Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Years Eve: Choosing hope over despair

Since last night and through this morning I was not in a good place. The thought of a new year, which usually gets me excited, instead just brought me dread. All I could think of was "great, another year, more of the same. Things not going my way, more family growing announcements that will twinge in the pit of my stomach, having insufficient qualifications to move on in my career, more money troubles and another year for my endometriosis to get worse." I couldn't bare it. Then I realized it was the depression talking, and what timing! I started to look at medication options thinking, maybe its time. Maybe 2015 is the year I allow myself to get chemical help for this. But I looked at the side effects and the research done on antidepressants and PCOS and it just didn't seem right for me.
I needed to think my way out of the darkness. I reasoned with myself and told myself that the fact that I didn't want to feel this way was already progress! Sometimes, when depression hits, it feels like a warm blanket that you want to hide in for a while. The problem is when you get all tangled up in it and then you can't find your way out. I was able to peel off the blanket and tell myself that it wasn't worth it. Not today. I then began to remember the neat things that happened this year that I didn't expect would happen. We weren't planning a trip home, and we went. We weren't planning on my husband being amazing and getting to be on TV and that happened! We weren't planning on getting a dog, ever, and we ended up with an amazing sweet pet that I can't imagine not having in my life now. I wasn't planning on getting the position I am working in now, realizing this isn't quite what I want, and being able to narrow down my career aspirations that much more (good and bad mixed together for a net gain). I didn't think I would be able to clean up my diet, and here I am, doing so much better with it than I have ever been!
There may not be anything specific I can look forward to in 2015, no goals to complete, no trips, or major life events for either of us, but that doesn't mean wonderful things aren't going to happen. I should learn by now that there isn't a lot of planning I can do for life. Life happens all around us, guided by the divine hand of our Lord whom I trust with all my heart. I need to remember to trust in Him and know that even though I can't see the rainbow through the rain just yet, but it will clear up and when it does, I look forward to it taking my breath way, one more time.

Today, I choose hope. And I wish this for you as well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Remember Elizabeth in Advent

The story of the conception and birth of Jesus is a beautiful and glorious story filled with love and hope and grace. But there is a similar, lesser told story during the same time: the story of Elizabeth.
Luke 1: 36 - 38: "And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her."

 I honestly felt moved by the spirit to recall and tell this story to you today. Elizabeth was considered old for that time, given that Mary is thought to have been 14, and I wonder if Elizabeth was my age... in her 30s and therefore considered old for that time.  I don't know for certain and I could be wrong but the greater idea is there, and she resonates with me today. The story of barren women is prevalent throughout the Bible and Elizabeth's story is not that unique. An old barren woman who has given up on barring children at this point in her life and an angel of the Lord gifts her a child, and an amazing, strong, historical child at that. Stories like these are the ones we hang on to in our darkest days while trying to conceive. We pray to the Lord to remember us as he remembered Sarah, and Rachel and Hannah, knowing that the blessing of fertility and life is God's alone. But as a barren woman who has crossed that 30 year old (ovarian) barrier and who has stopped trying and has stopped hoping (though do we ever really stop hoping?), what does this story mean to me?

I like reading the rest of that passage where Mary says "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." It was not Elizabeth who had said that, but Mary, the unsuspecting innocent maiden, whom God had chosen for the ultimate gift of fertility, being the Mother of God. Talk about having the perfect child! But I do love that passage... Here I am, servant of the Lord.... let it be with me according to your word..... I remember vividly the days and nights of my hysterical, hormonal, grieving, sobs when I felt that God was being unjust and cruel with me, leaving me barren when others around me were not. With a clearer mind, looking back, I know that it was part of the process of healing, and that that pain shaped me, continues to shape me, as a continue to become what God wants of me, according to His Word. I don't yet know if a miracle is in store for me, or if the miracle in my life will take on a different form that what I once hoped it would be. But today I remember the barren... my sisters, those who find some pain the story of Mary and hope in the story of Elizabeth. For everyone the story of the birth of Jesus will fill us in different ways, but all of them still come from the same great Love that can fill our lives and our hearts if we just give it room... let it take hold of us and replace the places of darkness with true, undying light.....the purest, truest light of all.

And this is my Advent wish for you.