Having the Courage To Hope, Painted Papers Collage, Marcia Carole

Today, at a church in Bellevue, I met with a group of young mothers, nursing babies in tow. I just loved it; each precious mom reminded me of the season when I was raising my own four daughters, and reminded me of my dear grandsons, so far away in Alaska. These moms are truly heroes in the trenches of family love and care, and I was blessed with a morning of their limited time. 

I shared my story and faith journey with them, using the art I have made over the past few years. I also shared a couple of collaged books I have made. Many of these "books" are Bible stories recounting Jesus' love and care for women. One of my collaged books tells the story of the woman with a twelve year bleeding problem. She was an untouchable, literally, in her community.

This bleeding, marginalized woman heard about Jesus, that He might be able to heal her. (Doctors had actually made her worse.) This was an escape from twelve years of a black prison. It took a mixture of courage, desparation and risk, mingled with hope, to move out and reach out for help from Jesus. 

After my presentation, one woman came up to me. One could tell from her serious, yet calm tone, she has been through deep waters. We'll call her Sue. Sue thanked me for sharing the story of the bleeding woman. Her pastor had recently preached on this woman from the Bible, and I was reinforcing what Sue had been learning. She told me, "It's very risky to have hope when one is infertile. You have to have courage to hope, just like that bleeding woman." I was gripped with compassion for this young mom; she has one child - after much work, and is trying hard for a second. I am thankful Sue taught me something very real today, by sharing her story and bringing this truth straight to my heart.

Women have to have tremendous courage in order to hope, when, month after month, pregnancy escapes them. May we encourage each other on this journey as we get to know each others' stories. May we be transparent in sharing our stories. Thank you, Lord, the art helped make visible, the invisible.