When Adam and I found ourselves traveling the topsy-turvy path of infertility, I quickly required myself to walk the path with grace. The infertile road is not for the faint of heart. If you are not watchful, it can quite literally swallow you whole.
The infertile pathway, though, holds a giant opportunity for exquisite refinement. It gives the Great Refiner an opportunity to teach and to mold in ways that are only possible through trials of significant loss. My goal, as most of you know, was to gain a higher level of compassion toward others and their individual plights. To see beyond my own loss. To become a softer kinder gentler version of myself. And to treat others as the Savior would have me treat them, regardless of circumstance!
Okay. But so what? None of this thoughtful prose means anything unless I truly have grown over the past seven years. It’s been long enough to at least learn something, right? One thing that I learned most clearly was that I must choose to participate in my own refinement, walking through the fire. And I mean stepping on the hot coals all the way across. None of this pussy-footing around the furnace where my hair might get a little singed or my fingers might get a little blistered. No no, I must be all in, as they say. As always, agency is ours to choose what we will–the Great Gift of our Creator.
Recently, I was handed the privilege of providing “watch care” for a pregnant Sister at church. She was assigned to me by others who have no idea what my ‘real story’ is yet. This sweet sister is on bedrest for the duration of her pregnancy–which is still awhile away. When I was assigned to her my first thought was, “Oh, I know what it is like to lie in bed helpless because of the life, and sometimes death, inside of me. She needs my help. What can I do for her and her awesomely large family?” As little as three years ago, however, that would not have been my reaction. I would have done my duty and served, of course. But I would have done so with a sad, heavy heart. I would have cried at night in my husband’s arms. The experience would have been suffocating and unbearable.
Miraculously though, none of those all too familiar reactions happened this time. The most beautiful part of this experience was receiving a letter from my new friend acknowledging that serving her might be hard for me. Because of personal experiences in her own life, she “gets it.” The mere fact that she mustered the courage to say something made me want to serve her and love her even more. That shows that she really does get it. She is someone I can learn from. Someone who is brightly in tune with the Spirit. Someone who has already walked hard paths and developed compassion and love and true charity for others. Someone I can learn from.
Although my womb remains empty and the sadness of that creeps in every so often, I am not, and never have been alone. My cup overflows with gratitude for opportunities like serving Sister J., which are set in my path to test the strength and validity of the refinement process my body and spirit have endured. How grateful I am for that Great Refiner who finds me worthy of his refining power.