April 27, 2011

Freaking out.. just a skosh

The realization of the impending one-year mark of my first miscarriage is already beginning to make its mark on me. Today I had a meeting with a colleague who's had three miscarriages followed by a (so far very) successful pregnancy. She let me know that another colleague is now 12 weeks along and will likely make a public announcement soon. In empathy she just wanted to... warn me? I guess. I thanked her, of course, for such sensitivity. We share an interesting bond for otherwise knowing very little about each other.

This afternoon, on the shuttle bus to the parking lot where I park for work, I caught a lump in my throat. I swallowed before it could affect my eyes. 

I am remembering Easter Sunday. It was early morning, and I pulled out my Bible from my nightstand to read while my husband was sleeping. Randomly decided to read a section in John. Chapter 15. Started from the beginning - the vine and the branches. Read through verse 7:  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

I stopped. Ran over the words again and again. I started praying. And weeping - just as I did when the wounds of my miscarriages were first rent. I haven't cried a drop in a couple months, not since I started taking anti depressants (which have been good for me, you should know). 

I feel like the shine is wearing off. 

Or maybe I'm just projecting the pain of the recent past into the possibilities of the future.

I need another glass of wine. cheers....

April 23, 2011

Not Celebrating this Anniversary.. or am I?

Yesterday I had my guitar lesson. It's something I've been doing for a few months now - despite being more or less self taught (with some instruction from my virtuoso brother) as a teenager. I used to write songs and played for friends and considered it (and especially singing) an extension of my soul. Then I ignored this for most of my 20s. Not sure why. But music, for me, is like a boomerang - even if I throw it away, it seems to come back to me in some form.

When I... how do I put this... came back to a relationship with Christ in my late 20s, music romanced me again in the form of the church band. I provided harmony vocals for a while there. But I wasn't enamored with the guitar, so I gave it away to someone who desperately needed one. A few years later, I was blessed to have someone give me theirs since they weren't using it at all, and I started leading worship for a house church. That was an on-again, off-again affair, as my performance anxiety was sometimes debilitating. Fast forward a few more years to the church I've been with now for about five years. I occasionally led worship for a small group, then my life fell apart last year with the two miscarriages and icky diagnosis and I didn't play or sing for months.

And then... I dunno. I picked it up again. I felt compelled somehow. I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit that it was time to start serving again. That was five months ago.

Okay, back to yesterday's guitar lesson. My instructor is also one of the worship leaders at church, and  occasionally recruits people through the lesson vehicle. He's asked me to play at an upcoming service, which I agreed to. But yesterday he told me about a student recital of sorts coming up at a coffee house, and asked if I'd be interested in participating. I said "yeah, sure, why not?" and asked about the date.

May 12.

May 12 last year was the day after Mother's Day. The day I started spotting, which was the beginning of my first miscarriage. The beginning of a year in hell that almost destroyed me emotionally and psychologically.

Hm. Ironic coincidence. Lord, is this your doing? I wondered. I quickly decided - yes. Yes I can make that.

I can think of no better way to spend that evening than to play my guts out and praise God for saving me from the brink of sanity,

for carrying me through the darkest time of my life

for surrounding me with friends and family who have supported me deeply and sincerely

for preserving my marriage and my job and my home and my very soul

for showering me with love and peace and yes, joy - even as I've walked through the fire.

How can I not serve? God gives us gifts so that we can give them away - not just for our own enjoyment. I'll let you know how the recital goes. I'm thinking two songs should be adequate.

April 19, 2011

Paris and the Fear of Heights

I spent four days and five nights in the City of Light with my mom. It was excellent - she and I have always been good travel buddies, though such occasions are rare now. Before I left, a friend encouraged me (and others prayed) to look for God in a special way.

While I was waiting in line for the Eiffel Tower, I thought about my fear of heights and the things I've missed because of it like skiing, mountain biking (with chairlifts), and visiting tall towers. And then I started to realize all of the other things that I've either done or (mostly) not done simply out of fear. The chances I didn't take, the paralysis I've experienced over the past year, the reluctance to have a baby in the first place, not following through on friendships or career opportunities... going back as far as I can remember. I couldn't say how much of any of it was learned behavior, but God opened my eyes just enough that day to show me what I have been missing. And I thought - I don't want this anymore. I don't want my life defined by the things I'm too afraid to do, and I definitely don't want fear to stand in the way of my faith.

So Saturday morning, I told my friend about this and we decided to pray. She asked Jesus to cast out this spirit of fear and replace it with His spirit and joy. I felt like I was literally breathing in the Holy Spirit, and His presence was palpable. Warm chills, tears in my eyes, and a soft perfect peace permeated the room. Even now my heart is pounding with the memory of it. God didn't just show up - He delivered me from fear.

And in case you're wondering what that fearlessness looks like so far, today I did something I've been afraid to do for years: I invited a friend and her partner to church for Easter. I have always been terrified of witnessing in any way, but this was a wonderful experience and we had a great conversation.

I'm actually looking forward to mountain biking this summer, and I am finally ready to embrace everything God has for me instead of being paralyzed by fear and indecision. Stay tuned...

April 5, 2011

Unbelievable (and yet believable?) Publicity Stunt from PETA

Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed.: An Open Letter to PETA

Please read fellow IF blogger Keiko Zoll's open letter regarding PETA's decision to launch a contest that will reward a man for sterilizing his pet by giving him a free vasectomy. (Don't visit PETA's site though - that would defeat the purpose)

There aren't words - that I feel like committing to print on the Web - to describe how this makes me feel. I've always considered my fellow man & woman as a higher priority than animals, and don't support them monetarily, but certainly I believe in personal responsibility which carries into controlling pet populations. But stuff like this just blows me away and convinces me that this organization is anti-humanity. It saddens and enrages me.