Category Archives: grace

Why I Try To No Longer Sit Around Waiting For Our Adoption To Happen…

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve written, I know.
I am here now, though, so take what you can get! 😉

Since the last time I wrote, not much in life has changed, except it’s now 2015. Also, as of the second day of the year, I am officially in the last year of my 20s. John and I are both settled into the jobs we began in early 2014 and, due to John especially finally being acclimated (for the most part) to his new career, our stress level here at home has thankfully significantly subsided.

Since I know you’re wondering, and thanks for doing so, let me go ahead and tell you: Despite us wishing it weren’t true, there really isn’t anything new to report regarding our adoption journey. Yes, you read that correctly — nothing new to report. I promise I’m not “hiding” anything. Believe me, had I news to report, I would be telling you! Alas, though, there is nothing new. We are not “expecting” a child in the immediate future and don’t even have any prospects on the horizon.

The birth mother due in December who did not pick us (the only one to whom we have been shown) should have had her baby by now. We pray that she and her child are both doing well and that the baby is happy and healthy with his/her new family. It’s strange thinking about how I very easily could have been an earthly mother by now, caring for my approximately two-week old child on my 29th birthday just a few days ago. That wasn’t God’s will for us, though; so instead of spending the day feeding and changing a newborn, we spent my birthday in another city just the two of us and then had dinner with a dear friend.

I wasn’t even fully aware of this shift in my thinking until just the other day when a close friend asked me how I was doing with the whole adoption thing. She mentioned she hadn’t asked in a while, and I hadn’t said anything, so she figured nothing was new, but she wanted me to know she cared. I did very much appreciate her inquiry, but as she expected, I had nothing new to share — except for one thing. I am starting to approach our adoption journey a bit differently, and until just a few days ago, I didn’t even know it.

As I told my friend how I had been feeling about how things were going, I found myself understanding what had been going on inside of me for the past several weeks. I used to literally wake up every morning and say to myself, “Today could be the day!” I would sometimes get up, go into our already-furnished nursery and spend several minutes praying on the nursery floor; at the very least, I would put a lot of emotional energy – almost every single day – into thinking and/or praying about our adoption all day long.

When we spent those few weeks this Fall praying and thinking through difficult circumstances that made us question even allowing our life book to be shown to the birth mother, just to in the end step out in faith and say “yes” on our end but not be picked and have no idea when we will have another chance to be shown, I couldn’t help but become very emotionally-vested in a child I will never see, let alone mother. I sincerely loved that child and, in some ways, still do. Because of that very surreal time in our lives, as well as watching close friends of ours walk through a devastating adoption-oriented situation, I think God began working in my life in ways I didn’t even realize at the time. He has been showing me grace and teaching me to demonstrate the same grace to myself.

Now, a few months later, I am still trying to learn how to truly leave our family’s future in His hands, not just in word but in tangible ways, as well. I am also, though, trying to learn how to keep my sanity, while I wait for someone (or more than one person) who seems at times like a figment of my imagination, while also displaying childlike faith that my dream of becoming a parent could happen tomorrow. It’s a delicate, sanctifying balancing act.

 

Don’t get me wrong. I always believed, and still believe, the Lord has His hand in our adoption plans. I have always wanted, and will always want, His will to be done and Him to be glorified, even if that means that I’ll never be an earthly mother, which is a possibility as harsh as that sounds to most. This process could take another year, or two, or three, or longer, or never even turn out the way we’d like…and if I truly want to be the happy, positive person that I have always been, I am going to lose steam fast if I keep operating the way I usually did the past year.

While I wait to see what He has for us, I am learning that every. single. day. I don’t have to – and can’t – emotionally submerse myself into anything and everything related to the fact we are not parents yet. I just can’t do it, if I want to stay sane and really be present in the present, instead of feeling guilty about the past and/or pining about the future.

I am learning I can’t wake up every morning and dwell on the fact that, “Today could be the day!” Could it? Sure. Of course I still believe that, but what if the “day” isn’t until 3 years from now? What do I do in the meantime? Pull myself off my nursery floor every day just to be filled with more disappointment when I am still waiting for the “day” to happen years from now, while most of my friends continue to be blessed with more children while I still wait to be able to be one’s mother and have nothing else to which I look forward?

