God Saves…. just not in the way we think….

Charlottesville Sky View September 2020

Hello friends and hi to my blog. For months I have been wondering when returning to here would happen. I have started with messages of hope… moved to family updates… toyed with throwing up the limited fall fun we have had this year – but nothing has felt like a match, nothing fit quite right. Sometimes I have considered forcing something up…. the blog has been a place of healing, faith, to capture memories ….a solution of sorts for a variety of problems. One post I have almost done a 10000 different times in a 1000 different ways is about the “struggle with the squares” – how perfection of instagram (and really any social media) is a making this season of life so very hard and yet I contribute to it too. Then I was blessed to be interviewed on the Illuminate Podcast and hearing my own words I was struck by how heavy my words of finding beauty in the mess really are, even when I want to so badly … so is that the first blog to write on my way back?? But the ultimate answer is nothing felt like a fit, so I did not write. The last week I found my answer: raw, real and in the harsh truth is how I will return to our corner of the internet.

Two weeks ago in my prayer journal – that has also been a spotty effort at best- in my prayer to the Lord I wrote: WTF? I finally lost it about our current state and another attempt to return to my life that failed miserably. I was mad and thought it was fine to get pretty dang honest and real to remove this anger cloud that has settled over my life. Last transplant I had the luxury of losing it and yelling at God in an adoration chapel…. I wrestled with my situation, my faith and my God in his presence. It changed my life FOREVER. And yet, even knowing the fruit of that labor – which are still a blessing today- in some ways I have landed back in the same place. Let me explain….

2020 had the potential to give me every thing I have wanted – everything. It was all on track: our marriage was strong, our careers were cooking with gas, our home life was taking the shape we had dreamt of while my body was growing our little girl. On top of the world barely scratches the surface. I walked around wondering how things could be so so so good- is this what “normal” people feel all the time. Sure we had concerns, but for once they were wrapped up in normal things: the costs of daycare, nursery themes, balancing parenthood with our current world. Right around 17 weeks of my pregnancy things started to crack and before I could barely clean up the confetti from welcoming the new year I was in a version of survival mode that was so scary, raw and hard- it still does not feel real. If you have listened to the podcast or been on my social media then you know: 911 calls, ambulance rides, hospice conversations and I am gonna say it: visions of sitting at my husbands funeral barely given birth were my regular daydreams (whatever the nightmare version of that is… along with figuring out what words I could say to still make it all ok). Eventually spring came with some sudden versions of stabilizing in our world and then we welcomed a new NUTS: global pandemic, my mom becoming my Co-pilot for all things baby from pre-labor nesting to postpartum through month 4, a second lung transplant and some tough stuff that I am actually not allowed to share but it left me feeling pretty defeated. By the time summer rollled around I was actually so happy to go back to work for required stability …  yet I was saddened this period had ended and I was not sure I enjoyed it much. There was a time I dreamed of the beauty and serenity of welcoming our new baby and having time for just that in our home, together – those days will never happen… now all I wanted was to be done with everything that had happened. All in all I was waking around in this haze of  frustration, resentment, anger and I couldn’t shake it.

Anyone I talk to, anyone that knows our story said how hard this…. encouraged the thoughts of  “this is not what it was supposed to be” , and helped me to feel comforted. This is hard… I am allowed to be emotional … and I let it in… I subscribed to the thinking… I perpetuated and helped it grow. Then it got worse- I was mad at my circumstances, I was a heartbroken that I may never know what having blissful baby season would feel like. This thought process not only allowed me to keep this gray cloud hanging around, but helped me expand and turn into this defeatist. Constantly saying “it’s not fair” was my state of neutral- a neutral  that had always been more of a glass half full, positive, find the silverlining version. Or when I could not find it – first transplant, during infertility, when my career path was frustrating – I would seek out help to change it (prayer, adoration, therapy). But this season I did not feel like changing it and thanks to the fear of COVID I was letting rule, I could have a pretty easy excuse to not make an effort. Thus contributing to my gray cloud becoming a fixture. And that week, it hit the breaking point and I snapped at God.  How much more can I take? I asked and you know what He answered.

