choices

If I were to identify a theme for this year, it would be choices.

Not just the actual choices, but the process that goes into making choices and the choices that are available to us.

There are some choices where God is very specific in our lives and speaks clearly.

And there are some choices where God is silent.

We have been faced a lot of choices regarding our fertility treatments.  But we also had equally important choices to make regarding where to live, where to work  and, in a few instances, where NOT to work.  Last fall we went on a church finding mission and there were SO many great choices!  In some ways it was difficult to come to a final conclusion.

But I think what is even more important are the daily choices we’re been faced with, like

approaching God… or not

loving each other… or not

staying positive… or not.

It became so crystal clear to me this year that love is a choice, not an emotion.  Sure, I feel warm and fuzzy frequently, but as we’ve been going through some difficult challenges, the choice of loving is a daily decision.   It is a decision backed by action.

Frank brought me beautiful red roses today.  And I loved it.  But I didn’t love it because of the flowers, but rather I loved it because of the sentiment.  He drove out of his way to bring me the flowers and spend a few minutes with me.  Aside from being an incredibly sweet thing to do, it was such a demonstration of his decision to love me.

It is hard sometimes for me to choose to be happy.  My cycle is almost over for the month.  Since I haven’t been on medication this month, it is likely that the cycle will drag out about an extra week.  In the past, this was an incredible source of false hope.  And even right now, I find myself thinking, “Well, maybe it will be a miracle!”

At the same time that I am teeter-tottering at the end of my month and trying to prayerfully keep myself in check, I am fighting to stay neutral.  It is incredibly difficult because more and more people are pregnant around me.  Of course, I am very happy for them, but I am sad for me.  I want to be a part of this exciting time in their lives, but at the same time I find myself choosing to stay neutral and calm because too much involvement (read: giddiness and excitement) will only cause me to crash emotionally.  I’ve learned at least that much about myself.

Tonight, while I was working on a few things, I was trying to determine where I am on an emotional spectrum or how I would define my current emotional state.  Would numb be appropriate? Sad? Blah? A 5 on a scale of 1 to 10? Disappointed? Hopeless? Angry?

Most of the time, I choose to just be happy.  This is particularly easy for me at work.  I love my job, I enjoy the people I work with. Managing my emotions is more challenging for me in social areas.  I find that my reserves are depleted rather quickly and I don’t have a lot of space for individuals requiring extra grace or my own emotional availability.  I check out of parties sooner than I used to.  Does that make me depressed or just realistic in managing my emotional well-being?  I think aloud, but some of the people I usually rely on for wisdom and “out loud thinking time” are at a loss with our situation.  Those that know us especially well seem to be overwhelmed by their own emotions and burdened by the idea that they have to say SOMETHING – ANYTHING.

And I get that.  You can’t be all things to all people at all times.  I get that with my head.

But my little heart is as frustrated as our friends and family are: what are the magic words that will help me feel better? What is the bandaid that will fix this?

And as trite as this sounds, I know that Frank will say that I need to take it to God.

Nothing frustrates me more than that solution.  I know that sounds counter-intuitive considering that I am a Christian, but I don’t like that line of advice.  I want a solution now, darn it!  I want a remedy, a fix, a bandaid, a splint NOW.  If I take it to God, my very human heart worries that He might not give me an answer, He might be late with an answer or He will not comfort me.  “And then what?” I ask.  Now, in my opinion, I’ve wasted precious time and I’m still hurting.

But what if taking it to God is crazy enough to work?  My mother-in-law gave me this daily devotional called Streams in the Desert.  She gave it to me a few years ago and I accepted it, but promptly shelved it.  I’m not good with the daily stuff – let’s just be real here.  Anyway, I finally cracked that bad boy open.

I was immediately comforted by the scripture and reflections in the book.  Day after day I have been reading this devotional, experiencing comfort and peace when I open it.  One of the stories basically said (and I am SUPER paraphrasing here): Did you know that a brick of steel used to sell for $5?  But if you pounded it into a few horse shoes, it would sell for $10.  If you pounded it even further into sewing needles, it would sell for something like $500.  The more refining and shaping and molding that the brick of steel experienced, the more it was worth. So I guess Frank and I are getting a little bit pounded.

