Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fighting the battle from the city

The world tells us to do what makes us happy.  Hate the way you look?  Get plastic surgery. Marriage not meeting your expectations?  Get a divorce.  Don't like the way someone's treating you?  Tell them off- Real Housewive's style. The idea of sacrifice is lost on our modern 'enlightened' society.  Life's all about doing what makes us happy after all.  And so we pursue happiness.  We work longer hours to make enough money for the bigger house and the nicer car.  We put-off marriage until we've lived our 20's to the fullest- taking advantage of our 'freedom' by staying out every weekend until 2am and dating (and sleeping) around. When we do decide to settle down, we delay child-bearing until we have achieved the success we yearn for in our careers.  When something doesn't go our way- when we're laid off from the company we've given the last 5 years of our lives to or when our spouse fails to meet our expectations- we tend to view these things as assaults on our happiness.  "I deserve to be happy," we tell ourselves.

And so for those of us struggling with infertility life can seem like an endless punishment.  Babies -who don't call us mommy -appear to be EVERYWHERE.  Our Facebook newsfeeds slap us in the face each morning when that slutty girl we knew in highschool announces her 3rd pregnancy or our husband's (un-wed) ex proudly displays her baby-bump. The temptation toward self-pity is very real.  "Why me?" we think.

What if instead of asking "why me?" we asked, "why not me?"  What if instead of focusing on being happy, we focused on being holy.  I recently read that a Christian who isn't willing to suffer for virtue is like a soldier who desires a hero's welcome after remaining in the city while the army fights the battle in the country.  Christians who desire to be patient, loving, humble and meek but who question "why me?" every time God allows some suffering into their life are like the soldier who wishes to fight the battle from the city.  If we desire to be holy, we need to develop virtue.  We develop virtue by embracing the suffering God permits in our life and allowing his grace to flow through us.  We cannot grow in holiness or virtue by running from suffering. He who wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me (Matt 16:24-25).

And so, as I grieve for the 12th month, the dreams that were not realized, the child that is not in my arms, the barren womb that feels like a rock within me- a constant reminder of what may never be- I feel the warm embrace of an all loving, all merciful Father.  I know the joy of embracing and accepting His will for me.

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