It took a full year before I felt like I had built a place to belong again. In that year I dropped back into moments of depression and hours of tears. But the moments didn’t last as long and the salt from the tears helped heal the wounds.
There were some beautiful moments of rejoicing. The day we signed the papers to pay off the farm [a miracle! Our 5 year plan had been stretched to 15 with our decision to go to Haiti. And God did it in ONE]. The birth of another niece [Hadassah Grace].
I was still studying about natural healing and was pleased with how my body was correcting itself. I depended heavily on resources like [NaturallyKnockedUp] [Be Your Own Doctor] [NaturalFertility] [Nourishing Traditions] [Keepers At Home].
We made the decision to buy a herd of dairy cows so I could have access to raw milk without any added hormones or antibiotics [we don’t milk organic, but I pick and choose what I give my cows and what I don’t]. That seemed to be the last needed boost that my body required.
We had been milking for two months when I ran out behind the barn to throw up my breakfast. Three positive tests later [because I didn’t believe the first two] I told my husband and my sister-in-law.
Two days later I woke up to blood. [Read: The Reality of Death and Life]
I was heartbroken. And bitter. But God heard my cry: Jesus, pour life back into me! He gave me peace. He made my bitterness sweet. He even brought me to a place where I could rejoice where I was [Read: If I Had Known: A Mother’s Day Post]
But here’s where the rubber meets the road: it’s hard to apply truths to life. It’s hard to actual live what you believe.I believe with all my heart that God controls my fertility. I believe that this place, right here, today, is where I’m supposed to be. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t long for something different. It doesn’t mean that I don’t start living like I’m the one in charge.
We serve a very, very gracious God.
Psalm 107 says,
“He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom
And broke away their chains.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
For his unfailing love…” 14-15
And I wish it stopped there. But it doesn’t.
“Some became fools through their rebellious ways.
And suffered affliction because of their iniquities…” 17
This is pretty much my story. I could have saved us all the past four posts and just published these verses.
I fought God for so long. I wanted to be in charge. And me in charge would mean: no pain. But that’s not how it works. That was my rebellious heart wanting to be God. Wasn’t that what got the human race in trouble in the first place?
But thankfully, it doesn’t stop there either.
“Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
And he saved them from their distress;
He sent forth his word and healed them;
He rescued them from the grave.” 20
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love…
Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.” 21-22
So hands raised. Tears dripping from chin. Heart dancing. I sing. And I will keep singing.
And I will keep striving. Keep laying down the idol of “self”. Keep falling at the feet of the One who saves and heals and brings songs of joy to those who are hurting.
The one who takes our bitter, broken hearts- and makes them sweet.
How do I thank you for coming with me on this journey? It has been healing for me as well. And, of course, it is part of the continuing-journey… steps that take us onward toward our ultimate goal:
May His blessings be poured out onto you and your own,
By the time we arrived in LaColline, Haiti, I was certain of two things:
- God was speaking to me again, finally.
- God was going to heal my body.
I was half right on both counts.
The first step was a fast. After reading about natural living (starting with Michelle’s blog, Frugal Granola) I was convinced that my body was overrun with toxins and chemical substances.
Haiti, with its tropical climate and continual growing season, seemed like the perfect place to start. This time, however, my diet change was directed by more than just a doctor’s off-the-cuff suggestion.
I was going to fast for a few days and then start adding in fruits and vegetables followed by whole dairy (none of this altered, no-fat stuff) and a healthy amount of meat.
I wanted more from the fast than just a jump-start in my body though. I wanted a jump-start in my spiritual life. I wanted to go back to the days when I heard and knew God’s voice.
So, I did the only thing I knew of to help me hear. I opened my Bible to Genesis and started reading, “In the beginning…”. Twenty-seven days later, I read the words, “Amen, Come Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”
God still touches blind eyes and makes them see. He still touches deaf ears and makes them hear. At the beginning of those twenty-seven days, I was blind and deaf and by the end, I could see and hear.
