It was the week before Holy Week as I walked out of my favorite coffee shop and caught my reflection in the glass door. I saw the word “HOPE.” I was wearing a beloved T-shirt of mine that I have worn ragged over the years. It has the word “hope” in block letters with beautiful flowers drawn around the letters. Written in the corner is “⅛,” representing the statistic (at the time it was designed) of couples experiencing infertility. You may recognize the shirt, and some of you may even have one as well. It was designed back in 2019 by Brick House in the City to bring awareness to those on the path of infertility. 

Sometimes when I wear this shirt, I remember its meaning. Many other times, I just wear it and go about my life. My best friend gifted the shirt to me when I was in the throes of the pains of infertility for the first time. She bought one for me and one for herself. She pledged to intercede for me every time she wore that shirt. Perhaps her intercession is what gave me the grace to encounter the Holy Spirit through the T-shirt that day. 

There I was leaving the coffee shop, filled with hope. The Holy Spirit pierced my heart like a sword and all at once I thought, “I truly am hopeful.” I sat in my car reflecting on this striking moment of encounter with the Trinity. The Holy Spirit enlightened my heart to reflect back on the history I have with that shirt. I have had it for almost five years now, and I am still on this path of infertility. I realized hope has been the most difficult virtue to attain throughout this process. 

When we first experienced infertility and began to share it with those around us, so often we heard, “Don’t lose hope, keep praying. God will give you children.” We were given Scripture passages that referenced hope. People told us stories of couples achieving pregnancy after years of infertility, or shared experiences of welcoming a child through adoption. All the talk about hope referenced hoping for a child. 

When I was first given my diagnosis and we were not able to conceive, I did not feel much hope. It seemed utterly hopeless. I was also given false hope that after surgery I would definitely conceive. When I didn’t, I was face-to-face with the reality of our situation and I had to wrestle with what hope truly meant and, more importantly, what and who I should be placing my hope in.  

Only now, after years of healing and surrender to Jesus, am I beginning to scratch the surface of the true meaning of hope. In that moment, seeing the word hope on my shirt, I knew with all my heart that our hope is in Jesus Christ. Our hope is in the promise of eternal life, and the truth that Jesus suffered, died, and rose from the dead so that we could be in relationship with Him. Our hope is found in the spiritual gifts and fruit that God longs to bear in all of us. We are all called to fruitfulness and the fruit  is made manifest in numerous ways. Ultimately, we are made for eternal communion with God. All the gifts that we long to receive on Earth are meant to be a foretaste of Heaven – all the joy, peace, happiness, love. It is all meant to draw us into the heart of the Father who loves us with an everlasting love. His love is our hope. My hope is not only in receiving a child. My hope is found in Jesus Christ who allowed this suffering in order that I, like St. Paul, may boast of my afflictions, “knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” (Romans 5:3-5)

I leave you with these words from St. Teresa of Avila, and pray that we may all draw nearer to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and allow ourselves to be pierced by the beauty of true hope. 

“Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.” (St. Teresa of Avila) 

Ellie Weaver and her husband of six years, Trey, live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with their dog, Midge. Ellie works as an interior designer and loves exploring new artistic hobbies. After discerning a call to embrace spiritual motherhood she is training to become a spiritual director.