I was really convicted a few days ago at church. The kind of convicted where you stop dead in your tracks and are just like, WOAH… I have admitted from the very beginning of this blog that I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. In fact, this entire thing is basically me trying to figure it out. (“It” being grief, love, faith, life, whatever.) Every time I have posted a blog entry, someone somewhere has either commented, texted or told me in person they admire my strength… Uh… Say what? Are you reading the same crap I’m writing about?? What strength?!
The message on Sunday was based on, in my opinion, one of the most hopeful passages in scripture.
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed;”
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
The passage basically guarantees that as believers, life is going to suck sometimes. The good news is that no matter what, God will not allow the things of this world to crush us, we will not despair with Him, He will never abandon us, and we will never be destroyed.
The pastor went on to compare us as human beings to tree roots. Tree roots do what they have to do to get water and survive, and nothing more. If there is water on the surface, that’s where the roots go. If the only water is down in the depths of the earth, the roots fight and dig and plunge down to get what they need to survive. The difference in these two types of trees is, the tree with shallow roots can be easily knocked over by a strong gust of wind. The tree with the deep roots, the roots act as an anchor and that tree cannot be moved.
There have been several times in my life, beginning in early childhood, where I felt completely broken. Trying and difficult times, that in the moment felt like I would never recover. Looking back, each and every struggle has guided and steered me down deeper and deeper, to where I needed to be.
My marriage to my husband is far from perfect. I am nowhere near the wife I want to be for him, and I’m sure he would say the same about himself. We have struggled from the very beginning with the constant ebb and flow of marriage. Two months after we were married there was something that happened between us that sent us waaayy off track. From here on I will refer to this event as “the incident”. I’m not super comfortable sharing all of the details, but the details don’t really matter. All that matters is we lost our trust, our home was broken, and we were lost. During that time I thought that was the lowest I would ever be. I wanted so badly to forget that time, just scrub it from my memory. No matter how distant Robert and I felt from each other, we knew we were supposed to be together. I can honestly say that was the first time I knowingly felt the Holy Spirit’s guidance. We made the choice together to dig in and do the work, reevaluate how we were walking out our faith, and start over. It did not happen overnight, but we have a level of trust and intimacy that we would have never experienced had it not been for “the incident.” Today I am grateful for “the incident” that I tried to pray away so long ago.
That is just one example of how good can come from despair, and I have several life experiences to draw from that prove this truth. During the sermon, I just kept reliving moments during Annie’s pregnancy, life, and in the wake of her death where people had told me they admired my strength. It finally made sense. They weren’t seeing me. There was very little of me to even see at that time, much less admire. They were seeing Jesus. They were seeing the Holy Spirit move through me and do things I am not capable of. “God doesn’t give you any more than you can handle.” LOL. 😂 I couldn’t handle ANYTHING that had come my way, so I completely and fully surrendered, and man oh man did the Lord do great things.
I am so unbelievably thankful for every awful thing that has happened in my life to lead me to the place where I was able to step back and let God do His thing. I am proud that He used my daughter to spread His word and bring others closer to Him. I am humbled that He chose us to be her parents because we knew that no matter what, Annie was protected and so were we. I felt hard pressed on every side, but in no way was I completely crushed. I was perplexed, but not in despair. In no way did I ever feel abandoned by my god, and I am still here. I am not destroyed.
About a year ago, I was in the midst of the worst depression I had experienced to date. My husband, even in the most difficult phase of his professional career, took excellent care of me and made sure I got the help I needed. Now that I have emerged from that fog, I can see so clearly. I still struggle, often in fact. I find that I’m not always 100% present when I want to be. A piece of me belongs to a special group of women who are just like me. They have all said goodbye to one or more of their babies and we share each other’s pain. Some of them I know in “real life,” but most of us have found each other online. When an anencephaly mom is drawing closer to her delivery date, my heart is in my throat and my stomach is in knots. I pray constantly for her. When a mom who all she knows of pregnancy is the pain of miscarriage announces she is pregnant, I worry, cry, and pray. When a mom of loss is about to deliver her rainbow baby, I’m full of every emotion possible alongside her. When a heartbroken momma is celebrating the day her baby was born or the day her baby left her, my heart breaks with her. Any woman who is just starting her journey, I weep for her knowing the exhausting and rocky road of grief and self discovery that lies ahead of her. I know there is a balance to be struck here, but I’m not sure I want to find it just yet. We are part of an exclusive club of women who really understand each other. It’s a shitty club, none of us want to be in it, but the company is divine. I don’t know what I would do without these women who know the right thing to say on those special days. I thank God now for roots that have delved into the deep, so when a new momma joins our ranks she can grab on to me for support.
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
CAN I GET AN AMEN?!?! These past few days as I have looked back on all of my weakness, I am humbled as I see the Lord’s perfect power. I see the strength that others have seen. I get tears in my eyes just thinking about all He has done for me and mine, and I strive for less of me so I can have more of Him.
May the Lord bless and keep you all,