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Trusting You Anyway: An honest discussion about my miscarriage

11 Aug

Praying woman hands

What does it mean to trust God with everything?

I’m trying to figure that out now. Ordinarily I feel like I’m a person with pretty strong faith. I’ve faced some serious mountains in my life, and in everything God has been faithful. In every dead situation He has brought forth new life. After every storm He has brought the dove and led me to dry land. He has rescued me, time and again. And in return I have shown Him the deepest faith I could muster.

I’ve always known that God gives and takes away. I’ve heard it all my life, experienced it to certain degrees even. But I never felt the full weight of it until two weeks ago, when I miscarried my unborn baby.

God, why?

What good could come of such a thing? What could possibly rise from the ashes here, Lord? There is no good here. There is only despair, heartache, emptiness.

It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it the pain of a miscarriage. Imagine the anticipation of a beautiful and unexpected change in your life. A surge of potentials, a surge of dreams. Planning, praying, preparing. Doctor’s visits. Seeing things on a screen that jolt you from fear and anxiety to joy and anticipation–instantly.

See that? That’s the heartbeat. My gosh, babe, that’s a heartbeat. Our baby is half a centimeter but it’s got a heartbeat. Imagine that.

You envision your future in a whole new light. There’s a date several months away that’s meaningless to most people, but it means absolutely everything to you. Your life will change, and it’s going to be for the better. God has given you a gift. It’s a gift that you didn’t expect, but it must be part of God’s plan even if it wasn’t part of yours. Okay, God, I got this. I get it now. Let’s do this.

And all of a sudden you’re ready. You’re excited. It’s go time.

And then one night something is wrong.

Why are you feeling like this? Why is this happening? Should we call the doctor, go to the hospital?

No, because in a moment it’s over. It’s over, everything you thought was happening is no longer, and you’re on your knees on the bathroom floor crying out to God­­­ in utter despair. Why?

I thought if I listened to God obediently and followed His direction I would be okay. I thought that trusting Him with an unexpected and untimely pregnancy would bring me favor. It was bad timing and less than ideal circumstances, but I believed. I was faithful. I said yes, God, I’ll do this. This must be your plan. It must be your will. So I’m all in.

But then in an instant it was gone. I didn’t understand. I don’t understand.

I’m still asking why. Maybe I’ll always be asking why.

What does it mean to trust God with everything?

I think it means trusting when it doesn’t make sense; having faith when the world looks on and says you have no reason to. It means that you truly believe in something greater than human understanding, a Creator that is so loving and so powerful and all-knowing that there is no possible way to comprehend His will. It means that you trust your Maker so deeply that even when He takes away in ways that are totally incomprehensible, you hold fast to faith, because you know that He is good in all things.

Our world is so small. The things we can see in one lifetime are miniscule in comparison to what the God of the universe sees in one moment.

That doesn’t necessarily make it easier. It doesn’t make the pain go away. But it reminds us that this is not the end. It reminds us that there is an end to our toils and our tears. It reminds us that through it all, we are held in His love.

We are never promised an easy life–but we are promised that God will work everything for our good, if we love Him. Everything. Even our suffering and heartache. Even the loss of our unborn children. Everything. It’s a promise. And it’s a promise I’ll believe because, although I am not always given a reason why everything happens, I have never experienced an unfulfilled promise from my Savior. And so I will believe, and I will trust, and I will give praise.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 
(Isaiah 41:10)

P.S. Sometimes in times like these it’s helpful to have a song that you can go to that reminds you to continue to keep hoping. Here’s the one that has been my anthem these past two weeks. I hope that if you’re facing something similar it will encourage you like it has me. It’s a reminder to those of us who have seen God move in our lives in the past to hold onto Him. No matter what we face, we know there is One who is able to heal, bring joy and restore. He’s done it before and He will do it again.

“And if there’s anybody here who’s found Him faithful
Anybody here who knows He’s able
Say Amen
And if there’s anybody here who’s seen His power
Anybody here brought through the fire
Say Amen
Anybody here found joy in the middle of sorrow
Peace in the storm, hope for tomorrow
And seen it time and time again
Then just Say Amen”

Prayer Poll

13 Mar

I have ANOTHER request of you. My class is now requiring that I conduct a text messaging poll about another aspect of spirituality. Below are links to four quick poll questions about prayer. I would be so appreciative if you would take a moment to respond! All you do is click the link to the poll and respond via text. It’s totally anonymous. Thanks so much!

