So I woke up at 5:30 this morning (Nothing like just jumping back in after an absence, right? I'll get back to that later. For now just go with me on this…) and could tell that the Lord wanted to talk. So I did what any normal person would do. I said, "Lord, let's talk at 7:00. That's a much more spiritual hour." And I rolled over to go back to sleep.
Except that I DIDN'T go back to sleep. As I lay in bed, all of the things that God wanted to discuss kept running through my mind, until finally, at 5:50, I said, "OK, Lord, let's talk. I'll meet you in the bathtub."
I grabbed my Bible and devotional book and started a hot bath. Then I sat down, opened my devotional, and laughed out loud when the title of my devotion for this morning was, "I am washed by God." J
The devotional didn't really tell me anything I didn't know, but it provided a much-needed reminder: God has washed me whiter than snow. He has taken the stains in my life and cleansed them. He has given me a fresh start.
A fresh start, I thought. I could really use one of those. Lord, if You're willing to give me one, then maybe I could give one to myself. So here I am, starting fresh. No looking back, no promises for tomorrow, just starting with a clean slate for today.
As a standard part of his routine, comedian Mike Birbiglia does something that he calls "My Secret Public Journal." To me, that's sort of what this blog is. It's a way for me to journal—which, as much as I like to write, has never been a strength for me. This is where I can express my thoughts and feelings and talk about everything that is going on in my life, things that I may be reluctant to share with people face-to-face so I write them down because it feels a little more private… and yet I am sharing it all with all of you in the hope that what is ministering to me may also speak to your heart.
So with that in mind, here is an update on what's happening here:
- I know that I have shared with you all that I am going to counseling now, and some of the crazy emotional roller coaster that I have been on. During the course of my counseling, my counselor recommended a book called How to Handle Your Emotions by June Hunt. If you are struggling with the emotions covered in the book—anger, depression, fear, grief, rejection, and/or self-worth—it is a book that I highly recommend. It is all at once clinical, spiritual, practical, and easy to read. It was exactly what I needed to help me understand what I have been feeling and start to heal a little. I also bought a devotional by the same author called Seeing Yourself through God's Eyes, another book that I am thoroughly enjoying—and the book that brought me here this morning. These books have also helped me to learn some other things, but… even with my "Secret Public Journal" there are some things that I like to mull over before I lay them out there for all to see, you know?
- After four years of… searching, of going to churches and getting connected to people but not really feeling "at home", of wondering when God was going to just finally speak audibly so we would know where He wanted us, we have found a new church home. And aaaaahhhhhhh, it feels good. We are getting settled into the Chapel in Akron, where we have found a great ABF (Adult Bible Fellowship—basically like a Sunday School), fantastic ministries, and a real sense of belonging. We have regularly attended two other churches in the past 4 hours, and hear me say this: they are wonderful churches with fantastic people. We loved many things about each of those churches—we just knew that they weren't the place that God had intended for us. And so now we are starting the process of developing relationships and getting involved and all of those things that are both exciting and overwhelming at first.
- The MOPS year will be starting again next month, and I am again the Coordinator for our group. It's going to be interesting this year, as we used to attend the church where MOPS is held, and I think that is a huge advantage. But I am excited to have the same four women (myself included) come back to the Steering Team—I know that we can all be more effective now that we have a feel for our roles and the dynamics of the group. And it feels like the theme, which focuses on relationships, was hand-picked by God for Rootstown MOPS. Thank you, Lord!
And I guess that's about it. Oh… except for maybe one little thing…
That's right, friends and readers, our family is about to grow again. This was an unexpected but very welcome surprise for us. So far I've been feeling pretty "blah", but haven't really been too sick. I have discovered that there are certain "trigger foods" that I need to avoid… like grapes, yogurt, and turkey sandwiches. Yep, those wild and crazy foods. Unfortunately, onion rings seem to go down just fine.
