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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Disappointment


    I have wanted to share my heart, and I have not quite known how to do this. It is never easy to be open and honest. Especially with parts of our lives that are just sad and painful, it is easier to pretend they do not exist, rather than talking about them openly. But I have learned that through our life, and through our stories, God does use them to help others. So in light of that, I have been praying for God to lead my heart, and speak through my words, so that they can reach those who need to hear them. You see, lately I have been walking down a path of what feels like continual heartbreak and disappointment.  Don't get me wrong, my life isn't all bad, there are many days when the joy and the brightness outshines the pain and the frustration.  But I have felt throughout the past month, as though I have been brought back into the pit of grief, back to the days of anger, of questioning and wondering, and back to the days of ugly and painful tears. As I sit here now, and await the day when healing will once again begin, and the tears will fall less frequently,  I wanted to share my heart with all of you.
     Disappointment is never an easy pill to swallow, in fact, it's something that most of us try to avoid at all costs. So if you feel like you are facing a season of disappointments right now, then my prayer is that this post will speak to your heart.
      In my life, I have always dreamed of being a mom. It was my desire since I was a little girl, and I spent a majority of my years as a little girl playing "house" and barbies with my sisters and our friends. It was always so real to me. Not just something I did because it was fun, but because it was what I knew I wanted to be when I grew up. So of course, in my head I always believed it would be a simple process of having babies, and then being a mom for the rest of my life. I never in my life dreamed just how difficult it would be for me to become a mom. It has been the most painful, heartbreaking, beautiful, love filled journey that I could have ever imagined. God has used each and every step of this journey to teach me, to mold me, and to strengthen me.
     In all honesty,  I absolutely love being pregnant. I love everything about the beautiful and precious gift of growing a new life inside. I have actually told Josh many times that if I could just be pregnant forever I wouldn't mind one bit! So a few months after Noah was born, I found myself missing being pregnant. And I have been anxiously awaiting the day when we could begin the process of adding to our family once again. I would love to provide Noah with a little brother or sister some day. So even though Josh has not always been in full agreement, we have been trying to add to our family for awhile. A few weeks ago, I finally received the much awaited, much longed for, beyond exciting positive pregnancy test. It was faint, but it was there.  The following day it was once again, through my tear filled eyes, positive! My heart was overjoyed in so many many ways. And me, being the crazy person that I am, started talking to that very very little growing person who I believed was inside. I spent an incredibly happy, excited, beyond thrilled weekend keeping my little secret. All the while dreaming of what the next months were going to bring. But a few days later, when everything should have been okay, it was not. A negative pregnancy test, the sense of dread that filled my heart, the questions and the wondering, the desperate prayers, the waiting. Finally the call from the doctor, and the bad news. The pregnancy had ended, almost before it had even began. There was nothing left to do but wait, for my body to do the natural process. Two days later, it did.
     The disappointment. The hurt. The questioning. The anger. The tears. They came immediately. They hit me hard,  until I was just left feeling numb. Once again, I had to say goodbye. There was no reason they could give me as to why it ended. It just did. But that doesn't help. That doesn't make the pain go away. It doesn't fix a broken heart.
     In the same way that I questioned why we had to say goodbye to Caroline. Why we ever had to walk down such a difficult journey. Why God put us in that situation. Why the effects of all that we had lost, are still impacting me so strongly today. I went back to those moments of questioning. Why would God take something that I wanted so badly, that I had been hoping for, praying for, waiting for, and dangle it in front of me? Why would he allow those two early tests to be positive, just enough for me to hope, to dream, to begin to plan, to fill my heart with utter joy, only to snatch it out of my grasp only days later? It just did not feel fair. Once again, haven't I already given up enough?
     In the week before all of this happened, I was dealing with a work disappointment, one that hit me harder than I had anticipated. And of course, in my human understanding, I was praying for a clear answer as to why I had to face that disappointment. When I first saw that positive pregnancy test, I knew with all of my heart that my answer was in that pink positive line. I reasoned that God had closed the door for a new opportunity for teaching, in order to open the door for us to grow our family once again. It all made sense in my mind, in my human understanding. But once again, God was teaching me. I am learning over and over again that sometimes God must take us into the darkest, most hopeless places, in order for us to surrender it all. Yet let me tell you, that is not easy! Especially when you feel as though all has been stripped away, and you are left feeling confused, hurt, heartbroken, and angry. It is so hard to give it all over to God. Your first instinct is to try and put yourself back in control. To try and make everything better. To fix it. To rationalize it all. And just when I had thought I had learned it all during these past three years after losing my sweet girl, I was back in the same square once again. Left at a crossroads.
     As I was driving home one afternoon, the words to this song began filling my car at just the perfect time...

