It’s hard when the world changes, and I am not ready. When life moves forward and I don’t want to go that way. Every atom, every cell that I am, somehow screams against the change.
No, this isn’t right.
No, I don’t want it.
Please, just let it stay the same, how it was.
Even if it wasn’t good for me.
Even if it was. Change doesn’t care. Like the wind, it just comes.
Even if God is calling me out into unknown waters teeming with untapped life, fish that could fill my net full, if I only trusted enough to cast off the line. But letting go hurts. Especially when we loved what we are leaving behind.
I have found myself screaming inside against lost relationships, death, change, the brokenness of my body and mind. The sort of internal anguish, where there are no words, just the groaning of the spirit the Paul writes about in Romans 8. The groaning when every piece of you cries for what was, but isn’t anymore.
And I wonder, how to I reconcile myself to change in these times. How do I allow myself to feel the hurt and then move on; let go of what isn’t and embrace what new things are being birthed.
My daughter came home from school last week. I knew the moment she stepped off the bus she was upset. This sweet girl is like her mommy, and I knew from the familiar heaviness of her steps, and the quick, “I’m fine” belied by scrunched up features and quietness that told another completely not fine story that something was troubling her heart.
We walked home together and she was snappy. She yelled at her brother, she gave some dirty looks at her sister. She wouldn’t hold her daddy’s hand. At first we assumed she was tired. The end of the school year is tough, and for someone who feels the world as much as she does, it’s a hard transition.
And then she did what I do best, because she is so much of me. She began picking fights. Just picking a little bit here, a little bit there. One small jab to her brother, “You’re such a baby.” Words she knows cut him deep.
To her sister, “Don’t touch me, you ruin things.” Knowing her sister worries at almost three years old that she breaks things in her enthusiasm
. I was “mean Mommy.” She refused to do a single thing her Daddy asked of her.
Isn’t it funny how we know how to hurt the ones we love the most, so it cuts the deepest.
And I knew. I knew because our hearts are so alike, that this deep cutting meanness was borne of own deep hurt. Deep unexpressed grief and anxiety looking for an excuse, a crack to escape full force.
When the impending emotional explosion happened we learned her teacher was moving away. Having just moved ourselves this deeply unsettled her. You don’t see the people you love when you move away and she loved her Kindergarten teacher. A city four hours away, or on the other side of the world, it didn’t matter. Her teacher would be gone.
Like her Gramma and Nana back in Arizona felt gone.
Like her best friend felt gone.
Like her cactus and her splash pad and her own bedroom.
Like her church.
And the visceral meanness dissipated in a instant, and she collapsed into my arms in a heap, and she sobbed heavy, back shaking sobs. Those silent tears that shake your body. Where the only sound you make, is from inhaling and exhaling sadness, and disappointment, and the need for it to be different than it is.
And then she spoke the truest words.
This is hard. Moving is hard. Changing teachers is hard. I don’t like it.
And my own tears began to fall. I rubbed her head, buried my nose in her hair gold hair and whispered that I knew change is so hard.
It is so hard when life changes and we aren’t ready.
When things change and we don’t want them too. Its hard. and it hurts. And we held each other, and felt our pain. And our tears fell.
My life has changed too. Without my permission it feels like. As if I ever had control in the first place. After finding myself in heart failure after having my son, I was told another pregnancy might kill me. Postpartum Cardiomyopathy is rare, and when it recurs, the second time it can often prove fatal, or at least life altering. Words like heart transplant were thrown around, inability to recover heart function. Permanent heart damage. I was blessed to know my body when it happened. Blessed to have a husband in nursing school. Blessed to know sometimes you fight your doctors and I was diagnosed exceptionally early, because at 6 days postpartum I refused to leave the hospital without being admitted. Usually it takes weeks for a diagnosis, of during cardiac arrest because it hasn’t been treated. And so I recovered. Completely. Quickly. God is good. I was a medical miracle in some ways.
Our intentions were to always have my tubes tied after that, in accordance with the medical recommendations. And then a miscarriage happened. An accidental pregnancy at a time when my marriage was struggling after nearly falling apart. We were unsure of our future. We were in counseling together, relearning how to be married, relearning how to put God first in both of our lives, relearning how to love each other. I was devastated. It was so early, there was no sympathy from our doctors. More like, wow, you dodged a bullet.
