“Grief. The pain now is part of the happiness then. That’s the deal.”–C.S. Lewis
I know a bit about grief. I know a lot about happiness. In my mere 30 years I’ve experienced quite a bit…much more than most people will ever know. I’ve been so sad that I literally couldn’t pick myself up off of the floor. I’ve been immobilized with fear. I’ve been in the depths. I’m an emotional person. I always have been just didn’t always think it was okay to show it. I’ve watched as my dad’s heart monitor count down from 22 to 8 to 0. I’ve shook and been unable to speak when postpartum depression grasped so tightly on my mind and heart that my ever so strong husband was afraid to leave me alone. I’ve been through some things…some big things…some major grief causing things.
There were so many times when my sinful mind would doubt that God knew what I was going through. When I would ask how He could let these things happen. I have actually cried aloud much as I picture King David did when writing some of the Psalms. I’ve been there. In total agony and unsure that God cared enough about me to bring me out of the depths.
But just as surely as I was in the depths, He lifted me up. He renewed me. He took me from being unable to see & think clearly and gave me clarity & strength. He healed my heart and mind. I still can’t describe how He did it. I am amazed every day that I can actually be wholeheartedly happy. I am sure He used certain people in my life, certain medical interventions, certain therapists, and especially certain family members. But there is still that part of me that knows there was more on my side than I will ever be able to comprehend. I kind of love that. I love that He is so much greater and in so much more control than I can imagine.
I believe that God brought me through those things so strongly so that I can give Him glory and help others struggling with what I have been through. I’ve talked with many friends who have had parents die young. I’ve been able to cry with them & comfort them because I’ve been there and now I’m past there.
I have somewhat taken up “a cause” though I despise that cliche. When I was struggling to breastfeed my sweet LL, I felt alone and like a failure. Everything you hear from pediatricians & read online about infant feeding alludes to formula feeding as second rate. I won’t waste time rehashing the truly mortifying & horrendous things people said and shared while I was struggling. There’s no use here….I’m healed. I’m out of the depths. But my cause is this: I believe that by sharing stories and information about the benefits & amazing blessing that formula can be, I am helping others who are secretly tormented & suffering because of the often self-imposed guilt that can come from the need or choice to formula feed. I know firsthand what the “breast is best” mantra can do to a wavering faith and struggling soul. I’ve made it my self-appointed mission to try to reach & comfort any woman who might be in the same place I was 8 months ago. I can do this confidently because I’ve been brought out of the depths. I’ve been made whole again by God’s sheer grace & mercy. I can’t imagine a more UNChristian thing to do than sit idly by while someone I know is struggling with these same feelings.
Some may say that I need to get over it…I am–others are not. Some may say I am still hurting…I am not–others still are. Some may be annoyed… eh, I’m sure there are many things I do on a daily basis that are annoying. Some may say I need to get my priorities straight & leave this behind me (yup, I’ve heard that one straight away). I can’t. Not in good conscience. Not while others are still grieving. Yes, grieving. Brings it back to the beginning. For me, not being able to breastfeed my daughter turned in PPD which caused grief. I grieved the loss of being able to do something that is supposed to be natural & biological. I grieved the loss of a supposed unspeakably close relationship with my child (yeah, that one’s a myth, too.). I grieved the loss of control over the most basic of mothering skills…feeding a child.
Grief gives way to happiness. I can say that for certain because I have lived it. In my life I have seen how the greater the grief, the greater the happiness when the grief is lifted. So after a long & hard half of a year, I can say I’ve had my vision. I know what I can do to help. I see a purpose for what I’ve been through…to praise God for His strength & mercy, forgiveness & grace…and to help others. I get the amazing privilege of being an advocate, a shoulder to cry on, and a source of strength for the struggling. My hope & prayer is that people close to me can understand why I’m doing what I’m doing. My hope & prayer is that they see past me and see how God has rejuvenated and restored me. My hope & prayer is that I can always see the goodness & blessings that come from struggles & trials.
“‘Yes,’ she thought, laying down her brush in extreme fatigue, ‘I have had my vision.'”–Virginia Woolf–To the Lighthouse
“Stay the course, daughter. And show yourself some kindness along the way.”–Loving Frank