No, instead I have changed my focus. Instead of daily sitting and thinking about my children for hours, I will be intentional in how and when I pray about my children, with some days devoted to more focused times of prayer than others. Some days I have, and will continue, to shut the nursery door when its emptiness is a little too much for my sensitive heart. I will still unashamedly ask for prayer for our adoption journey, and thankfully welcome concern from others regarding the process, but I will also be trying to celebrate the other things going on in our lives, too. I will do this even when those joys seem at the time to pale in comparison to the joy I’ll feel one day when I am, if the Lord allows, finally a mother here on earth – my deepest earthly desire not yet fulfilled. I will be a supportive, loving wife to my hard-working husband and believe that he truly loves me, despite my inability to provide him the biological children he always assumed he’d have and I, to this day, so desperately wish I could give him. I will do my job with excellence and continue to well serve the 300 or so authors left to my charge. I will serve the Lord in my church and be thankful for the responsibility and privilege to serve ladies of all ages within our Body, as well as the children we’ll both serve soon in the nursery. I will continue to love my friends and their children, while also supporting and caring for those who, too, are walking their own lonely journey of infertility and/or adoption. I will be thankful I am able to be an empathetic shoulder (tangibly or figuratively, depending on their location) on which they can cry, because I know better than anyone else, sometimes all you need is a good cry on a caring shoulder.

As I continue to wait, but try not to sit around waiting for our adoption to happen, most importantly I will daily allow the Lord to sanctify me to His truth and try to walk in the power of His Spirit, seeking Him above all else. I will continue to be honest about the struggle it is to strike a healthy balance between acknowledging my God-given desire for motherhood and saying “not my will but Yours be done,” because that is all I know how to do.


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Filed under 2015, Adoption, Baby, grace, Purpose, Sanctification

The Long & Hard Road

No one ever told me this season in life would be so hard.
More importantly, no one ever told me it would be so…lonely.
So very lonely, at times.

My husband and I both are experiencing very hard seasons in life. He is getting used to a new and exciting, yet stressful, job. Consequently, often (like tonight) the last month-and-a-half, because of the stress and/or lack of sleep the night before, he gets tucked into bed when there are still hours left of daylight. I, too, am getting used to a new job, and have experienced my share of long hours and work-related stress, though my job is thankfully slowing down and becoming much more life-giving. It also helps that I am now 2 months post- sinus surgery, so I am no longer heavily drugged or in pain; therefore, I can think straight, unlike when I first started. 🙂

For my Loves, his career, though he loves it, is his main source of stress and exhaustion right now.  For me, it is my empty arms and nursery, especially around Mother’s Day. For both of us, this is the hardest season of our marriage, and in some ways, our lives.

Last night, it was John’s turn to not sleep. He sat awake in the family room with his Bible,  sermons on his phone, and his nightlight while I snoozed away. I, on the other hand, had my turn the two nights before, when while he sawed logs, I slept no more than 2 hours in 48. I tried so, so hard to stay awake with him, as I usually do. The Lunesta I found in the cupboard from my surgery, though, beckoned my attention and wooed me into a deep, much-needed time of 12 hours of rest.

 To say that life is hard around the Payne’s right now is an understatement. We are exhausted, in all senses of the word. We are also closer than we have ever been. It’s funny how, if we are willing, the Lord refuses to waste our (and your) suffering, even the kind that involves the most stinging of pain.

 

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Yesterday, for us, was in a way a living hell. We both didn’t make it through church without crying. John got close but broke down at the end. I never had a chance. We both cried some more later on in the day. To make matters worse, I had spent the last 2 nights up in the dark crying out to the Lord to please take this cup of sorrow from me.


He has chosen to call me to wait for earthly motherhood, and though I can quote you all the verses and know I am to be content, sometimes I am just not OK with that. I know that’s not the “Jesus” answer, or something of which I am proud, but that’s the truth. I can quote you all the verses (in context) and exegete the passages, but sometimes all I can manage to pray is, “I believe. Lord, help my unbelief!” To be honest, this road of barrenness has been much harder for me than it ever was to almost die at the age of 19. Can I say that without you judging me and calling me melodramatic? Maybe not, but I am going to say it, anyway.

