Sunday, December 13, 2009

Revealing

I'm sharing a little more, because it feels a little like being a fraud not to update the balance to the last post. Debbie, you wanted updates - well, here is one.

I'm not strong, not really. And since Mallorie, I cringe when I hear it said, because I know more than anyone how weak I am. During the time I carried Mallorie, I had no reason, really, to expect her to be born alive, or if she was, to be with us long. I think it took me a month (because of my habit of "trying" to be strong, I guess) to reach the end of my own reserves, pick up the phone to my OB, and ask for help. She found me the most wonderful priest/therapist to meet with, and both he and the OB learned better than anyone else how very not-strong I was. On each and every appointment with either of them, basically 90% of what I did was sob. It was therapeutic, mainly, because I was not alone, and they patiently allowed me to let it all out, to stay current with where I was. There were no epiphanies, and there was no "resolution" or growth during that point, that I saw, or that they probably saw. I was a dripping wet rag, wrung out weekly, by the time delivery approached.

But God did a work in me that I really didn't see the results of, until this side of delivery. I started the pregnancy as a girl who knew in my head and honestly believed that I was loved by God. But it was more like knowing there is a loving God and that He created me, and gave me gifts ... just as He loved everyone. I had zero doubt about that part. But I never, ever felt very special to God. Yet, the unwavering belief I had when we left that ultrasound where we learned about all the "anomalies," and went over to see the OB, was that the baby I was carrying, with all his/her abnormalities, was all about God letting me know He loved me specially. Where did that thought come from? I have no doubt it was placed in me by God, because it sure didn't follow logically.

I didn't instantly feel special to Him, either. That change took several months to accomplish in me, and lots of ups and downs (mostly downs). I am so grateful for that time, though I think sometimes that if I knew then what I know now, it would have been so different! I would have laughed in ultrasounds, instead of staring up at the ceiling. But, without going through those dark periods during which I had no idea at all of the outcome, I would not be where I am today. Not because Mallorie lived (though I praise God every day when I look in awe at her grin, her healthy body and bright spirit), but because He stayed close to me that entire time, understood me, listened to my prayers, my pleading, my cries, all of my thoughts, and never seemed to not "get" me. I was never abandoned, and I watched first-hand as God provided for our family just the right people in our lives to pray, to support us, and to go through all of it with us.

So here I am, again. After then initial shock settled in, true to form, I sank. I had read that getting lots of sleep was important in fighting cancer, and since I had just had surgery, I did a lot of sleeping, when I felt like it. I got tired really early of telling the same story to everyone in my life, so I stopped answering phones, and left it to my family to do that. I didn't sleep all day, but didn't do a whole lot else, really. THAT is me. I'm not strong, I'm not brave, I'm not really full of faith. And I'm an impatient mother and wife, and sometimes just plain mean if I'm really stressed.

But what I said about the One who knows this road? That part stays true, no matter how much I go up and down. And the difference this time is that I have a history with my God, now. I know Him as a Father and Brother who will be there every time I look for Him. I will see Him sometimes in the faces of sweet sisters and brothers who bring food for my family. In the form of donor milk for Mallorie that arrives just at the right time, and erases my fear of having to deal with dietary changes for her right now. In the texts and emails that arrive to tell me I'm being prayed for, or that include scripture verses that speak truth to my spirit. In my husband's voice when he tells me that for the first time in his life, when he was in a group of men (for his ACTS retreat reunion), he felt that he truly fit just as himself, no effort, felt accepted. In my children's voices when they tell me funny stories that tell me in the subtexts, that others are loving them and watching over them.

I guess my biggest need, besides prayer for healing, is that I will open myself during this time to the people all around me who longed to be God's arms of comfort while I was pregnant. Because THIS time I do know what I didn't know before. That I am not strong, but I don't need to be. That I am not alone, and am not meant to be.

11 comments:

laura said...

amen. you are not alone, and praise the Lord we were never meant to be. thank you for teaching me that truth.

The VW's said...

Great Big Hugs!!!!! I'll be praying!!!

Cathy said...

UGH! How you are doing it day to day amazes me. Praying for your strength as you go through the chemo. It is hard enough for you to find the energy with all you do, just can't imagine more!

Laurie in Ca. said...

Beautifully honest and written from your heart Connie. We could be sisters:) My instincts are to close down when crisis hits, just my way of protecting myself. My breast cancer changed that for many reasons and I had to learn to open up and let those closest to me do what they needed to do to feel they were inside of my protective wall and loved. You will be able to do it one day at a time because the Lord is our strength. I am a noodle without His help. I am here for you, truly am and I love you.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

Finding Normal said...

You know, I read this first thing this morning, and have thought all day about you. Praying. Sending healing vibes your way. Wishing I could make this all better for a random person on the internet. But you are much more than that...you are truly a friend. And we will all hold you up, here, just as we would if we could hold you up in person. You don't have to be strong to beat this...you just have to know yourself and your God. Which you do.
You are not alone. I will continue to lift you up in prayer each day, asking that God gives you the angels you need at this time to heal your body and nurture your soul.

May said...

Connie,

I'm glad Vera was able to bring a smile to your face. I'm feeling well and coming along nicely. Fingers crossed that the chemo doesn't take too much out of you.

Jill Smith said...

Connie,
Thank you for such a beautiful testament. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers and add me to the list of arms that are wrapped around you. Let us help you to be strong!
Love,
Jill

ANewKindOfPerfect said...

Connie, this is in reply to your reply on my blog. :)

I work with a nutritionalist for the metabolic doctor. She understands my Peanut's inability to tolerate volume. We do feeds of only 100 ml at a time. Anything more than that and she will retch until she throws up past her fundo. Our dietician is AWESOME. I love her. :) I would see if you can find one who is willing to work with you, and really listen to what Mallorie can and cannot handle. We got lucky with ours. Perhaps you would too!

Alyssa's Mom said...

When we are at our weakest, He is at His strongest. God's abundent strength, mercy and grace is evermore evident when the humble recognize their ongoing need for Him. Prayers for healing are being sent from PA to you and know that path that lies ahead was specially designed for you. Trust and obey for there is no other way.. Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey


Praying for you~ Trish

Alyssa's Mom said...

When we are at our weakest, He is at His strongest. God's abundent strength, mercy and grace is evermore evident when the humble recognize their ongoing need for Him. Prayers for healing are being sent from PA to you and know that path that lies ahead was specially designed for you. Trust and obey for there is no other way.. Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey


Praying for you~ Trish

Anonymous said...

Perfectly said Connie! God is with you and so am I. As soon as I can get back on my feet, you will have another warrior!

Dr B