If It Brings You Glory, Don't Lead Me Down Sesame Street

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I feel tired. Exhausted, really.

When I was trying to think about what I would like to share, my mind trailed back to a conversation I had with my dad last week on the phone. We had just found out our baby is a girl. We had just given her the name Aliza. I had just emailed our inner circle of family to update them on the latest news.

I saw my phone ring just a few minutes after clicking “send” on the email. It was my dad. I debated whether or not to pick it up. Not because I don’t like talking to my dad. Because I knew I would start crying.

After chatting a few minutes he said something like, “Aliza has taught us all so much already. While we wait and see what happens, I’m sure there are a lot more lessons she will teach us too.”

All I could say was, “Dad, I’m tired of learning lessons.”

After laughing at my kind-of-joking-but-actually-serious comment he said, “Oh honey, you aren't walking down Sesame Street. Life isn't easy like that.”

Ugh. Ain't that the truth.

For the past month I feel like we have been running on fumes. Surviving. There have been plenty moments of "normal." Even moments of happiness and laughter. But there have also been so many moments where I just feel tired. Tired of waiting. Tired of not knowing what’s going to happen. Tired of learning lessons.

Tired of being afraid. Tired of this kind of fear that feels like life is headed in a direction I don’t really want to go, and everything is completely out of my control. {As if life is actually in my control.}

Before our ultrasound this Wednesday {March 25}, I was afraid that Aliza had already died. Her kicks can be so infrequent, that sometimes I’m back to debating whether a flutter is her tiny feet or the burgers we just ate for dinner. I had my bags packed, prepared for that to be the case. Prepared to go through the pain of labor without the motivation of holding a breathing baby at the end.

Sometimes, I am afraid that this journey will go on forever. And I wonder why, if Aliza isn't going to live through pregnancy or long after birth, then why God doesn't just take her now? I wonder why He would ask us to go through waiting months and months of unknown? Why He would let us get our hopes up for a longer life with her, just to have those hopes dashed later?

And sometimes, I am afraid that Aliza will be born into critical condition and that we will make the wrong decisions for her medical care.

And sometimes, after I think all of these thoughts, I am afraid I am the worst mom in the world.

And all of the time, I am afraid of the pain that might never go away if we lose Aliza.

Fear can be crippling, paralyzing, exhausting. Fear is not like walking Sesame Street. It’s more like slinking through the valley of the shadow of death.

Our beautiful baby's profile. Little button nose and everything.

Our beautiful baby's profile. Little button nose and everything.

For those of you who may not have seen my update on Facebook from Wednesday’s ultrasound: Aliza lives. {Praise God!}

She has even grown since our last ultrasound {March 3}, three whole ounces. She is small. Her growth rate is less than normal. Her body measurements range from 18 to 21 weeks while she is 24 weeks old. One of the hardest things to hear was that they couldn't find her stomach on the ultrasound again. They are not sure whether this is because she is so curled up, or if fluid is blocking it, or if it’s because it’s actually not there. Meaning it never developed.

But we praise God that she is alive. We praise God because He is in control. In control of this out-of-control situation.

I have prayed bold prayers in my life:

“Lord, use us.”

“Lord, help our lives bring glory to Your name.”

“Lord, break our hearts for what breaks Yours.”

But of course, I didn't mean this.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. {James 1:2-3}

It’s easy to think: “I’m tired. I’m exhausted. You shouldn’t expect so much of me, Lord. I want to be a faithful follower of You, but I also want to walk down Sesame Street. Don’t make me go down this road. Not here. It's too hard.”

It's easy to have conditional faith where we want to believe yet also want to call the shots about what our lives will look like, about where God calls us to go. Conditional loyalty to a Savior who promised we would face trials in this world. A Savior who said that following Him and taking up our cross daily would be tough.

It’s not easy to think: “Your will be done, Lord. If You can use us in this way, and if through this painful journey we can bring glory to Your name, then we will consider it pure joy.”

The following verse is often on my mind, as I tend to let myself be a “martyr.” Not a martyr in the actual sense, but the kind who lets life’s littlest hiccups bring on a “woe is me” attitude. The kind where I tend to let myself think that any small act of service is deserving of wild praise from on high:

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” {Luke 17:10}

But what if I could have this attitude? Even for this big hiccup? What if I could have this idea of “I am just doing my duty, working to bring glory to God no matter what trials or things might come our way?”

Don’t think that just because I am writing this means that I embody this attitude. Quite the opposite actually. Like I said, I just feel tired. Exhausted. Afraid. It’s hard to have this attitude, to view pain and trials this way when we are right in the midst of our journey.

But maybe this is one of the other lessons Aliza is teaching us. That God is teaching us through Aliza. One of those lessons I don’t feel like learning right now, but will maybe have the heart for down the road. One of those lessons that can’t be learned while walking Sesame Street.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. {Psalm 23:4}

“Lord, use us. Lord, help our lives bring glory to Your name. Lord, break our hearts for what breaks Yours. Continue to teach us the lessons we need to learn that will strengthen our faith. Help us realize that we fully rely on You. Remind us that we are not in control.”

“And Lord, if it brings You glory, don’t lead us down Sesame Street.”

Grace and Peace,
Kendra