Back during my child-bearing years after having one child, I dealt with infertility following an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Maybe I should be honest and say, infertility dealt with me. Everything I thought I knew about God, motherhood, my purpose, my desires, my very identity-all were stained by a hard season in my life.
The pain of a harsh diagnosis and more than that even, the unfulfilled promises from the Word, pierced my heart like a sword. Me, who always saw myself as a mom of a houseful found herself the mom of an only child. Depression made a move on me when I realized the one thing I wanted above all-to have a big family-wasn't happening. Three failed adoption attempts later, I had no clue what I was supposed to do.
It was a weird place to be in and the pain and loss gnawed at the edges of my days making me sad, resentful and filled with self-pity for a long stretch. Their was little place for gratitude in my heart and I simply couldn't see the point in any of it.
A few years went by and the pain stuck around and the empty, inferior feeling each time another friend announced another pregnancy. I basically got used to it and reached a place where I could compartmentalize the pain better. It was kind of like telling an annoying dog, "Go sit over there. I'm not petting you!"
Because whatever you pet sticks around.
It took awhile and God let me dangle (at least it felt like I was dangling) over a precipice of self pity until I was ready to do these three things.
- Accept His will to raise an only child. (Which ultimately turned out for the best)
- Stop bemoaning what I couldn't change.
- Look for the joy right in front of me.
My pain didn't disappear right away but it stopped hijacking my peace. Oh, it had it's place, like yellow jackets at an outdoor barbecue, always buzzing around and usually avoidable but able to sting deep if you decide to mess.
I did my best to just leave it alone and ignore the dull ache. There were times, during certain scenes in movies or deep conversations, where it rose up and spilled down my cheeks. Still are. And I regret I could never give my husband a son to carry on the family name. I was the last hope until I realized God, in His quirkiness, had a different plan to carry on the Battistelli name. He let our daughter make his name known.
How awesome is God! His ways truly are past finding out!
Whatever deep pain you hold, know it won't go away completely. It can't because it's part of who you are, part of what makes you human. But you can make room for it and you can make it lie down and be quiet, at least most of the time!
I found three primary things to help heal my wounded heart.
- Time. It really does help to lessen the pain.
- Jesus. Spending time with Him doesn't always change your circumstance but it will most definitely change you.
- Cultivating a heart of thankfulness until it becomes as unconscious as breathing. Because when we thank Him, we're not focusing on what we lack, rather we take stock of all the blessings He's loaded our lives with.
I can't change my past but I have complete power over my present. And my present will determine my future. Your pain won't go away but I promise it will diminish and you'll learn to make room for it. It will have a place in your story but know this: it's not the whole story.
And as time goes on, the edges will soften and I promise, if you look for it, you will find joy.
What are you thankful for right now, today? I'd love you to share!
Kate, Kate Battistelli