22 January 2014

Redeeming the Situation

I had a miscarriage.  It became important to me to write about it publicly because I realized how many women are affected by pregnancy loss.  It is an isolating secret that is hard to get out.  I posted about it here: "The 'm' word".  Since posting, I have read a few articles and blogs about women who have written their stories of miscarriage.  They are sad to read, but remind me of the importance of telling the story.  Tragedy affects us.  We cannot pretend it doesn’t.  For someone not to know my story is to not fully know me.
When I wrote my story, I had a good reason to finally be able to publicly share it, a reason some have guessed at, I am pregnant!  But here is the second half of the story.

Early in November I was feeling discouraged.  I was waiting for my period and feeling like getting pregnant would never happen.  (I realize for women who struggle with infertility that this may sound naive and arrogant; we had only been trying for two months.  My extremely brief time of waiting and hoping to get pregnant gave me a glimpse of the heartache that infertility can bring.  Hope deferred truly does make the heart sick, even if only for 2 months.)  The weight of the upcoming anniversaries was heavy on me.  I dreaded March 6th, my due date.  And July 16th, the date my baby died.  The what if’s of not being pregnant before those dates drowned out more sane thoughts.

It was a Sunday morning during worship that I broke down.  I don’t remember the songs, but I was not able to sing them.  During the break a woman I have known a long time came up to me.  She put her arm around my shoulders and said she didn’t know what was wrong but that she saw I was having a hard time in worship.  She had prayed for God to give her something for me and felt God say that the situation would be redeemed soon.  I broke into tears and let her know why I was crying, that I had miscarried in July and was having a hard day.  She prayed again specifically and the day went on.

I thought about what she said.  My hope rose, the situation would be redeemed soon.  My common sense piped up, God’s soon and my soon are not the same thing.  What does ‘redeemed’ mean anyway?  Why the fancy word?  Being the English major I am, I looked it up. 

      redeem (verb): to convert into something of value
                              to make good (or fulfill) a promise or pledge

Again, being the English major, I was looking for deeper meanings.  Not always the wisest thing when hearing from God.  Did it just mean to share my story and help another woman through a hard time?  That would be bringing value and good to a hard thing.  Did it really mean I would get pregnant soon or was I ‘reading into it’ too much?  I had to just give it up to God.  Which is what I should have done in the first place.

Ten days later I had a positive pregnancy test.

I wasn’t excited.  I wanted to be, really badly.  But I realized that just getting pregnant wasn’t the end of the story, I had to stay pregnant.  I googled ‘due date calculator’ and punched in the information.  That’s when I got goosebumps.  And started crying.  And realized just how much God loves me.  Loves me enough to do little things in my life that really, are huge.  I’ve always known He loved me.  Loved me enough to die on the cross.  But often in daily life I get so caught up I don’t see Him in the little things.  I miss His demonstrations of love.  This one I couldn’t miss. 

You know how I was dreading the anniversaries, the due date and miscarriage date?  Well, the due date will still be there, though now that I am pregnant I hope it will be a little easier.  And July 16th - the date my baby’s heart stopped beating, a date I was dreading (dreading the whole month really).  Except now, I can’t.  Now I have a reason to rejoice in mid-July.  I am due within 5 days of the year anniversary.  An early ultrasound put the possible due date even earlier. 

God has redeemed the situation!  He has converted something I dreaded into something of value.  He has made good on a promise.  Every time I think of the due date now I am in awe.  It didn’t have to be then, it could have been earlier, it could have been later.  But it’s not.  He loves me.  He cares about the little things in life.

A couple of those articles on miscarriage I mentioned are here as a resource for those who have gone through it and those who need to understand a friend's grief. 
The Miscarriage Secret by Caitlin Seccombe Lubinski
How a Man Handles a Miscarriage by Marcus Brotherton
And there are so many more beyond these. 

