Monday, July 8, 2013

A strange place



I am at a strange place now.
It is strange because it feels so different from where I have been the past six months, and yet the smallest thing can take me back to the shock of those six months for a moment.
But the moments are smaller, most of the time.
The pain does not last as long as it once did.
It does not shut me down as often.
I feel strangely lighter than before.
I can feel myself becoming more easily distracted by the earthly things that are not eternal, and that scares me.
To put it plainly, I am feeling much less pain in my grief now that I am pregnant again. I still feel an ache for my Ezra, and I definitely have times of pain and complete disbelief over what has happened. But before I became pregnant again the pain was constant. Continually rubbing against my heart continuously until it was raw. Each day I felt as if I was desperately striving for hope.  I had to continually repeat encouraging scriptures to myself, just to feel as if I could breath. And though that time was very painful and hard, in hindsight it holds a sweetness. I felt very connected to my sweet little Ezra, as the pain of losing him was constantly in my heart. At times I could almost feel the arms of Jesus around me. Holding me.
This time has been so different from those past six months with no Ezra, and no pregnancy. During those month I always knew exactly how I felt. There was never a doubt about what I was feeling, because I was feeling everything with such intensity.
Now that I am pregnant, the way that my heart truly feels seems mysterious sometimes. It is a mix of so many emotions that it can not possibly be described. I feel grief and exhaustion, and yet, I feel joy and much hope, and everything in between. I have blogged in the past about the delicate mixture of grief and joy, and I find it to be increasingly true that the two emotions can coexist within the same human heart.  There is this tension between the grief and the joy, because they seem to oppose each other. I don't want to easily move forward from the intense grief I was feeling because, in a sense, I feel more connected to Ezra in my grief. To feel connected to Ezra in my joy, has taken moments of great confidence in Christ and his work on the cross. Letting go of control, and letting God be in charge of this new journey I am on. Only then do I feel peace. Only then do I feel freedom from this cloud of emotions that are scary and hard to work through.
As I have been continuing to try and work through those feelings, with my eyes fixed on Christ and not myself, I feel that the Lord gave me this verse to help me understand how grief and joy exist together. In this verse, women had just come from Jesus's tomb where an angel of the Lord has told them that Jesus is alive.

" So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples."
   Matthew 28:8

Just seeing scripture say that a person can be afraid yet filled with joy helped me take this self criticizing weight of my shoulders. The fear or grief feelings may not go away, but that cannot keeps us from also being filled with joy.
I can see these women having the same critical thoughts about themselves that I am having. " The angel said Jesus is alive! How could I be feeling even an ounce of fear right now?" And for me: " God has been so gracious and answered my many prayers for a pregnancy! Why am I keeping myself from feeling a complete and full joy?" I think it is possible that the women in this verse did not know the answer to the questions I just imagined them having. But God did. He knew that fear and joy could be felt at the same time, and he made it clear here in the scriptures. This verse reminds me that God knows the depths of my heart much better than I do. His understanding is sound, and that gives me peace. I often feel like I am the only one who knows exactly what I am going through and that I have to figure my emotions out on my own, but that is just not true. To surrender all to Jesus means to give him my desire to always know the meaning of my complex emotions. To stand before him with my heart abandoned means to rest, and let Him be the only emotion that fills my heart.
And perhaps then I won't feel as if I am in such a strange place, but very much at home.