I learned how to juggle in college. I was on a retreat somewhere in the mountainous region of North Georgia when a guy named Darrell taught me how to juggle in one legendary evening. I even learned to juggle with/to another person. What?!? I know. You're quietly trying to process my awesomeness right now, the bounds of which you were heretofore unaware of. Or you're silently judging me for boasting about a skill that typically only traveling carnies have. Either way, I can juggle. At this point, my skills are rusty, but they still exist.
Segue. Seg-way? Here is where I explain why I've just revealed my secret carnival skill and how it relates to the past year of my life.
Long, long ago, when I was in college, a friend used juggling as a metaphor to express how she was feeling about a hard relationship in her family. She explained that she felt like she was juggling all these different parts of her life, like balls in the air. She described one of those balls in the air as that hard relationship and, in keeping with the juggling metaphor, every time that particular ball hit her hand it felt sharp and jagged, instantly reminding her of how painful that part of her life was.
I didn't do her metaphor justice, but hopefully you got the gist of it. It's been a few months since my second miscarriage and I keep thinking that I've gotten things back together, that the engine of my life is humming along just fine, and then that one ball drops again and out of nowhere I'm pounded with the sharp reminder of that loss and disappointment.
Last Sunday at our church, which meets in a barn on a mountain (feel free to covet my church right now), the big barn doors were open and a breeze was blowing in while the band played their guitars and sang songs about Jesus during communion. My eyes stung with tears as we sang together about God's love for us and His promised redemption. I realized that only there in that barn sanctuary do I find myself wanting to really cry over what I've experienced this past year. In the midst of singing about God's desire to free me from hopelessness and restore what's been lost and love me in spite of myself, all of that truth just rushed in and nearly knocked me over. I could almost hear Him whispering to me that He wanted to be in this with me, to comfort me, to show me heart-healing compassion.
And then again, in a Bible study yesterday with thirty women who genuinely love Jesus, I felt that same sense of God's presence, offering me compassion and reminding me that He is not indifferent to the losses He has allowed me.
Lastly, before I wear you out with over-sharing and too much "feelings" talk, I want to share a couple of verses that struck me in the very small window of time I spent this week with my Bible.
The first is Psalms 41:11 where David says that because the Lord delights in him, "my enemy will not shout in triumph over me." I know David was talking about rough, tough, sword-carrying enemies. As far as I know, I don't have any of those. I hope. But, I do have a real enemy and it's The Enemy. I'm no match for him, and if I'm being honest, I'll admit to having believed some of his lies in some low moments recently. But, reading this verse in Psalms gives me such hope. Even though I feel like this particular struggle in my life brings out the worst in me and tempts me to believe things about God that I know aren't true, my enemy doesn't get the last word. God gets that one.
Then there's this one: Psalm 130:7 says "...hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love and with Him is plentiful redemption."
Hope. I love that word.
Hope in the Lord. He gives good things. He will not let your enemy shout over you in triumph. He gives new songs. He tells new stories. He redeems everything. Hope in the Lord.
And so, this juggling act I'm in the middle of continues and I know I'll keep catching that one jagged ball that makes my heart hurt. But, there's hope. Lots of it. And there's the satisfying knowledge that one day, Jesus is going to very literally beat The Hell out of the sin-induced suffering you and I are walking through. (acknowledgments to our pastor for that little turn of phrase)
So, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm still in this.
But, God's doing something good with it.
And that gives me some very real hope.
Call me if you want to talk. Or juggle. I'm up for both.
Public Service Announcement:
*I realize that I keep posting about the two miscarriages we've had
in the past year. If you're interested or need a refresher, you can read
about that part of our story here and here.
It continues to be a huge part of my life right now so I find myself
needing to keep talking about it. What I'm also discovering is that
there's a significant chance that you or maybe one of your friends or
sisters or moms have likely also lost a pregnancy at some point and for
these reasons, I'll probably keep talking about it. It's happening out
there and, to be honest, most people aren't going to
mention it. I feel the need to mention it.*