Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Struggle

When I first arrived back home, I struggled up the stairs. It was a physical struggle because of the C-section, but more painful was the emotional struggle. I knew I had left the cradle by my bed, ready to receive our little Abigail. I knew I had left a trail of blood all across the hall and into the bathroom. Memories of these images had flashed through my mind so vividly, and I was honestly afraid of losing myself to the pain.

When I got to the top of the stairs, I found the floor spotless. My brothers had cleaned away every trace of blood from the carpet. I had spent so much time worrying about that blood on my way home, and I was grateful to them for performing that difficult act of love for me.

As I turned and walked into the bedroom, my breath choked up inside of me as my eyes fell upon the little cradle. My arms instantly felt empty and cold, and for a moment I wondered how my heart could go on beating. My mom and Loren and the children had dropped me off and gone to handle something (I can't recall what it was), and I sat on my bed, alone, and cried. I think it was my first real chance to cry out to God with no one around. Everyone had been trying to be there for me and hold me up, and now I am convinced that I needed that time to learn to be ok all alone. I needed to be comforted by Him. Just Him. It was one of the most difficult moments of my grieving process, but it was important to me and has become one of my strongest memories of God's presence in my life. My own arms were empty, but He was holding me in His.

The emotions that surrounded Christmas only 5 days after our daughter passed away are difficult to describe. I felt so empty, but at the same time peaceful. I spent a vast amount of time on my knees pouring out my soul to my heavenly Father. Then He would fill me back up with Himself. But I had to do this over and over, day in and day out. I didn't want anyone to see this. Not my children, not my husband, not my mother. It was a private purging and filling.

Those lessons I learned on my knees were life changing. There was a cosmic shift in how I saw myself and those around me. I realized how much God in His infinite mercy, grace, and love had shaped my life...shielding me from harmful influences, humbling me by showing me all that I was capable of doing and being were it not for His guiding hand.

I spent countless hours on internet support boards for grieving parents, reminding those other hurt souls that their own pain didn't change the truth of who God is. I think the most important lesson those other parents and I solidified in our minds was that knowing and loving God doesn't shield us from terrible and tragic events. I'm not sure how we as Christians can sometimes come to that irrational conclusion, but it is so common. "How could God allow this to happen to me?" As if being a Christian is somehow supposed to guarantee us a life free of pain. But most of us wrestle with it. Or, "I prayed in faith, believing Him for a miracle. Why didn't He save her?"

But it was there in that place of countless questions and few satisfying answers that I found the comfort for my own heart. I learned that even when I don't know the mind of God and why he allows something to happen (His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts...Isaiah 55:8-9), I can trust His heart and know that He has only my best at the center of His heart (plans for a future and a hope...Jeremiah 29:11).

It still hurt. And I still had questions (still do). But I was not consumed by the struggle.


Sheila said...

I have awarded you a blog award! Stop by my blog to pick it up. Visit me at Barracuda Corner.

Tidbits of Torah said...

my heart grieves to hear of your sadness. May the Almighty continue to heal your heart.


sheila said...

I am just checking in with you it's been so long and wondering if your okay.


Shelley said...

Hi Sheila,
Thank you for asking. I have had lots going on, and I felt that I needed to take a break. My mom who lives with us had emergency open-heart surgery, my 4 yr old had a concussion, I had my wisdom teeth out, our dog had puppies. Just lots of life going on. I also started a new website,

I'd love it if you signed up! And I promise to post soon.
Love, Shelley

nova said...

Don't know why but i felt sad upon reading your blogs. Something that i need to ask God why? You have a heart to serve God and I believe He is going to restore the joy you have in Him. Keep on. God has a precious plan for you and He is even dealing it right now. God bless.

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