A Short Adoption Update

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I finally summoned up the courage to ask the agency if our profile has been shown. I hadn’t wanted to ask, because I didn’t think it would make a difference to know: If it had been shown then I would just be disappointed we weren’t picked, and if it hadn’t been shown I would wonder why we weren’t matching with anyone. But after 7 months of staying in the dark, I decided I wanted to know. Whatever it was, it was. It doesn’t change the goodness of the plans God has for me and Dean.

“Oh yes, we’ve shown your profile, we’ve shown it five times. Three of those times the mothers made a decision to parent and two of those times the birth parents picked a different family.”

It took me a little while to let this information sink in. Wow, 5 times in the past 7 months is pretty good, but we still haven’t been chosen. I was a little disheartened, a little irritated, and feeling at the end of my rope.

But this was really an answer to prayer. I’ve been praying for birth mothers. Praying they will find a way to parent. Praying they find confidence in the provision of Jesus. Specifically, I pray Psalm 127 over them.

1Unless the LORD builds the house,

They labor in vain who build it;

Unless the LORD guards the city,

The watchman keeps awake in vain.

2It is vain for you to rise up early,

To retire late,

To eat the bread of painful labors;

For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

 

3Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,

The fruit of the womb is a reward.

 

4Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,

So are the children of one’s youth.

 

5How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them

They will not be ashamed

When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Sometimes I get names from the holy spirit and sometimes I don’t. So why was I sad that these prayers were at the beginning of being answered? Because, I so desperately wanted to be a mom too.

This blog entry is mostly just a bunch of ramblings about my feelings. I am at a place where God has spoken, and now I just wait and choose whether or not to cast my fears on him. Do I trust Him? Will I take Him at His word? Will I immerse myself in the nature of His goodness instead of drowning myself in my fears? It’s a daily decision. Sometimes it’s an hourly decision. Today it’s a decision I am making every moment.

Today, I mourn, but I also celebrate that for the fifth time since February, my period has come on the day it was scheduled. For the fifth time I did not have a day past due and wonder, “could it be?” Sure, during the two week wait I had my moments of “maybe this time…” but those feelings intensify even an hour past my expected period. My body is doing what it should, and my God is protecting my heart.

But this waiting, oh God, this waiting is taking a toll. I feel your goodness all around me, Lord. I sense your presence and your will; It is the best and also the most frustrating. I truly feel my Scout is a child not born of my own womb. She is a child born of my heart and the womb of another. My brave boy is born of my womb. But his time has not yet come. Scout’s time is coming. She is on her way. I feel it. I feel these spiritual contractions. I couldn’t imagine giving up my Scout, even for a child of my own. I’ve met her, my sweet silent fawn. I’ve met her. I can’t ever go back. I know it was just a dream, but it doesn’t matter. It was so real, it was a gift from You, Father, I know it. I saw her dark hair, I saw her dark eyes, I saw her rich colored skin. I felt her hugs. She never spoke, she didn’t laugh like Casey did. She was quiet, reserved, beautiful, delicate, loved. I long to meet HER; I long to love HER and be HER mother.

So, my dear Scout, I’m waiting for you. God is protecting our families and ensuring we meet. I am praying for your birth mommy. She is preparing to meet you too. She is scared, and maybe you feel that, but I’m not, my sweet daughter. God is good. He is working. He is in this. He has gone before. Can you feel my prayers feeding you spiritually? Can you feel the excitement of life? Feel that heartbeat? That’s yours and I am so glad! I am celebrating your life! I am thanking God for his protection over your little body. I am thanking God for your birth mommy and her courage.

You see, I don’t get a sonogram of your little body like other mom’s do. So God sends me his own visions of you; His own little snapshots of you. I heard you crying the other day. I was so tired, so I laid down on the couch, just for a short 30 minute rest after lunch. As I laid there trying to fall asleep, I heard a cry. It was a baby’s cry, and I knew it was you. I instantly got up, ready to pick you up and hold you close and comfort you, but your cry was gone. It evaporated into the sounds of my home. I whispered, “I love you, it’s going to be ok” and hoped that just as I heard your cry, you would hear my comfort.

