People come into our lives for a reason and a season. Sometimes that season is short and sharp, other times it can last a life time. Christin came into my life through a mutual friend and writer about six months ago and in those short six months she has inspired me, encouraged me and challenged me, while becoming a firm friend. I asked her to write a guest blog post for MyStoryMyGod as I know her story has been one of woman following after God’s heart and plan for her life, no matter what life throws at her. I hope you too will be inspired, encouraged and challenged by her words.
When Noelle was three years old, Dwayne and I left behind our tight network of friends in Los Angeles and moved up the West Coast to the beautiful, hip city of Bellingham, WA. Three months later, we got pregnant with Nathan, and three months after that I developed a mysterious and crushing pain in my gut, one that left me crumbled, weak and unable to take care of Noelle. Eventually, I would learn that I had developed a gluten allergy during pregnancy and was essentially making myself sick every time I ate. But in the meantime, I felt lost, confused and often panicked. I wasted away to a mere 110 lbs. One friend compared me to a skeleton with a watermelon belly during those months of pregnancy.
Perhaps the hardest part during that season was knowing when and how to ask for help. Had we lived in Indiana close to my parents, I would have called my mother up in a heart beat to watch Noelle while I made ER visits, or ask her to cook for my family while I laid helpless on the couch. Unfortunately, she was approximately 2,300 miles away.
I felt guilty asking Dwayne to leave work early or skip morning meetings in order to take me to doctor’s appointments. And I struggled even more to reach out to the barely new friends I was making in our new home.
I was thrilled then, when a new acquaintance, Jenny, invited Dwayne, Noelle and I over for dinner. Jenny was a grandmother and had immediately taken Noelle and I under her wing. I drooled over the thought of getting out of our tiny apartment, not having to cook dinner or clean up. The only daunting obstacle that stood between me and the warmth of Jenny’s living room was the six months of pregnancy and pain that left me exhausted and physically wrecked. I began to count the steps it would take to get myself ready, and Noelle ready and out the door, in the car, and off to Jenny’s house.
“Dwayne, could you come home early from work?” I asked over the phone.
“I’ll try,” He said.
“Okay,” I paused, wanting somehow to emphasize just how much I felt I needed his help. “I don’t want to be late, and I’m not sure how I can get Noelle and I out the door on time. It would be great to have your help with her.”
“I’ll do what I can,” he assured me. Unfortunately, as a Residence Hall Director, there were more times then not when Dwayne had to help students first, before he could help me. Right before it was time to leave, he received a call that required his immediate attention. He was whisked away to a residence hall where a student was struggling with some unnamed crisis.
I buckled under the weight of his text message: “Sorry, not going to be able to make it tonight. Just go without me.”
I think I was beyond crying. I was so tired and lonely and fragile that I sunk into an ice cold numb. I would have cancelled, would have called Jenny and told her that there was no way for me to get out of the house, that I was too sick, too tired, and too numb to make it work.
Except somehow, I didn’t.
I don’t remember how I got out the door that night. Truly, it’s a blank. Something, or SomeOne carried me. All I remember is that I stood outside of Jenny’s door with Noelle by my side and my stomach full of a growing baby and crushing pain.
Jenny ushered me into her apartment and sat me down on her soft, red couch. I sunk into the cushions and felt a small weight lift off my chest. “Don’t do a thing!” Jenny crooned. She whisked Noelle away to the dining room where she set her up with toys to play. Then she appeared at my side with a hot cup of tea. That night, I unravelled in the care and warmth and generosity of a new friend. For a moment, I felt gloriously, and lavishly un-alone.
I left that night healed in some small way. As Noelle and I hobbled back into our apartment, Dwayne greeted me, and took Noelle away to bath time. I went straight to bed, pulled the covers close to my chin and rolled over on my side. My mind spun over the events of the day, my difficult hours at home alone with Noelle, my deep longing to visit Jenny, my need for help and my frustration with Dwayne for not being there when I needed him most.
In an instant God spoke to me. I can’t tell you exactly how or when it hit me, but I felt His presence all around me, His voice whispered deep into my soul. You’re not alone Christin. I did that today. Do you think it was a coincidence that Jenny invited you over today? I prompted her to care for you. She was my hands and feet. Love cracked it’s way through my being and a deep crevice of relief opened up. I wasn’t alone. I didn’t have to do this all on my own. The One who knows all things, and who orchestrates all of time, knows me, sees me and would be my help.
Christin’s second book Crew: Finding Community When Your Dreams Crash, deals with her two years in Bellingham while pregnant, sick and learning how to find community. She now lives in Gettysburg with her husband, Dwayne, and their two kids, Noelle (7) and Nathan (3). She teaches writing at Gettysburg College. You can read more about her and her writing at www.christintaylor.com.