Friday, December 17, 2010

Grief

I've wanted to start this post a million times. Actually I've tried a time or two but it just wasn't right. I'd like to go on and on about all the posts I should have done but there is no way I could back track and make up for them all...so I won't! I'll just start from here. For those who know me you know that I'm a processor. I take forever to mill over something and pray about it and then eventually share my "feelings" about whatever topic it is. This past year has felt like one big "process" session. I'm not sure I will be able really write what is in my heart tonight. I'll try though.

Last December Brian and I flew to China to adopt Rhett. I believe most of you know the story about how 2 days before we left Brian's leg began to hurt. The leg that was so badly injured when he had his car accident in 2004. Yet we pushed on and flew to China. What else were we to do? Our son was waiting for us. Of course, we didn't know the severity of it yet. Praise God. We arrive in China on December 27th and meet Rhett on December 28th. By December 30 we knew Brian was not doing well. We made the decision to send him back home to get medical help. But I had to stay in China to finish the adoption of our son. I can hardly even type that with out crying. It was a hard time. Recently, I've told that part of our story a couple of different times. Its still very fresh on my mind. Remembering the times when I would be in a hotel room in China with a son whom I hardly knew with a very sick husband in a hospital half a world away and I was so very very scared. Brian was not just a little sick. By the time he reached the U.S. his organs had begun shutting down. He had a massive Staph infection in his hip. I would lay in the floor of that hotel and shake and pray. And cry out to the Lord and beg Him to show me that he was still with me. That he hadn't left us. I felt alone. It was all very traumatic. Does that sound weak to you? I'm sorry if it does...and actually at the time I felt so very very weak. But the Lord! Oh the Lord had only started revealing himself to me.

And most of you know that Brian got home just in time. The Dr's took him straight to surgery and cut out the infection and then put him on 6 weeks of the only IV antibiotic left that would kill this infection. The only one. Let that soak in for a minute. Pretty scary stuff right there! And then Rhett and I got home and we began our life in the midst of all this YUCK. Trying to continue bonding with our new son and praying life into my husband. It was hard. In the midst of all of this an acquaintance of ours passes away from a staph infection just like Brian was fighting. It was hard. After finishing his 6 weeks of IV antibiotics we go in for a follow up MRI just to be sure that the meds had done what they were supposed to. Just a formality really. However....the MRI showed that something had grown back. Just two weeks after stopping the ONLY antibiotic that kills this infection. It was hard. That was a Friday. We gathered some dear friends together that night and prayed. Prayed HARD for a miracle. Prayed for healing in Brian's body. After that evening of prayer I felt more peaceful. Brian felt more peaceful. We chose at that point to try and shield our kids from all of this(for the time being) until we went in on Monday to see the surgeon. Brian and I used that weekend to go through some important things that I might need to know. We went over money stuff, kid stuff, I cried, but then we just lived our life. We bought furniture (weird fact to throw in there but it was significant to me). The Lord really blessed us with such a sweet weekend of being together. And then Monday...we went in to the surgeon (who has done every surgery on Brian's hip since his accident-love him!) to see what he would want us to do. We went fully prepared to be checking into the hospital for more surgery. However when we went into his office he decided to try and stick a needle in the area that showed the infection and pull some out so he could see it first. He tried several times to remove some of the fluid but couldn't get any. The fluid was gone! Where the MRI showed more infection...there was no more fluid! It was a MIRACLE!!! Praise God!!!! I cried so hard. Brian cried. However, his infectious disease Dr wasn't as thrilled and wanted a more thorough exam of the area and ordered another test to be run while Brian was under anesthesia...10 days later. Ugh. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. LONG story short we went in 10 days later, he had the test done and still no infection was found!!! We were so thrilled!

