Love and Fear.

January 28, 2010

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. {1 John 4:18}

Perfect love casts out fear. I’ve heard this countless times throughout my life and never thought much of it–I always took it as one of those “Christian sayings” that people just throw around as cheap words of comfort for people who are afraid. But these past couple of weeks, the truth of this verse struck my heart in a profound way.

We lost our first child in mid-August. It came as a huge shock to us–I just never considered the possibility of even having a miscarriage. The initial days and weeks after it happened were kind of a big blur. My heart went through a roller coaster of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, I really felt at peace about all that had happened. It was the months following our miscarriage that proved to be more difficult for me. I’m currently reading a book that Grace Lee gave me called Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety by Elyse Fitzpatrick. She started out with a quote by C.H. Spurgeon:

“Such strange creatures are we that we probably smart more under blows which never fall upon us than we do under those which do actually come.”

When I read this, I kind of laughed to myself, because it just captures the essence of my life these past few months. Since that heartbreaking day in August, I have wrestled with so much fear and anxiety about the future. What if we’re one of those couples that has three or four miscarriages before having a healthy baby? Or worse… what if there’s something wrong with me & I can never bring a child to term? What if it takes us years to get pregnant again? Or what if I get pregnant too quickly & have another miscarriage? Could it really be true that I am too weak–that my uterus is too weak–to carry a child? What if everyone has kids before I do? The constant burden of these worries weighed upon my heart and plagued my mind every single day. I thought to myself: Surely I will crumble if it were to happen again. The Lord has to spare me… I won’t be able to stand up under this trial.

But I guess I underestimated the extent of God’s grace.

This week we lost our second child. When we found out that we were going to miscarry again two weeks ago, I felt completely stripped. Since that day in mid-December that we found out we were expecting again, I felt like I had been walking on eggshells. I thought of everything I could do to make this pregnancy a success. I exercised regularly last time, so I will not touch a treadmill this time. Maybe I didn’t eat enough last time; I will eat at the slightest twinge of hunger this time. I tried so hard to keep a balanced diet last time; I will eat whatever I feel like eating this time. I worked my regular schedule last time, so I will ask my boss to work less for the first trimester this time. When my morning sickness waned, even for a few hours, I worried. I wanted to feel nauseous around the clock, so I could have some kind of reassurance that the baby was still alive and growing in my womb. I wanted to be in control. And I felt justified.

My heart was bound by fear. I was so scared that my greatest fear would become a reality. And I felt certain that if I miscarried again, my fears would multiply, my trust in God would diminish even further, and my desire for control would tighten in my life. But instead of doing these things, the miscarriage taught me to surrender. I really tried my best to keep that baby healthy… I. tried. so. hard. But my best efforts could not save that baby, and my worries most certainly could not save it. It just wasn’t in my power.

It was and always will be whatever the Lord wills. My problem is not believing that, but it is remembering and truly believing that He loves me. My God loves me. I really thought I would fall apart if I lost another baby, but He sustained me. He is sustaining me. No matter how weak or powerless I feel, I believe that His grace will cover every hardship and trial we face… when the time comes. Not before, not after, but exactly in that time of need. His carrying us through this second loss proves to me His faithfulness and tender love for us. It is phenomenal and supernatural for me. Perfect love casts out fear. I feared because I did not believe in that perfect love, but He has proven His perfect love for me. And how can I fear when I’m covered in that? If God is for us, who can be against us?

I have confidence that we will be okay. Not confidence that we will be able to have children, or that He will not cause us to go through any more trials… because there is no promise of such things. But confidence that His grace will see us through anything and everything. I know my heart is still prone to fear, and I do not doubt that I will still struggle in the months to come, but I am thankful for this very sweet reminder from God Himself. Sharon recently sent me a link to Molly Piper’s blog, John Piper’s daughter-in-law. In 2007 she went through a much greater trial than mine; she had a stillbirth at 39 weeks gestation. I’ve been reading through some of her posts and have been so encouraged by her openness in sharing about her trials. In a recent post, she wrote:

“He is a loving Father, and not my adversary.”

I believe it.


Birthday Week.

January 5, 2010

This December, I turned 24. I will not complain about how old I am, because it seems that everyone I know at church is older than me. This may be the first time in my life that I actually want to be older–I feel like a baby here! However the Lord has me at 24, so 24 I shall remain (until I turn 25 taha). I used to eagerly count down the days to my birthday (yes, I was and quite possibly still am a conceited, self-centered little girl), but somehow this year it just snuck up on me. Maybe it’s something about being married, or maybe I’m just getting old–it just didn’t seem like a big deal. Still, I managed to have a few small festivities, thanks to my sweet husband & loverly friends. :]

First was Monday. Came home to Steven in the kitchen, marinating a couple of New York steaks. If you don’t know, I love steak. So I was pretty happy. Thumbs up for not having to make dinner!

I got my present early: a spanking new 50mm 1.8 lens! SO happy–this was one of the lenses that came most highly recommended by other photographer friends & I really wanted to get it as my next lens.

Practiced with it around our apartment–it took me awhile to get the hang of it. But now I think I can switch back & forth between this & my kit lens pretty easily.

Then on Tuesday, Sharon planned a small birthday dinner for me with some church girls. I had told her awhile ago that I really liked this cafe that Steven took me to in Costa Mesa called the Gypsy Den. They had the best Chicken Waldorf sandwich & Winter Butternut Squash soup. So she found another one in Santa Ana & had us meet there. Little did we know that they were having a poetry reading night there… with rated R or NC-17 or I-don’t-even-know-what-the-highest-rating-is themes being highlighted. Needless to say, we were mortified & will not be going back there anytime soon… or ever. But it did make for some pretty hilarious memories. :] We hightailed it out of there as soon as we were done eating & ended our night at Starbucks.

Sharon practicing with my new lens. Would you check out that foreground/background action?! Modern technology is amazing.

On Thursday, Wury told me not to pack a lunch & brought me a home-cooked meal! Chicken thighs, white asparagus, and red potatoes. I don’t usually eat home-cooked American food, so it was a yummy, healthy treat. :]

Tamara & Wury posing with the Hurley gear I got for them. Aren’t they cute?

Thursday night is our weekly date night, so Steven took me out to an authentic Japanese ramen house. I love love love noodles. He definitely knows the way to my heart.

Shin Sen Gumi in Fountain Valley

Before & after. It was SO good!

Saturday was my actual birthday. We spent the day in San Diego celebrating the wedding of Randy & Elaine Sarmiento! Which was so sweet, cause we got to see our Lighthouse buddies & grab dinner with some of them before we headed back home. There are too many fotos, but I tried to pick the few I liked most…

The happy couple :]

Me & my dear Maria. Oh brother, my eyes look itty bitty compared to hers…

Steven & his best buddy David.

Eden & Christine.

My little olive! Trying on my pearls for size–I love it.

Me & my opps. We are so cute with our cardigans, ruffles, & skinny ties muhaha.

Sunday, we went to my first Laker game ever. This actually had nothing to do with my birthday, but it’s the same week, so what the hey. It also happened to be our six month anniversary. We beat the rush getting there, beat the rush getting snacks (garlic fries per James’ recommendation), & beat the rush going back home. Oh, and they won. It was g-reat. I enjoyed it so much that we will be going back for another game in February!

Lakers warming up.

Lastly, my dear Amy came down to socal to visit & brought a special package from her & Cindy: a new fisheye lens! Loved seeing her, making her lunch, talking, & rolling around in my home like the good old days. Thanks you guys–miss you both so much! <3

So thankful for all the people that the Lord has brought into my life. I am truly blessed. Here’s to another year of growing in grace & love… :]