Thursday, January 29, 2015

Feeling the heartbeat of loss itself.

   Most people say, "I'll never forget the day...", but I have to achingly admit, I'll never remember; I'll never remember so many of the details of that whirlwind of a day. I'll never remember, though I try, the only time I saw baby #4 on that tiny screen down in the left hand corner. I had waited two full months to get to a doctor so I could hold paper evidence of what I knew was growing inside of me. This was not just another pregnancy, not that any is, this was a prayed for little child. We waited for this miracle for over a good year & a half; this baby was wanted. This baby was dreamed about, thought of, and would have been delivered into a room full of wide open arms, which included three siblings who had made big space in their hearts (and rooms).  And when I saw that fragile little life on that screen, I remember the doctor turning the monitor on, and here's when you're supposed to hear that loud, "thump thump thump", but instead only a deafening silence echoed back; you know that silence? The silence you sometimes get when you ask God why? Or the aching silence of being utterly alone.  That was me. On that sonogram table. I was thankful ultrasounds were done in dark rooms because light would have given me away; and somehow I knew by the way the nurse looked at me with pity and the doctor made his medical analysis, that I was just another girl with another miscarriage. And I don't honestly remember all the big words that doctor sputtered off, I just remember him talking, while I stared at that tiny screen, and mouthed to that little being, please wake up.  This was the last time I saw that baby...and for the record, it was beautiful. 

    The weekend following this doctor visit, I had done respite care for a two yr old boy & his three week old preemie sister.  I remember the night plainly when the miscarriage started, more so than the day of seeing my baby on that screen. I had been up hours in the night exchanging grins, feeding, & rocking this baby girl who was new to our painful, fallen world. Everything about her, down to her dainty little nose was capturing. Her brother had already experienced loss, fear, and that utter alone-ness before his third birthday. Loss has a way of doing crazy things to people. It adds awkwardness to our life; dealing with a massive hole in your life makes your people skills tough. Chit Chatter & your everyday cup of tea becomes frustrating, but sometimes we live with that, trying to make it work, trying to fit in where we are, to avoid the deafening silence that makes us hold our ears. But isn't this what God told me to do? In that cold office, the one in the ER that day, the one where my husband & I sat & listened to a new born cry while we registered for my d&c; yes, that very day, I turned to look at an empty desk across from where we sat that held a sign that read, 'BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.' Maybe the person who normally occupies that desk meant to have it there, but I know that day it was there for me. 

       I'll never forget, it was a sunday night. I was lying on my back with this preemie asleep on my chest. It was the only way she wanted to sleep. Sometimes we just want to be held all through the night, and don't want to be left alone in the dark. Does anyone relate to this? My side began to give me almost intolerable pain & I needed to get off my back but did not want to wake the baby. I waited a little longer before shifting the babe & I, but before I did I remember feeling her heart beat. It was steady & peaceful, as if she felt perfectly safe sleeping to the pattern of my every breath. I did not know then, but I know now, it was the very moment the heartbeat of my own baby stopped. Here I was seeping into loss, yet feeling the heartbeat of one who was loss herself. I held life that night ( and a couple weekends after) that was desperately  trying to just stay alive. I got to nurture and cup a sacred heart beat that was a logo for loss. Because of her part in my story that weekend & the comfort she brought me & my kids,  in later weekends, she will always be special, and I will always make an effort to keep up with them. We will be an open door for the rest of their lives. 
The weekend my slow & painful loss began, is the weekend two babies came home with me with nothing but a diaper bag to their name, they knew nothing but loss, and somehow when loss meets loss, they're filled. Kind of like when deep calls out to deep. Even though it's loss, you're not alone anymore. And anytime there's a death doesn't God bring life through it, or anytime one of His children suffer, those nail scarred hands bring joy in the morning. Doesn't a God, who is love Himself, know the ultimate loss of a child? And doesn't He continue to experience loss through disobedient children and those who reject His loss of the ultimate sacrifice. Yes, I am convinced that love Himself knows what a painstakingly aching heart feels like. 

