I never would have thought that this day would come so early in my life. The day I would say that I. hate. shopping.
The reality of the matter is that I don’t hate every kind of shopping, and I absolutley don’t hate the effects of shopping (getting things for other people or coming home with nice things), but the fight I put up at the mall yesterday drove me to the conclusion that I really do hate the actual act of shopping.
I hate waiting in line for someone to go get me the size of shoes that I need. I especially hate waiting in line to check out. (Shopping after Christmas=people returning loads and loads of…stuff.) I feel like no matter how fast I walk and how hard I shop the sale racks, my time and money get sucked into a black hole. Not only does my time and money go away way too fast, but shopping inevitable surrounds me with frustrated and impatient people. These types of people are ENERGY VAMPIRES, and not my fav crowd. I hate the materialism that I don’t want to buy into but inevitably do when I’m at the mall. I feel like such an American…glutenous and envious and I’m not proud of it. Boo.
Between all the holiday parties, Christmas cards, and presents, I have been in and out of at least 40 stores in the last month. Craft stores, grocery stores, office stores, department stores, specialty stores, etc. etc. I feel a little exhausted from all of the holiday madness. I love giving and getting gifts, I love seeing family, and I love spending Christmas money. But I think I’m done shopping for awhile. YAYY!!
I’m sure there will be a day in a couple months where maybe I’m ready to shop again. (And it will be for our baby…he is due Feb 19th!!) But I am trying to cultivate in my heart contentedness, and running the opposite way of the mall is a great help in this venture.
As for groceries and such…I have figured out a way to only go to the store a couple quick times a month. I will tell you about that next time. =) It’s fantastic.
Happy New Years…and happy resolutions! Mine is to shop less and love more. Thank you God. =)
We decorated our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving. It was SO fun, and I feel like we have the perfect size of house for decorating because it’s not too overwhelming but we have plenty of space for all of our decorations!
This year, it was time for us to get a fake tree. The last three years, we have ventured out into the wintery grossness and sawed down a beautiful, smelly-good tree…and despite how beautiful and LONG the fall weather lasted this year, I have felt especially defeated about Christmas getting closer. I just didn’t want to deal with bundling up, picking out, cutting down, and cleaning up the mess of a real tree. The holiday season becomes especially difficult when you have experienced loss during the year, as you might know. So we got our sweet door buster, pre-lit Christmas tree (that Kevin RAN for on Black Friday and valiantly swooped up!) set up in a matter of minutes — and it looked awesome! I’m sold on the convenience already. (Such a 21st century American mindset, I know.) We then proceeded to get out all the ornaments we have collected over our 24/25 year lives and adorn said tree.
My emotions got the best of me when I pulled out a couple ornaments that had been tightly wrapped at the bottom of the box. I forgot about those two little ornaments that we bought last year. I purchased them so that we would be able to have a little memory of the two babies we lost that year in miscarriage. One is a shell that has a beautiful pearl sitting right in the middle. It says, “Every life leaves something beautiful behind.” The other is a little angel baby, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing ever. What made this experience even more emotional was the sinking feeling in my stomach when I realized I would have to go out and find two more ornaments for two more babies we had lost this year. It was horribly sad thinking about that trip to Hallmark, but something I wanted to do anyway. A 24 year old shouldn’t have that many ornaments on her tree, representing children lost. No one should. “It’s not fair,” I find myself wanting to say.
It’ feels unfair that we have to go through another holiday season with significant pain…the pain of having a quiet house…the pain of yet another year with no babies, not even growing in my womb. I’m sure other women feel this way too. I have a couple dear friends who are in the “infertility” camp with me. It’s tough. It’s a very lonely place, especially in a baby-crazed culture.
HOWEVER sad this all might be, and as I have said time and time again with our losses…God has drawn near to me in my brokenheartedness like he promises he will in Psalm 34:18. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” There are so many situations that people find themselves in where they are just crushed in spirit. Depression. Failed marriages. Disappointing and hurtful family/spouse relationships. Losing loved ones. Being hated or gossiped about. Loneliness. The list just goes on and on.
There are days where his comfort feels so far away, but I know that his promises HOLD UP. He cannot fail in keeping his promises because he is God. I trust that he won’t. So I find myself, in the dark days, on my knees. Begging for more of his presence. Begging for his promises to hold true in my life. “The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him and seek him.” Lamentations 3:24. (Lamentations is my new best friend.) I am holding the Lord to this…and I know that something amazing is about to happen.
I had a sweet friend share something with me this week over a cup of tea that encouraged me so much. She and her husband haven’t dealt with infertility, but she thought of me and cared enough to share what she had been studying in her Women’s Ministry about the birth of John the Baptist in Luke 1…yet another story in the Bible of a couple who is infertile. I didn’t realize that John’s mother, Elizabeth, was infertile. I was again reminded that I am SO not alone in this battle. It’s all over even in the Bible! It says “both were righteous before the Lord, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” This was a huge confirmation that it’s NOT MY FAULT. There isn’t something spiritually hindering us from having a child. The inability to have children is purely a result of the fall. Sin in the world=brokenness, loss, and pain on this side of eternity.
My friend shared with me that in every Biblical example of infertility, God is about to do a MIRACLE! It makes me tear up even as I type this. Sarah…Hannah…Elizabeth. I don’t know if our miracle is going to be having a child biologically, or through adoption (which is absolutely just as miraculous as having our own children…and we FULLY trust that everyone involved in the adoption coming up this February will experience God’s miraculous nature…more to come with that later =) Already our hearts have become burdened for the orphans of the world, leading us to pursue adoption. And we feel that there is probably more adoption to come in our family…probably international. It could be a miracle in the spiritual realm that we will encounter out of our desperate hunger and thirst for truth in this desert place. We probably can’t fathom what our miracle will be, because God is so much bigger than we can think or even imagine!
Whatever it is, I trust that God will provide this miracle. The Bible often when talking about God’s promises willl say something about them going on to be “fulfilled in their time.” This is our God. He makes promises, and he keeps promises. HE IS GOD. I WILL not lose sight of that, no matter how painful my life becomes.
Kevin has reminded me again and again when darkness tries to surround, that the fear of the Lord isn’t something to take lightly. Whether or not our situation sucks, if we lose trust and hope in a God who clearly holds the UNIVERSE together, we are losing everything. We have felt a lot of confusion over the last couple years in our losses, but “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Proverbs 1:7. We aren’t the first ones to experience pain. And though we haven’t gotten a tangible answer to the question “Why?,” we will continue to walk hand in hand with a creator who we trust with our lives. Because if it’s not everything, then our faith is worth nothing. and I’m all in.