"No one will take your joy"

You know how sometimes things related to babies and other people being pregnant and reading about it and seeing it all. around. you. doesn't seem to hurt so bad. In fact it almost seems like those days when all of those same things hurt like nothing else seem so distant.

Unfortunately today was the latter type of day. And the reminders kept coming and coming.

First, as soon as I got to work I logged into Facebook to check out the group #Cathsorority (also a popular twitter hashtag) into which Michelle tagged me. I, of course, had to check out all the features, add my blog to the list, and check things out. And there it is. A beautiful list of all of the members of the group who are pregnant, what # they are expecting, and their due date. Something that should bring joy - a celebration of new life coming into the world. And yet today, it took everything in me not to write a nasty comment about being considerate about people who can't have children and maybe we should have a list about what month TTC it is and how many different treatments there are.  And then, of course, it occurred to me this was not the most charitable way to make new friends and I decided instead to pray a prayer of gratitude for all of those on the list and ask God to protect the mothers and their unborn children.

I went about my morning, and then headed over to Mass. Feeling I needed it so badly and kind of glad my boss was still tied up in a meeting so if the tears that were sitting just under the surface came I wouldn't feel like a complete idiot OR try to bottle them up.  And then we get to the gospel and this:
Jesus said to his disciples: "Amen, amen I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived, but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also now are in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name He will give you." ~John 16:20 - 23
Let's just say that this didn't help. Nor did the homily that continued the analogy and then went on to say that we won't ever know or understand God's timing, but it is His timing. Ugh. Not the rosy, uplifting Mass I was hoping for. At. All.

I'm pretty sure I left Mass feeling worse than when I walked in - and beating myself for not just being grateful to get to go to Mass and be in the presence of and receive Our Lord. I almost completely lost it in line between the Host and the Precious Blood, desperately begging Jesus to consume me.

I spent the rest of my lunch hiding in my cube.

Then, one of my coworkers (the new Grandpa) made his daily FaceTime call to see his Granddaughter and we all got to look at the new baby and her beautiful mama. And talk about how cute she was. And you'll just have to trust me that there wasn't a way out of this.

At this point, I knew I'd had all I could take. It was 4:00 and if I could just make it 30 more minutes, I'd be in my car alone with my tears for an hour and a half. As soon as I was in the car, I turned on two of my "go to" songs, turned up the volume and let the tears come. (Go to songs: All I Can Say by David Crowder and Blessings by Laura Story. And God, via the shuffle setting, went ahead and picked a few more of my "let it all out" favorites in Word of God Speak by Mercy Me and Refiners Fire by Hillsong.)

Finally, feeling a little better and armed with an awesome, gonna earn best wife ever points, plan for dinner I was able to gain a bit of perspective and drag myself out of my own head.  I got home, asked The Man to put the groceries away, slid into my running shoes and headed out the door. This time the music was as far from the above songs as it could get, but the heavy beats combined with my feat hitting the pavement and the sweat dripping was the final step I needed to pull it together.

The icing on the cake was The Man just saying "I'm pretty sure this meal was Divinely inspired." (The Man loooooooooves to eat and loooooooooves food. This is high praise, I promise. Recipe from here - a new blog I found today. The only modification I made was for my sandwich I used gluten-free bread.)

And lastly, as I typed the words above, the real understanding I was searching for in my music and miles came and I finally saw them with new eyes/heard them with new ears. The promise is right there in the words: So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. While Monsignor was right, we cannot know God's timing, we are given His promise. I must remember to fix my eyes upon Him. To find my joy in Him. To not let all that I have not take away all that I have; the promise I have in Him.

(PS Michelle: I'm very grateful to you for tagging me and bringing me into the group. I never know when stuff like this is gonna happen. If I'd checked out the site an hour earlier or later it might have been a totally different reaction. I'm telling you this because we are enough alike that I suspect you felt guilty and I don't want you to, not at all!!!!! :) The Man is also very grateful, obviously :)).