I learned so many things, it would be impossible to explain them all. I learned about wholeness. [read: On Healing] I learned about God’s heart. [read: Crying Savior] I learned about being chosen. [read: Musings on a Word]
And I finally understood about those two things.
- God wasn’t speaking again. He had never stopped.
My ears had been closed and my eyes blinded so I couldn’t see his lips moving and the message wasn’t penetrating. But it was there.
Know the funniest part? I know because I was the one writing it down. My journal from that first year was filled with me crying out to God and God answering. I literally have no memory of his answers but they are all right there, written in my handwriting.
- God says, “Fight.” When I feel weak, I tend to lay down my sword and said, “I can’t do this. I need help from those around me. I need them to fight for me.” But that isn’t truth! When I am weak, He is strong. [Note: I was sitting in a chair writing this and Brianna walked through the room, stopped, took my pen from me and wrote “YES” in big letters on the page. She never read what I was writing. She just felt God’s impression that she was to tell me yes.]
- I’m so lost. Confused. Jesus says, “That’s not truth. I’m with you, Tasha, and I’m not lost at all. It may feel that way but hear me: YOU ARE NOT LOST.”
- I realized the other day that it has been a long, long time since I’ve truly worshiped my Savior. I prayed about it slightly, saying, “Lord, is that part of my problem these days?” And my husband brought home a three-CD pack of Worship music. God’s answer? [I think maybe! J]
- “Jesus, what do I do? All I can think is that I need to give and give, focusing on others, because the moment I look at me- I just want to die. Is that what you’re asking of me?”
- I have a pocket in my journal that says, “How God sees me…” with little strips of paper, filled out by my friends. Established to the End. Sealed with the Spirit of Promise. The Apple of Your Father’s Eye. More than a Conqueror. Complete in Him.
- I feel like you’ve deceived me. And I feel your question: “Even if I deceive you, will you still love and follow me?” Yes, Lord. For where else would I go? I cannot live without loving you.
- “My daughter, today you are the painting, the image of something awe-inspiring. When I look at you, I see the landscape- the real thing. And slowly, but surely, I am making you real. Making you into the true you, the person you were always meant to be.”
- A note, taped on a journal page:
Tashe- I see the Lord, hovering over you, seeping through the walls of your house and then flooding you with his presence. Wait on Him, expect Him. He says he is coming, look for Him- don’t be distracted or forgetful. Remember that He is still fighting to make His way in your heart- fight with him. He loves you so so much. –Brianna
- a note, given to me at random:
Tashe-girl- FEAR NOT!!!!!! Stand steadfast in the promise that God’s plan is to “prosper you and not to harm you”.
- “The Lord says again, “My promises remain true.”
- Note from Delite:
“I feel like I can ‘hear’ God working on the promises he’s given you. Remember that verse in Exodus 14? “I will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
And that’s only a taste.
And the second thing I understood was:
2. It wasn’t that God was going to “heal my body” but that he was making me whole.
That meant all parts. Spirit. Body. Emotions. Everything. Did you read the account [On Healing]?
I honestly thought that I would be pregnant by the time I got home. That “healing” meant I would be done with struggling with infertility. I wasn’t. But I was whole. And I am so glad! Wholeness is a step toward “realness”. And more than anything, I want to be real. The landscape. What I was created to be. Not a copy of something. The real thing.
I didn’t realize I was walking blind. I had no idea. It seemed like everything was banging against me. Leaving bruises and welts. And I didn’t understand why.
My relationships were in tatters. Why was everyone coming at me with clubs? I grew angry because I couldn’t figure it out. I had no idea that all those poor people were just standing there, helpless, while I tripped and fell over them. I was trying to act like I could see- and it wasn’t working.
It took one brave person to change the tide. My mother. She showed up at my door, sat me down at my kitchen table, looked me in the eye and said, “Tasha, you’re depressed.”
