Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Fear, Faith, and Folly

For a few months now, I have had this image in my mind of a road stretching between two deep ditches.  On one side, there is a ditch called folly.  It is where the impatient fall, the impetuous tumble, and the prideful slide.  It where the person who disregards counsel slips and where the fool flops.  On the other side is a ditch called fear.  It is where the anxious squat, the trepidatious topple, and the mistrusting stumble.  It where the person huddles who amplifies cautious counsel until everything is off-limits and nothing is safe.  Running steadily between these two disastrous pitfalls is a thin, delicately balanced yet well grounded path called faith.  It is where the trusting, wise, obedient, and humble journey.  It is where I want to be.

In these months of missing and grieving Samuel and of meeting with repeated disappointment in our attempts and desires for another child, I have found myself tottering on the edge of each these ditches at various times.  When we have hit roadblocks with my thyroid levels and been told to wait to conceive again, I have peered down into folly and wanted to jump.  I have wanted to do it my own way and force my own path instead of waiting patiently on God's perfect and good timing.  I have wanted to wave off the doctors' advice and direction and tell God I was being brave and jumping in regardless of wise and knowledgable counsel.  I pretended it would be faith for me to take the reins and assume control, but it wouldn't have been.  It would have been folly, and I would have found myself floundering in a pit I had deceived myself into calling something pretty and virtuous despite its rank odor and clear signs of rot.  It would have been foolish, but I was sorely tempted.

And now I find myself peering down into fear and wondering if I am going to go roly poly, pell mell into it.  We got the official go-ahead from the most conservative of my doctors yesterday, but I find myself anxious and fearful, timid and uneasy.  Some of my numbers are still not where we want them to be.  In fact, my TPO antibodies, which are most associated with miscarriage, are still seven times higher than the normal range.  But this is the best combination of levels we can achieve at this point since the medicine that regulates my thyroid is the same medicine that reduces antibodies, and I am now at the bottom of the normal range for my thyroid.  We cannot increase my dosage and stay in the acceptable range for TSH, so this is as good as it gets.  Part of me wants to say "No risks!  I can't possibly survive another miscarriage.  We can't take any chances.  We'll have to keep waiting and pray things eventually even out and everything is perfect and no chance of heartbreak remains."  But then we'd be waiting forever, and I'd be heartbroken anyway.  But I see fear just over the side of the road, and a part of me wants to be curled up down there, holding tightly to my dreams and sheltering them from danger. 

But where I really want to plant my feet is on the path of faith.  It's a precarious journey, staying firmly grounded in God and not giving in to my desire for control or my desire for safety, but it is the only road that will be truly rewarding.  I want to heed the wise counsel I receive but ultimately filter it through God's Word and God's character and lay my hopes, dreams, fears, and prayers at His feet.  I want to move forward with courage and honor and humility.  And I want to be willing to accept whatever Christ gives me -- be that a healthy baby, another miscarriage, months of failed attempts to get pregnant, or even -- and I shudder when I think of it -- another Samuel.  I know I can indeed face whatever comes because I know God is with me, and I know nothing is too big for His mighty love, grace, strength, and sufficiency.  He will carry me through whatever fires lie ahead, and I can trust Him to be enough.  I can walk in faith because He is gracious to lead me on His path. 

So as I look forward and see a plethora of possibilities and mountains of uncertainty, I firmly plant my feet on the road of faith.  Whatever is around that bend ahead, I will walk it.  Whatever lies just beyond the shadows, I will travel there too -- with my good God who is faithful to provide what I need to honor Him, trust Him, and ultimately follow Him no matter where He leads.

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