely until we’re actually waiting. Until things fall apart. Until the diagnosis, the phone call, the silence, the pain, the day after day of the same. It’s still true; it’s just harder to hold onto.
Twelve years ago, I had brain surgery. When they took out the tumor, the symptoms stopped and the insomnia began. It’s taken its toll in a thousand unseen ways, all of them worth it to still be here all these days, but there isn’t a word for the exhaustion that has become my normal. Sleep. All I want is to be able to sleep. To have the energy needed for each day, the bandwidth to show up for my people but not completely crash afterward, to experience rest in a body that tosses and turns until the sun rises and it’s time to throw the covers back and begin another day.
I read the story of the woman who bled for twelve years, who spent all she had and tried absolutely everything (Mark 5:24-34). I can feel it in my tired bones, the absolute desperation in her fingers, her mind, her heart, her broken body reaching for the fringe, one last grasp toward hope.
I hear it in the words of the two disciples as they left Jerusalem, disappointment and despair coloring their conversation as they walked toward the village of Emmaus. Luke 24:13-35 records the moment. I can hear their confusion as they discuss the news that arrived that morning, their heartbreak as they share the story with the stranger who joined them on the road.
“We had our hopes up that He was the One,” they say. “We had hoped…” drifts away with the breeze as they put one dusty foot in front of another, unaware that Hope is literally walking them home.
I think of this as I make another doctor’s appointment, as I pull into the parking lot and dare to show up, knowing that hope might crash down again. After all, it’s been twelve sets of 365 and the only thing that seems to have changed is that I sleep less than ever before.
If I’m honest, at this point it would be easier to give up the fight and avoid the heartbreak of disappointment. There would be relief in saying “it is what it is” and attempting to make the best of it, firmly shutting the door on the hopeful expectation that something will change. Twelve years of prayers, of tossing and turning in the dark and yawning throughout the day, tells me that choosing to hope again is not just risky — it’s foolish.
But I remember the man who wrestled with God through the night and walked away with a limp (Genesis 32:22-32). I remember the woman who desperately reached out and was named “daughter,” the disciples who didn’t recognize Hope Himself until He blessed and broke the bread as they sat down for a meal, and I see a God who doesn’t tease, a God who comes close and says hope won’t put us to shame (see Romans 5:1-5).
I don’t actually believe “it is what it is” . . . I believe it’s so much more, so much better. I believe the God of the entire universe became a baby in a womb and that what was once dead can rise and walk alongside two discouraged friends on a road to Emmaus. More than twelve years of history tells me the Author is good.
With everything in me, I believe God is healer. What I’ve come to see, though, is that healing doesn’t always look like what I’ve pictured. Sometimes the answer to our prayers is not a yes or a no but a Person. We get God, and in my desperate reaching, I’ve found Him to be enough.
Will this year bring healing? Will I fight for hope only to watch it crash down? I don’t know, but I’ll risk finding out, trusting that Hope will be the anchor and no matter the coming waves, I will not sink.
There’s a mystery and a miracle in the blessing and the breaking, and while I’d choose just the blessing myself, I know Him most intimately in my heartbreak. It’s only when the One who truly broke reaches out and breaks the bread that His disciples can truly see: Every hope that felt dashed was held in nail-scarred hands. Every prayer was heard. Every heartbreak was seen. Every tear was witnessed. They spoke in past tense, but Hope was present, always there, walking right beside. They were never alone.
Our waiting won’t be wasted. All that is broken will be mended. We will not be put to shame.
I’m getting my hopes up.
If today’s post resonated and you’d like more encouragement from Kaitlyn, her book Even If Not: Living, Loving, and Learning in the in Between will help you choose hope for tomorrow when today feels like a question mark.
Ruth Mills says
Ah, the hard fought lessons of hope being a Person not our circumstances. I am sorry you have had such a hard path but praising Him you can see His goodness & raise your hopes and encourage us to do the same! Blessings!
Kaitlyn, my hope for you is that you never lose your hope. It is the same hope I have for my own daughter who had brain surgery 31 years ago for seizures. You are not alone. He is always there to give you hope, peace and comfort. Blessings to you!
Kaitlyn, such poignant, heartfelt words. Thank you for sharing this and my hopes for all of us is that we remember HOPE is always walking beside us, too.
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Thank you, Madeline! I appreciate your kind comment.
Kathleen B says
Kaitlyn, you dissected hope in a way only someone who has been steadfast on a difficult journey could. I am very enlightened by your words, having walked a ten year journey of heartbreaking estrangement from my two adult sons. I’ve continued to hope, while wrestling with it on challenging days. Like you, my hope will not be dashed. I will continue on.
Know I’ll pray for your rest tonight and in nights to come.
I join with you, Kathleen B, on a multiple year “journey of heartbreaking estrangement.” My journey is from our son who is far from us and far from the Lord. My heart goes out to you, Kathleen, and I’ll join you in prayer.
Beth Williams says
Prayers that God will change your son’s heart & bring them back to Him & you. We live in a fallen world full of sin. The devil makes that sin look enticing. Praise God He has overcome this world & can still work miracles. Keep on hoping & praying & I will also!
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
Thank you for your prayers, Kathleen! I’m praying for you, and for MP in this comment thread, right now. <3
Beth Williams says
Prayers that God will change your sons’ hearts & bring them back to Him & you. This world can be so tempting to many, but God is greater than this world & He is still in the miracle business. Keep on hoping & praying.
