This morning I realized something. Actually I’ve noticed it before but I’m only writing about it now. It also feels like I’m finally willing to name it in my heart. It kind of feels like I’ve been skirting around it—not that I wanted to avoid it completely but more like I just didn’t want to be honest with myself. Perhaps this is all part of the grieving process.
Grief is a funny thing to walk through and when I say funny, I mean in an ironic kind of funny. How does one honestly know if they are navigating the waters of grief correctly? Who knows…
At any rate, I was reading an article this morning about a lady who is bringing joy and it hit me in regards to joy. I used to have joy. People commented on my smile, on my eyes. The people around me know me as one who laughs and enjoys laughter but as I sit here today, I realize my joy was taken captive. It’s been missing for quite a long time.
The past couple of months have been hard. I’m sure there are many others who have gone through much worse so who am I to complain about all that has taken place in my life. BUT…it has been hard. It’s like the crazy weird battle over my heart, over my mind, and certainly, over my joy.
The last piece I wrote talked about the birth of my two sons, Cayden and Malachi. Malachi has excelled beyond amazement. Cayden, however, has not. My sweet little Cayden gave me 55 days to spend with him. My heart breaks as I remember this now. My eyes well with tears as I recall holding that precious boy as he left this world to go dance on the streets of gold. I still remember quite vividly his last breath, the moment his eyes opened to look at me one last time, and then seeing the heart beat drop to 0.
Just like that. I went from single in America to learning how to live as a single in another country. Then upon return, I learned it wasn’t going to be just me. In the throes of culture shock, the blows of being pregnant threatened my undoing. Then I went from wrapping my brain around pregnancy to learning I was carrying twins and then on to wrapping my brain around complications. I moved into the shock of a high risk pregnancy to learning to live in a hospital for 6 weeks. I counted the days and weeks and prayed to reach 34 weeks of pregnancy but even that didn’t happen. At 30 weeks and 1 day, I went into labor unexpectedly and then joined the countless parents who walked the NICU journey.
After 45 days, Malachi came home and I prepared to try to figure out what it looked like to have one baby home and the other still in the NICU. 10 days later, Cayden was gone…like sand slipping through my fingers.
Is there any wonder why I feel as if my joy has been robbed? There are so many conflicting emotions that it is hard to sort out. I long for peace. I long for the strength I once had. Instead, I sit here in what feels like a heap of ashes wondering what in the world I have done. How do I heal from all of this? How do I find my joy again? And can’t we just move out of this grieving phase now?
I’m tired of grieving. I’m tired of crying over things. I’m tired of hurting, of being hurt. I’m just tired. I don’t want to think about how to justify pregnancy, two sons but now one. I don’t want to hash out why some friendships are going up in smoke no matter how much I want to hold on to them. I don’t want to understand the past just so that I can understand where I am headed in the future. I’m just tired. Have I said that enough?
Deep down, though, I feel the hope rekindling. I feel the embers of hope, of healing, of peace, of joy starting to smoke as the tiny waft of oxygen is coaxing life back into the fire I once had in my life. Yes, God is doing something in me. While I recognize my joy has gone missing, I can sense that God is bringing it back to me.
So my heart prays:
Oh, my Poppa. My Poppa.
You have formed me way before my parents knew about me.
You knew that I would reach this destination right here, right now.
You knew. And You still have a plan for me.
A plan uniquely designed for me.
Only you know how dangerous this journey has been over the past few months.
How weak I was, unable to function, unable to process completely.
Unable to love, unable to accept, unable to even utter Your name.
You have seen my questions, my tears, my frustration.
You have seen it all.
And still You love me.
You pour your grace over me.
You lavishly uphold me in your mercy.
And I feel it deep in my heart. I feel you carrying me.
I understand deeply that I am not alone. I never have been and I never will.
As my tears subside and I begin to see a little clearer each day,
I hear and feel the new beginnings of hope you are placing in my very being.
So I pray
That you keep drawing me closer to you even when I don’t understand it.
I pray you renew and restore my joy in abundance.
Make my joy overflow.
Till my cup overflows.
Yes, till my cup overflows
Yes. Till my cup overflows with joy.