…think about such things.
I’ve been feeling really good. Strong, happy, hopeful. Trying new and tasty food, meeting lots of wonderful new people and feeling the relaxation of being far from your reality. Bliss.
I read Lizzie’s last blog post and was so touched. The shame she admitted resonated with me. She spoke truths about my heart but in her words. I knew what she meant. But I also felt so removed from it. Beyond it. Aloof. As though I had moved beyond feeling shame. I had outgrown it. Bliss.
Then something happened. I lost a key.
So small. Seemingly insignificant. There’s always a spare, right? But not when the spare is in your brother’s pocket thousands of miles away in South America.
So the search began. Calm at first, retracing my steps, looking in the usual places where I always left the key. Gradually growing more frantic. Urgent messages were left with Elis. He must have it. I can’t have lost it. Willed it not to be lost. Prayed for an appearance.
Still no key.
Slowly a shift took place. And I’m ashamed to say that this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to me. A voice, clear, cool, calm, ‘You can’t even look after a key, what makes you think you deserve to look after a child. This is exactly why you are childless. You’re irresponsible, neglectful, undeserving’.
I won’t go on.
So quickly self-loathing consumed me. How swift a change from my glorying that I was beyond shame and making steps towards being at peace in my life to this harassed shell of a girl. Because I lost a key?
Thankfully, I found solace. On a treadmill. Not at all where I would expect to find peace. The voice followed me there and as I pushed myself, trying to beat the voice into submission, I wept. In my weeping I retaliated. Who does deserve a child? Who can prove they are worthy? Are any of us?
And that is just it. Isn’t it? We want to be able to earn our rewards or blessings. We want to do whatever we can and meet the criteria. It is so hard to fathom that blessings are not earned. It is so easy to assume we deserve to be punished, hurt, that we aren’t getting what we want because we are somehow found lacking. Undeserving.
The voice subsided as I began to dwell on better things. I thought of the many wonderful gifts, relationships, experiences I have had in my life that I didn’t deserve. Such beauty and richness. And I whispered my thanks for all those things. And vowed to myself to guard my heart AND mind because I had been neglectful. I want to fast forward to the happy ending and be ok. I had forgotten that the happy ending may come after a pretty good middle if I just allowed myself the chance to be at peace in it.
I found the key. In the first place I looked. In the same place I had left it every other day.
But more importantly, I found a strength that was missing. A strength to admit that I needed to let go of this idea that I am lacking. That I don’t deserve good things. No one does.
So, that aloofness, that pride has gone. And I return to place where I am acutely aware of my fragility but astounded by the grace that comes with it.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:7-8
Thankyou for these blogs. Over the years as a christian woman,recently as a clergy wife, I have spoken and tried to minister to women going through the pain of childlessness. Blessed with ,now grown-up, children myself your blog has helped me to understand, as much as I can, what you are all going through. I will be referring people to this blog in future and will keep in touch myself, to learn from you all.
Thankyou for this valuable ministry and my love and prayers are with you, whatever the future may hold.
Thanks so much for your comment and encouragement. As a vicar’s wife in training, it is particularly lovely to hear from a fellow clergy spouse.
I hope you will keep coming back to the blog and website as it grows.