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To the Girl Who Betrayed Me

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Hey,

I’m really glad we are friends again, because I missed having your strong, confident, loving ways in my life. Remember when we were little and you were convinced we were flying? We were jumping on my bed, and when I said, “We’re not flying, we’re just jumping…” you explained that we just needed more practice, that our feet were leaving the ground and we spent time in the air, we just haven’t perfected our technique yet. It’s too bad mom made us stop, I really think we could have perfected that technique….

There was something about you that was so sure, so confident, so excited to be yourself. Remember in first grade when that one girl would always get the pretty skirt during dress up time, and we were left with the ugly skirts to wear? How were we supposed to be the princess with the ugly skirt? We only got to be the servants. But then one day you stood up for us servants. You declared that we all should get a chance to be the princess! I don’t remember if it worked…but it doesn’t really matter, because what you did stayed with me for the rest of my life. You stood up for yourself, for me, for the underdog. When I wasn’t sure if I was worthy of the skirt, you declared that each one of us was worthy. How did you know? What made you so confident? How did you embody those traits so early on in life?

I loved your imagination. We would spend hours “crushing corn” on the farm with my brothers. Of course “crushing corn” meant  climbing to the top bunk of my brother’s bed and then falling off the railing onto the lower, perpendicular bunk, and “crushing the corn” with our backs. We would perform operations on my stuffed animals and dolls. We were teachers. We were navy seals. We were mermaids. We were contestants on Nickelodeon’s GUTS! With you, nearly anything was possible.

Remember how you used to wet your bed? I’m not saying that while pointing my finger and laughing. I bring that up because you had to wear pull-ups to bed, something that seemingly would cause shame and embarrassment, but instead you somehow made others jealous of the fact that you got to wear pull-ups to bed. You would go to sleepovers and the other girls would want to wear them too. How did you do that?!

I loved how you were never scared to get dirty. It didn’t matter if you were wearing your Sunday best or sweatpants with holes in them, if there was a game of tag in a mud pit you were in! Even when your mom tried to get you to buy nicer clothes in high school you didn’t budge. You liked jeans, chucks, and a t-shirt from a punk concert. You made necklaces out of guitar picks and wore skateboard bearings as rings from your boyfriend’s old skateboard. You were so different and cool.

I remember how smart you were. You always did so well in school. You always read all the directions twice, so in 3rd grade when our teacher handed out a worksheet with a dozen math problems on it, you were the only one who actually followed the directions: “Circle all the subtraction problems. Put a purple square around the addition problems. Draw a picture of a house on the bottom of your paper. Do not answer the math problems. Turn the sheet into your teacher.” Despite the looks you received from the other kids your confidence in your ability to understand directions did not falter. And this confidence in your academics followed you all the way into college where you graduated Suma Cum Laude with a 3.9 GPA!

Remember when you decided you were going to qualify for the World Championships of Irish Dance? You had only been dancing for a year! But sure enough, 4 years later you qualified, and you competed in the Worlds, and then you did it again the next year! That was so cool! I was so proud of you.

So, you can imagine my shock, when one day you said, “you’ve gotten a little chubby, and I’m embarrassed to be seen with you.” You? Embarrassed? The girl who could make pull-ups enviable? Surely, if you could make wetting the bed a covetable dysfunction, you could handle being seen with a chubber. And I wasn’t even that chubby, I just put on a little extra weight.

