I had a moment recently, or to be more honest, a whole day where I just about gave in. It was already "one of those days" when I rolled out of bed and by mid-morning, on our way to Sam's pediatrician for yet another doctor's appointment, I was having it out with the Lord in the car. Sam was hanging out in his carseat with the miniature Slinky I'd just bought him and I was driving a little too fast with hot tears running down my face, trying hard not to take Job's wife's advice. Just to cut myself a teensy bit of slack here, I was a little low in the blood sugar department and should have had a little more to eat that morning. Somehow that always seems to make anything hard seem ten times worse.
This doctor's appointment was one of a number of visits we'd made recently to Dr. Jeannie, Sam's fab pediatrician, thirty-five minutes from our house on the mountain. Sam had a cough that sounded like he'd been smoking for the past thirty years of his two and half and it didn't seem to be letting up. So, here we were, making our way back to the doctor after what's seemed like a summer of doctor's appointments for he and I.
Before we'd left that morning, I'd finally gotten up the courage to open up the bills from the procedure that followed my miscarriage and found that, while our insurance covered the lion's share, we still owed nearly $1000. I thought I was prepared for that when I opened that bill, but something came undone in my heart when my eyes scanned that number. It felt like such an injustice after what we'd just experienced, like adding insult to injury.
All the way to the doctor, I mentally yelled at God, explaining that we did not have an extra $1000 lying around. We certainly hadn't asked to lose a pregnancy and then get stuck with a huge bill to deal with. Then somehow I managed to make my way from that grievance into some old stuff I'd obviously not dealt with and was still apparently holding against Him. I even managed to bring up the fact that we'd spent five years doing full-time ministry, so what was the deal giving us such a hard time? There I was, acting a lot like the older brother in the Prodigal Son story who believed that his good behavior obviously warranted his being treated a little better.
Anyway, all this to say, I was almost ready to throw in the towel and tell God to just leave me alone. I got this close (imagine me pinching my fingers together right now) and then I ate lunch. This had an amazing effect on my ability to be reasonable and essentially toned down the anger that was real, but had been somewhat enhanced by low blood sugar issues. My daily spoonfuls of Nutella make more sense to you now, don't they.
I spent that day crying a lot, which is more than a little unusual for me. I think some of that was a delayed response to the grief of having just had a second miscarriage. The questions and confusion and uncertainty that come as sides to that full serving of sadness take some time to respond to. Apparently, atleast six weeks for me.
The past few days have been less emotionally dramatic and I've felt like I called a truce with God for a while. I haven't felt as angry, but, I've also known that something isn't quite right and needs to be dealt with at some point.
Today, I read my friend Kitty Hurdle's most recent blog post about her and her husband's adoption story. (You can read about that here at their blog joelandkitty.com.) In her post, she admitted that she and her husband had been struggling to trust God in the midst of some pretty intense circumstances, highlighted by a long walk through infertility. Kitty shared that after some intense prayer and confession, she and Joel were reminded that God had been faithful to them throughout the hard season they were in. What they also realized was that they had been listening to the Enemy's lie that God was actually cruel. After that wake-up call, they were reminded that "God is good even when He doesn't feel good."
That last part made my eyes water.
I've been letting the Enemy tell me what to believe about God. What the heck. No wonder I felt like telling Him to take a hike.
So, I've resolved to stop doing that and start remembering how God has been faithful to me. For starters, there was this five years and one week ago:
And then there was this:
And now there's this:
On that pitiful drive to the doctor last week, I forgot all the ways that God has been faithfully writing a story for us that is full of joy and hope and redemption. It's so ridiculously easy to let the hard stuff make us lose sight of the good and the beautiful things that fill up all the rest of the space in our lives.
A friend in college, who was going through a really rough patch at the same time that I was during our senior year, shared a quote with me about making a map of God's faithfulness by intentionally remembering how He has been good all along and believing that He will continue to be good even in the hard seasons that we walk through.
So, here I am again, trying my best to make that map.
Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
-Catharina von Schlegel, 1752