So I know I've said many times that I have good days and bad days. Usually more good than bad. Every once in a while, though, I have a day where I just feel...off. Nothing is really any different today than usual, but things are affecting me more than normal today. So I guess today would be considered a "bad" day. Perhaps I should explain.
I see babies and expectant mothers all the time. It always makes my heart ache just a bit, but usually I'm able to put it aside relatively quickly. Some days, like today, it's not so easy. I don't know why sometimes it's worse than others. There's no real reason for it. I deal with the same condition, the same ache, the same difficulty every day. I don't know why some days it just hits me harder.
Today I had to really see an ugly side of myself. I had very unpleasant thoughts several times. Basically, I had to admit to myself that I was jealous of people with "normal" pregnancies and "normal" babies. I had to admit that I wanted to throw a temper tantrum like a two year old and scream and yell that life isn't fair. I had thoughts of, "I hope they realize how lucky/blessed they are." I will never again take a "normal" pregnancy or baby for granted. And I hope no one else does either. But I didn't like seeing that side of myself.
I know there will be days like this. I know it's not abnormal of me to feel this way. But I don't like it. I don't like thinking about the reason I feel that way, either. I just want things to be "normal." I don't like having to admit that there's a reason for me to be jealous. It hurts.
I still believe God can heal her. But I have no way of knowing if He will. I have to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Right now I'm kind of in a place where I'm having to think a lot about the worst. We're working on our birth plan with our hospice organization, so we have to make decisions I don't want to make. We're thinking a lot about the medical "certainty," as we prepare for that to happen, in case that is God's will for us. I hope and pray it's not, but it could be, and we need to be ready for that. But having to think about my baby girl in that way is the hardest thing I've ever done. And it makes it hard to think about the positive alternative. It makes it hard to see healthy babies without envy. It makes it hard not to be unhappy with my lot.
The only way I can overcome these emotions and thoughts is by God's grace. I can't do it myself. I just can't. It hurts too much. And there's nothing I can do to change my situation, so I have to rely on the One who can, if He so chooses.
I'm having trouble with that today. I know God is faithful and will see me through today just like He has every day since we got Caroline's diagnosis, 7 weeks and 3 days ago. But it doesn't make today any easier. I have to take my thoughts captive and return them to where they need to go. I need to remember that this world is only temporary, but there is an eternity later. I need to remember that Caroline is a gift, whether for another few months or for a lifetime, and she was never "mine" to begin with. I have to remember that God loves her more than I ever could. I have to remember that He loves me that much too, and only has a good and perfect plan for my life, and Caroline's.
I also have to remember that I'm not alone.
Sometimes when I get into these somber moods, I feel isolated and alone. But I'm not. Even if I was the last person alive on earth, I wouldn't be alone. God is with me through His Holy Spirit. Not only that, but He has also blessed me with amazing friends and family that are willing to pray for me and with me, and to cry with me, and to laugh with me, and to talk with me, and to hug me and support me. I'm never alone. I'm never forgotten. I'm never left to fend for myself. I just have to remember it and realize it.
The best thing is...I know God understands that I hurt. I know He feels all the pain I do. I know He is compassionate and loving. I know He yearns to bear my burdens. I know that He longs to show me something better. I know He seeks to teach me what is truly important, what is truly the best, what is truly satisfying. I cannot find my fulfillment in Caroline, in being a mother. I cannot find fulfillment in being good, in influencing people. I cannot find fulfillment and satisfaction through the support He has graciously provided for me. I have to, I must, find my satisfaction and fulfillment in Christ alone. Everything else is meaningless for eternity. It doesn't mean that God can't use mothers, or use friends, or use me to further His Kingdom here on earth. But if my focus strays too long from the cross, everything else I do or experience loses its power. Mothers and friends and witnessing are all great things, but only if they come after the cross.
My heart still aches to see healthy babies, knowing that it will take a miracle for Caroline to be healthy. I still hurt when I see expectant mothers, see the joy and excitement they have for the upcoming life of their child. It's still painful to live with this diagnosis day in and day out. Today is just one of many days when my defenses are shaken and I have to be rescued by my Savior from the pain and potential bitterness.
I feel a little bit like I have a split personality. One part of me longs for eternity, and one part is caught up in the temporal. One part of me longs for holiness, and one part of me succumbs to my human nature. One part of me is able to look to the cross, and one part of me longs to seek after this world. I can say with absolute certainty that none of my desires for Caroline and our little family are inherently sinful. Wanting to be a mother, wanting to keep my little girl, wanting to have a "normal" childbirth experience...none of that is wrong. But I have to be careful that they don't become my idols, or distractions. I can't seek after motherhood, normalcy, or anything else more than I seek after the Lord. Then, it's wrong.
I will admit that it is HARD. It is very, very hard. Thank God for grace, because otherwise I would fail miserably. My heart breaks to think about Caroline not being healed. My human nature rebels against having a good attitude. My mother-heart longs for normalcy. And everyday, I fight a battle, with God's gracious help, not to succumb. I have a little thing I do that sometimes helps. As I pray, asking God to help me accept His will no matter what, I take my hands, which I form into fists, and then purposefully and consciously open them and hold them out. It is a perfect representation, physically, of how I feel emotionally. It is amazing how hard it is sometimes to open those fists. Even as a symbol of my heart and not a literal act of release, that physical act is sometimes nearly impossible. Sometimes it takes me a while. With God's help and mercy, I always manage to open my fists. Sometimes it is ONLY with His help and mercy.
Today is a closed fist kind of day. I want to hold on to Caroline. I want to say, "Jesus, this isn't FAIR!" I want to take those balled up fists and throw a temper tantrum on the floor. But it doesn't take long for God to gently, like a father gently prying something dangerous out of a toddlers hands, help me open my fists. He reminds me that life ISN'T fair, or else HIS son wouldn't have had to die for ME. He reminds me that His mercy and goodness are going to allow me to see Caroline in Heaven instead of being eternally separated from her. He allows me a glimpse into His own pain when I, or any of His children, run away from Him. It's amazing what God's perspective can do to a mood or a thought or a feeling. He is always greater. I don't always admit it, but it's true. He is always greater.
So even when I don't want to, even when it hurts, I have to open my fists. It's only then that I'm fully trusting God to take care of me.
To survive this, I have to open my fists.