I like do-overs. Mostly this is because I am a perfectionist and a do-over gives me a chance to mess up and try things over again. I’ve had many memorable do-overs in my lifetime. God uses them to reveal aspects of my character that need a little tune up or to free me from things that have brought grief or fear historically. I don’t like the hard work of do-overs when they’re happening, but I sure appreciate the fruit they bring in hindsight!
I’m in the middle of one right now, and it’s left me literally flat on my back. I’m at a crossroads in the process. Each day I battle the desire to quit the whole thing and spit in God’s eye. But before I get to carried away, let’s begin with the original version of this do-over:
In spring 2005, I was six weeks pregnant and my house flooded. I had two foster children in my home. My marriage was strained due to recent deaths in the family and the impact of our sudden transition to life with troubled foster kids. I had been holding it together and trusting God for every moment of the 9 months leading to that night, and was leading a Bible study. I thought we could just muscle through that time. But when I came home from study one night to water pouring through my dining room walls and ceiling, something cracked inside. I went numb. Well, actually, I went ballistic first – to the tune of screaming at my husband and swearing like a sailor about all the stress leading to that moment. Then I went numb. The kind of numb that happens when rage plummets to the core of the soul, pulling us in after it.
With time, forgiveness, perseverence and hard work in counseling, my marriage recovered and even grew through that time. We ended up delivering a healthy baby girl and then adopting our two foster daughters in 2006. Our house even shaped up to its pre-flooding state after many months of haggling with contractors. And I thought that whatever I could learn from that challenging time had been learned.
It is this kind of denial that somehow always comes back to bite me in the butt.
When I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child this spring, Gary and I shared a fleeting moment of terror, being reminded of all that happened early in the previous pregnancy. So we prayed about it and decided that whatever happened, we would trust God and stick together this time!
Then our oldest daughter spiraled in to grief. Her teacher left mid-year, reigniting the anger and despair, and raging nights awake that we’d seen 3 years earlier when she had to say good-bye to her birthmother as a foster child. I began to feel that clenching inside, but ignored it and started muscling through the stress again.
Then the house flooded again. As the water damage team ripped out parts of walls, cabinets, floors and ceilings, I kept hanging on to the hope that it just couldn’t get as bad as the first time…
Then at my first prenatal visit, the doctor discovered I was bleeding inside – the placenta had pulled away somewhat from the uterine lining and a miscarriage threatened the baby. She put me on bedrest for a month.
Bedrest… with three kids 6 and under to raise, not to mention a recently re-traumatized adopted daughter and a flooded house that would need to be put back together, that cranked up the stress to new levels. I waited to hear the crack inside. There were lots of tears, some definite swearing, and
And that was the straw that broke this camel’s back