Wednesday, September 25, 2013

He is Gracious...

I am sincerely troubled about writing this, because it is so close to a situation happening, and I fear that some may take it very personally. However, this is my own struggle dealing with it.

Last night, someone told me, "Just wait until you become a mom". These seven words were heart wrenching to hear. Like a stab of hurt. A slice of pain. You see, in those 7 little words, the truth that I am a mother, was diminished. The truth that I have been trying so hard to hold onto, that I have children, was attacked just once more. An innocent statement, but a hurtful one. In a mere matter of seconds, it showed that since their child was alive, mine did not matter. A slew of words, making me matter less than them because they are mothers, and I, apparently am not. I had to really struggle to be gracious in that moment. I opened my mouth, and said, "It is hard for me to hear you say that. You don't understand, but when a miscarriage happens, the desire grows stronger." I had to struggle to not say, "Hey, thanks for asking how I am doing. Did you know that I got to have an appointment with an infertility physician and your comment is totally rude and careless." I thought about Proverbs. How many times it talks about being silent, and a wise man listens, and everything else. I was more than likely foolish to speak, but even now, I think, "Do you know what it took for me to come over and speak to you about how you are adjusting to motherhood? Do you know what it takes for me to not avoid you? All you can talk about is yourself? Have you even bothered to ever ask me how I am doing? Why do you want everyone to rejoice with you, but you can't mourn with me?" I am still hurt, still struggling with graciousness.

I keep thinking about how gracious I have to be all the time. I wonder how often people have to be gracious with me. I know that I am not above it, just because I have a harder road to walk. I still have to watch my words. I still have to watch my actions. I wonder if anyone can understand the courage it takes to muster even seeing another's newborn child. I wonder if anyone knows the strength it takes to babysit every day. I am selfish. I know. I wonder if anyone knows the pure tenacity it takes to see children growing, that should be right alongside mine, and to not blow a gasket. Yet, I still wonder. You see, there is a pain that goes farther down than any mother can actually know, unless they have been through miscarriages. I feel that there is even more to urge...because I know. I understand.

Dealing with miscarriages doesn't end at a certain time. It doesn't end at being pregnant again. It doesn't end. There will be a day, with no more pain and no more fears (thanks Jeremy Camp), but that's hard to get to that day. Obedience doesn't mean that day will come in this lifetime, nor does faith or trust. They alleviate, they help, they heal, but they don't cure. Care for someone you know when they deal with this, please, I beg of you. It doesn't have to be me. But their heart cries, their heart hurts. Help them, be gracious with your words, with your time, with your prayers, with your actions, and with your thoughts.

I keep thinking about Ephesians 5 as I write this. Particularly verses 1&2, and 15&16. "Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.....Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.".
I know that I struggle with bitterness and jealousy on a daily basis, yet I also know that I try to set aside my feelings and love others. I try to "mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice". I also know that I am not stellar at it. I know I fail...a lot. I know it isn't good enough a lot of the time. I know that I probably make people uncomfortable. I know I am not really that great anyways. I know, but I try. 

A long time ago, while listening to Brett teach, I wrote this note. I don't remember his teaching, but I remember writing this. "How can we fix a broken world, when we, as fellow Christians are broken and few are willing to spend the investment to help others heal". I am fairly sure that came from me, but it could have come from Pastor Brett, I honestly don't remember. I still think about that often though. How many of us are broken, torn apart, begging for healing, asking for healing--yet hardly anyone notices, sees it, and even if they do, responds to it? Is this living as wise and making the most of every opportunity? Is this mourning when others mourn? Is this iron sharpening iron? I am awful at this, I am so selfish of wanting everyone to validate my feelings that I don't even realize that someone else may be in just the same amount of pain as I am--maybe with a different issue, but pain is pain. Hurt is hurt.

I have been rambling a lot lately, no clear focus to my writing. My only thought, is dealing with miscarriages, and now infertility--and no one asking. No one caring to know. The hurt that happens with the pain of circumstances, is magnified by others. I don't want someone else I know to go through that. I am thankful for this period of life, because it has given me a perspective for the hurting that wasn't there before. I was wrapped in my own little cocoon of selfishness. It isn't an easy cocoon to break. I am thankful to experience God's love in a different way. A way, that transcends myself. A way that I get to say, "It isn't because I loved, it's because God loved" every time I visit new parents. Every time I babysit. A way that I get to value children more because I desire to have them more. A way that God lets me invest in children's lives, and a way, that although it's hard many days, I can say, "God loves me, so I am loving you. You do not deserve the bitterness, anger, or jealousy I struggle with.". Ultimately, it's simple. I love, only because God allows me to love beyond myself. I frequently wonder if friends that become parents are disappointed with me. That I didn't do enough to show that I am happy for them. I wonder if I am not a good enough friend because I don't always put my feelings aside. I say stupid things. I am harsh. Sigh, but I am trying. Be gracious because He is gracious.

