Tuesday, May 20, 2008

12 weeks, 10 inches square

I have officially reached my twelfth week of pregnancy. What is normally a celebrated milestone is, for me, somewhat like crossing the point of no return. Most babies are not miscarried after 12 weeks. Or so they say. Of course there are always exceptions, but I have found that I tend to think of myself as the exception to the rule. Not something I'm fond of; in fact, this thinking is the voice that fuels whatever cynicism and pessimism I happen to hold onto. The voice that says, "Good things come to those who... aren't you." So, every day thus far has been about deciding not to listen to that voice. Sometimes I am weary and it takes too much out of me. But what I've found is that in listening, the weariness becomes absolute terror and fear. I'd rather be tired and trying to believe than without a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Hope, our pastor said, is a gamble. I don't like this idea.

When I was in college, there was a man who stood on a box outside the main building on campus and shouted at the students and faculty walking by, screaming that the end was near and that they should repent of their sins. I was always curious: why did he think that approach would work? What made him feel like evangelizing in such an annoying manner would ever have any positive impact? Now, I didn't do any follow-up on that guy, so I don't know for sure if, indeed, he was without a single convert. But it still begged the question: wasn't he uncomfortable up on that box, yelling at the top of his lungs? Even just a little embarrassed?

The truth is, maybe he wasn't uncomfortable. Maybe he stood up on that box and felt quite right in what he was doing. Maybe he believed that because he'd been baptized or said the Sinner's Prayer or went to church or whatever, he had something on the rest of us. Not in a malevolent or self-righteous way. Just in a way that's misguided. It occurred to me one day that if the box this man was standing on was a good six or so inches bigger than his feet, each way, then he might've actually had a pretty comfortable perch. The more room one has to shift and manuever, the more one feels a little less compelled to think about how they're going to remain atop. There's no reason not to start yelling. What more do you have to do?

Perhaps this can be said about our ideologies. The more room to wiggle we give ourselves, the safer we feel - the more we can decide what feels good to believe. What I have learned recently about God is that the box we get to stand on - and we have to stand on a box, we're called to - isn't comfy. It's not twenty inches square. We're lucky if it's 10. Someone - another pastor, Louie Giglio - recently said in a video I watched on YouTube (and to be frank, I don't know who Louie Giglio is, but I have to say, the man can speak) that no matter what I go through - no matter what you go through - God promises to carry me. What? That's the promise? Wait. I want the promise to go like this: "Remember all that crap you just endured? Well, you passed the test. No more. Now, sit back and enjoy the ride." See what I mean about 10 inches? There's not a lot of wiggle room here. If all I'm really promised when it comes to life is that God will see me through any and every situation that arises, then guess what? I have, by way of accepting this God and asking Him to be in my life, a built-in capability to go through just about anything and actually make it. It's like being one of those all-terrain vehicles when you'd really rather be vase on someone's mantle. We're designed to endure. We're made to experience life at a greater velocity, in more rigorous conditions. We're not supposed to get to stand on our box - where we're supposed to live and reflect Jesus in whatever capacity He's called us - and relax. Not that we can't know joy or peace. But they're not really joy or peace, not the true kinds anyway, if we've got some cushy set up. The minute that happens, we become like that man on my college campus: more interested in our box and what we can do to remind other people to get one, too, than constantly asking God just to keep us sturdy.

Now, don't get me wrong: sometimes, life is cushy. Sometimes things do go great. And I'm all for that. Believe me! But what I know now that I didn't know before is that the minute my understanding of God - not my circumstances - gets too comfortable, the minute I believe He's at all predictable, I better get ready. The box is about to become a great deal smaller. I'd better prepare to plant my feet firmly on whatever ground I've got beneath me. And that ground isn't always going to be what I wish it were. God's promises and God's Word aren't always what warm and fuzzy are made of. Just ask any regular man or woman who wants to know and love Jesus but who also happens to have a human nature. Not the easiest combination in the world. Remember when Jesus said we needed to hate our own family in order to follow Him (Luke 14:26)? Most of us know that simply means that following Christ - really following - is equivalent to one life-altering concept: sacrifice. The box just got a whole lot smaller.

