Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Matters of the heart
What a journey it has been already!
The above photo is significant to what God has recently done in my heart.
Though not a master gardener, I am learning about trees and pruning in our almost 9 years of home-ownership. We have an apple tree in the backyard and it was quite overgrown. I begged the man from the Extension Office to come out and teach me how to prune it as just sending him a photograph and having over-the-phone instructions would be as useless as having Siri tell me how to prune it.
If you limb a tree, you must cut very deep to the trunk so that it can grow over the wound and heal.
Otherwise, leaving a small extension of the branch will cause it to die and provide room for infection.
In September 2010, something happened in my life. Part of it was me trying to plan/control my life, part of it was just what happens in this world. My husband and I tried to conceive our third pregnancy. As we were able to "plan" our second pregnancy to the letter with temperature taking and marking on a chart daily, we thought the third one would go the same way. According to the chart, I did conceive successfully. My pregnancy was successful for a good 6 days. All signs and symptoms were present except for that positive test which usually takes a bit longer to show.
And then on the 7th day, something happened. I'll never know for sure. From what I know now, my fitness level leading up to that pregnancy may have caused me to be unable to "implant" the conceived egg at that point. Or, perhaps that just wasn't the child I was meant to raise for a long-term.
I felt her life. I was aware of her and anticipating with joy that future due date...June 2013.
My heart bled.
A couple days later, my body did what womens' bodies do when they don't successfully conceive. This time it was abnormal, consistent with all I have described above.
Not only was "that" much heavier than normal, but my entire soul was also heavier than normal.
I was a stay-at-home mom with a daughter that had just turned 3 and was still struggling with pottytraining, and an almost-fifteen month old that was independent and using 3-year-old phrases to assert her independence in a negative manner.
I lived over 400 miles away from my mom and sisters, and I felt lost and alone and overwhelmed.
It was getting cold and cloudy outside and every winter I face that "SAD" season and mild depression.
I felt guilty for grieving this loss. I didn't know how to grieve.
Did I imagine the entire thing?
Did I want to be in control so bad that I lied to myself and it was all in my head?
My poor husband didn't understand and I didn't either. I don't think either of us do, even now.
So? I just shut that door. Closed. That part of my heart was frozen. Numb. Wounded beyond healing.
The pain was so intense I couldn't possibly face it. When she died, so did a part of me.
I had never known the fear of loss. Now that it had come to me, I didn't want it. It threatened to consume me.
I went to a women's retreat with our church that following month.
Listening intently, I felt that God softly told me she was a girl.
I named her Joy. Why? Not because I had great faith. I was ANGRY!
I yelled at Him. Audibly. Alone, in the chapel.
"You took my Joy away!"
Fast forward to February 2, 2014.
My girls have been singing the songs from the movie "Frozen". They ask daily to watch "Let it go" on YouTube.
That Sunday morning I had deep thoughts about my relationship with my three daughters and how I seem to cling closer to our youngest (who was conceived shortly after that retreat in October 2010 and arrived July 2011) than to her older two sisters. Specifically with our second-born, I felt as though I had been close to her for a time then completely cut off.
I prayed for help in this matter.
I could sense that there was a lump in my heart.
An area I had not opened to God.
At church our head pastor was back after a break-he had just lost his mother and spoke about loss being a necessary experience in life.
Our youth pastor did the sermon and mentioned Mount Moriah and Abraham placing Isaac on the altar. His main message was on "living water" and Jesus fulfilling all our deepest empty places.
Epiphany in my seat, I realized my deep heart problem was not directed at my daughter, but at God. I had never moved through the anger into the healing love of God.
I simply harbored the anger and let that fear and confusion freeze part of me.
I needed to "let it go".
A friend prayed with me up front after the service. We wept together. She had me picture placing "Joy" on the altar, though I was quite reluctant to do so. She then asked if I had seen Him taking her. I said no. (Could write another post entirely on my problems with good-byes and separation)
It was enough for me to "look away" then, look back and see His back to me, knowing she was in His arms. I had not abandoned my Joy, but instead, I had allowed my God to carry my Joy.
My Joy is being carried by God!
This all has double meaning.
Finally, my heart is full and warm and I am free to love again.
I am no longer angry with God.
I can pour all that energy and attention into my daughters that I am daily responsible for, as my responsibility for her has been met and finished.
I had done a hack job pruning, and God had to come in and cut deep, next to the trunk, so that I could heal properly. It was hard, painful, and necessary.
The pain isn't gone, but it's different.
It's a healing pain, if that can even be stated?
Perhaps you are needing to let something go? Comment below and I will gladly pray with you.
This life is a journey, sometimes a very difficult and dangerous one, but God has always our best interests in mind and is the fulfiller of all.