It is Saturday night. We just watched a pathetic football game between Auburn and Mississippi State. Final score, Auburn-3 Mississippi State-2. What kind of a score is that? There were millions of penalties and multiple turnovers. The offense was a mess but the defense had a stellar performance. Blake almost made me leave the room because I was getting too worked up for someone on bed rest.
In a strange way, I could relate to that game. Both teams looked about as good as my spiritual life feels - part of me looks like I have it together. But the other half of me is a train wreck. There have been comments on the blog, in email, on voicemail and even on Facebook about my faith, strength, courage, etc. While I would love to possess each of those virtues, I am ashamed to say you may have been fooled. I feel uncomfortable to receive such credit because I am not that person. Let me explain.
My parents taught me right from wrong at an early age. I was a fairly polite kid, saying "Yes ma'am" and "No sir" when responding to my elders. I wasn't the smartest in the class, but I always did my homework, never skipped class, never talked back to my teachers. Growing up in a Southern Baptist home, you didn't drink, didn't smoke, didn't swear. Have you met or seen my father? He is big. He worked on a farm, worked on a railroad and has done manual labor as long as I can remember. His shoulders and arms are as solid as a rock. It never really crossed my mind to try and break spoken or unspoken rules around my house out of fear of the wrath of Danny.
A self-proclaimed social butterfly, I genuinely like people. I like to meet new people. It kills me that we had a new couple move in next door and I can't give them a warm welcome to our street. I will admit to sitting by our window the day they moved in just to catch a glimpse of their faces! When I walk down the halls at church, at work or in a store and make eye contact with someone, it feels natural for me to smile. It kind of bothers me when people don't respond with the same. I loved being a lymphedema therapist, as it allowed me to spend extended time with my patients, developing close relationships with many. I keep in touch with friends from high school, Tennessee Tech, Lexington, KY, Eastern Kentucky University and Auburn. I like to know what is going on with friends who have played a roll in my life. I call and try to stay connected...well, I used to be better at that but you know what I mean!
So why am I saying all of this? Maybe it sounds like I am full of myself. That is NOT at all what I am getting at. What I am trying to explain is that being a "good" person according to society's standard is not a struggle for me. I think it is fairly easy to be a "nice" person. But, those traits alone are not what I was called to be from a spiritual standpoint. There is more to it than that.
It is easy to be a Christian when life is, seemingly, going well. It has only been in the past few years that I witnessed despair around me and truly realized that no one is exempt from suffering. I watched a dear friend bury her husband after 10 months of marriage. Then I reflect back on the day I learned a life-long friend of ours had been in a helicopter crash and was badly burned. To stand on the sidelines as my friends suffered shook my spiritual foundation to the core. It was the first time my faith had been challenged and realized my shallow walk would not withstand such a test.
When the first round of despair hit our family, I was not prepared. Sure, I prayed most nights for a healthy baby and thanked Him for all the blessings in my life. I would mention a few prayer requests from friends and family, when I remembered. I went to church every Sunday we were in town. We were members of a small group that had its share of deep, spiritual discussion that made me think deeper, for a few minutes at least. I was "nice" to people the rest of the week, leading a fairly "good" life. God/Jesus Christ/the Holy Spirit may be mentioned on a day to day basis in random conversation but that is about it. I was too busy to take it to the next level, spending the time needed to develop true relationship with my God.
I set out to change that once we lost Finley. I had been dealt my blow and I would learn from it. I would not replace that void with another baby. I would let a deep relationship with my Lord assume its rightful position. Ahhh, how quickly I became complacent once I had the hope of a new baby on the horizon. While I started out strong, my need for a Savior became less and less of the focus. Life was on the upswing and I could handle it, on my own. I moved into the same old routine, calling out to God for the things I needed on behalf of friends/family and of course, for myself. I scummed to the belief that I had "passed" my test of faith and would be spared sorrow for a few years, at least.
Then, February 25th, 2008 came and knocked me off my feet. I have been flat on my face ever since. Well, there was the brief glimmer of hope when I wrote Exposure. A brief moment of revival. But, shortly after, I learned I was pregnant and the downward spiral began. I immediately began a battle in my head. Wanting to trust God's hand in the timing of things vs the medical reality that this was much too soon and very risky. Fear seems to be winning over faith/trust. While I know God is bigger than medicine and He can defy the odds, I also know His plans may not be my own. The thought of the later seems to be more than I can bear. I am terrified of facing that outcome once again. It is a reality I cannot deny.
If it seems like I have it together, it is by the grace of God and God alone. I can take no credit for that. I am not courageous. I am not strong. I am not faithful. I am barely hanging on by a thread. I cannot pick up my Bible. On occasion, I utter prayers, begging for mercy for the sake of this child. I am not like the women whose blogs I read. I wish I could keep moving forward and praising Him in the midst of the storm. As I have stated before, I am frozen. I am only hoping that, in time, I can move to a different spiritual level. It truly is what I want. I am just not there yet.
Sorry this is random but I needed to clarify.
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