Sometimes, the pain that is involved in not having our child who passed away, here or earth or any child at all, is just too much to bear for my weary soul.  With each passing announcement of another pending or new birth, I feel like part of my heart is being ripped from my chest, that I am slowly dying inside. I desperately long to be a mother, much more than I ever knew until I was asked to journey the road less traveled that involves not being able to have them. My husband struggles, too, though he tries to keep it together outwardly more than I do; for both of us, though we deal with it differently, it’s our Cross that we daily bear.

As I said on Facebook last night, though my journey is not normal (especially in my circle of friends), it is not unique. I know that. I know, even though Satan want me to feel like I’m the only one, there are millions of women who are either barren or who have miscarried; they understand my pain in a very tangible way. As I also said, though, we women need each other. We need each other, no matter if we are the mother of 8 kids or on our 8th year of painful infertility. We all have something to learn from, and more importantly to offer,each other.

We need to rejoice with those who rejoice just as easily as we mourn with those who mourn. There are a women on both sides of the coin, women who deserve to be loved and fully met in their current season, even if that season is the polar opposite of ours. Is that always easy? No. It is always necessary? Yes, for the benefit of all involved.

Why? Why force ourselves to enter someone’s joy when we are hurting or embrace their sorrow when our life is far from sorrowful?
Because that’s what Jesus would do and calls us to do, as well.
After all, we are to be His hands and feet.

Why? Because that’s how we learn to do live life – the good and the bad of it – together as the Body of Christ.
If you just focus on the good, you lose sight of our utter dependence on Him, of the perfect Redemption to come.
If you just focus on the bad, you lose sight of the beauty of grace and God’s constant hand in our lives.

So, even though my arms are still empty this Mother’s Day, and I just experienced 2 of the darkest days in my life, I publicly celebrate and honor those to whom I am close who are mothers. I love you all and think you are doing a great job. Happy Mother’s Day.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Purpose, Sanctification

Why I Still Love Our Empty Nursery

Like most young couples, there is a room in our home designated as a nursery. The only difference is, unlike most others, this room was meticulously prepared without even knowing when the baby is going to arrive.

Like the old hymn, Coming Again, I am reminded constantly that our baby’s coming “may be morning, may be noon, may be evening and may be soon”…or it may be years from now.

Yes, the room has all the trappings of what you would expect for a baby’s room, but there’s no child anywhere to be found. Instead, there are grey walls longing for a personalized tree decal to be put on them, an empty, white, sleigh-style crib with Pottery Barn Kids bedding that is used as a clothes rack, empty dresser drawers (minus the old computer currently residing in one of them), a comfy, custom color rocker no one rocks in, and a super awesome, owl lamp (thank you, HomeGoods) that no one turns on. There is a corner full of expensive gadgets (play mat, stroller, car seat, and a baby carrier) that have never been used; some haven’t even been put together.

Most of all, our nursery is filled with a lot of hopes and dreams, but also a lot of fears and worries. Some days I adore going in there. Other days, which are few and far between but still my reality, I have to shut the door and forget it exists.

Many friends warned me that putting the nursery together so soon may not have been the best idea. They cautioned me of how hard it would be to stare at an empty nursery, especially if we waited a long time to adopt our child(ren). They told me it was something they would never do. They encouraged me by saying they would help me whip up a nursery in no-time, once I knew that a baby we could call ours was on the way.

Though I knew my friends had the best of intentions and were just looking out for me, I didn’t listen. And you know what? I’m so glad I didn’t. Though sometimes dwelling on its uselessness (at least right now) can cause me pain and angst, I needed this nursery. I needed this nursery much more than my children ever will.

The Lord knew that, though, which is why He gave me such a clear vision for that small space. I’ve asked Him for a vision for every room of our house (call me weird), as I love decorating but also want Him and others to feel welcome in our home. The people (besides John) I most want to feel welcome into our home are our children, the ones for whom we have prayed for by name for so long.

I want Noah James or Hannah Grace to know (I realize they won’t really “know” but you get what I mean) from the moment they are brought home just how much we have longed for them, so much so that we had a room all ready for them even when we had no idea when they were getting here. No, my children will not be an idol. I want them to feel loved, anticipated, cherishes. Yes, my relationship with the Lord and my husband will always come first (a post in and of itself), but I absolutely adore my kids, and I don’t even know them. Other than praying for them daily, the only tangible way to show them that right now is by creating for them a safe haven that will one day, Lord-willing soon, be their very own.

