In the fall of 2020 we lost her older sister. We grieved Sky Philia Iverson and the life she never got to live. The months went by and the gut wrenching grief lessened some. But as we passed Sky’s original due date and beyond, we started to wonder if the growth of our family was simply going to end in loss. Then, in July, the much desired two lines on a pregnancy test confirmed that God was blessing us with another little one. After the initial excitement, this mother’s heart slipped into self protective mode. The reality of a little life growing within me didn't set in because in the back of my mind I kept preparing to show up at an appointment and there be no heartbeat. It was hard to pray for this child, or get excited or start to dream.
I was 9 weeks pregnant, and I showed up to a praise and worship night. As we began to sing, waves of grief from the loss of Sky came over me. I knelt and wept as the sound of voices lifted up in praise and mine poured out before the Lord in tears. It was as if all the last bits of grief in the deep recesses of my being came pouring forth in that weeping session. Finally, when it felt as if the tears had been exhausted, I got up to praise the Name of Jesus. As my voice lifted in song to my Savior, it came.
“Hope is within you”
The Holy Spirit washed over me and He named our baby. He named her Hope. And with her naming, I received a promise of LIFE for this little one. A Naming and a Promise to replace the fear and expectation of more grief. Isn’t that what our God does? He is a God of abundant redemption and he takes our tears and ashes and turns them into praise. And with His kindness, He impressed upon me who this child within me was and what her name and her future would be.
We went on to have a gender reveal party, but even before the “official” paperwork or pink powder was revealed, the gentleness of Jesus had hidden these secrets in my heart.
I was set free to grow attached, love and pray for this little girl, whose life sucked so much of mine for 9 months, but whose existence is a testimony of our Great God. One of the verses we have prayed over her life these past several months is Romans 15:13.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
We pray that our Hope is filled with a hope that comes as she trusts Jesus as her Savior. We are believing that she will be so filled with peace and joy that her very presence brings a hope that is contagious to the world around her.
Shalom is what we chose for her middle name. It’s a word we have used for the last 8 years to describe the vision for the ministry God has called us to. It is often translated “peace” from the Hebrew but it means so much more than that. It’s the “nothing broken, nothing missing” peace of the Kingdom of God… the way things are supposed to be. It’s the peace that transcends all understanding and “guards our hearts and our minds” because it is a peace that has been purchased through the blood of Jesus… a peace linked into a world that has no end, no death, no tears… a promise of a world where we flourish as we were designed to without the curse and chaos of sin that has entered into this fallen world and vandalized all that is true, good and beautiful.
Hope Shalom Iverson… We pray those words over your life little one. That as you hope in Jesus, the Prince of peace, you will find the shalom you were created for and be a conduit of that shalom to this longing world. May your life, dear one, be a gift, not just to this family that loves you, but to this world in desperate need for the “God of Hope” to fill our hearts and our streets with joy and peace.