September 2, 2010

It’s been a few months. I tried to write in here on a couple of occasions, only to find that my posts were leading nowhere — instead of that feeling of release, there was a feeling of tighter oppression, knowing that others wouldn’t understand. So I saved them as drafts and told myself to try another day. Today is another day.

1. It has been 14 months since we got married. Our marriage has been sweet so far — so much sweeter than I ever expected — not just because of the fact that I get to spend every day with my best friend, but because of the particular trial that God sovereignly ordained for us this year and for however long to come. No one knows what I’ve gone through. Not my parents, not my closest girlfriends, not my mentors… only Steven. He’s seen me at my worst, when I am outright hating life, wishing I could be swallowed up into the ground, wanting to move across the country, wanting to be dead even. I speak plainly to him because I know he won’t judge me. Though he cares for me, he also trusts that God is working through my angst & doesn’t feel the need to “fix” me. I appreciate that so much.

2. This year has been a year of unveiling. Through my trials, I saw my absolutely hateful heart toward others, how quickly I can grow bitter toward people, how rebellious my heart still is toward God’s discipline, how easily I can fall into depression & hopelessness, how angry I can become toward people who don’t understand me, how much I rely on and expect people to fill all of my emotional needs, how selfish I am, how conceited I am to expect certain blessings from God, and how prideful I was in thinking I understood what suffering was and what true faith was. It’s not that I hadn’t experienced any hardship. I just hadn’t experienced anything like this. I thought I knew suffering & true faith & grace, but this year He shattered any false notions I had & rebuilt them through really painful & heartbreaking experiences.

3. There is a blog I read by a woman named Marta. We don’t know each other personally, only through the Internet, but she recently miscarried at 16 weeks. I can’t imagine. When I read her blog post, I sobbed. She put into words so many things that I was unable to & brought back a lot of my own memories of grieving & coping. I’m so thankful for people who are open about these kinds of things (not necessarily miscarriages, but trials in general) — it makes me feel like I’m not alone. One thing she said explains exactly how I felt & still do feel: “[the doctor] explained how common miscarriages are, giving me percentages of pregnancies that never reach full term. what i was feeling was anything but common… my doctor was surely trying to give me a glimmer of hope, but i was simply horrified that this was what common felt like.” Sometimes it’s hard for me to share with people about my trials, especially since it’s been on-going for over a year now. I feel like my license to grieve is over — people expect me to move on. But how do you move on from something like that? I’m still moving forward, doing things with my life & pursuing things like a normal person, but internally I am perpetually wrestling with my feelings of loss & heartache & fear & brokenness.

4. One of the things I struggled with most this year was loneliness. I thought it might be because I’m still integrating into a new church & establishing friendships. But Sue’s post made me realize it’s a loneliness that comes with suffering. This feeling that everyone around you is enjoying life, living “normal” lives & experiencing “normal” struggles, while I stand alone in this “house of mourning.” I open up to people, share my heart with them, allow them to have a peek inside in hopes that I will feel like someone is sharing the burden with me, but most of the time, I end up feeling more alone than ever. It has been a kind of painful disciplining process for me to find my fulfillment in Christ alone, and I don’t think I’m there yet, but He is definitely doing something good in that arena of my life.

5. The past few sermons at church have been amazing. Seriously like the Lord taking my broken bones, my broken heart, my broken body & gluing me back together. I’m so so so thankful for the ministry of the Word, which has felt like a healing balm to this ugly scar that keeps getting cut open over & over again. This past Sunday’s sermon had me in tears, almost to the point of hiccups. James preached about the Father’s gift to us of the Holy Spirit, which I had never once before noticed in Luke 11. And I realized that though I felt like my many prayers for a healthy baby, the unknown future, and physical freedom from suffering were going unanswered (or at least quietly being taken into consideration but not being answered yet), He had been answering every single one of my prayers all along by gifting me with the Spirit. The Spirit has been sustaining my soul through the past year, reminding me of truth, ministering to & encouraging my heart at exactly the right moments, revealing to me my heart of sinfulness, extending grace to me when I am drowning, and on top of all of that, producing in me beautiful fruit that could not be attained any other way. The process has been ugly, but even I can see that the results are going to be beautiful. I’m so thankful for that.

6. I was talking with Steven once late at night on a particularly hard day, sharing with him all the little details that make my heart ache, and got to thinking about the future. There is no telling what this next year holds for us — it could be freedom from this trial, it could be another cycle of pain, it could be anything. But if, Lord willing, everything goes okay & we are able to bring a healthy baby to term, I think in some strange way, we will really miss this time of suffering. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through & I’ve struggled so much with a bitter heart, but it has also been the absolute sweetest in terms of resting in Christ & coming to experience the awesome, totally fulfilling, sufficient grace of God. There were times when I felt I could not endure, that the pain was overwhelming & suffocating, but despite those feelings, He is still sustaining me. And growing me. And producing good & precious fruit in me. And even in one year, we feel like we have been made so incredibly rich in Christ. I would never ever ask for a lifetime of suffering, but for those special people that God chooses to hand that lot to, I consider them truly blessed. They will be so rich when they meet their Savior face to face.

That’s a piece of what’s been on my heart lately. Maybe more another day…