Friday, July 24, 2009

Looking to the bright side of things.

So for the last two-ish months, I've been feeling a bit down about things (which is probably quite evident from some of my blog posts)....Rob would say that I qualified as being called a "Debbie Downer".

I've noticed myself being more pessimistic about life. Feeling like we would never get pregnant again. Feeling sorry for myself over our three losses. Being disappointed with the way that God is carrying out His plans for my life. I guess feeling some of the anger about our situation that I hadn't really felt or let myself feel for the first couple of months after Mary Grace died.

At first it felt "nice" to succomb to those feelings. To indulge my sorrowful, frustrated attitude. I felt like I deserved to have those feelings. And surely having some of those feelings is just natural. But indulging those thoughts for an extended period of time has been nothing short of miserable. It has left me feeling more down, it has left me at times resenting friends for the situation that they are in, and worst of all, I have distanced myself from God.

And then I read this post by my blogger friend, Tracey, and it was exactly what I needed to hear.

I never question my faith in God. I absolutely know for certain that my God is who He says He is, and that the things which He promises are 100% true. But sometimes my walk with Him falters. I veer from the path which we are walking together to one which I think I can handle alone. And the truth is, that no one can handle this life without God. We may think we've got it under control, but life without God does not give us joy in our soul. And that is what I've been missing these last two months.

So I picked up God Love You by Fulton Sheen, an old book (1955) and read this, "One of the greatest mistakes is to think that contentment comes from something outside us rather than from a quality of the soul (p 7)." Well I have certainly been of the thought that getting pregnant again will make me content.

He goes on to note three aspects to being content: having faith, having a good conscience, and limiting our delights/desires. "What we over-love, we over-grieve (p8)." I have absolutely been "over-loving" the idea of getting pregnant again and "over-grieving" each month that it doesn't happen...which has been making me miserable.

And finally one more quote and then I'll stop, I promise! "All evils become lighter if we endure them patiently, but the greatest benefits can be poisoned by discontent (p 8)." Wow! How true is that for me. I can't share in being joyful when someone else gets pregnant because I'm discontent in my soul. And clearly that comes from my choice to pull away from my walk with God.

So in short I don't like my attitude and it's time for a brighter one. I'm a very practical, type A personality, so I like to take concrete steps to make things happen and that starts with identifying the problem and then making a list of ways to fix it ;)

So here's where I'll start:

1. Achieving a more disciplined prayer life.
2. Attending Mass more than "just on Sundays".
3. Going to confession more frequently.
4. Opening my bible on a daily basis!
5. Asking for your prayers to help me get back to a closer relationship with God.

Thank you friends for your prayers and for sticking with me even through these last couple of months when my attitude has been less than content. I am excited about looking to the bright side of things.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Feeling a little defeated.

Do you ever have days where you feel defeated? In this whole trying to conceive journey I never really felt "defeated". Some days a little bummed, some days strangely optimistic despite all of the negative circumstances.

But today I feel defeated. Maybe it's because everyone else is popping out babies like there's nothing to it. I have found out that no fewer than 5, yes FIVE people are pregnant this week.

And the sad part is while I'm happy for them, I'm more sad for me.

Boy, that sounds self-centered, doesn't it?

But that sadness is really overwhelming the feelings of happiness I have for them. Which is, in itself, sad. Because I want to be elated for my friends and family. I want to be jumping for joy that a new life has been created for the people I love. I want to be ecstatic that their families are about to expand with an abundance of love for a new little person.

But I'm not feeling it. I'm not feeling much of anything today except for numb, disappointed self-doubt about whether we will ever have those feelings in our own family again.

I'm typing this in Rob's office and I just looked over at his calendar and what do I see?

"Know for certain that God holds you in every place." Proverbs 5:21

That's pretty powerful right there. Because not only do I need God to be holding me through my grief in other's joy, but I know for certain that He holds me even when I am feeling this low.

I don't know if people who have not struggled with trying to add to their family can really understand or fully grasp where I am coming from. Alot of people reading this would probably wonder "Why can't you just be happy for other people who are pregnant?" And the best way to describe it is that I do know that the joy is inside me for them...but right now it is pushed really far down inside me. And it feels like my grief over not being pregnant/losing babies/trying month after month is smothering my feelings of happiness for them. It's like the grief is a blanket that has covered up my feelings of happiness for others.

And I have to say that some days are better than others in this regard. Some days I look at my neighbors' one year olds (three neighbors, three one year olds) and just delight in my heart that God has blessed them with these beautiful little babies. And then other days that joy is overshadowed..."blanketed" by my own desires for a baby, and my own feelings of "I should have a one year old by now, too" (had our first try for a second child not been an ectopic pregnancy.)

So it's hard. It's hard because I want to be able to give my family and friends the love and support that they should have during their joyful time, and yet it's simply hard.

Please pray that I would have a "complete and abundant joy" in my heart for all these pregnant friends and their families! And most definitely join me in prayer that all of these babies and moms will remain healthy!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11th, 2009 Due date, Anniversary date.

Well the bittersweet day has arrived. Robert suggested we have a picnic at Mary Grace's grave today, so we did that. I liked the idea immediately. It was nice to be able to share something as commonplace as a family meal at her grave. I realize that sounds quite strange, to go and have a picnic at a cemetery.

And it is a little.

But it also made me feel like she was still part of our she was there with us in made me feel good to share something else with her other than just my company. Partaking in a meal near her seemed a little more intimate than just staring at her grave.

