Wednesday, October 22, 2014

How To Sit With Suffering

"I've been sick for a solid month. I'm not sure just how much more I can take."

Another day down and I'm flat on my back by 7pm. I try to find the words for the desperation I feel, but it's a wordless thing, how extreme "morning" sickness can take you to a place of mental and emotional darkness like nothing I've ever experienced. Not everyone gets it this badly, and those who don't offer well intentioned tips on teas or candy to try. Those who do merely give you a haunted smile, commiserating that there's really not much you can do but live it.

The early months of pregnancy are usually a dark place for me,  a large part of why I've been so quiet over here. I don't have much to say beyond "this is so hard. I want my life back." The combination of crippling illness mashed up with the rest of life leaving me behind and spiraling out of control leaves me with little good to say.

I lay in bed day after day and I think about the people in my life with chronic illnesses. The crosses they take up daily. How they manage, knowing that, unlike my bout with months-long nausea, this won't pass. Am I just a big wimp? How does one avoid dreading tomorrow when tomorrow is just more of the same difficulty?

It's after a somewhat good day that I happen on the answer. A day when I powered through as much as I could and had a few successes. A day where getting that bathroom clean was a triumph and making a simple dinner for my own family felt like pure luxury. The only way through the hard and horrible is to spot the graces that are always there if you look for them.

My kids pulling more than their own weight. My husband uncomplainingly shouldering my normal tasks. The prayers and well wishes of my friends.

Things that never seemed like blessings before I now see in a new light. The ability to stay upright through dinner with my family. Reading books in bed with my littles when I just can't make it downstairs.

It all serves as a reminder that even on those dark and seemingly pointlessly hard days, God is still working. I know that suffering is not merely an interruption to life, but an opportunity for God to work on those deep, hard to reach places in my heart. My dependence on Him will be increased and He won't fail to meet me step for step.  Even when I feel at my weakest, my most worthless and helpless, He has a purpose for every moment of my life.

These days will pass and soon will be a memory. My life will go back to it's normal business, full to the brim with responsibilities and tasks. A new baby will come along and I'll be even busier. It would be all too easy to miss the opportunity to quietly sit with the difficulty. To swap growth for complaints and misery.

I'm choosing the better way. Keeping eyes open to see how I'm blessed and knowing full well I'll likely miss some of it. Inviting Him into the hardship and clinging close when there are no words.

God is so close sometimes I can't see him. But I know that He's always, always right here. Working His way for my good.

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  1. Oh friend, your words describe the dark, hard place so well you bring tears to my eyes because I have been there, too. I have no advice or soft words, but I do have prayers and so much empathy. I know it is a desperate feeling when every day is such a burden. I pray that God's peace and light will find you right where you are, doing holy work by just getting through.

  2. Congratulations on the wombling growing inside you! What a blessing that brings such growth for the mother and babe. Morning sickness that last 24/7 for months is sooooo trying and stretching of physical and mental and emotional will. Thank God for what He is doing in your children's lives through this time they get to serve their family and mother. Wow! What a wonderful way to mold servants hearts in them. I see God's call working it's way through your life, trickling, ever trickling through your husband's experience, through your children's experience and even though your call is specific and personal to you and only blooms into your children's and husband's very personal calls and their own journeys. A beautiful tapestry God has us all in. Touching in some places, blending in others, and separate in still others. Your illness working beautiful markers in your husband and children. Giving them opportunity to serve you but ultimately serving God and gaining reward. Wonderful! Praise God He loves us all so much! Praise God for your sickness, dear friend.

  3. I love this. I especially love how you said "To swap growth for complaints and misery." How true this is. Thank you for the wonderful reminder that God always close and at the ready. Thanks for linking up, Lydia!

  4. this i understand. the best way i can describe the horrible sickness that often lasts many months for me is "darkness"--it is, as you said, a very dark place mentally, emotionally, spiritually. i didn't know until i started having babies that chronic physical pain can affect so deeply my psyche.
    prayers for you.

  5. SO TERRIBLE!! I'm praying hard for you. I go through it similarly with my pregnancies--throughout the whole thing. God is so good, and you are such a loving mother!

  6. Oh I remember this time so well, so sorry you are going through this. I do hope it passes soon. Sending you lots of love and light.


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