This was kind of a rough week emotionally. I know I can use pregnancy as an excuse for my wild emotions and moods, but I don’t like to do that all the time. It just seemed like every other day I was crying about something.
Most recently, I was dwelling on all the “missing out” we’re doing as a family. It breaks my heart that we can’t be physically present for our family and friends when there are births, weddings and other joyous celebrations. I think this hits me especially hard on holidays, even “small” ones like Labor Day, when all our neighbors seem to either have family over to their houses for a cookout or be at a family member’s house for a cookout. Meanwhile, we have our own little cookout, but it’s almost like just another day. I know we could invite people over, which we always think of too late, but there’s still something missing when your family is hundreds of miles away.
Even as I drove by the hospital on the way home from my weekly shot, I was sad thinking about how few visitors we might have when the baby is born because our families might not be able to be here for the birth.
All of this thinking added up to a breakdown the other night as I sat on the couch trying to explain to my husband what I was feeling. I finally said, “I just need to know that all of this is worth it in the end. And right now I can’t see that.” He later said he wanted to remind me that I had been overjoyed earlier this summer that he was one-fourth of the way through seminary. One year down, three to go. Still, that seems like a long time.
And it’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting into when I married him. His calling to be a pastor is my calling, too. I knew the steps that would be necessary. I just didn’t know it would be this hard sometimes.
God reminded me this week while I had some alone time that I’ve given my life to Him. That is, my WHOLE life, and when I try to take it back, there’s struggle, heartache, pain and frustration. In Romans 12:1, we’re told to offer our bodies as living sacrifices. I once heard a teacher/pastor say that the problem with living sacrifices is that they can crawl off the altar. That describes what I’d been doing. And not only that, but being a living sacrifice hurts. Not to be morbid, but if you’re already dead when you’re sacrificed, you don’t feel anything. A living sacrifice can feel pain.
I’m reminded of the lyrics to a song by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Jason Gray. In “The Cut,” he sings:
Your blood and my tears
As You whittle my kingdom away
But I see that you suffer, too
In making me new
For the blade of Love, it cuts both ways
As You peel back the bark
And tear me apart
To get to the heart
Of what matters most
I’m cold and I’m scared
As your love lays me bare
But in the shaping of my soul
The cut makes me whole
So, I’m believing that this pain is purposeful, that it WILL be worth it, even if I never see the reward this side of Heaven, and that in choosing to follow Christ wherever He leads, we are surrendering our “rights” to be included, to be present and to do what others may expect of us.
It doesn’t bring me 100 percent peace to say that, but I choose to trust the God I chose to follow, the God who chose me before I even knew Him.