Hopefully, they both like grey, white and chevron. 🙂

Yes, for now having a completed nursery and no child means I have to stare at a crib that is only used right now as a clothes rack for John’s many suit pants. It won’t be like that forever, though. I know that, though sometimes, like last night, the enemy does his best to whisper fears into my ear and tempts me to allow them to sink into my heart. Sometimes the fear and the worry grips me more than other times; usually when I am stressed (like now — both of us changing jobs in the past month has led to very hard-and-fast transition) it is the worst. During those times, the thought “it’s always something keeping us from being parents” or “sometimes I don’t think this is ever going to happen” creep in. Thankfully, though, by nature I am a positive, the-glass-is-always-overflowing type of person, so those times of utter desperation and deep sadness are really few and far between – not that I don’t have them. I am human, after all.


I won’t lie. Having a nursery when you don’t even have a “due” date is not easy. It’s not for everyone by any means. It is, however, for me.

More importantly, the Lord constantly uses that back room to remind me that He is the Creator and Sustainer of my children, that He is bringing them to us in His timing and His way. He is using it to remind me that my children do exist, at least to Him; they are not just some figment of my imagination, though the enemy would have me believe otherwise. My loving Father is reminding me through sitting on the floor of a room that used to look completely different that He truly does make all things new, either now or when we are glorified and with Him and reunited with our baby we never met. He is reminding me that there can be JOY in the waiting, if I just allow the Holy Spirit to fill me and sustain me. He is reminding me that our journey – all of it, griddy-ness and all – matters.

Thank you, Jesus, that our messy journey to parenthood matters to You.
Most of all, thank you that our kids do, too. Lord, I believe; please help my unbelief.

 

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Nursery, Prayer, Purpose, Sanctification

When It’s Been Too Long

I have about 20 blog posts in my head that never got written.Oh well. What can you do? What can you do? I am here now. 🙂

Though extremely busy, 2014 has been exceptionally good to us thus far. This place of grace and happiness has been a welcomed change, indeed.

I will update everyone on the changes we have seen in our lives soon. In the meantime, I just wanted to publicly thank my Heavenly Father for all He has done, is doing, and will do on behalf of my family. As I bask in His grace, I am continually reminding myself of just how good and sovereign He will always be, no matter our circumstances.

After all, it is not just on the mountaintop that we are called to say, “Blessed be Your Name.” During this time of vast earthly blessing, I am trying to consciously remind myself of that every single day. I am no stranger to the fact that, with God’s permission, life can drastically change. I am aware of the fact that, within minutes, life can hurt, can wound in ways you could never imagine. He, though, thankfully always remains the same.

Right now, though, after seemingly being asked to stay so long in one valley or another, I am standing on the mountaintop and see nothing but blue skies around me. I know I owe it all to the One who is the Giver and Sustainer of life itself.  I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us next. 🙂

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generationforever and ever. Amen.”
Ephesians 3:20-21

 

 

 

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Filed under 2014, grace

What 2013 Taught Me

I don’t know what yours was like, but my 2013 was quite the year.

2013 was a year I’ll certainly never forget and wouldn’t necessarily want to re-live. I won’t, though, go as far as to say I wish I could just re-do 2013 all over again. Though it was excruciatingly hard, the lessons I learned within the crazy that was my 2013 were well worth the pain and will never, ever be forgotten.

I’m not going to re-hash my entire year in this post, as there is plenty of posts already written (even whole series — read here and here) about much of what transpired in my life last year; others part of my life have remained more private, as they should.  If you haven’t been reading my blog the past year, just know I, even one with a wild imagination, could never have written the journey through which the Lord asked me to walk in 2013, especially the first 8 months of it.

As much as you’d like to think differently, you can’t change the past. You can only move forward. 2013 was what it was and it’s my job to learn from it, embrace the brokenness that came in many areas from it, and walk in 2014 full of joy and hope, just like I did when I walked unknowingly into the madness that was last year.

So, what did 2013 teach and/or remind me?
Well, lots of things.

Here’s some examples, in no particular order (except the 1st one):

  • God is still good and sovereign. Absolutely nothing can change that fact.

Though 2013 was my hardest yet, my steadfast belief in God’s sovereignty and goodness did not change. Were their moments I struggled with why God allowed me to become unexpectedly pregnant, let alone why He then allowed our child to die? Of course. I’m a human, after all. I am a human, though, who has seen the hand of God all over their life time and time again, even when things look the darkest from an earthly perspective.