So why am I writing all of this? Well...because I've had a hard time this year. I wish I hadn't, honestly. I wish I could tell you that all of those things were such faith building experiences. They were...but sometimes they weren't. I used to feel bad about saying that but I don't really now. After the wonderful outcome I struggled quite a bit. On the outside I would say the words people would want me to say. I would tell people how thrilled we were about Brian's outcome and how ONLY the Lord could do that. And its all true. And I believed it. But there was another battle raging inside of me. As time went on I felt myself being so afraid. Deep fear. Fear that started about Brian's health but leaked over into other areas of my life. I felt a darkness hovering over me and I couldn't figure out what on earth was wrong with me. I wanted it to stop. I found myself becoming angry that any of this happened. I felt like I was letting my kids, my husband, and God down by feeling this way. I felt like that because I was so scared then that must mean that my faith was weak. And I was just so tired. Now...don't get me wrong. It wasn't ALWAYS about this. We were loving this new family member and loving each other but this was just the battle raging inside of ME. I shared it with Brian but really not very many other people besides him. I didn't feel like I could. And I prayed about it ALL of the time.

So Brian and I go to Rome in July...LOVED it! Had the best time!!!! But after we landed back in Texas I felt the heaviness once again....praise the Lord there were changes on the horizon. In September we went to the wedding of some sweet friends of ours and afterwards another dear friend (one who has been very KEY in my faith walk) started talking with me and asked how I was. The flood gates opened and I cried like I hadn't in so very long. I cried and was honest and talked through some of the things I'd felt and for the first time after hearing her words to me I felt the darkness lifting. I felt the Lord telling me that I am OK. "It's OK, Amy. It's OK to feel that way. It's OK to ask hard questions. It's OK to cry and be sad. It doesn't mean you have no faith. In your weakness I am made strong! I have NOT left you...." My sweet friend reminded me about grief. And what that looks like. And how there is JOY at the end of it. I hadn't even thought about the fact that I could be grieving. Grieving over the events of last December when I should be happy that the Lord spared his life was a foreign concept to me. I left there and for the first time in a long time I felt like it was going to be different. Do I still struggle with fear? Yes. The fear of death and losing my husband was crippling. To come to grips with the fact that even though its easy to say "They aren't mine to hold on to. They are the Lord's and no matter what it will be OK" sometimes that's not as easy to live out. Do I have to daily get up and lay it at the feet of the Lord? Yes. Sometimes its easy...sometimes its not. But after writing that all out I can honestly say this has been one of the most amazing years of my life. My new son is AMAZING! He's crazy busy all of the time but he's awesome! I'm a different mom now that he is here! But this past year has also been amazing in different ways....and that's sort of why I started this post in the first place. In the midst of all of the grief this year the Lord has been opening up new things for me! In April I went to an adoption conference in Minnesota and afterwards I prayed alot about how I could be used to do something more for the orphans. Adoption is awesome and life changing but what ELSE could I do besides adopt? (And don't get me wrong...if the Lord said we could adopt again we would!!) Through the adoption agency we have used both times I found a group called Visiting Orphans and I signed up to go on a trip to Rwanda and Ethiopia to go and do what I know how to do...be a mama to these precious ones who need the touch and love of a mama. But you know what? I wouldn't have even thought of it on my own....I wouldn't have been in a place to feel like I could do this had it not been for the events of this past year. Had it not been for my God. I'm excited because now not only am I going but my sister, Sara, my dad, my sister's best friend (and my friend too) Chelsea, my brother in law, Jason, and his brother David are all going on this trip! When is it you ask? Well...sorta funny....it's the exact same dates that Brian and I were apart last year when he got so sick in China and had to come home. Beauty from ashes, I say! I know the Lord has called me to this trip. I know there are so many things that will be hard to see but so good at the same time! I know I will miss my family like crazy. I know it will change me forever! I know I may deal with fear. But is the Lord going to be there? Yes! Has the Lord left me? No way! And if you find yourself EVER asking that question....please remember this post. And hear me say....He loves you. He will NEVER leave you. It's OK to ask hard questions. You are not alone. And He is always there in the midst of the darkness! Friend, Jesus loves you so much. I could go on and on....I KNOW he loves me! I know He cares! I'm so thankful for a God who is patient with me...who allows me to process!

