Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Will you walk alongside me?

My soul cleaves to the dust; 
Revive me according to Your word.
My soul weeps because of grief; 
Strengthen me according to Your word.
Remove the false way from me, 
And graciously grant me Your law.
I have chosen the faithful way; 
I have placed Your ordinances before me.
I grasp and cling to whatever you tell me; God, don’t let me down!
I’ll run the course you lay out for me if you’ll just show me how.
                                                                           -Psalm 119:25, 28-32 (mix of NASB and The Message)

Last night I was pressed into the corner of the couch, a pile of crumpled tissues accumulating on my lap. I cried as I poured my heart out to my friend (through Facebook chat, of all places) and tried to put words to the frustration I feel inside. I told her about my impatience with people. The disappointment in myself when I can sense that people expect more from me but I don't feel capable of meeting their standards. The anger that follows when I wonder why people can't show me more grace. The frustration I feel towards God, myself and others.

Why can't this be better? Why can't I be better? Why can't you be better? 

What a sweet thing it is to show someone the ugly parts of yourself and have them love you in return.
I treasure this response from my friend:

"There is grace for this situation... grace for the days when you are angry, when you're tired, when you lack motivation to do anything. When you're sad because your boy isnt here. And it's more than OK to feel those things. I hope the people in your day to day life can show you that grace and allow you to grieve when you need to express it."

Yes. Friends, that is what I need. I need grace. I am a sinner, if it's not one thing it's another.

And I also need to express my grief.

When people asked me how I was doing right after John died, they didn't expect me to say that I was fine. Because, duh, I wasn't fine. I had just lost a child. 

This Sunday will mark three months since the day I heard my baby's heartbeat stop and delivered him (via c-section). Only three months. The pain is still so fresh. I think that because I seem put-together and "fine" to most people that they assume I am fine, but right now I feel so far from fine. I know it takes time to grieve, but how much time? How much crying? How many bitter, pleading prayers?

It's not that my current life is terrible, it's that an unthinkable thing happened to me and I'm still reeling from it. There are good days. There is laughter. There are pages filled in my "joy journal" (a thoughtful gift I received after losing John). God is with me.

But, there is also pain. A desire to talk about my baby, and to hear someone else say his name. To voice my sadness. To have an arm around me or a tear shed with me.

Friends, will you walk alongside me as I grieve? I know it's awkward. I've been in your shoes. I know you don't want to cause me more pain by bringing John up in a conversation (it won't, I promise). I know you don't want to say the wrong thing (I'd rather you say something than nothing). I have grace for you. I don't expect you to know how to perfectly handle my mess. I don't even know how to handle it! But oh, would I love for you to love me through it.

The two people that have most recently heard me voice my sadness both said the same thing: "People that know your situation are probably thinking about John, even if they don't tell you they are. I think about John all the time."

God knew those words would bless my heart. Dear friends, if you think about my baby, please tell me. If you have questions about my pregnancy or John's diagnosis or the c-section or anything, please ask them.

Two weeks after John died one of our pastors called to encourage me. He spoke softly to me as I cried into the phone, straining to hear his words through my tears and desperately wanting them to wash over me and fill me with peace. Then he said something that made me stop crying and grab a pen to write it down.

He said, "We (the church) accept you in your weakness, in your vulnerability and pain."

Oh, how greatly I need that acceptance.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

latest recipes

Cooking has been great therapy for me the last few weeks. My grief has been hitting harder now than it was before. I think the numbness from the shock is wearing off and reality is sinking in.

There's something about the rhythmic rocking of a knife against a cutting board, the sizzle of vegetables in a hot pan and the rush of pride that comes from creating something restaurant-worthy. I have certainly gone through phases of frozen pizzas and takeout, but right now I'm addicted to cooking.

Here are a few of the recipes I've tried lately. Let me know if you try any of them and how it went!
(click on the name of the dish to view the recipe)

This soup knocked my socks off, and it was SO EASY to make!
I did not use lime leaves, cilantro roots or bean sprouts, and I’ve made it once

with powdered ginger and once with a small spoonful of galangal (in place of frozen grated ginger).
I also added sliced mushrooms.

The noodles are good, but it’s REALLY good over jasmine rice!

(scroll to the end to view recipe)
I made this dish with a friend, and I think our version looked
prettier than this picture! Regardless, it tasted amazing.
We omitted the wine and parsley and used
an orange pepper in place of the green. We also used rotisserie chicken,
which I would absolutely recommend doing. This made at least 8 servings,
but it's so good that you'll be sad when the leftovers run out.
On the second night of eating it I added a sautéd mushroom and a
handful of fresh spinach, which I let wilt as I stirred the hot pasta.
I've made this once before, but it's probably been two years!
I followed her recipe to a T and had no problems.
I love when my dinners come out looking just like the picture!
If you like the coconut shrimp at Outback then you'll love this dish.

I'm obsessed with these spicy noodles.
I added a spoonful of peanut butter to the sauce after getting the idea from
the comments section, but they'd still be delicious without the PB.
I ate the leftovers cold the next day and declared that I should
make these noodles each week for my school lunches.

This is our new favorite dip. I added bacon
(I crumbled four strips) and used crushed Ritz crackers
for the topping instead of Panko bread crumbs.
I served the dip with Ritz at a party, but on the way home
Andy suggested we pick up a loaf of french bread
so we could eat more dip at home.
This dip was our dinner, and it was delicious.
(We didn't toast the bread, but I'm sure that would be yummy, too.)