This has been a long time coming.
After two really rough, exhausting, and depleting pregnancies I had put on my big girl pants and just kept on keepin’ on. It helps that I like to stay busy so I can avoid thinking of all the hard and messy stuff and having small ones keeps me crazed and occupied most of the time. But rather gaining distance from the pain and moving toward healing I was feeling crushed and slipping into anxiety, darkness, and fear.
I have felt the need to bury the past and move on because we have restarted so many times and it felt as though I could leave behind those pieces of myself but if I am really honest this had a grip on my life that threatens to rob me of joy and ability to real live in the present. I always compare and feel pathetic because my hurt is not “real” hurt on a global scale when compared to the horrible atrocities in the world. And the shame isolates and builds walls to maintain distance from God and others. But the truth is that if I do not have the courage to face my fear and be brave is small ways I will have no emotional availability to help offer to healing and peace to others.Without pain how can we impart true compassion to others? I could convince myself it was no big deal. I was pretty good at joking about my situation, pretending like it was no longer a part of my life, but I knew I was lying to myself and everyone else. I was really living each day terrified of when something would trigger me and my chest would tighten and I would feel my gag reflex and I would be right back in the darkness. Fearful that I would have to hide in the bathroom and cry or pretend that I was happy when people brought up pregnancy. It was such an exhausting lie. I finally realized I cannot just keep busy and outrun my pain. None of us can. I need to feel this crap even if it hurts.
But this is what I know for sure: God is relentless in His pursuit of us. Jesus came to bring healing and wholeness but we have to know we are sick and seek restoration. It is not forced on us. I really believe He designs us to seek healing and the further we get away from that healing and the source of it the more our pain surfaces and the more we have to either go darker and deeper to bury it or allow the truth to emerge and look straight at it and beg for and welcome peace. This past few months have been a process of digging up the buried (but always hovering at the surface fear) pain, grief, anger, disappointment, and loneliness.
I think in a deep, visceral, created way we crave wholeness and wellness and we either fight for it amidst the rubble and debris or we mask or numb our situation and circumstances to pretend it exists. I just do not have the energy for the later anymore. My son and second daughter are blessings and gifts but the pregnancies that led to them joining our family have left deep wounds in me. Because there was so much darkness. Darkness that threatened to overwhelm me on a little island with few medical options a world away and darkness then returned with a vengeance here in the states in ER visit after ER visit and the lightless room I spent months begging God for relief. For me, this therapy of allowing memories to resurface and process them has been so hard but so. so. freeing. The fear had more power over me than that reality of it all actually does. I am able to make peace with what God brought me through to have these precious children. For so long I have equated my depression with even more guilt because I “should” not feel this way because they are here and healthy and amazing. But the good and blessing of my beautiful children does not mean the bad and suffering of my pregnancies did not exist. It does not mean that it was not real or tragic. And God was there with me. It is not as easy as saying “BUT it was all worth it.” Instead, I can say “my children are brilliant and blessings that I was blessed I was able to carry them and give birth to them AND the months and months of surviving HG were the darkest of my life.” I am realizing the importance of AND. “But” tries to invalidate everything that came before where “And” allows and accepts and includes and sits with.
We cannot cancel out the difficult and only focus on the good because that is not a full picture of redemption. We also cannot allow the bad to gain so much power in our souls that it forever colors the good. It is all blessing if we ask for the eyes to see it but that requires bravery and honesty. The good does not mean the bad did not precede it and the bad does not mean the good is any less amazing. But they both exist, they hold hands, and are intimately intertwined in every great story. Pain precedes glory so often in God’s kingdom. For so long I felt like I could not hold them both in my heart together. I can. And I am. And it is bringing me deep healing and a new appreciation for just how God wants and craves to sit with us through everything. All of it. Today I want to encourage anyone walking around with a burden you are not meant to carry alone to seek wholeness and peace. It will cost you; your pride, maybe, the fear that is strangely familiar and comforting, definitely but you will see just how much you are cherished and loved. And you are not alone even though the whisper in the darkness tries to convince you otherwise. I am a mess. But a mess that is closely held and being restored over and over again by my savior. I am still in process but feel so much freedom that it wants to spill out because I can now say, even with shaky confidence that this pain will not dictate my future. Because God wants to heal us so that our radically broken and changed lives point to Him, so that we are better able to usher in peace in a world that is so hurting, so that we can be the women, daughters, mothers, wives, and friends that we were created to be.
Healing & blessing friends,