One year ago tomorrow I found out I was going to be a mother. I awoke from the most peaceful dream that I had just delivered a healthy baby, and knew that would be the day. I had been anxiously testing for a week or so before that - but I would never get discouraged at all of those negatives, I knew that month was the month. That morning, November 21, 2013, my feelings were confirmed - I was going to be a mother.
Looking back, I wonder if I would have reacted differently if I had known that I would only get 36 precious hours with my daughter. I mean, none of us are guaranteed any specific amount of time on this earth, right? But we assume. We assume that our children will outlive us, that we will outlive our parents and that our parents will outlive our grandparents. When things happen "out of order" it throws us for a loop.
Which brings me back to my question - would I have been just as joyful knowing that God needed parents for Olive for just a short time on earth? Would I have fallen to my knees giving thanks to God that morning if I had known that my role as a mother would not be like my friends? If I had known that my days of motherhood would be filled with tears and grief and heartache - what would I have done?
I'd like to tell you that I would have been just as happy - praising God for blessing me with the honor of being chosen as her mother, regardless of the time I got with her. I'd like to tell you that I would have worshiped and praised Him for thinking me worthy to have any time at all with that sweet baby. But I can tell you that wouldn't have been true. I would have thrown up my hands, I would have wailed and bargained with Him. I would have spent more time throughout my pregnancy dreading my due date instead of enjoying the little moments, the sweet flutters, kicks and hiccups.
Earlier this month I had begun experiencing emotions that I haven't felt in awhile. Month 3 brought me to my knees - literally - but again, not in the praising and worshipping sense, more like the "why me" sense. I have been angry and overwhelmed this month. I have taken on more than I can handle - trying to return to "normal" faster. Saying yes to everything, trying to fill my time with more obligations - trying to make myself feel needed and wanted. I felt, when Olive died, that I had lost my identity. Everything I thought I was supposed to be was no longer, so I attempted to return to my pre-Olive life in an attempt to make things fall back into place again. Month 3 came and I felt like I had hit rock bottom - like things were out of control again.
How did I get here?
How did this happen?
I often think of Job - a man who literally lost everything, and yet in the midst of it all, faithfully replied "Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" Job 2:10 NIV
If I had known that my life was going to be where it is right at this exact moment I would not have been as faithful as Job. I'm still not as faithful as Job, and my problems aren't nearly as severe as his were. I am trying - really hard to be more accepting of my life -to take these burdens and bear my cross faithfully, full of hope and trusting that God will fulfill his promises to never leave me or forsake me. Even in this. I'm tired, I'm empty - but I will never stop trying to be more faithful.
Someone recently asked me how I can stay so committed to following God in all of this. It's interesting because not being committed to God was never an option for me, it's never even crossed my mind. I have doubted Him, I have questioned Him, I have believed at times that I could have done a better job than He - but I've never, not for one single second, considered a life without Him.
I'm reminded of Jesus' ministry when he was teaching and preaching - telling people things that were hard for them to understand, things that didn't seem to go along with how they thought things should be. Many people began to turn away from him, as it was easier to believe this Jesus-guy was kind of strange - talking about taking his body and blood and being the bread of life - crazy-talk, right?
At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him. Then Jesus turned to the twelve and asked, "Are you going to leave too?"
Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go? You alone have the words that give eternal life. We believe them." John 6:66-69 NLT
To whom would I go?
Who else do I have as an option? Myself? My husband? My family, friends or therapist? Of course these people are great listeners, offering advice and encouraging words - but none of them can offer me the opportunity to see my daughter again. Not a one. There is only ONE way for my little family to be reunited someday - and that's through this crazy Jesus-guy who takes me down paths I don't understand and does things I don't always agree with. Paths where I think I know the way and then He makes us take a sharp left when I was trying to go right - reminding me both of His love and His control.
So - here I am on November 20, still tired, still broken and still sad - slowly allowing the empty parts of my life to be filled with the hope and promises of God. My hope is that tomorrow I'll be able to wake up remembering fondly that cool November day that I got the best news of my life. Instead of a heavy heart - I am going to have a joyful heart and praise Him just as I did that day, exactly one year ago. Praise Him for giving her life, for choosing me to be her mother and for taking good care of her until I'm able to see her again.
*The title of this post is taken from a devotion I recently read, The One Year Book of Hope by Nancie Guthrie