that was ....fast.
i got all giddy about being able to "take care of biz," while biding my time on birth control....and BAM....i got knocked right over the very next day. i may still be down. i'm not sure.
aaaalot has transpired over the last 15 days.
i had another root canal.
i had a titanium drill bit screwed down into my jaw.
i had a breakdown.
i had a mouth guard fitting.
i ate only stuffing for Thanksgiving '07.
other than that, i've been drowning my sorrows in advil, drinking my meals, and having nightmares about teeth.
i had no idea it could be so consuming.
the grocery check list has been looking like this:
mac and cheese.
bananas...maaaaybe. if it's a good day.
ensure vitamin shakes.
odwalla organic fruit juice. (maaaajor culprit of the RUNS....fyi.)
and that about covers my diet over the last 4-6 weeks.
we DID have progress however, YESTERDAY! i ate a pita! and i managed GRAPES! and i went out to DINNER TONIGHT and ate PASTA! glorious creamy fettuccine and SHRIMP! the shrimp sorta went down in big pieces...but it was FANTASTIC!!!
here's the prognosis:
yours truly has a stress-management problem. and it manifests itself in a very bad way. i apparently clench my jaw so hard (while awake AND sleeping) that i snap all my teeth in two. now, we all knew that already...but there are now three medical professionals involved who are using me as a case-study for "THE WORST CASE SCENARIO."
now...all of this is fine and good and we're making strides in the right direction, but....we have a ways to go. and the bad news is: no fertility treatments...or hopes...or thoughts...for at least another 3 mths. apparently the bone graft in my freaking jaw needs three months to heal before titanium screw #2 can be inserted. and that will require general anesthesia. therefore. i cannot be pregnant. and yes....i'd like to get THIS DONE AND OVER WITH already.
i felt my chest get tight as he relayed that oh-so-lovely news to me ...while sitting in that dreaded chair. "come back at the end of February, and we'll be ready for that next phase...."
good 'ole epiphany just got stretched alot further than i had hoped. my little "month or two" time out just became 4 mths total. i still flinch saying it...but then i remember HOW MUCH i've accomplished in the last 4 weeks of "forced break" from fertility treatments.
i have steered my energies in new directions and am again reminded of how WELL i get things done when i focus. how efficient i have the potential of being. how DRIVEN i become when i set my mind to things. and i've been able to check SO MUCH off of the "big picture" to do list. we've sold a car. we've organized all of our storage. we've basically hired a real estate agent. we've taken the crazy-wife out of the fertility ward and committed her into the dental ward and in a weird way -- that even feels amazing because it's PROGRESS. it's been weighing me down in the back of my mind for YEARS....and we're moving FORWARD now, tackling my fear of the dentist (and the endodontist and the oral surgeon...we're all on a first name basis now!), and getting things taken care of. i even went grocery shopping for the first time in 3 mths, last week! i'm almost a fully functioning HUMAN BEING again and i cannot stop breathing it in.....
and it makes me realize.....
4 mths off isn't a bad thing at all.
4 mths off to rebuild some systems that have been misfiring for years....isn't so bad.
4 mths to realign my priorities and take care of schedule over the CRAY-zeh holidays is not a bad thing.
4 mths to clear my leftover workload from the summer shooting schedule (yes, i still have 5 weddings on my hard drive, and a trip to dallas for another wedding upcoming)....is actually a great thing.
only over the last 4 weeks can i see how very sick some parts of my life are/were.
and i can say ...with God as my witness... that i am overwhelmingly and completely thankful that i am not pregnant yet. in some ways i was hoping i would be. but in MORE ways, i'm so relieved that God can see the bigger picture and could recognize i'm completely unprepared for motherhood right this second....and allow me the time to take care of some personal matters first....
in 4mths....i could become utterly psycho again, particularly when i start shooting up with crazy drugs. and in 4mths, i may try again. and it may turn to 5mths...and it may turn to 10 mths....and i may sob my eyes out....when it becomes 12mths and things aren't going my way.
and i will have to believe in my heart...that...God...is...still...good. fully good. powerfully good. because whether i believe it or not -- He is.
i had lunch on sunday (i was able to devour some eggs and french onion soup!) with a powerfully courageous girl my age, who i was introduced to by a friend in my bible study after my bible study watched me mentally wander off the reservation THE DAY i found out i was miscarrying. i didn't stand a chance. of course i bawled my eyes out that night.
ANYWAYS....they were good friends to me and rallied and one of them KNEW of a girl in the church undergoing the same things....and set us up via email. given the VERY unfortunate chain of events with my angry teeth, we kept missing each other for coffee. she ran up to me in church that following sunday, having seen my picture in the members pictorial (hello! HOW did i ever survive church w/o such a thing!) and we chatted and discussed rescheduling coffee. it still didn't work the following week. so this SUNDAY she and her hubby ran up to us again....and invited us to lunch.
we had the most heartfelt three hour lunch i think i've ever had.
the four of us...perfect strangers...reaching out to each other in an effort to help.
she had undergone an IUI the very day before on Saturday, yet, she ended up ministering to me in ways she'll probably never understand. i was so amped on talking her through the ropes...giving her advice...pumping her up with stats...high-fiving her on giving herself shots...telling her all the ways she could better evaluate her physical condition...
