Saturday, August 21, 2010

When God is silent

I feel myself heading into the place where I am afraid to say out loud what is happening over here in the little gray house on 35th St. I can't come up with a quote or a verse or anything didactic to sum up our days. This past week has pretty much sucked. I know, I know, my mom told me to never say that, but it's true. I'm listening hard for the voice of truth, but I can't hear a thing.

I have a long history of endometriosis, pelvic pain, heavy bleeding, cysts, trips to the ER, surgeries, etc. related to my female organs. Our lives have been interrupted over and over by these issues. One of the first major incidents after I met Dan was on the way back from Aruba where we had honeymooned. I had begun having pelvic pain the last day or so of the trip. On the ascent the pressure from the plane burst a cyst. The bloody and embarrasing scene that followed stays etched in my mind. The stewardess gave me some big granny panties to borrow and tried to observe universal precautions and clean up my seat and the bathroom. They put me in the front seat, and when we landed in Atlanta an ambulance rushed to the tarmac to take me to the hospital. Poor Dan was dazed and confused. We missed our connecting flight back to Dulles. I remember him taking pictures of me on his cell phone and the horror of seeing a gunshot victim they wheeled past me while I lay in the hall at Grady Memorial. For better or worse began early in our marriage.

I have so many other stories like this. One Dan likes to tell is how the day after I had a laparoscopy he convinced me to get out of bed, still bleeding heavily and in excrutiating pain from the gases leaving my body through my shoulders, and go out to lunch and car shopping. I sat at Carmax for hours in quiet agony and once Dan had bought a new car I promptly had him take me to the hospital in Leesburg because I was sure I was having a heart attack. He learned that day not to push me when things are bad. He knows I don't get in bed unless I absolutely have to. We have missed countless events, cancelled many plans, ran out of stores or restaurants with me bleeding, and I have curled up in bed suffering many days of our life together. Every time this happens Dan retreats into a strange angry place. I know deep down he is not mad at me. He is just so sad I am hurting again. I don't always take it this way. I am sensitive and cry and make things worse. I ask him what is wrong when it's obvious. He retreats further.

This past Monday I went back to see my GYN. After almost three weeks of continuous bleeding I began having horrible pelvic pain and could feel a large lump. Right before our Iowa trip in May I had the same thing, and Dr. Romero told me we needed to do a hysterectomy. I took 20 days of antibiotic and figured I would have to wait until next year sometime--AFTER Danica's surgery and recovery. Monday he made it very clear the surgery cannot wait. I need to have my uterus out NOW. I began the antibiotic and by Wednesday my right flank was hurting me so badly. Dr. Romero sent me to the hospital, and they found a kidney infection in addition to the uterine infection. So, I am on doxycycline and cipro to clear up the infections. My hysterectomy is scheduled at Mercy on Tuesday, August 31st.

I haven't heard God's voice this week. I cannot in any way see how God sidelining me right now could be a good thing. My dad is in China. Delaney starts third grade on Tuesday. My mom is principal at an elementary school and is swamped with the beginning of school. Dan and I are already tapped out with our PTO, and we haven't even gotten to the time we need off for Danica's surgery and recovery. The medical bills are already overwhelming. We are all emotionally and physically and spiritually drained. The pain of the past week has made me numb and deaf. I feel like I am failing as a mother, failing as a wife, failing as an employee. I feel like I have to make this pain stop before I can do anything well again.

C.S. Lewis wrote this while grieving the death of his wife, "Meanwhile, where is God? This is one of the most disquieting symptoms. When you are happy, so happy that you have no sense of needing Him, so happy that you are tempted to feel His claims upon you as an interruption, if you remember yourself and turn to Him with gratitude and praise, you will be - or so it feels - welcomed with open arms. But go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence. You may as well turn away. The longer you wait, the more emphatic the silence will become. There are no lights in the windows. It might be an empty house. Was it ever inhabited? It seemed so once. And that seeming was as strong as this. What can this mean? Why is He so present a commander in our time of prosperity and so absent a help in time of trouble? . . ." Randy Alcorn writes about the doubt Lewis expressed in his book If God is Good, "His blunt honesty with God parallels that of the psalmists, the prophets, and Job. Such eclipses of faith are real but temporary, so long as we hold fast to God and His promises in Scripture."

I am listening and waiting and trusting in the silence today. Won't you please pray the door will be opened soon?

(Please stop the music player at the bottom of the blog and then push play on the video to listen to this beautiful song sung by Andrew Peterson.)


  1. I just read Psalm 13 this morning and wrote these verses in my journal: "How long, O LORD?...How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?...Consider and answer me, O LORD my God...But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me."

    I'm praying. The Lord brings special reminders. Kalen's appointment in Iowa is next Monday (Aug. 30). We will be traveling home on the 31st and will be praying especially for your surgery at that time as we digest whatever the Lord has for our future as well.

  2. Wow, I don't even know what to say...except I'm praying for you and I wish there was something I could do to help ease your pain! Like the saying goes, "When it rains, it pours.". It sounds like it's just pouring this week...even more so than the steady rain you've been used to for so long. I'm praying for you and will ask God to give you, Dan and the girls the strength to get through what lies ahead. Love and hugs...

  3. Monica
    My heart goes out to you. You are not a failure. You are a masterpiece. God chose this time for a reason. Our children are very forgiving. You can do all this with the grace of God. I am here for you. And so are many others. Don't hesitate to ask for help. A friend told me before we left for Brooke's surgery to make a list. Then all my friends took something on the list and did it for me. Make your list girlfriend and we can get it done. I will be praying for comfort and that God wraps you in his arms tonight. Find strength in knowing that he knows your days better than you! Melinda

  4. Monica,
    I want to offer you some great words of comfort. But all I can say is you have touched my heart today, with your words, and the song you have shared. I don't know what else to say, just that my heart understands and hurts with you. And Jesus does as well. Hold on Monica, you can stay strong. Remember what is important. You have to get through these months ahead, and you will. Ask for whatever help you may need. You are loved by many. Love to you, Carol

  5. Hang in there Monica. The trials in life are many and sometimes joy is scarce. Tell your beautiful little girls you love them often. You have an opportunity to be an example of strength and courageousness that they can lean on through the tough times they will undoubtedly face in their own lives. Love you guys!