I really haven't shared a lot of the story of our baby, Janie Rose, who was stillborn on May 13, 2004, when I was almost 7 months pregnant. And I haven't shared a lot about our three miscarried babies. I always want to, but I always figure it's all old news, forget about it....
But grief and loss leave an indelible impression. I traveled in a season of grief and loss for many, many years. It was my lifestyle and, the unintentional result of allowing myself to live in that Shadowland for so long is that my heart has been shying away from joy and celebration. Grief and loss were a long, cold, lonely season in which I felt obligated to dwell, for fear of forgetting.
Like a soft piece of wood gouged and nicked deep into the grain, it takes much sanding, much planing, to remove those marks.
My fear of forgetting caused me to feel completely unable to accept blessing of any kind. I felt undeserving of deep happiness. Mourning became who I was and I, in my broken down state, believed that that was to be my lot in life. I assumed the mantle of unworthiness like a heavy, old, musty wool coat, moth eaten and dirty. It just became a part of my wardrobe that I put on every day, for a very long time.
Yet, in the midst of my struggle, I counseled others! Oh yes, I was famous for telling other ladies who were suffering of the joys that Christ offers and how He graciously sets free....and all the while, I couldn't take my own advice!! All the while, I was stifled under a self-imposed exile from all that was good! Those words were meant for others. In my shattered mind, Christ meant my counsel for others, never for me!
I have to tell you that it all became so cumbersome! The heavy, hot coat I wore began to choke me and I began to sweat, with no thought to the tightly clasped buttons running down the front, just waiting to be undone.
Looking back over my Journey, I see that the counsel that I so freely gave away to others........was truly meant for me. God was calling ME to listen to myself!! There was freedom in those words, if only I could have stored up the tiny gems of wisdom for myself!
Alas, we are all on a Journey. Our Journeys take us to different places, through different geography, at different times and paces. Yes, we all may be on different voyages, but we're all being drawn to the same Place.....Freedom.
Now, this new season, I've come to a major fork in my road. I can take the road I've been on and travel as I have been.....
I can turn down the other path.....to Freedom.
The Lord has set before me a choice this day. Believe it or not, this choice is very, very hard for me! It means leaving everything that's been familiar to me for the last 7 years and embracing the unknown.
There is One Who beckons to me! He's already there, patiently waiting, with tender gaze and unfathomable love on His face.
The other day, He spoke to me. My Beloved spoke, and He said to me:
"Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.
For lo, the winter is past.
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth.
The time for singing has come!
And the voice of the turtledove is heard
in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grapes
give a good smell!
Rise up my love, my fair one and come away!"
This is a pretty well known Scripture passage, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I heard His voice! His healing literally poured through my spirit and heart! It was the warm and joyful Balm of Gilead! He told me that it was okay to rejoice over Pennie and Olivia. He said that grief and sadness and hardness was not what He wanted for me anymore. He told me it was safe to go on in this new season, that I wouldn't forget our other babies, because He doesn't forget.
Oh Lord, help me to rejoice with abandon!
Father, be the strength which undergirds my voice.
Jesus, hold up my arms and still the trembling.
May I sing the song of my heart with confidence and laughter!!!
Ah, the sun feels good on my face!