Letter From God

Dear Heidi,

You know how you didn’t want to go to the bookstore yesterday but you went anyway because you had forgotten until the last minute that you promised two people you’d pick up books for them?  You thought it was just one more forgotten thing on the to-do list, but it wasn’t.  It was Me.  I wanted you to go.  I had something for you to find.  And you found exactly what I wanted you to find – the line in which an author says I told him to let My love heal his heart.  That’s exactly what I want you to do, too.  Let my love heal your heart.

Let my love heal your heart.


Sometimes you come to Me and quickly turn away because you feel more obligations – more things to do, more ways you’re not measuring up, more rules you have to follow.  But I want you to know a secret.  That’s not what I’m thinking about when you come to Me.  And that’s not what I want you to think when you come to Me.  In fact, if that’s what you’re thinking, you haven’t actually come to Me at all – you’ve come to your idea of me.

When you come to Me – truly come to Me – you will find rest.  I do not pile more obligations on your plate.  I do not give you a laundry list of things to do.  I do not tell you what to do to start making the grade.  You place all those burdens on yourself, substituting your guilty conscience for My voice.  Get to know Me – the real Me.  Then you will experience the rest I keep trying to offer but you keep pushing away in the name of “getting it all done.”

Remember.  If your church stuff and your spirituality and your relationship with Me leave you feeling worn out, you’re not really having a relationship with Me.  You’re living in a fantasy – or maybe a nightmare – in your head.  Get back to the simple act of listening to Me and what I tell you personally – not what I tell your friend or your parents or the author of a book you like.  Listen to Me and I promise life won’t be so tiring anymore.

Come to Me.  Know Me.  Find rest in Me.  Let My love heal your heart.

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.  Matthew 11:28-30

On Fear During Pregnancy

I was going through my archives trying to clean them up and delete unfinished drafts when I came across this post.  It’s incomplete, which is – I’m assuming – why I never published it in the first place.  But it’s very interesting for me to look back on it in light of everything that has transpired.  I wrote it when I was around 8 weeks pregnant, 4-5 weeks before I miscarried Mara.  I had been reading through the book of Job, which made a substantial impression on me.  I’m a different person than I was then.  I was writing about dealing with what I thought was my worst fear.  Then it happened.  I think I should maybe print this out and forward it to my counselor.  It would give us plenty of discussion material!


I try very hard to feel the way other people think I should feel.

I do not state this truth with any pride.  In an early session, my counselor implied this was not good. That is quite possibly caused me some distress.

You see?  That’s why I pay her the big bucks.

I don’t fault the other people for this.  I know it’s not their fault because when they’re not around for consultation on how I should feel, I imagine what others might think I should feel and work hard to feel that way.

If I could bottle up some of this crazy and sell it, I’d be rich for sure!  😉

This has created dilemmas for me during this pregnancy.  I’m scared.  That’s a well-established fact for me at this point. However, when I tell people about my pregnancy, they usually meet me with one of three responses:

  1. They tell me my fear is understandable or they express fear themselves.
  2. They’re shocked.
  3. They tell me to trust God.

Each of these generates a touchy response in me, one that seems pretty automatic but I’m sure could be controlled if I challenged my underlying thoughts and beliefs.  I haven’t mastered that part of me yet, but I’m working on it.

When people respond in the first manner, it reinforces my fear.  I think, They “get” my fear on this issue?  That means my fear is real! As in I’m likely to miscarry!  Oh my gosh! I’m likely to miscarry!  I’m going to miscarry this baby! I thereby work myself into an impressive frenzy, and every time I feel my own feel welling up I reinforce it with these ideas.

Group two elicits a similar reaction.  They’re shocked?  Wow!  I guess this is really shocking!  And unlikely!  And if it’s unlikely to have happened in the first place, what are the chances I could actually carry this pregnancy to delivery?  I would guess “unlikely.”  Oh my gosh! It is unlikely I’m going to carry this baby to term.  I’m going to miscarry!  I’m going to miscarry this baby!

Group three would seem to be the most affirming, and the fact that it’s not belies my own psychological issues.  Theoretically, trusting God is the way to go, on this and most every other thing.  Yet I’m just not there.  I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m reading in Job right now and God is just… so… random.  Really, Job said it best, my feelings on this issue of trust:

You made me like a handcrafted piece of pottery—
and now are you going to smash me to pieces?
Don’t you remember how beautifully you worked my clay?
Will you reduce me now to a mud pie?
Oh, that marvel of conception as you stirred together
semen and ovum—
What a miracle of skin and bone,
muscle and brain!
You gave me life itself, and incredible love.
You watched and guarded every breath I took.

But you never told me about this part.
I should have known that there was more to it—
That if I so much as missed a step, you’d notice and pounce,
wouldn’t let me get by with a thing.
If I’m truly guilty, I’m doomed.
But if I’m innocent, it’s no better—I’m still doomed. (Job 10:8-15)

I know this isn’t the end of the story and I know there’s a greater point to Job.  But it doesn’t change the fundamental fact that God permitted Job to be wrecked.  Beyond belief.  For no apparent reason.  God never told Job that He wasn’t the one doing the destroying.  In fact, God answered Job with a challenge: “Where were you when I formed the world?”


