A Hard Conversation...

I have a history of building relationships with inanimate objects.

Bizarre, yes...

But at the same time, isn't it nice when you can just say whatever you want to something for however long you want without worrying what it might think of you or say back to you? I had a pretend 'imaginary friend' in (gasp!) middle school (in Georgia, middle school is 6th-8th grade, so that means TOO OLD for an imaginary friend!) who's name was George. He had blonde hair and a blue sideways baseball cap (I drew him on almost everything... oh, and I also made him into a clay pot in high school [the handles were his ears!]) I know I'm making myself seem weirder and weirder here, but it was really very hard for me to talk to actual people in my incredibly awkward and shy younger years. So I talked to things...

...and I can honestly tell you that I still do sometimes, although not to George and not usually in seriousness anymore, so that's a step in the right direction! But I'll tell you something I'd like to have serious conversation with... and I'll tell you what I'd say:

"Hi there!

It's been about three hours since we last spent time together, and I'll be honest, I was hoping I'd never see you again...

You and I, we've had somewhat of a tumultuous relationship over the last 4 months... But there's one thing I want you to know: I value you. You are the sole reason my child has received the very best nutrition every day of her life, and that is irreplaceable.

No matter how much I look forward to the day I can bid you a happy 'farewell,' know this: you have made my daughter's life healthier and I appreciate you. I absolutely dread the six to eight times a day that I have to spend with you, but I cherish what comes out of the time we spend together. It's been painful, agonizing, miserable... and yet, at the same time it's been fruitful, productive and helpful. I know you hear me whine and complain about you between our times together, and I know you hear me talk about how badly I don't want to see you again. I want you to know that I mean every word, but that I'm sorry for feeling that way.

You truly mean more to me than I can express, in ways that I wouldn't even know how to express... I look at you with contempt and gratitude at the same time and although I daily consider and sometimes try to talk myself out of being in this conflicting relationship with you, you need to know that I will not give up, I will see this relationship through until it is either no longer possible or no longer necessary to continue.

I promise I will try to see you differently, to appreciate you better, and to stop wishing bad things upon you, I really do value you.

I know you are a gift from God, given to me as a means to best nourish my daughter as she gains the strength she needs to do the work herself. We could not do this without you, thank you for being part of our lives. I promise to try to thank my God, who provided me with you, so that you could help me provide Mercy with milk.

Please forgive me for selfishly wishing you out of my life. I know I will continue to take you for granted and utter hateful words against you, I know I will continue to dread our time together. Forgive me as I seek to learn the art of gratitude and of perseverance... I know that God has this race marked out for you and I, and I know there is much to learn along the way. I promise to run...

Oh, one last thought: If you were animate and had a neck, I would hug it in gratitude right now... I would also consider squeezing too tight in utter hatred before letting go.... ugh, ok, let me start over.............."

I'm talking to my Medela Freestyle Breast Pump... and that was truly therapeutic for me! Perhaps I should seriously start talking more often to inanimate objects in my life again... (joking!)

But in all seriousness, my relationship with my pump has been every bit of what I described in my conversation with it... I so look forward to the day when I can put it away, and take care of Mercy without it's help. Sometimes that day seems too far out of reach and I wonder if it will ever arrive... Often I consider giving up, or feel like I'm wasting my time if this whole exclusive nursing thing isn't going to work out anyways... maybe it's not worth it...

What I believe the Lord is teaching me through this tumultuous relationship is this: The work He's asked us to do as His children isn't always easy or fun, and the immediate payoff isn't always what we hope for, sometimes it takes many years to see fruit, and sometimes we may not see the fruit at all... I've found myself wondering often, is this goal too lofty, too out of reach? Am I wasting my time when I'm not seeing the lives of those I've ministered to changing? Is it worth the pain I've felt when I've failed and fallen time and time again? Sometimes we may want to have a similar "pump" conversation with the journey we're on with Christ, I know I have felt many of those things in my own walk!

But one thing you need to know about the journey you're on: it is worth it, it is the absolute best possible way we could spend our time, and God is always good. The very fact that we are on this journey with Him is a testament to His mercy on our lives and He has a beautiful purpose for YOU. Value His guidance as He leads you through rough waters, appreciate Him for giving you the grace you need for the journey, do. not. give. up. It's going to be worth it! 

He has given each of us a race to run, let's choose today to run it with renewed perseverance!

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us..."
Hebrews 12:1-3

I know y'all come here to hear about Mercy, not my ramblings to inanimate objects! She is an absolute blessing! We are getting out and about much more these days, and having play dates with old NICU neighbors and church friends. It's been so nice getting out of the house and seeing the faces of friends we love and have missed! She is growing so fast. She's all smiles all the time, she LOVES her daddy, and most people say she looks just like him! Her heart monitor has not gone off in over four weeks! That is a very huge deal, every new day without an alarm is another win! It looks like we could be unattached and cord-free sooner than we expected to be! We just can't believe we're getting so close to 4 months old, the time since we came home on March 7th has literally flown, and it has been incredible! The opportunity to come out of isolation has been a welcome change, being with our church the past two Sundays was truly awesome, seeing little RuthAnne, Mercy's first NICU neighbor, was absolutely amazing, we had "play dates" everyday last week and it has been FUN introducing her to so many new friends and 'family!' Hopefully we will get to introduce her to YOU very soon!

We love you all so very much, thank you for your continued prayers!