Sunday, May 24, 2015

An attitude adjustment

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 

I've kind of made it a point to emphasize just how unplanned this pregnancy was. Just how not on board and unexcited I have felt about it. I realize I crossed a line somewhere from honesty to rottenness.

I wholeheartedly believe it is completely okay for women (and men) to react with shock, anger, frustration and a whole plethora of emotions on the opposite end of the spectrum from joy and elation upon learning of a pregnancy. One of the things that has helped me the most pre and during pregnancy are those friends who were open and honest about their less than happy pregnancy and parenthood feelings and experiences. In a world where we all try to paint on smiles and present perfect, polished selves, I think we need more people willing to be raw and authentic.

I realize I wasn't always being true to myself so much as I was wallowing in muddy self-pity. Constructing a pitiful sword to fall on. And God got the brunt of it. I'm ashamed of how I've acted toward Him these past couple of months. He can handle my anger and He can handle my frustration. I don't even think He's upset about my questions. But He sure doesn't deserve the ugly spirit I have had toward Him.

I'm finding it hard to put into words.

In the midst of my frustration and incomprehension I (somewhat unknowingly) withdrew a part of myself from God. As quickly (within 24 hours of learning of the pregnancy) as people began talking about the possibility of future pregnancies, Johnie and I had already beat them in discussing how we planned to prevent any other pregnancies. I was still mostly rational at that point. After learning about the antiphospholipid antibodies, logic went out the window. And so did some of my trust in God.

To His credit, He never stopped being so incredibly sweet to me. (Which I may forever be in awe of. Such gentle, loving responses to my brash pigheadedness.) But while I trusted Him a little bit, I didn't trust Him fully. And while I submitted to Him a little bit, I didn't submit my will fully. I went from "we can still trust God after this baby is born" to "how can we get my uterus taken out after this one."

Johnie made the clever joke that we're like Coach Calipari's players: One and done. (I really hope you laugh at that because it was a proud wife moment for me.) But I went further than that. I felt so done I wasn't open at all to any possibility of anything beyond this one. My heart was calloused and I basically told God, "I'll carry this one for you, but never again. Never. I don't care. P.S. I don't even know what you were thinking with this one in the first place. But, I'll do it. Just for you. I hope you're working on some kind of medal for me for it. Because, if you remember, I didn't actually want to do this. But I am. Since I love you. Seriously, though, I really don't think this was your smartest move."

I told myself He was trustworthy and out for my good and all-knowing. But my heart wasn't listening. Aches or pains that couldn't be soothed the way I normally find relief, plans that couldn't be made or followed through because of this pregnancy I would hold up to God. "Do You see now why I didn't want to do this? If this is supposed to be teaching me something, I'm not getting it. What could this possibly be accomplishing?!"

As I finally just poured out all my ugly feelings to a trusted Spiritual Director, she asked me simply, "Do you believe you've sinned?"

It took a couple minutes for me to fully process my immediate "probably" into a completely sure "definitely." Not to be overdramatic, but it was like the scales fell off my eyes. I had been a stinky brat to a sweet, loving God. I mean, like, majorly stinky.

But I confessed and we prayed and slowly my burden seemed lighter.

This pregnancy has felt like such a heavy burden. Shoulders drooped over, unable to take deep breaths, not knowing if I'd collapse with the next step heavy. Why couldn't I just mother children who are already here? I actually want to do that, and that's something I thought You wanted me to do. If You want to introduce a new life into this world, why -- of all places -- would You put it in my broken body which, You must know, is set on destroying healthy things? It felt like I was being set up for failure.

Again, words are still failing me.

I realized my perspective had been wrong and my heart had been wrong. I had listened to untruths. And I chose then to turn back to God. To accept His trustworthiness and His Sovereignty and, thank Him for it, His grace. Though it was spiritual chains being unbound, I felt physically freer. Like I could finally move and breath and unhunch my shoulders.

And the verse came to mind: "My burden is light."

How had I not recognized that such a heavy burden was not from God?

This is where I want to conclude with something profound or thought-provoking. Make some sort of renewed commitment or dream of a perfectly healthy pregnancy from here on out. I don't have any of that. I'm simply trying to take each day, each thing, as it comes. Sometimes I do that well, other times I do not. If you've read any of my previous posts you know this is a continual work for me.

P.S. You will probably be relieved to know that my plans to allow someone in a back alley of a foreign country to cut me open and rip out my uterus for a nominal fee have been canceled.

Note: I also feel like I need to add another post script for those who may be reading this and may be struggling through incredibly difficult trials. I, in no way, was trying to make some kind of doctrinal or theological statement, or say that just because something feels heavy or hard doesn't mean God isn't with you, or isn't present, or that you're doing something wrong. This is just my experience from one day of going through a surprise pregnancy I feel especially unequipped for. Please don't take it as anything more than that. From my experience, God gives special mercies through the especially dark times.