The Proverbial Bottom – “Just believe”


There comes a time in everyone’s life where we each have a day of reckoning. Much more than an “AHA” moment, more like a series of lessons that all come together at once. Similar to those mountain top highs that we experience at a High School youth camp when we are touched by a certain speaker’s message or just the praise songs sung around a campfire. Promising to God and ourselves the magnificent change we are about to make, really believing that we can make those changes…. That is, until we come down off of that mountain to face the real world. And are hit by “life.” When we are younger, it may be peer pressure, school, home life, whatever pushes our buttons that help us fail at being that person we really want to be. And yet as adults with decades behind us, we have a clearer picture and are more aware of our daily mistakes. Though we try to live right, have faith, be patient and kind, love our neighbors, our family, even our enemies until something happens that tests that faith and we  hit that bend in the road or the proverbial bottom of where we end up in a crisis, when we feel as if we have failed.

The older we get, more “stuff” gets in the way. And we feel more of an urgency to take account of our lives. But in a more surface matters of the heart kind of way. Believing that it is genuine but still becoming easily discouraged or offended. And not remembering that down on your knees kind of faith. Until that is, we start losing loved ones, or dealing with health issues, or financial crisis, relationship issues,  or whatever will send you to that proverbial “bottom” of where we hit when we feel helpless…. It is only then when we stop and take a good look at everything in a way that we haven’t for a while, maybe even not since that High School Camp experience.

I’ve had several crisis in my life. And have tried to renew my faith each time. But looking back, in a very primary kind of way. Though I genuinely meant it each time and was going through a kind of information gathering process. I don’t really believe that I understood this thing we call faith as much as I feel I do now. (And am still learning about it.) Through deaths and divorce, illnesses, financial stuff and getting on my knees kind of catostrophes. Everytime, making promises and praying for answers and receiving those answers but not continuing that walk of faith in the good times as well. NOW, realizing that even as I failed to follow through, I needed to go through those times of not following through, to land where I am now and to know that I need to keep getting down on my knees,  going in my prayer closet and giving it all to HIM daily. Not just when I need something but also to thank Him for His answers.

Recently a friend of my husband’s died and at the Memorial they gave away a book called Proof of Heaven, written by Eben Alexander M.D.  a Scientist and Brain Surgeon who got sick, and had a near death experience that he didn’t believe in as a Scientist and Surgeon beforehand. I highly recommend the book!  The one thing that really poked my heart was where he shared the (3) feelings of heaven that impacted him most… He said that he felt this overwhelming feeling of… (1) Love, (2) no fear, and (3) that he could do no wrong. The last one hit me the most and I was overcome by something inside of me that is so hard to explain. The realization that everything the Bible teaches us is about forgiveness and non judgement hit me with such a powerful impact it made me cry. I never really truly understood just how much I have felt like a failure in my life. To feel as if I could do no wrong would simply be heaven for me.

I believe that when we hit bottom, we are supposed to learn from those times. To rise up stronger than before. God has put people in my life with examples of strength that humble me. And make me count my blessings. To think that I don’t have it “so bad” and yet I wonder, why are they so strong as they continue to be a servant without complaining? And somehow I think that as I go through each trial, I am just beginning to learn how to fall on my knees, on my face and just believe. Isn’t that what we are called to do? Why haven’t I gotten that yet? Though mountain top highs are great memories of times when we felt as if we could almost touch the hem of our Lord, there is something about reaching a point in our life where we have to stop snatching back those prayers we  lay at HIS feet, and truly get down on our face where we are closer to the hem and just humbly believe that He is in charge and let Him be. Only then will we feel what it truly feels to be free.

 

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, “for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor fasake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight Proverbs 3:5-6

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Not Forgotten


I don’t share this a lot. “I” who talk about everything … It is one of those things that not a lot of people want to talk about. It makes them uncomfortable. But it is not something that will ever go away. I am reminded of it when I am made to  mark the box about pregnancies when filling out my medical history. And after all of these years it may not be something I think about everyday now, but it is there often enough, that place in my heart reserved for the two babies I never knew.

The first one, was before I had any children. I could speculate until the cows came home what caused either one of them, but I feel the first one was caused by me. I’d spent the whole weekend in a jacuzzi partying with friends up the street from where my husband and I lived. I was barely 21 and not living the way I should, especially if I wanted to have kids. I was only three months along and though my doctor assured me that many first pregnancies end in miscarriage and he was sure it was just “one of those things”, I blamed myself and turned my life around that day.

Of course I saw every new baby for months and months after that. Until I became pregnant with my son, I feared that I could not have babies. But I did, I had two beautiful healthy ones. A boy and then seven years later,  a girl. The perfect family. Until it wasn’t perfect anymore. I divorced when my daughter was 4 and soon after that, met my husband now. The second baby I lost was his. We’d been married for about a year and didn’t waste any time trying because I was past 35 which doctors deemed risky  back then.

We were so happy when we found out that we were pregnant. I planned in my head and my heart all the things a mother plans. I was sure I felt it kick. And proudly wore maternity clothes and then when I was a little over 4 months, I lost it. Just like “that” it was over. I tried to be so healthy and barely took aspirin. It just wasn’t fair. And it was traumatic. I almost died. My husband went to work and came home right away even though I told him not to. It was good he did, because he saved my life.

It seemed after that, people didn’t know what to say, so they just didn’t. Or they said the wrong thing, like “At least you have two beautiful healthy kids.” Well, I knew that. I knew that I was blessed. But I really wanted that baby too. I don’t think I ever really got a chance to grieve. I still think how old that baby would have been to this day. I wonder why it happened. And it still makes me sad. But I did still have two kids. I just wanted my husband to have one of his own. But he did. He has been an amazing father.  Blood wouldn’t have made it different for him. Someone did say something that I will always remember… when I was talking about how I wished I’d given him one of his own. They said… “He will just have another one  up in heaven too.” That was good to remember. I liked that.

All I know is that in heaven it will all be different. I will have four kids there someday.

You Have Not Been Forgotten

Shadows fall around me,

I don’t allow my heart to even skim my thoughts

or it would break for it’s lost dreams

It’s been over two decades since I lost you

though it seems like a hundred years in-between.

I think of you more than just when I’m filling out medical forms:

4 pregnancies… two births…

But then, my mind travels back to my first baby,

and I’m surprised it still hurts.

Who would you have been?

You who came before all the others,

the first one ever, to make me a mother

It’s been almost 3 decades since I lost you

My stomach was much flatter then.

You have not been forgotten…

You, the two that might have been.

Diane Reed