Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The post that was entitled 'Jealousy'

I've never thought to look up why green is associated with jealousy, but it seems fitting seeing how green is my favorite color and I am a jealous person.

I'm not boasting at all in my tendency to jealousy. I'm just being honest. Even before Owen died, I remember feeling like everyone else had it all together. They had, well, pick something and I was probably jealous of it. 

Watching women with huge, beautiful bellies swollen with babies that (in my head) won't die; seeing mommies and daddies playing with their children, holding them close in their arms can make me fall to pieces with longing and well, with jealousy too. 

I am so tired of being jealous. I'm exhausted with my tendency to covet what other people have. Really, when you think about it, I am jealous of what our Father has ordained for them and how His plans can look so different (read: unfair). 


In the past two weeks, I have been pulled pretty far from my comfort zone. 
I admit that I will do pretty much anything to remain comfortable in my circumstances, my home, my marriage, my life. It feels so much nicer to stay within the bounds of comfortability rather than step out in faith and trust that our Father actually knows what He is doing. 

By His Spirit, I have a really good friend who has a 29 month old daughter. If my plans had been the Lord's, I would have an almost 21 month old running amok in my house. What a cute couple they would have made! 
Two weeks ago, L. asked me if I would be willing to babysit her little girl. The Lord was merciful to provide the strength and willingness to do this for my friend. 
Baby-sitting sweet little G. could have been a horrible experience, not because she's a difficult child, but because I am a jealous person. 
The second time she asked me to babysit, I jumped at the chance. What a joy G. is and how fun it was to look after her for my friend. This time, though, I would be baby-sitting G. at her house and not in the middle of a doctor's office while her mommy had an appointment. 
I was a little apprehensive walking into L.'s house that morning. What would it be like to 'play house' with someone else's child? Would I make it through? Would I feel like the mother that I am or just a teenaged babysitter? Would I fall apart with jealousy?

It had been two and a half years since I'd taken an offer to babysit (at someone's house) and I wondered if it would feel different now that I was a mother.

It is obvious that I did not feel like G.'s mother, but I did feel different this time around. We danced and played dress up, we cuddled on the sofa and enjoyed the treat of watching Barney and Caillou (believe it or not, I had never seen Caillou before). 

It felt different holding her next to me and letting her rest her hands on my arms. I smiled and wondered if she needed the physical contact to make her feel secure. Her little head bobbed down a few times but she wouldn't acknowledge how sleepy she was. It felt different...

While we were sitting on the sofa watching her favorite shows, my gaze drifted out the window and amazingly, there was a striking red bird looking straight at me. I smiled, knowing how much our Father loves me. He knows my affinity for red birds and what a strong connection they hold for me to my precious little boy. 

I did feel pangs of jealousy and an intense longing for Owen, but I also felt very assured of God's love for him and me. 
By His Spirit, I do feel assured of our Father's good plans for my life and the good works He is orchestrating through my precious son's life and death.


I long to trust our Heavenly Father. The Spirit in me desires closeness to the Father and my flesh is busy looking at what my neighbor has. 
It is a constant battle. It is a deep struggle, but praise God, Jesus has finished the work and won the war. It is right now, and not yet.

Monday, July 20, 2009

waiting waiting waiting

I remember writing about waiting a few months ago. I think it was something like this:

'sometimes waiting feels an awful lot like being stuck.'


Yep. It still does.


I know that's not true though (even though it feels true). I know there is a purpose to waiting. A purpose to this day. A purpose to all things.
I pray to trust our Father's providence, his timing.

I want to run this race well.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Red Tape

We've been trying to navigate some pretty silly/weird/so-crazy-it-is-almost-funny red tape in our part of the country...well, county to be more specific...well, it is even more specific than that, but I won't go into the details because, well, I think I can make my point without them.

After all those 'wells' I had better make my point well. *he he*


You know when you call someone (say in a rental agency, for example) on Monday and they promise to get back to you soon, you expect at least a day, maybe a day and a half before a phone call. Okay, so Thursday rolls around and still no word from said place of business. You make the call again and receive a slightly flustered, formerly polite, woman informing you that she did not promise to get back to you and she, in fact, is not the person you need to be speaking with, but so 'n so from another department should handle your request. Okay...

