This year has sucked. I mean adulting is hard for everyone right? But this year has sucked. It feels sacrilegious to admit that out loud which is why it has taken me a year. I have a beautiful little girl. I have an amazing husband. and I have a wonderful job. What do I have to complain about?!?!? My life is great.
In the past I have known when I am anxious and depressed the canned solution is to count my blessings. Gratitude is the antithesis of despair. And I have desperately clung to that. I have reminded myself of God's goodness and grace at every turn. And yet, life is tragic and sometimes things are just sad.
In August 2016 I was finally pregnant. After 6 years of trying and waiting I was with child. For seven weeks, only one known to me, I carried a sweet little life. But on August 21st in the wee hours of the morning that life left me.
It is sad. It hurts. I wanted that baby. I had prayed for that baby.
Shortly after that our sweet family lost our cousin Gray, and I had two close friends lose parents.
It is sad. It hurts. Death stings.
In February personal hurt struck again. A very private sadness hit our lives that we were in no control over.
It is sad. It hurts. I wanted more for my friends, I wanted more for my church.
Since then I have again experienced significant loss in a mentor and friend.
Meanwhile life was hard all on it's own. Work has ups and downs. Kids try your heart and your patience. And homes never stay in one piece for long (thanks tree limbs).
What can we do with this.
Well, I have walked several avenues..I have tried seeking comfort. This entails eating a lot of bad food and watching a lot of bad tv to dull the pain. I have tried being in control, this looks like intense house cleaning sessions, hard workouts and unrelenting standards for myself and those around me. I have tried pride, being the best at work, the best at home...the happiest, the funniest. And I have tried anger, sulking, venting and good ol' pity partying.
I can say comfort, control, power and anger have not satisfied. No idol can soothe me.
So, after a school year of surviving, I am ready to turn the page. I want to thrive. And so I do the work. I go to counseling (don't get me started on how much I believe EVERY adult needs this), I journal (as you are witnessing, sorry for the TMI), I pay attention to my health, trying not to obsess, but maintain. And I confide, again TMI, but seriously we have to say some of these things out loud!
Miscarriage, death, deception, manipulation and disappointment exist in this broken world. If we are going to power through we have to admit to others "I am human and this hurts can you walk with me in this pain?"
Another coping mechanism has come in the form of study. I have to remind myself of truth, even when it doesn't feel true. God is good. God is faithful. God is in control.
This has led me to my latest "shocking" (for some) choice. I got a tattoo. Yep. I permanently changed my body. This is shocking if you know me well. I have always been anti tattoo. Not really for others just for me. I never "got it." Why would you permanently scar your body? What could be important enough you would tattoo it on your skin forever? Then I lived this year. And sometimes words are big enough you need to remember them forever. You may think I'm crazy (mom) and that's okay. But these words made sense to me, and I wanted them to be part of me. And now they are.
"Self is the opaque veil that hides the Face of God from us. It can be removed only in spiritual experience, never by mere instruction. As well try to instruct leprosy out of our system. There must be a work of God in destruction before we are free. We must invite the cross to do its deadly work within us. We must bring our self-sins to the cross for judgment. We must prepare ourselves for an ordeal of suffering in some measure like that through which our Saviour passed when He suffered under Pontius Pilate. Let us remember: when we talk of the rending of the veil we are speaking in a figure, and the thought of it is poetical, almost pleasant; but in actuality there is nothing pleasant about it. In human experience that veil is made of living spiritual tissue; it is composed of the sentient, quivering stuff of which our whole beings consist, and to touch it is to touch us where we feel pain. To tear it away is to injure us, to hurt us and make us bleed. To say otherwise is to make the cross no cross and death no death at all. It is never fun to die. To rip through the dear and tender stuff of which life is made can never be anything but deeply painful. Yet that is what the cross did to Jesus and it is what the cross would do to every man to set him free. Let us beware of tinkering with our inner life in hope ourselves to rend the veil. God must do everything for us. Our part is to yield and trust. We must confess, forsake, repudiate the self-life, and then reckon it crucified. But we must be careful to distinguish lazy "acceptance" from the real work of God. We must insist upon the work being done."
from "The Pursuit of God" by A. W. (Aiden Wilson) Tozer
Take heart friends! And if you need a tattoo ...I'll go with you.