How ironic is it that on that day, November 26, 2010, I stumbled upon an entry from November 26, 2006? Four years to the day.
We had just suffered another failed IVF. I don't even remember which number that one was. And I had just been forced, emotionally, to leave a church service that was especially painful. After sobbing in a Target parking lot with my husband who was helpless to stop my pain or his, I went home and read this passage from a tiny little book I had that comforted me during those days: Good Grief.
Back then, four years ago to the day, I was inspired by the preface of the book. Now I look back and compare what I read then to what I feel now, on the "other side" of that valley.
- We come out of our grief experience at a slightly higher level of maturity than before. Me? More mature! Absolutely. I am a better parent. I am a better wife. I am a more compassionate individual. I grew in leaps and bounds during that long and dark five years of my life. I wouldn't use the word "slightly." I grew incredibly. I will never look at life the same. I will never assume there is not someone hurting. I don't take my kids for granted. I understand the miracle that life is.
- We come out of our grief as deeper persons because we have been down in the depths of despair and know what it is like. Prior to dealing with infertility, I never understood why people questioned their faith. I struggled to recognize why someone could be mad at God. I didn't understand pain. I had a "just-world" mentality. Today I have a mentality that understands that sometimes life doesn't follow the path we thought it would. The question is: what do we plan to do with the course our life takes?
- We come out of it stronger, for we have had to learn how to use our spiritual muscles to climb the rugged mountain trails. You can't live through grief and not come out of it stronger. Not getting what you want forces you to truly rely on the Lord. I often say that while on our 2007 mission trip to Nigeria I became inspired to see how these people lived their faith. I realized that they lived their faith because faith was all they had to live. We, in America, take so much for granted. We have so much and we demand so much. When all you have is God by having what you want pulled out from under you, you became a stronger person. Spiritually e
- We come out of it better able to help others. We have walked through the valley of the shadow of grief. We can understand. In the midst of our infertility journey, I stood by a close friend during her divorce and realized that I could relate to her pain because I had experienced my own loss. I knew what the depths felt like and knew how to be in the depths with someone else.
And thank you those of you who stood along side me during those days of grief. For those of you who have been with me for the entirety of my journey, would you mind sharing what you learned watching me go through this journey in the comments? Or maybe just a memory from my journey? I'm sure it would minister to me and the people who read this entry with grief present at this moment.