My dad has been urging me to start writing again, so I will. The reasons for my absence are not fully clear, but the word that comes to mind is exhaustion. At some point, every aspect of life began to tire me; seeing friends, going to church, reading, going to work smiling. This cycle of self-doubt, cynicism, skepticism, and weakness erupted within myself. It was the weakness in particular that destroyed me for a period of months. Weakness of the heart paralyzed me to a point of inability to fight temptation of all kinds: laziness, depression, hopelessness, anger, anxiety, fear, shame, faithlessness, and sexual sin. All of these potentially have enduring effects, but some result in more obvious consequences than others. Thankfully, these consequences can be interpreted using a lens of God’s love instead of our own distorted view.
Now I sit with my twenty year old hands pressed upon my out-of-wedlock belly to feel my growing daughter wiggle and kick, daydreaming in anticipation of life past September 13th.
The consequence I spoke of is not the dear child, for she is the most extravagant blessing I have ever received. The only “consequence” to speak of in a negative light is the reality that Maximos and I will not have the “normal” life of twenty-somethings. We will forever be the parents of Amalia Clarke who is created in the image and likeness of our Creator. This can hardly be considered a consequence. Yes, it will be a difficult, speedy transition from childhood to adulthood, but we are more than blessed. The list of thankfulness has grown to be much longer than any list of fears or troubles in the past six months.
I cannot honestly say that I’ve accepted this state of mind from the beginning, for there have certainly been tremendously dark times of uncertainty and hopelessness. Over the months, a multitude of people has chosen to love instead of judge, to stand with Max and myself and declare this a blessed child. The support from St. Philothea Greek Orthodox Church astounds me, which has in turn drawn me further into the depths of the Church, challenging me to seek truth and love in Christ. Maximos is the main person who has unceasingly given me hope by telling me that I must give glory to God and I must continually seek Him through prayer. There have been many more than a few times that I have been insane and helpless, but Maximos always chooses to love me in the bleakest times. I cannot imagine surviving this journey without such a loving partner, an experience that many unmarried women do face. They are much stronger than I.
No this is not “socially acceptable” for a “good” Christian girl, but it is our new life, which will overflow with joy and hope. I will continue searching for the fullness of life in Christ in the Church. Though some fears remain with me, I do not fear that God does not love me.