But we knew after that. As our marriage healed and renewed we knew we wanted another baby. And so we risked it. And our youngest was born. Only, during her pregnancy I developed a rare liver disorder called intrahepatic cholestatis of pregnancy. Followed by high blood pressure and of course some pre term labor sprinkled in for fun. My pregnancy was filled with IVs. non stress tests twice a week, echocardiograms, steroid shots, two different drugs to stop contractions. Lots of hospital stays.
But my baby was born healthy via csection and again I recovered. No relapse. Only this time, I consented to a change that broke my heart. We tied my tubes.
I still remember the smell when they burnt them. My baby girl was crying and healthy. Her Father was holding her by my face, because you are strapped down during a csection and I couldn’t hold her yet. Blissful moments despite the pain. They had closed up most of me, but now was the part where they cut and burnt my fallopian tubes, where the sterilized me. Were they supposedly saved my life.
And it smelled like burning. And they laughed and joked about the weather, and my world changed. I wasn’t ready.
In my mind there was another blonde little baby, or maybe the only dark headed one we would have. And my sweet son was no longer alone as a middle child, but had his little sister, because a new baby had come into the family. And our car was full and our house was full and our hearts were so full. Four babies. Four children. I had always wanted four. Another baby to nurse, more diapers to change, that intoxicating smell of a newborn.
Instead I was trading it for the smell of my burning fertility. I wasn’t ready. Life was changing and I didn’t want it to.
There was little time to dwell. They sewed me up and we became immersed in raising our third little human. And she grew, and her growing was bittersweet. Because I knew she would wean, she would potty train, she would leave babyhood and toddlerhood behind and I would have to face my fertility.
And so it was when I held my oldest, crying that life had changed when she wasn’t ready, that I was crying too.
I wasn’t ready either.
Our youngest would be three on Saturday.
And my period had been 9 days late.
And I wanted with every piece of me to be pregnant. But I knew I wasn’t because of my tubal ligation. The mind plays terrible and cruel tricks. And again I imagined that baby, that fourth little one. Snuggling and cooing, and keeping us up all night. The intimate hours in the middle of the night where it’s just the two of you. The way your husband looks when his strong hands hold his tiny baby. The absolute love of siblings. Siblings who have been asking for a baby…
But Mommy can’t have one.
For nine days I prayed. All different things really, but what I prayed most I think, was please.
Please don’t make me go through this. Please let it be some other way. I know how it will end, with a late and terrible period, and it will hurt like a cruel joke. So please Lord.
Because life had changed and I wasn’t ready. And it hurts, and it’s hard.
I don’t know what to tell my daughter. Change will always be hard. Jesus prayed to the Father to find some other way too, to take the cup from him, but instead he allowed himself to be crucified for my brokenness. For my healing.
And I think about that. How Jesus was a man, and felt that unrelenting grief of wanting it to all be different when it couldn’t be. Mourning the loss of what should have been. But God’s plan was so much bigger.
God’s plan is so much bigger.
And so I am waiting, and crying out to my Father.
This is hard Lord.
I am collecting all of your tears.
I want it to be different
I am making a way where there is none.
I’m so tired Lord, of this hurt. I fell old, and worn. Useless in infertility somehow.
But can’t you see? I am doing a new thing. You have a hope and a future.
What good could possibly come from this.
Don’t lose heart Daughter. I am renewing you and preparing you for eternal glory
And just like I held my daughter weeping, Jesus holds me.
Because he knows it’s hard too.
So I cling to my savior. My savior who has felt grief. My savior who has wanted it another way. My savior whose body was broken. I cling to him when I have nothing else.
There was no pregnancy. And my daughter will say goodbye to her teacher at her last day of school tomorrow. I can’t fix her grief. But I can hold her as she struggles with it, with the change she says she is not ready for, and remind her of a God who loves her, and has so many wonderful things planned.
Even if we aren’t ready.
New things. If we only let down our nets and trust in our savior.
When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken. Luke 5:4-9