....and it became painfully evident to me -- she simply didnt need it....
....her heart was as still, and crystal-clear as a placid lake at sunrise.
she had it.
she not only had it....she owned it.
she had allowed herself to be captured by His everlasting peace...
...and i was captivated by her...or God in her...this freak thing that was going on with her...
she was a boisterous, energetic, fun, outgoing, adorable 29-year old girl....yet in the weirdest way i've ever seen...perfectly quiet at the same time. her brain....was quiet. her heart....was still. her soul....was...at....rest....
...and my heart ached instantly for all of it...
there was so much about her attitude, her outlook, her council, her everything...that dripped of Christ. her husband is in the military so, essentially, ALL of her fertility treatments are free. she was on her 4th round of clomid (first three rounds she was unresponsive) and had done her trigger shot for the first time this past week. it was her first IUI. the military will only allow you to do 6 rounds of clomid. PERIOD. if she's not pregnant in 6 rounds....they automatically force you into IVF territory. and after extensive counsel from our pastoral staff and Christian counseling force at church -- they've already decided to forgo IVF. so basically she was looking down the barrel of a gun....with two months left of Clomid after this IUI.....and she's done. she kisses her human child-bearing capabilities goodbye. she's been trying for 1.5 years. and is about to see it through and have closure in 2mths if this doesn't work.
....and the waters of her heart...are so perfectly calm.
of course my jaw dropped. i nearly crushed three more teeth in her name. GIVING UP!? WHAT!!?? FREE IVF (basically) AND YOU'LL STILL WALK AWAY!!?? WHAT DO YOU MEAN!!?? HOW DID YOU MAKE THIS DECISION!!? OOOMG!!??
that literally was me.
and she responded....in ways i don't remember exactly.....that reality is what it is. you can either allow life to pass you by while you live in denial....or you can embrace that God is perfect and make the best use of your time that you can. i believe there was an ethical discussion thrown in there, but from what i gather, my church has mixed views on IVF. some support...some dissent. but all of that aside, she said verbatim, "i just don't feel IVF is the best use of my time. it's so consuming and that just isn't what God wants for us. i want to use my time well...and i simply can't justify emotionally investing into in vitro....."
and i have no doubt she meant every word.
and it was beyond astonishing to me. at first i wondered if she was crazy.
for a women to be able to even utter these words in the depth of what has to be some of hardest moments of your life....being unable to BEAR CHILDREN....is only of God. his astonishing mercy poured out on her.....
it left me speechless.
she continued, "we've already signed up with an adoption agency and are probably looking at a 2-year waiting list...and we've just purchased a 5-bedroom house that we'd love to have children in...but if the IUIs don't work....i'll probably go back to work and make good use of my 2-year wait for a baby to be placed with us...."
not even a pinch of resentment. bitterness. eye-rolling. second-guessing. apprehension. discouragement. or disbelief.
....and i was fully dumb-founded. so deeply grateful for her witness....yet feeling so vile for the emotional freakshow i've put on over the last 9mths. my endless kicking and screaming and STRAIN and discontentment and finger-pointing at God. when i could have just as easily traded it all in....for what she has. what on earth was i thinking. it's MINE already...but i locked it out. i stiff-armed it all away. and i was left with the raging storm in my heart...and the endlessly choppy waters....and the black skies....
she had everything....everything that i didn't have.
and then she said, ".....and if i never have my own biological children....i have to believe that God is ...still good...."
i felt such shame in that very instant.
how as Christians....no. how did i get to a point in my faith where i fully believed that God is not good.
what does the path look like....that winds around the difficult seasons of our lives...and takes us to places darker than ever before....
at which "Y" in the road did i wander off in the wrong direction....
i wonder exactly which crossroad took me to the idols of self...and doubt and desperation...and fierce indignant anger....
when exactly did i sacrifice the bedrock of my beliefs for things so obviously outside of my control....
at what point did getting out of the boat in the middle of the storm to walk on water....sound like a great idea, without God....?
....when i believed that in my natural capabilities, i didn't need God to perform the supernatural....rather, i could do it all on my own...by my own rules...all by my perfect, fallen, sinful, self.....
and i sank.
and i drowned.
and i died a million deaths this year.
i could have sworn each death was a piece of my faith...chipping away...proving fruitless...
but He used it for my good....
....but God meant it for my good...
... the death was actually mine...a painful dying of my will...i could have learned faster...i could have cried 'uncle' sooner...but my CONTROL just wouldn't give way. so some deaths are slower than others...and sometimes we choose our torture. but under His watch -- we will all eventually die to self.
....and that is always, ...always a good and glorious thing....
2 Cor 3: 18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.