Lessons in Heartache #3
Lesson #3) Everything is the same as before – but it will never be the same.
Tonight I went to a family birthday party. No, this is not the first one I have been to since Lucy’s passing but it still isn’t easy. And birthday parties are not the only thing that is the same but different.
When you are expecting a child, your whole perspective on life changes. You spend time thinking about how this little bundle is going to affect every aspect of your life. Your home life will revolve around this little one. You will have to arrange your life to make sure this blessing is taken care of when you are at work. Your sleep patterns are sure to change. In fact, you get a small taste of that while expecting. Sleeping through the night is a thing of the past and will remain an unrealized dream for quite some time! At least, that’s how it was for me.
When thinking of serving in the church, you have to consider who will care for your child while you fulfill your calling or your service. You wonder how God will use this precious gift to change you and those around you. At least, that’s how it was for me.
How you view your family – immediate and extended –changes. Gatherings become a more sentimental time for you. You sit and imagine what you will be doing with your child this time next year when the family gets together for this celebration or that holiday. At least, that’s how it was for me.
You experience a sense of belonging, a deeper love for all things family, for all things close to your heart. This is just part of the journey of expecting your child. All these aspects of your life are going to be affected by this baby. At least, that’s how it was for me.
But then, with loss, the heartache comes. The dream is shattered. And the perspective changes once again. Not only are your arms empty but your soul feels empty as well. The excitement that you had for so long (even mixed with the fear that comes with any pregnancy, let alone a high risk one) seems to be only a dream you once had. You feel lost and alone even when surrounded by the closest of loved ones. At least, that’s how is was for me.
Your life is the same as it was before the pregnancy – but it will never be the same. Sleep may still not come. In fact it probably won’t until you have exhausted yourself with crying. Your house can go back to the way it was because now there is no need for a nursery. But the absence of that crib will be as difficult to bear as if you leave it up. Because in your mind, you know it should still be there. When you go to work, child care is no longer an issue. But you wish it were. At least, that’s how it is for me.
Concerning ministry, you still wonder how God will use your little one to bless the lives of those around you. However, it will never be the way you once imagined because now it’s based on her absence rather than her presence. At least, that’s how it is for me.
Yet, even in light of these different perspectives and the affects of this loss on every area of life, there is hope that God will see you through. I am not sure there will ever be a moment of complete understanding or clarity in this journey except in heaven. However, I am sure that somehow, someway, God will see me through each day. I do have to surrender each day, sometimes moment by moment. I have to choose to say to God, “Yes, it still hurts but I know you can do something with that. I don’t know what and I don’t know how, but I know you can and you will.” At least, that’s how it is for me.
My husband recently equated our experience like a journey on a sailboat. The wind is blowing. The seas are rough at times causing us to wonder if the boat will hold up. But we are still afloat and hoping to see land on the horizon. Then suddenly the wind stops. There is no air moving. There is no way to get to where we were supposed to be going. We are stuck in the middle of the sea on a sailboat with no direction and no wind in our sails.
Physically speaking, we understand what happened. Emotionally and spiritually, we don’t understand why this happened. We feel like our lives are at a standstill. We have no direction. Where do we go from here? For us, we go to the Bible. It is the very word of God and we trust that we will find direction there. Proverbs 3:5,6 tell us to “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
While we feel that our lives are at a standstill, we can believe Psalm 46:10 which says “Be still, and know that I am God”.
We can know that Psalm 34:17 and 18 are true. “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
We can pray that we will one day sing as the Israelites of long ago that “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him.” Psalm 126:5,6.
We will live daily believing, even though everything is the same but different, that God will help us find our way, give us direction.
Psalm 130:5 “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.”
At least, that’s how it is for us.