Answers and Permission

What does God want you to do in regards to pursuing parenthood? Have you asked Him? Have you listened for His answer?

Three questions asked by Fr. D. during spiritual direction almost two weeks ago that stopped me in my tracks. The honest answers were: I don't know. Not for a long time. No. And we both knew what I was supposed to do - and so after our session, I went to Adoration and Mass charged to be still and quiet and ask only that first question and to listen for His answer. To clear my mind and heart and fight distraction.

It seems He's been trying to get me stop and listen for a while, because the answer(s) came quickly and clearly and have remained consistent.

Come to me. Sit with me. Rest with me.

Let The Man lead.

There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you've had enough.

These three phrases gave me my answers. And I gave myself permission.

I'll explain each, one at a time.

Come to Me. Sit with Me. Rest with Me.

I am an excellent do-er. Give me specific prayer intentions to pray and I'll do them. Daily Mass? My favorite part of the day. The rosary? Yep. Novenas? Well, no one is perfect, right? But last year when Fr. D. asked me to spend 30 minutes a day listening to God, sitting in silence, The Man's reaction of laughter at the thought of me doing that pretty much sums it up. Only here I was, a year later, sitting before God with more than 30 minutes ahead of me, over an hour in fact, and I was doing just that. Looking back, it is like He was saying to me "It's about time. I've been calling out to you for a long time and waiting for you." In considering this in response to the question "What is Your will for us regarding parenthood?", I started to think perhaps He was calling us to quit medical treatment and charting, which proved a distraction I was able to turn off. His answer was clear: Come to me. Sit with me. Rest with me. I was gifted with real examples of how to do this and in a follow-up session Fr. D affirmed them. No longer does 30 minutes seem impossible, instead my soul is begging for it. He also encouraged me to try to do those 30 minutes in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament at least 3 times a week to start.

Let The Man lead.

As the hour continued on, I saw how overwhelmed I've been with school and work and trying to be failing at being a halfway decent wife and our sex life and charting and doctor phone calls and money and all of it. A couple of weeks ago, when seeing my doctor's office's number on my caller ID, I couldn't answer it. I still haven't listened to the message. I am exhausted. I considered asking The Man if he would keep our chart, and call and make appointments for me, and keep up with my prescriptions. A couple of weeks ago, I ultimately decided not to say anything to him. And yet, during this period of adoration, this is what comes to me, to let him lead.

I really had to ask God if this one was from Him or if I was looking for an "out", someone to blame in 10 years if we never conceive. And He reminded me of this feeling from a couple of weeks ago, of being overwhelmed, of needing to let go of some of the things I handle. And so, when I got home and I filled The Man in on our session I asked him to lead. I asked him to pray about where God is calling us in regards to pursuing parenthood, and I let him know that I was overwhelmed with managing all of the medical stuff on my own and so that I also needed him to pray about how he could help with that. He readily agreed to pray about it and when he's ready we will talk about what he arrives at in prayer.

There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you've had enough.

I saw that quote on Pinterest well over a year ago, maybe more than that, and I remember a feeling of longing for that time; for that time when I would know I'd had enough and would not be giving up. When He would be telling me, it's time to stop. This phrase didn't come to me during the time of adoration, but rather at the end of Mass. I questioned whether it was God and at the same time realized the peace I felt in hearing these words could only come from Him.

And so I left Mass, only briefly stopping to ask Fr. D on my way out if he thought I could have an answer that quickly. To which he said "yes".

I gave myself permission.

I've revisited this question of what is God's will for us in regards to parenthood - do we continue to seek medical treatment? do we keep charting? do we look into adoption? Each time getting the same answers to draw close to God and to let The Man lead. It is clear I am being asked to trust like never before. Like I have never trusted in my life. What is helping me do this is that I've finally given myself permission. Permission to grieve, for however long it lasts.

You see, for a long time I've thought that I couldn't stop seeking medical treatment if I was still sad about not being pregnant; if I still strongly desired motherhood. I thought that because the desire was put on my heart by God, that I had to do all that I could to achieve it. The rational part of me realized this was ridiculous, if only because when I've seen others of you who have left {licit} options on the table this never entered my mind, of course you could still be sad. And so, at some point in the last two weeks, I gave myself permission.