As we were pulling into the cemetery, Isabel announced our arrival, "We're here to the cemetery to see Mary Grace!" And then after a brief pause, "Is Mary Grace here?" she asked.
"Well, Mary Grace is in heaven, sweetie," I replied.
"Here? Is this heaven?" she questioned.
"No sweetie, this isn't heaven." (I inwardly chuckled at her innocent question and thought with delight if only we could go and visit our dead loved ones in heaven whenever we wanted, just like going to visit them at the cemetery). "This is the cemetery where we go to remember people who have died." 'Are we really having this conversation?' I thought.
"Oh. Look at all the flowers, Mommy! Those are for all the babies." (Oh the innocence of children...she thought the entire cemetery was for babies who had died).
"Well some of them are babies and some of them are older too, like grandparents." I told her.
*Another pause*
"What did Mary Grace look like, Mommy?"
"She looked like a little baby, Isabel. She looked like a tiny little baby."

Later, while we were eating she picked up the conversation again...
"Mommy, when will we see Mary Grace?"
"We'll see Mary Grace when we go to heaven. One day we will all be together in heaven. She just went first." At this point I found that I could no longer finish my lunch. It was just too hard trying to keep my emotions in check and eat as well.

She just went first.

Isn't that the reality of it? The joyful reality? We are all wanting and waiting to get to heaven. That is our ultimate goal, the purpose of our lives; to live out His will for our lives and be with Him in heaven.

She just went there first.

She is the lucky one. She didn't have to go through the sadness or trials, or pain or ugliness of this world. She went straight to heaven. She got to skip the hard work and go straight to the reward! Straight to glory and joy, and power and the light of awesome. And how lucky she is.

So while today is sad in some ways, it can be a day to celebrate and have some sense of joy. I don't have to worry about her on earth. I know she is in good hands in heaven.

And now I can focus on the joys of being married to the love of my life for 6 beautiful years. We have loved hard and cried hard over these six years, and I could not have done it all without my husband. He is the rock of our family and my best friend. Thank you, Rob for all that you are to me! Happy Anniversary!

Friday, July 10, 2009

The day before.

Well I've felt progressively sadder as the day has worn on. If things had gone according to MY PLANS, I would be 39 weeks and 6 days pregnant with Mary Grace today...hopefully going into labor soon. I imagined all this week how big my belly should have been and remembered how big I was with Isabel.

I love being pregnant. I love the joy it brings, knowing there is a new life growing inside of you. Feeling the movements, anticipating what your baby will look like and who they will become. What's not to love?

And clearly, I wish that I was still pregnant with Mary Grace. About to meet her, about to smell her sweet baby skin, about to introduce her to her sister and our family...

Part of me is really anticipating that tomorrow, my due date, will not be as bad as I am imagining. We have alot going on tomorrow, and I'm hoping that keeping busy will keep my mind off the sadness growing in my heart.

I realized today that I needed to read something uplifting as my spirit was starting to sink. So I picked up The Prayer of Jabez Devotional by Bruce Wilkinson; a book I haven't looked at in well over a year. And what bookmark would I find inside?

O Great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of thy meek and humble Saviour, and devoted Child of the Mother of God: enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in thine and made thee a seraph of love.
O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, thou didst bear, like thy Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, thou hast been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the lustral waters of baptism, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Really? God wanted me to find the "prayer for safe delivery" the day before I was supposed to deliver? Why? Is this a cruel game? Does God find my pain humorous? At first I wondered if it was some big joke that the Creator of the universe was playing on me. I imagined Him sitting back on His throne having a mighty laugh.

And then I slowly began to let it sink in that maybe He was not laughing at me, rather smiling as I began to read the pages that were held by that bookmark.

"Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?" Jeremiah 32:27

Of course not, I thought. And as I read the reflection for that day, I analyzed my fears about not ever getting pregnant again, and my suspicions that maybe God only wanted to bless me a little bit, or that maybe His plans for me weren't really that important...I really took a hard look at these things.

And then came the moment that I think God was smiling about: The moment that I realized that I had indeed been putting my God in a box. My God is "a God of power- available, essential, and unlimited" (p. 68, The Prayer of Jabez). Have I really understood and appreciated that? Nothing is too hard for my God. And I feel like today He was giving me a sign that I would be an expectant mother again one day soon; I just need to allow Him to remain with me, and to be the God He really is... not limited by my fears, anxieties and suspicions that He won't see me through everything...but unlimited in His ability to change circumstances, do the unimaginable, and blow our mind with His power and grace!

Lord only You can sustain me through the trials and dark moments in my life. Help me to keep You out of the "box" I put You in with my worries and fears about the future. Give me an unshakeable confidence and trust in You!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ugh...July is here.

So July is here. I've been quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) dreading July's arrival. My wedding anniversary and my would-have-been due date for Mary Grace both fall on July 11th. A mere week and two days away.

Quite frankly I'm having trouble reconciling my feelings about that date. Robert will want me to be happy and celebrate, as we should because it is a great celebration of our marriage. A day to rejoice in our great love for each other and remember the commitment we have made to one another for life. And yet it is the day which our little Mary Grace should have been arriving. We should have been celebrating doubly that day!

I can sit back and still remember the joy and excitement that I had thinking about the fact that our second daughter shared a due date with the most important event in mine and Robert's lives- our own union in marriage! There couldn't be a happier celebration, I thought.

And now it is so bittersweet. And I haven't figured out what to do on that day. Or how to bring both parts of the day, the joy of our anniversary and the grief of not being able to welcome a live Mary Grace into our family; how to bring both of those parts together. Maybe the days leading up to the due date will be the worst. Sometimes it is the anticipation of, rather than the actual day that seems to be harder.

I was also hoping to be pregnant again right now. I thought that would help lessen the blow of July 11th. But I guess mine and God's plans haven't been quite matching up in the baby department. I'll have to work on that.

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4