Is prayer important to you?

How often do you pray?

Does your generation pray?

What do you pray for?

Rambling of the Day: Desperately Seeking Permanence

10 Mar

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Photos by Simone Anne, courtesy of Death to Stock.

We’re all seeking permanence of some kind. Whether it’s a career, a relationship, a personal goal or maybe even a spiritual need, we are all seeking the stability we believe can only be found only in a permanent situation. Nobody likes the uncomfortable feeling of floundering around in temporariness, harboring on the edges of something that could be but wondering all the time if something will ever come of it. We hate that in-betweenness, that uncertainty that hangs over us in situations with undeterminable outcomes.

Will this relationship ever move forward into something permanent? Will I ever get the promotion I need to have to income that will make me feel stable? Will I finally find the perfect place to call home, never wondering if there’s something better out there—and be content to stay there?

And we get weary waiting. Day after day we become increasingly desperate for that thing, whatever it is—that thing that’s going to flick the switch from temporary to permanent: that job, that person, that perfect situation, whatever it is. Once it comes, we’re certain things will change. We’ll be happier, less worrisome, more comfortable, at peace with ourselves. Life will be better. And so we live on, each day plodding along, eagerly anticipating that day when we won’t have to anticipate anymore because we’ll finally have it. Permanence. I’ll be happy when…

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When what, exactly? When the stars aline and life is finally all you dreamt it would be? When you’re finally at that goal weight and it’s here to stay? When your relationship is finally going smoothly and you’re settled down comfortably in happy wedded bliss?

It’s funny how we do this to ourselves. We’ve got a whole lifetime of experiences to prove to us that that nirvana state doesn’t really exist, yet we continue to hold out for it, waiting for something permanent to take hold of us and sweep us up in the beauty of complacency once and for all.

But this life doesn’t offer permanence.

Nothing about it does.

Tomorrow morning isn’t a guaranteed event. Neither is your next birthday, or next year when you’re up for that promotion, or ten years from now when the mortgage will finally be paid off. None of that is guaranteed to you. And even if and when you do finally get there, there is no guarantee of what life will look like at that time. That permanence you’re so desperately holding out for is simply the illusion of stability; up close it is just as evanescent as the moment you’re living right now.

Here’s the point. I’m in the midst of a very uncertain time in my life right now, and I have found myself increasingly living in a state of desire for it to be over and longing for the things in store for me in the future. I’m constantly in a state that feels like something similar to the agony of adolescence: an entrapment in a painful in-between phase that nervously clings to the status quo while at the same time staring wistfully toward the future, daring to dream—no, demand—that it come blazing in like a chariot. I’m impatient for that future now. I’ve waited long enough. I’ve done enough of the in-between work. I’ve done enough temporary. I want the permanence.

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But it is in this moment that a voice whispers, ever so gently, that nothing will ever be permanent. That it was never intended to be. Because this place is temporary, and everything here will one day pass away. This world is not the end of the road; in fact it’s just barely scratching the surface of the beginning. So the light of the end of the tunnel isn’t anywhere to be found in this life. It’s only found in the One who has overcome the troubles of this world. The One who has gone before and paved the path from temporary to permanent, who has our future solidified in His work on the cross.

And so, that voice whispers, carry on. Carry on in all that you do with a grateful heart, an open mind and a hopeful spirit. Carry on with your day-to-day in-betweenness, your working-up-to-something-ness. And do it cheerfully. Do it willingly, with a full heart, confident in the wisdom that this life is not your permanent situation. This world is not your dream home. It won’t feel any more so when you finally get to that elusive goal, either, because this life doesn’t offer that, and it was never intended to. This life is wonderful, beautiful, extraordinary—but, oh, so very, very temporary.