I remember the moment we stopped being friends. It was the day my other friend booted me out of her wedding party because I didn’t have “the right body type for the bridesmaid dress.” And you agreed with her! And when her wedding photos came out you sat there and listed all the flaws in my body that would have been exaggerated because of the thin, pale-pink, fabric. You, the girl who told me I was worthy of the pretty dress-up skirt back in 1st grade, was now telling me I wasn’t worthy of being a bridesmaid for one of my best friends simply because I was curvy? I didn’t understand, what did I do to make you change your mind about me?

We weren’t friends anymore, but you would show up every now and then, and every time I was left feeling downcast and worthless. You even started to tell me that you were surprised my husband didn’t leave me already. When I couldn’t get a teaching job your reasoning was because I wasn’t good enough to be a teacher. When I struggled to get pregnant you had a field day; you told me it was because I was too fat, then you told me God was punishing me for my past, then you told me I wasn’t worthy of motherhood, then you would point out all the people more worthy of motherhood than me. Gosh, I’m just going to say it, you were a huge bitch. Remember when I had my emotional breakdown? I was having panic attacks for hours at a time and you would show up and tell me to kill myself. You would convince me the world was better off without me. You would go over how worthless I had become, and how lazy, ugly, and dumb I had become.

So, why am I willing to be friends with you again? Because, that’s not the person you were created to be and you are finally seeing that. You are remembering the confident, loving, and trusting person that God created you to be. Instead of the fearful person who would be embarrassed by being seen with a muffin top. I get it, I really do. I get being scared of what others may think of you. But didn’t we have way more fun when we weren’t bound by the thoughts of others? You taught me to fly! You taught me to stand up for myself. You taught me to be confident in my abilities and to enjoy my quirks. When an old pair of underwear fell out of the bottom of my jeans in the middle of the school hallway, you kicked it away, and we ran down the hallway laughing. I’m starting to see that version of you again. I love that version of you. I want to be friends with you, because despite your mistakes, you make me…well, me. I forgive you, it wasn’t okay what you did, and you better never do it again, but I forgive you. And guess what? I’m stronger now. When you get out of line, don’t be surprised when I approach you and say, “get behind me Satan!” or “in the name of Jesus Christ I renounce your lies!” because I know I’m worth fighting for. Every part of me is worth fighting for, even you…my dear mind. You are worth fighting for. I love you and I’m here for you. You can be transformed, I know it. I am already seeing how God is renewing you.11f0688f821b83dce2a96711fcb0b561

 

I recently wrote a similar letter to a real friend of mine. It was very therapeutic, I had been holding on to some hurts she had caused for a very long time and I was struggling to forgive her. But as I wrote the letter I started to realize that everything she said to me, “You don’t have the right body type…” I was also saying to myself! I agreed with everything she said! I supported her claims against myself. Writing the letter to her (that I was never going to send) helped me to see how desperately I needed to make amends with myself and then forgive myself for what I had done. It’s amazing, because in the process of forgiving myself I have been able to forgive her as well. God is so cool! 

I’m Sick of the Daily Bread

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I’m weary with waiting. It’s too much, Lord. How did the Israelites last 40 years in the desert? I am only 7 years in and my soul is parched. I feel lost. I feel sick of the same thing over and over again. I am wandering and I am hoping I will wander into the Promised Land; the Promised Land of breast milk and a honey of my own. But there is no end in sight. There is no timeline. Please God, please don’t make me wander for 40 years. Please Lord, please lead me there soon.

I’m just going to be honest, I’m sick of the daily bread, I’m sick of the manna, but I don’t necessarily want quail coming out of my nose either. I just want to be done this wandering. I know I’m being childish and whiney, but I dare you to try and wait for your heart’s desire for 7 years and not have a moment of weakness.

It’s not that I doubt God or His timing…but I doubt me. I doubt my ability to wait on Him. I doubt my physical and emotional strength to continue on. I am so fatigued with fighting.

How long, my Lord? How long until you remember me? How long until you fulfill your promise to your servant?