Friday, September 20, 2013

He Remembers

I am sitting here on this fall day, enjoying my pumpkin chai protein smoothie for breakfast. I have been in a contemplative mood as of late, maybe it's the weather, maybe it's all the children being born, I am unsure. I sit here and wonder if anyone can truly understand my heart--if anyone would try. I sit here wondering, how much time is reading this blog of mine worth? How many of my actual friends read it? How many of them take the time to know my heart, my struggles, my sorrow, and even my joy? Although this sounds selfish, I wonder what am I worth--what are my children worth?

A few days ago on Facebook, I had written a status wondering why, we, as followers of Christ, determine others' value. Just because a child is born, does that make them more valuable? The simple answer, is no. Just because a homeless man is at CrossRoads, does that make them more worthy of my donation? Once again, the simple answer, is no. Just because there are living children that need adopted, does that make the leftover embryos from IVF worth less of our thoughts for adoption? No. Just because someone publicly announces their hurt or pain, does that make their pain more valuable than someone who may not? No. 

This is my struggle lately, the struggle that everyone, myself included, has no time for others. The value of life is oh so little for each other. I can write this through a lens of miscarriage upon miscarriage, because it is what I know, what I have experienced. In our "Christian Culture" there is a massive epidemic of selfishness. Even in our hurt we have selfishness. We want everyone to lay down what they are doing just to let us know that individually, we are cared about, we are loved, we are not forgotten. God remembers the sparrow, but do we? God knows every hair on our head, but do would anyone be able to spend that much time with one friend to know how many hairs on their head they have? (I know that sounds awkward, sorry). 

You want to know the hard part? Essentially, we are too busy to care about anyone but ourselves. Even if you are serving in your church with 75% of your time, are you truly serving to minister to others, or are you serving just to serve? Are you serving because it's the right thing to do, or are you serving with others' interests at heart more? Are you serving as Christ served, making yourself low, doing the lowly things, so that others may be held higher in the love of Christ? Are you even serving at all? Are you "too busy" to serve? Christ came to serve others. He spent 33 years serving others, he died just to serve others, His Father turned His face away from Jesus, and He still served. He stayed on that cross, even though He had the ability to get off the cross. He stayed. He remembered the broken, He remembered the hurt, He remembered the ones separated from His Father. 

Nothing makes one life more valuable than another. Nothing. So why do we treat it as such? Although it may be easier to focus on joy and new children (once again, my lens is on) I ask that you consider this. When a woman becomes a new mother, why are they delivered meals, whereas one that has had a miscarriage, or dealing with infertility, is not. I completely understand giving meals to new moms, I have done it quite a few times, it's good for them, useful, helps them. But what about someone like me? Someone who may just have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because she failed, again, to carry a baby full term. What makes joy more valuable than grief? Even in the adoption process, people pass over embryos leftover from IVF, to adopt a child that has been born. Is it wrong to adopt a child? No. But who are we to say that an embryo--WHICH WE BELIEVE IS LIFE--is worth less than a child in Uganda? Why can we give nothing to the mad standing on the corner by WalMart, but we can donate to CrossRoads? Just because we KNOW they aren't trying to just get money for alcohol? We could sit and talk with them, we could give them a bag a personal toiletries, and brochures to churches, we could give them a meal--what makes the homeless people at CrossRoads more important? None of these things are wrong, but the wrong thing is what we outwardly do to show that one is more valuable than another. Christ died for all, not just the ones we decide He died for--so why do we treat each other differently?

On a little bit of a side note, I am struck by just how few people take the time to truly check in with me, or know the due dates of Myka, Nathaniel, and Hezekiah. I am struck by how alone I am in remembering these days that are so important to me. I am struck by how, not even Simeon, recognizes when these things happened. In the midst of being alone though, I remember that My God remembers. It isn't a fix all thought, I still feel alone in my musings, my hurts, my self blame for miscarrying, my failures to deliver a healthy baby, and my thoughts on what they look like, what they would look like, what their laugh would sound like, what color are their eyes, what color is their hair, would they be fast movers, or go slowly, would they delight in destroying toys or building them? What would I do for their first birthday (Nathaniel's would have been on Wednesday, if he was on time)? How many people would be present for it? How many people are present for it now? God remembers. God knows. Some days it's enough, other days it isn't. Are we, as the body of Christ willing to step up to care, love and encourage others on the days where God seems so far off? On the days it seems He has turned His face away from us? As my rambling comes to a close, I have learned to challenge myself. I will not be the status quo in the Christian Culture. I will take the time to invest to others. I will take the time to grieve with them, rejoice with them, cry with them and laugh with them. I will serve others, so that they may be lifted up with encouragement and love. I may still have a lens of pain and hurt, but I can say one thing. Through wishing and essentially being selfish in my pain, I now know, what I believe to be missing from our lives as follower of Christs. Ministering to others' pain. Some pain is but a moment, but some lasts a lifetime--I will not treat it as if all pain is a moment, I will remember, just as my God does. I now know the heartache of pain that doesn't leave. It ebbs, it flows, but one thing is constant, it will always be there.