Have you ever heard the story of Helen Keller? Deaf and blind from the time she was an infant. Anne Sullivan worked and worked to teach her sign language. Finally, one day, she thrust the child’s hand under a flow of water and spelled the letters into her palm, W-A-T-E-R. Light entered darkness. Helen understood her first word.
That’s what it was like.
My sight didn’t change. But I knew I was blind. And my journals started to reflect the opening of my heart. The willingness in me to acknowledge my pain. To put it bluntly: they became real.
“So, there you have it-
The ugly, nasty me-
Angry at the perfect, loving you.”
There wasn’t much else that changed. I still got bruised. I still felt intense pain. I still cried millions of tears. But I understood that I was in the middle of a battle and I started calling on God again.
“Lord, teach me how to wage war on this flesh of mine.”
I was still angry. I can’t tell you how many journal entries included the phrase, “I just want my body to be normal.” I still cried about going to church. I still cried about, well, about most everything. I still felt completely abandoned. I couldn’t seem to hear God or feel him.
But I called out to him. Day after day. I asked him why. I whined at him. I threw my pain at him. My crushed dreams. My building sorrows. Everything.
“It’s all right—questions, pain, stabbing anger,
can be poured out to the Infinite One.
Our wounded raging will be lost in him and we will be found.
For we beat on his chest from within the circle of his arms.”
I didn’t recognize it at the time but parts of me were coming back to life. I started looking for answers to my physical problems and found things the doctors had overlooked. An issue with my thyroid. A sensitivity to chemically altered substances (remember the metallic taste from the meds? It came with artificial sweeteners, colors, overly processed foods, etc…).
I still felt like something precious of mine had been snatched away. I spent many nights staring at the ceiling, wishing I could go back to being eighteen years old, healthy and full of dreams.
But I was determined to do my best. To follow God despite.
It was soon after this that we left for Haiti. I walked on the airplane with a backpack full of empty journals, notebooks full of information on natural healing and a heart that was desperate to be made whole.
The first sentence I wrote in my new home was, “Lord, I want to see.”
[ just the bare facts about my journey.
after this we'll look at the deeper things.]
Most stories start at the beginning.
I’m not sure where mine began. Somewhere in the middle of high school, I suppose.
I was never a skinny bit-of-a-girl but I had muscle and athletic ability so I tried out for every sport and made it. For several years my schedule was full of soccer, basketball and volleyball.
Between each season I would gain a few pounds, start playing another sport and the weight would fall away as I began running miles a day. I wasn’t disciplined. My abilities came naturally so I didn’t try very hard to tone them, I just played.
My senior year, when I was sixteen years old, I stopped volleyball so I could focus on soccer and basketball. That spring, when the last basketball game was played, I stopped running. In a few months I had gained about ten pounds. It hit me that I needed to do something to maintain my weight, as there wouldn’t ever be another sports season.
When I was seventeen, I moved to Alaska. I was a nanny and at the house I worked in, I found a pilates book. Every afternoon during nap time, I worked out. By the end of the summer I realized that I needed to buy new clothes. My size ten’s where falling off me.
I went home with a new wardrobe of size six clothing. It took me awhile to recognize myself in pictures.
I’m not sure when it all changed. Somewhere between college and my twenties. I knew I was back in my old clothes. I kept my favorite “six” jeans and they became my “skinny jeans”. The more weight I gained, the harder I worked out and the less effect it seemed to have. I just assumed I was lazy and needed to do something really tough… like run a marathon.
I was living in New York by this time and one day mentioned, in passing, that I hadn’t had a cycle in a long time. My mom freaked. Asked how long. I flipped through my calendar, struggling to make sense of my haphazard notes. Six months?
I was at the doctor two days later, my mom asking questions and me staring in shock at the scale. Thirty pounds. When had I gained THIRTY POUNDS? I hadn’t changed anything. I still ate healthy. I still did pilates.
A thousand dollars worth of blood tests later I had words swirling through my head. poly cystic ovary syndrome. number one cause of infertility. ninety-eight percent chance of never bearing children. hormonal abnormalities.