Please be praying for our trip which is December 29-Jan 11. A time of year that will never ever be the same to me. And pray for Brian as he is here with the kids...he has no clue what he's in for!!!

9 comments:

The Potocniks said...

I'm proud to know you...thank you for being real, Amy. Praying for your trip---will change your life, I know.

Love,
alissa

Kelli said...

Thank you for sharing this, Amy. Your story is so encouraging! I have struggled with fear in my life, and I know how horrible and consuming it can be. Praise God for His unfailing love! I will pray for your trip, and I will pray against fear, for you and your sweet family. Good luck with everything, I can't wait to read all about it!

The Watsons said...

Loved reading all you wrote. What a woman!! Will be thinking of you during your trip, and excited to hear how God works even more in your heart! Love you all.

Naomi said...

Amy,

I do not know if you remember me but I have followed your blog since your first adoption. We adopted last year, Lydia Hope but my blog has gone private now. This past year has been much like yours and I am encouraged to know that I am not alone. I am so sorry for you and I was really praying for you and Brian this time last year.

We moved back to the States in April from
the UK and it has been so hard. I lost my baby boy at 18 weeks pregnant and held him in our hands in awe of God
and His creation. But oh how it has been hard and I grieve over my son still. In the midst of all this we were living with my in laws(still are) and had a house fall through. I have cried out to God asking him why and yet knowing that He is in control. But why make it so hard for us when it was already difficult moving here and leaving the church in the UK that we had planted and all those I love, family and friends. God has used all this to draw me into a close relationship with Him so for that I am thankful! And I can honestly say that I will still praise Him even when He takes away the things and ones I love!

Please know that my heart breaks for you and I shall be praying for you!! I had also hoped to go on a trip to Et and Uganda with VO but had to cancel it when I realised I was pregnant. I would still love to goone day!! But I am so thrilled for your trip there!! I'll be praying that the Lord will use it to bring such healing. But know this also that God will use your hurts to give you more compassion to those in
Africa.

Thank you for being honest!! I have been very open this last year about my struggles on
my blog and how God has ministered to me! I know there are many others who appreciate others being real.

Blessings and love,
Naomi

Elissa said...

Wow, how beautifully you articulated what you've bee through. That post left me in tears, not out of sadness but rather awe that our God shows us His best when we are at our worst. Praying He will continue to mold you into His likeness through your trip. Personally I didn't think you could get much better than you already are but He has even greater things in store for you, sister!! :) Thanks for letting us see what He's doing!

Amy Pierce said...

Thanks for sharing this, Amy! Your faith has always been and continues to be an encouragement to me - not a faith of fairy tales and good times (even though you've had a lot of those), but a true, real faith that asks the hard questions and goes through the hard times, but still chooses to believe. I'll be praying for you friend!

lillian08 said...

Beautifully written, Amy. Praying for your trip... Wish I could be there with you holding those sweet babies!
His,
Jenny D.

Wife of the Pres. said...

OH Amy!

If you ever need to talk to someone who understands, email me. I'd be glad to share phone #s too. I STILL after two plus years grieve the trip that might have been for our S and yet she is home and doing well ... and I feel guilty for feeling that way at all.

And then the past 6 months with our boys home. H.A.R.D. I have questioned God more in the past 6 months I think than in my whole walk with Him previously. I have felt forsaken over and over. And then I feel guilty and fearful.

Yeah, my friend, I can relate. I am so sorry for all you've been through! I admire your courage. I wish I would've emailed b/c I have often wondered about you when your blog was never update but I figured life was just busy with 5 children. Well it is but you know I figured you had just moved on from blogging.

Sweet hugs and prayers and PLEASE blog about your mission trip!!!

Leslie

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