I meant to write last Friday. But I did not. Friday I was flooded with lyrics, song after song that spoke to me. Does music ever speak directly to your soul, your core? It does for me, and it always has. I can literally remember being 9 years old writing song lyrics and singing them while playing in my backyard. It has been an outlet for me and an inlet. It is another one of my “therapies”. I had the inclination to do an entire blog of all the songs that are absolutely my life right now. That will not be in this post because the opportunity has passed me by for the moment and I have something else to write of, but it will be coming hopefully in the next entry or so. Be on the lookout…when I post that blog I want you to immediately go listen to the songs, read the lyrics, let them envelope you…you don’t seriously have to do that of course but that is what I do when I hear a song that gets to me. I let it envelope me, I use it to praise God, I praise God for the melody and for His message to me. He knows how to speak to me through song, that is not the only way but right now in my journey it has been the most prominent and effective on some days. Days like Friday, when I was battling the dark again. The depressive moments that come with battling infertility. The moments where you sit on the floor and watch a puddle form from your tears. You shake your head and ask why. You don’t want to be this way. But you are. At your very core, you are this way. Broken, sad, frustrated, angry, confused, still in some denial, but really you know the truth and the truth hurts you right now. So keep in mind last Friday that’s where I was. Well, heck, let’s face it, that’ where I am most of the time lately. Maybe not outwardly but somewhere in my mind, not always the forefront, but somewhere in there at all times I have these conflicting thoughts, emotions, hopes, and fears. Hopes that we will be able to conceive soon. Then I realize I only have this hope because of denial. Denial of the possible reality that we could be that couple. That amidst our friends, we could be that couple who is never blessed with children. That we will struggle for years and years and still not be fruitful in that way. That we will struggle through treatment after treatment, maybe even spending tens of thousands of dollars we don’t have to try to get pregnant again, all to no avail. These are my nightmares now, while I constantly have dreams of getting positive pregnancy tests again, only to wake up and realize it was all a stupid dream, conjured up from the hopes that are deeply seated in my subconscious. I’m not who I was. A year ago today, I started bleeding. Only for a few moments. But those were the moments that changed my life. I keep wondering if after the ENTIRE year has been complete, and by year I mean when January 21, 2012 comes and the year after our complete loss is complete, if the pain with subside. If then I will be me again. If then I won’t hurt so much, or think of it as much. But really. I know that’s a lie. I know that it will still hurt. I read recently that infertility is like a wound. And dealing with infertility on top of miscarriage I think is a very deep wound which has and will require cleaning, maintenance, refreshing of the bandages, and gentle handling before the scar can develop and even then the area will still be sensitive when it is touched. I have to remember that what I’m feeling is normal. And I have to continually give myself grace to experience this process.

And cry.

And be open.

Vulnerable.

I just had a thought, remember those introductory ice breaker games where you have to introduce yourself and use an adjective that starts with the same letter of your name to describe yourself or something about you, example, Awesome Abby, Beautiful Becky, Creative Candice, I could go on all day until I get to my stupid “V” name…there’s like 2 adjectives that start with “V”…”Voluptuous” and “Victorious”…okay so I know there are more than 2 but those are always the only 2 that I could ever think of when having to do that stupid game, especially when everyone around me has easy names and I could come up with 470 cool adjectives for them (I’m exaggerating, I’ll get to the point!). So when playing that game I had to choose, well, I’m certainly not voluptuous in any sense of the word and that word is not usually appropriate to use during this ice breaker game with a group of people you don’t know well…maybe for a braver soul, but not myself. So I was always left with “victorious”, oh! There was also vivacious…but again, I wouldn’t go that far to say I’m vivacious. So left with victorious. I would use that one, but reluctantly. (This post is going nowhere, I’m realizing this…I’m hoping it will, I think it will make sense at the end…after 900 words I’m still nowhere, sheesh if you’re still reading, you deserve an award…anyway…) I would use victorious reluctantly, I think because I was afraid. “V” adjectives are strong! My name, Valerie, means “strength,” “valor”, if you will…look, another v adjective. They are strong. If I described myself this way to this new group of people would they see me as that way? Later when I let them down will they remember the adjective I used and say, “Hey! You lied to us!” I’m saying this all half-jokingly of course, but I really was a little intimidated to have to use such a strong word to describe myself. And now, as I type the word “vulnerable”, I realize it’s my adjective. Right now. It’s something I need to be in order to be victorious. To first be vulnerable. Now vulnerable is never an adjective one would willingly choose to use when introducing themselves to the group. Vulnerability implies weakness in our society. But that is what God wants for us, right? To be vulnerable. With Him. With ourselves. With our brothers and sisters in Christ. Vulnerable. It is becoming a word that I am learning to embrace. Every day. A sweet sister of mine called me the other day to ask me to be vulnerable with her. I needed that. I KNEW I needed that but I didn’t know how to go about it. Doug and I had been planning on talking to more of our friends about it, we just hadn’t found the appropriate moment, in our eyes. Conflicting emotions all around. Craving and desiring the support, yet having the lies of the deceiver tell us it was too scary, our problems are too big for the others to understand and be supportive. The father of lies was short-selling my friends by millions of what they’re worth. And in the midst of my confusion and pain I’ve let him get away with it. But I’m working on it, I promise I am. It’s just not an easy process.

