Dwell in Me

Seeking God in the Every Day


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Five-Minute Friday: Lonely

Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker provides a prompt for “Five-Minute Friday“: Write for five minutes only–no editing, no rewriting. This week’s prompt is “Lonely.” Here goes . . .

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I’ve become all-too familiar with loneliness. It comes with the territory of infertility. And frankly, I’m over it.

Infertility struck at a time when I was destined to feel lonely anyway. New city, new state, new church, new house. Everything that’s new feels so cold and empty before you get to know it. Well, except in Houston, where it’s always humid instead.

Dreary Front Entry

Empty Bedroom

When we found out we were infertile, there wasn’t anyone local to turn to–not that we would have turned to anyone anyway. We were shocked. And scared. Lonely anyway, embarrassed by a diagnosis we never expected.

We slowly told a few people. DH’s parents. My parents. Some of our closest friends from DC–which wasn’t our “back home” but somehow felt like it. But at some level, they can’t relate. And it’s harsh to say that, but it feels true. Even now, when I know that I’m not the only one who suffers, that we all carry our own little secrets and challenges and battle scars. But I suffer in this way, a way that seems unfamiliar and unrelatable to my mommy-friends who have more toddler than they can handle right now and like to offer, “take mine.”

But Lonely and I have been fighting and Lonely is losing. I’m kicking it out. I’m meeting people. Getting deep–though maybe not as deep as I could. We still play infertility tight to the chest until we’re sure and it’s necessary, and the knowing might somehow help the other person.

Feeling less lonely nonetheless. And thankful. For the things we have learned. For the little battles over loneliness that we have won. For a God who lets me know every time I need to know it, that he is here and he knows and he understands.

Furnished Bedroom

TIME

Five Minute Friday


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Evicting Fear

I have an enemy called Fear. We don’t get along well, but I have, off and on,  allowed Fear to be a close companion. And not in the “keep your enemies closer” kind of way.

Fear keeps sneaking up on me and trying to steal my joy. She sneaks into my thoughts and tells me lies. Lies like I’ll never be fulfilled if I don’t have children. Lies like I’m wasting my life waiting around for a baby. Lies like I’d better hurry up and figure out what I’m supposed to do with my life, because I’m clearly not having a child any time soon.

For months I let fear live with me. She came in and made a pleasant little home for herself. When my thoughts would stray toward our infertility, she was right there ready to tell me all the reasons my life looked bleak. When I spent a day at home without a lot of work I needed to do, she taunted me. When I wondered where I was going or what I was going to do, she egged me on. “Worry more,” she’d say. “There’s so much you should be worried about.”

Fear has a few buddies she invited over for regular, noisy parties. Anxiety would come. Low Self-Esteem always showed up. Loneliness was definitely around. But the life of the party was Worry. They all came and they always made a mess.

Anxiety always echoed Fear’s haunting chorus: “You’ve got nothing. You’re going nowhere.” And added, “What are we going to do?”

Low Self-Esteem said, “Without children, who are you? You’re not valuable to future generations. You’re not worthy of your mommy-friends. And you’re really letting yourself go these days.” (Okay, there may be some truth to that last one . . .)

Loneliness tried to make me forget that I am never alone, that God is always with me. She tried to make me forget that  my husband, my best friend,  is here for me. Loneliness tried to tell me my friends, especially the ones who live far away, were too busy with their own, more important, lives to have time to talk to me. Loneliness told me that I didn’t fit in–that I’m too long married to be with the “young marrieds” and too barren to hang with the fertile crowd.

And Worry. She got into everything. Every aspect of my life was under her purview. “What if your husband has a terrible car accident on his way to work? Then you’ll really be alone. What if you get everything in order and still can’t make a baby? What if you can’t have any children? What will you do with yourself then? What if . . .”

A mess indeed. I look back on those months and I remember the company I was keeping–the company I was feeding and allowing to be part of my life–and it’s no wonder that I was depressed. That I was always tired. That I felt Hope slipping away.

And then something changed. Slowly, I began to realize that I was nourishing all of these negative voices instead of the positive voices that were standing at the door and waiting to be let in to influence my life. I was feeding Fear and Worry. I was giving them a free pass. But I didn’t have to do that.

And I found in the Word, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love” (I John 4: 18).

And I found in the Word, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

I find today that I am not afraid. I’m not afraid that we won’t be able to have children even with help. It may happen, but I’m not afraid of it. I’m not afraid that I will not be a mother. I may never be a mother, but I’m not afraid. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow–I need to live today.

I am choosing Joy instead of Worry and Peace instead of Anxiety. I am choosing Love instead of Fear. And maybe when Love comes in and finds it is at home, Fear is evicted and can’t find a place to lay her head. Love trumps Fear. Love wins.