Transferred to said 'other person' and explain situation yet again and then get the run around about how she's actually not in charge of those types of requests, but after putting you on hold, comes back on the line to say that she can get in contact with the person who can evaluate our situation and manage our request, and then, contact us with the answer.
How long, you ask, until we receive the answer?

Well, under normal circumstances, we might let this 'problem' hang over our heads and wait (patiently/impatiently?) for a few days, but seeing as we've been dealing with said situation for 6 WEEKS (!) we weren't too keen on waiting anymore.
We email, we call, we border on 'the crazy' and finally after many frustrated conversations, we get the answer we've been waiting for...

YES!

I can almost hear the sigh of relief on the other end of the phone and a whispered "Get off my back, you crazy monkey!" before we disconnect.


All this to say, these seemingly never ending series of conversations has got me thinking about how I view God when I pray.
God is not a God of red tape. Even in our waiting on Him, it is not red tape we are navigating. The waiting is all part of His good sovereign plan for our good and His glory.
Yes, I know. It can be hard. Hard seems to lack the fierceness I am trying to detail. Excruciating, maybe?
But it is not red tape and the waiting is not punishment. I have to remind myself of this when I find myself trying to impress/sway/cajole God into bending to my will, giving me what I want or taking away some painful burden or situation. We are not beggars. There is no need to beg God for something. I have the tendency to do this in my most desperate prayers, but this week a good friend reminded me that we are His children and we never have to beg.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Birth

It felt like I had been slapped in the face. Or the stomach.
The air came gushing out of my mouth and I choked on the sob that threatened to escape.

Sitting in the third row of church, my back stiffened and I involuntarily tightened my hands into fists. Forcing myself to unclench them, they ran straight to my sides where they stayed clutching my ribs until I could no longer hold my composure. I reached down to the floor, grabbed my purse and tried (unsuccessfully) to make a quiet exit. I knew I shouldn't have sat in the third row, but there was a baby in the back and no where else to go.


Lately, it's been so easy to go to church. It's not like I'm always comfortable there, or really want to go; but the Spirit in me makes it quite obvious that I need to go. I need to hear the good news, the Gospel, and I need the community.

No, they aren't like me in tangible ways that are not always noticeable to those who don't know me or even to those who have forgotten; but we are all in the same boat. We are all foreigners in this land, struggling to live the lives we've been given by our Father.

These truths were easily forgotten yesterday when H. (our pastor) started in on some of most widely used symbols in the Bible. Conception. Birth. Infants.
I thought I could handle it. I really did. I underestimated H.'s ability to get carried away with symbolism and I overestimated my strength that day.

Do you remember these two sweet friends? Well, both their babies were born (living) recently. One just this past week. Oh, how I rejoice with her and over her precious little girl.
H. made reference to the latest baby born and how her mother was back in church four days later- "I had always thought giving birth was a bigger deal than it really is. I guess I was mistaken..."

Ouch.

Yes, he was just joking, but for me, it hurt like hell. And the hurt didn't end there.

With his next comment, I thought things had taken a turn for the better and my heart soared to hear his words. Oh, how they rang with truth. 'We rejoice over M.'s birth, but we must remember that her life began 9 months ago in her mother's womb. At conception. A miracle of God's orchestrating. Life at conception.'
My eyes began to tear and I smiled haphazardly up at H. Yes, I whispered, yes!


As you can imagine, he wasn't done with the symbolism. He hadn't even made his point yet.
I'm trying to remember word for word what he said, but honestly it's all a blur. Birth; I know his next words were birth and cries of shock and then came the details of a birth story I've heard of but not experienced. I'm going to get this all wrong, but I'll try to explain it-

STILLBIRTH.

The word is ugly and harsh after the beautiful details of a baby born alive and screaming.
My vision blurs and I honestly don't know how I lasted as long as I did. I felt like everyone was watching me and no one was looking all at the same time. Was Owen's death so long ago that the word stillbirth would echo in the room without anyone remembering my sweet child?

He spoke for a long time about stillbirth, each time he said the word my grip tightened around my waist. Maybe I could hold myself together...maybe...

