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Topic: Paths (05/17/04)
TITLE: Her Traveling Partner
By Joanne Malley
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by Joanne Malley
Jaclyn and her husband, Scott discovered they would soon experience the gift of parenthood. The feelings they felt were those of extreme joy and obviously impending anxiety as the months passed by.
Regardless of her concerns, she was elated. She couldn't believe how emotionally wonderful she felt; how extremely happy she was. It was almost as if she temporarily stepped into someone else's body who knew total peace and contentment, for those feelings were not so common for her.
Clouds of despair and anxiety followed her many days of her life since childhood and the periods in which she traveled the dark lonely roads were so scary. Jaclyn was given many paths to take and didn't ever know where she would find herself at the end. She required all the strength and faith she could muster to get to the destination unscathed.
Thankfully, this path of being pregnant was truly an easy blessed one to follow. All of those scary feelings and dark alleys were a thing of the past. She could finally travel with ease and without the heavy luggage that she was accustomed to at times. I guess you could say she traded it in for a large, heavy belly pack that produced no burden at all!
The nine months seemed to fly by and the daydreams of motherhood were always happy and pleasant. Jaclyn envisioned that the day she would greet her newborn would bring such joy. Oddly enough, it brought those familiar feelings of gloom and fear. How could this be? She had felt so wonderful this whole time.
As she sunk to the lowest depths of despair, she asked God why he was allowing this to happen during what is supposed to be one of the happiest time of a woman's life. She was saddened at her own thoughts of being angry at Him and saddened that she wasn't feeling like the mom she had hoped to be.
Arrival at home with the baby was terrifying and she felt detached and all alone. She wanted to escape from herself and sadly enough from her baby too. Just holding the baby sent jolts of anxiety and the scariest sadness. It just didn't make sense. The guilt it harbored within her was enough to send her to the darkest place she'd ever seen.
Jaclyn felt cheated and confused for she remembered the poem of the man on the beach. The words rang out in her heart and she recalled a verse which stated, "Lord you said that once I decided to follow You, You'd walk with me all the way. But, I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." She felt so much like the lonely man on the beach.
Her frightening path of post-partum depression was one she would surely like to forget. The road was long, with enough unpleasant memories that have been engrained to last a lifetime. These memories do, however, also remind her of God's love, the gift of perseverence and the inner strength that he gave her.
With each scary road she traveled, she picked up valuable character building pieces that God must have left for her to find. Thank goodness he did, for it brought her to a place of strength and courage which she needed to survive. Perhaps, as time goes on, even more of the sadness, guilt and anxiety of the experience will be wiped away because of his love.
At the time, she couldn't realize that God allowed her the painful experiences for a very good reason. She may have felt alone, but now realizes that she was certainly accompanied by the Lord who was her partner and guide for her entire trip. He delivered her to the destination with more hope, more faith and more understanding than she thought she would ever see.
Most importantly, Jaclyn now knows that even though the path may be painful, the pain can produce joy at the end of the road. And, there is no better joy than the joy experienced after realizing you walked all the way with the best traveling partner there is.