  1. Rebecca, I love your heart. I had the exact same day today, except remove baby with husband, and I felt every emotion your speak of...in the midst of my tears this morning as I put my makeup on, a verse from a Smalltown Poets rang through my head.

    "Called apart never has meant loneliness but it feels that way any day I'd rather not confess so take away the part of me that forgets the price of Grace..."

    Thank you for reminding me of that breath of grace. "To not let all that I have not take away all that I have." :) I love that.

  2. You are a beautiful and honest person. You spoke to me so much tonight. I am so happy for the new moms out there but at times the tears just want to flow. Let's hang onto our joy.

  3. What Katie said: I love your heart, Rebecca. I admire my friends (real and "online") for various reasons, but I keep coming back to follow up with you because you are such an inspiration for seeking the Lord no matter how life is going, be it fantastic or not-so-much. Keep singing, my friend -- keep leaning in toward Him.

  4. Rebecca, I am relate to what you describe here so perfectly. I was feeling really good at the beginning of the week, but the end of the week, I just felt. so. sad. Everything was setting me off. Hate those days.

    Also, I do the same thing with scripture verses. When they involve anything about motherhood or labor or fertility, I have such a hard time getting the REAL point, and instead focus on how much I hate the analogy. I'm glad your day resolved with The Man and a run in a more positive way!

  5. I love, love reading what you write. Thanks for being a voice for so many of us out there!

  6. **hugs** I'm sorry. Truthfully, I've been a little cranky about the pregnant mommas and nfp posts, which seem to be all.the.time because I'm not married yet and not close to it! The group has changed a bit as we keep adding more and more members to it - not a bad thing - just different when the common aim was that we were all younger Catholic ladies and that was glue.

  7. I love that you went to Mass on a day like that. I think that one those days, the important thing is not to feel grateful about the opportunity to go to Mass (though I'm glad you were able to get there). I think the important thing is to be there. Emotions come and go, but actions are where we really speak our heart. To go before the throne and receive the Lamb, not because it feels good, not because your heart stops aching, but because no matter what's going on with you, you are putting your trust in Him just by your act of being there.

    Your whole story today reminds me of a couple of verses I've been trying to hold onto this month: "In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though it is tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him, you love him, even though you do not see him now, yet believe in him..."

    Love ya, friend; I'm sorry it was one of those tough days, know that you have been in my prayers at Adoration the last couple of weeks!

  8. Ahhh, the snarky comments you want to write ... There has got to be somewhere you can write them anonymously or say them ... It feels so good to just release the emotion.
    I also, like the line about no one taking your joy away from you ... And not questioning (is that possible?)
    I'm sorry it was such a hard day. (((hugs)))

  9. Rebecca, you crack me up (with your PS part...not the rest) because I DID feel SO guilty...like I was supposed to warn you or something! I'm glad that it seems okay, though...but I do feel bad kinda. But I'm glad you're on there so I don't have to send you e-mails going, "so, there was this girl on this secret facebook group that you REALLY need to meet..." LOL

    Trusting God's timing is hard no matter what. I keep waiting for Him to drop a load of money in my bank account, but I guess that's not quite His plan for me.

    Hang in there sweetie.

  10. Oh how I wish we could say those snarky things!! I have often wanted to, and still do! I love the honesty in your post. I have been there so many times. But you are right, no one will steal your joy! I have great faith in God's plan for you. Thanks for writing this beautiful post.

  11. You did the right thing by going to Mass...even though it didn't feel like it at the time! Still praying! :)

  12. Hi Rebecca, I just wanted to stop by and say my heart is hurting for you. I suffered a miscarriage last August, and cried buckets during every Mass for months. It was a real struggle finding a way to celebrate with friends who had babies or found out they were pregnant during that time, but God really never left me. Keep laying your grief and your pain at the foot of the cross, and know that people are praying for you! Also, why shouldn't we have a TTC doc in the #cathsorority group? You are certainly not the only one in that boat, and it can help to feel a community around you. You are loved, sister. Hang in there.