It’s been a struggle to stay focused. Opportunity for distraction, at least for the past two to three weeks, have come in beckoning waves. Waves that feel inescapable. Have you ever stood near the beach, just a venture’s jaunt from it’s edge in the water? There’s that wonderful cool feeling of the water and the rhythmic way the waves lap sand back and forth in between your toes that can erase worry away better than any doctor’s prescription. Couple that with the sound and sight of an ocean bigger and larger than your eye can see and you have a recipe for respite. Until the random rogue wave hits with full force, swirls about your feet, knocks you off said feet and drags you underneath the water with face planted into that once oh-so-nice sand that doesn’t feel so nice as an instant face-scrub. Distraction has knocked me off my feet just a bit lately. Grief has a way of doing that. So does life.
I turned 36 this week. It was a lovely day spent with people I love most. It was also a hard day, realizing that every year, for as long as I can remember, I could expect some kind of funny little greeting in the mail with my dad’s hand-scrawled, “Love Dad”. Not so much this year. Absence of that simple normal made my heartache. We also went on vacation. I love Colorado, so for weeks I have been anticipating being someplace that was cooler and not so oppressively hot like Kansas. My blood just isn’t conditioned for hot weather. I love the higher altitude of crisp mountain air and the feel of ice-cold water hitting my feet as I dip them into a rocky stream. It’s a luxury not afforded to me where I live, especially in the Summer. For the most part the vacation was wonderful. A needed get-away. Going to Colorado will always be wonderful to me. This year was a little different, a mixed bag of emotions really. I had these grande expectations of sitting by a mountain stream and getting to just listen to it, read, rest, escape and maybe let myself heal a little. Instead there was constant busy. It might have had something to do with how we split our time on vacation in a very large family group setting that lent to that, or the fact that my little man got sick and easily worn out, then I got sick and more worn out. Or, maybe, it was compounded by the rogue wave of distraction that hit just prior to vacation that had me all upside down and out-of-sorts distracted. You see, years ago, before Aaron, there were years of infertility. Years of hope that rode a wave of ups and downs and failed attempts and an early miscarriage. We had a choice back then. To keep riding that crazy roller-coaster or to give it over to God and abandon the idea of ever becoming pregnant ourselves and choose adoption. We chose adoption. I can honestly say I would choose adoption all over again if God leads us to do so. It was the absolute best and most amazing journey my husband and I have ever been privileged to ride together and it resulted in the most amazing miracle one could ever have imagined. Aaron. We’ve never regretted that decision and we’ve never doubted it being the right one that was God-picked just for us. I’ve also never re-opened the idea that we will ever add to our family in any other way other than through adoption. Too many closed doors and heartache don’t make for a very appealing door to re-open. Completely unaware, the door jarred open on it’s own a little over two weeks ago. Out of the normal things were happening and a home test popped-up positive. Emotions spun. So did shock. We were able to get into a hard to see doctor almost right away. There were inconclusive tests followed by some more tests, followed by over a week of high hormone supplementation just in case something was happening (all while on vacation). It was “mildly” distracting. All of which culminated and simultaneously ended upon our return from vacation. I wasn’t pregnant. The two best conclusions were either the home test had been faulty, or, something was trying to happen but just didn’t stick like it should have, for whatever reason.
For whatever reason. That sudden jolt of hope didn’t end in the miraculous, but rather more disappointment. For whatever reason. Exhausting disappointment. For whatever reason. Why do I share all this? It’s certainly not because it’s easy. But then, I think that’s why I feel compelled to share and to risk the vulnerability. Far too many people don’t. Our tendency is to keep all of our life’s “hard” bottled and walled-up. We become our own mini-fortresses that spend the majority of our days fighting wars within ourselves, by ourselves. And those solitary fights, their exhausting aren’t they? That was never God’s intent you know – ever. He created us for community. In community we can find help and support when life doesn’t make sense – and really, it rarely ever does this side of heaven. If life really did make perfect sense what would be the point of longing for something more perfect, something infinitely more beautiful like Heaven? God didn’t intend for this present place we live to be home. He did however surround us with Himself. He also surrounded us with others with the intent that this community would uphold and support one another through prayer and true fellowship. Not the “how’s the weather, it’s sure been hot” kind of fellowship, but the “sit in the ashes and wade through life’s mud together” kind of fellowship. All of our shared broken can be the very balm God uses to orchestrate the healing process. He comforts us after all so that we can go on and comfort others. But how can we receive comfort or give comfort if we are never honest with ourselves or others?
So yes, I’m being honest. I’ve been distracted. I don’t know why the news lately has been so ugly, why people have been so ugly. I don’t know why dads and moms die of cancer or pint-sized superhero kids battle it or any other evil disease that exists for that matter. I don’t know why good people struggle and lose and others seem to skate by unscathed. I don’t have an answer for any of it except that God is in control of all of it. I am discovering there will always be opportunity in abundance for distraction. There is also equally a choice. A choice to take our clenched fists and hurting hearts and open them up and surrender them into much more capable hands. God’s hands. He is the answer and the solution for all things. In all the things I can’t see or understand, I trust that God does and will take care of it all. I trust He loves me, cares for me, calls me His own. I sit in the reassurance of who I am and who God is when distraction tries to lead me away from all that I know to be true. This is faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1
Life has thrown some crazy punches, most certainly, as of late. But God has allowed for moments to trust and to sit at His feet. To be planted in a season that may be hard, knowing that it is a season. Seasons pass. As seasons pass, there is also a reaping of the things that were planted. Even tears reap more than tears. It may not feel like it at the time, but do you know what God says about all those tears? It’s rather pretty amazing. I’m holding out for the less distracted, less heart-ache scorched season because those tears, well, God will turn them into something that makes all the hard minuscule in comparison. There will be JOY on the horizon. I’m choosing to fight through the distraction to look for the beautiful that is coming.
“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” ~ Psalms 126:5-6