“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fruit of the Spirit: Aquainted with Grief

Will you bear with me today? I spent last night weeping over the words I chronicled during my pregnancy. The grief that I was so acquainted with during that time has now become peace and joy. Abundant JOY.

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)


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Now this is real, friend. I imagine we all walked and still walk through times of self-doubt about children and how they are changing our lives. I never experienced this type of struggle while pregnant, but I've carried some as they have grown...lots of them.

A journal is so telling...it reminds us of just how far we've traveled with Jesus. If we can't see the growth, then we've got bigger problems we need to deal with. It's obvious that God has grown you in your faith since that season.

Keep trusting him for all things, especially for the life of your child.


Tammy said...

oh this is real life..journaling is real and shows us so much. You have traveled far and continue to travel with Jesus and know that just as He was there then..he is still today.

elizabeth embracing life said...

What courage to open the pages of your heart and share like this. I know your journey must have felt so lonely and I can see God's hand in your life even in your struggle. Thanks for sharing and finding His JOY!!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Amen to Psalm 30:5


Wonderful journal entries....to look back and see "in print" how much you have grown and how far you have come. What you know in your heart is intensified by the words of the past. God is always with us as we grow and learn and to shoulder our fears.
Thanks for sharing this part of yourself.

Grace said...

This is amazing, Sheri. I've read both of these and agree with Elaine completely. Thank you for sharing these words and I pray they will be used greatly.


Heather - CROQZine.com said...

Thank you for sharing, Sheri! You are an awesome woman!


a portland granny said...

Sheri, how brave of you to share your heart with us. How terribly alone you must have felt with all of your mixed up emotion during that time, not meeting peoples' expectations, not understanding your own feelings or lack of, and the fears that must have gripped your heart. What a terribly, lonely time that must have been.

.....but I know God was faithful because this story doesn't end like this, I'm quite sure!

Daughter of Zion said...

I have just started to go through your posts.
Thank you for your honesty.