It's not been all smiles and excitement, though. Because of some things that were discovered during our infertility journey, I am at an increased risk for a tubal pregnancy. In order to be safe, we always have an ultrasound at about 6 weeks, just to be sure that the baby is in the right spot. So I went to my first appointment, and we scheduled the ultrasound for this past Monday.
In the meantime, I started spotting, the Friday before the ultrasound. I never had that with my first two, so even though I had heard that it was a semi-normal thing to occur, I called my midwife. She told me not to worry, but to take it easy—no heavy-lifting, etc. The spotting continued through the weekend (It's still going on now, actually.), and on Sunday was bad enough that I called the OB/GYN's office and talked to the doctor on-call. She again told me to take it easy and just to wait and see what the ultrasound said, especially since I wasn't having any cramps. I asked her, "Let's say that it gets worse, and I do start having cramps. Is there any reason to go to the emergency room, or… not?"
"You mean, can we do anything to help?" she asked. "No, this is really something your body has to take care of on its own, one way or another."
So we went to the ultrasound the next day, got the picture going, and there was our beautiful little blip. J The baby was right in the uterus—yay!—and had a heartbeat—double-yay! The EDD based on the ultrasound was about 8 days later than the original one based on my last period, but that didn't bother me at all.
After the ultrasound we saw the doctor. (We see a midwife, but apparently they are not allowed to "interpret" ultrasounds, so we had to see the doctor that day.) This man is not exactly oozing with emotional connections and bedside manner. So it took me quite by surprise when he said, rather matter-of-factly, "Well, it looks like we've got some concerns here." We do? Apparently the combination of spotting and a small baby can be an indicator that things aren't going well. He even said that the heartbeat could be a "false positive"—that sometimes the ultrasound shows something that looks like "cardiac activity" but is actually something else.
At the same time, the dates just could be off, and I could just be having some normal spotting.
So now we wait. We go back in three weeks, and see if we can still hear a heartbeat. If we can, then everything should be fine. If not, then… well, not.
But here's the thing. It all sounds very scary to me to say it out loud, to see it in print. I read what I just wrote and think, "That mom is probably worried out of her mind." But I'm not.
Do you know why? There is not one single thing that ANYONE can do to change what is happening inside my better, for better or worse. If we had an ultrasound EVERY SINGLE DAY from now through the end of the first trimester, it wouldn't change anything. The treatment wouldn't change. The pregnancy wouldn't change.
I have never felt so completely out of control in my entire life. And it is extremely freeing.
God is in complete control of this situation. Man can do nothing. It also means that I don't need to be constantly watching for some sign that I need to call my doctor or rush to the hospital. There is nothing they can do—it is in God's hands. And yes, I am hoping for a happy ending. I am praying for it. And really, I truly believe that we will get it. But even if we don't, I know that whatever happens is exactly what God has planned.
A couple I know lost a baby when she was just weeks old. They talk about the impact that they unknowingly had on the people around them—family, friends, hospital staff, etc. People have come to them years later to say, "We were astounded by your complete faith and trust in God." And the couple will tell you, they didn't trust in God so that they could be an example to others. They weren't putting on a show or even necessarily working at it—they trusted God because there was nothing else to do.
I can't even begin to compare my situation to theirs. But I understand that kind of trust. To be very honest, at no point in this situation have I said, "God, I have to put this in Your hands and trust You with this." I didn't have to start trusting Him… I just did it.
So why do I have to work so hard to trust God with other things in my life? With the parenting decisions that I make, with my relationships, with my ministry? Sometimes, friends, it's easier to trust when you don't have any choice.
So Lord, thanks for another lesson on trust—apparently I have a hard head when it comes to that. Thanks for being trustworthy. Thanks for watching after us—all of us, even those we can't see yet.
And to you, thanks for listening. Thanks for your prayers and encouragement in my absence, now, and always. I look forward to sharing this pregnancy and the many other aspects of this crazy thing I call life with you. J