The last, oh, ten years of my life have been pretty dark, like a long winter. There have been moments of joy and light, but overall, trial seems to have followed trial. Some of them were due to ignorance, some due to poor choices on my part, and some just felt like I was a magnet for sorrow and pain. For the first three of the ten years, I worked my tail off to get the degree I thought would help me accomplish my lifelong dream of starting an orphanage. I worked 40 hours a week and went to school full-time. Not fun, very stressful, and very lonely. Then during the next four years, I butted my head against wall after wall, until finally I realized that my dream was not for me. My life was a mess and I was not the person I thought I was.
During those same years, we received three incredible miracles, bringing with them some of those times of light. SB came into our lives, a fragile baby with severe brain damage. I loved her fiercely and fought two governments to make her my own. After one year with us, she passed away in July, 2007. A month before, we had taken in two foster girls, N and J. Reeling from the loss of SB, I slowly and reluctantly fell in love with N and J, and they took over my heart just as completely. But they were not to be mine either, and my heart broke again when they were adopted by another family in July, 2009.
To add to the craziness, I was 5 months pregnant at the time with Raccoon. As I've said before, he is amazing, and has really been blooming these last few months, but wooeee, he can by no stretch of the imagination be called an easy child. I never knew a person could get so little sleep year after year and not be dead, seriously. But he is my rainbow boy, and I would not trade him for all the easy babies in the world. He has been my joy and consolation for almost three years now, a light in the dark.
Three + four + three brings us to the beginning of 2012, ten years into the most barren time of my life. There was some thawing with Raccoon, but overall, it has still been winter. I should have had four children, but instead I have one. One awesome, funny, bright, intense, active little boy who I treasure every day, but still, one. My husband was perfectly content, but I felt like our family was not yet complete. I didn't want Raccoon to grow up alone. Then surprise, surprise - I'm pregnant! I felt overjoyed, and terrified. Of course I had longed for this new baby, for another miracle in our lives. But at the same time, I couldn't help but wonder, is this going to be another hard thing that I might barely live through?
I have been holding my breath during this pregnancy, waiting for life to become harder again now that things finally seem to be easing up a bit, because that's how it has been for so long. I had this haunting doubt, that two good things could never happen to me in a row. Raccoon, of course, is my first good thing (that has stayed so far), like a clear day with sledding and hot chocolate, but it has still been a long, cold winter.
I found myself drawn to the blogs of other mothers who have experienced the loss of a baby, or were pregnant and fearful. I think I was trying to figure out how I, too, could survive if the worst happened. I kept telling myself Jeremiah 29:11 over and over, ""For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."" But it wasn't enough to erase my fears. (If you're not a Christian, this next part will probably be confusing, sorry about that. I've been on this walk for 26 years now and I still felt confused too.) Of course the Lord does not plan to harm me, but what worries me is that it is my ultimate good that He is working towards, not my immediate comfort. If you are a Christian, you've probably heard the sermons - trials bring us growth, a closer walk with Him, they help our faith mature, it's like manure in the garden, etc. So the midnight terror whispered to me, "Here's another hard thing for you, it's for your own good. You haven't passed the test yet, you need more trials by fire, you know, to refine you like gold. So buckle up, you wanted this, no complaining now!" Or something like that.
Finally, I cried out to the Lord that I needed a word from Him, because I couldn't carry this fear any longer. I asked him to be merciful, reminding him that I am fragile, and so very, very tired, broken, and needy. The last time I really felt like I heard His voice was when he whispered to me out of the blue in February, "You'll have a baby this time next year." I begged Him to show me His heart again because I felt lost in the darkness of doubt and fear.
To Be Continued in my next post, "Waiting for Spring" ...