Permission to grieve. To be sad. No matter what The Man decides and then we decide together regarding treatment or adoption, CD1 and the arrival of AF is a perfectly reasonable thing to be sad about. I hope and pray that someday this sadness does not permeate every aspect of my life; that I can hear of a pregnancy and feel only joy; that I won't wonder about a life that could have been. I have realized that day may never come. Infertility might just be the outward sign of the cross of sadness I've been asked to carry, and despite that sadness I can find joy. Joy in Christ. Joy in the peace that has washed over me, that can only come from Him and surpasses all understanding.

And so this is where I'm at. Consciously seeking Him, spending more time in silent prayer than I ever have before or thought it was possible for me to do; awaiting a discussion with The Man; realizing that it may be time to let go and that if it is, it is still OK to be sad.

When I met with Fr. D on Monday, I told him two things. 1) I want to stop reacting and I want to respond. For nearly 4 years now, especially the last 2, I have been in a state of reaction; of dealing with each crisis as it comes and trying to get through it with my sanity and faith both still mostly intact. I am exhausted from this state of reaction. I want to respond. 2) I feel like I am sitting on the edge of great change. I have no idea whether it will be spurred by something positive or negative, but I feel it is coming and I want to respond to it, rather than react to it.


  1. Seems like you're moving in the right direction. Hugs and prayers!

  2. I am so glad that you received answers so quickly! I completely understand about being a do er, since I am, too. One of the hardest parts of our marriage was during Husbandido's job hunt; it was nearly impossible for me to not micromanage what he was (and wasn't doing). It makes it hard to let someone else lead. It may be that because of that tendency, you had to reach this point of exhaustion before you were ready to let The Man lead. I will keep praying for guidance for both you as try to figure out what He is calling you to do.

    I love the line "There is a difference between giving up and knowing when you've had enough." Giving up is reacting; knowing when you've had enough is responding. It isn't always easy to tell the difference, though.

    I hope your time in silent prayer and reflection continues to be fruitful. Hugs!!!

  3. Yes even without charting and knowing full well we are likely not pregnant, CD1 just sucks and we are sad on those days. There is a day when pg/adoption announcements wont hurt so much, it will happen. I am so glad you are entering into a deeper prayer life at this time, it helped me so much last year when I did that! Even now, God is calling me to go deeper and it has been very fruitful. I think it's a great idea to ask your DH to lead in this and to be willing to follow where he leads.

    On a side note, you are so choleric my dear! I don't know if it is your primary or secondary temperament but there is choleric in you. God is using who you are and who He made you to be in a big way to glorify Him! (((Hugs))) and prayers!

  4. I swear I feel peace radiating off this post. :)

  5. Thank you for sharing, this is profound, and a reminder to everyone how much we need to listen. I've been reading your blog for a while, but never commented. I just had to tell you how much I appreciate your honesty!

  6. This is beautiful. :) Fr. D sounds awesome!

  7. I agree with Hebrews ... Fr. D sounds awesome!!
    I am so thankful you heard God talking to you and giving you answers (at least partial answers anyway). I will step up my prayers for you as you sit and wait and pray - I wish you to not feel so exhausted and overwhelmed - and I am glad you gave it to God!

  8. Yay for the answers to those questions coming fast!

    *hugs* You are awesome to share all this. Thank you.

  9. This is great. Thanks for sharing this intimate part of your relationship with God. You've needed these answers.

  10. Can't wait to hear the next step! I know as a wife that it was imperative to work with my DH and also really listen to him since I tend to overpower him. It.is.hard. But oh so fruitful!

  11. Thank you for sharing all your heart and process. It is definitely healthy to grieve.

    Personally we stopped "trying" with extra help for two reasons, one there was nothing left to try and two it was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo stressful. It was making our everything else so dramatic and painful. While I am sure we could have kept trying longer, but it was not worth it to us. 4 years of trying with help was plenty.... Right now it is all in God hands who is the ultimate healer.

    ...Interesting how things like IF really make a spiritual life plunge into the very deepest waters! Oh how you learn to swim!!!

    From us, a couple of aching hearts to another, do not give up faith in God. Oddly there is so many verses in the bible that talk about suffering. John 16:19-20, 22-24 is my favorite. There is so much hope that one day there will not be any "why God" questions. Also, last night we were listening to the bible via internet and we listed to the book of James and 1 Peter. There where a lot of challenging things especially about suffering...

    While giving up seems easier for us, choosing to trust God with whatever he has for us is going to be worth it...

  12. As always, thank you for writing with your whole heart. I read pain and peace in this post. But embracing the change that God is calling you to in this life is what stands out the most. You are willing. And you are able. Hugs, friend.