Confession

I feel like I’m supposed to be one of those people who “have it all together”. I’ve grown up in the church. I know the Sunday School answers. I’m married to a guy who is a pastor in every sense of the word except the official title.

But lately I’ve been having a lot of doubts.

Not about God’s existence … about His goodness.

Especially this week.

Friends of ours from church lost both of their baby boys this week – one, half an hour after birth and the other, three days later.

And this girl (who I’ve written about before) may be losing her battle with cancer.

You can tell me that God has a plan – that He knows what He’s doing – that He sees the whole story.

And I know those phrases are all true .

But they don’t offer much in the way of comfort right know …

An Excerpt from my Journal

I’m afraid of a lot of things. Spiders. Tornados. Parking garages.

Lately I’ve come to realize something I fear even more: not being in control.

Three phrases I’ve heard over and over throughout the past three weeks – from family, friends, and my doctor:

“It’s not your fault.”

“These things happen.” and

“There’s nothing you can do.”

None of which I find remotely comforting.

I wish I had a reason – any reason – for why it happened.

And of course, by “any reason” – I mean something I can control.

I’ve been trying to eat healthier. Exercise more. Get more rest.

Control whatever I can control in the hopes that next time – if there is a next time – it won’t end in miscarriage.

But I know I’m not in control. I can do all the right things – I can eat properly, exercise, take good care of myself – but I know that God is in control. I know that.

It’s just a lesson that I seem to need to learn over and over and over.

I clue in – let Him be in charge for awhile – maybe a day. Maybe a week. Usually only a few seconds … and then I start reaching for the reins. “No, God. Let me do it.”

As if the Creator of the Universe doesn’t know what He’s doing.

    Job 38:4 – 38 (NLT)
    4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know so much.
    5 Who determined its dimensions
    and stretched out the surveying line?
    6 What supports its foundations,
    and who laid its cornerstone
    7 as the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels[a] shouted for joy?
    8 “Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
    as it burst from the womb,
    9 and as I clothed it with clouds
    and wrapped it in thick darkness?
    10 For I locked it behind barred gates,
    limiting its shores.
    11 I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
    Here your proud waves must stop!’
    12 “Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
    and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
    13 Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
    to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
    14 As the light approaches,
    the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
    it is robed in brilliant colors.[b]
    15 The light disturbs the wicked
    and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
    16 “Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
    Have you explored their depths?
    17 Do you know where the gates of death are located?
    Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
    18 Do you realize the extent of the earth?
    Tell me about it if you know!
    19 “Where does light come from,
    and where does darkness go?
    20 Can you take each to its home?
    Do you know how to get there?
    21 But of course you know all this!
    For you were born before it was all created,
    and you are so very experienced!
    22 “Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of hail?
    23 (I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
    for the day of battle and war.)
    24 Where is the path to the source of light?
    Where is the home of the east wind?
    25 “Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
    Who laid out the path for the lightning?
    26 Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
    in a desert where no one lives?
    27 Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
    and make the tender grass spring up?
    28 “Does the rain have a father?
    Who gives birth to the dew?
    29 Who is the mother of the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
    30 For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
    and the surface of the water freezes.
    31 “Can you direct the movement of the stars—
    binding the cluster of the Pleiades
    or loosening the cords of Orion?
    32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons
    or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens?
    33 Do you know the laws of the universe?
    Can you use them to regulate the earth?
    34 “Can you shout to the clouds
    and make it rain?
    35 Can you make lightning appear
    and cause it to strike as you direct?
    36 Who gives intuition to the heart
    and instinct to the mind?
    37 Who is wise enough to count all the clouds?
    Who can tilt the water jars of heaven
    38 when the parched ground is dry
    and the soil has hardened into clods?


Why do I WANT to be in control?

I’m much better off in God’s hands …

Unbearable

A few weeks ago I said I wanted to be honest in this space. I wanted to be vulnerable and I wanted to be real.

It’s harder than I thought it would be.

I had a special post planned for Monday.

We bought Topher this adorable little t-shirt: “Big Brother Team Captain”, it said. He wore it to Grandma and Grandpa’s house Saturday evening – he was so excited to share the big secret he’s been keeping.

Of course Nathan’s parents were ecstatic – they’ve been waiting for a second grandchild practically since the day Topher was born.

