Part of choosing JOY is remembering how faithful our God is during our times of grief. How sometimes it is enough to know that God is my salvation... that He is with me... that He restores me... that He provides the body of Christ to encourage me... that He alone is my JOY.
There are times in our lives... circumstances... seasons... hardships... difficulties... sufferings... sometimes beyond our control... when joy does not appear as an option. That was my pregnancy exactly 10 years ago.
We wanted to have a child. We had been married 10 years. But the fear and the grief that overcame me for those months... well, it made me wonder who I even was in Christ.
Truly, when I was pregnant I couldn't choose joy even if it was on a menu.
I kept a journal during my pregnancy. Mostly, I wrote it to Christopher. But really, I kept it for me. I share it today because I know the sweetness of joy after the bitter taste of hopelessness and grief.
Excerpts from My Pregnancy Journal 1998
September 7 -
[4 weeks into the pregnancy] Your dad and I are worried about losing you. Due to medication I am taking (for my Thyroid Cancer), my doctor thinks my chance of miscarriage is higher than normal. My medications have been lowered so I am not hyperthyroid. [The doctor keeps me hyperthyroid so that the cancer has no opportunity to grow.] Unfortunately, my medications control my entire being. My metabolism.
I'm really scared when I think how much my life is going to change when you are born. I'm overwhelmed. I know God has prepared us for you, but change is normally never easy.
September 20th -
I watched a baby on Friday... You can't imagine how inadequate I felt! I thought God is definitely giving the wrong person a child. He knows me. How could he trust me with a child? I won't know what to do. I guess God knows something I don't.
September 27th -
Sometimes, it scares me. What if the Lord takes you before you are born. How sad everyone will be.
October 2nd -
I really thought about it this morning... not wanting to talk on the phone; not being excited about you; and feeling distant from God. It's all related. I really have nothing left to give. It all goes to you. I am tired. I am nauseous. I am unfeeling. I am a grump.
And what really makes me MAD are the people who tell me I am going to forget about all this -- so maybe to have another child later. How could I? It wouldn't be fair to you or your dad, or me! I don't like how tired and unfeeling I am. Others don't understand. I know they think they do. I really am different. My change in medication would be difficult enough without you. Why do people feel the need to tell me not only their opinion, but as if they are my decision maker? Do I do this? If I do, I hope to learn better.
I think I've said it before, but you are it for me. No other pregnancies. I know God may want to deal with me about this at another time, but right now... I'm barely hanging on.
October 6th -
Sometimes, it's hard to be happy about anything.December 3rd -
I hope to take a blood test soon for my thyroid levels. They looked fine the last time, but I want to keep track. I think you're fine with my dosage, but I'm not sure I am.
People still ask if I'm excited." I really can't answer that "yes" truthfully. I'm still not feeling well. I still fear my ability to parent. I still dread losing my "freedom." I know you are going to be a blessing in my life, but I don't know how feeling this sick helps me to be "excited."
I'll continue the rest of the story in the next post. Thanks be to God, "weeping may endure for a night, but JOY cometh in the morning"! (Psalm 30:5)