We’ve all had hope for something in our life. I’ve expressed different hopes throughout my life. Daily I think about the things I hope for. We can’t have faith without first having the hope. President Thomas S. Monson said, “Hope is putting faith to work, when doubting would be easier.”

So what is hope? The definition of Hope is as follows.
 Noun 1. A feeling of expectation or a desire of something to happen. 2. A feeling of trust.
Verb 1. Want something to happen or be the case.

Like most girls, I got married and hoped to be a mom. A friend of mine, Oakley, shares with me her story of her journey to becoming a mom. She share her joy, loss, pain, and how she found hope again. Oakley and her husband were thrilled when they found out they were having a baby. Like most young couples they started preparing for the new little person to join their family. Her pregnancy had gone as smoothly as it could, through sickness and all the changes a woman goes through.

Oakley and her husband were excited to go to her twenty week appointment, like most they can’t wait to find the gender of their baby, but forget that the purpose is to also check the baby’s health. Oakley was crushed when she learned that her little girl had fluid on her lungs. They drained the fluid through Amniocentesis. The goal was to get to twenty-eight weeks before she had to be delivered. They were thrilled when the fluid was gone until about thirty-two weeks. It filled back up on both sides. Oakley was admitted into the hospital and was in labor for two and a half days. The stress of labor caused the baby’s heart rate to drop and Oakley had an emergency Caesarian.

As a mom to four kids I can’t imagine going through this and my heart ached as I learned of this story of my friend. Throughout labor the experience Oakley and her husband stayed strong and kept their hope. The baby was admitted into Primary Children’s Hospital for seven days and was on ECMO machine. Their beautiful daughter got a blood clot in her lungs and went into heart failure, the doctors and nurses were unable to revive her and she left this world. They later learned that their daughter’s situation happens only 1 in 10,000 babies.

They were devastated, Oakley felt a range of emotions. As people were trying to comfort her, she felt angry. At the time there was nothing that could have been said to help her feel better. She knew their hearts were in the right place, but she didn’t want to her all the positive words, Oakley wanted to morn her daughter.
Only a few months later Oakley was gathering courage to face her first Mother’s Day as a mom with no child to bring to church. Just days before that Sunday a woman called Oakley and asked if she would speak in Relief Society on losing her first child and how prayer had helped her. Oakley was taken back. She was still mourning and suffering greatly.  

“In that moment, I felt every emotion a person could feel run through me all at once. The feeling settled on anger and disbelief. All these thoughts started racing through my head and I didn’t know how to respond to this question. How dare this person ask me to talk about prayer and how it was helped me get through my loss. I didn’t feel that any of my prayers were even heard let alone answered. All I   could   think about was He let my daughter die. All I could think about was He let my daughter die. My prayers were not getting me through this at all. I was in constant pain and agony.”

Once Oakley was able to collect her thoughts, she politely declined the request and hung up the phone. She burst into tears and anger took over again. Oakley was lost, she was alone and still didn’t have the answers of comfort. She needed Hope, like Gerald N. Lund describes. “At times, Hope can lighten the load, other times it strengthens the bridges.”

 Shortly after that Mother’s Day, Oakley became pregnant with a baby boy. The pregnancy went smoothly, though her baby was measuring large and the doctor decided to deliver her early. The doctor suggested a date he wanted to deliver. Oakley and her husband looked at each other and felt an overwhelming feeling of comfort. The date the doctor chose was the anniversary of her daughter’s death. She no longer felt anger, but Hope inside her heart.

“At that moment, I felt that he was inspired to choose that date. It was a tender mercy that our Heavenly Father blessed us with. It gave us a reason to now celebrate that day instead of it being a day of mourning and sadness. It was a bittersweet blessing in disguise and it gave us a reason for hope.”

Oakley was still mourning her daughter, but was happy to have her empty arms filled with the love of her newborn son. It took her awhile to understand the meaning of that phone call on her first Mother’s Day without her child. She believed that because Heavenly Father didn’t give her what she prayed for that he didn’t really love her. Oakley had missed the ways she was being blessed and comforted in her every day. The phone call was a reminder that He is always there and she needs to continually put her trust and faith in Him, He will be there to guide and ease our burdens that we carry.

“At my daughter’s funeral, my parents gave me a framed picture of Christ with the scripture. “The way may be difficult at times, but I will always be there.” There is not another scripture that rings truer to me than this one. I have a great love for our Savior. Because of His atoning sacrifice I know that I will get to be with my daughter again someday and that I will have the opportunity to raise her. I know that Heavenly Father is listening and He does hear our prayers, they may not always be answered the way we want them to, but He knows our struggles and our pains. There may be times in our lives when we are at our lowest point, that the darkness surrounding us may seem so overwhelming that we can’t see the light of Christ. But if we put our trust in Him and keep our faith, He will always be there to guide us onto the right path, and we will never be alone.”

Oakley is such an example of finding Hope in dark and lonely times. As I was finishing up writing this blog post I was taken back listening to what Ulisses Soares said just today in the morning session of General Conference.  “As we exercise faith in Jesus Christ and His atonement, we will be strengthened, our burdens will be eased and through Him, we will overcome the world.” Brother Soares continues, “Brothers and Sisters, as we contemplate the strength and Hope that we can receive from the Savior. We do have reason to lift up our heads, rejoice and press forward in faith without wavering.”