A Displaced Hope

This blog was originally written April 7, 2017, but has been updated and reposted to share the heart behind the My Only Hope Collection at Etch Life.

My husband Tim and I have lived in Liberty, MO now for almost 5 years.  When we moved to Liberty, our now oldest, Wynndal (Wynn) was 6 months old.  It was a major life transition for us, as I’d just lost my job, Tim just started a new job (he’s an Associate Pastor at our church Liberty Christian Fellowship), and I was a new mom in a town where I knew NO ONE.  That was, to say the least, a quite challenging and stretching season of life.

After about 9 months of being a stay-at-home-mom, I realized that God was stirring my heart for something more.  I started doing graphic design work again, at a local church in Liberty (with Terri actually), and slowly felt God tugging at my heart with new dreams, ideas, and something bigger, though I couldn’t put my finger on it.  When we had Cambre (Cam), my second child, I suddenly found myself desperate to chase these new ideas that the Lord had been planting in my heart.  So I decided to leave my graphic design job, and dive into the unknown.  The beginnings of EtchLife were birthed when Cam was two months old.  So once again, I found myself in a bit of chaos with a 2-year old, a 2-month old and the beginnings of a new business and all that entails.

Adams' girls

Wynn, 2 years & Cam, 2 months

When I found out we were expecting our third child, we were in the middle of a major transition at church that weighed heavily on Tim, and I was in the middle of our first year with EtchLife and we both once again found ourselves completely overwhelmed.  (God is really good at allowing the hardships of life happen to point us to complete reliance on Him!)

As time went on I felt more at ease about adding to our family this year.  God took the overwhelming unknown and made it a sweet anticipation.  He brought us into a season of “peace that passes understanding.”  By 20 weeks, Tim and I excitedly headed to our sonogram appointment.  We had decided that we were going to find out the gender, so when we were told it was a boy we were delighted!  What we were told next was an unexpected. There was a “spot” on his heart that we needed to have looked at more closely.

Our doctor is a sweet friend, and was very gentle with us, sharing that he sees these “spots” every day, and they could mean absolutely nothing.  Still my stomach crawled into my throat and I wanted to hyperventilate.

By the grace of God we got into the specialist to have a level-2 sonogram taken about 4 days later.  That was a long wait to say the least, and a lot of back and forth of questioning God’s plans and trying to trusting Him.

The specialist was a sweet man, but the sonogram took about 45 of the longest minutes of my life followed by another 30 minutes of agonizing waiting in the consultation room for the doctor to come and share what he found.  He proceeded to tell us that not only did he have a spot on his heart, that they still weren’t sure about, but that there were two more possible complications detected.  He definitely did his job explaining in great detail the complication possibilities, but I wish he hadn’t have as our minds and emotions were sent into orbit.  The possible complications were complete guesses at that point, but enough that they wanted to continue monitoring them.  The possible complications pointed to genetic defects.

Not that knowing what was wrong would in any way change our decision to bring our sweet baby into this world, but we thought that knowing might help prepare our hearts.  We opted to take a DNA test to rule out the three main genetic complications, but it was going to be another 7–10 days before finding out the results.

Those days of waiting were such a roller coaster of emotions.  I wanted to trust the Lord, with all my heart I wanted to, but I found myself processing a million other thoughts too.

I wrestled idealism.  I didn’t realize that since I was little I had pictured what my family would look like someday, and that I had set it up in my mind to include all perfectly healthy children.

I wrestled selfishness.  I thought, God, why would you nudge me to start a new business and then change my family dynamics so much that I could no longer run that business with all the care he would need from me. I want to stay involved with Etch!  Selfish and ugly I know, but I thought it.

I wrestled wondering if it was even worth praying about.  Yes, I just said that out loud, and I know without a doubt it is crazy wrong, but my emotions had taken over and what was coming out of my flesh was not beautiful.

I started to quickly buy into EVERYTHING that specialist shared that day…playing the what-if game.  We’ve all done it, but I’ve learned from my experiences that it’s not a place I wanted to be.

