Thursday, September 5, 2013

How my mountain made me better

Pregnancy is scary.

It's incredible and uncomfortable and a gift, and it's scary.

The past few days have made this all seem real in a way that it never has before. This morning Eric and I were surprised and kind of amused to look at my belly and see that it was lopsided. Baby Girl was sitting curled up right by my belly button, and when I put my hand on her, she gave an almighty kick before squirming back into a less awkward looking position.

I've been thinking about that all day. I used to have a playlist of songs that comforted me after my miscarriages. I was in a sad place and a scared place, and I was hearing all sorts of frightening things from doctors. I tried to be optimistic, but in the back of my mind always was a little voice constantly whispering to me. What if you will never carry to term? What if you can't have children? What if something is wrong with you? What if this is forever? What if the tests find something? What if the tests don't find anything at all? What if there's never a reason?

I horrified myself a lot. In those times, I listened to my playlist and let my spirit soak in all the comfort it could. Music is important to me. I've always heard God speak to me through music when no other way could reach me. It has a way of softening my heart, of breaking through the anger and the bitterness that I sometimes have found myself lost in. I know when I feel resentment, I need to go listen to my music, because that's the surest way to heal my heart, or at least to help me listen to God's messages for me.

These days, I haven't listened to my playlist much. But today, after seeing such a clear indication that my baby is alive and well and thriving and demanding my attention, I decided to go back and listen to those songs, and to see if they would still touch my heart in the same way that they did when I was struggling.

It's interesting how easy it is for me to forget all the comfort the Lord has brought me in the past, when I finally get what I asked for.

I think those songs touched me more now than they ever have, because I look back and see them from the perspective of someone who has climbed that mountain. It's different to see your struggles from the peak. I can look down and see the places where I hurt the most, where I almost gave up, where I felt like I couldn't take another step. And I can see, from up here, that all of those tough places where I cried and prayed and continued on despite my pain were the places where I became better...and all of those places were where I found a foothold, even when I thought there was none. I look at myself from up here and I remember who I was at the bottom of the mountain, and I see all that has changed. I see all the rough edges I once had that are now softened. I see the new abilities I have now that I learned during my climb, even though at the time, it just felt like I was breaking apart. All that shaping and smoothing and becoming felt more like crumbling. But now I see that I'm stronger than ever, but I'm more, too. I have new places in my heart that I didn't have before, pockets of compassion and peace and hope that I didn't even realize were taking hold of me until they were there.

I listened to my old comfort playlist and I remembered being the girl who felt so small and so breakable and so alone, and I realize that she has changed. I'm proud of that girl, though. I'm grateful to her for trusting herself with Heavenly Father, even though she felt so completely fragile. She didn't know, the way I do now, that she would be so much better for her pain. In fact, she felt sort of betrayed by God sometimes. I'm sort of in awe that I was ever that person who felt so tiny and still trusted Him to take this pain and make it into something better. I look back on that and I feel a conviction that He doesn't leave us alone, even when we feel alone. Even when it is terrifying to say, "I will go through the fire if You want me to."

This little girl growing inside of me is getting a better mother, because of the simple fact that my Savior did what He always does: He saved me. He was my balm, and He was my friend, even when I was so hurt that I couldn't see Him. He was my Comforter.

I don't know what happened to the babies growing inside of me before this little one. I don't know if they were separate little spirits and if I will see them again, but in my heart I think that I will be able to raise them one day. I am eternally grateful for eternal families, because I know that one way or another, my family will be whole.

So yes, pregnancy is still scary. Sometimes it ends tragically, and sometimes there is no reason for that. I'm not safe from that pain. But whatever storms come, I know I can stand.

"And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon with ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
-Helaman 5:12

**For those interested, this is the playlist mentioned above. They aren't all "church" songs, as a wide variety of music touches my heart. If you have any to add, please share!
  • Where Can I Turn For Peace? -Katherine Nelson
  • Better Than I -David Campbell
  • If You Want Me To -Ginny Owens
  • Nearer My God To Thee -The Mormon Tabernacle Choir
  • Be Still My Soul -Jadon Lavik
  • I Know That My Redeemer Lives -Linda Rowberry
  • After The Storm -Mumford and Sons
  • Stand -Rascal Flatts
  • Where Can I Turn For Peace? -Katherine Nelson