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Friday, January 30, 2009

Old Me vs New Me

Earlier this week on my birthday, my driver's license expired. A few weeks ago I sent off the papers to renew it by mail and the new one arrived today. I have to say that there was something funny about seeing that same old picture of my 24-year-old self. What's funnier is that now I can pass it off as "me" until 2015! (Thank you, Texas, for not requiring a person's weight to be printed on their driver's license! I would have really hated to lie about it.)

It got me to thinking about the old me - the Stacey of that photo. It was taken the year we moved to Texas, 2001. I was 24 years old, 8 years younger than I am now. I had absolutely no gray hair and I have no recollection of mentally reminding myself not to make a double chin for the camera. I recognize the nervous look on my face that says, "I can't believe I'm making this official. I'm now a Texan and I'm going to have to learn to drive here." Besides that look, I see a happy girl who looks too young to have been married for 3 years already. I see the innocent, relatively carefree, optimistic young lady I used to be.

Sometimes I wonder if that girl is still around. If you read this blog with any regularity, you know what happened next. We decided to try to have a baby. Well, we didn't even really decide to TRY. We just decided to have a baby! Simple, right? The next 8 years that followed were the hardest of my life so far, and I know that those years have changed me as a person. Sometimes when I look at pictures of myself today, I don't see any of that old sparkle in my eyes anymore. I don't mean that I'm never happy or that I have no joy at all. I mean that I can see a woman who has known pain, grief, and disappointment. Sometimes when I'm with a friend who really knows me well, I think they might notice that too even though I feel like I'm hiding it well. And sometimes when I'm with a friend who didn't know me before infertility and recurrent miscarriage entered my life, I wonder if they really know me at all. I never used to break down and cry in the middle of a conversation. I loved going to parties and showers and all kinds of get-togethers. I wasn't afraid of any question that might be asked of me or any comment that might be made, and I very rarely left feeling hurt, sad, angry, or completely isolated from the crowd.

Now, that old optimist in me wants to tell you some good things about this new Stacey. Although I've struggled with it in the in-between times, my faith is stronger now. I had faith back then, but it was largely untested. I'd always been grateful for God's hand in my life during a childhood that wasn't easy. I trusted Him, but now I can see how easy it was to trust once I'd reached my early twenties. I was on the other side of that adversity! I'm still in the middle of this one and I'm learning more and more every day what it's like to trust Him when it's hard. I don't succeed at that every day but I think I'm getting better at it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm still getting to know the new me. I hate the circumstances right now but I'm interested in what kind of person might emerge on the other side of this. That 24-year-old on my driver's license is still part of who I am even though now she's a little rough around the edges.

13 comments:

Tanner's said...

Oh Stacey-
My heart understood your words, but I am still in awe of your journey and how much God is using you in girls like me who feel we are just starting the journey! You are a true blessing Stacey-
Love you,
B

beth ewing said...

what a great post. i see some of that in myself even though i haven't been struggling anywhere close to as long as you have. but i've had those same thoughts about the person i am now. but i long to see the person i am on the other side of this...and pray that i get there. praying that for you too.

Alicia said...

Good post! Its so interesting to look back at that person but look forward to the new person that God is making. You are such an encouragement to me. I see (via your blog) that through all of your struggles you love your life, you want to serve in the church and you have lots of creative things that you do like scrap booking. Praise the Lord for your encouragement!

My weight on my DL still says 135, I'm not changing it!

twondra said...

I just love reading your blog, sweetie. You have a wonderful lesson in it and it's so inspiring.

Thank you for that.

(((HUGS)))

kirke said...

What a thoughtful post!
I just love the image of your 24-year-old self.

I often wish I could go back to the younger version of me...to impart all the wisdom that I have learned over the years. However, on second thought...I would probably just bum the young me out.

sharonvw said...

I love this post Stacey because I can relate it so well, its as if its written by me about me. I too have lost my sparkle, I look worn down and worn out by the last 7 years. To be honest, today, I feel like there is no escape from this adversary and that there is no end. Today unlike you, I feel like my faith has been beaten out of me, I'm bitter and angry. I really admire your ability to rise above.
Luv u!

Amy said...

Stacey,

Reading you posts is one thing but I connect with you through them. I know so well where you are and that is scary sometimes.

I think to myself, if you are this strong then I must be too. I just have not tapped into that part of myself yet. I believe with all my heart that God has called you to service. I am inspired by you.

I am thankful, and blessed. You are strong, beautiful, super intelligent, loving, and so strong.

KEEP IT UP!!!!

P.S. The true sign of strength is not seeing where you are and living through it. It is knowing where you are and getting up raising you hands to heaven and giving thanks for it. That is how I see you....

God Bless You Always!

Amy

Connie said...

Oh, how this breaks my heart. I find myself thinking of the "old Stacey" from time to time. The one that was fragile and so very innocent; the one I needed to protect from the cruel world...

What a comfort and inspiration the "new Stacey" is to so many. Your strength and wisdom amaze me every single day. XOXO

Stacy said...

I pray that one day you can thank God that you are no longer the old "Stacey" and that you are thankful for who you have become through this journey. I know that's so hard now, but I pray one day it will be true for you.
You can link to my miscarriage posting if I can link to your baby announcement posting some time? I thought that was so well-written and very necessary for people to hear.
You are a mom Stacey. I know your babies are not here and that you don't get to hold and love them but you have six precious babies and for that reason you are as a much a mom as anyone else. The world may not acknowledge that on days like Mother's Day, but in my heart I believe you are a mom of six.
Asking God to love you with a love so deep and high and wide that you can't help but overflow from the inside out.

I Believe in Miracles said...

I love this post. The idea of looking back and then looking forward to see what God has done and is doing in your life. It's pretty neat if you do a self-reflection and think about your own life too. This sentence could be taken out of my journey too: "Although I've struggled with it in the in-between times, my faith is stronger now." Thanks for pointing out how God is continuing to mold and shape us on this journey.
~~HUGS~~

Jenn said...

I love the "old" Stace and the "new" Stace just the same!

Michelle said...

Thanks Stacey! I can totally relate. It's almost like you want to tell the 24 year old what's to come, but don't want to scare her. I admire your faith, sometimes I feel like I have lost all of it and it's people like you who remind me, it's all we really have! thanks for blogging and being such a role model!
~Michelle

Teresa said...

It's so crazy to look back on pictures of ourselves and realize we had NO clue the pain that was just right around the corner. It literally blows my mind. Your words continue to bless the heck outta me.