God bless 🙂
I was so needing to hear this today. My heart is broken. My relationship with my daughter is fractured and I am hoping for a miracle. Thank you for sharing this. I’ll be sharing it with my family. Thanks again.
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
I’m so sorry, Yannette. That is heartbreaking and so very difficult. I am praying for you right now!
Thank you for sharing. I’ve had the struggle of insomnia for over 20 years. I still hope too.
Thank you for this.
Sharon A says
Praying you are finally able to sleep and rest very soon!
Bless you Kaitlyn for blessing us with your raw exposure, teaching us what’s so valuable to learn from this.
Praying for you.
Kaitlyn, thank you for sharing so vulnerably. I needed this perspective on Hope. It’s been a long journey of feeling like there’s not much hope left about our relationship with our son who is far from us and far from the Lord. I need to cling to Hope in the Lord. I have other situations in my life that humanly speaking seem like there’s not much hope. I still need to cling to Hope in the Lord.
Jennifer McWhorter says
I have rheumatoid arthritis and several other autoimmune disorders. I struggled with insomnia for 10 or more years. A few years ago, I started seeing a chiropractor who uses the activator method instead of the traditional bend and crack. It has changed my life. It has to do with the central nervous system and making sure your body is communicating correctly. I sleep, on average, 6 to 7 hours a night. Previously, I was lucky to get 1 to 2 hours. I’m sure you have tried many things but I felt like I needed to share how God answered my prayers and struggles. Getting sleep helps keep my other symptoms under control and I don’t feel like the walking dead anymore. I can play with my grandchildren and be an active participant in my own life. God is good. All the time. Thank you for sharing your hope. I hope and pray that your prayers are answered. Amen
Kaitlyn Bouchillon says
I’m so glad you have relief from insomnia and are experiencing good, healing sleep!! <3
I’ll be praying for you to receive some relief. Your faith is amazing and someday God will bless you for your perseverence.
Slowly, I’m learning to stay in touch with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit continuously, talking and praying to one quite often. Praising has also been ramped up for me. This has helped with my stress levels and given me a better quality of sleep. Added to this, I’ve seen a new Naturopathic doctor who has given me new herbal remedies that are calming my immune system. Naturally, God is in this healing!!!
One scripture that helps me tremedously, is Psalm 23 in the NLT version. This is slightly different than the one we all memorized in Sunday School but, the words are very calming.
May God bless you, Sandy
Sally B. says
Kaitlyn, you are a bright, shining light this fine day! I thank you. And I am praying for you and all on this list.
We seem to be losing our food and shelter and water heater yesterday! Frankly everything needed for a simple basic needs in life. My number one prayer is that my husband will reach out for Jesus! I’ve been praying for this since 1979. So while it seems like there is NO hope I am STILL running to God, depending on God, asking God how? When? WHAT? He is my certainty, whatever comes, I’ll be fine. I’m a daughter of The Living God!
This journey is hard many times. But yes, no or wait to my prayers it’s okay. I have hope. His Name is Jesus! Love to all, Sally <3
Beth Williams says
Abba Father please change Sally’s husband’s heart. Bring him back to you. Show Him how much you love him. Assist them with their food, water heater & shelter issues. Guide them on this journey & bring some peace & hope into their lives.
Terry Law says
Oh Kaitlyn, your story touched my heart so much today! I have been there, the day in and the day out. I have had hope, I have given up hope, and I have come back to hope because I just love Jesus so much, because He loved me first! But that’s not to say it isn’t hard! Part of it is the grieving process too. Because we have hopes and dreams and desires that sometimes seem to have to all be put aside. You are on my heart and in my prayers. Hugs
JJ Miles says
I too had brain surgery to (partially) remove a cancerous tumor 12 years ago and the insomnia is certainly not something you can prepare for. At the age of 36 I feel like an “old lady” because I try to go to bed as early as I can some nights with the hopes that I can squeeze out a LITTLE more sleep than I normally would.
I will be adding you to my prayers as I spend a lot of time at nights talking to our amazing, miracle working God. I praise Him that you are still able to share your talents with us all and thank you for being so vulnerable. I have turned to 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 many times to remind myself that as He has so wonderfully blessed me with so many more days than my doctors expected (and inherently comforted me throughout the many trials) I have such a grand opportunity to use my experiences to comfort others going through similar circumstances. May you find yourself getting some of your moments of sleep back each night. Even if not, He’s a great listener!
Thank you for sharing your story and your faith. It is a beautiful vulnerability you have put out in the world. May God use it and you to bless others. It was an encouragement to me.
Kaitlyn THANK YOU for sharing your heart with us, and being so vulnerable. What I learned in the last 3 year difficult season is God is Faithful and the Waiting is a beautiful invitation to intimacy with our Savior. It’s not easy but so worth it. My husband & I will add you to our Prayer book. Thanks again, and I pray for the day of deep unencumbered sleep! Thank you Lord Jesus on the hilltops and in the valleys!
Beth Williams says
You are an inspiration to many people. You’ve been through a lot, yet continue to hope in God. Your message here points us to keep hoping not necessarily for an answer but a person. God tells us to be persistent in our prayers. Luke 18:1-8 where Jesus tells the parable of the persistent widow & the unjust judge. He didn’t fear God or cared what people thought. Because the widow kept bothering him he granted her plea. verse 7-8 “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. Keep on hoping & praying everyone!