When I asked another good friend of mine why are some people’s lives and paths easier than others I was told by her, without hesitation that some people’s shoulders just aren’t broad enough to carry those burdens at the time. That they aren’t strong enough to carry what you’ve got on our load. While I don’t necessarily like this answer for the fact that it means for some reason I’ve been chosen to have to be the strong one (my whole life, not just with this current battle) but I do accept it and I do like the way she put it for me. In some ways I know she’s right. The other part of me wants to ask well why do we even have to be stronger and go through it all. I know it’s because we’re fallen and deserve only the worst part of hell for our sin. And I’m grateful we don’t get what we deserve. This side of heaven I’ll never know or understand fully why the little girl I was has had to endure all that I’ve been given in this life but I do know that God did plan for this. That I was no accident in His eyes. He knew I would go through all this. I have to continually remind myself that this is all part of a plan. It certainly isn’t my plan but it’s in the more important plan to glorify God, somehow, even when I’m sobbing on that bathroom tile floor, wondering when I’ll experience happiness or a day without sadness, rather, again. Because there are moments where it all looks pretty bleak to me. I don’t do as good a job at looking tough on the exterior anymore. It’s really weighing on me and chipping away at the walls I’ve tried to protect myself with. People are starting to notice. Maybe they have for a while now and I’m only beginning to notice them noticing. And I’m starting to care less and less that they are noticing. I guess deep down I want them to. I crave finally being able to be vulnerable. To open myself up. I’m cracking on the surface, people are starting to see through my teary eyes when I try to pretend. And that scares me. I don’t want to feel alone, yet I don’t want to share because it’s mine. Even though I don’t want it to be, it is. It’s mine to deal with. I should be able to handle it, but the truth and reality is that I can’t. I just cannot. I need help. And I’m trying to accept the fact that needing and seeking help is okay. Especially when the majority of days can sometimes be a battle just to function. When there are more moments when my eyes are filled with tears than not. When I have trouble seeing past this to enjoy other things. This isn’t the only thing I’m struggling with. That’ll come in another post. To explain the guilt, shame, frustration…I know, you can’t wait to read more about that can you? I do know, somewhere within me I know and believe that there is life and hope and better days beyond this…sometimes I just wish I knew how to get to them. As quickly as possible.

So going back to the shoulders. To the people who aren’t personally bearing my same burden at the moment. God is revealing to me that yes, it’s true that we’re on different paths, a lot of my friends have it easier at this very moment. I don’t know what the future holds for us. I know God is working on us. A LOT. But I am beginning to understand that maybe, just maybe, vulnerability is the beginning for the others to get their shoulders involved. My back is breaking under the weight, if I’m vulnerable my friends on the other path right now can come over and take a shift of my sadness. Don’t misunderstand, I don’t want them to feel sorrow or pain like I’m experiencing, but they can use their gifts to bless us. To help us. To support us. To care for us. To love us. To show us God’s love through them. And by being vulnerable now, I don’t consider it as weakness. I consider it as one of the greatest strengths. It is being open. It is opening the door to being real with one another. Even if someone else has to help you open that door. Sometimes you really are shut in that tight that before you can even begin or realize to begin sharing and being vulnerable that someone has to knock on that door and say hey, I’m standing here and I know something is wrong and I don’t care if I have to sleep on your doorstep until you open up to me, I’m here and I’m waiting with open arms and support. No, maybe I don’t have the answers or the experience with what you’re going through, but I care. Please be that person for someone you know. Please don’t let being comfortable keep you from a moment of awkwardness and uncertainty that could be just what your friend needs. God is using us. All of us. He is using this in my life maybe not just for me, but to do what I know my purpose has always been for at the core of it, to help others too. To learn how to get through life together and truly realize that we aren’t meant to do this thing alone. He is preparing us for something so much greater and as I was driving home the other day and the lyrics of “How Great is our God” played through my stereo it was reaffirmed in me what I’ve always known and believed. That someday we might be pregnant, I hope and I pray this…and I hope and I pray that it will be a wonderful and healthy pregnancy with a perfect outcome of a baby of our own we can take home. Maybe not. I realize maybe not and it isn’t something I like. But we won’t always be where we are now and someday someone might look in from the outside and think we’ve got it all. That we’ve got it so easy. But that they will see our shoulders. That they will see not only our strength but the strength of others who supported us through our struggles so that they can more fully celebrate with us at the appointed time. That they will see the strength and majesty of our great and wonderful God! Who has lifted us “out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” Psalm 40: 2. And that it was not our own doing, but that we would point to Christ. And His body. Our friends who will be rejoicing with us, and that they would be rejoicing in the Lord’s greatness not just because of the evident blessing at hand but because they know where we’ve been. And how much God has given us. And oh how far he has brought us. 1 Chronicles 17:16. Without being vulnerable, people can’t truly know and see how glorious is our God. How amazing is His love for us! How He loves us. Oh, how He does love us. It overwhelms me.

Vulnerability. A strong word, not weak. Praise God for His faithfulness. His grace is enough for me, I’ll take it.

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