I had a dream the other night; I thought surely I must die. I was pregnant, at last. It was early on, I wasn’t really showing, but I was pregnant. I had spent hours cooing and singing to my little one snuggled safely in my womb. Then, pain…deep in my belly…and blood…I needed help, but the only person with me was Angie and she had just gotten out of the shower. She couldn’t find her towel or clothes. I crawled out of the bathroom to find help, and that’s when I started to scream. My body was in labor and it was trying to birth the child. My heart and mind fought my body; every contraction was a war between my physical being and my emotional being. I desperately tried to hold onto the child that was not ready for this outside world, but my body could not contain it and I began to push. The loss was too great. If I didn’t die from the physical pain I would surely die from the emotional pain. I gave one last scream knowing it would be my last and knowing my child would not even draw breath when it emerged, and then I woke shaking and drenched in sweat.

I felt like I’ve been in a stupor since then. My anxiety is high and my heart is fragile. Every phone call from an unknown number (I get at least two a day) I hope is a social worker telling me we have been matched. But every time it is not. And every time I want to drop to the floor and cry from exhaustion and waiting and loss. Where are you Scout? Where are you my dear child? I am searching for you.

I so desperately want to neatly tie this entry up with joyous worship and a bow. I don’t want you to be left feeling uncomfortable and as if you must encourage me or fix me. But I can’t. I can’t do it. I’m sorry; I don’t have the energy today. Today, I am simply in grief with the waiting. I can’t make excuses for my God, and I don’t want you to either. Just sit here with me, please. Feel the sorrow and exhaustion with me. Don’t leave me alone here, please just enter into it with me. I don’t need you to be miserable, I just need you to understand the spiritual and physical discomfort this grief brings. Not just from the sorrow, but mostly from the inability to make excuses for my God. If everything happens for a reason, what is the reason for this? I pray tomorrow I feel different, but today…today I am too tired to keep fighting.

Does My Pain Keep Others From Trusting?

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Several weeks ago my husband sent me flowers. The flowers were gorgeous, but what really made them special was the note that came with them, “You are gonna make one hot mama!!”One Hot Mama

Shortly after that a woman from my church sent me a message. She was worried it would sound weird, but to me it was a message from God. She told me that she would sometimes see me sitting across from her in church and would see a flower growing out of my belly. She felt like God was telling her to tell me, but fear kept her from saying it right away. When I posted the flowers, she felt like it was time to obey God and let me know. I cherish that message dearly.

But on Saturday my flowers had finally bit the dust. They were faded and dried and had that sickly sweet smell of death on them. Every time I walked by and stirred the air close to them, more dried petals would fall and litter the ground. This had been happening for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to get rid of them. So instead, I would give the flowers a wide birth so as not to disturb them. But on Saturday the smell had grown and the faded blooms fell to floor with the smallest movement of air and I knew it was time.

As I crushed the dried flowers into the trashcan I couldn’t help but feel like the promises God gave me were fading and dying just like those flowers. As a vacuumed up the fallen petals I tried to fight the fear and despair that often plagued me when I started to lose hope…like two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago I was a little shaken when I got my period. I guess I had assumed that if I was healed then I would get pregnant right away. I have associated health with pregnancy, but God cleared up that little lie for me, and reminded me that a period is healthy, especially when the full cycle was in the 28-35 day range instead of my usual 11-49 day range.

But the period was still a blow. I still felt let down, disheartened, and scared. “What if I’m wrong? What if I didn’t hear God the way I thought I did? What if I just told all these people about a miracle God performed for me and now my life afterwards just proves to them that God is a fraud?”

I was tired of praying, not because I didn’t want to pray and believe, but simply because my body, mind, and spirit were all exhausted from the spiritual battle. I was fighting the battle with prayer and praise; arms raised to the sky and worshiping my savior! But my arms were exhausted, I needed to just rest them for a second.Praise.jpg

When I first got home from my Holy Yoga retreat it was easy for me to hold fast to the promise of God’s healing. Everything was so fresh, so vibrant, and so real, but as the roaring fire in my soul slowly died to hot embers, I felt like I was trying to keep a fire going without any logs to sustain it. It took so much energy just to keep a small flame going; constant fanning of the embers to create a flame that would stop the second I stopped fanning it.