  • My life is not about me.

After almost dying at 19, I am blessed to know from a young age that my life is not about me but instead the glory of God being displayed through how I respond to not only life’s highest highs but also its lowest lows. Though I know I didn’t do it perfectly, I hope that this year I brought Him glory through how I dealt with the circumstances He allowed into my life for my refining and His glory. I pray I do the same in 2014, no matter what happens.

  • My marriage is rock solid and can withstand anything that life throws its way.

I didn’t say my marriage is perfect, because it most certainly isn’t; it does involve two humans, after all. 😉 It is, though, rock solid, and it just keeps getting better. 2013 was the hardest year yet for our four-year-marriage. I’m thankful to say, though, that everything we went through this year brought us even closer together, horrible miscarriage included. During this year, at times, we fought a lot. At times, we cried a lot. At times, to be honest, we struggled a lot…but we came out on the other side a stronger, more unified couple. We came out a better definition of two people living “one flesh.” We came out of the struggle closer to the Lord on an individual basis as well as a corporate one. As  a couple, we came out of 2013 changed, changed for good! I can’t imagine displaying God’s love for the Church through marriage with anyone else than my best friend.  He rocks my world. 🙂

  • I long to be a mother more than sometimes I even know.

This could, and eventually will, be the subject of a whole post. Stay tuned. 🙂

  • Adoption (at least our journey) is hard – really hard – but so worth it. We can’t wait to meet Noah and Hannah and pray they join our family at the same time. 🙂

The giant mountain of paperwork hasn’t even been the hardest part. Being married to a really detailed-oriented person, though, definitely helped in that area. 🙂 No, the paperwork has been a breeze compared to other things, mostly emotional in nature, through which we’ve had to work; some of those things are just a part of the usual process (and will be written about in another series) and others are unique to our particular situation. No matter what comes up, though, the important thing is we’re committed to working through it; we’re committed to finding our children and bringing them home. No matter what, we Paynes don’t ever give up.

  • People like other people’s drama and shy away from public expressions of grief.

I learned this lesson back in the Spring/Early Summer. I had thousands of people (mostly strangers) suddenly flocking to my blog to read all 21 posts about our hard-to-believe adoption/surrogacy/pregnancy/miscarriage/adoption journey. Only an 1/8 of that audience read, though, after the 13th installment of the aforementioned series when I was heartbroken, and therefore devoted three blog posts to redeeming my miscarriage; most of the sharing of my posts stopped, too. Not surprisingly, most of that audience (and shares) returned once again when the other more-appealing series resumed for the last 7 posts.

Don’t get me wrong. I sincerely appreciated the concern (or curiosity) others showed (either through reading and/or contacting me) during my large series full of twists and turns. I just was rather shocked that my readership went down so much when I took a break from the other series (since I was initially hiding (even from my own parents) the fact I was sick post-miscarriage) to publicly deal with the intense grief that came with all that drama people loved to read. Though they were much, much fewer in nature, the private messages I did receive from that miscarriage series made the emotional exhaustion from writing them well worth it. It also reiterated to me just how important it is for me to obey His voice and live as transparently as possible, so that He can use me to encourage others who often feel alone in how they feel. I was amazed how alone so many women who have had miscarriages felt; it made me incredibly sad. It shouldn’t be this way, and as long as I’m alive, I will continue to be as real as possible (on that issue and others) so that others feel the freedom that comes with living without satanic shame.

Though I was humbled by my viewership this year, I don’t write for certain stat numbers. I write in order to be able to breathe, to connect with my Creator, to glorify His name and have Him do whatever with it He wants.  Your guess as to what He does with it in 2014 is as good as mine. No matter how many read, it’s all for Him!

  • Living “transparently” doesn’t have to mean giving anyone and everyone 24/7 access to your life, emotions, time, thoughtfulness, etc. without requiring anything from them; no, that would be toxic and will eventually leave you feeling burnt.  Having Christ-inspired, personal boundaries is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and others.

I wrote about this topic in my “mid-life crisis” series.

  • Though he came in contact with thousands, and was followed intensely by 12, even Jesus’ inner circle only consisted of 3 people. Yours will look about the same; don’t kid yourself into believing otherwise.

