While in Hawaii a few months ago, we traveled the Waimea Canyon, stopping throughout the winding roads, walking to lookouts and rest stops. The views were spectacular, evident that there not only is a God, but that He is a powerful artist. One stop in particular stands out though and that’s because when we arrived, we were in a cloud.
As we stood at the top of the cliff, we were surrounded in white, a surreal mist-like feeling wrapped around us and we struggled to see through it. We could tell from our surroundings that there were beautiful mountains and a beach on the other side, but from where we stood, we just saw traces of color and this white fog.
I feel like I am back on that mountain again, wrapped in a cloud, unable to see the other side, slightly blind, completely helpless. And instead of the cloud rolling out, as it began to in Kauai, the cloud just seems to be getting thicker.
The doctor confirmed today what we already knew, another failed cycle, a big fat negative, more dreams snatched away. We didn’t even tell anyone we were cycling, my strength was depleted, my words few, my body exhausted. The thought of being asked one question about it, let alone having to answer it made me feel anxious and drained. So instead, we partnered up with the Lord and endured what we prayed would be a successful cycle.
And now, here I sit, not pregnant, waiting for the bleeding to start, with a stomach covered with the most massive bruises I have yet to see, colorfully reminding me in a sea of black, blue, yellow and purple that this didn’t work. And here in the cloud I sit.
I prayed walking into the appointment this morning that the blood draw would go smoothly and instead, was met with 4 painful needle sticks in order to find a vein that could produce any blood. “Your veins in your arms have formed scar tissue from overusage.”, the first nurse explained. I felt like I returned the statement with a numb smile, knowing all too well how much these arms of mine have been used for blood work.
I don’t have the strength to be angry, it’s an emotion far too exhausting. I just feel a weariness that is indescribable. People try to relate, but no one can really understand until you have been here. My heart feels battered – 6+ years of trying, 13 or 14 medicated cycles, countless IUI’s, 4 IVF cycles, 3 miscarriages, unending baby showers, newborn hospital visits, meals cooked, photos looked at on facebook and instagram, first birthday parties attended – all have taken its toll on the capacity I can hold. I. Am. So. Tired.
My friend Candice texted me last night and said “Sometimes it’s so hard to understand the story He’s asked us to receive…” and it all clicked for me. I am so tired of this being my story. I don’t want to receive it anymore. I want God to remove this burden of motherhood from my heart, to change the genre of books in my library, to reroute everything. This isn’t me! I don’t think like this, I can usually see the silver lining, but this week just seems a little harder.
And yet, as I was driving today, thinking about how I felt like I was stuck in this cloudy mountain, this chapter (Psalm 121) came to mind, spoken straight from His Spirit to mine:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
With the simple words of “I lift my eyes up to the mountains”, I was reminded that there is something above the clouds, I just have to look up. Right now it seems that I am searching in a fog for my surroundings, but instead, God is there, reminding me that He watches over me, that none of this has escaped His sight and that there is a break from the clouds slightly above me head.
My help is not rooted in me or my capabilities to see the beach from where I stand. My Help is rooted in the one who stands above the mountains, who formed the clouds, who parts the skies and who has never left my side, even when life’s circumstances weigh on me.
In a Bible study I am doing this summer, I read these words: “God gives power to the faint. Admitting weakness gives way to God’s strength. Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of faith despite fear.”
Did you need to hear that as much as I did? How many of you are standing with me in the cloud, feeling a little lost, a little overwhelmed and desperate for your story to change? Can I encourage both of us today to remember that “He who watches over you will not slumber.”? Even in the moments where is feels like all He is doing is slumbering, can we stand together in faith, believing that He is true to His word? That regardless of how we feel, feelings can’t be trusted, only He can be trusted.
To those surrounding me, can I ask (beg) you not to talk about this failed cycle with me? I am doing everything I can to gather my strength to make it through the next few days as the reminder of this failure pummels me physically. I don’t know if my heart can handle a sympathy text or “how are you?” question. (And if you do, then I will feel obligated to reply and I just don’t have it in me.) Please, just pray. If you are looking for a way to help, the greatest thing would be to join my heart in petitioning to the Lord that He allows these clouds to pass by quickly. He is faithful, even when it is hard to see. I am firmly believing that He will replenish my soul, hopefully sooner rather than later. I’m praying for you too.
(Update: everything in me wants to yank this vulnerable post off this blog and archive it away from the public eyes. But I pray that God can use it to touch just one person reading today … If its you, it’s worth it.)