Then, Sunday morning – I started bleeding.

Just a little spotting, at first.

Then more.

And more and more and more.

We spent Sunday night/Monday morning in the hospital but by the time the doctor finally got around to examining me – we already knew the diagnosis.

“Your pregnancy has terminated,” he said.

So cold. So clinical.

He gave me a prescription for T3 and sent me home with a dismissive “It’s so early, everything will happen naturally. Come back if the pain gets unbearable.”

Unbearable.

Monday – I couldn’t move. I laid in bed and cried.

And cried and cried and cried.

We had only found out about the baby the week before.

The day after the Expo, to be precise.

One week – but I already loved my little bean.

I don’t know what I expected – but I didn’t expect the pain.

Nathan had to carry me to the bathroom – then hold me while I sat there, shivering, shaking, trying not to be sick.

I’ve never seen him cry so much, or so hard.

Only one week – but he loved our little bean, too.

Physically – I’m getting there. I can walk to the bathroom under my own steam now, and Topher was thrilled to see me standing in the entryway, waiting for him when he got home from Jaime’s yesterday. “Mommy’s AWAKE!!!” he said, like he was completely shocked to see me functioning again. Last night I sat on the couch with him to watch some of his beloved Diego – and we ate dinner as a family.

But the other pain still feels unbearable.

I feel numb.

Like there’s no colour left in the world.

The few people we’ve told – family – have tried to be understanding. Encouraging. “You’ll have another one,” they all say.

But the way I feel right now?

That’s not even a possibility.

I’m terrified.

If I could think of a word that means more terrified than regular terrified – I’d put that.

I don’t want to go through this again.

I know there was nothing we could have done – we didn’t do anything wrong, “it just happens”. One in four, the doctor said.

But I can’t help but wonder – is it because I’m so small? Did I exercise too much? Maybe I shouldn’t have been lifting Topher?

What if I’m defective?

I debated whether or not to even post this.

I guess I just wanted to say … This is what I’m going through. It’s hard and I’m hurting.

I don’t have anything encouraging to write as a conclusion, so I’m going to share a video instead.

* For whatever reason, I can’t get it to embed – so click here.

I know I’ve shared this song before. It doesn’t help to listen to it now – but I know it’s truth.

“This is what is means to be held, how it feels when the sacred is torn from your life – and you survive. This is what it is to be loved, and to know that the promise was when everything fell we’d be held.” (Held – Natalie Grant)

On My Mind

Growing up in the church, I’ve heard many a sermon on God’s design for our lives – how we each have a purpose – a calling, if you will – and how sometimes, amidst the busy-ness of life – we lose sight of that. I remember Rob sharing on the topic at Facechurch a couple of years ago – and I remember him saying that sometimes the easiest way to get back on track is to remember what we were the most passionate about as kids. Back before everything else got in the way. “Like a child”, the Bible says … (Disclaimer: Please read your Bible for the context of that phrase!)

When I was a kid I was really passionate about playing “Mowgli” with my sister in the “jungle” of suemac trees behind our house – but somehow I don’t think that’s quite what Rob had in mind.

Apart from spending as much time as possible playing in the great outdoors – I was passionate about two things: horses (maybe I should just go ahead and type a big, bold DUH here …) – and writing.

I’ve always been a writer.

I wrote my first book of poems in first grade. In sixth grade, when everyone else was writing three page short stories for a class assignment – I wrote my first novel. (Granted, it was a pathetic piece of work that starred JTT and Ben Savage – but still!) Throughout high school I continued writing short stories and poems and also discovered my love for blogging :) In university I started writing songs – some of which were actually recorded by friends! – and also began work on my first “real” novel – which, now that I think about it, is still an awesome idea and has been sitting dormant for far too long …

Then – I moved out west, and somewhere along the way – amidst the struggle of making new friends, finding a job, paying my bills, and just LIVING LIFE – I lost that part of me.

I lost that passion.

“I don’t have TIME to write,” is what I told myself.

But the truth is that I just didn’t make the time.

I know that now.

A few months ago I started taking one evening a week – stealing “moments of sanity”, as I call them – to write. It’s usually a Thursday, once Topher is in bed, and once Nathan is at young adults (The Rescue? Is that what they’re calling it these days?). I let the dishes sit in the sink (and on the counter, and the stove and the table sometimes too!) and the dirty clothes stay in the laundry basket (or on the floor …) – and I pull out my journal and my favourite Alberta Equestrian Federation pen – and I just … write.

