I have been reading an amazing devotional by some women of the Proverbs 31 Ministries. It has brought a lot of hope and encouragement to me in the past few days as I have just struggled with thoughts of my infertility. Some days are good others not so good. With Mother's Day and a couple of appointments approaching it just sort of brought my brokenness to head. But when I read this devotional message called "Into Her Pain" it made me realize how blessed I have been that God has used others through my infertility to bring me back to him.
In this devotion by Samantha Evilzizer it talks about how to be a friend to someone who is grieving. One particular quote was..."I didn't want to disrespect my friend with a walk-by, stepping over her pain with thoughtless words. Words withheld are better than careless words. Clichés offer no comfort...Be still. Listen. Administer Mercy." When I read this quote it brought to mind some ladies who have really seen me through in this way...I will tell you about them in a minute.
The bummer about infertility is that is a sensitive topic. Certain events and words just hurt more...I know I have used these phrases to others before as well but I began to realize sometimes it is just not what we should say...The famous phrases of "God's Timing is Perfect", "His plans are best." Although, these thoughts/sayings are SO true...they aren't always an encouragement in the trenches. Sometimes the listening ear, or just saying "this really sucks" (sorry dad, I know you don't like that word :))
So I have singled out a few people who have gone above and beyond...that doesn't mean others haven't encouraged me or been a huge part of helping me through (especially my hubby and our parents) but these 3 ladies met some needs that this devotional talked about. Being still...listening and Administering Mercy.
Firstly, my wonderful SIL, Amanda. Over the past few years I don't know how many times she has called me just to listen to me cry...to be angry...or to be happy. She is REAL...she says "this sucks" and sometimes just listens. I think I can remember conversations of 20 minutes or more where I just talked and she just never once interrupted. Sweet messages, visits and a listening ear did more than she could ever imagine. The thing I love most about her is her mercy and her comforting spirit. Just yesterday she sent an email to me that just brought me to tears because she truly lives this and acts this way toward me..."Here's the Mother's Day "poem" our pastor read at church yesterday. And I really mean this part: To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is. Amanda has always been so good about not saying anything that would hurt me but build me up...on her part that takes work, it is the ability to just be still and listen. I know I don't say it enough but from the bottom of my heart I thank you for being you and caring for me in this way.
Secondly, Krista. Only just in October did I meet you at church retreat. Immediately, I felt a huge connection and friendship that I knew I would grow to love! On the retreat I discussed with her some things that were really getting me down...I shared about my infertility and other hardships and you were such a good listener. Your responses were honest and heartfelt. I could tell you were listening to me...Through my surgery in December and with the complications I experienced in February you were ever present. You brought over Dairy Queen and just listened as my heart broke when they told me I had a 1% chance to have kids again. You came over and prayed over me as I dealt with complications from the surgery. I don't know how many times I called, emailed, texted you and your response was never just an quick email back...you would come over and spend time with me...."got me out of that reclining chair"(retreat). The time and effort you have spent have meant the world to me.
Thirdly, Jolene. Again, I just met you in October at the church retreat. You are as sweet as can be. We have both experienced loss this year of different sorts and have been able to go through it together. After my surgery you brought dinner to us as I struggled to heal from complications. Weekly for a while your sweet words of encouragement through cards brought joy to my soul, each one of them is in my Bible. I love how you can just sit and listen and just be present without saying a word...Your calls to ask if you can do anything or just pray. The thing I most admire is your strength...as you have grieved the loss of your dad you still show mercy to others that are suffering as well. You don't complain, you are present and always helping others. You have been a blessing to me more than you will ever know.
These ladies have probably heard me cry, be angry, complain, and share praises more than anyone (accept Ben)...So even though infertility is hard it has brought me amazing friendships I would never have had without it. When I see these ladies...I see compassion that has helped me restore my hope and faith in HIM. They didn't have to quote bible verses or tell me God's timing is perfect....they were just there to listen.
The truth is I know God's plan is best and I know he has amazing plans for our family...He has blessed us beyond words can even imagine....but when days are tough and I can't seem to get my grip; it sure is a blessing that He uses his servants to bring Glory to his name.
So today I am thankful for these amazing women who have gone above and beyond for me...who have helped me believe in God's goodness, to have hope and to trust in His plan without having to say a word.
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.