But what I also know to be true now is that, just as we're designed for intensity and struggle, we're in the same breath made for adventure. To have our belief not only challenged but vindicated. I sincerely believe God will not only stand beside us in our darkest hours, He will make sure we know He's there. They're two different things. And the latter makes the former somehow not only easier to embrace, it makes it worth having. Adventure isn't something most of us look for in life these days. Perhaps it's stress or exhaustion, perhaps its apathy or ignorance. Perhaps it's a sense that adventure, in the whole, isn't to be had anymore. A notion for times gone by. The reality, I think, is that adventure - the true realization of what one feels in the deepest part of their heart, the actualization of what we're born knowing to be true - waits for those who are willing to stand on that box, no matter the dimensions, and look up. To expect that, at any moment, there might be more fullness to what we now know in part (1 Corinthians 13:12). That tomorrow, we might know more about this bewildering God than we do today.

So this is, for me, an adventure. Half because it is risky. A gamble. That's what hope is, after all (regrettably or not). And half because the box I'm standing on is outrageously uncomfortable for the moment. I'm hoping it'll expand a bit with time. But for now, all I can do is accept what room I've been given and keep looking up. Never stop looking up.


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59 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear that you are doing well Boothe, I have been following your story since the very begining and you never cease to amaze me. My family and have been praying for you.
Stephanie
(South Africa)

Cyd said...

I have been praying for you as well. I say a prayer to St. Gerard (patron saint of expectant mothers) for all my pregnant friends. You may already know it but just in case you don't:
Great St. Gerard,
Patron and protector of expectant mothers, powerful intercessor before God & wonder-worker of our day. I call upon you and seek your aid. Help me always to do the will of God. Preserve me in the dangers of motherhood, and shield the child I now bear, that it may be brought safely to the light of day and receive the sacrament of baptism. Amen
God Bless,
Cyd

MaryMartha said...

Boothe, Thank you for letting me go on this journey with you! You are so refreshing!
I am praying for daily strength and perspective for you..that you'll rest in THE ONE who carries you!
Thanks for the update!

Anonymous said...

cyd, pray to God the Father on behalf of your pregnant friends. There is no other name to call on.

Cathy Brown said...

Thank you for sharing your heart. I check daily for your posts. When the box you're standing on seems small, it's because God is taking up all the rest of the space in your life. How awesome! God Bless you and your family. I can't wait to see the new one on the way.

derrickandamy said...

Boothe, I am so happy to have an update! I think about you often and continue to pray for your family and this baby!~Amy

Adam & Amy Wilson said...

Boothe, I'm a friend of a friend, but more importantly a sister in Christ. This post and the "a fine line" one meant more to me than I could ever express- I just wanted to say thank you. It's a simple response, but how God has used you to touch me is not. Thank you for communicating something so refreshing and grounded by Truth- it's easy to feel frustrated with the Christian jargon the present-day church has come to accept and express. I know God is glorified through each revelation He is granting you and teaching us- the greatest purpose we have.

Laurie said...

Happy 12th Week Boothe,

I love you girl and I SO UNDERSTAND the voice you talk about that says,
"Good things come to those who...aren't you." I have battled with this voice all of my life. God is winning the battle for me, one choice to not listen, at a time. And the glimmer of hope on the horizon is so much brighter and lasting so much longer. It is a gamble, but we already know the other side of it, and in the end, God works it for our good. I am praying for that sweet little treasure growing inside you next to your heart and I have a BIG HOPE for you. Life is a balancing journey and our choices in the Lord keep us steady. I will continue to walk beside you and lift you all up to the Lord who loves you.

Love, Laurie in Ca.

Pam said...

Boothe~

Your perspective and your thoughts never cease to touch my heart. I sit in front of this screen nodding and agreeing with your words, yet feeling uncomfortable at the truth you share.

I wish my box were larger too, yet I walk away today thanking the Lord He gave me a box at all . . . 10 inches square or smaller.

Thanks for be forthright once again.

Praying for you and your sweet family today.

Pam said...

