This morning, I woke up and thought about the past six months. Where I was one month ago, two months ago, etc. I thought about who I was, and who I am now. How different my plans look. It was all in an effort to focus on how God has taught me and held me through it all. But when I got to four months, sadness stopped me in my tracks.
Four months ago, I was sitting on the beach in Mexico with my friend Tish watching our husbands try to body surf in the waves. Great entertainment. :-) I was seven and a half months pregnant. Tish was three and half months along. We were both engrossed in good books, lounging in chairs under grass umbrellas. Interrupted only by an occasional, “For you, I will give half price,” from a man carrying a case of jewelry, ready to bargain. So carefree. So light-hearted. Our biggest concerns were baby names and birthing plans.
Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time to those girls on the beach and warn them of what was just around the corner…how their innocence would soon be replaced with great sorrow…how their concerns of birthing plans would, in a moment, become funeral plans and decisions mommies should never have to make.
When I got the news a month after we got home from Mexico that Mike and Tish had had to say good-bye to their sweet baby, I was devastated. I thought to myself, ‘I wish I could call Tish and tell her how heartbroken for her I am.’ But at 38 weeks pregnant, I felt like I was not the one who could offer comfort…and, honestly, I felt like it might be too scary to relate. Little did I know that I would soon feel that same pain…that we would walk through the fire together and understand each other without saying a word.
In the pictures from our trip to Mexico, I see a girl who was relatively oblivious to the heartache that life could bring. The smile was innocent. Life was simple. But in losing that naivety, I have acquired much. I gave up something incredibly precious, but I gained something eternally valuable. I hurt for others…I mean, I really hurt for others in their pain. Probably for the first time in my life, to be honest. I no longer say to someone who is struggling, ‘I’ll be praying for you,’ without spending significant time pleading for them on my knees.
What I have learned is heavy…much too heavy at times for a 22-year-old. I told Shaun last night that I feel like I’ve aged 20 years in 2 months. My smile is not so ever-present, there are constant dark circles around my eyes…but I am no longer unaware. The mundane of life doesn’t bore me. And I see others in a new light, as children of God, and I choose (and will continue to choose) to enter into their grief. I want to be a display of God's faithfulness, and in doing so, be a comfort to those around me who are hurting.
Please pray for us. We leave on a much-needed 10-day vacation tomorrow. Pray for safety, for sweet, memorable time with family, for God to do some cool things in our marriage, and that we would take time to be still and quiet before the Lord.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5