They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I'm losing bad
I've stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it'll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can't

It's easy to sing
When there's nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I'm held to the flame
Like I am right now

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well, good thing
A little faith is all I have right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

You've been faithful, You've been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You're able
I know You can  
I know You're able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone

Even If by MercyMe

These words from that song stuck in my head, and I continue to repeat them over and over and over....
"I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You'd just say the word
But even if You don't
My hope is You alone"

This song spoke directly to my heart, then and now. Because the truth is, yes, it is easy to sing when things are going well. It is easy to praise, and worship, and be grateful. But it is an entirely different story when you are in the middle of a trial, when you are in the midst of sorrow and hurt. You have a choice with how you will handle it, how you will deal with it, how you will work through it. And I would be lying if I did not admit that there were, and still are, moments when I just wanted to give up, because everything, all the failure and disappointment, seemed to be too much. It just hurt so much. Yet just as it says in this song, "you've been faithful,  you've been good, all of my days". I will be the first to tell you, God Is Good! God is Faithful! My life, is a living testimony of His goodness and His faithfulness. He has walked beside me, carried me, and guided me, each and every step of the way. In those moments, when I felt like there was no more hope, when the darkness overshadowed all things good, He was there. He was there. I have walked down the journey of grief and of joy, of heartbreak and of love, for the past three and a half years, and I know that I am here today, because of a good God, who loves me deeply, who holds my tears, and who continually overwhelms me with His promises. The God who continues to place people in my life who surround me with prayer, and love, and encouragement.  The God who knows exactly what song I need to hear, which will help heal my broken heart. The God who gently, yet relentlessly, calls me back into His loving arms. He is there. He is always there.
   
   
     One of my greatest struggles these past weeks is the unknowns. The "whys". Just as they did and continue to plague me with what happened to my precious Caroline,  I have found myself once again questioning why God would put me through this. As I laid on the floor after that phone call from the doctor, crying, I repeated over and over and over, "why God, I am NOT strong enough." In our minds, we feel as though we need to understand it all. We need to know why or why not. We want to know the details, understand why we are suffering, why we are sad, why bad things happen. It is a battle. It is a battle within ourselves to try and bring light to our suffering. We want to understand why a good God, who has complete control, would allow us to face disappointments, and setbacks, and sorrows. Just as the song says, "Cause I know You're able, I know You can, save through the fire with Your mighty hand".  We know our God can, and He does!
     Yet it does not always go as we had planned. I know that this is why this song spoke to me so clearly, because on those days when my body was doing the exact opposite of what it should have been doing. When I felt like my body was failing me, failing that precious life that should have been growing inside. When I felt the failure of losing out on a new position, and the overwhelming failure of not being able to emotionally handle all my daily commitments, I wondered why. Why could God just not fix it, make it all better? Put a nice soothing band aid on my hurting heart, and make it all right again? I had wanted this pregnancy, a new precious baby, so very badly. I had waited so long for that positive test. Yet over and over in my head I knew the truth, my heart shouted it to me with every beat it took, "even if You don't, my hope is You alone. " So I will continue to hope. I will hope in the Lord. The Lord, who is good and who is faithful. I will cling to my God, our God, who loves us deeply. Who wants the best for us. Who will walk beside us, in the sorrow, the hurt, the joys, and the pain. Our hope is in Him alone!
     Tonight my prayer, for each of us, who are facing disappointment, or heartbreak, or sorrow, or feelings of failure, is that we will ask God to fill us with His strength. That even if He chooses to not move mountains, or answer our prayers the way we hoped He would, that He would give us the strength to say, "it is well with my soul."
   

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