11.22.2012

I Am Thankful For Infertility

No, this is not more of my spiritual direction homework and I've not lost my mind (that I know of :)). This is, however, something I have been reflecting on since my 3 for 3 post and E's comment about feeling bad for those who need charting to realize the Lord is in charge. It caused me to really pause and think about why it was I needed IF to realize the Lord is in charge. This led me to really consider what IF has taught me, both good and bad, and it led me to the realization that while IF has brought more pain than I ever imagined possible, it has also brought beauty, and in a way I don't fully understand, healing. It is the story of the cross and resurrection, the beauty and pain of life all mixed up together. So much of what gets recorded in this space is the cross and the tomb, but today, when we pause to give thanks, I am sharing some of the good. For each of these resurrections, there is a nail of pain that led to it. I have never been more aware of this than I am today, and I can only hope to continue to grow in this awareness.

So, without further ado, I am thankful for infertility because (in no particular order)...
  • If given the chance, I will be a better parent. I understand children are a gift more than I think I ever could have without infertility. I will be more patient, more calm, and more willing to forgive. I will not be the perfect parent, I am not delusional, but I will be better than I would have been.
  • I am kinder, more forgiving, and less quick to judge. I understand in a way I never could have otherwise that no matter how big the smile on someone's face they may be hurting more deeply than I can imagine. I see others and I wonder what their stories are, especially when they are less than kind to me.
  • I understand in a way I couldn't have without infertility that any children we may have are only ours temporarily. Ultimately they belong to God and it will be our job to raise them making sure they know to Whom they belong.
  • I've learned to live life rather than plan life. I spent so much time planning and getting ready for the next thing before infertility. It has forced me to slow down and realize that life isn't about planning, it's about living.
  • I have a faith deeper than I ever could've dreamt possible. For whatever reason, the Lord chose infertility to draw me close to Him. I'm still reflecting on what that means, but I've come to the conclusion that this was what I needed to truly learn to die to myself and to say "Thy will be done" and mean it.
  • I've learned that answered prayers come with great responsibility, and unanswered ones even greater. The grace that He has poured out on me humbles me beyond words, but it's not the grace that people are watching to see how I respond to, it is the unanswered prayer they are watching. How I react and live my life childless says more than how I live my life in His grace, at least to others. I think anyway.
  • I've learned just how much my family and friends mean to me. I've forgiven myself and those I love for things I swore I'd never forgive. I've let go of grudges, hard feelings, and negativity that I clung to like a life boat. I've embraced "forgive {me my} trespasses as {I} forgive those who trespass against {me}", like never before. When I first really considered how I forgave, I didn't like what I saw, so I changed it.
  • I've learned how a marriage without children is life-giving and I've embraced it. The Man and I have embraced true hospitality to others and no longer expect anything in return. We do our best to infuse life into the world around us. We fail daily at doing this as well as we should, but we are learning and growing.
  • I have learned that anything can change in a matter of seconds. I read this list and I think "wow, whoever wrote this sure seems all put together and 'with it'", and I realize that in a couple of weeks I may or may not relate to even one item on this list as I face yet another CD1. Time is fleeting, life is precious.
  • I am healthier. I eat better. I exercise. While this is still a work in progress, it is a huge improvement.
Last year, I dreaded today. And this year the holidays loom large and dark and my empty womb feels heavy in my body. Yet, in a way only possible through Christ, I hope and look forward. I still cannot believe that, somehow, we are still childless. But when I see this list, I see the gifts that I have been given wrapped up in infertility and I realize that I must be thankful for it and for them. The Lord knows me, and He knew that I could only learn these things (and more) if they were wrapped in infertility. Which leaves me with only one option, and that is to be thankful for infertility.

If the only prayer you ever said in your life was, "thank-you," that would suffice.
~Meister Eckhart

24 comments:

  1. Wow!! What a great list! I can say I agree with your thankfulness for IF on so many of your points. :-). You hit the nail on the head for pulling these thoughts straight out of my head.

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  2. I am thankful for IF for many of the same reasons, most of all I am thankful that it brought me so many wonderful friends like you!

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. And now I hang my head in shame because I had that "I'm missing something BIG here" feeling when I posted this and as soon as I read your comment I wanted to crawl into the earth and die because how could I possibly forget to list all of the amazing friendships that I have as a result of IF! I wish with every thing in me not a single one of this ever had to deal with any of this, but to say I'm grateful for the friendships is the understatement of my life!

      I love every single one of you and I am so grateful for the wisdom, prayers, commiseration, and love that have been a part of my life because of IF.

      Ugh, if ever a *facepalm* was appropriate...

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    2. We know you love us too ;)

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  3. Oh, dear Rebecca, you are by far one of the wisest women I know! And for that I am grateful!

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I am so thankful for this blogging community which I only could have found through the pain of IF and miscarriage. Happy Thanksgiving Rebecca!

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  5. I don't even know what to say, but this is an amazing and beautiful post. I agree, though, that I would never want to change who I have become through the process of waiting. I almost skipped reading blogs today, but I'm really glad I read this one, because it fills in some holes for me today. I don't know how to describe it other than that.

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  6. Amazing how God can make some truly ugly things very beautiful, isn't it? Great reflection!

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  7. Rebecca, you write the truly tough stuff. Wow! Thank you for the reminders and explanations of why IF and the waiting in general is a gift.

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  8. God always has a way of redeeming the most painful and hardest situations. ...on a humorous note DM always tells me that we get to have more video games and date nights because of IF!

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    1. More video and games and date nights? I think DM and The Man could be best friends :).

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    2. You are always welcome to join us for a double date :)

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  9. Soooo good. Through sorrow, one can truly feel joy. The Lord knows I have had to feel lots and lots of sorrow to really appreciate and feel the joy of the gifts He has given me.

    I still feel bad for those couples that have to "avoid." Its like they are given this beautiful gift and have to decide to take or not! UGH!

    But, living with IF is a true witness to the sanctity of life. And your marriage is a beautiful witness!!!

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  10. You are definitely not losing your mind! I have thought many of these things before as well, but could never articulate them as well as you have. I think I fight myself on "being thankful for (some aspects) of IF" because I will think of reasons to be thankful for it, and then I'll try to shake that feeling bc in my small mind "how can something that brings so much heartache also be good?" God definitely knows what we need better than we ever will and I know He is taking care of us!

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  11. It's a true cross, but with trial comes compassion. What a beautiful example you are!

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  12. What a beautiful reflection on how infertility has made you a better human being, a wife, and a Christian! Although at this point I think that infertility has made me a worse person overall, I hope to follow your example one day, with God's help.

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  13. This is so, so beautiful, and so grace-filled. Love this.

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  14. So apparently I neglected to comment saying that this is the best post ever. Sorry.

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  15. I agree. Best post ever!

    -sent you an email!

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  16. This is beautiful! Just reading it for the first time now. Thank you for writing and sharing, plan to use it for the November infertility support group.

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  17. Actually I should ask first, can I use it for our November infertility group?

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    1. LOL :) - of course you can use it! I hope that is a blessing to your meeting. If you'll just include the link to either this post or my blog, that would be great.

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