Tag: difficulty

Pain hurts: a reflection on our miscarriage

I originally posted this 2 years ago. My wife and I are coming up on the 2-year mark for this portion of our stories, but with the massive changes in our lives recently (I’m now on staff at Long Hollow), I wanted to share this again. Just so you know, this was, and is, a painful part of our story.

 

It wasn’t just a miscarriage. It didn’t feel like we were “losing a pregnancy.” It felt like we were losing a baby.

Those are the words I’ve uttered countless times to countless people. As the news eked in through little spurts of information from multiple ultrasounds and blood tests, what we feared became a reality. “It’s not a viable pregnancy” didn’t make the pain or reality disappear. It didn’t make the baby growing inside my wife any less of a human.

Earlier this year, my wife experienced the most pain we’ve experienced in our marriage. My wife processed it out loud on my blog HERE.

Though the pain wasn’t as visceral for me, it was no less real. Through the process, I learned some valuable lessons.

Lessons I learned through a miscarriage

Every life is a gift.

I value my own life, and especially the life of my won, so much more now. It’s so much more valuable.

Every life is miracle.

Seeing that this whole pregnancy/birthing process doesn’t just happen automatically has really helped me see how each and every birth is a great miracle.

Experiencing a miscarriage is a real loss.

Not that I didn’t understand this from a theological, academic standpoint. But going through it myself, experiencing that loss, has given me a greater understanding of how to minister to people who are experiencing this. We had talked about the difficulty of miscarriages in seminary. But it was all theory. And I know that someone doesn’t have to go through every difficulty before they can help someone else. But there’s a different weight, a different level of help, that you give once you’ve experienced the exact pain that another person is experiencing.

There’s no “getting over” this.

I dont’ think it’s possible to really “get over” this loss. You can move on. You can grow. But to think that you can “get over” this as if it never really happened is foolish. Anytime you experience significant pain, the answer in coping is learning how to deal with life differently, because life has been altered.

My wife and I are doing well. We’ve grown because of this. Grown in ways we probably wouldn’t have otherwise.

We’ve still not had the joy of getting pregnant again. Maybe God will see fit for us to head back down that path. But maybe not.

Regardless, we’re trusting Him.

*photo credit Creation Swap user: Joe Cavazos

 

 

Introverts, Extroverts, and small groups part 3

The discussion started HERE with a look at the starting point of a small group, and the effect that has on introverts and extroverts.  The discussion then shifted HERE to the middle-point of small group life.

**Now we’ll look at the ending season of a small group (which may last anywhere from 1 month to several).  This is a sweet, sweet season in the life of a small group.  By now, the group really knows each other.  You understand how each person is gifted.  You know where they struggle and how to encourage them effectively.  You know their children, and the struggles and victories they’ve had at home.  You’ve seen God change cold hearts.  You’ve served alongside these people, cried with them, laughed with them, and heard them speak truth directly to your heart.

Though the above sounds like it’s all rosy, don’t think there aren’t still challenges to face.

The end of a small group

Extroverts may find this phase of small group life increasingly difficult.  They’re ready for the group to end so they can get out there and meet a new group of people.  They’ve done all they can, and assume God’s done all he’s going to do.  Since the only thing left is the finish line, they’re ready for it.  It’s like how the last hour of a car ride seems much longer than the first 10.  For an extrovert, the end can’t come fast enough.  And though extroverts get their energy from being around people, they can still find themselves bored since they’ve been around the same people for so long.

A word of caution to the extroverts: Just because you feel God’s done all he’s going to do in your heart doesn’t mean that he’s done.  There’s still refining to do.  There’s still change that needs to happen.  And if you give up on the group now, even though you may feel bored, you may miss out on the best God has to offer you through your small group.

Introverts can really start to find their groove during this time.  If they’ve pushed through the awkward phase of the beginning (where they didn’t know many people), pushed themselves to forge new relationships throughout the middle season, now they find that they’re surrounded by people whom they know and are known by.  There’s a great trust that’s developed, and a sweet season of close relationships is where they find themselves.  In fact, they feel so comfortable that they may be resistant to forming new relationships with others.  Forming these was tough…they may not be up to the challenge of building new bonds with others.

* A word of caution to the introverts: Don’t let your current feeling of “success” drive you away from forming new relationships with others.  Your feelings of comfort and safety are good, but shouldn’t paralyze you from taking steps of faith, and courageously reaching out to those you don’t know.  They need to hear your story, and see God’s hand of redemption in your life.  This season of group life may be the easiest for you, but don’t let it lull you to sleep, and cause you to forget that steps of faith involve risk.

I’ve got a few more thoughts to share. But I’ll save them until the next post.  Until then:

Have these dynamics played out in your small group?  In your own heart?

Do you think small groups are easier for an introvert or an extrovert?

**This is based on the assumption that your small group has an end-date in mind.  In some small group systems, groups are together for life.  In the system that I lead at Grace Community Church, our groups last 12-18 months.

 

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