This month America held the 2020 election and being a very pro life conservative, the narrative thrown my way was not kind. Family and friends that supposedly know me were either being unkind or just trying to trip me up with my “lost views”. This has been an election worthy of 2020 proportions and it has held up well to the expectation of crazy. Adding that to my frustrated prayer journal and already ugly heart …. I needed help… I needed something to give answers. Saturday after the election I watched Fátima with my parents and clarity hit me like a ton of bricks. In this film they retell the story of the Lady of the Rosary appearing to 3 children in a time when the world is at war. The story is amazing and pretty much sums up that we will never know or understand what God is doing and why he does it… but we are to have an unwavering commitment to believe and defend those beliefs no matter what.

I was stunned… I was embarrassed… I was woken up in the biggest way… I have challenged God, I have lived completely absorbed in my own world… wishing it was different, but don’t do a darn thing to change it. With just one direction of “no church” because of some virus, I have let go of a huge touch point for my body, mind and spirit (I go to mass online, but a Catholic that is not receiving the Eucharist is missing true binding to Jesus himself). And I have just accepted it… “oh 2020 is just rough” as I turn back to filling my mind with social media images and reasons (Likely made up) I am disappointed my life is not more like XYZ. It was a processing of this movie for a full 24 hours and then I came to a conclusion- I had let myself drift so far away, I was able to justify every little bit of anger or disappointment. So much so that Danny and I have both struggled with being happy we did the transplant at all- that is some intense emotional warfare. This Fátima awakening demanded of myself that I stop drifting away, but run back the other way. This is going to demand an extreme exercise in faith to undo what I have let be done and to prepare me for what’s to come- for myself, the family and they certainty of the world. How dare I demand of God to show me, fix this, stop making my world hard….. when I have barely given Him the chance to meet me through mass, the Eucharist and fervent prayer ( the true danger here is I have been praying … everyday, often throughout the day and in all sorts of ways: online bible study, daily reflections, journaling, novenas, online mass, podcasts) – but it is has been all about “give me strength, help me do this, see me through – never once about “God you put me here, what is it I am to do? How can I serve you and your plan?”

At the start of 2020, I started wispering “Jesus Save Me” when I was out of my mind with stress, fear and worry- but did not have the ability or words for full prayer. I said it between bouts of morning (all day sickness), when I worried about work needs, in the hospital hallways when I thought it could not get worse- when I had to help shower my 35 year old husband who weighed less than 100lbs.  It was my strongest and probably first prayer and I did it often. And through it all God has never forgotten my prayer at the start of the mess “Jesus save me” and now He is. He is saving me from this world, my own thoughts and the temptation to be angry or resentful or jealous or righteous- but giving me the tools to meet him and be healed. Because honestly, I have been frightened by the sudden reality of doing life without Him, because of the ways of the world or my desire to spend more time focused on my humanity then what he has destined for me.

It has taken a lot of disappointment and frustration – but God has reached me. And the message clear as day: this world and this life is never going to give me what I need for peace, hope, faith, joy and love. I need the life God will give me, even if it is not what I thought. And to do that it will need to be an extreme transformation of faith. Jesus save me… He is and already in an interesting twist, Danny is on the a similar path of need (different circumstances, but the feeling of loss and disappointment) and we have chosen extreme Catholicism as our path to healing together.

This past week alone we have half a dozen new things in place to change our life to an extreme and NOW …. and I plan to share this journey here as a resource to reflect back on and help others that may be interested.  So stay tuned. I also plan to update about our family life and Danny’s healing too… hopefully not too early that bouts of silence will follow, but all in all: good to be back.

And Jesus, thank you for remembering my prayer of this year – even if it took extreme circumstances.

Thank you so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!
Jackie


6 thoughts on “God Saves…. just not in the way we think….

  1. As always, your courage and faith are outstanding and those two things will continue to guide you in this life. Hang in there, bumpy roads do have smooth endings.

    Like

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