BLOG site of Amy R. Maxwell

I am the wife of B.J. Maxwell (married August of 1997) and mother of our four adopted children.
I am blessed with the awesome privilege to care for & love my husband, invest in & love our children, and keep our home.
May I steward these gifts well, for the glory and praise of Christ Jesus our precious Lord & Savior!

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus . . . sweetest name I know!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Life After a Hysterectomy (Week 5)

Physically . . . Every day I am getting stronger. I have days of shear frustration because I cannot do the things I want to do (which usually stems from not being able to lift or drive). I am tired of being confined to our house. I long to do what I love best - serving and caring for BJ and Lydia. And I am tired of wearing the same old pair of pants because my stomach is so bloated that I cannot fit into anything else :)

BUT - I am thankful that I am beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. My physical pain has turned into more of a “discomfort” as my body continues to heal; and I am hopeful that my days of fighting endometriosis are over, Lord willing. Every day I am getting stronger, and closer to being able to sleep on my stomach!! (That will be exciting!) I am looking forward to swooping Lidi up in my arms and just holding her for as long as I want!

Soon things will be back to “normal” . . . I just have to be patient and let my body heal. I have one chance to do this the right way, and I definitely do not want to go through anymore surgeries or complications in dealing with my reproductive health.

Spiritually . . . I have had an abundance of time in the Word. I have been journaling daily God’s promises and I have been greatly humbled to see how He has addressed specific fears and questions that I have been struggling through. I am learning a great deal about what it means to walk by FAITH. What a blessing it has been to spend such intimate time with the Father.

Emotionally . . . There are days where I feel as if I have been swallowed up in a sea of death.

I often think of the words of Jonah as he plunged to the bottom of the sea (2:5-6):
Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head. I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars {was} around me forever . . .

I cry a lot. I cry every time I think about what has happened – I had a hysterectomy. It seems like a nightmare. Surely this has not happened. Did I really make the decision, by choice, to have this surgery? Am I really void of all reproductive parts? What have I done? What is happening to my body? Would God allow me to make the wrong decision? Was the pain of my endometriosis really that intolerable? Surely it was all in my head. Perhaps I deceived myself into thinking I could no longer handle the pain anymore. What if the pain was really not even there? Can I trust my own heart and motives?

On our way home from church the other day, BJ asked me why I was crying? It was an obvious question, but not an easy one to answer. I began sorting through this question - why do I cry? What is it exactly that makes me sad?

Is it just my hormones, or am I really sad?
Is it because we cannot have biological children?
Is it because I will never get pregnant, or that I will never see God answer my prayer of opening my womb?
Do I cry out of frustration and fear?
Do I cry because I am lonely, or that I just want to be left alone because I fear that no one will understand my sorrow?
Do I cry because I fear that I have destroyed God’s most beautiful gift to women – being able to bear children?
Do I cry because of God’s judgment, or because of His goodness?

The other day I told BJ how beautiful it would have been to see our image in a child – and then I started weeping. So, am I hung up on having biological children? As soon as I said what I did, I realized how much we see ourselves in our adopted daughter, Lydia Grace. How humbling . . . and so marvelous! We have been given this wonderful gift, by God, to steward and train. I truly believe that I am not hung up on having biological children. So, am I deceiving myself? We never pursued fertility treatments because we were confident that God would provide the children He wanted us to have – biological, adopted, or spiritual.

I am, however, cautious about clinging to the hope that God will give us more children, as so many people have been encouraging us in this manner. I am reminded of Peter, when he rebuked Jesus for saying that He would have to suffer and die. And then Jesus said to Peter (a beloved brother), “Get behind me, Satan, for you have your own interests in mind, and not God’s.” I pray that as I mourn and deal with the loss of my womb, that I will not leap from one stronghold (the hope of getting pregnant) to another (the hope that God will give us more children through adoption.) The hope that God has given me has not been His promise to give me more children. Rather, the hope I have is that I am, and will forever be, satisfied in Christ alone. He is my hope and ultimate joy.

I do not have all the answers right now. In fact, I may never know the full extent of God’s will and glory in this situation. But I DO know that I am running “the race” (the imagery Paul so often uses in his letters to the New Testament churches); and I want to feel every ache and cramp along the way (and not just brush it away with a short afternoon cry). God IS at work in me. I am not at a standstill or even wondering where God can be found. He has been here all along and I feel Him at work within me every day. It truly feels like a wilderness experience . . . I know that the “promise land” is just ahead. How far do I have to go? I do not know. Perhaps the crying and sorrow will end tomorrow, or, perhaps not. I have a lot of growing to do and a lot of idols and selfishness to be crucified. I want to feel the sting of my tears and I want time to hurt. How much time (as folks often want to know)? I don’t know. I DO know that I do not want to miss a single drop of what God wants to teach me, and how He wants to comfort me as I mourn . . . for I feel His presence every day through this trial. The trials that have made the largest impact on my life have been those times where I have struggled long and deep.

So, why do I cry? Am I void of the peace and joy I had before my surgery?

I believe I still have that same peace and joy within me, for the Spirit dwells within my soul. And though I struggle with the temptation to think that God is punishing me for past sins, I know that He does what is best for His glory and for the good of His children.

Perhaps the REAL reason I cry is because self does not want to die.

A life in Christ Jesus can be GLORIOUSLY painful. And though I see with such dim, tear-filled vision at the moment, I know that one day I will see how all of this was indeed the most gracious, and loving gift my heavenly Father could give to me.

Lord, help me to proclaim the praises of Jonah (2:6-9):
But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, but I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.

1 comment:

Glenna Marshall said...

Oh Amy,
I wish I had words to respond to this post. I don't.

I so appreciate your transparency and I am thankful that you are healing, in every facet it seems.

Your words remind me of my own struggle with much I want to be like Christ but without having to suffer or put self to death.

As always, even in your moments of despair, even in your unfathomable heartache, you encourage me more than I can say. And the Lord uses you to convict me.

You and Barry and Lidi are ever in our prayers.
Much love to you, sister.