Sunday, April 6, 2014

On grieving

I realize it's an interesting post that I write today, as I'm eagerly anticipating the arrival of our little miracles, but I'm realizing that I am still grieving the loss of "what could have been" at times.  I ultimately have peace in my heart, but I still grieve.

I passed a couple walking out of the doctor's office a few weeks ago.  The wife was crying, and the husband looked somber and was rubbing her back.  They could have been crying about anything, but I just had this feeling that they either just had a miscarriage or were told that they needed to see a fertility specialist.  My heart broke for them.  I wanted to tell them it would be ok and that they're not alone.  In this small moment of time, I realized again the privilege it is that I'm carrying twins in my womb.  This was not meant to be - by any scientific means - and if it weren't for the generosity of my father (and Father), we may still be waiting for our Gabriel...

My marriage with Andy is so sweet. I love our deep friendship, and our home is filled with laughter everyday, no matter what we're going through.  So, we have even come to a place where we can laugh at our situation.  The irony and the ridiculousness of it all.  That he is missing a small but extremely important reproductive part.  We can laugh!  We can tease!  But there is still grieving.

Throughout this pregnancy, I have learned here and there how to live in the moment and be thankful for what we have--not looking to the future and asking How? or What if? or Will we?  But there are still times that I think of the other children we want and I just get sad.  Why did this happen to us?  I wish we could just plan when we want our next child and go get pregnant.  I love adoption, but I want to choose it out of an overflow of our hearts' desire, not out of obligation.  (and financially, adoption is still a pricey option)

Jesus doesn't push me away in my grief.  He doesn't say, "We've already been over this.  Why are you still sad?"  Sometimes He is the only One who understands.  When I hear of people getting pregnant again, and I am happy but have to run to the secret place to meet with God, He doesn't scold me.  He is the most patient, most understanding Father.

I've started reading the sequel to a book called Hinds Feet on High Places, which has been very influential and impactful to me in my walk with God.  This book is called Mountains of Spices (by Hannah Hurnard), and it's "an allegory about human weaknesses and strengths comparing the spices in Song of Solomon to the fruits of the Spirit".  Yesterday morning I read a part in the chapter on Joy that really struck me.  I have since written the words down in my journal twice.  I believe that it was God's way of encouraging me in this trial that we're still in...  the trial of life.  Infertility will never leave us.  We will never solve this problem.  I will always carry that in my heart--not in an unhealthy way, but just as a cross I am to bear.  We can't escape it.  But will I let it change me for His glory?  Will I choose joy on the path of suffering?

The main character in this book is named Grace and Glory after she was taken to the high places by the Shepherd in the first book.  On the journey to the high places, she learned much about God's ways and was transformed from "Much Afraid" into "Grace and Glory".  She was given a new name and now a new outlook on life.  In this chapter on Joy, the Shepherd is showing Grace and Glory the mountain where the camphire bushes grow.  "Before the perfumed oil could be produced by the plant, the ground around the bushes needed to be manured with a bitter substance which the roots of the bushes drew in from the soil and changed into the oil of gladness. There were certain seasons when [the Shepherd's] workmen treated the soil in this way, just before the heavy winter rains and snows began when  everything on the bushes faded and fell to the ground and the branches were left completely bare." (pg. 66).

Grace and Glory thought this was so sad and didn't understand why the beautiful fruit would have to endure bitterness and death.  The Shepherd responded with a song that explained why.  Grace and Glory then understood, remembering the hard journey she took to the high places, which in turn gave her the greatest joy and she came to know the King.  She responds:

"If other nights of sorrow must come to me," she said to herself, "I can never fear nor dread them again, for I know they are only the seasons when the camphire bushes of the King are prepared and made ready to produce the oil of gladness.  Oh, how lovely His thoughts and HIs plans are, how great is His wonderful goodness and loving-kindness.  His ways of grace past finding out!  Oh, that I may always react to sorrow in such a way that it will be overcome and be changed into His joy." (pg. 68)

The Shepherd's response is what has been impacting my heart majorly these past couple of days:

"There is absolutely no experience, however terrible, or heartbreaking, or unjust, or cruel, or evil, which you can meet i the course of your earthly life, that can harm you if you will but let Me teach you how to accept it with joy; and to react to it triumphantly as I did Myself, with love and forgiveness and with willingness to bear the results of wrong done by others.  Every trial, every test, every difficulty and seemingly wrong experience through which you may have to pass, is only another opportunity granted to you of conquering an evil thing and bring out of it something to the lasting praise and glory of God.

You sons and daughters of Adam, in all your suffering and sorrow, are the most privileged of all beings, for you are to be perfected through suffering and to become the sons and daughters of God with His power to overcome evil with good.  If only you realized your destiny, how you would rejoice at every experience of trial and tribulation, and even in the persecution which comes your way.  You would 'count it all joy.'  You would take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions and distresses for Christ's sake 'for when you are weak, then you learn how to be made strong.'"  (page 70, 71)

So, again, I'm learning that we become like Him in our death.  That I should count my sufferings and trials as joy because He is giving me opportunities to walk as He walked and become more like Him.  In my weaknesses, He is strong.  My weaknesses may become my greatest strengths, somehow.

Our little boys will remind me again and again and again that God makes beauty out of ashes.  I will still grieve our infertility, but I believe that this trial will continue to be made into joy.  

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