I'm going to have to remind myself to do this in the coming weeks... anything to make it seem more manageable and less stressful!
Work these past two weeks has been very busy. And I realize that we're at the point of the year when it should be... I just didn't (and don't) feel very prepared for it to be already. I think maybe the PFH has thrown off my internal calendar - and definitely my 'groove' in working with gifts. I still feel like it should be September or something, with year-end busyness still several months away.
I am quite thankful, however, that I'm at this stage in pregnancy to handle it all, when energy is still high, I'm feeling good, and Little Miss's kicks aren't so very strong yet that they inflict pain or loss of breathe. :-)
People are starting to talk to me about babyshowers in early 2011, which is just so surreal. To be at a babyshower, thrown for a baby of mine... I was seriously losing all hope that that day would ever come.
I am definitely going to lose it when that day finally arrives. Guess I better warn the hosts to have plenty of Klee.nex on hand to stem the waterworks.
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On another note - the sunday school class at my church was covering the issue of pain and suffering over the past two weeks' classes. This was actually a topic that I'd requested last year that they speak on... how to deal with pain and suffering in our lives, and how not to take offense at God when we go through those times. We missed the first session of it, sadly, but were there for this sunday's session... and while it didn't cover everything I would have wanted to hear about (most likely what I missed from the previous sunday!), it was so very good, I thought I'd share a bit from it.
They reviewed the story in John 11 of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, when Lazarus falls sick and dies, and in the end is resurrected by Jesus. There's a passage of time in the story during which Lazarus was sick, declined rapidly, died, and then several days passed before Jesus' arrival to Mary & Martha's house. Knowing that he could have saved Lazarus, you can just imagine the hurt, anger, bitterness, and resentment that must have been brewing in Mary and Martha in the days before Jesus' arrival. In fact, you can hear it in the passive (yet very accusatory) tone of her first comment to him, when she says, "Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died."
Kind of how I felt down in the miry pit of IF for so very long... bitter, hurt, angry, and resentful that I had to deal with IF at all...that God hadn't saved me from that, or that He hadn't yet chosen to bless me with a pregnancy, month after month after month. So completely bogged down by those thoughts and feelings that I was taking the absence of the response (read: pregnancy) that I wanted from Him as equating to abandonment by Him...
Which it was not.
It's funny though, Jesus' response to Mary's comment. He doesn't address her accusatory statment at all. He completely changed the subject by telling her who He was ("I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die."), and asking her if she believe this.
Now, my immediate reaction is that if this is what I heard as my only response when asking such a question of Jesus, I would be royally ticked. I mean, hello, do you not see my pain here? The bitterness? The anger and hurt? Why are you trying to avoid answering me?
I'm pretty sure those same thoughts were running through my brain (or shouted) over the course of many dark nights of the soul during our four years of trying...
But I think the point made in this story is that Jesus was trying to draw Mary out of her pit of despair -- bring her out to the light of day, beyond the overwhelming darkness and agony of her pain, and remind her of the truth.
The story of Lazarus is a story of deliverance. Deliverance of Lazarus from death. Deliverance of us all through Christ. Deliverance for all of us from our problems, if we just remind ourselves of His truths, and trust in Him.
--While this doesn't necessarily make the problems go away or resolve them, there's no doubt that we'd find more comfort and peace if we truly allowed ourselves to rest and trust in Him, than to cry and rage at things beyond our control.
I realize that it may seem quite easy to some of you for me to say this, now that I'm 'on the other side' and expecting. And while there may be some truth to that, I can tell you honestly that while this would be hard to hear and believe in during our TTC trial, I would have wanted it to be true--and in that wanting, would have found some relief and comfort.
One part that resonated so deeply in me with this story, that I had never picked up on before... I'm sure you've all heard that the shortest verse in the bible is "Jesus wept." This verse is in the Lazarus story - John 11:35. What struck me about it is that he wasn't weeping because his friend Lazarus had died. He was weeping because of the pain and heartache he witnessed on Mary's face.
That the Son of God, who knows the beginning, middle, and end of ALL of our stories, and who knew that Lazarus would be resurrected and restored to his sisters -- that the compassionate nature of our Father was reflected by his weeping with Mary, in witnessing her heartbreak, is incredible to me.
It makes me think back to all the times I sat and cried in the shower because I didn't want to upset DH anymore, or cried while walking the dogs alone, or in my car, or in the work bathrooms... the myriad of places where I have broken down and cried out my pain. That my Father in heaven would not only hear my cries and see my tears, but would cry with me.... I cannot explain how much that means to me, and how much that alone strengthens my faith.
I am so grateful for it. Without it, I don't know how I could have endured those 45 months.
Praying that you all have light and truth in your lives to hold on to when the going gets rough...