I meant to say,

"Thanks for being forthright again."

Sometimes my thoughts get ahead of my fingers . . .

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your words. They inspired a song today. I'll send you the lyric sometime.

Blessings,
Donna N.

Sarah said...

Hi, so glad you have updated your blog with such an inspirational post. Actually, your writing is very beautiful and each post speaks to lots of hearts. I am happy that you are doing well, I have checked your blog from the beginning and am inspired by your undying faith and love in God even through your darkest moments.

Jen said...

Oh yay! I'm so glad when you post, Boothe, seriously. I've been thinking about (and therefore praying for) you a lot the last couple of days. Be blessed, precious mother, during this time. Be anxious for nothing, know he holds your right hand forever, and is with you always, until the very end of the age.

You love God. He loves you. Good things will happen, he promises.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear some news, good news. We haven't stopped praying for you; at home and in the NICU.

Amazing post. We love you, God loves you. ~Carly

Kenzie said...

Praying for you Boothe! It's weird how we can look around and suddenly realize that 90% of the box we once stood on is no longer there... terribly uncomfortable, but somehow part of God using and molding us.

Love lots and praying,
Kenzie

JUST A MOM said...

and FAITH is also hard but I pray you have onto your Faith that God IS in full control,,, try and enjoy the little you can,,,,, I still think of you often... hang in here...

Anonymous said...

Go to YOUTUBE. Enter AUDREY CAROLINE in the address bar. WATCH THE VIDEO. Go to audreycaroline.blogspot.com

Angie is amazing. God is using her to speak to many just as he is using you and sweet baby Copeland. God doesn't promise that life will be easy or without pain...but he does promise that HE will walk with us through the storm. Even when we don't 'feel' he's there we're in HIS arms. I pray that God will reveal HIMSELF to you in the rest of your pregnancy...in a way that you will NEVER look at HIM the same. I pray you feel HIS arms around you and HIS peace in your family. And that you learn to trust HIM. Trust that HE knows best. God Bless you in this exciting time in your life. As you know..if you blink...it goes by too fast.

Kaylane said...

Only 28 glorious weeks to go! I'm praying for you!

Nikki said...

Congratulations Boothe! I am praying that you will know the absolute joy of this pregnancy and will at some point come to wait with excited expectation of what lies ahead. I pray that you are overwhelmingly blessed in every area of you life as you continue walking down this road. I think of you often, though I do not know you. As my children and I drove through Nashville only a few short weeks ago I thought of you and your sweet family. Children are such a blessing, as you know better than many of us, and God uses them mightily in our lives to work in us and through us for His glory. I read recently that "Motherhood is the journey out of self centeredness" and it has stuck with me every since because I know it is true for everyone of us in this life calling. THough I am feeing like my box is a bit bigger now than it ever has been it has been so alarmingly small at times that I teetered staying atop of it at all. And I know that though it seems to be comfy for a moment I am not in any way guaranteed this wiggle room even tomorrow.

Congrats on your precious new baby growing within. New life is a miracle in every way.

Grammy and Olivia said...

What a beautiful, insightful post. I know how hard complete trust is once you have walked the path where God does not answer as you had hoped. I struggled with trusting completely for years, knowing that God allows devastating loss, yet I can stand on my little box and confidently shout that our awesome God is faithful and will always be.

Anonymous said...

I have never met you...but all I can say, is thank-you! Thank-you for helping me find my way slowly back to out lord jesus. Thank-you, boothe, for being my saving grace! I am so grateful for you and your family (especially copeland).

Courtney said...

I was so glad to find your blog again after a few months. I have thought of you often since sweet Copeland passed. I want you to know I keep you in my prayers! Remember..they that hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles and run and not grow weary and walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31
Love, Courtney Drake Lankford






Love, Courtney Drake Lankford

Candy said...

It's a hard place to be past that 12 wk mark when you've experienced a previous loss. But you are right. Only through God can we truly have hope and love and happiness. I pray that the next 28 wks goes incredibly smooth for you and the baby.

Leanne said...

I'm standing on a small box right now too, looking out on the unknown...

