|My mom and I|
"Our Nest Is Best".... I have said this often over the last month. It is a line from one of my favorite childhood books. The book is about a couple (two birds) who set out to find a new nest because the wife bird is not happy with her current home. On their search for a new nest they try out a shoe, a mailbox, a church steeple and a number of other interesting nesting potentials. But in the end they find themselves at their old house singing "I love my house, I love my nest. In is all the world this nest is best". I really love the new home God has provided for Joe and I. It is peaceful, spacious, comfortable and cozy. Just what we need during this season of life. I had long forgotten about the book, The Best Nest, but a few weeks ago Joe and I took Zoe to the used book store and picked out a couple of our favorite books to read with her. I couldn't resist buying this book as I remember reading it over and over as a kid. Joe picked out Green Eggs and Ham and together we decided upon The Ugly Duckling for our third option. I also had forgotten how fun it is to read kid books. I read to Zoe, changing my voice to fit the different parts of the story and imagined her listening and like any little kid she would most likely be turning the pages before I finished reading them. Reading books was definitely one of the things I was looking forward to doing often with Zoe so I'm taking the opportunity to read to her now.
One question I've been asked several times is how I'm preparing for the Zoe's delivery and for all that will follow. Honestly it has been really hard to think about that part of the story. Joe and I have talked a little about planning a memorial service and I've scheduled to have a photographer come to the hospital to capture our time with Zoe. But mostly I've spent my time being in the present. I spend a lot of time talking to Zoe. I try to play with her; when she kicks I gently push in the area she just kicked to see if she will kick back at me. I try to hold her since my belly is definitely big enough to cradle her. I know that the days ahead will not get easier as we have less than eight weeks before her due date. I realized the other day that it will be painfully hard to eat a popsicle and not feel Zoe kick, or to not be able to rub my belly and know she is near. So for now I try to embrace each and every moment and I have learned so much about journeying through pain with joy and sorrow.
I was looking through some of my recent journal entries and felt led to share one of the entries I wrote after reading Psalm 124.
"If the Lord had not been on my side"......I would have given up hope. I would have hurt myself and others. I would have went crazy internally and externally. I would have missed out on all that is good amiss the storm. I would have unhealed wounds. I would have anger. I would not know how to love or show compassion.
But He reached down and rescued me. He gave me new life. Hope, Purpose, Faith, Adventure. He restored, sustained, encouraged, amazed me. He kept me close, He trained me, He inspired me and He still does all of the above. He never lets go! Even when the storms are raging and pitch blackness surrounds on every turn, He is there or else I would perish. In the darkness it feels like defeat, abandonment, suffering and agony but He brings us through changed. Less Fear, Less Striving, Less Doubt, Less Need to Control. More Present, More Trust, More Hope and More Faith.
I did not enjoy a minute of my dark soul of the night experience. From about 2008-2012 I went through a very difficult time that was filled with darkness, depression, searching. I tried to hide it from others but it was very real and painful. Most days I felt like I was on the verge of falling apart. There was little rest within my soul . The mornings were hard, waking up to another day was not something I really looked forward to and falling asleep was usually a tearful experience. I longed for the nearness of God I had once known so well. Where had He gone? What had I done wrong? What did I need to do? The answers did not seem to come. I prayed, I read, I cried. I eventually about gave up. I found myself on the couch late one night saying "God you are not good and you are not safe". As soon as the words came out of my mouth I was stunned. Did I really just say those things. But as I look back that day was a turning point. I knew I needed to journey back to knowing and believing that God is good and that He is for me. Joe was an amazing husband through this hard time and I finally listened to his advice and began going to a counselor. I'm not sure of all the reasons or the purpose behind this dark season I went through but I see a difference in me. I pray the Lord will continue to fan the flame that is now flickering again. I still feel my ability to dream is small but at least I'm dreaming again. I wake up with peace, I go about my day in peace and fall asleep in peace. I can trust, I know God loves me even though hardship surrounds me. My heart can sing "Be Still and Know He is God" and "It Is Well With My Soul". What we are facing with Zoe is probably the saddest experience in my life but I believe that He did an amazing work in my life during the darkness and that work he did is allowing me to find Joy, Peace, Perseverance and Faith when I need it most. The darkness was painful and I never want to go through something like that again but I rejoice in how it has changed me, healed me and made me more whole.
Oh God expand my love, compassion, faith and purpose. I pray you would be magnified and glorified in and through me. That lives would be changed by your grace and love. I don't know the future but I know that you will be in it. I don't know where you are leading but I want to follow. Thank you for Zoe and what a beauty she is. I entrust her life to you knowing you will welcome her and that she will live forever and one day Joe and I will be together with her forever. Please sustain her through the rest of this pregnancy and please allow us to glance upon her while she is still living....
I don't normally share my journal entries but just felt like I should share this one with others. Darkness, depression, doubt are all real and many experience them at some point in life. I tried hard to fight my way through them and figure out what was going on. I'm not sure I really understand it all during that time but as I said in my journal entry one thing I know is the darkness changed me. I just wanted to share and encourage anyone that feels like things are just too hard, too dark, too painful, too much.... Don't give up! There is light around the corner and purpose in the darkness. God is near, even when He feels far. He is love even when you feel cold and alone. He is faithful even it feels as if He has abandoned.
Thank you for letting me share our journey with you. Writing these blog entries is one of the most healing pieces of our journey. I don't write more often because I cry the whole time I'm writing and I can only do that so often but truly it is a gift to get to write and share.