I think part of it is because I had two appointments this week that left me drained. I had a hospice meeting on Monday and a sonogram on Tuesday. I've mentioned before that I feel an emotional "let down" after all my appointments. It's not a disappointment, but a release of all the pent up nervous energy that I have before an appointment. I have to gear myself up for every appointment. When they're over, all that extra protect-myself energy has to go somewhere, and it makes the days following appointments a little...blah. Recovering from that emotional let down is a little hard, and recovering from two this week I think just was a little harder.
I have also begun my third trimester. It's quite normal during your third trimester to start "nesting." That's the crazy urge to clean, organize, decorate, and basically just get ready for the baby to arrive. It's hormonal, psychological, etc, whatever. It happens. So this past week, I started feeling the need to nest. Except...I don't really have anything to really nest for, unless God does a miracle. I don't need to do a lot of the stuff that a normal mom-to-be would do while nesting. I'm not setting up a nursery, and while I can clean and organize and such, it's not for the sole purpose of making baby a nice home. I'm not shopping for clothes and toys that I have to bring home and make a place for. I'm not rearranging furniture to make room for baby furniture. I'm not even sure Caroline will get to come home at all, so I really...don't have much to do.
This has been extremely difficult for me. I want to be getting ready for Caroline. I want to be buying clothes and toys and small furniture and all that. I want to be making a place for her. I wish I could make a nursery. I can't help the feelings that come along with nesting. It's just how expectant mothers are wired. I can't turn it off. But while my hormonal emotions are telling me to get ready for a baby, my brain is telling me not to. It's just one more thing to accentuate Caroline's condition. I still hope and pray that things will change and I'll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get things together at the last minute because a future sonogram reveals a miracle, or after we get home from the hospital because she was born healthy inexplicably. That will be happy chaos. I'm down with that. But in the meantime, I can't/don't want to act a whole lot on my nesting emotions.
I've also had a tense week inter-personally. Because I'm dealing with a lot emotionally this week, a lot of my interactions with people have been strained, especially if they're close enough to me to be dealing personally with Caroline's diagnosis as well. It's nothing irreparable, just tense. And not very pleasant. It's been hard to go through the week like that. I have felt a little bit alone this week, despite all the support I have. I have had to pray A LOT for grace to sustain me. I would not have made it through this week otherwise. I still feel like I was beat up this week emotionally. I am exhausted. I have felt stretched very thin, and I haven't known what to do about it. This is one of those times where I feel like I am completely and totally at the end of myself. I have nothing left to offer. I am just done. I have done what I can this week to make things better, and really, I can't do anything. This is just a trying time where I have to rely on Christ to carry me, which I know He's doing, whether I realize it at the time or not. With everything I'm dealing with right now, I'm reminded of something my mom and I kind of joke about, but which has a practical meaning.
I'm a duck.
Yes, I just said that. Haha.
Ducks have some sort of oily substance on their feathers and such so that water can just roll off their backs. They can swim and dive and not get waterlogged because this oily substance kind of keeps them dry. When it comes to difficult situations, my mom has always said to be a duck. Let the negative stuff roll off your back like water rolls off a duck's back. Whether it's unkind or distasteful words, or if it's things beyond our control, or whatever it is that can tend to bog us down, we need to let it roll off our backs. It's sometimes very difficult to do. I'm not usually very good at it. This week was no exception. In some ways, I have let everything going on bog me down. I've still tried my best to keep my focus where it should be, but this has just been a hard week. I'm still working on being a duck.
The good thing is, even though I have felt alone this week, I haven't been. God's been right there with me, even when I've messed up, or felt hopeless, or felt injured. The battle against a feeling of futility when it comes to a miracle, and the battle of feeling helpless when it comes to interpersonal relations, and the feeling of despair from letting our situation cloak me in misery...it all very strongly presented itself this week. Every weakness I have was preyed upon. Every insecurity I have was prodded out of me. Every coping mechanism I have has been tested. And yet I am not defeated, even if I feel like it at the moment. I know I'm not. I can hold on to the certainty that I am not alone, I am not abandoned, and I am not overwhelmed because I have a Savior who saved me once and for all on the cross, and who continues to rescue me from myself, my situation, my emotions, and anything else that tries to defeat me.
I put out my Nativity this week.
It's a Willow Tree set, and I've had it for a few years now. I've always put it out, and I always will. It's a representation of Christ coming to earth to be my Savior. But this year, as I mentioned in another post (Christmas Spirit), I really had a much stronger emotional reaction to it than ever before. I can't even really explain it. There's a yearning for something better, and a gratitude beyond this world, and a peacefulness that is beyond my understanding. It's not a special magic in the actual figures. There's nothing in those figurines that gives them special power. The change is in me, and caused by the true Savior that came. Every time I look at that set of figurines, it calls up a multitude of emotions, and I'm not even sure what they all are. But I do know this...It's helped me make it through this week. The constant reminder that God loved me enough to send His Son, and that His Son left behind the Holy Spirit to be my Guide...it's almost too much for me. Not only that, but He also came so humbly. It's just amazing to me. I can't really put it into words.
So as I muddle through the more difficult days, I'm glad I have this reminder. I still struggle. I don't always respond the way I should. I don't always say the right things or do the right things. I sometimes let the chaos overwhelm me. But I always have a Savior who extends grace to me in my weakness, who holds me up when I fall, who gently leads me back to where I should go every time I wander, who will work everything out for me at some point. I'm so grateful He's there. I'm so grateful He gives me grace. I'm so glad He loves me that much, and that I can rely on Him when I'm just done.
My terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week is a little better just because He's there. Thank you, Lord.