God quickly stripped me down to the core shedding light for me on what I truly believe about Him.  Let me just say, I had no idea I could get to such a place of insecurity.  During those days of waiting for the DNA test to come back, I remember clearly one morning sitting at the stoplight to take my girls to school/PDO and starting to have a panic attack.  I couldn’t breath, I needed to cry but had two littles in the back seat that I didn’t want to fall apart on (solely because I didn’t want to have to explain in that moment why I was crying.)  In that moment, I remember not being able to even articulate to God anything that made sense, I just said his name over and over in desperation.  I remember thinking, I CANNOT STAY HERE! GOD GET ME OUT OF HERE!

I needed Him to rescue me from my thoughts, from all the what-ifs, and wow, in that moment he did.  I’ve never experienced relief so quickly.  In that moment I understood how easy it is for some to slip into depression…I felt myself going there quickly, but in my cry of desperation he saved me.

I’m learning that God teaches me things in seasons.  Sitting in my car that day, I heard him say, “Kelsey, who do you trust more, me or the doctors/test results?”  Ouch. Of course I wanted to say I trusted Him more, but I actually wasn’t.  It was as if he followed up by saying, “You have heard what the doctors say, but have you asked me what say about your son?”  That hit me like a ton of bricks, but that ton of bricks brought so much instant relief.  As soon as I heard those questions, it was as if water rushed over me and there was a calm in my heart that can only be explained by the Lord’s presence.  He began helping me remember truths from His Word that were etched on my heart, and to claim them for our family.  He assured me in that moment that He had me and my baby in His hands.  “He’s got the whole world in His hands…He’s got the itty bitty babies in His hands…” That’s a song I sang all the time growing up, but suddenly it came full circle.  Again, I experienced a peace that passes understanding.

…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4.7

I’m so thankful that He loved me too much to leave me there in my misery, and that once again I was reminded that all I have to do is cry out His name.  He delivered me from fear that morning.

My only hope is in you. Psalm 39.7

For the past year, I’ve had a framed piece of scripture in my kitchen window.  Prior to all of this, I had been clinging to it through other hard things; but, nothing was clearer than the lesson He was teaching me in this season as this verse was.

My only hope is in you.  Psalm 39.7

I keep finding myself putting my hope in other things besides the Lord.  I put my hope in doctors, friends, my husband, MYSELF! I put my hope in circumstances changing, or the outcomes revolving around things I’ve been working hard towards.  I put my hope daily in so many other things, things that our culture points to!  I’m learning to recognize this more quickly as a displaced hope leads to unnecessary frustration, disappointment, hurt, and heartache, and ultimately leads me to mistrust the Lord.

We got the DNA results back 7 days later, but by this time it didn’t matter to me as much.  I had actually forgotten about it.  I know…crazy peace only from the Lord.  The DNA test revealed no major genetic issues, but left a few questions to still be monitored throughout my pregnancy.

Photos by AOH Photography


Bridger Zion Adams was born January 25, 2017 with no foreseeable complications.  He is the sweetest little gift.  All praise and glory to God for bringing us through this so we can be closer to Him.  He is sovereign in all things.

You know, we chose his name, and then started studying Zion a little more deeply after He was born.Zion is so rich when you look at it in scripture.  In the Old Testament Zion is a description of power and authority ascribed to the city of Jerusalem.  Zion is very symbolic because it is seen as the center of worship, of God’s presence and great hope for God’s people.

Zion also is symbolic of the great hope for God’s people and freedom & salvation that comes from Jesus.  To be called a son or daughter of Zion is to be declared set apart for Christ’s future kingdom.  This is our prayer for our son, that he would know God and be with God in his city, that he would be a part of that future kingdom of peace and joy and love and righteousness where God rules from Zion.  That he would be one who is a bridge builder for others.

The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.  Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth.  Psalm 50:1–2

The Lord’s presence was definitely with us, and will always be.  It’s simply our job to remember this and tap into it.  It’s simply our job to place our hope in the founder and perfecter of our faith.

I lettered this for Bridger’s nursery and it’s our prayer for our kids.

…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints... Ephesians 1:17–18

I’m praying this over each of you reading this today.  May we all know the hope to which He has called us.


Photo by : Meredith Gutshall (Instagram: @atwhitefarm)

Update: Bridger is now 10-months old!  (Wynndal is 5, and Cambre is 3.) He's joyful and we are all so thankful for his life!


1 comment

  • Susan Neal

    Kelsey, you are and have always been such a blessing. Remember when you visited my gerbils after school and would say my name sooo sweetly, “SusSan.” This testimony made me tearful for all you’ve been through. You’re family is indeed precious.

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