So Josh and I have been living in Nashville now for 10 months. Before moving over 700 miles from family and friends, plucking ourselves out of the familiar and landing way outside our comfort zone, I knew it would be difficult. Maybe I underestimated exactly how difficult, however. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying we don't like it here, and I'm not saying we want to leave. In fact, we've bought a house! More on that in another post.
I am going to share something on this post that is very hard to share, but I feel strongly that it's very necessary. I'm about to be very vulnerable here, so...be kind! I have been dealing with something this week that has taken me to a deep, dark place. The kind of place you don't want to be, ever. I fell into a despair that made me feel like I just wanted to quit. I just wanted to give up on everything. Yet, while I felt this way, I couldn't figure out the source of these feelings. Sure, I've moved out of state, far away from everything I love (except my wonderful hubby!), started a brand new job, and frankly, living life the hard way just like pretty much everyone else. What I was feeling, however, went deeper than social anxiety or the bills we weren't sure how to pay. On Monday, I stayed home from work. I just couldn't face the day. I wanted to stay home and wallow, cry out to God, and just try to figure myself out. Step one I mastered quite well. Seriously, my Oscar-worthy wallowing would impress you. Step two found me figuratively slamming my head into a brick wall over and over again. I didn't know why, but I didn't want to talk to God, I couldn't. I was hurt, I was confused, and yes, even angry.
For the past three weeks our pastor has been addressing the issue of suffering. Let me just take a small rabbit trail here and tell you that Josh and I absolutely love our church! God has totally directed us to this church and these people. I have never witnessed such raw authenticity in a group of God's people before now. We have also recently started to plug ourselves into a "new partners village". The villages are our small groups. The new partners villages are for those who are pretty new to the church and looking to pursue a membership, or a partnership, with the church and looking to live life with these people. That said, God has been doing a work in me. I didn't realize it, but He was using the combination of this series on suffering and our discussion at our village to force me to look into myself. The biggest realization I came to this week is that I have not done that in a long time. I think there are a couple things in my life that have contributed to developing me into this kind of person.
It is a running joke in my family that we are not a people of communication. It is not uncommon for me to find out some major health issue one of my family members incurred two or three weeks ago. I can go months and months without talking to any of my family and not think twice about it. If it weren't for the unending avenues of the internet and family websites, I would know zilch as to what's going on in their lives. The in laws in my family have been baffled (and gracious) as one by one they have been introduced to this crazy phenomenon, and each has had to adjust in their own way to "go with the flow", while not going crazy trying to figure us out. If you don't understand how we can be this way, you might want to quit trying b/c I'm not totally sure I understand it either.
What I do understand, is that I have created in myself an unhealthy method of processing the not-so-nice things in life. As in, I don't. When pain hits, I take it, file it away in the back of my mind with all the other "stuff I don't deal with", and move on. I had started to communicate with myself the same way I communicated with my family. I wasn't. When I would have the fleeting thought of hmm, maybe I should try to deal with this. I would come right back with, naah, I'm fine. It's not a big deal. I just wasn't being honest with myself about how I felt.
Josh and I will be celebrating our fourth year anniversary this summer. Almost two years ago, we decided that we were ready to embark on that crazy life-changing adventure of becoming parents. I quit taking birth control, and well, ya'll know the truth about the birds and the bees so.....anyways......after several months I knew something was wrong. I was not pregnant, and had stopped having a monthly cycle. I went to a doctor and he diagnosed me with having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. He told me I needed to eat right, exercise, and take a drug called Metformin. The Metformin took effect after several weeks. Though it made me sick as a dog at first, I finally started a regular cycle again. Then....enter a minor life-changing event....Josh and I picked up and moved over 700 miles away from home and started a new adventure and a new life in Nashville. My Metformin ran out, and it was time to start the obgyn search and get the new insurance and all that fun stuff. I finally met with my new doctor. LOVED him!!! He made me feel very secure and was more comforting and had better answers than "eat right and exercise". I left his office, armed with a new Metformin prescription and a renewed sense of hope. Three months later, my job informs me that they will be dropping my insurance carrier and picking up a new one, but that most of the doctors on this insurance accept both kinds....mine didn't. Starting over once more...new doctor, explaining my story again, another prescription - this time a fertility drug in combination with the Metformin.
Can you say, stressed? All my life, the one and only thing I have wanted, is to be a wife and mom. I still don't know what I want my major to be in college - and I graduated six years ago. There are things I enjoy doing, hobbies I have, but I have never had the hunger to pursue a certain career. I don't thrive on going to work every day. I even won a college scholarship for writing a paper on how I would use my college experience to help me in my life after college as a wife and mother.
For these last almost two years, I have been taking the infertility issues in stride. I've been telling myself all the right things. "God knows best....It's all in God's time....This is happening for a reason....God sees the big picture." While these things are all very true, I wasn't allowing myself to experience the hurt. I had the hurt - that came with the situation. But I wasn't allowing myself to feel it, and it was just building up. I think that part of the reason I wasn't allowing myself to feel it, was b/c I then would have to face the fact that I wasn't exactly happy with this path that God has chosen for me. Over the years I had somehow gotten this idea that one should not be angry at God. God knows best, after all. Or, if one does get angry at God, one better repent super-quick b/c to be angry at God is pretty much the unpardonable sin. In my case, my anger prevented me from even talking to God, b/c it was almost like I was scared He would smite me down for it. I've realized that it is okay to feel anger. It is okay to feel hurt. It is okay to feel. In fact, it's the only way to heal.
God has definitely been speaking into my life through this experience. He has directed Josh and I to this specific village at our church so that we would meet very specific people. I will tell you when it first started becoming clear to me that God was orchestrating every move:
Even though we have yet to get pregnant, Josh and I have discussed different names that we like/dislike. Finding a name we both agree on has become quite the feat. I would bring up a name I like, and Josh would shoot it down. Josh would bring up a name he likes, and I tell him there's no way I would even name a dog that. One day, we were driving in the car, and we heard a name in a song we were listening to. All of a sudden it hit me how much I loved the name. I turned to Josh, "What about _____?"
He didn't skip a beat, "As a name for our kid?"
It's not a common name, and I could tell right away he didn't hate it. "Yeah."
"I love it."
This conversation took place several months ago. Now fast forward to three weeks ago, our first new partners village meeting, and we were meeting our hosts at their house. We were in their kitchen, munching cookies and veggies amongst the chaos of people arriving and greeting each other. Our host was cleaning up her baby from dinner and getting her ready to go upstairs with the babysitter. She introduced us to her baby, this baby with the same exact "uncommon" name that we had chosen for our future daughter. On top of that, she has my middle name, Joy. I thought this was a pleasant and unique coincidence. Then the next words out of her mouth almost put me on the floor: "We tried for nine years to get pregnant before we had her."
This was no coincidence. God was already setting things into motion for me to heal, way before I even knew I needed it.
I have since been able to talk with this new sister and in sharing these feelings and hurt with someone who knows exactly where I'm coming from has given me such a sense of freedom. I can already feel the layers of the wall of false protection I've built coming down. Sharing this story with you all is also a part of my healing process. Keeping things to myself has become a vise, and something I need to overcome. Josh and I are both realizing more and more that we need people. We need brothers and sisters that we can lean on and walk through this life with. Thanks for reading my story. I hope it wasn't too scattered. I pray that you will see God's touch in your life. No matter where you are on your journey, I pray that you will see God meeting you where you are, and that you have, or will seek out brothers and sisters that you can share your walk with.
Thank you, God, for not giving up on me. Thank you for letting me hurt. Thank you for your hope, and thank you for your healing power.