The Lord is my Shepherd

August 19, 2012

This morning at Sunday school our teacher, Glen Brindley, covered the first several verses of John 10. Jesus explains how he is the shepherd, and how he calls his sheep by name, and they hear his voice and follow him. He cares for them. He lays down his life for them. It was exactly what I needed to hear this morning…also in Psalm 23, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

There are several reasons it’s been so long since I’ve blogged…partially due to lack of time, but mostly due to lack of words. The last few months have been such a struggle. Powerless and helpless are the perfect words for the way I’ve felt.  Grieving is such a strange and foreign thing to me…after a conversation this morning with my dear friend, Kim, I realized that half of the time, I don’t even know I’m grieving.  I’m just a big ball of volatile emotions, trying to find someplace to explode, and I unknowingly just keep trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to swallow it all down, writing it off as my sin, my own failure to “keep it together”, parenting difficulties, the stress of Hayden’s schedule, etc. And in God’s providence, Kim tenderly reminded me, “Amanda, your baby died. You are sad.” (yes…oddly enough, I do need to be reminded sometimes). I’m sad! I’m sad. And yes, I’m still trying to pretend like things are okay. And she also reminded me, as she almost always does, that I need to stop trying to “fix myself” saying, ‘If I could just change this…or if I could just do this…or stop that…things would be so much better’. Instead, I need to look full into the face of Jesus. He understands. It reminds me of the refrain of the hymn, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.

That’s a very short summary of how I’m doing. Confused? Okay, good, me too.

So, almost three months have passed since that last emotional post, and so much has happened during that time. Here’s a short list of some things:

-Hayden finished up his research year and is back to work in the third year of his general surgery residency at Scott & White. To say he’s been busy is an understatement. While it was extremely difficult to readjust to “normal” for us, we’re finally getting there. God has been so faithful to meet our needs. When you are a surgery resident’s wife, loneliness and weariness seem to be almost constant companions; yet, although I have been alone (yes, you can feel alone surrounded by three chattering, screaming, children), I haven’t felt alone. Although I am weary, He renews me. He is here.

-On a lighter note (kind of), I have officially moved in to the parent-of-three-toddlers war zone. God graciously held my children at bay until things after Mary kind of settled down, but no longer…if you have one toddler, you understand a bit. Now multiply it by three. No, actually six because I’m pretty sure all three of mine are textbook “strong-willed”. Then, pray for me….please. 🙂

-And last, and probably biggest, I am pregnant :). Most of you may already know this, but in case you don’t and care to know-Stagg baby SIX (I am counting the baby before Ruby) is on the way. (Yes, all you skeptics out there–we did “mean to” :)). We are so very excited, so very scared, and so very thankful all at the same time. We have already had two ultrasounds, and so far everything looks absolutely perfect. Please continue to pray for this baby’s health and protection. And also for our hearts, as we continue to grieve the loss of Mary, and figure out how to sort out all of the emotions we’re having right now. Thanks…

That’s about it. I’m pretty sure this is the most disjointed post I’ve written thus far, but by about 8 pm, almost all of my brain cells have evaporated into thin air. So, if you’re reading this, thanks for hanging in there and finishing :). As always, we are so thankful for each of your prayers, love and support. We couldn’t do this life without you.

Love in Christ,