As fast as we go through suffering, God reveals Himself with all the amazing aspects of life to light up our world. I'm not saying he wasn't there while I was feeling all whingy and whiny and ill, of course - just that His ultimate goodness often shines through just at those times when we need a positive. Following the 1st Trimester, for example, you get the 2nd Trimester - and although I have pelvic problems and still feel dicey once I get to the afternoon, I am so, SO far improved on how I felt three weeks ago that I literally could jump for joy!
One of the best things has been being able to re-connect with people. I literally didn't feel up to seeing anyone outside family during the past two months, which can be isolating and depressing, and I was literally scared to get back to the school run and make small talk! But I've even had people over (even though I'm still not on top of the cleaning) - close, holy women friends who completely embrace my new pregnancy and are supporting me through it. I mixed up the day I told one friend to come over, but when I texted her to find out where she was, she dropped everything and came over anyway. Another came bearing baked goods from Marks and Spencer....one of the hugest gifts of kindness!
Speaking of food....I think getting back into homecooked meals has made me feels tons better, now I can do it without feeling ill. I've only baked banana loaf and done bread in the breadmaker, but roasting a chicken, simmering the sauce for meatballs, making everyone's favourite squash soup, the colour of sunshine....we've even had venison in red wine sauce....all the meaning my life as a homemaker generates is almost instantly restored, even if the mopping isn't done. This God-given gift I have of crafting a meal together, creating flavours and wanting to gather the family around the table even if there is squabbling, is AMAZING. Not having it for two months was a hard cross to bear, but of course - it makes me appreciate it all the more.
Which reminds me, I am continuing to pray daily for those women suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidum, or continued pregnancy sickness past 14 weeks, those who cannot get what they want to eat during pregnancy, and those who cannot get what they NEED to eat. Now I am emerging from my own pit of doom, I am focus my energies on prayer and completely offer up my small problems when there are those genuinely suffering. (Not that my suffering wasn't real, but it was all-encompassing, I felt so wretched and alone.) What a joy to give genuine gratitude with a thankful heart!!! (Reminder: order those copies of 1,000 Gifts for the two people you think need it.)
As well as receiving guests, I've been getting out. My friend's father passed away this summer, when I was too occupied with vomiting to even manage a phonecall - her family have since moved house, and I was able to deliver a lovely gift to their new abode and stay and chat for a while. Another friend was commissioned as a Lay Minister this past weekend, and the scripture on the gift I had for her apparently had huge significance and was just one further sign of God's brightness, grace and tenacity through life's difficulties.
Both the friends I am grateful for the opportunity to visit are singing this Saturday in our local Ensemble's fundraising concert on behalf of the Tommy's charity (I am desperately missed the singing and fellowship but will join them again!). I didn't know much about Tommy's until it became a cause close to the heart of another of the group's members, but now it's another cause I regularly pray about. Believe it or not, 3Sisters in, my husband and I were both diagnosed with fertility issues when we first trying to conceive a child, and can understand just a fraction of what people who want to be parents but can't are going through, and my hearts go out to those who have lost children through stillbirth and miscarriage. Tommy's can provide hope and healing for women and couples in this situation - donate if you can!
The final light of joy I wanted to mention here is the "online community" that have buoyed me up during pregnancy, particularly the women whose blogs I regularly read which affirm marriage and family. I am unable to find the words to convey the enormity of my thanks to Sarah Reinhard, currently on book tour promoting A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy. As the first reviewers have said, finding a pregnancy book with a Christian focus on pregnancy, which also empathises with the very real feelings of difficulty and despair we can encounter during pregnancy, is a rare encounter. Just knowing that other people struggle like I do provided a beacon of hope and helped lift me out of my first trimester doldrums.
Join Jen @ Conversion Diary and many others for this week's Quick Takes!