Six Months

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It is funny how grief comes on you in waves, and then it abates, and then it sneaks back in to hound you later. Eventually, though, you numb to the water’s chill and you learn how to brace yourself against its powerful rise.

Six months ago, I miscarried. Again.

I’ve attempted to not make a big deal of our desire and inability to have children in this forum, though I have mentioned it once or twice in passing. The reality is, however, that it has been an incredible force of pain and growth over the course of the past three years. And that grief ebbs and flows, continuing through every season.

Four months ago, I had a manic fit and decided both to migrate my blog and bring it back to life. I accomplished one and failed miserably at the other, as the tide threatened to pull me back under in the following weeks. I appreciate your never-ending patience.

Though it has been difficult, depression has not won. Those of you who know me well know that I have experienced freedom these last few years, but it is hard-won freedom. Most days are minor battles, with major ones scattered throughout the landscape. Sometimes, the major battles last for days and sometimes for only hours.

The last week has been a full-out battle for my soul in ways that I may never comprehend. My soul has been so incredibly downcast, my heart so very angry and irritable.

And yet, tonight, one of my best friends gave birth to a beautiful baby girl — long hoped for and dreamed of — and my soul rejoices greatly at that news.

With this incredible new life, however, I also find myself awash in fresh grief that I will not be able to join my friend yet in this new adventure.

It is amazing what can happen in six months. We are trying to wait with eagerness for what God has planned for us in the months and years to come, but it has made us weary. I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the verse that says, “A hope deferred makes the heart grow sick.” It is truth, and so I dearly love it. But, alas, it also is so clearly and obviously truth. Of course a hope deferred makes a heart sick! Why would it do anything else?

I guess if you think of us, please pray for us. There are more good days than bad days, but the bad days still hang out with us sometimes. We don’t want to be bitter. Or angry. Or unable to enjoy what God has so graciously given.

Regardless, I’ve made the decision for this blog to stand mostly empty for the time being. Between my workload, my time with and serving my dear husband, the myriad of things we do regularly with our families and church families, and finally attempting to move forward on my thesis and finishing my master’s degree, I simply do not have the time for this space’s upkeep — and I think that’s okay for this season.

You can still find me on Twitter (akatereynolds) and now on Instagram (akatereynolds). Occasionally, I’ll still put together blog posts over at summitview.com/blog (because it’s a part of my job that I’m hoping to be more faithful with).

I’m working on enjoying life, on capturing it through a camera lens, on what it means to rest. Sadly, to report, I’m not very good at any of it, which is all the more reason to do fewer things — that I might grow to be excellent in those things I do choose to do.

I’m sure this will be my endeavor through the many seasons yet to come.

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Small (Vague) Update

Hi everyone. I know I’ve been incredibly absent lately. The beginning of the year rolled in like nothing I’ve ever seen, and now Christopher and I are processing some things that have happened in the last week. Essentially, we could really just use a lot of prayer. We want God to be glorified in all we do, particularly in the attitudes we hold in our hearts.

Anyway, I know that’s terribly vague. Maybe someday I’ll feel up to writing about what’s going on, but today is certainly not that day.

Thanks for loving us! We are grateful for the people God has placed in our lives.

I apologize for my unplanned hiatus…

…it will continue at least until the end of November, and here’s why:

http://summitview.com/blog/entryid/60/no-media-november

If you have questions, and you know me personally, you can send me an email (I’m checking that twice a day), text, or grab me sometime when you see me. I look forward to returning to this here blog and having my heart set right again. See you soon!

Upcoming & Now Online…

I do, in fact, have a Weekend Workroom to post, but I’ve been sucked down the Hurricane Sandy rabbit hole (because I am a news junkie – there is no doubt). Hopefully I’ll get that up tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, there’s a new post of mine at the Summitview blog about how literature affects my desire to be in the Word. You can check it out here:
http://summitview.com/blog/entryid/49/jane-austens-impact-on-bible-reading-and-other-thoughts-about-the-literature-bible-connection

And, just as a disclaimer, I did have a different title for it originally… Don’t remember what in particular, but it was a little shorter! Enjoy!

Thursday Thoughts: What I Learned at a Dueling Piano Bar in Omaha

As the finale for my brother-in-law’s 30th birthday, Christopher and I met up with him and his wife for drinks at a dueling piano bar in Omaha. It would be a new experience for everyone and we just hoped it would be fun.

It was definitely a new experience.

First, it was extremely loud. Set in the back room of a sports bar, the room consisted of a bunch of tables (filled with all sorts of people, including a few bachelorette parties) and some pretty sizable speakers that washed out any ability to hear even the waitress trying to take our order.

Second, it seemed innocuous enough at first. A few well-known songs. Guys playing piano, singing to each other. And then came the first hit of raunch, which we assumed was in passing and would get better as the night progressed.

But, third, we were wrong. It became progressively worse. And, to be honest, it’s not the cursing or lewdness that got to me the most: It was the (seemingly) endless attack on marriage.

Marriage is the end of fun, of enjoying your partner. It’s all about how one spouse can manipulate the other. Better enjoy the last night or nights you have before it’s all over.

Chris and I later talked about how we’re surprised anyone actually gets married anymore. There has to be something built into us that knows it is supposed to be meaningful, worthwhile, and beautiful. Most of the world has just seen the bad examples, the “irreconcilable differences,” the affairs, the drifting apart after multiple decades together.

The Christian side of things isn’t really any better. More than half of those marriages end in divorce, just like the rest. What’s missing? Why are we failing at something we so obviously desire but just can’t seem to get right?

