Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Last Best Year: Amanda Grace's Story

I got to know Amanda Grace last summer; what a delight she is. Read and love her for yourself:

I moved to the mountains to go to school. I packed my bags and carried the essentials. I came to the mountains to find my future. And when I got here, I somehow saw that the present and future melded. And quite abruptly, crashed into one. I was focused on the finish line, the end goal, the perfect A. I came here to conquer, not to struggle. I moved here to graduate not to linger. And what have I found in these wide-open spaces? Freedom. What have I found atop mountainous places? A clean slate. I came here with the end in mind. But what I found was that the end made me blind. You see, sometimes the finish line is an unknown destination. Forget the crowds, applause and cherry red ribbon. The journey may just be better than the end.

To climb a mountain is to reach the top. But when we trudge forward, race, blindly sprint, we miss the view. I moved to Colorado with three expectations: I would graduate in 2 ½ years, I’d get married and I would make one friend (yes, just one-I had extremely high hopes). Will I be graduating in 2 ½ years? Not even close. Am I soon to be married? Yeah, not exactly. Do I have a friend? I do, and I am blessed to say I have many good, incredibly gracious ones.

I struggle with unmet expectations. I hate failing. I can’t stand disappointment or a plan not coming to fruition. And broken dreams? Well, it must be time to dream a different dream. I came to Colorado for the mountaintop. But there is more to it than the view from top. There are the valleys, the morning dew, the evening chill and the dancing stars. I moved here with closed spaces in mind; safe plans in sight. But plans like that? They become our noose, our clenched fists. I no longer want fenced edges. I want to live in wide-open spaces and mountainous places. Free to fail and brave enough to climb.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

My Last Best Year: Janna's Story

I asked my nearest and dearest to write about life unscripted.  And their own process with that.  And my brave, beautiful, and bold friend Janna took the bait first.  Bless her.  Here is her story: 

You know, I thought I had it all.  Got married when I was 23 (perfect in my mind), traveled the world and lived the dream.  Around 27, decided that it was time to start trying to have kids (perfect in my mind).  So, we tried.  For 3 years we tried.  At some point, in the midst of the waiting and 2 miscarriages, we decided to start the adoption process, which we had wanted to do anyway.  And then it all came together.  We were adopting 3 wonderful Ethiopian girls, while I was 4 months pregnant and counting.  What wonderful timing (perfect in my mind)!  4 kids in 5 months. And everything came together perfectly until it all started to crumble.  What I didn't know was that I struggled with some things that would never really surface until kids were introduced into my life.  Suddenly, my perfect world disintegrated under a lot of sin.  I could no longer lie to myself about having it all and living in a bit of heaven on earth.  All I saw were my failures, inadequacies and junk.  And it got worse...and worse...and worse.  And God continued to let me spiral downward and didn't step in to fix it just so I could feel better about myself.  

It was like I was a puzzle.  I had it all together but the pieces weren't in the right places and you couldn't make out the picture it was trying to portray.  And then, God stepped in and began breaking the puzzle apart, piece by piece by piece until all of the pieces were scattered all over the floor.  And I was so mad!  Sure, the puzzle wasn't perfect before or even recognizable but at least it was together!!  Now, it's just a mess!  And then, after 3 years of my own form of hell, He started to put the pieces back together, piece by piece by piece.  It's not done yet and it's not how I would've done it but then again, one thing I have learned from all this: I am not God.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Last Best Year: A Strange Thankfulness

I have a strange thankfulness recently as I connect with other women that experience infertility.

Before I lodge that gratefulness though, let me remind us that not all infertility is alike.  Bearing life is a fragile, miraculous, delicate process; the "reasons" can be countless, and many are mysterious.  And even if some of us are alike in technical terms, each of us has our own story with this.  In such a place of vulnerability, honoring each person is key.

There are strings that lace us together though, and one is commonly this: feeling like our bodies have betrayed us.  For many women, this is the first experience of their body not doing what it is supposed to do.  Yes, what it was designed to do.

And here is where a strange thankfulness arises in me, quiet and sure.   The battle of body betrayal was fought in my 20s.  Deep within me, even as I walk steps each day, I am acutely aware that this body's function is a fragile, precious gift.  I can steward it, I can honor it, but I cannot control it.

And so, even with our own brand of infertility, I have at least this: a knowledge that this life, literally - this body's life, is not my own.  And neither would be one that I am to mother.  Freedom.