     From here is where my testimony to my health begins and our foster/adoption journey took off. May days of rain meet days of sunshine, may days of dark meet days of bright, may days of loss meet days of arm fulls, and if it doesn't, may we continue to be still and continue knowing (believing, trusting, finding out) He is God. And when loss meets loss, or pain meets pain, or abandonment abandonment, or fear fear, then may the one who conquered all these things through death, be the one and only who fills exactly what He understands. 

  And sometimes pain equips us for the calling ahead....if little ones come through my door and know nothing but loss, then may pain meet pain and slowly watch a beautiful garden grow in our hearts. A garden that bears fruit & seed of the rarest kind; whose Gardener has scarred hands and is skilled in tending scarred hearts. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When pleasing God is not your habit.

  It has been months since I felt the slightest tug, the slightest inspiration, the slightest motivation to write. I wonder why, I think to myself between the mounds of duties through out the day. Am I just at a busy stage of life? Please don't tell me I'm still comparing my writings to others that say all the right things? But they really do. Don't we outgrow that 'comparing' phase in highschool? Will I ever grow up? 

I'm surprised God is still bothering with me.

These scattered thoughts pile high as I recollect the miserable failings I had that day. Maybe it was when I lost my cool and yelled earlier. Why can I not get around to hosting friends for dinner again? I keep forgetting to return so and so's phone call. I meant to remember her birthday this year, what a lame friend I am. Why does the mud room seem to resemble all the rooms this week?  

 It's no wonder I haven't been inspired, how can I encourage others when I'm sitting in the middle of a big ol' mess created by my lack of grace and good nature. 

I'm just admitting I'm not perfect. I'm just admitting I get uninspired. I'm just stating the raw truth of my frail, dust made being. I'm simply confessing that I sometimes strive more to please YOU than....Him. 

And when I do that, I find I cannot please. I cannot write good enough, I cannot get more inspired, I cannot keep up, I find that I am dirt made and feel the reality of it. 

But amongst all the imperfect, I get a nudge--a stir--a whisper. Do you not love how the Lord woos us back to Him? How He Invites us back to commune with Him? Our filthy rags and all. 

We walk right across our muddy floors (maybe it's just mine) and past the blaring calendar of missed birthdays, past the open laptop of awesome blog posts of those ladies that probably really do have it right, past the iphone lit up with missed calls and notifications and find the feet we so desperately need to bow to, cling to, yield to, cry to, pour to.... 

It's like the woman who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and poured OUT her most valuable item she owned, on one she knew was worth more than a thousand bottles of perfume. Yes, it's like her. The one whose life was in shambles. The one who carried guilt from the day's preceding, from the weeks preceding, the years...

It's exactly like her. The one who knew she could never please her on lookers. But she didn't try. She knew her worth without the critics. But what's humbling is she ran to the one with whom she did not have to pretend. The one who knew it all, saw it all, felt it all, forgave it all, and covered it all. 

Her on lookers saw a wretched mess...a life out of order...a person who did not have it together on the outside as did they...but wouldn't you agree she had it going on when it came to the inside? Was it she or the on lookers that left whole that day? Was it she or the on lookers that felt like they had pleased someone that day, maybe for the first time? She had let everyone around her down, more so than that, disgraced them, but she left that day pleasing her savior...finally, the only one worth pleasing. 

How often can we say this of us? Are you failing at pleasing? Can you not keep up? Is it vitally important to keep everyone liking you? Do you ever look around and see a mess and wonder what you've been doing because you feel exhausted? 

Maybe, just maybe, its time for you and I to uncover our sinful priorities, those priorities that seem so important but leave us empty as the on lookers, and bend a knee to the only one worth our effort. Here in do we get the satisfaction of finally doing something right. Finally pleasing. Not only do I want to be pleasing but I want to be pleasant. The aroma of that perfume was pleasant to all those around---so go ahead, give up! Throw in the towel. We'll both be so very glad we did. 


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