12 January 2014

What I'm thinking about when I'm not thinking

  My parents moved to Dubai this week.  Every time I sat down to write a blog post it was all I could think of, the proverbial 'elephant in the room'.  But I can't write that post now.  I will eventually, when I can write thoughtful reflection instead of emotional vomit.  So I asked for writing prompts and one suggestion was to write about what I'm thinking about when I'm not thinking.  Um, I don't think my mind ever turns off, but what about when I'm not consciously thinking?  I have many weird dreams and sometimes when they happen right before I wake up and I remember them vividly and I actually get my butt out of bed to write them down and no one bothers me, I have fodder for stories.  This is a story born from a dream I had in March of 2008.

 The Key-Hole
 The first memory I have of this place is of the trees descending from the sky and planting themselves in two long rows on the ground.  My family and I stopped our wandering to watch.  The ground was dry and parched.  I remember thinking the trees would not grow without water, their roots would not be deep enough yet to sustain them.
    Edward went up to the closest tree, the long line stretching away into the distance.  Whether it was because he touched the tree or it just happened at that exact moment I do not know, but water began rising out of the ground.  It quickly rose to our ankles as we moved in between the rows of trees.  There was a feeling of safety under the green branches that had been absent with only the vast sky above.  As the water climbed towards our knees and showed no signs of slowing the boys began to talk of climbing the trees.  We were wading and half swimming as the water crept past our knees.  Mother silenced the boys, there were no low branches, the trees rose in tall straight columns of blue-grey bark before branching out into a green canopy high above our heads.  Besides, Chloe would never be able to climb.  She was already on Mother’s back, the water would have been above her head now.  We waded as fast as we could through the waist-high water with no destination except further between the comforting trees.
    We began swimming when the water rose to our chests; at least for us older ones, the younger ones were already swimming.  We were concentrating so hard on swimming that no one knows when the house first appeared.  Natalia spotted it first.  At the same time her shout went up we noticed driftwood in the water.  Each of us grabbed a piece or two, clinging to it to keep our heads above water.  Mother was leading so she was the first reach the pebbled beach in front of the house.  The pebbles went all around the mansion, it was an island in the midst of water.  The line of trees stopped at the beach.  The white clapboards were covered in a film of green moss.  The house looked as if it had stood for a hundred years, even though I knew it had not been there when we started swimming.
    The door was open.  All the doors in the house were open.  I could see straight from the front to the back and out onto the stretch of water beyond the house.  Once inside the house we claimed it and spread out.  It was ours and it was huge.  My brothers and sisters invaded every crevice, exploring and making a racket.  The boys were using their driftwood as drumsticks on every surface they found.  Then they found the pianos.  There must have been one in every room upstairs.  The sound was deafening on the second floor.  I continued upstairs, past more open doors on the third floor.  I turned right down a passage with no windows.  At the end was a door, open of course, with stairs leading up.  I was confused.  I only remembered three levels of windows from the outside.  Was there a fourth floor?  I peered up the dark staircase.  There was a door at the top.  It was closed.
    The steps creaked under my feet, as many of the floorboards must have, but this time I heard it.  The passage and staircase muffled the din created by my brothers.  The air felt stuffy and stale.  I lifted my hand to knock.  But why?  Would there be an answer?  I put my hand on the knob instead.  Locked. 
    No other door in the house had even been closed.  I could feel the blood pounding in my ears.  Why was it locked and where was the key?  I realized there was a key hole so I bent down to look through.  There was an eye looking back at me! 
    After I clamped my hand over my mouth to stifle my scream I realized a scream had come from the other side of the door as well.  I bent down again.  Light was coming through the key hole now.  The owner of the eye must have moved away.  I cautiously took another look.  There was a girl moving away from the door.  Perhaps a little older than me, but unkept and wild looking.  It was hard to understand her.  She was talking to someone.  I shifted positions and saw a woman sitting in a chair; a sort of maid or nanny.  She called the girl Deirdre and told her not to talk through the key hole. 
“There’s nothing there Deirdre” she said.  “What a story.  You must be imagining again.” 
Deirdre looked wistfully at the door.  “But I saw someone Greta.  There’s someone there.”
“No child.  There is nothing beyond that door.  It’s just a locked closet.”