Dear Dismayed

Everyone hopes for something. Maybe your hope is to make it through the week, or to get a promotion, or to get married and have children, or to see those children be successful in life. However, hopes like these are incredibly fleeting. Eventually, the things we place our hope in will let us down and we will be greeted once again by dismay.

This is when God enters the picture.

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Sincerely KindredComment
Feeling Forgotten by God

My husband and I had been married for three years. I remember the conversation leading up to deciding we wanted to have a baby. He was finishing up his second to last semester of grad school and we felt like we were in a good place to bring a little babe into the world. To be honest the first time we got pregnant it didn’t take long. We were as shocked as we were prideful that it didn’t take long. I remember seeing the two lines and just thinking how easy it was. And then a few weeks later there was blood. It was almost like an ice cold reminder that life was way harder than I thought. But my optimism got the best of me and month after month I would remind myself that plenty of women have miscarriages and that we would get pregnant again quickly.

Flash forward one and half years later (yes. you read that right) A very long eighteen months of trying to get pregnant again. Each month anticipating and wondering if it would be the day! The month passed where I should have delivered our first. It felt like a funeral every single day for 31 days straight. And finally eighteen months later, we saw the two lines once again.

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A Visit from Grief

Fathers die. But this death felt so unjust. He was only 65. He was in so much pain that week. Where was the mercy? How is this fair? It’s not fair. He was a good man. Why did he die like that? In truth, he had been gone for a long time. He lived with Parkinson’s for fifteen years and my Mom was his faithful caregiver. Even after he couldn’t live at home; she spent four or more hours a day at the nursing home with him.

One month later, after Dad died, I got the call that my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 Uterine Cancer.

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Sincerely KindredComment
I Might Be Infertile

It was a month before I would be engaged to the man beyond my prayers when I found out I might be infertile. 

When you hear that kind of diagnosis you don't hear the word might, you hear how your far-off hopes were intimately strangled right in front of you. 

I had to go to the man I love and say, "I know we want to get married, but I might not be able to have kids. You don't have to marry me if this is not the life you want to sign up for."

It was one of the most powerless moments I have ever experienced.

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Sincerely KindredComment
Why Didn't I Have a Daddy?

I’ll never forget the night he left. He and my brother, who was nine years older than myself, were in a tremendous argument. My brother stormed out slamming the door behind him. My eight year old self raced to the front porch to call after him. Tears raged as I screamed for him not to go. The intensity of the argument led me to believe that my brother would never be back, the thought caused me tremendous panic. I screamed, I pleaded, I begged. He told me to go back in the house. I remained on that porch until he walked out of view, leaving Grand Street and turning right on Pacific Avenue. It was a grand mess and there was going to be no peace. My brother returned that night, my father did not. He walked out on his wife of twenty-three years, his seventeen-year-old son, and his eight-year-old little boy. The older sisters had already escaped the mess.

So the pattern was set, every other summer until the age of seventeen I trekked to a remote mill town in Alaska to hang out in filth and spend hours and days alone as my father worked rotating shifts, slept, and made trips to the bars. In Alaska you can bring your child to a bar, so often we would spend time together there.

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Sincerely KindredComment
Full and Thankful

For some time now I've dreamed of the most perfect Thanksgiving meal. There are long tables stretching from one side of the roof to the other, every inch of the bench seats filled with people I love most cozying together for warmth. The table glitters with just enough candles to light our faces, catching glimpses of the flowers and the piles of food. There's a song playing in the background, some kind of jazz, some kind of smooth. I can't hear what they're saying, but everyone's smiling. Their hands frame the things they can't quite say with words, or reach for another spoonful of homemade stuffing, or wrap around someone next to them. It's perfect. It's all perfect. In my head. 

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Sincerely KindredComment
Lamenting: The Cornerstone of Praise

As someone who feels things deeply, I found myself on the floor of my door overwhelmed by the weight of living in a fallen world. I felt burdened by the brokenness around me and by the ignored hurts in my own life. I felt helpless under the weight of burdens I was carrying. And my friend, in this messy moment, spoke to me about lament. She gave me the book, Prophetic Lament by Soong-Chan Rah and it changed my life. I started to pursue knowledge of empathy and learned how to listen well. I became a student of grief, empathy, and lament. I learned about empathy from Brene Brown. I poured over laments in the Psalms and fell in love with the book of Job.

Years of hiding from my emotions and humanness started to find healing. I learned from my research, my studies, books of the Bible, my classes, the work of Soong-Chan Rah, and life that lament is necessary. Lament is the cornerstone of praise.

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Sincerely KindredComment
Did I Not Pray Hard Enough?

I never doubted that prayer worked. But I doubted that my prayers did when I started to meet people who expected immediate results. People who put their hands on my wounds and prayed for healing until it came … or until I succumbed to eventually and told them, “No, it doesn’t hurt anymore.” 

"You have to believe this will work," said a man at work before he prayed over me. I'd simply said I'd come down with a bothersome little cold when he asked me how I was. The next thing I knew was his hand was on my forehead nearly trembling with the fervency of prayer. He was calling on God in a coffee shop parking lot like he was Elijah calling down fire from God. And after a breathy, drawn out "Amen.", I sneezed. Did God fail? Or did my belief?

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Sincerely KindredComment
My Mother's Eyes

But somewhere between Serena and now, Jesus found me. He showed me this chubby former tomboy had a beauty in her heart. He showed me I didn't need dates or special hairspray. My beauty was curated by His Spirit living in me. My natural beauty was worth preserving and advocating for. I didn't need makeup to feel complete. I didn't need straightened hair to be accepted by others. I didn't need anything more than what He had already given me.

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Sincerely Kindred Comments
I Don't Trust That God Won't Hurt Me

Yes, I trust in God. But as I carry all these broken pieces and tears are relentless down my face, I don’t trust that God won’t hurt me. I pause in shock as the thought slips and my facade of perfect Christianity is dropped between God and I (as if I can hide anything from Him) lay all my cards on the table. I don’t trust your calls.

Are you in this? Have you forgotten me? How could all these random losses, closed doors, and no’s have any divine purpose beyond this mess?

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Sincerely KindredComment