Monday, May 31, 2010
Do not fear
It has been 4 weeks since my last blog entry. I ended that post by sharing how I was planning to grieve the loss of our tiny girl. To be honest I don't think I got very far down the road of mourning. Not because I am still in denial or shock, but rather because it felt wrong to let go and grieve when there is still another little one alive. And it also became clear that the life of this little one was also at risk. Going into labour before 26 weeks would result in death for this little one.
So I have been focussing on the life that is there; and learning how to overcome the stomach-turning fearful thoughts that seem accompany this part of the journey.
In the week following my last post I would wake up every morning wondering if today was going to be the day I was going to lose the 2nd child. Every twinge of pain in my belly - no matter how small - brought panic thinking that I was starting to go into premature labour. Everytime I would think about the fact that we had to get through at least 7 weeks until we reached the "safe zone" of being 26 weeks pregnant, my chest would close up so tightly I could barely breath in - it was like my rib cage would shrink crushing the air from my lungs.
I knew that life like this was not sustainable - and I was also puzzled by the fact that God had repeated (rather abundantly) the phrase "Do Not Fear" in many circumstances throughout the bible. How could God be serious about this, surely there should be some expections to this invitation to live without fear. However it seems that there is no circumstance or situation wher it is acceptable to succoumb to fear. Desparate not to remain in the anxious vice grip I was in, I started to seek, read, pray about this fear-less living.
I saw that God was not telling us "Do not fear" because He would always remove that thing that caused us to fear, but rather the thing that I fear is not worth fearing. In the light of eternity the thing that I fear is really insignificant. I remember reading (I think it was C S Lewis) that our life here on earth is like the title page of a book, and after we die then eternity is the rest of the pages of the story. Not that God trivialises the things we fear or the things we long for. He loves us and understands our hearts cry. However we give such power to things that we fear - things that do not have eternal value. Power over us to rob us of the life that God wants us to live today.
Lloyd and I have been lighting a candle at the end of each day - thanking God for the day that has passed, that our baby is still safe - and praying for the next day, asking God for His protection. And so I have been living one day at a time; whilst also seeing my life from an eternal perspective - both view points have brought peace to my heart.
More freeing for me has been the revelation that God calls me not to fear because, regardless of what happens, He will be there with me - He will be the shepherd who walks alongside me in the valley of the shadow death, He will be there in the fire, when the waters rise up, and when the storm hits. He is Immanuel - God with us. God with me. And so I will not be alone facing that event that I dread should it occur. So it is not worth fearing and giving up my peace today because of what might happen tomorrow.
I do not underestimate the inpact of the many prayers that have been poured out for us - how they have bouyed us up over the rough seas, and have brought us into God's calming presence. I cannot express my gratitude to the many who have been emailing, texting, phoning, visiting with one message - that they are standing with us in prayer. I know that the freedom I have from fear is also due to these prayers.
Therefore, I have been able to live LIFE in this precarious season. I have been able to be present with Matt and enjoy him. I have been able to sleep peacefully at night and not wake with dread each morning. I have been able to taste my food. I have been able to be creative in the kitchen and garden. I have been able to engage with others, not shutting down or withdrawing. I have been able to live.
We are now at 24 weeks...we keep taking it one day at a time - one lit candle at the end of each day.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand. For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you "Do not fear, I will help you"
Isaiah 41: 10, 13