ok. i'm almost finished. Too many tears and probably too little coherence. i'm worried in a million ways about telling this story wrong, but it will be what it will be. Today is part 5, and the final piece, part 6, is almost ready to go. You can read the other parts here:
PART 1 - courage
PART 2 - rescue
PART 3 - life
PART 4 - bereft
When i was 8 weeks along, i told the program director at the college i was going to that i was pregnant. i was starting to get tired of hiding. Truth began to peek. i don't know why i didn't just pack up and move to Kelowna. There were a million reasons, for one; it felt like i was in the twilight zone - and as much as my loneliness cried out to be with Neil... i needed a moment to catch my breath, to make sure he really wanted me, that we weren't compounding mistakes. i wanted to finish my program - thinking that in some ways it would be the last accomplishment i would ever have. (Little did i know that the accomplishment i was undertaking next would be bigger than any others to date). And then, Neil and i both wanted to prepare ourselves for the other... (i just typed out about a dozen sentences trying to explain what i mean by that and i realize that i'm going to have to leave it out for now because there aren't the right words.) ;)
"Y'know, if i had to try to think of something that'd be harder to go through than this, i don't think i could. It's very lonely because i don't want to talk to people about it. i cry alone. It's strange, but i don't even trust this journal enough. i feel so completely inside of myself." -february 1996
February 16th, i went home for reading week - and despite my protestation that i didn't want or need a ring, Neil felt better putting one on my finger and we found ourselves officially engaged. Everything felt different when i went back. i wanted to be done. i was divided as i prepared for finals and year end. i tried to focus on school, on getting enough fruit and veggies for the tiny one who was changing my body daily, studying and singing - but my heart was gone. It stayed behind in Kelowna with Neil. i remained divided for the rest of the school year. i cringed seeing my maiden name on my medical records - i hated knowing that i had put my tiny daughter in such a precarious position by being careless with my own body. As gross as the comparison is - when i look at my attitude towards that part of my life, i was like an animal scratching dirt over its own mess. i wanted to cover it, leave it behind and disassociate myself from the foolish girl with the tear stained journal.
Neil sent me love notes full of promises and declarations - and i read and re-read them, folding them into that journal that has survived these 16 years...
My mom gently prodded my sorrow - sending me Oscar Wilde and sewing me two summer maternity dresses covered in butterflies.
"i'm not showing at all yet, but i can feel my uterus if i push my belly." March 1996
(It's so strange to see my awed, inexperienced perspective as a first time mama)...
And then more of the same... the aching loneliness - the longing to be loved and the cry to be known - but despairing that anyone other than my neil and God would ever want to bother... and thinking and hoping that these two would be enough.
"i'm sad. i already tried to sleep and that didn't work. Maybe i could just lay here for a while and hope that i'll drop off. G'night vent. Hey, vent is wind in french... now i see why..." March 1996
The next few pages contain little other than the sentiment, "i'm tired." expressed ad nauseum in the same used up sentences scrawled in untidy ink across pages that deserved better. "Wheuf i'm pooped," "Sooooooo tired." "Can barely keep my eyes open." But every so often, i would summon the strength to try harder to express where i found myself:
"My jury is done, but i still have to finish my professionalism paper, an arranging assignment, my jingle, my scale jury and then little things like the annex concert, preparing for the banff trip and a few things in the recording studio... and then prep for the wedding. Ack. i need to be done and over with this section of my life. Know what? i'm tired. Not necessarily physically, but just in every way." March 1996
"i wish sometimes i would die." March 1996
"my life... i've made it suck. i would give anything to change the last few years of my life. There's so much i would take away. i'd sure keep neil. Oh, God, i wish that i could wake up. i wish that i would die or run away or disappear. i wish, i wish, i wish. There's always so much that i wish and want and need." april 1996
"i lied to someone about being pregnant. Someone i don't even know told someone else who told someone at school that i'm pregnant. She asked me and i said no... i panicked... but really i am. i'm sorry. i lied. i feel dumb. i'm going to tell her the truth." April 1996
And i did.
Slowly over the next weeks, months and years - Truth became my banner. People have often asked me why i am so open about my first pregnancy... Don't i know i'm forgiven? Don't i understand that i'm free? And i feel a little bit like Paul when he boasts about his weaknesses - because when he does so, it shows the glory of God.
God has been so very, very good to me.
Graduation melted into home-going melted into wedding melted into life... and time passed and separated me from the time of my my rescue, but i remained rescued. i would forever be the girl who had been rescued by a Father who loved her so very, very much. Time wouldn't change or soften that truth - it would only make it more precious.
i still remember those months after my wedding - when i found i couldn't sing. i would sit down at the old piano my young husband had bought me - and my voice would break and crack and i would moan my songs of gratitude to God with tears streaming down my face. i soon learned to not even bother standing when we would sing in church. i would just sit- hands circling tender belly - and listen and cry. i remember thinking at one point that i would never be able to sing again. Every song reminded me of my Redeemer - every melodic turn reminded me how i needed Him. Every word pointed to His careful tending of my unworthy heart.
i have never, ever, ever gotten over it. To this day, when i lead worship in my home church - i find i can hold nothing back. My praise is raw - my worship, "unveiled"... It's not pretty - but i know that when i sing, it's something different than it ever was before He rescued me. It's different than it was before He broke down every stronghold so that i could declare Truth victorious in my life.
And i'm still grateful.