Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christ Delivered what the Easter Bunny Never Could.

I haven't gotten any type of Easter gift in years. However, as a kid, my Easter basket was always full of goodies. My mom is sort of  a health nut, so we didn't get a ton of candy, but still got plenty of "specialness" in our baskets.  My siblings and I always got white chocolate lambs, while every other friend and/or cousin I knew got "brown" chocolate candy pieces. In my early years, I just thought my parents were uber spiritual and bought us white chocolate as it was more pure in appearance then dark chocolate. Actually, it was later discovered that my mom detests dark chocolate - who buys their kids something they themselves don't like?  Ha ha I also loved getting an Easter dress every year, even if was "just" a loaner, or hand-me-down from an older family friend.  These  dresses will forever be two of  my favorites:
Side note: can we talk about the adorable hunk of chunk sitting next to me?:) That would be my brother, Daniel (PS he is just as cute, though skinnier, today AND single!) 
This year I was so proud that I was wearing the prettiest dress in our entire church. Really I was, - I looked, evaluated, and judged. One of the few times in life I named myself a winner!:)

Easter was not just about easter baskets, dresses,  and egg hunts in our home. We grew up understanding the real reason we celebrated - the death and resurrection of our Savior. I don't really have any clear memories of when the overall picture of salvation became clear to me - it just always was there, in the tapestry of my childhood. I clearly remember the night when I gave my heart to the Lord... but other then that, I always just understood that Jesus loved me so much He died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins, so I could live eternally with Him. Now, as an adult Easter Sunday is one of my favorite Sundays in church - I love worshipping on this morning! So often we make worship about us not Jesus. But on Easter, more then most Sundays, everyone seems very aware of the true reason we gather in celebration to worship.

So while, for me,  Easter has never been about the more "pagan" activities that surround the holiday, I was hoping for an extra special gift in my figurative Easter Basket - a baby. It didn't happen. Last month I wasn't surprised or devastated when the test read negative. I knew I wasn't pregnant. This month felt different though, and I allowed myself, for the first time in over 12 months, to actually hope. There was a part of me that just couldn't imagine a better time to find out we were pregnant than around the Easter holiday - what an extra special reason to celebrate. I get a little sick rereading what I just typed, even though, it was honestly the way I felt. Its acceptable, and understandable for kids to make spiritual holidays somewhat about them - all the gifts they get, the fun things they get to do, special foods, etc... But here I am, in my married adulthood, and for the first time, I made Easter about me.

Good Friday was not a good day for me - I was off work and simply did housework and caught up on some television all day. Usually I love these simple days. Not this day - it was too much quiet time for my always overactive brain to think.... and instead of focusing on all the wonderful blessings God has given me, I focused on the ache in my heart, the emptiness of my arms, and lack of vision for my future. I tried for focus on the true meaning of Good Friday, but I don't think I was too successful. I spent the majority of the day on the verge of tears, but could not for the life of me squeeze out a tear. I even tried watching certain videos and shows (usually having to do with babies) and listening to certain songs that usually start the water works. None of them really worked. I would tear up, but the torrent of emotion pent up inside never found an outlet.

I have been noticing this a lot more for the past 6-8 weeks - I am not crying as much. I tear up all the freaking time, but don't actually cry about the infertility. Anything having to do with kids or babies - songs, shows, commercials, specials at church, etc... always let out a flood of tears before. I was starting to worry that I was turning into a stone (a former favorite coping skill of mine.) I so did not want this to be happening. However, there are certain Christian songs that can bring on wave upon wave of mysterious emotion, including tears. This happens daily.

This morning, my husband did a very kind thing - he gave up his one morning to sleep in, and took me to one of my favorite places - the Biltmore Estate! On the way there we were listening to a new CD I had put together of christian songs. As this song came on, I teared up again, but this time realization and understanding came.

I've been so afraid, afraid to close my eyes
So much can slip away before I say goodbye.
But if there's no other way, I'm done asking why.
I'm on my knees, begging You to turn to me
I'm on my knees, Father will You run to me?

I get really confused about the purpose of both faith and hope in our Christian walk - what their relationship should be, what the proportions of each should be. I do not hope well for myself (especially in our infertility), but I do have immense faith in the Love of my Heavenly Father. I haven't had much hope in our journey to become parents, but the dream of being a mom is there, and its withering quickly. In spite of the withering of this dream, my faith has remained constant - and that is what hurts so deeply. I know Jesus could plop a little ball of baby cells into my uterus in a nano second. I know He hears all my cries for help, tears of pain, and endless questions. I know He sees my husband weary and helpless as to how to continue to provide comfort to his grieving wife. I know He feels all of this with me. I know He aches for me. I know He is tired for Jared. I know He knows the answers, and has a plan for the explanation of them. I grasp the omnipotence of my Heavenly Father...  I realize His Majesty... I revere His sovereignty... To the extent my human mind can. For now, His answer to me is "No!" 

I am not having a crisis of faith. I am not doubting whether Jesus hears me, loves, care for me, etc... Its nothing like that. Its simply the melding of my christian heart and my mother's heart, in seemingly such opposition, and its painful!

One tear in the driving rain,
One voice in a sea of pain
Could the maker of the stars
Hear the sound of my breaking heart?
One life, that's all I am
Right now I can barely stand

This is when the beauty of the childhood gift of  "just always knowing" shines through. I have no idea why I was given such a gift. My mom recently wrote an email to us kids about "Unmerited Grace." Our family have been blessed with a Mother and Father who are deeply devoted to each other, and more so to their faith. All 5 of us kids are actively living a Christian life, independently of our parents faith. And it has all come somewhat "easily." Have we had our trials and temptations? Most definitely! But by the grace of God, we have stayed the course, and never doubted. 

If You're everything You say You are
Won't You come close and hold my heart.

I know He will hold my heart. He is holding it.  He has not let go. He always has, and will forever, hold my heart.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jesus, Draw Me Ever Nearer

Somehow... Moms always know how to find the right words to comfort, instruct, encourage, and support... even when in the lyrics of strangers. 
Thanks Mommy!

Jesus, draw me ever nearer

Jesus draw me ever nearer
As I labour through the storm.
You have called me to this passage,
and I'll follow, though I'm worn.

May this journey bring a blessing,
May I rise on wings of faith;
And at the end of my heart's testing,
With Your likeness let me wake.

Jesus guide me through the tempest;
Keep my spirit staid and sure.
When the midnight meets the morning,
Let me love You even more.

Let the treasures of the trial 
Form within me as I go - 
And at the end of this long passage,
Let me leave them at Your throne.

Keith and Kristyn Getty

The video is slightly corny...