And so, my dear, I hear in a whisper, stop your desperate search for the permanent here. Steady your heart—it needn’t be so overwhelmed with longing for the things of this life. Some of it will be wonderful, and you will get to those places, and for a moment you’ll be at peace and you’ll feel the warmth of the sun on your face and you’ll think that this is it. But, darling, the sunshine will soon be overcome by clouds once again, and you’ll wonder what you did wrong, and you’ll again question why, why, why, dear God, can’t I have permanence? My love, you shall, but please believe that it is not to be found here on this earth. So embrace the sunshine and the clouds alike, bask in the beauty of whatever weather comes your way, and eagerly await the permanence of the place being prepared for you.

Why I’m Not Dating My Best Friend

22 Oct
My best friend, who I'm not dating.

My best friend, who I’m not dating.

Are you in love with your best friend? Maybe dating or married to your best friend? You’re not alone if you are—it’s apparently trendy and super common to be romantically involved with someone you also refer to as your “best friend.” It’s funny that we can hear a word or phrase used so many times that it becomes commonplace and even cute to us, even if we haven’t really thought about it.

This one caught me off guard the other day; I’ve seen it on Facebook and other social media plenty of times, but I actually heard it—verbally heard it—in a commercial for a TV show, and it hit me how totally whack that concept is. I’m not dating my best friend any more than I am parenting my best friend. It drives me absolutely bonkers when someone refers to her mother as her best friend, and it now officially is another pet peeve of mine to hear that someone is romantically involved with her best friend. I’m not just being picky and obnoxious for no reason. Hear me out.

Here are some facts about my best friend:

  1. She knows EVERYTHING about me, for better or worse. Literally everything—down to the body parts I’m most self-conscious about, the deepest secrets of my past, and my weirdest thoughts and dreams.
  2. I love her to death, but I am in no way, shape or form romantically attracted to her.
  3. We agree on pretty much everything.
  4. We can give each other a look and essentially have a conversation.
  5. We have lived together for long periods of time, and it’s totally peaceful. We’re a roommate match made in Heaven.

Now, here are some facts about my boyfriend:

  1. He knows me well. He knows my hopes and dreams; he knows the things I’m good at, the things that make me happy. He certainly knows what pisses me off. But he doesn’t know EVERYTHING. Because he doesn’t need to. It doesn’t benefit our relationship for me to tell him my every insecurity, every bad hookup I ever had and every weird thought that’s every surfaced in my mind.
  2. I’m totally attracted to him romantically. Duh.
  3. We disagree all the time. We agree on the big things, like how we want to raise our family, what our goals are as a couple and what ultimately matters at the end of the day. But unlike my best friend, who’ll pat me on the back and tell me of course it’s okay to hate that girl for no reason, my boyfriend will totally call me out for being petty, bitchy or otherwise unreasonable. He will openly disagree with me when he thinks I’m wrong. And consequently we’ll argue for hours. But that’s okay, cause we aren’t supposed to agree on everything. He’s not my best friend.
  4. Sometimes, I have absolutely no clue what he’s thinking. Likewise, sometimes it completely amazes him that I could be so absurd and unreasonable. Sometimes I give him a look of “OMG how could you” and he hasn’t the vaguest idea what I mean by it. We do not have a mind-reader relationship going on at all. Guess what this leads to? You got it—we have to actually converse with one another, oftentimes at high decibel ranges, to understand each other.
  5. I am excited for my future with him, but totally dreading the move-in process. I think he’s a slob; he thinks I expect too much. We make no sense together. It’s going to be a daily struggle to co-exist in the same home. Hopefully it’ll be a learning process that brings us closer together, but we’ll just have to see.

Okay, these discrepancies aren’t meant to prove that my boyfriend is necessarily the opposite of my best friend. Of course, they do have some things in common. We all enjoy AMC shows and beach days and road trips. That’s not the point. The point is that my best friend isn’t the same person to me as my boyfriend is, in the same way that she isn’t the same person to me as my child is. My child needs me as a guide, a mentor, a leader and a caretaker. My boyfriend needs me as a partner, a lover, a confidante and a copilot. My best friend? She doesn’t need me at all. She’s in my life purely because we love each other and enjoy sharing our thoughts and feelings with each other. She’s a hand to hold and an ear to listen, but she’s not my knight in shining armor or the person I’m going to be building a future with.

My boyfriend will never become my best friend, and I’m okay with that. My best friend does her job perfectly and no one, including the man I plan to spend the rest of my life with, will replace her role in my life.

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