I'm so pleased to be sharing a guest post from my writer friend, Sheli Massie. Sheli is one of my beloved Redbud sisters. This beautiful piece was originally posted on Eggs & Rice (Sheli's blog), but I asked if I could share it here as well. In one short post, she touches on several important issues including adoption and postpartum depression. And I love the way she weaves the story to end on God. Okay, enough from me! I'll leave you with Sheli now. Once you're done reading, will you take a minute to leave Sheli a comment here, check out her blog, or share this post? Thanks!
**Image courtesy of Sheli Massie
I bought the high chair at a rummage sale. It was wooden with chipped white paint flaking the sides. I had known from the moment I saw it that I wanted it to be mine. It reminded me of high chairs I would see in vintage black and white photos. It had no safety precautions yet I am sure it had stories it could tell. Stories of the many families and children it had served.
At the time that I purchased it for $10 I was not even pregnant. We had just started the process of filling out the paperwork for our adoption. And as we all know that high chair did not get used for a very long time. What we expected to take months took years. Years of waiting. Years of praying. Years of hoping. Years of anxiety, anger, frustration, signatures, home studies, finger prints, and did I mention paper work?
Yet after three years we were sitting across from our sweet little boy.
That high chair became the place where my little one ate his first meal as a family of seven.
It became the place where he clearly showed us that broccoli was never going to be one of his foods.
It became the place where he fell asleep when days were just too long for him and he couldn’t make it through dinner.
It became the place where he discovered pasta for the first time and decided the walls needed it too.
It became the place where his personality began to emerge and he entertained us all.
What I didn’t expect is that it would become a symbol of grief for me.
After little one clearly could not fit in the high chair any longer I scrubbed it all down and left it in the corner of the room for months. I would walk by it and think about what was next for our family. I would dream of my belly expanding and getting to wear cute maternity jeans. I would rationalize that I was keeping it for my grandchildren some day. Knowing full well that any mother would not let their infant sit in a chair with zero safety features.
And breathing in that I knew why I was really keeping it.
I was keeping it because I wasn’t ready to face my truth.
My truth that I would never carry another child in my belly again.
Seven years before I lay on a hospital bed and sobbed as I signed on the dotted line. I wanted someone to save me. To save me from the choice. I needed someone else to make the choice for me.
I knew that the level of depression that I had suffered after each of the four children I birthed had only gotten worse. I knew that I needed to make a permanent decision that I later would come to grieve. I knew at the time that I was scared of who I was after each child. And although I firmly believe in medication and will forever be on a small dose of a prescription. I could not function as a human and knew that depression would swallow me if I chose to continue to grow our family through childbirth.
I remember the day I sold that white high chair in the corner. It went to a woman who loved to refurbish furniture. To make things new.
My truth is that I grieve every moment when a friend or loved one is struggling with infertility or a miscarriage. The truth is that I feel like I was so selfish to take that choice away from my family.
But I know this.
I know God uses everything. He opened my eves to adoption, to safe families, to foster care and to taking in those around me. He shows me daily how I am that high chair. Chipped, tired, and covered with messes. But in His grace and mercy He is making me new. He is filling me with joy and wonderment. He is letting me heal and rest in in Him.
Where ever you are sweet one. Worn. Tired. Lonely. Grieving. Searching. Empty. Anxious. Fearful.
He is there.
He is binding Himself to you.
Making you new.
“Let us then approach God’s Throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
Sheli is a writer on good days when a child isn’t puking or screaming or the dog hasn’t run away for the zillionth time or when the house doesn’t look like a Hoarders episode or she didn’t forget to pick up one of the five children from school. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband who has pushed her to be a better version of herself for sixteen years. She adore my best friends and she gets anxiety attacks around anyone pretty or skinny, so she stays in her yoga pants and writes about her redemptive story as a proud member of Redbud Writers Guild. You can find Sheli at http://shelimassie.com/