I should have gotten up sooner. I shouldn't have put myself through the sermon, I didn't hear most of it anyways. I just kept thinking, 'Get to the point! Get to the point!' My brain kept telling me that the longer I sat there, the clearer it would all be. Maybe he would say what I was hoping to hear- a reprieve, or a nod of recognition. I just don't know what I was waiting for.

I walked what seemed a walk of shame down the aisle, away from the words of a man trying to point his congregation to Jesus. I walked quickly until I got outside the door and then made myself slow down so I could cry and walk at the same time. I fumbled in my purse for my phone and called one of the only people who would know what to say about what I had just heard. S. whose two daughters live in Heaven with Owen. 23 and 18 years ago they died.
'Where you in church this morning? What did he mean? What was he trying to say?' I had a hard time forming the words, but she understood. I knew she would.

Friends, I am still not so sure I can tell you what H. was trying to communicate to us through the imagery of birth and stillbirth. The part of me that was once a young naive Christian who had no wounds from a birth of a baby she desperately wanted...that part of me hidden deep inside, she can hear what H. was trying to articulate; but it is shadowed and overwhelmed by who I have become because of Owen's birth after his death.


The images of conception and birth are so ubiquitous, so widely known that it is something we all connect with. It is as simple and as powerful as this: we were all conceived and born.

For me ,though, birth is something sad. Silent, still, heart breakingly sad.
I pray for the redemption of birth. I pray for a different experience to draw from. I will always have Owen's birth etched in my mind, my heart. I don't want to forget.
I still pray for the redemption of birth.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Instead

I had a really funny post about shoveling poop that I was going to post this week, but things took a different turn. They always do, don't they?

Instead of writing the dates of first, second, third trimester landmarks, I am starting over again this month. Instead of calculating my March due date, I am turning to the month of April...

Yeah, you get the picture. I often wonder if I write too personally on this blog, if I give out too much information- sometimes I think it's called for and other times I wonder 'what's the point?'

The point of this post...

I was 5 days late this month. I was CERTAIN that I was pregnant. I mean, so certain that I knew my due date and the possible date of my induction. I knew when I would hit the second trimester and so on.
Yesterday, the unwelcome visitor I wasn't expecting showed up.


We spent last week at a beach in Florida. I'm the kind of person that craves the beach. Every year I count down the days until our departure. Everything seems better there, more beautiful and pristine. The air is fresh, the sun is warmer, the sounds are more defined. The things I hope for, the things I desire the most seem possible, my hope of being pregnant this month soared.
When we came home last Sunday, I was still waiting for the 'visitor'. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...I waited. Each passing day I grew more hopeful and excited. Monday morning, I started having that tightening feeling in my abdomen and wondered....'what if...what if...'
I slept fitfully each night, wondering what I would wake up to. After some urging from Chris and a few friends, I got a blood test on Wednesday afternoon. I still haven't gotten the results back- there isn't any need for them now.


Walking down the sidewalk to my favorite deli (in desperate need of a Cherry Coke), I wondered what my sweet friends would say when I told them that His answer this month was 'no'.
I wondered if they would feel sorry for me...I was feeling so sorry for myself...
Seemingly out of nowhere, the Spirit within in reminded me of my identity. What a shock.
I was quite content to wallow in my sadness and feelings of despair (when, Lord, when?), but He was not.
I was hit with not just the (warm and fuzzy) feeling, but with the knowledge that I am a child of God. I am the daughter of the most High. Beloved.

I am still sad, friends. But I do not feel sorry for myself. I have a Father who loves me and one day, He will make all things right.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Due

Sweet Sunshine,

Today you were due to be born. My little firecracker baby. I had a feeling you were a girl....but I also had that same feeling about your big brother, Owen. I think, no matter your gender, your name should stay Sunshine.
Sweet precious Sunshine, you shined so much brightness into our sad, dark days. We loved having you here with us to celebrate Owen's 1st birthday. What a special gift you are.

I can't wait to hold you in my arms. I know it will be like we never parted.
All the years between your death and ours, it won't matter then. All the memories and things we missed out on- I know they won't matter either.
I can't help to dwell on them now though.

I miss you.

I wanted you. so much.

You were so so loved the 6 weeks and 4 days we had you here. You are so loved now too. Rest in His arms tonight...

We will always count you as one of our children.
You will always count.



I love you, precious child. I love you so much.
Your Mommy