Thursday, July 18, 2013

Breathe In, Breathe Out

I remember being a kid and having days when every second was spent swimming in my nan's pool. From the moment we were awake until it was time to come in for the evening, we would be outside soaking up the sun and water. And being a kid at the pool is so different than being an adult at the pool, isn't it? The whole time you're jumping in, climbing out, playing games, doing tricks. Quite a contrast from me with my chair and magazine now ;)

Not only do I remember the day spent in the water, but I remember what it felt like at night. My lungs would feel strangely stretched out and tired from holding my breath all day. There'd be a slight burn at the back of my throat from all the chlorine. And the exhaustion would be deep, all the way to my bones. Even though the day had been exhilarating, I couldn't have spent another moment in the water had I wanted to. I needed rest.

That's the best way I can explain how I feel right now, that night-time exhaustion that comes with a water-logged, sun-burned day at the pool. I feel like I've been holding my breath, and my lungs ache. It's not that the last year has been miserable. Even with our failed IVF and all the pain that accompanied that, I still have had a good, joyful year. But everything in me feels a bit worn, and it's time to catch my breath.

And so, we've decided to do just that. In the midst of talking about adoption and embryos and eggs and plans and everything else, we've realized we need to give ourselves a break. We need time to take big, deep breaths, in and out, again and again. We need to let go of the stress of taking the "next step" and allow God to fill our lungs today.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Two months and thoughts on lament

Today marks two months since the sad day we found out our little embryos were no longer with us on this earth. In many ways, life has moved on and we are back to "normal." I'm out of school for the summer, and our busy summer schedule is in full swing. We've had a number of sweet celebrations and a fantastic getaway, and we are looking forward to more. But in other ways, the loss feels fresh. The tears are right there, right behind a very thin layer of keeping-it-together. When I'm alone or when I'm in a place where tears are acceptable, they come. (Actually, they can come even when tears are not acceptable! Walking by the Target baby aisle can be downright cruel at times!)

Whenever we are in the midst of healing from a loss, we hear people remind us to be thankful. I appreciate that, but I'm learning something important for my own healing: Lament and thankfulness don't have to be mutually exclusive. We can be thankful for the blessings we have while still pouring out our tears to our God. We can recognize the wholeness around us while mourning the brokenness inside us.

Certainly having a heart full of gratitude reminds me of God's goodness and presence. But then again, lament and doubt do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Psalms is full of lament, written by faithful believing followers of Yahweh. When we cry out to God, when we lay before Him our brokenness and fallenness, we are doing exactly what He wants us to do: We are recognizing our desperate need for Him. And in that place of vulnerability, our hearts will worship. Our hearts will cry out in thanks for His precious presence!

I know what the fear is, though. We fear we will never move on. We fear that if we don't start pulling it together, we'll remain a heaping mess of heartache. And who wants that, right?

But this is a fear that we may overcome with God's promises. We lament and cry out because we have a God who hears and who understands! God heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds (Ps 147:3), is close to them and saves them (Ps 34:18), bears their burdens (68:19, Mt 11:30), comforts them (Is 66:13), and one day will wipe every tear from their eye (Rev 21:4). Christ is the Word in flesh, Immanuel, God with us, and he says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Mt 5:4).

I praise God for His healing, for the mending that has already taken place. And I praise God for the tears through which I see my desperate need for Him.