I looked down at the pregnancy test, bracing myself for one line, not two. We’d been trying to get pregnant for several months, and so far, it just wasn’t happening.
No doctor would have categorized that season in my life as infertility—not yet. But as yet another “not pregnant” test clattered into the depths of my metal trash bin, it felt like it.
I knew that I had been bottling up my feelings, but I couldn’t bear to talk about it. Verbalizing my deepest fears made the situation feel all too real. I wondered, irrationally, if the mere act of discussing it would jinx any chances of it actually happening. And, when you already have two children, it’s hard to not feel petty talking to those who have been trying longer with less success.
But one day at a playgroup while my children poured sand out on the deck, snitched muffins from the kitchen island, and climbed too high on someone else’s backyard playground, it just felt like too much. As I watched a group of women talk about what it means to live in God’s will and how that plays out in their lives, I felt like I was on edge. I made up excuses to check on my children when the conversation got hard. I rifled through my purse for Altoids that I knew perfectly well weren’t there to distract myself. And when they asked for prayer requests, I promptly burst into tears over something that should not spur that kind of emotion (a vacation. Who cries over a vacation?).
The thing is, I wasn’t crying because of the vacation.
I cried because, in that moment, it just felt like too much.
And I cried because sometimes life just feels disappointing.
Despite all of the good things in my life, that one hard thing was taking over like a gigantic, lurking, silent elephant in the room. When you’re in the middle of it, whatever that "it" happens to be for you? It’s one of the hardest, loneliest, downright ugliest places to be.
Feeling tired and worn at the end of the day, I fell into bed and woke up to only good things. Sneaking in to check on my daughters, I found them tucked into Elise’s bed, reading The Pout-Pout Fish and Fancy Nancy to Wonderheart and Funshine Bear. Playing house together, I heard Noelle (as the Pretend Mama) call everyone in sight “sweetie.” Kneeling down to get a hug from my daughter, it lasted so long that the carpet made swirling patterns in my skin and my calves fell asleep.
Life can be hard and good. I've come to realize that my expectations of this life often determine my attitude toward the circumstances I face. And I know there’s sweetness to be found in every season of life, located just past the bitterness of my emotions, if I’ll only stop and pay attention.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Lord, encourage each woman today who is experiencing a hard season. Encourage her, strengthen her, and send friends along the journey to reflect your love and compassion. Amen.
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