Thursday, October 21, 2010

hope in the asking

 It's indicative of my past, but I become distant and quiet when things get intense. I was telling a friend just tonight that I have turtle-like characteristics. Have you seen how fast a turtle can move? Not those giant ones, but regular old box turtles. 

When things are going pretty smoothly, I'm cruising along with my neck way out - interacting, committing, experiencing, and leading. 

But when things get crazy, it's like, "POP". The head goes in and the mobility comes to a screeching halt. 

Yeah, it's kind of like that.

Grief is hard. It's hard because it's one of those times when the healthy thing to do is feel all of those nasty negative emotions I try so hard to ignore. I've mentioned this need to get away from pain for fear that it will linger on forever. Learning that it won't makes the process no less uncomfortable - just perhaps less hopeless.

I've thought a lot about whether or not to share what I'm about to share. But this blog has been so much about my heart and journey and God in it, that to keep it to myself seems... dishonest. (This is a personal conviction and not a projection.) I write from the depths of my heart, and right now, this is pretty much what's in the deep of it. 

My husband and I have just recently gone through a miscarriage. Most people didn't even know that I was pregnant, because we kind of like to wait until the first trimester is through before we share. The news was a shock to us. We weren't planning on having any more kids at this point, because we're just so delighted (and busy) with what we have. But, as reality set in, a space was made in my heart for this new little one. 

At our first appointment, the ultrasound showed no heartbeat. The blood work came back with not-so-great results, and we were kept waiting for two weeks until a second ultrasound confirmed what we feared in the first. Little pea grew to about 7 weeks and then stopped. At what would have been about 12 weeks, we decided to let the doctor do a procedure to ensure that I wouldn't end up with further complications. All in all, it has been a heartbreaking and fairly traumatic experience. And I'm not going to lie, it's been faith-shaking. 

During the two weeks of waiting, I was in a fog of shock. To be completely honest, I didn't know what to pray for. I didn't know what I wanted. It sounds so strange, but I could envision my future with a new baby and without. And truthfully, I was terrified to ask for the life of my child and then be let down. I shielded myself from the hope that things could turn out alright. At the same time, this flicker of positive expectation would not die in me. 

I remember standing during the opening praise set at my Bible Study, my hands out in front of me and palms up toward heaven as though I were holding something. I couldn't sing, I could only stand in God's presence and be. I felt God nudge me to ask what I was afraid to ask. The Holy Spirit stirred in me to pray what I was afraid to pray. Hopelessness washed over me as I tried to steel myself for the pain of disappointment. More than anything, I did not want to be hurt again. 

God is gentle and good and persistent. I can't describe it, but in my spirit I heard Him say, "Just ask me". It wasn't accompanied by a promise, like "Just ask me and it'll be Ok". In fact, I had no peace either way about the outcome. But God was challenging me on my fear. He just wanted me to trust Him enough to ask. So in that moment, I prayed, "Lord, please let this baby live."

That's when the tears came. For the first time in all of the confusion and chaos, I collapsed before my God and let myself be vulnerable to Him. It was the first time I had really surrendered the situation to Him - and it came in the form of a request. 
See, as long as I was playing my cards close to my chest, I still had control of the game. Feigning indifference allowed me to say, "Ok God, whatever you think is best" in a very flippant and detached manner. It looks like faith. But it's not honest. It's the surrender of a conquered soul, not a soul won by love. It speaks to defeat, not faith.
In asking for what my heart truly wanted, I set myself up for hope. I chose to place a dream in the hands of my Father and fully trust Him with the outcome. I also set myself up for disappointment and heartbreak and loss. And it was really, really hard. 

Ultimately, I did not get what I asked for. I have no idea why. But honestly, seriously, I love my Lord as much now as ever. I trust Him, because I know that He heard me and He holds our future. We lost our baby, but I did not lose HOPE. And maybe that's the beauty for these ashes. Maybe my defeatist surrender would have yielded a cold distance between me and God. As it is, I can pound on His chest and scream my questions at Him, but I'm close enough that I can feel His warmth and He can wrap His arms around my soul and minister healing. 

Grief is hard. And healing from this loss will be a process. And God is right here with me.

Psalm 34:18
"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


Aaron, Angie, Hailey, Lexi, and Jacob said...

I'm so sorry, sweetie! My heart goes out to you and Kurt. We love you guys so much. You're in my prayers. Love you!

emily said...

Thank you, friend. Love you guys so much, too :)