It can sometimes feel like infertility is the heaviest cross in the world to carry. I know that so far in my life it has caused me more pain and stress than anything else I have had to deal with. I'm not used to things not working out for me! But when I start to feel sorry for myself, I try to think of people that we know who are suffering under such great crosses. We are truly blessed to have a joyful marriage, good jobs with stable income, good relationships with our friends and family, and our health. I know that the health thing can be questioned considering that my reproductive system is obviously not working properly, but overall I am a healthy person.
We know two amazing couples who are dealing with cancer – one that knows it is terminal. Both are young couples with children. They are such an inspiration in the way that they handle the physical, emotional, and spiritual struggles that they face. My husband told me that our recent adventures with the cat reminded him of the struggles that some of our friends go through because of the physical ailments of their children. If we were under so much stress and had so much concern about a cat, imagine if your own child was ill. One couple we know has a son who has had over 50 surgeries in his four short years. Most involving his brain! Can you imagine what they go through each time they hear that their little boy will need yet another surgery? Other friends have children with Downs Syndrome, Cystic Fibrosis, Spina Bifida and the list goes on. They are amazing parents that have been handed a special role.
When I hear that we will always have struggles in this life, sometimes it makes me want to cling onto my infertility for fear of what may lie ahead if we are blessed with a family. I am comfortable with the IF, I feel like it is something I can handle, even though that can change moment-by-moment depending on my mood.
God has truly blessed my husband and I in so many ways. And one of those ways is through the friends he has put in our lives. Their faith, hope, and trust in God, and even their joyfulness are an inspiration. They serve as a reminder that it isn't all about me. That anything can be dealt with if we maintain our relationship with God. And that as much as we need prayers, we are called to offer prayers for others – to mutually help one another through the struggles of this life. We may never find lasting peace in this life, but we are living for more than this life – we are living for the life to come.
"The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who honor your name trust in you; you never forsake those who seek you Lord." Psalm 9:10-11
"For I long to see you, that I may share with you some spiritual gift so that you may be strengthened, that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by one another's faith, yours and mine." Romans 1:11-12
"Bear one another's burdens, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2
- Do I have friends that are in extra need of prayer right now because of the crosses they bear?
- What might I do to help them (prayer, meals, notes of encouragement, running errands, etc.)?
- What can I learn from others who struggle with difficult crosses?
The following is an excerpt from our Archdiocesan newspaper. They are doing a special series on marriage and I thought this was an appropriate reflection.
"He [God] promises when we marry that He will meet us wherever life takes us. Usually where it takes us is beautifully ordinary. But God also will use the difficult times to make us more holy…They teach us to forgive, to be patient, to be more kind, more compassionate, more trusting in God and others. In short, these times teach us to sacrifice, and they introduce us to the great paradox of our faith – that we gain our life when we give it away."