So, yeah.  The whole “trust God” thing elicits a poor emotional response in me, too.  For reasons I should probably investigate a little further.

It does not help matters that:

  • I am in the middle of what is turning into a 36-hour panic attack
  • My nausea is basically non-existent today, a sudden change from the norm
  • I rented a doppler and can’t find the heartbeat (it would actually be unusual for an inexperienced person to find it via doppler this early; still, I panic)
  • I learned of a really lovely woman’s unexplained 15-week pregnancy loss
  • I’m just over 8 weeks and it seems like a lot of people learn at this point in pregnancy that they have unknowingly miscarried

I had a tearful conversation with Tahd tonight about how I feel like a colossal failure when he tells me I shouldn’t be afraid.  Actually, he walked into our room tonight and I told him I was really afraid and he chuckled at me.

Lead balloon?  Meet Tahd.

I try not to be afraid, but I am.  I just am.  Exacerbated by the fact that I apparently seek out confirmation that I should be afraid and use it to pump up my fear when it starts to wane.  Again, this isn’t anyone else’s problem.  When I force myself the think rationally I appreciate the affirmation and support given to me in each of these responses.  I just don’t think rationally that often.

Dialogue of Faith

I hear it whispering from within me.  I don’t understand why it’s there.  I don’t like it.  I fight against it.

Lord, you are good!  1

Good?  Really?  Could He not have saved my baby?  Or if we weren’t to have a baby at all, couldn’t He have prevented me from getting pregnant at all to spare us this heartache?  But I can’t help it.

I will praise You in this storm.  2

But why?  Why praise?  For what? This storm that encompasses the darkest days of my life?  I have been cut apart, physically and emotionally.  I grieve.  It feels hopeless.   I do not feel like God has protected, loved, or freed me.

I will go through this valley if You want me to.  3

Surrender.  I do not feel like my surrender has been voluntary.  I feel like it has been stolen.  Can that really be surrender?  If you take everything someone has and torment them with it, are they really credible when they “give it up?”

These are the things I will trust in my heart – You can see something else.  4

But what?  What do you see?  I tried trusting that before and the only thing I experienced was pain, pain that grew in depth and breadth with each passing day.

But still, it wells up within me.

When my world is shaking Heaven stands.  5

And when it wells up, a small sense of peace returns to my soul.

You are the strength that keeps me walking.

You are the hope that keeps me trusting.  6

Why do I think these things?  Are they force of habit?  Am I comforted by the routines of my childhood?  Was losing Mara a loss so big that losing my faith seemed unfathomable?  Do these thoughts come because I was too traumatized to consider abandoning my spiritual schema?


But I don’t think so.

God!  You took my baby!  My baby! I feel like I can’t go on, can’t breathe, can’t wake up.

The response I hear in return?  “Heidi, sweet one!  I lost my baby, too.  Losing a child is excruciating.”

He lets that sit for a while.

God lost His baby, too.

But it’s not the same, I moan!  You knew!  You knew it was going to happen and you knew what was going to happen afterward.  You knew you didn’t lose Him forever!  It’s so different!

“Really, Heidi?  Really?  It’s only different if you don’t trust me.

“Do you trust me?  Do you trust me?

I don’t know.  Intellectually speaking, no.  I don’t.  Trust in someone who seems to merely observe this breaking of hearts without intervening?  No.  That would be absurd.  But during the past two years, I’ve been working intensely and toiling, brick upon brick and row upon row, building a shield of faith around my heart, a shield borne out of experience, study, and community.  I deny it with my mind’s eye, but when I reach my arms out blindly in front of me, I can’t help but run my fingers into those bricks, my shield.  My faith is there.  It’s battered, but it’s there.  Even when I try to deny it, it stands.  It stands because to crumble, I would have to deny what I’ve experienced with my own body and heart.  I would have to deny my own truth.

So it stands.

And the dialogue continues.

Lord I’m tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I’m so alone
And Lord the dark
Is creeping in
Creeping up
To swallow me
I think I’ll stop
Rest here a while.

This is all that I can say right now
I know it’s not much
And this is all that I can give
Yeah that’s my everything.  7

Lyrics taken from:
1 Lord You Are Good, Israel Houghton
2 Praise You In This Storm, Casting Crowns
3 If You Want Me To, Ginny Owens
4 From This One Place, Sara Groves
5 Your Hands, JJ Heller
6 Everything, Lifehouse
7 All I Can Say, David Crowder Band

My $0.02

If you’re a counselor – even (maybe especially) if you’re a Christian counselor – do not tell your new counselee that “all things work together for good.”

No, no, no!

That is all!

On Making a Chicken Pot Pie

It’s the strangest thing.

For years, I’ve been mostly vegetarian.  Sometime during high school I noticed I just didn’t enjoy meat very much.  It had nothing to do with the ethical treatment of animals or anything like that, although I wish I could say it did.  It had nothing to do with the health benefits of being vegetarian.  I just didn’t like it as much as I liked other things.  As I’ve gotten older and I’ve learned more about both animal treatment and health, my preference has only intensified, and during the past two years I’ve eaten very limited amounts of meat, fish, or chicken.  I still eat eggs and use chicken and beef bouillon in broth, and I have to be completely honest and say I eat cheese with Abandon.  Yes, “Abandon” with a capital “A.”

