Monday, March 28, 2011

For Me

This blog has been on my mind a lot lately. I have wanted to write something that would help others realize how my path of infertility has helped me. And encourage others to be hopeful about their trials. I just prayed for 3 specific couples to be able to have children. But then I realized that I didn't pray for myself-because I have kids and don't other people need them more? But the stark realization is that my infertility is not over just because I have had some success. I am still on the path and I am still not sure where that path is going to lead. When I comforted someone this week about her infertility, wasn't I also comforting myself about the reality that I may be in her shoes again sooner than later?

But there is a difference this time-- At a recent stake conference, a sister bore beautiful testimony about feeling like broken glass. And how she really couldn't see how the pieces could ever fit together again. But then she saw a stained glass window and it all made sense. She is not put together the way she thought, but all of her broken pieces have been fit together to make a whole that is more than she ever thought it could be.

It hit me that this is exactly what my experience with infertility is about. I look at my twins and it's easy to think that they are the end result. That they are the miracle. But that's not the whole story. The real miracle is that because of the hard time I had to get them--I grew to trust God with my life. (not that I do ALL the time). And so now, when I have to face the unknown again--the miracle is still there. The trust is still there. That no matter what the end result is (0, 1, or more kids) the miracle has already happened--the stained glass is being put together. The picture may not be what I planned--but the artist has a better plan anyway. And if I get broken again--I know exactly who will be fitting the pieces together.

The Lord's Tender Mercies

I am always amazed at how the Lord blesses our lives. If we aren't careful we may not notice or, even worse, choose not to accept his blessing. I have come to relate these frequent blessings as "tender mercies" as it has been referred to in scriptures and talks.

I like what Elder Bednar said about tender mercies in a General Conference talk:

"...the Lord’s tender mercies are the very personal and individualized blessings, strength, protection, assurances, guidance, loving-kindnesses, consolation, support, and spiritual gifts which we receive from and because of and through the Lord Jesus Christ."

Just over a year ago I was thinking about my life situation. My husband had met a good friend at school whose wife had very similar experiences as me. We soon became each other's comfort and I shared things with her that I didn't share with anyone else. We would often talk about our woes and how hard it was to accept the fact that we were not yet mothers. It was such a comfort having someone that could empathize with me.

Meeting her was tender mercy number one.

During one of our many discussions we talked about the difficulty of knowing that friends and family were pregnant when we were waiting so long, wanted to be so badly, but weren't; and how hard it is to be happy for someone you love when you are aching so much inside.

I hadn't experienced this with too many loved ones yet. For one thing, I was the first of my friends to be married. However, three of my closest friends had just gotten married and I knew sooner or later they would be starting their families whether or not my husband and I had children of our own yet. I wanted desperately to be happy for them and not bitter that I, who had been married much longer, was not.

I began to pray for peace.

The Lord soon blessed me with peace and a month or so later I got a call from one of my dear friends telling me she was pregnant. I was honestly so happy for her. I felt no sadness for myself, just happiness for my friend. A day or two later I found out another dear friend was pregnant and again I felt just happiness and joy. Within the coming months it was announced that all three of my married sister-in-laws were pregnant. With each announcement I felt genuine joy and happiness for them and only continued peace for me.

Peace was tender mercy number two.

During the Summer my husband and I decided to take some extra measures to try to get pregnant. We set a goal to do our part to draw on the powers of heaven and leave the rest up to the Lord. We set these goals for a certain amount of months and decided if nothing happened by then, we would take a break. As it came to the last month of our goal I felt as though our desire of becoming pregnant was not meant to happen at that time but that the Lord would bless us when the time was right. The inspiration I received was correct and we did not become pregnant. I was thankful that the Lord allowed me time to prepare myself for the outcome.

Being prepared was tender mercy number three.

How grateful I am for these mercies I have been blessed with. I can't help but wonder:

What if I chose not to open up to my friend? No comfort would have been felt.

What if I didn't notice the peace I felt and chose to feel bitter and unhappy anyway when I found out the happy news of friends and family? No peace would have been experienced.

And what if I was unwilling to accept the idea that this righteous goal that my husband and I had worked, prayed and exercised faith in for so long wasn't going to be fulfilled? Disappointment and a heartbreak would have been suffered.

Instead of sorrow the Lord blessed me with comfort, peace and a prepared heart.

How can I express my gratitude towards the Lord for his tender mercies?

I feel an echo of these words:

And they "did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his tender mercies over them"

(Ether 6:12)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Learning to Be Content

This post on the blog Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal really resonated with me.

Excerpt below, but check out the entire post and the entire blog for an uplift!

"Lately I have been upset that my Infertility Anger was coming back.  I was irritated by constant reminders that we didn't have any control over when we added children to our family...

In the midst of all of these thoughts, I kept seeing this ad on TV for a new show about couples having babies.  Some of the parents seemed apathetic about their new babies, which made me angry.

If only they knew how easy they had it...

I was frustrated.  Disgruntled.  Confused....

And then our bishop asked me to give a combined, 5th Sunday presentation about self-reliance, welfare and budgeting.  That doesn't seem like it would have anything to do with Infertility Anger, but it ended up teaching me a lesson.

As I looked over some materials for my presentation, I kept coming across the same things: 'Trust in the Lord' and 'be content with what you have.'  

And then, in the mail I got my February issue of The Ensign magazine and in it were 2 articles about finances and self-reliance.  One was called Learning to be Content.  It was written by a woman who had been caught up in comparing her home and her financial situation with those of others.  She said:

A short time after we moved in, my initial excitement faded as I began to see the flaws of our home and feel discontented. Many of my friends had much larger homes decorated in such appealing styles as to make our home seem small, plain, and wanting. I found myself making comparisons and feeling that I came up short.

During one of my more intense periods of disgruntlement, a couple in our ward invited us to join them for family home evening. When we arrived at their home I felt the anticipated pang of jealousy at the sight of their large, new home in which little had been forgone. What I had not anticipated was the conversation I had with the wife that evening. She mentioned their unhappiness with their home and their desire to find something a little bigger to better suit their needs. I was astounded! How could someone who had so much not realize how lucky she was? I would give anything to live in this gorgeous home—and she was unhappy! How could she not appreciate what she had?

As I later reflected on her comments and my reaction in turn, the Spirit gave me a very profound insight: I was no different from my friend whom I so strongly envied. We had been blessed to purchase a beautiful house that many, many people would be overjoyed to live in. The problem was not with the house—it was with me.
I had a lot of emotions swirling around in my head and I had forgotten to stop and count my blessings.  In order to be happy, I didn't necessarily need to have what other people seemed to take for granted."