The June post is usually one of my favorite ones to write. Summer here is so beautiful and this year was no exception. Our month was full of strawberry picking, ice cream making, creek wading, park playing and, of course, a very special 4th birthday party!
This year, June was also the month I found out the likely cause of my secondary infertility and the word “Endometriosis” dropped into my life and cast a shadow on every day that came after it for weeks and weeks. Emotionally, I was crushed. I’d known fertility issues ran in my family, but after conceiving Caleb relatively easily early in our marriage, those worries seemed far behind me. Even though we’d prayed, as we started trying to add a child to our family nearly a year before, that God would only bring a pregnancy to us if it was indeed good (given that I still deal with lots of chronic pain) I assumed I knew His answer. I was wrong.
I left the doctors office that day with a face so swollen with tears I’m sure the shocked women in the waiting room assumed something much worse had happened to me than merely a diagnosis. I felt sad every morning when I woke up. I felt overwhelmed by needing to make a choice about surgery (necessary to confirm the diagnosis and for treatment). Taking my prenatal vitamin suddenly felt like a slap in the face. I prayed that God would help me see this situation through his eyes. I searched scripture and communed fellow sufferers who rooted themselves in Him. I read A Grief Observed by CS Lewis. And although his pain was a very different one from mine, I found two quotes that stopped me in my tracks:
“We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination.”
“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”
I learned in June that there is a difference between obedience and agreement. God hasn’t asked me to agree with Him that this is the best path for me. He’s asked me to have faith and obey him as I walk it. And I responded to that about as well as Caleb responds when we tell him he can’t have dessert after breakfast. It felt unfair and I wanted everyone around me to know how unfair it felt. But that thought was the wave that slammed me into the Rock of Ages again and again.
If there is no God, and evolution and natural selection are the only things governing the continuance of our species, then I have no grounds to call this unfair. I have faulty genes that probably shouldn’t be passed on anyway. This is nature’s safeguard. If there is a God, and he is what I believe God to be- all powerful, all wise and all loving- then he will always answer my prayers in the way I’d wish them to be answered if I knew everything He does. And beyond that, everything I have is a gift from Him anyway and my calling endometriosis and infertility “unfair” is as ridiculous as a 16 year old who is angry he got a toyota instead of a porche. He hasn’t done a thing to earn either, so who is he to be angry over what a benevolent giver decided was best?
Now, I realize the fall has affected our bodies, and I’m not saying there can’t or shouldn’t be legitamite mourning for that. Trust me, I still take part in that sorrow each and every month. During those times, I find myself drinking in John 6, possibly now the most tear soaked page in my Bible. The people have just seen Jesus feed 5,000. They are hungry. They want that physical miracle so bad they can taste it. But Jesus has something better for them, if only they will reach out and receive it, “I am the living bread that came from heaven…” Every time I take communion, I partake in the miracle that never fails to show up. Christ died for me and “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
Not all the things I want. But all the best things. All the things that I would pray for if I could see what He sees and know what he knows. Slowly, He has pried my fingers off the dreams I held so dear and set me free of the anger and sadness I’ve held onto these past few months. There are still things that trigger those emotions and I have to remind myself of truth all over again. But day by day it’s an easier journey.
And in case you’re a regular reader and wondering if I jotted down anything from our normal life that month, I found this gem when I finally had the courage to open this month’s post again:
On Father’s Day morning, I was the first up (for the first time in 4 years…) but, knowing I still had to make breakfast just slipped on my bathrobe over my PJ’s rather than getting into my church clothes. When Caleb stumbled out of bed and into the room, he took one look at me in my very simple, shin length, matronly robe and untamed hair and said, “Mommy! You look beautiful! Are you going to wear that beautiful red dress to church?” It was completely precious. Right now, I am his standard of beauty. Not magazines photos, or television ads or billboards. I wish I could capture that forever for him.