I wholeheartedly agree with every single one of your words in this post.

I pray for you too.....

I'll pray for the strength for you, every day, to ignore that ugly, sneering voice that says that to you....because I hear it too.

Strength, sister.

Peace to you tonight.

Leanne in Longview
http://mysupplications.blogspot.com

Debbie said...

I will keep you in my prayers. What strength and faith you exhibit. We all need to stand as a witness to God and His plan. Thank you for sharing your faith.

Debbie

JAN said...

I'm a long time lurker-just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this post. It was wonderful, and just what I need to hear.
Thanks!

The Lenda's said...

Boothe-
Praying for peace for you that you may be able to enjoy each moment of your pregnancy and look forward with hope for this child forming inside of you. You can pray the same for me. I will be 7 weeks pregnant tomorrow and go in Tuesday for my first ultrasound. After finding out three times through ultrasounds that my babies have died I am nervous and trying to trust God for His will in my life and this child's life. Hugs and know that you are not alone in your fears but God will take care of you.
Rachel in PA

mom22girls said...

Wow, your words and thoughts are always inspirational and leave me wanting more! Thank you for always putting a new perspective on faith and my walk with God. It is always refreshing! As always praying for you and your sweet family in this adventure.

Ashlee Tomes said...

Boothe,
God speaks to me every time I read your post. I can relate so closely to your metaphor of the box. My box is so small right now, but thank you for your encouragement to never stop "looking up". God bless you!

Ashlee Tomes

Martha said...

I was so excited to see your post. And I am so happy for the good news. I am also amazed at your depth of knowledge...which is a result of the enormity of your loss and suffering.

Made for adventure, Boothe. How true. We may not know the exact size of the box we're on...maybe no more than a mustard seed...but we know Who's in charge of the box and in Whose Hands we are held.

I will be praying for you sweet friend.

KrazyMom said...

I hadn't been by to catch up on blogs in a while and am beyond excited to read of your new baby news! I am so happy for you! We held you up in prayer on Mother's Day as you were one of the first names to come to mind.

I also join you on a very small box. I loved this post! I have miscarried two babies as well and am now unable to have anymore biological children, however I am standing strong on my very tiny box, trusting in His plan as we wait for our new family member through adoption.

I will be holding your family up in prayer.

courtney & garrett davis said...

boothe,
i have been out of touch from the blog-world, but am jumping back in. anyway, i didn't know you guys were pregnant, and am so excited and hopeful for you. you will definitely continue to be in our prayers. God is faithful!
much love,
courtney

Anonymous said...

Have you seen La Belle Dame jewelry(you can google the name) or Faith Creations (ricetrio.blogspot.com)??? You will love both! What a wonderful way to honor sweet Copeland! Hope you are feeling well! Praying for you!!!!

April said...

thanks- you'll never know how much i need that.....

walkingbyfaith said...

Boothe:

Thank you for once again sharing your heart. Your writing is beautiful and very touching.

Happy 12th week dear friend. :)

Praying for you,
Jenny

The Adoption Of William said...

How wonderful....so glad you are doing well! Praying!

With Love and Hope,

William's Mom

www.specialneedsbaby.blogspot.com

Daddy Dale and Mommy Jen said...

Boothe,
I received your blog from a friend of mine. You have been through so much yet still remain so strong. What an inspiration to everyone! I am wishing you a healthy and happy remainder of your pregnancy. You deserve it. Please know that we are praying for you! Have faith in all you do and know that you have reached a great milestone! Looking forward to following you through the rest of this journey :)
Jennifer

Heather Ledeboer said...

18 days ago I gave birth to our son Sawyer who died at 26 weeks. I have been blogging about my journey http://blog.mom4life.com/ and someone linked me to your blog and your beautiful video of Copeland because they said the song on the video spoke of the same words I was using in my blog posts. I watched the video with tears in my eyes and started reading some of your more recent posts. I loved your statement here: "I want the promise to go like this: "Remember all that crap you just endured? Well, you passed the test. No more. Now, sit back and enjoy the ride." I can really relate to that statement. From one mom to another on this journey I want to encourage you and thank you for letting your words bring healing as God guides you.
Heather
(North Idaho)

Mandy said...

