"Do not regret growing older; it is a privilege denied to many." - unknown
As yet another birthday approaches and the feelings of gloom and the ache of what still is not settle in, I force myself to try to focus on this statement. But lately, I haven't been too successful.
There was the day a few weeks ago when I dragged my poor, sweet, patient husband to Hobby Lobby in search of these tiny baby feet shaped garden stones that someone else had shown me. I had decided the day before (after two solid days of not being able to get a grip on my emotions) that I desperately wanted to have somewhere that I could go, sit, and feel sad, angry, hopeless, hopeful, wistful-- and to remember. And so my husband had listened, as in between uncontrollable sobs I told him that I needed a place. A place for my babies.
"You want to plant some flowers, Beck? Get a bench maybe?"
"Yes -- sob sob sob-- I think-- sob sob sob-- that would be ---sob sob sob -- nice."
And so we now found ourselves scouring the aisles at Hobby Lobby, looking for the teeny tiny baby feet that I just couldn't imagine not having in my flower bed. After about 20 minutes, we came to the conclusion that while they may have been in the store at one time, they were definitely gone now.
And. True to form. You guessed it. I broke down in the middle of the Hobby Lobby aisle right in the midst of the garden gnomes and the Jesus music and everything. And as Jesse tried to offer suggestions of calling the Avondale store and looking online, something on the bottom shelf caught my eye. Jesse was probably mid sentence when without a word, I walked halfway down the aisle, knelt down, and began digging in the items on the bottom shelf. He calmly followed me and watched as I pulled out a small statue-- intended to look like 3 mushrooms growing out of the grass, but each was covered in tiny flowers-- pink, blue, and yellow.
And just as quickly as my tears had stopped, they started again. Unable to speak, my husband read my mind, as he often does, and said "You're crying because you like it?" I nodded. "because it's perfect?" I nodded again. "Okay well of course we are going to get it, but you have to carry it because it's covered in glitter."
Did I mention that I love this guy?
And so I've been working on my "spot for the babies" over the last couple weeks, and it's been cathartic and healing. Perhaps one day I will have a real garden in a quiet place in the backyard far away from the destruct-o-puppies that currently reign, but until then, it will do just fine.
As of late, something like this little incident has happened about every other day. There are always the new pregnancy announcements of dear friends and coworkers, the days where just the smallest thing reminds me of what has been lost, and the different anniversary dates that physically make my heart hurt. Call them triggers, call them whatever you want-- they can come any time, anywhere, and without warning. They do not discriminate against who I might be with or what my current responsibility or task might be. And they can, without fail,
knock. me. down.
But as I am reminded that yet another year has passed by, another "1" added to my age, I can't help but to struggle to find the Hope in it all.
Sometimes I wonder if all the happy endings are being used up on everyone else.
And as much as I know that that thought isn't a Biblical or Godly perspective, some days, it's just where I'm at.
This past December we found out some news, that while not a "deal-breaker" necessarily, has discouraged me greatly. As it turns out, we aren't just facing my unexplained predisposition to recurrent pregnancy loss, but also another factor related to fertility. To put it simply, I don't have as much time to have children as we originally thought. You might be thinking "but you can obviously get pregnant, right? So...does that really matter?"
From the few people that I've explained this to, the response that I've received more than once has been that exact sentiment. While I am logical enough to recognize that that response comes from a genuine place to encourage and offer hope-- "yes, but you can get pregnant, so everything is going to be fine! It's all going to be okay! Let's eat some ice cream now!"-- and can appreciate that, it actually kind of hurts. It makes me instantly feel invalidated and like my current grief journey, which includes a lot of fear about the future, isn't warranted or real. Yes, I can get pregnant. But up to this point, I can't have a baby. And to be quite honest, what I want is not to be pregnant. I'm terrified to be pregnant. I dread seeing those two pink lines because I know that that means. To me, two pink lines equal certain miscarriage. Is that entirely logical? Maybe not. But that's been my experience. 3 times, that's been my experience. What else am I supposed to go on? I don't want to be pregnant. I want to have a baby.