Not every friend sticks closer than a brother, and that’s OK. Life is full of relationships, each with their own level of closeness. Oftentimes, those in relationship aren’t even desiring the same level of closeness, but unless they’re willing to be honest with one another, one just assumes (and prays) the other will “get a clue”. Somewhere between sometimes and usually, the other party eventually does get a clue and is consequently left confused; that is, unless you’re like my former self, and then often you are left clueless for far longer than expected. In my case, for most of 2013, I also didn’t believe in personal boundaries, so my addiction to emotional harlotry didn’t help my case.

Some friendships are for a season, then fade, then come back again. Some never come back. Some evolve and change over time. You can be someone’s friend without giving them permission to know every single thing about you and vice/versa. You, unbeknownst to me until this year, can also do this while still upholding Christ’s call to love. In fact, sometimes the most loving thing you can do is let things change inside of, or even let go of, a relationship that is near and dear to you.

In rare cases, you will find those with whom your soul connects in a way that is, if I can say, not of this world. You will find people who just “get” you without you needing to explain yourself. They will give you the benefit of the doubt but be willing to confront you when needed. They will desire your good above their own, always without question. They will guard your heart as if it were their own. In your divinely-inspired friendship, you will give and take in a natural, beautiful exchange of wills. Cherish those people. Protect those people with a fierce and loyal love this world does not know.

  • With God’s help, you really can survive anything. Better yet, you can not only survive but thrive while in the midst of the deepest pain, no matter its nature.

I learned this valuable lesson in the physical realm back in 2005 and the emotional realm in 2013.

So what will 2014 bring?

I read a quote on New Year’s Eve that really spoke to me:
“A new year is at hand,” the king said. “We cannot tell what it will bring. If it brings peace, how thankful we shall all be. If it brings us continued struggle, we shall remain undaunted.”
King George VI

That is my prayer for 2014, that I remain undaunted in my commitment to the Lord and His sovereignty and goodness, no matter what befalls me this upcoming year. Whether it be another year of not having the opportunity to be a mother, another year of disappointments and confusion, or even death. By God’s grace, as long as I’m alive, I pray I remain undaunted in my commitment to Him.

Lord, let it be so.

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Filed under 2014, Adoption, Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Prayer, Purpose

Seeing Red

Some dates are etched in your memory forever.

Birthdays. Anniversaries. Days our loved ones pass away. Major life events. We all can list at least a few dates that automatically stick out in our minds, whether for welcomed reasons or not.

December 4, 2013 will always be one of those days for me. That was my estimated due date for the child I miscarried on April 1st at 5 weeks gestation. That was the day our child, as microscopic as he/she was, went to be with the Lord. That was the day part of me went to be with Him, too.

To say I was heartbroken after we miscarried is a gross understatement. If you recall, there was a lot already going on in our lives in early Spring. It was so much that the most grounded people would feel like they were losing their grip on their sanity prior to what transpired on April 1st. As we all know, the roller coaster wasn’t over, though.

Once the bleeding stopped, I was emotionally as empty as my formally impregnated uterus; in a matter of a few hours, the life had been sucked out of me, literally and figuratively. Like millions of women each year, I was left to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and move on.

For me, though, “moving on” was going to be a long, long journey.
It was going to be a much longer, harder, more private pilgrimage through grief than with what I (and, in some ways, others) was comfortable.
It was my journey, though, nonetheless.

The first few weeks, I would come home from work some days and just sit on the floor in our empty nursery. I would begin to replay over in my mind the trauma that had been the few weeks leading up to me unexpectedly getting pregnant, as well as the subsequent drama which led to finally having a confirmation that I had indeed miscarried and wasn’t losing my mind...or was I? 

When I was alone, the previous few months played out like a dramatic Nicholas Sparks’ movie in my head. Scene after scene, I saw the characters, i.e. me and my husband, develop and the plot thicken and thicken some more. The plot became so thick, I felt as if I were traveling through a dense fog in my head, a fog which would last for months. Some days the fog was so thick, I couldn’t tell if I was indeed the protagonist or the antagonist of my own story; some days I felt like both, sometimes simultaneously. As I dealt with post-miscarriage health complications for months on end on top of my grief, there seemed to be no climax of events (let alone a resolution) in sight, in my real life or in my imagination.  I wanted out of the madness. Honestly, some days I wanted to just go to sleep and never wake up. I wanted peace and rest, and those things seemed hard to come by at the time.

