Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Wonderful Christmas... and the Aftermath

I usually find that my pain is the best impetus for expression in writing.  I had a wonderful Christmas that was truly joyful, although it was preceded by weeks of dread.  It gave me the rare opportunity to spend the entire time home with my little family.  During that time, my hope in God was peace-filled and was a great relief.  I had been told that expecting Christmas for weeks would be harder than the actual day, and that was definitely true for me.  Here is my prayer days afterwards as my heart struggled with sadness again:

December 29, 2012

Dear Lord,

I'm so glad that I made it through Christmas, and I even had a wonderful time at home with Derrick and our two boys.  And now the baby boy inside me is joyfully kicking at my insides.  He is blissfully unaware of his mommy's unpredictable sadness.  This year without Mia, Christmas was quiet, stress-free, and surprisingly joyful.

I think You want me to do my best to be joyful despite the deep pain that, although it may lesson over time, will never completely go away.  Rebelliously joyful.  My lingering question is: How do I balance rebellious joy with this pain?  How do I keep this joy real and keep it from becoming surface-y and fake?

Strangely, it can be tempting to choose to be only joyful and to slip back into denial.  Choosing joy is easier for me and for others around me.  Grief is not a comfortable place.  When I'm joyful and "doing fine", I'm protected from being misunderstood or avoided.  A couple days of feeling that the weight of Mia's absence has lifted can lead to a week of taking comfort in earthly means.  Earthly comforts, however, just don't fill my heart, and it's time to come before You in my broken state again.  Then it's time to be honest with You about how I'm doing and to ask You to help healthy tears to come.

Healthy tears express my sadness- the emptiness where Mia is.  Healthy tears open my wounded heart to Your comfort.  They don't wallow in hopelessness or sink into self-pity.  They don't entertain lies meant to discourage me.

I can go on in my own strength with a heart that seems strong.  Sometimes I can ignore the desire to hold and admire my sweet Mia.  Oh, to feel her vulnerable body in my arms and to put my face in her neck.  That would be a dream.  To have stroked her smooth belly while dressing her for church on Christmas... maybe one day.

I miss so much.  It can be easier to shut off this part of me that feels too much.  It isn't healthy for me to go on for too long pretending that I'm healed-like I'm ready to move on.  Like all these missing things don't bother me.

This week I started to feel truly joyful but then inexplicably sick.  I had a lingering headache and my stomach was not at ease.  I ground my teeth so hard the other night that I woke myself up with a start.  My dreams became scary and filled with stories of death.  Is this my body's way of telling me that I'm out-of-balance?  Being too strong for too long becomes unhealthy.

Thank You, God, that I know now that Your comfort is readily available.  You have taught me over the past six months of disorienting pain that I can rest in Your familiar comfort.  I can open my emotions and thoughts to You.  After waiting quietly, You have always been faithful to give the only deep calm that satisfies my weary heart.  You inject me with new hope.  You sing Your steadfast love over me.  You strengthen my legs for my journey.  You alone bring this brand of comfort.

I haven't yet figured out how to balance the sadness and joy, Lord.  Please remind me, as You have been, when I am trudging along again in my own strength.  Bring me close to You when my heart tries too hard to deny the pain and it becomes too hard to continue.  Staying open before myself and before You can be a vulnerable place... It's the only place that works.  Please help me to stay away from denial and to store up this love for Mia in my heart.  Bring healthy tears when I need them.

How I love her!  I smile and ache at her memory.  I won't ignore the precious gift she was and continues to be to me.  Mia has driven me closer to You, Lord, like no other person or circumstance ever has.  I bless Your Name for showing me such deep and thorough and real love through having her and through not having her.  You have crowned me with Your faithful mercies. 

I trust You with my heart, Great Healer.


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