I spent a few nights shaking. They put me on birth control pills. I took them for one month then flushed them down the toilet. Nothing, nothing could convince me to go through that roller-coaster ride of emotions again.
Instead, I cut out sugar for two months, I started running a mile a day and lost fifteen pounds. My cycles returned and I pushed everything else out of my head. I did mission work in the Unites States and overseas. With all my traveling, I almost forgot the doctors diagnosis…
Until the day I was sitting next to a man who was telling me about his dreams. Dreams that I was longing to go after with him. Dreams that included three children. I didn’t bother to explain that I always figured on being a mother to at least seven. (It’s the biblical number of completion, you know.) Instead, I carefully explained the doctor’s diagnosis. No kids.
“But you’ve been better for a long time now, right?” He said.
I nodded. True. I had been. I had kept most of the weight off. Well, give or take five pounds.
We were married three months later. The next month I had just a few spots instead of a full-blown period. Negative test. I shrugged it off until I started waking up in the middle of the night to race to the bathroom and throw up. When my pants stopped buttoning, but my weight hadn’t changed, I went back to the doctor. Blood test came back negative.
In four months I had gained the fifteen pounds plus back. The doctor had me on this medication then that one. They all left me miserable. I had a constant metallic taste in my mouth. I hated being around people. I cried myself to sleep most nights. It was impossible to find clothes that fit me. Mine wouldn’t button and the next size up fell off. I finally went to the thrift store and bought a pair of maternity jeans. They were the only thing that fit for months. I hated, hated, hated going to church. I hated wearing skirts because they accentuated my stomach that looked like I was five months pregnant. But I wasn’t.
One day I came home from the doctor’s in tears. She had yelled at me for not losing weight. I was hardly eating at the time. No sugar. No flour. No meat. No dairy. My husband took one look at me and said that we were done with the doctor. No more.
Once again I was dumping out medication. I was done.
For three months I tried to just focus on my husband. The farm. My lovely house.
Then we moved to Haiti. And in Haiti, everything changed.
Why should you be beaten anymore?… Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness- only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with oil…
I will thoroughly purge away your dross and remove all your impurities. I will restore your judges as in days of old, your counselors as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.
Isaiah 1:5-6 & 25-26
Those days were long and dark. Hours spent in sorrow. The time I cried from my house to my in-laws, twenty-five miles away. The time I went running from a friend’s house, fumbled for my keys and shook all the way home. In my living room I collapsed in tears.
Over and over it happened.
I would pull myself together, lecture my emotions, fight my sorrow…and end up beaten and bruised and heartbroken.
I can’t tell you how long I hid the truth from myself. The time blends together. Maybe it was a year. Maybe more.
There is one thing I can tell you though. God didn’t leave me there. He called me out. I still remember the day I read these verses and realized they were written for me. And I found that God had not forgotten. He was pleading with me.
Why, Tasha, why? Why are you staying in that place of torture? You’re wounded! Let me care for you…
Why was I wallowing in the sorrow of broken friendships? Why was I hiding from the truth of infertility? Why was I crumbling in the face of lost dreams?
With God calling all the while.
He wanted to cleanse my sorrows. To bandage my brokenness. To soothe my pain. He was begging. And I was so blind and deaf, that I stumbled in darkness instead of dancing in light.
I’ve been listening to a lot women. Hurting, dying women. They look alive and well but inside there are wounds and welts and open sores. My heart constricts with compassion when I hear their stories. See the flicker of pain in their eyes.
I know that place. I’ve been there. I’ve come out of there. I still slide back there far too often. And I long for us all, you and me included, to find a way to live in the light. Brilliant, life-giving light.
Don’t be beaten anymore… Hear the cry of a God who is always found by those who seek him. The one who calls you:
I am planning to go through some of my journals and attempt to paint a picture of what God did/is doing in me, because of/in spite of the pain. Come with me?