Nobody likes pain. I know I don't. We hate pain so much that we do whatever we can to avoid it. We have a headache, we take ibuprofen. We get a leg cramp while running (true confession!), so we stop running. We have surgery, we go under anesthesia. As a society, we have come a long way by means of pain management.
I'm pretty sure I have read this article at least five times since I first learned about it a little over a year ago. I have a number of good friends who have read it too, so I know that for some readers this is probably not a new resource. But I have found it extremely helpful. If you are not struggling with infertility yourself, but are close to someone who is, this article provides a clear window into what the infertile person might be feeling and going through.
One of the most helpful things I've learned in the past few years is this concept of Heat and Thorns/Fruit. We all face Heat in a variety of ways. While the Heat can be difficult, it does not dictate our response to it. It only reveals what is already inside. Heat has a way of doing that. But what has been even more encouraging to me is that God is in my Heat.
I’ve been camping out in the Psalms a lot lately. I know that I’ve said this before, but the Psalms are filled with such raw emotion. There are words for people who are joyous and words for people who are in deep despair. And they are all God’s words to his people. Last week I listened to a couple of excellent messages on our emotions and I was reminded that God did not create us to be emotionless beings. He gave us our emotions, but sin has corrupted them and therefore we must wrestle daily through our feelings—feelings that can be up one day and down the next.
I’ve thought a lot about the experience of suffering and the Bible’s response to our suffering this past year. Before our miscarriage and infertility I quickly passed over passages on suffering, not because I didn’t see them as important, but I just didn’t relate to them. I had faced trials before, but nothing that really made me wrestle with God’s good plan for my life in the way I have recently. I don’t doubt his goodness; I just need to understand it more than ever before. While difficult, that is a good result of our suffering. It causes us to lean hard into him and desperately seek his face because without his presence in our lives we are hopeless.
Even though we are more than halfway through the month of April, I think it's worth mentioning that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. I actually didn't know that until this year, so I'm not sure how long it has been held this month. Regardless of my past ignorance, it's an important issue to raise awareness about. Sexual assault is a horrible and demeaning form of violence against men and women. And while it is reprehensible, it should be talked about in our churches and in our communities. Silence doesn't make it go away. It only isolates the victim further.
The book of Job fascinates me. Between the interaction with Satan and God, God’s overarching control of everything, Job’s response in the midst of great sorrow, and the subsequent response of his friends, I have always finished Job with lots to ponder and process. We can learn a lot about counseling from the book of Job. And I found myself repeatedly praying throughout the entire book, asking God to protect me from the all too familiar tendency to counsel like Job’s friends.