On Mother’s Day – after we had gotten home from the emergency room and after we had tried to sleep and after we had spent the day wondering how we’d ever go on – my mother told me that someone was arranging a schedule so we’d have meals provided for us for two weeks.  I was shocked.  And humbled.  And appreciative.  And curious.  The quintessential joke about meals like this is that you’ll eat every incarnation of chicken casserole known to man.  As a non-chicken eater, I wondered how this would go over with me.  Mom asked if I wanted her to pass along any dietary restrictions, but I declined.  First, I wasn’t very hungry and anticipated the trend would probably continue for a bit.  Second, it’s far easier for meat-eaters to prepare meat-related dishes.  Since they were going to tremendous effort on my behalf, I wanted to do whatever I could to make it easier for them.

Imagine my shock when I started craving seconds of these dishes – all of which contained meat.  My servings were small, but with almost every dish I went back for seconds or leftovers.  Something about the meat – the chicken in particular – was necessary.  Maybe it was the love baked in, maybe it was the flavor, maybe it was the sauces?  I don’t know.  I only know that since I lost Mara I’ve been enjoying chicken.

So it was that I came to make a chicken pot pie with my own hands last night. A need for chicken.  It was all about a need for chicken.  The recipe is a simple one, comprised of a topping of pie crust topping over a bed of vegetables (which were once frozen and in a “Birdseye” bag) and a cream soup-based sauce.  I enjoy it because of its ooey-gooey goodness as well as the crust.  I make my own pie crusts and quite like them, if I do say so myself.  In my mind, crust makes pies of any type worthwhile!  I wanted potatoes in last night’s version, so I chopped up a few fresh potatoes along with some extra carrots and onions to “pad” the frozen vegetable mixture and precooked them in the microwave.  To that, I added the can of soup, some milk, and some seasonings.  Finally, I dumped in the frozen vegetables, which had been stuck in my freezer for so long they looked more like an iceberg laced with peas, carrots, corn, and lima beans than they did individual, edible vegetables.

Have you ever tried to “declump” a clump of frozen vegatables?  I tried – with various methods!  I hoped they were frozen loosely enough that I could break them apart with my hands, but I think I underestimated the amount of time I had stored them in my freezer.  We’ll leave the talk of how to avoid food poisoning for another day. 😉  Next I tried microwaving them.  I’m sure I could have persisted in this method and eventually won the battle, but it seemed like it might not be a good idea to precook ALL the filling before I actually cooked the pie itself.  I took to the next best thing to patience – beating.  I beat that block of vegetables with nearly everything I could find – spatulas, wooden spoons, and whatever else I happened to have handy.  A few individual peas fell off the larger block, but I found them insulting more than anything else.

So I did it.  I got a knife, a chef’s knife.  A big, sharp, long chef’s knife.  With vigor I plunged the knife’s blade into the block of vegetables and was surprised to be met with…


Back and forth I went with the knife, deftly separating the vegetables.  They didn’t put up a fight at all!  I had hesitated in using the knife because I was worried I’d destroy too many vegetables – either crush them or dice them all into little bits.  But my fears were put to rest, and my frustrations, too, and I was quickly able to put the chicken pot pie in the oven to be baked.

I couldn’t help it, though.  While I chopped at the ‘berg of veggies, I thought about my life, the heartache we’re bearing right now.  As I prepared the pie, I thought it would be easier and gentler to heat or pound the veggies in order to break them apart.  A knife seemed too rough, too brutal, if brutal is a word I can use when referring to things of the kitchen.  But I was wrong.  Sometimes it’s gentler to use a knife.  Sometimes a big “weapon” yields faster and more preferable results.  I’ve cried over the loss of Mara.  I cry most every day still.  I’ve mourned the speed with which we lost her – a heart beat in the morning and nothing several hours later.  From maternity clothes to regular clothes in the course of four days.  The actual surgery I had wasn’t even an hour – mere minutes for her to be cut from my body.

Sometimes knives yield better results.  Sometimes speed hurts less, leaves fewer bruises.  Sometimes the most gentle thing that can be done is to be tough.  It certainly doesn’t feel like this could hurt anymore, but maybe it could.  Maybe there is something to be learned that required this fast loss.  Maybe we were spared another heartache, one like we’d experience had we been heated in a pressure cooker of life or if we had been beaten and pounded relentlessly.  Maybe.

As I prepared the dish, I imagined God as a skilled surgeon, using a surgical blade to cut this pregnancy away from our lives and hearts.  I don’t know why we couldn’t have it and I don’t even know if I care about the “why” right now.  It has seemed to cruel, the timing of it and the speed in particular.  But maybe those things aren’t as awful as the alternatives might have been.

The thoughts felt very cliche to me as the chicken pot pie cooked.  But the chicken pot pie tasted nothing like a cliche.  It just tasted good. How can anything that looks like this not feed your body and soul?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...