It’s been a long time since I’ve actually been excited to sit down and write – and these days, that’s exactly how I feel. I used to hate Thursdays (or any other day Nathan had to leave for church right after a hurried dinner!) but now I actually look forward (somewhat) to evenings alone!

And I can’t believe how amazing taking an hour or two one evening a week to do something for myself feels. Why did it take this long for me to see it?

My recent reunion with writing has also led me to do some serious thinking about this lil’ ole’ blog in recent weeks. When I started blogging, it was as a platform for my writing. I posted songs, poems, devotions, transcripts to messages I shared at youth, silly stories – whatever. It was an account of my day to day life, for sure, but it was so much more than that.

And I feel like I’ve lost that.

I think I’ve gotten caught up in the whole popularity contest that blogging can become. Granted, I only have a handful of readers (literally. I think I can count all of you on one hand!) – but that hasn’t stopped me from trying to be … well – trying to be just like everybody else, with my scheduled posts on the topics everyone else is blogging about, with the occasional meme thrown in for good measure.

But this is my blog, about my life – and when Rachel posted this on Facebook the other day:

combined with Brittany’s post last week (that put into words exactly what I’ve been feeling when it comes to blogging lately!) it was like a brick on the head.

This blog is going to be changing.

I’ll still be sharing stories about my day to day life – silly stories about Topher, sappy stories about Nathan (combined with the occasional rant, just to keep things real!), and of course stories about me and what’s happening in my world – but I also want to go deeper.

I want to be honest. Vulnerable. REAL.

Just a few things that have been on my mind lately …

Monday Musings …

Words.

Lately I’ve been thinking about what an enormous impact they have.

When I was in junior high, my best friend’s little sister told me I had chicken legs. I was a skinny little kid with long legs that probably did resemble chicken legs – but that one comment – from a four-year-old kid, mind you – was enough to make me so self-conscious about my legs that the thought of having to wear shorts for gym class made me physically ill.

When I graduated from high school, my friends and I had a post-prom bonfire to reminisce about the “good ‘ole days” – and to say good-bye, since we would soon be scattered all across the province. The only thing I remember from that night (well, apart from the fact that Jenelle’s fish pond had a poor pH balance and all of her fish had died – and were rotting – while we were having our campout) was the fact that Paul’s girlfriend – who I had just met that night – laughed at me in my baggy sweatpants and told me that I had no bum. I spent years wearing shopping for long shirts to hide that fact.

By the time I was in my third year of university, I thought I was comfortable enough with who I was to brave wearing shorts to a retreat our church hosted for the leaders of our young adults group. By that point I actually liked my legs – riding a couple of horses a day for years meant I definitely didn’t have chicken legs – but it also meant that even when I was outside, I was most likely in breeches and boots or jeans and half chaps. When my young adults pastor put on his sunglasses and told me that my legs were blinding him … well, out came the jeans, even though it was probably 30º all weekend. That was eight summers ago, and the only shorts I own (which I’m still hesitant to wear!) are knee-length.

I can tell myself that what those people said doesn’t matter. I mean, obviously the little sister didn’t know any better, the girlfriend was probably right (I wore those sweat pants over my riding breeches to keep them clean before horse shows – they were so big, I probably looked like I didn’t have legs either!), and the young adults pastor was just joking around. (Besides, I’d rather have glaringly white legs and ride horses than have tanned legs and skin cancer any day!) I know all those things are true – but for whatever reason, I still can’t seem to erase those words from my memory.

But then again – the same is true for words of encouragement.

I remember the director of the youth program at the Bible College I attended pulling me aside after class one day and handing me my journal. “You should write a devotional for teens,” he told me. “You’re a talented writer.” Those words are what keeps me plugging away at my writing – whether it’s in my journal, on this blog, or elsewhere. I might not be working on a youth devotional (or novel, or children’s series, or anything, really …) at the moment – but I’m optimistic that some day at least some of my random scratchings will make their way to print!

It’s enough to make me want to stop and think before I speak: Am I speaking words that will build people up – or words that will tear them down?

Just random thoughts swirling through my brain …