I really don't like looking in the mirror. I have gross skin, a double chin, plain hair, no make-up, crooked glasses, and well, I'm usually quite a sloppy dresser.
The other day, however, I bought make-up. I had ZERO make-up left after the children (I won't name names) destroyed all I had. My make-up bag has been nothing but a dusty, foundation, eye shadow mess for at least a year.
I have worn the new makeup a few times. It does make you feel like a different person. Part of me sees the same old Dana that I hate and part of me sees a tender, tired girl trying to change. The outside making up of the face is one of the first traces of an internal transformation that has been in process for several months.
One year ago, I was not Christian. In fact, I really didn't like Christianity or the concept of religious organization. I had witnessed so much judgement by these so called "loving" people and felt most of it was a political bunch of propaganda aimed at conforming society to the elitist' beliefs. In college I had a professor who I really dug and we went back and forth emailing just how how much political pull religion had. I reinforced the belief that MAN not God wrote the bible.
Years after college, my husband and I sat around with friends, drinking and playing poker, talking about how if God was God, and Jesus was the man, then everyone, including illiterate, uneducated five year old orphans in Africa would know it. We talked about how there are Buddhists and Muslims, and Odin'ists (?) and how could a God condemn those people to hell for knowing no different.
Our life, well, it pretty much sucked. Both depressed, underweight, tired, stressed, financially burdened with medical bills... We tried to do things that made us happy. Buy things or get into a hobby. By nature, I think we are both pretty active people so, when we're not up and going, there's clearly an issue.
My depression and anxiety on top of my health issues manifested me into a shell of a person. There was no true laughter, no honesty in any part of my life. In fact, I was so ashamed of who I was, I wanted to hide myself from the world. I avoided all phone calls, visits, family functions. I was not the accomplished, successful, "most ambitious" girl I left behind. I was a withdrawn, sad, totally bi-polar, and tired failure.
The misery continued into my pregnancy with my daughter, Quincy. Of course I was happy and excited, but super stressed and somehow depressed about the whole thing. Having that baby in my belly brought a whole new facet to my life and I did not adjust well. In fact, I was so nervous and apprehensive, the only word to describe her first days at home is HELL. I was on eggshells. I was so tense that nursing became this enormous disaster. My boobs refused to work, baby was not eating, and baby got yellow! We had to take her in for a routine blood test to check for whatever that stuff is that makes babies yellow.
During this simple blood test, my little Q stopped breathing. She made some funny sounds, and then started turning blue, was unresponsive, and seemingly limp and dead. The nurse taking our blood left the room after asking us if that had ever happened before. The baby was two days old, we had no medical history, blood test lady! So, here we are, left alone with this dead-like baby. Toby sweeps her up and we rush into the hall calling for a doctor. Finally a man approaches me and I tell him our baby isn't breathing and he calls the code blue. Within an instant we were surrounded by at least 12 medical professionals and Quincy was whooshed away into Emergency Care.
Of course she survived.
They had to keep her in the hospital to monitor her heart. We learned she had an irregular heart rhythm.
Here we are, these two idiot parents with this sick baby we don't even know but are completely attached to. That night we left her room and went to do the only thing we felt we could do. We went to the chapel.
As soon as stepped past the first set of pews I wept. There was something so familiar and comfortable and okay about the chapel. I prayed to a God I didn't believe existed that he would allow my baby to live.
We were sent home a few days later with the sweet baby on a heart monitor. That thing was a beast. If a node thingy fell off, even a teensy bit, it would set off the alarm. It would scare the living crap out of us everytime it beeped. One night, one little plain night weeks down the road, I had Quincy sleeping with me and the alarm went off. I instantly took her in my arms and checked her out. She took in a big breath as I realized that everything was properly connected. The heart monitor had a true reading of apnea.
I know in my squishy gut that the God I didn't believe existed had orchestrated the events at the hospital, leading up to the heart monitor that gave me that one true alert that Quincy wasn't breathing. Of course, at that time I did not acknowledge any sort of God involvement and was quite bitter and pissy that I have this sick baby and stupid heart monitor.
It is not until now, that I see the beauty and glory in this magnificent God, that I am willing to try to see the beauty in my story, my past, my present, myself.
One time Toby tried to get me to look in the mirror and tell myself that I was beautiful. The results were bad. Toby ended up with a sobbing wife with snot running down her face. I could not do it. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it today, especially with someone else watching.
I didn't let anyone in my life to watch me for so long. It was a lonely existance. It wasn't until this God I didn't believe existed guided me out of the shadows of my life and brought me to love and help someone else that I began really living again.
My mom, the only other person besides Toby and Quincy involved in my life, was diagosed with cancer. Surprisingly, my bitter and resentment toward this God I didn't believe in, didn't grow. Instead, I sprouted feelings of love, compassion, hope, and knew, just knew, I had to take care of her.
We packed up and moved to Weiser to be with mom. My dying mother, actually. She was given an 18% chance to live. I really wanted my Q to get to know her. And this little blessing of a child, not only got to know her, but restored her, rescued her, and revived her. Quincy truly gave grandma a knew hope for life.
This non-existent God worked these amazing coincidental instances out through the most horrible circumstances.
Because of the love of my mother, i moved to a place where I was able to start living again. I got some confidence and found somethings I didn't just like, but was passionate about. I stepped into the community around me and found ways to be useful and helpful. All because of the love this non-existant God gave me.
Today I stand as a Christian. These past months I have been tested-spiritually and physically. At times, I have been embarrassed, and perhaps that's not the word, maybe cautious, about telling others my faith. Afraid of losing a friend or being judged.
Today, I know. I know that there is a God that is with me even when I don't feel Him. There is a God who provides for my every need and has a plan greater than I could possibly imagine. There is a God who will accept you when all you have to offer is a mess. This God is love, hope, peace, comfort, compassion, joy, patience, kindness, and forgiveness.
I cannot look at the miracle God gave me in Quincy and tell her that this life is all for nothing. In the mess that I have given Him in my life, He has given me hope. And, I will give that hope to Quincy with delicate hands, ensuring she knows how amazing and wonderful it is just to be. Just to be a reflection in the mirror.