“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted…” —Psalm 34:19
This is hard; I knew it would be. The text cursor keeps blinking, waiting. It’s Deja Vu; I’ve been here before invariably ending with the decision to delete my feelings. The word feelings is too broad, it’s grief.
My copy of A Grief Observed is well loved; the pages show signs of age riddled with tear stains and notes. I read it over and over. My consolation is knowing I’m not alone in grief; I’m not alone longing for something that is out of my control. C.S. Lewis couldn’t bring himself to write his wife’s’ name after she died, she’s referred to only as H. I understand why. Mother, Baby, and Child are all difficult for me. Who knew longing for something could be so painful?
Infertility is isolating and that makes the journey so much more, for lack of a better word, annoying. Then there are feelings of inadequacy, panic, and sadness. Some days I’m fine, other days I will lose my composure when I see a mother with her children. Grief is longing for something you have no control of. Why do we desire for things we can’t immediately have or lose? And why am I denied this desire when others are granted the gift of children? My grief is different from C.S. Lewis’, and perhaps even yours—however, his journal entries resonate with many varieties of grief. He illustrates my frustration eloquently:
Fate (or whatever it is) delights to produce a great capacity and then frustrate it. Beethoven went deaf. By our standards a mean joke; the monkey trick of a spiteful imbecile.” —A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence…Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so very absent a help in time of trouble?” —A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
The truth is, it’s not about me.
God does not exist to make a big deal out of us. We exist to make a big deal out of him. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s all about him.” ― Max Lucado,
Years ago when I was in high school, I read a book titled It’s Not About Me by Max Lucado. It’s a thin book, written in a way that is easy to understand yet adjusts your mind and alters your heart away from centricity. It’s in my nature to anthropomorphize the universe, time and even the gift of my life.
Often I believe I deserve this or that as if I’m entitled; but it has never been about me, my desires, or what I believe I deserve. In the end, I can’t see the full picture—what matters is now, and how I choose to respond.
“You will never be happy if your happiness depends on getting solely what you want. Change the focus. Get a new center. Will what God wills, and your joy no man shall take from you.” Venerable Fulton Sheen
You’re not alone.
Whatever your personal experience with childlessness, the first thing to hold on to is that you’re not alone, even when you feel like you are.” —Longing For Motherhood, Chelsea Sobolik
I’ve admired Chelsea Sobolik for a long time. When she mentioned she was writing a book about Longing For Motherhood I was elated and overjoyed. I have felt emotional all day writing this post, I can’t imagine writing a book! Chelsea did it though. It’s beautiful, it will break your heart, then you will experience joy—you can’t help but choose joy with her. It’s who she is, because of her experience and willingness to share her story for God’s glory and for the good of others.
“Nothing great is ever achieved without enduring much.” St. Catherine of Siena
I felt alone for so long, and perhaps you do too. Silently my fists had been clinched holding on to my grief and sadness; not daring to let anyone in. After reading Chelsea’s book I realized I’m not alone. There are other women hurting and going through a similar journey. At the end of the seventh chapter, Chelsea encourages the reader to share their story:
Sharing your story with others can be a powerful way to utilize your unique experience. When you open up about the deeper, hidden parts of yourself, you invite connection on a more intimate level. When you take the risk to be vulnerable, in effect you are saying, “Me too.” You show that you don’t have it all together and you are willing to share real life.” —Longing For Motherhood, Chelsea Sobolik
I don’t have it all together; I don’t have cozy answers to the reason for why we experience pain and longing. However, the door isn’t locked anymore, or as Lewis described, “A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside.” My fists aren’t clinched any longer. There’s an inexplicable kind of peace that follows every moment I choose to trust God. It isn’t easy, and I don’t always excel. I have days brimming with joy and then there are days clouded with sadness.
Our sorrows are all, like ourselves, mortal. There are no immortal sorrows for immortal souls. They come, but blessed be God, they also go. Like birds of the air, they fly over our heads. But they cannot make their abode in our souls. We suffer today, but we shall rejoice tomorrow.” —Charls Spurgeon, via Longing For Motherhood, Chelsea Sobolik
Mother’s Day is hard, but I’m also grateful.
God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” —A Grief Observed, C.S. Lewis
I’m grateful owing to the fact that there is a colossal spotlight shining on my faith—I see the cracks and hear the creaking floorboards. There’s a lot of work to be done. I’m not as patient or kind as I should be about it. While occupying the dock, I’m waiting and while I’m waiting I still get sad and feel as though my prayers are being ignored. Sorrow and grief are not “bad” emotions and they are certainly not meant to be hidden or ignored.
And I suppose that’s what this post is really about. Most of the time it seems like everyone on social media has it together. I wanted to share my heartache with you today because I don’t want you to think I have it all figured out, or that pain and suffering haven’t affected me. On this Mother’s Day whether you are grieving from a loss of a child, childlessness, heartache, or the loss of a loved one—any tragedy I hope you will choose not to hide or ignore your suffering. No matter what your circumstance is, you’re not alone.