Monday, December 21, 2009
“Three things are never satisfied, four never say, ‘Enough!’ The nether world, and the barren womb; the earth, that is never saturated with water, and fire, that never says, ‘Enough!’” Proverbs 30:15b-16
I found it so interesting that the writer included the barren womb. How true that statement is! As I go through year after year, doctor after doctor, loss after loss, sometimes I feel that I have hit a wall. This process can be so long and sometimes it can feel that we may never reach our desired goal. But I continue to press on. Even after my darkest days of feeling that I can’t go on, I one day wake up with a refreshed resolve to continue.
Even my family has occasionally told me I should seek adoption after all this time (that is a topic for another post). I know that the situation may seem hopeless to them, or that they are wondering why I would put myself through so much, but to me, there is always something new to pursue. There is always hope. All of the doctor’s appointments, time off work, time spent in waiting rooms and on the phone, medications and their lovely side effects, and emotional burdens have truly added up, especially this past year. When I read on message boards about other women who have had multiple miscarriages, there are so many horror stories of things that have gone wrong. I wonder how many times I can do this to myself without something like that happening to me. I know it must be hard for my family and friends to understand why this barren womb will never say, “Enough!”
I have seen the same characteristic in so many other bloggers who I have been able to keep up with for (almost) a year. Some of you have been on this journey longer than I. Some have never conceived in that time. We all face moments of darkness and the feeling that this is too much, but we all find something that pushes us to continue. I know some are working towards acceptance and moving past formal treatments, but the prayer in your hearts is always, “Thy will be done” and the openness to life still remains.
I truly feel that God is leading me to continue. It seems that even though we’ve come so far, there is still much to explore. That although we’ve aged, there is still more time. We each promised in our wedding vows to accept children lovingly from God, and it seems that the graces received from the sacrament are working actively in our hearts. We still desire to fulfill that vow, and have made (heroic) efforts to achieve that end. Those graces have brought us this far, and I’m sure they will continue to direct our paths until we finally accomplish the work that God is bringing forth in us.
“With full voice I cry to the Lord; with full voice I beseech the Lord. Before God I pour out my complaint, lay bare my distress. My spirit is faint within me, but you know my path.” Psalm 142:2-4
“In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9
“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27
1. What causes me to feel burnt out in this journey?
2. What motivates me to keep pushing after hitting a wall?
3. In what direction is God directing my path at this point?
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
When I was going through my miscarriages, certain words sprung to mind. It is always very difficult for me to pray at these times and these words are what I clung to. After my third loss, I realized that all of the prayers had to do with mercy.
During my first loss, I was completely shocked and devastated. The only words that came to mind were, "Jesus, I trust in you." It took me almost a year before I made the connection that this was the prayer of Divine Mercy. For our second pregnancy, I made it all the way to 12 weeks. We saw the heartbeat and thought everything was going to be fine. But one Monday morning I woke up and found that I was spotting. I ran straight back to my bed and sobbed. The prayer that came out was, "God, have mercy on us!" After things started looking bad on the ultrasounds for our third baby, the words that came to mind were from Psalm 130, "Out of the depths I call to you, Lord; Lord, hear my cry!" When I looked up the rest of the psalm, I found that the following verse was "May your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy."
For a few months after my last loss, I have been pondering what God's message was to me regarding mercy. When I think of God's mercy, I usually think of forgiveness of sins; however, that was not the type of mercy that I associate with my losses. Instead, I was asking God to look on me in my suffering and to have compassion. To lift me out of the depths and transform my suffering.
I eventually had to ask my husband what insights he could take from my prayers. What followed were some of the most beautiful words about suffering and the gift of mercy. I actually pulled out a pen and paper and started taking notes! Here were some of his thoughts:
During times of suffering, we receive intuitions of God's closeness. We are more receptive to God's compassion because we can relate to Jesus' innocent suffering in the closest way possible. In our sufferings, we are raised up and brought into the mystery of God's love. The innocent are purified, raised up in suffering. When we are feeling at our lowest, we can use the words that Jesus prayed on the cross, "Father, into your hands I commend my spirit."
Mercy is revealed in suffering. The Father's mercy is always a suffering with, not standing extrinsic from the situation. The depths of our suffering can be reached by God – mercy is never far. We need this mercy and grace to be healed.
Until recently, I haven't done much thinking about God's mercy and how it relates to the suffering of infertility and miscarriage. In the times when I lost my babies, if you had asked me what I needed most from God, I probably would have said "peace" or "comfort." I find it interesting that my soul knew what my intellect did not. That God could not grant me peace of comfort in those times because grief cannot be covered – it must be worked through. Even Jesus grieved for Lazarus before raising him from the dead. My soul knew that I needed to pray for God's mercy. And in those hours of suffering, God lifted me up to experience His loving mercy – although it didn't relieve my suffering, it allowed me to experience a unity with the suffering Christ that I was unable to comprehend at the time.
"Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak; heal me, Lord, for my bones are trembling. In utter terror is my soul – and you, Lord, how long...? Turn, Lord, save my life; in your mercy rescue me." Psalm 6:3-5
"So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help." Hebrews 4:16
"But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconstancy or insincerity." James 3:17
- In what ways does God offer mercy?
- How is God's mercy revealed in suffering?
- What gifts have I received from God in unexpected times?
Three O' Clock Prayer to the Divine Mercy
You expired, O Jesus,
but the source of life gushed forth for souls
and an ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world.
O Fount of Life,
unfathomable Divine Mercy,
envelop the whole world
and empty Yourself out upon us.
O Blood and Water,
which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus
as a fount of mercy for us,
I trust in You.