God spent a week showing me that He was present in the darkest of times, that He never abandoned me, and that I can trust Him with my life. God pursued me without ceasing so that I would, to the best of my ability, feel and understand His love for me in all circumstances. And finally, God healed my body from my past abuse and my current infertility. But now I’m home. I’m home and the ones who were with me when I was healed are miles and miles away.

When I got my period the first thing I wanted to do was fall back into my old pattern of thinking, “why not now? Why not me? God, do you even care? What is your plan? I don’t understand. I can’t make sense of this, let me try…”

I used to run down rabbit holes trying to make excuses for God and explain to myself why He didn’t pull through; why he didn’t fulfill his promises yet; why right now was not the right time. I would say things like, “Well, maybe this egg would have grown up to be a serial killer, so God is really protecting me.” Or “He is just waiting until I get back from Africa” or “He must really want me to get my HY Instructor Certification.” Or “Once we move, it will happen.” I would set new dates in my mind to protect God from my doubts: “Mother’s day is coming up, so God probably wants me to find out I’m pregnant then, what a gift that will be.” And when Mother’s day passed without a positive pregnancy test, instead of grieving the loss I would say, “oh, well, maybe this baby is our adopted child and has been conceived, but I just don’t know it yet…”

God has been teaching me that He doesn’t need me to defend Him against myself (or anyone else). I’m not holding Him up, He is holding me up. But it’s hard to recognize my patterns of thinking and it’s even harder to change them. Something in me desperately wanted to go back to that place of being a victim.

I quickly texted my seven Holy Embers ( my yogini sisters from retreat) asking for prayer. Right away they reminded me of the truth and goodness of God. They reminded me of His promises and used their own strong faith to help me with my faltering faith. I rested in their strength. I felt like they were holding my arms up like Hur and Aaron did for Moses so that the Israelites could win the battle.victoryolord

Exodus 17:11-13  (NIV)

11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.

They sent me verses, songs, and videos to encourage me. They spoke their own faith into me and told me what God had done for them. One video that was sent included this verse:

Psalm 84:1-4

“How lovely is your dwelling place,
Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you.[c]

The speaker talked of the swallow, and how it cannot help but produce young when it is in the presence of the Lord. I want to be that swallow. I want to make a nest for myself in God’s presence, at his alter, because in God’s presence one can’t help but be fruitful. I want dwell in His house and praise His mighty name, I know I must, even though my heart is hurting, I know nothing else works. Nothing soothes the pain like crying out to my God. Nothing lifts my heart like dwelling on His goodness.

And then it hit me… I was reminded of the dreaded verse for anyone struggling with infertility:

Isaiah 54:1 “Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; Break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; For the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous Than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.

I used to hate this verse. I loathed it. How dare you tell me to break forth in joyful shouting, you clearly don’t know my pain. How can I be joyous and full of praise when I am hurting so deeply?

But now, I get it. It’s the joyful shouting in the pain that soothes the pain. It’s not joyful shouting because there is no pain. It’s not ignoring the pain. It’s not condemning the pain and guilting myself into being joyful. It’s praising God just as I am. It’s coming to Him and declaring His goodness even when I can’t FEEL His goodness. And it’s in the pressing into Him that relieves me of the pain, even if just for the moments I am completely immersed in Him. I know my escape and it’s not the wine, beer, or cupcakes. It’s not the ice cream calling out from the freezer. It’s not the likes on Facebook or the clothes that make me look thinner than I am. It’s not a good hair day or the affection of my husband. My saving grace, my escape, is the goodness of my savior.