And so, I will confess that while we are now seeing a specialist and taking some steps to treat this fertility factor, the inescapable sound that I hear in my mind is the relentless and pervading tick-tock, threatening to run out at any given moment, without warning, and before I've had my chance .................dramatic? Perhaps. And yet. Once again, some days. It's just where I'm at.
When I occasionally share my heart in this way, people have tried to offer their encouragement with "if it's meant to happen, it will" or "don't forget, God wants to give you the desires of your heart" or "don't worry, He doesn't give us more than we can handle."
I love each and every one of the people who have expressed these sentiments to me, but as I usually just nod and smile when they are offered in conversation, I'd like to take a brief moment here to express my thoughts on these statements.
First of all, absolutely none of this is about me or about Jesse. It's not even really about the babies that we grieve or the future that we might fear. It has always been and must always be about Christ's love for us and the ways in which His power can be evidenced in our lives. As for "He doesn't give us more than we can handle", it's a really nice sentiment that paints a picture of a loving God who doesn't want to see us hurting-- but it's really only half of the true picture. Nowhere in scripture does it say that He will not give us more in this life than we can handle. Nowhere. If we were not given more than we could handle in our own strength, then why in the world would we need a Saviour? We would be just fine without Him. And that's not how He created us-- He created us to need Him. And the passage that states "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart ( Ps. 37:4)"-- I really don't think that this is saying "if you want it, He'll give it to you" That isn't the God that I know. The God that I know, however, does have the power to change my heart to be more like His-- more selfless, compassionate, patient, kind-- and as I spend time with Him ("delighting" myself), my heart begins to be more like His, and thus, my desires will begin to mirror His. He never promised me a happily ever after. And he never promised me that even if what I wanted is a good thing (a new life a good thing!) and if I did everything that I was supposed to do in this life, that I would be rewarded with that thing that I want most. He loves me too much for that. See, these past couple of years have brought great sorrow to me and to my husband. We have been down down down to the depths of the deep dark pit. We have sat in the ER or the dr's office and time again had our hopes and our dreams crushed into smithereens right before our eyes. We most definitely have been given more than we can handle. Believe me-- I cannot handle this. Spend 24 hours living with me and you'll see. And without a doubt, the deepest desires of my momma heart remain unmet.
In being given more than I can handle, I have realized and given into, my great need for Christ. Forget "leaning" on Him in all of this-much like my pudgy fluffy German Shepherd Elliotte in the middle of a long and tired walk, I have quit, too exhausted to take one more step, and laid down right in the middle of the road. Leaning on Him? No. I am being straight up carried by Him at this point. And while carried, I experience the healing of His love as He patiently binds my wounds and works to heal my broken heart.
As for my unmet desires-- perhaps He will choose to meet them in the way that we are hoping for, asking for, praying for. Or perhaps He won't. Because there is always the chance that in knowing what is best for Jesse and for me, in knowing what the ending that will bring Him the most honor will look like, that He will, instead, change my desire. That as I open myself up to letting Him make my heart look more like His, he will give me new desires, bigger and better than the ones I have now. Does that scare me? Uh. Yeah. I still want what I want. But I also have to trust His heart. He has proven Himself wayyyyyyyy too many times in my life for me to doubt Him now. This is my God. And I know Him.
And so--it would seem fitting that my husband has announced that we are escaping to the Happiest Place on Earth next week in celebration of my big day. I have no doubt that there might be a certain stroller or a specific mother/child moment that I will witness in a giant park geared toward kiddos that will trigger a few tears. That will awaken yet another new desire in me-- to one day take my own kiddos to the Magic Kingdom-- and that that thought as sweet as it might be, might also be tinged with a little bit of pain. But I also plan to take some time in the midst of Indiana Jones, a Dole Whip, pictures with Mickey, a sudden free fall, and clinging to Jesse while in the Haunted Mansion (yes, I'm still terrified of it, okay?!) and reflect on these things that I do have--the promise of seeing my little ones again, the unconditional love of a Savior who loves me too much to give me everything that I want, to leave me how I am, or to leave me stranded and exhausted in the middle of the road and the crazy selfless love and kindness of a husband that I do not deserve.
31, I'm a little nervous and scared, but here I come.