Sunday, February 15, 2015

Through It All

They say the final stage of grief is acceptance.  I have found that the inability to conceive is a loss that demands genuine grief.  Whether I’ve wanted to succumb to it or not, emotion has driven me at times the last few years in ways that I didn’t know were possible.  I reflect on those five stages and clearly see evidence of each of them in my life:  Denial.  Anger.  Bargaining.  Depression.  Acceptance.   

I’ll admit that last one sort of catches in my throat as I read it.  Acceptance?  Some days, hardly.  Is it time?  Yes.  Does that make it easy?  No. Is it even possible?  At times, I don’t know.  Looking back, those first three stages stand out in my mind in definable increments.  Denying that this could even be happening to us those first few months, the anger once I realized it was and cried hot tears in my pillow for months every single night, then the bargaining.  If I take this medicine, it’ll work.  If we go to this doctor, he’ll be able to fix it.  Now that I’ve accomplished this, it’ll happen.  If I pray hard enough, how could He not answer my prayer? 

We all have heartaches, challenges, even tragedies that rock our worlds.  If you haven’t yet, you will.  This experience called infertility has wreaked havoc on what I thought was an unshakable faith.  Praying earnestly for a seemingly God-given desire month after month, year after year, only to be denied while so many around you are having the same desire fulfilled would cause even the strongest person to question.  I’ve found I’m far from the strongest.  A stronger person would plow through those stages of grief with constant forward progress.  But for me, these last two stages, depression and acceptance, have instead felt like being stuck on a seesaw.   

Last weekend, we took our youth group on a ski retreat and experienced some of the same worship music that we have at camp in the summer.  It’s always awe-inspiring to hear an auditorium full of teenagers sing their hearts out to Jesus, and I’m always challenged in the moment.  I find myself asking: do I believe these words we’re singing, the same way I did when I was their age, with my entire life ahead of me, and my dreams feeling more like a guarantee than a wish?

These words kept catching in my throat last weekend…

So let go my soul and trust in Him…
The waves and wind still know His name…

…And through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you
And through it all, through it all, it is well…
Through it all, through it all, my eyes are on you,
And it is well…with me.”

Through it all: the denial. the anger. the bargaining.  the depression.  My eyes HAVE been on Him, because I know He holds the cards.  We convince ourselves it’s about us: our prayers, our hopes, our dreams. That’s the problem now with this seesaw I’ve been on… I sink low, and I have nowhere to look but up.  He meets me there and lifts me up and I think I’ve got this: I can accept it.  But then, just when I’m high again what do I do but look down and get scared.  What if He’s not enough?  What if I’m not enough?  What if THIS is not enough for me?  And again, I sink back down.

The problem with the seesaw is it still centers on me when instead my prayers, my hopes and my dreams should center on Him.  That’s where the first line comes in: so let go my soul and trust in Him.  I’ve held on so tightly to that seesaw, trying to pretend I’m in control… smiling and sharing when I’m on the top, crying and hiding when I’m at the bottom again, convincing myself I can handle it alone.  That’s not acceptance.  It’s pride.  And it’s a monster all on its own that keeps me from truly saying, "It is well."

Because of this pride that I haven’t yet defeated, I’m not sure I’m ready or even able to get off the seesaw just yet.  But what I do know is that God has been there, through it all, waiting for me to be ready, to be strong enough to truly accept the life He has planned for me.  And when I am ready, when I learn to rely on His strength and not my own, He’ll still be there, with the patience of a Father and the love of His Son.  Through it all.  

(listen to the song here)

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