Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wonderful Counselor

I never knew what depression felt like before this. Sure, I'd been “down,” had bad days, knew PMS could be brutal. But this deep black hole that left me unable to climb out of bed, uncaring that I hadn't attended to personal hygiene in three days, this slimy pit of numbness and despair, this was all new.

I sobbed my puffy eyes dry and my voice horse. My heart was stone-cold, robotic. If there had been enough ability to engage emotion, it should have been terrifying, but this all-encompassing grief was beyond even fear.

Where was God? It felt like I had been praying to brass heavens for a lifetime now. It had only been a year and a half since He fell silent in my life, but that could easily have been a lifetime; the lifetime of the baby I expected to be carrying by now.

Everyone who knew me knew I was upset over “the baby thing.” While I'd made others miserable around me for months, even those closest to me could see only the surface. I had been able to hide the ugliest so far.

I tried to fill the emptiness with a precious kitten who had been separated from his mother much-too-soon. It didn't even cross my mind to think myself irrational when I privately tried to devise a way to nourish this helpless creature from my own breasts that ached to fill a hungry child.

If those had been my most unsettling compulsions, maybe I wouldn't have been in such bad shape. But over recent months I'd daydreamed about driving my car into oncoming traffic, unmindful of the lives I would unwittingly involve in my destruction, uncaring for the emotional wreckage my suicide would leave in its wake.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
- Psalm 73:21-22 (NIV)

They called that day “Mother's Day.” I called it “Humiliate-the-Infertile-Lady-by-Making-Her-Stay-in-Her-Seat-When-Nearly-Every-Other-Female-in-the-Congregation-Stands-for-Honor Day.” It was the day I became no longer able to hide.

My dear husband had tried to soften the blow after church, taking me out to a fancy lunch then to the mall for a shopping spree we really couldn't afford. It was Wednesday now and I hadn't been out of bed, showered, brushed my teeth or hair, had hardly eaten since.

I needed serious medical care, psychological intervention. My husband and I were very young, far from family support, struggling in church and friendships, too vulnerable to understand just how critical and precarious my mental state had become.

My friend, if you find yourself reflected in anything I have described, PLEASE know there is hope! This is not a reflection of spiritual lack or failure on your part. God does not call you to do this alone. (Here are some resources!)

I should have been hospitalized. We didn't even understand that was an option. When I was without answers, God Himself stepped in as my Wonderful Counselor. Please join me today at HELD where I share how God worked in my heart that Mother's Day week of 1994. I don't share my story as a model for the proper way to deal with such crisis, but instead because the way God chose to work was so unique and I want to give Him all the glory for preforming a true miracle in my life.

I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.
- Psalm 73:24 (The Message)

© Jennifer Saake, 2011

Monday, May 09, 2011

My Voice

Dare I admit that I have "voices in my head" that I "hear" when I'm reading someone's book or blog? If you also put voices to written words and would like to know what my voice actually sounds like, you can hear me today for about 40 seconds at the opening of a Focus on the Family's interview on infertility and miscarriage.
My sweet author friend Marlo Schalesky and a woman named Sarah, in training to become an infertility specialist, share the microphone at Focus on the Family today and tomorrow. Marlo, now a mom after infertility like me, and Sarah, still in the midst of the heartache of empty arms, share from their hearts and will touch you right where you are hurting.
I will be writing more about that most painful Mother's Day that I mention in the radio clip this Wednesday, both here on the Hannah's Hope book blog, and over at Held, sharing two different sides to the same story. I hope you will join me back here then.
In the meantime, feel free to jump on over to Held today and hear what Julie Donahue has to share about the first Mother's Day when she began to "feel infertile." Julie and I share a long history together through the launching of Hannah's Prayer Ministries and it's always a joy for me to read what God puts on her heart.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The God Who Sees

I tried to smile and find genuine joy, but grief stole in uninvited as the tears silently streamed down my face. I struggled to breath evenly so as not to make obnoxious sniffling noises that would further shine the spotlight on this barren woman intruding on a Mother's Day service...
Please come join me over at Held to read the rest. :)