"For a Child is Born to Us" (Isaiah 9:6)

A house-full of people. Laughter. Conversation. Drinks. Food. Lots of food. Gift wrap and bows.

A table so long it extended out of the dining room. Out the back door and in the front door to let the pups in. 14 grown-ups. 2 small ones.

That was our house on Christmas Eve.

Just the way I like it. Full. Loud. Overflowing with people, food, and love.

Somehow though, amidst all the busyness, there were moments of sadness, when our infertility snuck up on me and I felt the heaviness. Like when opening gifts and my Nan, again, offers her thoughts on my running. I couldn't just "take it", I clearly told her my doctor knows I run and it's not a problem. Rather than apologize, she just says "oh, you heard me?" Fortunately my common sense kicked in before my anger bubbled over. She is 85. She has a different perspective from a different time. She means well. And before I could dwell, there was another gift being opened to draw my attention and pull me out of myself.

Then there was during dinner, I looked up and saw everyone around our table, The Man at the head, leading our prayer. The joy in my heart was bittersweet. I loved the full table, I loved listening to The Man pray for God's blessings, but I wanted it to be full of our children. Full of our grandchildren some day. I fought those tears hard and I won, mostly because it was time to explain what everything was and I could slip back into "hostess" mode and could not be in "infertile wife" mode.

A few times over the day I found myself alone in the kitchen and I felt the loneliness. I felt the emptiness of my body; the brokenness. Each time, something ready to be stirred or someone needing something rescued me from my tears before they spilled over.

And so the afternoon and evening went.

Around 10:00, everyone headed home and The Man and I did a little bit of cleaning up. I sat down to practice my reading for Mass. I read it three or four times and then headed up to get ready for Midnight Mass.

We arrived for the 11:30 Christmas Eve Carol Service and it was a perfect way to transition from the business of a house full of people and doing for others into the prayer of the Mass. As the proclamation of the birth of Jesus was chanted, chills came over me and a sense of calm that I'd not felt in a while.

It wasn't until I was standing at the ambo, proclaiming the First Reading (Isaiah 9:1 - 6) that the words of the reading finally sunk in (this isn't unusual for me), specifically these words:

For a child is born to us, a son is given us.

And in that split second, all of those hopes for our own miracle washed over me. The irony that I was reading those words as I was feeling the cramps that were reminding me of another failed cycle was not lost on me. The anger that once again, I, an infertile woman, am proclaiming scripture about a miraculous birth. And then, the whisper of words from my retreat this summer: mystical fertility is more important than physical fertility, echoed somewhere deep in my soul. It all happened within a split second, noticeable only to me (there are many times when my choleric temperament is truly a gift). 

As Mass continued, I continued to hear whispers, first from the second reading (The grace of Goad has appeared, saving all...to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ) and then from the Gospel (Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy...a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.) Finally, Father's homily, challenging and beautiful. And a reminder of this mystical fertility to which we are all called. Focusing on bringing forth Christ into our lives and world, that it is our responsibility to make sure Jesus is born for every generation.

I wish I'd spent this morning hiding that stick with two pink lines in The Man's stocking instead of seeing the drastic temperature drop that confirms the cramping and BB of the past two days are indeed the opening act for AF (I wasn't surprised, it was just one more reminder, just as when AF fully arrived, that I am still infertile). I wish, as I'd read those lines at Mass, I'd had the best kind of secret to be sharing soon, that a child was going to be born to us, a son or daughter. For whatever reason, those wishes are not being granted. These prayers for a child continue to be answered with a "no."

I am hearing Him very clearly, but I am resisting it. Like a child being told what she doesn't want to hear, I am sticking my fingers in my ears and shouting "I can't hear you; I can't hear you!" Except, His voice comes from that place inside me where I've invited Him in, and it cannot be shouted down or tuned out. He is calling me to mystical fertility rather than physical fertility. I don't know if it is a permanent call, but it is clearly the call for this day. There is joy in this, joy that we all share in our call to bring forth Christ to the world. There is peace in this, peace that we all share in our confidence in our Savior. There is sorrow in this. Sorrow that comes from letting go of what I want and finding a way to want what He wants, for as long as He wants it.

He is the same.

Wonder-Counselor. God-Hero. Father-Forever. Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9)

He is the same.

Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice. Today is born our Savior, Christ the Lord. (Psalm 96)


  1. I'm glad you're finding joy in the calling to mystical fertility and even though I don't always comment, I'm very much reading and praying. And you're definitely bringing forth Christ to the world, to me, every time I read.

  2. Somewhere in the midst of IF there is joy...only those of us experiencing IF can understand that. IF and Christmas are hard...this year I worked to not let it get to me. So far, I've done good. Merry Christmas.

  3. In so many of my own quiet moments (ugh--why can't sadness just stay at bay instead of poncing during those times?!) I thought of you, my friend, and hoped you'd get your miracle. I'm so sorry that you didn't and especially that the holidays have to be so hard.

    But, I know that your being able to find joy, among the sorrow, can only mean that God is doing great things in you. Of that I have no doubt.


  4. I think mystical fertility is harder to acheive than physical fertility, even for an IF gal. Mystical fertility is a lot less noticeable to others and it takes more humility because it goes beyond our senses. Have you read Reed of God? If not you really should I think you would like it. I can mail it to you and let you borrow it, it is that good. Praying for you and Merry Christmas!

  5. Hugs and Merry Christmas, my friend! You continue to be in my prayers.

  6. SO glad you could still listen to the Holy Spirit speaking during Mass! There was a psalm we prayed during morning prayer on Christmas Day...something about giving the childless wife a home and many sons. It made me bitter, but I know I needed to take a step back and not overreact.

  7. ....youre a champ in the midst of AF's arrivel!

  8. You are in my constant prayers! Through this all, you show so much strength and wisdom!

  9. I went to Christmas Eve / Midnight Mass this year for the first time since a young child. It was beautiful - the chanting and ceremony. God was truly present (He always is, but that night, it was truly special) for me in the beauty of the ceremony and presentation - I am glad God chose the beautiful Christmas Eve Mass to speak to you. I keep praying for His yes to your physical fertility - and am glad for the distractions of the day to keep you from tears. It's just extra hard this time of year.

  10. Merry Christmas! You always write such beautiful reflections. As always you are in my prayers.

  11. You provide such wonderful spiritual guidance. Thank you for sharing in every way. I will continue to pray for you as you navigate your journey in life. Peace

  12. I am so glad that you let your Nan know that your doctor has approved your running; at least for that moment, she knew that you had heard her and that her concerns had been addressed.

    I am also glad that being so busy, and the Holy Spirit, helped you through the day.

  13. So much joy in Christmas, even amidst all the IF pain. It's a surprise we IFs can even enjoy it when this wonderful holy day we're celebrating is so focused on pregnancy and birth. Hugs to you! You seemed to have stayed strong through the rude appearance of AF and pestering relatives. I'm praying that you will be blessed soon!!

  14. As always, beautiful and inspiring. "And in that split second, all of those hopes for our own miracle washed over me." You're ability to grieve and hope simultaneously is an example for me- allowing yourself to feel everything.

  15. Every one of those moments that hit me, I was praying for you and everyone else that is experiencing the joy of what is and the pain of what isn't. And I will keep praying for you. Have a blessed New Year!


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