It has been twelve weeks since Jon and I were sitting in the doctor’s office, staring desperately at a black and white screen showing the most beautiful, oval-shaped blob within my uterus, waiting innocently and hopefully for the ultrasound technician to tell us that she could still see our baby’s heartbeat.
In those twelve weeks I have done many things. I have finished my teaching year, gotten a pedicure, started fundraising for my job with InterVarsity and turned 27 years old.
In those twelve weeks I have also noticed that the doubts I have about God’s character and, at times, God’s existence keep getting bigger. I have broken down in tears in my middle school’s bathroom. I have told friends that I am doing well when I was actually drowning in a flood of my own grief. In short, in those twelve weeks, I have not healed.
Today was a day that I was able to take a look at how far I have not come, and how much I need continued healing, reconciliation with God, and to be honest perhaps some real counseling.
This morning I loved church. I usually do love church because our church is awesome. People there are really humble, they love each other, and I cannot help but think after every service that this is how God intended church to be. Today was no exception and I learned some very important things during the sermon and during worship. One of the first songs we sang was very significant to me. When I was in college I struggled with depression and also an eating disorder. I sought counseling and really didn’t want to go on anti-depressants so I also sought healing from Jesus.
The first InterVarsity Large Group I attended, after I confessed my current emotional and dietary state to my staff-worker and my best friend, we sang this song. I remember how I felt singing it. I remember knowing that God was going to heal me. We sang that song in church this morning, it was the first time singing it since that night I was in college and just like when I was in college I was once again in a place of despair needing a great amount of healing.
I became aware of some things I have been thinking about myself, about God, and about my future as a mother during this service and afterward.
The first is that I have been under the impression it was God who took my unborn children from me. I actually have this image of Jesus in a hooded sweatshirt (this image looks a lot like Lord Voldemort, which should have been my first clue that I needed help…) running away with my two babies in his arms, sneaking away in the dark of night. I don’t see it like sin let it happen and he grieved their death with me, or that he allowed it to happen but didn’t want it to, I see it that he literally, physically and even sometimes vindictively took them from me. I am now convinced that God is in a position where he needs to “make it up” to me.
The second thing that I have been doing in the last twelve months is trying to prove to God that I am ready to have a baby, basically trying to earn my blessing from God.
have, in my mind and heart, worked hard at convincing him that I was happy for the other women in my life who were blessed with pregnancy and life.
I have worked hard convincing him that I was going to pursue my life in ministry even though I was not feeling like a perfect disciple
I have worked hard at convincing God that I was going to have a quiet time even though I felt like God was a million miles away. I was doing these things to sell Him on the fact that I was a good enough Christian to be a mom.
So I was thinking about this at church this morning but then it became vividly clear to me when the foll lowing event happened:
This afternoon after church I was making “white people tacos” (these are the tacos I grew up eating in the Midwest, they are kind of good but not even close to authentic) for Jon and I when we found out someone close to us was pregnant. I flipped out. Not like had a little bit of jealousy flipped out, not like shed a tear flipped out. I FLIPPED OUT! I cursed them, cursed God, cursed my own miserable, childless existence (I am very ashamed of these feelings and words, but this is how I felt in that moment). This is not fair, I screamed with tears streaming down my eyes. She is going to experience all the things I should be experiencing! She will get the baby shower, she will get the maternity clothes and morning sickness and strangers touching her belly, she will get to complain about being fat and uncomfortable, she will pick out names for her child with the expectation that she will get to give birth!
These are things that I ache for, that I pray for. These are things that I was robbed of and won’t get back.
After throwing this tantrum and even re-living some of the very same things that I felt when we found out about our miscarriages, I all of a sudden had this overwhelming emotion of regret. Not regret at my emotions persay, but because I felt like I was going to be punished that much more by God. He was going to make me wait that much longer to have a healthy baby because I took two steps back on the maturity scale with my little tantrum.
I think that somehow I am either being punished by God or that there is something different I need to be doing, or something different I need to be thinking, in order for God to let me be a mother.
This is really and truly my current operating system: God is an all-controlling meanie who needs to restore justice to me OR God is this demanding dictator around whom I need to walk on eggshells, deliver endless sacrifices and pass several “performance reviews”.
I have been living under a crappy and incorrect version of grace, a grace that says I need to do something to earn God’s favor or presence in my life.
A grace that is no grace at all.
The fact is I am already holy and it has nothing to do with me, but has everything to do with God and the fact that he has declared me to be that way. He has deemed me “good enough” through the blood of Christ and all the good behavior (or in my case bad behavior) in the world cannot change that fact.
I know that I can’t make myself get pregnant or stay pregnant, that is torture for me.
I know that others are going to be blessed by life even if I am not and I need to be happy for them and I definitely can’t experience heart-wrenching agony every time someone besides me gets pregnant or has a baby. That will destroy me and destroy all relationships I have.
I know that I cannot buy God’s love.
The next step in my healing process, I believe, is to beg God daily to allow these truths that I know to penetrate my heart and will as I live out my daily life.