But it’s not always as easy as that. I’m going to get really authentic here. I want to preface the following paragraphs with this little note:

*I love you. I love your children. Please DON’T stop asking me how I’m doing and DON’T stop asking me about the adoption. Please DON’T stop being you, please be boldly, bluntly, authentically you. Please DON’T fear hurting me, God is growing me in ways I would never be able to grow if it wasn’t for this pain I feel. And this pain is NOT your fault and it’s NOT your rolly-polly child’s fault either. Even if you say something stupid or somehow make me cry, it’s not your fault! Some of the things I’m about to say involve you or your kids, and I would NEVER change this for the world. Please believe me. I’m not writing this to vent about how insensitive people are or bla bla bla. I know your heart, I know it’s loving, I know you love me, I know you are praying for me, I know you don’t want to hurt me. I write this because I know I’m not the only one out there struggling with God’s timing and plan. I know I’m not the only one waiting and hoping in the Lord for something. I want to be authentic, these are the thoughts that go through my head and the feelings I feel in everyday life while I wait on the Lord. I want you to know, if you feel this way, you’re not alone and your emotions don’t make you a “bad” Christian.*

Ok, so this past week and a half has been a bit brutal for me emotionally. It started out not so brutal. Actually it started out with me really seeing growth in myself. My friends had their baby, and I was bringing them dinner. On the way over I prayed to God to protect my heart. I knew I was very fragile because (sorry TMI) I just got my period. I wanted to bless my friends with food and I wanted to see their baby, but I was scared. I almost turned around so many times. I wanted to feel joy, I didn’t want to cry. I wanted to bless them during this time and not burden them with my broken heart. So the whole way over I prayed for God’s protection. God came through. Mommy and baby were feeding in their room and my only interaction was with my dear friend who is now a daddy. I only spent  5 minutes there and I left filled with joy. I got in my car and was feeling pretty good about myself. My new mommy friend called me as I turned onto the road to tell me that she just finished feeding the baby and I could come back and see him. I declined for my own heart’s safety and also because I was running late to hang out with another friend.

“Well done Liz.”

“Why thank you, Liz!”

Next I hung out with my very pregnant friend and we even talked about pregnancy and children and I was fine. She blessed me immensely (with food, hand crocheted yoga socks, and her friendship) and I left feeling uplifted, and I had a wonderful time, and it was good. Growth.

“Wow, Liz, I’m so proud of you!”

“Me too, Liz, me too…”

After that is when things started getting shaky. I spent the following week with a lot of babies and kids. I mean a lot! Way more than I am used to and it was authentic real time with them: holding them, playing, talking, feeding, caring, changing, etc. It was wonderful, I felt like I could finally be me without bursting into tears at the pain of my longing. I felt like I could finally interact with people’s children without my awkward “hi, he/she is so cute, bye” safety conversation.

I know it sounds weird, but if a kid likes me, it kills me. If a kid grabs my hand it could crush my already fragile heart. When my niece ran off the bus into my arms yelling, “AUNT WIZZY!!”I almost cried. When my nephew smiled and placed his hand on my cheek I just about died. It was the best death of my life. That’s what I imagine dying for someone you love feels like. I am so blessed by them, and I love them more than words can say, but that love makes my heart feel like it just might explode, especially after it’s over and Dean and I are back home without any children of our own.

Being around children and babies doesn’t always feel like my heart exploding, but usually it feels like what I imagine the show Wipe Out to feel like: It looks fun! But once I start to play it’s only a matter of time before I get walloped by something.1426699748-gif20wipeouttumblr_lxuwitjdqk1r21bzco1_50044937-wipeout-giant-penis-gif-imgur-vo8c

 

I made it through the multiple days of hanging with babies, each time thoroughly enjoying myself, but it was when I was back at home that the longing hit. The kids were gone, my arms were empty, and I had no idea when I would have the chance to be the nurturing, protecting parent that I felt so called to be.