Being the quick study that I am, I found myself marveling out loud to Frank about how appropriate every day was for the struggles that we are going through – and then it occurred to me – this book is ALL about difficult times.  DUH!!!  Of course that’s why it is comforting.   ::slapping forehead:: The book is called Streams in the Desert , Emily, for a reason!

That ridiculous revelation aside, the same thing happens when I pray and receive comfort.  I am resistent to doing it, but once I do, I am amazed at the peace that God gives me.  A peace that surpasses all human understanding.  A peace that propels me forward or keeps me still.

I have no idea what our next steps are, if any.  Every day, I think about the fact that we are simply standing at a fork in the road.  My mind rolls this problem around, like a puzzle, trying to see a solution.

Have I ever admitted that I am terrible at riddles?  My brain so easily focuses in on the conflict of the riddle and completely misses the peripheral solution.  Most riddles are “here is a situation, here are all of the key players.”  The thing is, there is usually one subtle, but important aberration in the key players or the set up of the scene.  I sense the inconsistency, but the more I stare at the riddle, the more my brain tries to “normalize” the situation.  My brain will automatically try to explain why something is there instead of questioning its existence.

In the case of our fertility, I find myself trying to explain this situation instead of taking a step back and understanding why it exists in the first place.

Classic riddle that stumped me in 8th grade: two girls who are sisters that share the same birthday in the same year and parents, but are not twins.  How is this possible?

So I would answer that one was adopted.

But the answer is that the sisters are part of a set of triplets.

Just a simple exercise of stepping back and looking at the bigger situation.

Frank did a great job of doing that the other day.  He was reading through scripture and he came across a letter from Paul where he talked about a physical affliction that he had.  Frank read up more on the affliction and found out that it was what God used to humble Paul so that Paul wouldn’t start taking credit for all of the awesome things God was doing through him.

So if I step back from our situation, what is the bigger picture of what God is trying to accomplish in us and/or through us?

I know that I need to choose to take that step backward so that I can see the bigger picture.  I have to choose to do that every day, or this whole situation will drive me nuts.  I will roll it around and around in my brain, looking so closely for a solution, that I miss it.

And that’s all I got right now.

One thought on “choices

  1. YES! The bigger picture… it’s what I have been thinking about lately. We are all pieces of one larger thing. What is going on in my very small corner of the picture? I’m too small to see it. Just like cells in my body. If one of them looked up and out, would it realize what I was trying to accomplish as a whole with my body? Probably not.

    I went through a very dark time related to our infertility. I didn’t know if God was real anymore. I genuinely didn’t know – not because he wasn’t letting me get pregnant, but because he appeared to be absent. And of all the things God promises (pregnancy not being one of them) I thought the thing we could cling to in darkness was that God was with us. Where was he? I searched. There was silence. It was awful.

    I stepped back and took some time – I think around 9 months. At the end of those 9 months I was beginning to feel like I could start to breathe again. That I didn’t want to let go of my faith. That I wanted to return. Something like 2 weeks later, I had my first early pregnancy loss. It was gut-wrenching. And seemed so incredibly unfair. I asked for answers or comfort or something and got nothing. And when I was basically ready to stop asking and start trusting, I had a miscarriage. To say it sucked would be an understatement. I felt insulted, unwanted, crushed, destroyed.

    If you take it to God, He might not answer. Or worse yet, He might let it/make it get worse. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but it seems it is. He is sometimes silent. He always values the internal over the external. He is mysterious. My heart breaks. I’m told He knows every single tear I’ve cried. And yet sometimes it gets worse.

    The thing (at least for me) is that I believe. I believe more now than I did before that awful time happened. My God is real. My God is good. All the day. The dark days weren’t so much the miscarriage itself but the darkness that was in my heart that He was trying to eradicate all along. I love Him for that.

    I feel like I’m getting all “rambly.” But I’ll say that at some point along the way you might enjoy doing Beth Moore’s Stepping Up study. I have the videos if you’re ever interested and would be happy to lend them to you. It is about the journey – and stepping up and out of the mire. It came at a very pivotal point in my infertility journey. It may not be for you or the time may not be now, but feel free to keep it on the back burner as an option if you’re not sure where to go at some point or what doors to push.

    I think about you guys often and continue to hope that this is the month for the miracle of a pregnancy!

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