Sunday, April 4, 2010

Big Bellies, Beautiful Babies and My Easter

I woke up this morning in full expectation of a glorious Easter. It's practically summer already in NC, which means I've had my hands deep in rich, dark earth on a daily basis, I'm back to running and we haven't had the heat turned on in weeks. So, this morning, I dressed in a somewhat Eastery dress, packed up the family and headed to church. The first thing I saw upon exiting my car was a very pregnant woman and, much to my chagrin, it just hit me like a ton of bricks. After that, it seemed like every woman who walked down the aisle had a big old pregnant belly right at my eye level and everyone surrounding me had a newborn baby, cute as could be in a ridiculously frilly summer dress and clamoring for attention. Suddenly, I was in the land of envy, longing for something over which I have no control.

The last two months I've been on a fast. Some might have deduced what said fast was about by reading through the lines of posts, but basically I vowed that for two months I would not think, plan or pray about a second child. I handed the praying over to trusted friends and said that anytime the thought, the longing came into my path, I'd divert my prayers and focus elsewhere. Sometimes this worked well and I found myself really engaged in prayer or planning in something else and other times it was just a fight to keep the baby thoughts out of my head. There were moments I was at peace with never having another child and other moments that the desire was so strong I thought I'd stop breathing for how much I wanted one. Bottom line, though, was that I thought I was making progress. I thought God was really teaching me how to not focus on this biggest of desires, how to seek Him in the moments of being overwhelmed and to, somehow, lessen that desire.

So, this morning, when my Easter ended up consumed by jealousy, distracted by big bellies and beautiful babies, I was angry. Angry at what I felt like was a waste of two months of my life. The first day that I'm off this fast and already I end up jealous and discouraged? What were the last two months for? And to not be able to truly engage with the message this morning, with the beautiful music? Easter only comes around once a year and I essentially missed it.

I think I came off this fast thinking I'd be a lot better at denying myself, but this is why fasting is so hard and why I think we often shy away from it or end up discouraged. It doesn't necessarily work an instant miracle- it was a chance for me to experience God in a fresh way for two months, to deny myself thinking about my most wanted desire in favor of other things and to have a chance to enter into some hard areas for me to process and pray that had nothing at all to do with my fertility. It most assuredly worked change in me that I can't even yet see, but it certainly didn't make my will perfect. It's not meant to, but oh how I wish it would! Oh how I wish that when I saw that beautiful woman in the parking lot, my first thought was one of selfless rejoicing for her gift and not of pitiable self-focus on my own lack thereof.

Nonetheless, in a way, I'm almost thankful that I had such a bad morning. It reminded me that I didn't "do" anything these past two months. God did. And He continues to work in me in ways that I cannot feel and cannot know. Yet. I am confident that as He and I continue to work this junk out that there will be times when I can be selfless and rejoice for people who have that one thing that I so long for. I am also confident that in those moments when I fail, when I give into my selfishness, that He will stick by me, forgive me, pick me up out of that sin and keep me moving forward into new life.

Maybe, just maybe, I didn't totally miss out on Easter after all.

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