About a month ago, I had a pretty rattling dream where I was surrounded by a number of believing couples whose marriages I greatly respect who, at the influence of one member of the group, decided that they should all get a “mass” divorce and swap wives. (Most of this is probably due to subconscious fears rooted in experiences at one of the churches my family attended while I was growing up, which is a long, crazy story.)

And, as they began to strip off their wedding rings and celebrate the finalized dissolution of their marriages, I got up on the table and started yelling at them about how foolish they were, about how God would never divorce them – and He had every reason to do so.

Which is BIG for me, you know, because whenever I start yelling in dreams, nothing actually comes out of my mouth. I typically start yelling and realize that no sound is coming out, and become increasingly burdened until I wake either shaking or weeping.

But I was definitely yelling in my dream, and I awoke with the words, “God will never divorce you,” rolling over and over in my head. There is so much power in those words that we too often neglect.

You see, Christopher and I are married. We took vows in front of family, friends, and God, and we celebrated in style like so many others do. But we are committed to more than just one another. We’re committed to something deeper – that Christ’s sacrifice for the Church (His bride) ought to shape us and how we understand marriage. And divorce is not an option.

It’s a covenant that’s deeper than affection. It’s rooted in the very fact that Christ chose us when we did not deserve it, but He did it anyway. We whore after lesser things, thinking they will fulfill us. We have been unfaithful to the Faithful One. Yet, though we fail Him time and again, He upholds His covenant with us that He will never leave us or forsake us.

Marriage can be a beautiful, life-giving thing. The world may see chains, but I see freedom in the fact that God will hold me to my covenant to this man. Freedom from fear. Freedom to believe that, in the same way, God holds Himself to His covenant to me. He will never divorce me. What a beautiful truth upon which to build my life and my marriage.

And, to think, I learned that at a dueling piano bar in Omaha.

The Summitview Blog

Hi all! As part of my job, I’m writing occasional posts for the new Summitview blog (www.summitview.com/blog). It should be fairly similar to the feel of this blog, but trying to stay in line with the church’s vision (so maybe not so many recipes and craft projects, you know?)

Regardless, you can check it out every other Friday. My first post was due this past week, and can be found at:
http://summitview.com/blog/entryid/22/triumph-and-hope-in-challenging-places

Dependent on how the rest of the day goes, I’m hoping to off-load some pictures for a Weekend Workroom post that I think is pretty cool. Stay tuned!

Fighting the Undertow

un·der·tow [uhn-der-toh] noun
1. the seaward, subsurface flow or draft of water from waves breaking on a beach.
2. any strong current below the surface of a body of water, moving in a direction different from that of the surface current.
[from dictionary.com]

One of the things I’ve been struck with the most lately is something I wrote in my last entry:
Life continues on. It doesn’t seem like it will when we see the charred remains and ash is still resting on your car in the morning. But, one day, you drive home and realize the smoke isn’t pluming into the sky any longer. One day, it does begin to rain. You celebrate another birthday, another homecoming.

But today, I’m still a little overwhelmed. I am, however, praising God for the rain, for the fact that He protects, and for the blessed assurance that He both sees and knows each and every one of us. 

And it’s true. Life continues on. It has after several horrible and tragic events occurred, as it has for millenia. Fires destroyed houses and lives. Cancer has walked people we love into incredible places of faith. A gunman took lives in a movie theater, of all places.

It is nothing new to me that life is hard, but I too easily stuff it away and let it simmer under the surface, which is what I’ve had to fight for the past few years as I’ve moved my way out of depression – because if I don’t fight the undertow of this world’s trajectory, it is too easy to be pulled under.

So I’ve been in hiding, to a large degree.

As an introvert, I expend incredible amounts of emotional energy to be around people. It’s not that I don’t love people – because I really do – it’s just that it takes me longer to recharge after being social. The fact that I now work most days in a given week means I’m now social more days every week.

It’s good, and it stretches me, but it’s been hard to recharge in ways that are effective, and so this blog has taken a back seat, and I want to apologize for that.

Christopher and I were talking the other day about how freestyle isn’t really the most efficient use of your energy (because we went swimming, so we were talking about it), and how if we were in the middle of the ocean (I’m assuming there would be no sharks to eat us, but maybe he thought differently), we would want to do something that was more efficient to get us through the waves and back to land (eventually, because the ocean is BIG).

And I think that’s kind of where I’ve been. I don’t splash around a lot on the surface, making it look like I’m trying to make my way through the water – I’d rather slip underwater and glide with the current rather than try to fight the waves (like with a nice breaststroke). But I’ve definitely been processing under the surface – lives being changed by fire and cancer, a former classmate’s death in a movie theater, and even the stupid stuff that really doesn’t matter so much like our cars both getting hit in the church parking lot in a freakish accident that I’ll get into later this week.

It’s not that I’m completely processed, but I’m working on getting there, and I’m now at the stage in my processing where I really should be writing a lot more than I am, so maybe you’ll hear a little bit more from me.

But what it all boils down to is that Jesus is the only way for me to fight the undertow. The grace that rescues me in this life and allows me to stand in His presence in the next is the only force that isn’t degrading from this world’s entropy – His grace won’t get shot down in the middle of the night by a crazy man; it won’t burn with the hottest of blazes; and it will always be in mint condition (unlike our car).

And I have to cling to that, even when it seems like there’s nothing to do but to keep swimming and make it to land somehow. It’s the only thing that can keep this world from pulling me under.