I feel like I am in the final stages of pregnancy…I mean I don’t know what that actually feels like, but I hear women say things like, “Ok, my feet are killing me and I can’t stop peeing, it’s time for this little one to come out!” or “I’m getting antsy, I just want to hold him in my arms” or “everything is in order, I’m ready, just waiting on the little guy,” or “Being induced, little girl is 5 days past due.” And I’m here thinking, I’ve been ready for years…maybe not the entire 7 years of infertility, but I would say I’ve been so ready for the past 4 years. I’ve already read a million books, painted my nursery, bought tons and tons of baby things (although never for my own children…just for everyone elses…) and I’m just so ready to hold that baby in my arms. I’m so ready to quiet her cries and I’m so ready to kiss every one of his toes. I’m so ready to finally find a cute outfit that my own baby gets to wear. But I don’t have a due date, I think that’s the hardest part. I feel pregnant…the baby is coming, I know that, but when?

On Sunday I felt so ready. I felt like I was going to burst. My heart was literally aching. I believe what God has told me, I do, I trust Him, I really, really do. This ache wasn’t doubt, this was longing beyond what I felt like my body could physically handle. I felt like if this didn’t happen now, I was going to die. That sounds really dramatic, but there is no other way to explain it and that doesn’t even come close to fully explaining it. It doesn’t even capture that feeling. This time I decided not to run away from that feeling. I decided to meet God there. Everything He has taught me is to come to Him just as I am and not to try and fix it myself before coming to Him.

But I was scared, not because I was scared of God, but because now, for the first time since retreat, I was coming to God just as I was, while in front of others. I can come to God just as I am in the safety of my own home, or in the privacy of a hiking trail, on my parent’s treadmill, or even in Celebrate Recovery. But now I was in a church service surrounded by Christians that I dearly loved and my fear of making them uncomfortable with my tears and heartbreak was crippling. What would they do? Would they try to fix me? Would they have thoughts like, “there she goes again, Liz is crying like always…” I love my church, they are a huge support to me, and I feared being abandoned by them because God has not yet healed me of my pain. It sounds silly when I write it out…but it’s the truth.

If God hasn’t answered my prayers yet, I fear the pain I feel during the waiting could lead others astray, or encourage them to doubt God, when I so dearly love Him and quite honestly, I need THEIR support. But I knew I needed God above all things, and I needed Him right then and there. The only thing that mattered was that I run into His presence.

So despite the fact that I was in church and surrounded by my church family, I went to God in it. And do you know what happened then? My friends walked in with their brand new baby. Their little family made their way through the church. It was the most beautifully devastating scene. I was trying so hard, so so so so hard not to cry, and for a while I did it. I smiled, I felt the joy, I didn’t look away, I didn’t hide, I didn’t leave, I didn’t wish to be somewhere else. I sat in it. I felt it, all of it. I felt the joy for them and I felt the sorrow for me. Not like, “oh, woah is me, look at me empty handed” but like, “When Lord? When will you remember me? I can’t wait much longer.”

When we started singing again I couldn’t help but cry. When I worship God, when I go fully to Him, I cry no matter what. He moves me to tears every time. His greatness is just beyond me and I can’t hold it in, I just have to let my emotions out, because I need to make room for Him. So whatever I’m feeling just gushes from me! Laughter, tears, all of it. So there I stood, crying, while I praised my God. Calling out to Him, claiming His goodness, fighting doubt with truth. My pain gushed out all around me, and God’s goodness filled me up. Tears streamed down my face and I didn’t even try to hide them. And I felt Him, I felt God filling me up, I felt Him say, “stay here with me, my love, I will protect you.”

With my husband by my side I knelt at the alter of my Lord, and there heard my Pastor bless the sweet newborn child next to us (in the arms of our friends). A couple with arms full of joy kneeling beside a couple with hearts full of pain, both at the alter, both receiving Christ just as they were, joy and sorrow…all are welcome.