Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ponderances of trust

To trust or not to trust.

I suppose I should follow that by saying: "That is the question."

In fear of being incredibly cliche', I'll refrain.

But as I have moved throughout a rainy Saturday and into Sunday (which turned out not to be nearly as rainy as everyone predicted), and as I caught up at work and attempted to entertain a dog without a yard, Frisbee, or anything outside my living room, my thoughts were on trust. I had a lot of free time, as I often do, when JB is on call.

I think these thoughts stemmed from a conversation I had held the evening prior with a friend. And then it stretched back into a discussion JB and I had just a few days prior to that. A discussion on what it means to trust the Lord and how easy it is to say, "Trust Him," when your own lack of trust finally paid off.

I spent five years arguing with God and refusing to trust Him, because, well, He was not doing what He was supposed to do! I'd sit in front of the Bible I was unable to read each morning and tell Him everything. I'd tell Him that I thought He was unfair. I'd tell Him that I thought He forgot about me. I'd tell Him that I could not possibly take one more shot, one more appointment, one more unanswered prayer. "How many people need to pray?" I asked Him all too many times. I'd sob. I'd beg. I'd yell. I'd give up.

I wouldn't call anything I did during those days, trust.

In fact, I can honestly say that my trust for the Lord didn't enter into the picture until months after we moved to Florida. It was after our fourth failed IVF, when JB was working horrid hours at the hospital, and I was attempting to train our fifteen pounds of spotted fur not to pee in the kitchen or chew the baseboards, that I began to finally give up. I think giving up is a key ingredient in trust. It wasn't until I finally threw my hands up in despair and said I could no longer do it or seek it or try it, that I began to trust God. In a way what I did was give up on the idea of being a mom. In another way what I did was decide to let God decide what was best for my life. I didn't know if I would like the decision He made. But I was done trying to make my own.

I would not call that trust perfect. There were days that I still broke down. There were days that I still questioned His decisions. There were days that I still felt sorry for myself and had a good cry. I still could not attend first birthday parties or baby showers. I still had trouble with pregnancy announcements and bulging bellies. We kept finding other fun things to do on Mother's Day instead of going to church. In fact, it was one month after Isaac was born, when I was in fact, unknowingly pregnant, that I had yet another good cry, lying in the bed next to JB one night. It had been a long time since I had cried so hard that I had trouble lying down and had to sit up to make sure the tears didn't choke me. I think it took JB by surprise a little bit to see me back in that place. We were so happy with Isaac. We truly felt our lives were complete. And yet there was a part of me that still felt sad that we were infertile (even though we actually no longer were). And another part of me that was still very afraid of having to do IVF again someday. It was a lot easier to trust when I wasn't doing a treatment cycle. How could I trust when constantly reminded -- a necessary part of infertility treatments?

Our church has begun a series on parenting. Had it come just one year ago, I know I'd be taking a short siesta from services. The guest speaker, on the first day of the series, encouraged us not to stop coming if we weren't currently parents -- telling us that we could still get something out of the sermon. I looked at JB, and we shared a knowing glance. How many times had we been told that before? How many times had I attended an event structured for mothers when I wasn't one? On the drive over I'd try to convince myself with the thought that I should be healthy enough to gleam something from the speaker's words despite my own pain. Then I'd have a good cry in the bathroom during a break, put on a happy face, and try all over again.

In the midst of our infertility journey, I finally gave up on doing that. It wasn't that I couldn't take something from the words. It was that the words were too painful to hear. Parents sat around nodding their heads or emitting a knowing chuckle. I just sat there wishing that I had a nod to give. The emotions would come running back. The feelings would come swarming over me, even if I had thought they were far away. I suppose they were never very far at all.

Don't get me wrong. I think a series on parenting is a great idea. I think I'll learn a lot from it, especially considering I've avoided these sermons for so long. But on the way home that morning I told JB that my heart hurt for the people who hurt during that discussion. As always, I thought of people who weren't holding an Isaac during the sermon. And especially those people who weren't sitting next to a John. Not seeing your dreams come true is a painful reality, and my heart hurt because now my dreams were coming true while others still waited.

I find it important, when sharing the story of our China daughter, Isaac, and now our belly baby, to make sure that I don't tell people that if they trust God, everything will work out okay. For some people this may be true in a matter of days or weeks or months. For me, it was a matter of years. For Abraham and Sarah in then New Testament, it was a matter of decades. And for others, there dream may never come true on this Earth.

Instead I tell people that trust is hard. It is painful. And it can take a very long time to learn. In my case, I don't think I ever achieved full trust prior to Isaac's arrival. I like to believe I gained better trust. I like to believe I was getting there. But I hadn't arrived. I am not sure you ever actually do. All you can do is to try each day to remember that He does have a plan. It may make no sense. It may make sense in the future as I believe our struggles now do. But it many not make sense until we stand before our Heavenly Father someday. We may not ever see his plan with our earthly eyes.

My prayer today is that I am able to remember, someday in the future when I am faced with obstacles that impact my trust again, this period of my life. I hope you are able to do the same. I hope you are able to look at our story and see that God is present. In our case we can all see it now. That may not be the case for future events in my life or in your's. But He is there. And He does care.

I pray that if you are someone today who is hurting, you'll come to find just a bit more trust today. Don't try to get to 100%. Just try to get 1% better than you were yesterday. Just try to remember a little bit more that He does love you. He is hurting with you. And He does have your best interest in mind.

If this isn't you who are hurting, think of someone else who is. Make it a point to think of them during a painful sermon. Just having people telling me that my grief was legitimate helped me so much. People don't think I am stupid! It's okay that I am sad. They don't understand but they empathize. This made me feel so much better. Think of someone who is alone or grieving a loss the next time you are nodding in agreement with the pastor in church or celebrating an event with your family. A hug. An email. An invitation to dinner. We need each other in this world. I don't know what I would have done without my faithful friends during my darkest hours -- friends that trusted for me when I had no more trust to give.