Thinking of you, Boothe and hoping you are doing well. I am praying for your pregnancy and the little life that you are carrying. Please know that I think of you often. Keep in touch.
My new email is bm4boys@yahoo.com
We are busy preparing for Miles for Madeline 5K Twilight Walk/Run on June 7th, Madeline's first b-day. It is exciting to see how God is blessing this event and using Madeline's life to minister to others. Keep us in your prayers too.

Mandy
GA
www.madelinegracefoundation.com---check out our foundation's website and the slideshow about the race.

Dev said...

i have been reading your blog since before copeland's birth. your story is truly inspiring. and the way you continually point to God's love in your life even through your pain is amazing.

God bless the Farley family, and the new little bundle on the way!

KellyD said...

A dear friend sent me a link to your blog. It appears we have many similarities in our suffering upon suffering. I have been blessed by healing. Hope is never easy. I have 3 babies with me (not all are babies now) and 4 with the Lord. I am encouraged by your story and your faith. I had a deep pit of time where I could not trust the Lord with my hopes. I am so grateful to be out of the that darkness. I am so thankful that you are open and honest, as I tend to long for that and I know people that have similar pain long for that as well. God bless you and your family. I will pray for you.

Mary said...

My good thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

Praying that all is going well! Would love an update! Praying in Franklin, TN! Missy

Karen said...

Boothe,
Praying for you today. Hope you are feeling well.

Heather Ray said...

Hey Boothe-I don't know if you remember me. I am friends with Katie Bealle. You sent me a message on facebook after seeing on Katie's site that I was dealing with a miscarriage. Well, that was July 26 of 2007 and we are expecting a baby boy on July 24 of 2008. I am so thankful that God is going to take a terrible day and hopefully give me such joy. Like you, I am still greiving the loss of my first child, but your words were so helpful as I went through those dark days. Thank you for allowing God to use your words to reach others. I have enjoyed every moment of this pregnancy, knowing that God could allow it to end at any time, but that He would also bring me through that as well...stronger than before. I must admit that we didn't paint the nursery or put furniture together or even complete a registry until well into the 3rd trimester, but it wasn't because I didn't trust God. He had just taught me that He is in control here, and that these babies are not mine, but His. And if I am not meant to take care of them here on earth, I can't imagine anyone better than their Heavenly Father. As I feel Parker's foot move so sweetly in my tummy, I am praying that you will find a peace and be able to enjoy your pregnancy and the possibility it holds.

Wendy said...

Thank you so much for your words - they always seem to reach deep inside of me.

Katy Southern said...

Hey Boothe- It was great to meet you last night. It did not surprise me that you are as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside. We have several mutual friends and like I mentioned, I have seen links to your blog in so many different places. It is always amazing to me how we are all connected. Thank you for being so honest, strong and courageous. You are a light to all, and your words fortify me in so many ways. I am praying for you, your family and the sweet baby in your belly!

elizabeth engelhardt creations said...

Congrats on your new pregnancy. I kept up with you for awhile with Copeland, and I am just checking back in. You are an inspiration. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, even when it seems to still be hurting. I can't imagine losing a child, and in all that you have been going through, I am happy to know you are still relying on God. Keep your head up.
Blessings.

Jenn said...

Boothe, I pray all is well w/you & your beautiful family. I think of you often & pray for you each time I visit your blog. You are deeply loved!

Vanessa and John said...

As much as I (and the rest of the world) love your writing, this one has been the one that really touched me most. Good luck at the appt, i know it will go great b/c God and so many prayers will be around you and your husband! So happy for you!

Anonymous said...

I have checked your blog five times today..waiting to hear how the doctor visit went. I have been moved to tears many times since I first began reading your blog about three months ago. Your story has changed my life and brought me even closer to the heart of God! The song that continually comes to mind when I read your story is "Give me Jesus." When this world is too much to take I want to just cry that out to Him to be your comforter and your sheild in this time. May God bless you and the life you are carrying!

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