Sunday, March 22, 2009

Protecting My Heart

I recently had an email exchange with a friend. She inquired how my last doctor's appointment went. I told her that everything was healing well from my surgery, but some testing had shown hormone and other issues that need to be worked on. This is my first month with a new protocol. I mentioned that since I still have some things to work out, I wasn't expecting a pregnancy right away. She then wrote back that hopefully it wouldn't take more than one cycle for the hormones to fall in line (I can just hear some of you either laughing or groaning!). I love my friend dearly, and appreciate her faithful prayers for us. But as she is pregnant with her third baby in four years of marriage, she can't quite relate to our experience of trying to patiently wait for a child.

As I reflected on this exchange over the weekend, I realized that my words over email showed that I am already falling back into the pattern of protecting my heart. Those of us who have experienced the challenges of infertility have learned quickly how to lead a guarded life. I protect my heart each time I decline a baby shower or baptism invitation. I protect my heart each time I tell myself I am not pregnant during the 2 week wait. I protect my heart each time I quietly excuse myself from a discussion about someone's pregnancy or young children. I protect my heart each time I break down and take a pregnancy test while telling myself that I am not pregnant and should not be taking the test right now!

Tonight I began to wonder how Mary reacted after Simeon foretold that a sword would pierce her heart. How often did she ponder what his prophecy meant? Did she live in human fear of what sufferings she may have to endure? Through scripture, I know that she said "Yes" to all that the Lord had planned for her. She responded to Him with faith and trust even though the road was filled with sorrows. She did not excuse herself from being present at the foot of the cross because she was scared of how she would emotionally react. She knew it would be difficult, but she went anyway. She held the body of her crucified Son in her arms. We cannot begin to imagine the depth of her sorrow on that day. But though her sorrow was great, I imagine that her joy on Easter morning was even greater! Mary lived fully. What an example we have in her!

"In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, 'Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.'" Luke 1: 26-28

"and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, 'Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.'" Luke 2:34-35

"God, I praise your promise; in you I trust, I do not fear. What can mere flesh do to me?" Psalm 56:5

Reflection Questions
1. In what ways am I guarding my heart?

2. Have I closed myself off to friends, family, or God?

3. Is God calling me to release anything?

Novena Prayer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Most Blessed Mother, heart of love, heart of mercy, ever listening, caring, consoling, hear our prayer. As your children, we implore your intercession with Jesus your Son. Receive with understanding and compassion the petitions we place before you today, especially ... (special intention).
We are comforted in knowing your heart is ever open to those who ask for your prayer. We trust to your gentle care and intercession, those whom we love and who are sick or lonely or hurting. Help all of us, Holy Mother, to bear our burdens in this life until we may share eternal life and peace with God forever.

I found this statue of Mary's heart being peirced by a sword in a church in Assisi - just had to post it!


  1. I couldn't agree with you more! It's a difficult balance between protecting and guarding our hearts against more pain - and yet fully accepting this cross that we must carry. Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  2. There are times in this journey that I wonder at what point do I joyfully fake going to a baby shower. I have done 3 and the recovery time just isn't worth it. :) Actually the 3 I have gone to I have thrown.

    I think that God is good at sending us enough crosses we don't have to go out looking for them. And I think for me, going to a baby shower is looking for a cross to bear! ;) hahaha I hope you get I am not writing this with a tude, but this seems to lead over from my current wailing post.

    Sometimes it doesn't matter how much I guard my heart, infertility gets in there and works it hallowing magic! :)

    And yes if an angel were to come to me and call me blessed I might handle the current trial with a little more humility. But that is what I lack, hence the gift of my infertility!

    I am glad we have friends that can keep the hope alive when we are faced with reality every day. It doesn't mean I have any less hope & faith, but I know, that I will not be exiting this hell anytime soon.

  3. Very beautiful profile picture! ;)

  4. What a great reflection! After 4 years I have really guarded my heart many times. It takes so much courage to stand there with those with children, but I have come to realize that they have their own crosses to bear. Maybe we are called to show them how much a gift from God their children are?