After all, it was hard to feel at peace when you feel you have failed as a woman, and more importantly, as a wife. For a myriad of reasons, that’s the way I felt for a long, long time. Thankfully, though, after months of spending time with the Lord, countless hours of conversation with my husband and a few close friends, and being forced to deal with the root of my feelings, I (for the most part) don’t feel that way anymore.

Thank God, I don’t usually feel that way anymore.
One day, I hope to say I don’t ever feel that way anymore.
One step at a time, though.

I don’t really feel it necessary (at least now) to take you through the play-by-play of the highs and lows of my journey of grief. I guess after the realization I came to during my mid-life crisis, I don’t feel anymore like I “owe” you, the reader, an “all-access” pass into the most personal caveats of my life. I guess I’m still learning to have boundaries in my relationships, online and off. I have to say, after a year of a lot of hurt and heartache, it feels good to not (usually) feel guilty for protecting myself emotionally.

Just know that the last 8 months of my life have been filled with extremely personal, heart-wrenching moments. It hasn’t always been pretty. In fact, many times it’s been rather ugly, but it’s always been one thing – real and raw. After all, love it or hate it, I know no other way to be. If there’s one thing I’ve re-learned during the craziness that has been my 2013, it’s that I can’t control a lot in my life. God, in His sovereignty and goodness, numbers my steps, oftentimes much differently than I would. On the flip side, though, I’m learning there are some things I can control, namely having healthy boundaries with people and owning and being proud of, instead of shaming, my own journey.

And oh the journey it has been.

I’m thankful, though, I’m finally far enough down the path that I can say I’m thankful for the past 8 months. I may not ever understand why John and I had to lose a child, or why it had to affect me so deeply, but I do know good has come of it.

do know that what Satan meant for evil, my gracious Lord meant for good. Yes, He meant it for my good and, more importantly, His glory. Those nights I lay crumbled up on the floor in my empty nursery, when I wasn’t sure if I was the protagonist or antagonist of my own story, I had forgotten to ask the Author and Finisher of my story who I am. Instead of trusting Him, I listened to my doubt. Instead of believing I am who He says I am (beloved and loved, far from a failure), I believe the father of lies who is always out to steal my (and your) joy and vision. Thankfully, I don’t forget anymore.

In the Old Testament, when God’s people had an unforgettable encounter with the LORD, they often built a memorial out of stone in commemoration of the event. They (and sometimes the LORD Himself) wanted a tangible reminder of what the LORD had done. I, too, wanted a tangible reminder of how the Lord had restored and healed my heart, so I completely changed my appearance (at least for now).

For almost 28 years, I was a blonde. Now, I’m a red head. 🙂

2013-12-05_16-12-01_263When I look in the mirror, I am constantly reminded of the fact I not only look like a completely different person, I am a completely different person because of God’s gracious work in my life! I’m pretty sure I will eventually go back to my roots (or closer to them than I am now 😉 ), but for now, I needed an external expression of a very powerful, inward change. The dye is temporary, but the branding on my heart is forever.


I finally see He is bringing much beauty from the ashes of my once shattered heart.
He is mending and strengthening. He is healing and restoring.
He is being what He always is – good. So, so good.

I’ll leave you with a song that has meant so very much to me over the past several months.

 

Father, thank you for loving me so.

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Filed under Baby, grace, Life, Marriage, Miscarriage, Redeeming Loss, Sanctification

Cosmic Shift

Drafts. A post. Lots more drafts.
That’s been the extent of my blogging the past several months.

Tears. Refining. More Tears. Did I mention tears?
That’s been my life the past several months.
Much of that just hasn’t been put into words, here or even in-person.

Why?
Well, because…

Sometimes the most powerful, gut-wrenching yet healing moments in life leave us simply so undone we (even I) am unable to utter a sound, let alone wax poetically about the cosmic shift occurring within. We are unable to ascertain just exactly what our Creator is doing in the miry depths of our disheveled soul, which can leave us feeling vulnerable to the core and, at times, scared of what is next. All I know is that, if we surrender to the beautiful chaos, when He’s done chipping away and putting back together, we will never be the same. I will never be the same.

Thank you, Father, I will never be the same.

More to come. 🙂

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Filed under grace, Life, Sanctification, Simplicity