I used to do their hair at work, the girls in my class after school. I would try to be gentle, but sometimes I’d pull a little too hard and cause a wince or a flinch and one time even tears.
“I’m sorry, sweetie,” I would say. “Sometimes we girls have to go through a little pain to make ourselves beautiful.”
And in the end she would bounce off with a braid or a ponytail or an intricate hair design, to look in the mirror and compare hers with her friend’s.
Every now and then the pulling would be too much, and one of the girls would ask me to stop and would walk away unfinished, or with nothing at all to show for it. Sometimes the pain just didn’t seem to be worth the promise of beauty.
I am that girl today. I want to walk away– no, I want to run away, as fast as I can, away from the pain and the fire and the refining that is supposed to make me beautiful and more like Him. I hate it. I hate it so much.
I cannot walk away from this. I cannot say “stop now please, I think I’d rather just be plain old ugly Erin today.” But to sit here, under these hands that promise my good, and have it hurt so deep and so much, it just seems unbearable. I break. I fall. I cry out for mercy. Oh Lord, for mercy.
Sometime about three weeks ago, the little person beneath my heart died.
This little one, so loved already, so cherished and hoped for, just gone– gone.
I have walked this road before. I do not understand why I must walk it again.
I have prayed in recent days that God would keep my hands open, so that the blessings He pours into them may overflow into the lives of others. Now He asks me to open my hand and give up this dream that was a child, a baby to be born in August, a little brother or sister to be a friend to my little girl, a precious new person to cuddle and love and hold and rock. I would rather open my hands and share blessings, I tell Him. He requires this blessing to be given back to Him, far too early.
I do not understand.
I know that He is good. I know He loves me. I know He is faithful and that He walks with me through this valley.
I hate this valley. I don’t care if it makes me more like Him. I don’t care if it is a fire to bring me forth as gold. I don’t want to be gold today. I am weak. I am so weak. I cannot rejoice in this tribulation.
You will forgive me for my weakness, my brokenness, won’t you?
My mind knows He is good and He loves me. But my heart breaks under this grief. I am too weak for this, too weak.
I can’t do it, Father. I am supposed to be filling now, my belly swelling with brave new life, and you empty me in every way. I can’t do it.
He is a good Father, with me in the fire, with me, carrying me, lifting me up and bearing the worst of the body of this death.
He is a good Father.
Oh Lord. Be near.