God loves you. He remembers you. He has a plan.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not onto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

dear wendi,
thank you so much for this...for those, who don't receive something so longed and prayed for on this earth, these words, especially the one below, were so comforting, and this blog something I want to keep as an encouragement to others. Thank you for your honesty and love!


But it many not make sense until we stand before our Heavenly Father someday. We may not ever see his plan with our earthly eyes.

My prayer today is that I am able to remember, someday in the future when I am faced with obstacles that impact my trust again, this period of my life. I hope you are able to do the same. I hope you are able to look at our story and see that God is present. In our case we can all see it now. That may not be the case for future events in my life or in your's. But He is there. And He does care.

I pray that if you are someone today who is hurting, you'll come to find just a bit more trust today. Don't try to get to 100%. Just try to get 1% better than you were yesterday. Just try to remember a little bit more that He does love you. He is hurting with you. And He does have your best interest in mind.

love Tante Jan

Erica said...

Wendi, I really really enjoyed this blog. I feel like I gain new insight whenever you post blogs like this. I find that I can apply your thoughts to different issues, and I feel more empathetic for people dealing with them. Thanks!

Mermaid said...

Very beautifully written.

yuan family said...

Thanks Wendi for this post...you are so good at writing how you are feeling and I appreciate it!

Kendra said...

Thank you. For your friendship and honesty. I praise God for the testimony he has given you and the way your life and heart encourage me.
God does not do things the way we think he will but he is so trustworthy no matter what we can see or feel.

Anonymous said...

well put...
L:)

rachel said...

great post, wendi. i loved it! if you have time (i know you are busy) go and listen to pastor paul's sermon from CC today. it was a good one and touched a bit on trust.

Tara said...

beautiful words, wen. you are truly my hero when it comes to dealing with grief, faith and trust. and that is one of my all time favorite verses of the bible! thank you so much for your heartfelt sharing.

Rae said...

Good post Wendi. I can SO relate to everything. When i gave my testimony in church a couple weeks ago i related all the IVF to having faith as small as a mustard seed. I questioned if I even had faith, after all i put faith in doctors and look what that got me. (over stimulated ovaries, emotional distress, etc, etc)
But like you, after our 4th IVF/retrieval and me getting a negative I came home from work (s/t i didn't do the other attempts) thru my hands in the air dropped to the ground and literally cried out to God. DO YOU HEAR ME!? I'm hurting more then I've ever hurt, what is going on?
Some how i pulled myself together, my pastor even came over, and was able to look forward to adoption.
That is when i thought i saw faith, and trust, in God.
My RE saw it way earlier. She said she has women who literally can not get out of bed for weeks after a negative and yet I went out. I said it took all my strength to put one foot in front of the other. But really it was God pushing me.
Trust is hard. Trust in God, Gov't, husbands, you name it. We have to have trust in so many things it's hard to just turn it over. Boy is it ever.

Anyway i'm rambling on and on:) I'm going to be speaking at our MOPS group this fall about Faith and I think i will also talk about trust too. I like what you said!

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendi, I'm one of your faithful, albeit, anonymous readers. I want to join the other readers and thank you for speaking from your heart, for being transparent, for being vulnerable, and for reflecting Christ! Today I read another blog, posted by a dear friend of mine. Her family has been through a tragic situation, and even though it has been 2 years, today she reflected about the tragedy and her response. Thought you might like to see a portion of what she wrote:

Do I still think of that event just about every day? yes
Do I still sometimes feel the pain that was as if someone took my heart and squeezed and wrung it out? yes
Do I sometimes let the grief and sadness of the event wash over me? yes
Do I often rebel in my heart against the changes and decisions that have had to be made? yes
Do I wish I could change what happened? yes

Do I know that my salvation is by faith alone through grace alone? yes
Do I know for sure that God is sovereign and in complete control? yes
Do I know that His plan is perfect and that He has carried us through the most difficult of circumstances? yes
Do I trust Him to care for and provide for every member of my family in His perfect way? yes
Do I need to, daily, go back to Him, confessing sin and partaking of His grace? yes
Do I need to, daily, lay out before Him, my pain, my difficulties, my struggles, my lack of faith? yes
Do I experience the joy of the Lord? yes
Do I sincerely praise and worship Him, the God of the universe? yes
Do I know for sure that He is always with me? yes
Do I recognize and thank Him always for His blessings? yes

Different situation, but similar pain and same Shepherd...continue your walk with Him, and He will "restore your soul" AND you get to enjoy green pastures and quiet waters!!! Such a deal!!!

Judy W. said...

Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing from your heart, that is how you speak into someone elses life. God will bless... That is how He brings good through your pain in others (and yourself).

Monkey Momma said...

Thank you Wen. Thank you.

Sam and Brian said...

Okay, maybe it's just the trigger shot I received this morning, but wow, those words got me cryin! In a very good way. Thank you for reminding me that I'm not alone in my struggles to trust God. You know, I think that sitting in front of our Bibles, not knowing what to say or do next...that's a form of trusting. We're trusting enough to say, "okay, I'm here, I'm sad/mad/confused, but I'm here!" I really do in my heart believe we stand before God because of our faith, a mustard seed as you said. Anyway, you touched my heart today. Thank you!

[dene'] said...

absolutely beautiful and well put. thanks for your inspiration and faith. we all have trials and we can all learn how to trust a little bit more. thanks again for lifting me up tonight.

cassi said...

Wendi- that was a really nice post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendi, this post really touched my heart today. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you to reach the lives of others in such a powerful way.

Grace(from HP)