Now, at other courses, infertility and reconciling that with my faith has been a huge focus. Many blessings has come from this unconscious partnership. But I didn't want this to be the focus of this course. I didn't want to only ever discuss infertility on these retreats. I didn't want to be "pigeon holed." I wanted the opportunity to work out other things in my life, like a "normal fertility person." My thought process was, I wonder what God is doing in other peoples lives since they aren't discussing infertility. I want that. I want to be a holy well-rounded person. Other reasons for not wanting this course to be about infertility for me was that I felt like I over-exposed myself at my other courses; that the people there only knew me by my infertility. I was tired of feeling like a long-exposed wound in front of these people that I respected. And I knew that I wouldn't have a support system (Rebecca) at this course. So I decided pre-course to NOT open the "infertility wound" up at this course.
What I had failed to consider is that God does not compartmentalize us; God wants all of us. So "leaving infertility at home" did not last long. Infertility affects every area of my life and God wants to love and heal me completely.
We spent a fair amount of time in class on the idea of God beholding you. How is God beholding you? Let God behold you. Be aware of God beholding you. I had to confront very quickly why my response to the idea of God beholding me was "don't look at me!"
"I was afraid because I was naked so I hide myself." Genesis 3:10
God lead me to the Scriptures and many passages resonated with me! The first letter of John in particular! Below are just a few of the thoughts are prayers that stirred within me.
"Let what you heard in the Beginning abide in you" 1Jn 2:24
LET- Receptive: let yourself be open, be led. Don't build walls around yourself- acknowledge God within you.
WHAT YOU HEARD- which means someone spoke something to You and you listened. God acted first. The WORD of God: Christ: God made flesh.
IN THE BEGINNING- Christian anthropology, male and female, Gospel of John: "In the beginning was the WORD and the WORD was GOD and the WORD was WITH GOD. Incarnational.
ABIDE WITH YOU- Live with you. Be one with you, in YOUR house- "under your roof": Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only speak YOUR WORD and my soul shall be healed. Let the WORD of the Lord IN- Be in me, Lord. Live out of me!
My prayer was "Help me to be silent with you, to listen to you, to not fight your presence in me but instead to trust in YOUR LOVE for me and YOUR unquenchable desire for communion with me. Why lord? Why do you love me? Why do you Desire, so deeply, communion with me? What do you love about me? Who is this Caitlin you created me to be: to love?"
And God's response: "I created you TO LOVE. You are easy to Love. Let me LOVE you! Let me show you how beautiful you are. Let me show you WHY I abide in You, why I LOVE to be with you always, why I delight in You; to be IN you."
Then the song, "I want to hold you hand" came into my head. I had this image of the first few times I held my husbands hands. My husband's left hand is a little bit "crippled" and in that moment I remembered just how honoured I felt the first time Grant let me hold THIS hand. I realized that God was saying to me, "Will you let me hold you in your brokenness. Can I hold your woundedness? Can I hold it with tenderness? Will you HONOUR me by letting me hold you brokenness? Will you give me the 'honour' of your 'hand'?"
This thought carried me through the week and started me opening my "infertility wounds" again to God. When I give my woundedness and the worst parts of myself, the things I hate most about myself to Christ, they become my greatest "possession". They become the thing that give the greatest honour and dignity to Christ. It tells the world "This is where my heart lies." Because you only share your nakedness with those closest to you. If you hide your sicknesses from those you care about how do you receive what you need?
God finished the though then, saying to me, "You are easy to love, BECAUSE of your brokenness, not in spite of it."
That night I dreamt that I was pregnant.
I was confronted with the questions:
Do I believe God wants to give me a child? Do I believe God wants to satisfy the desires of my heart?
Does God care about the "little" desires of my heart? ("Little" meaning not the desire for heaven and holiness)
Am I being asked to revisit my infertility discernment?
For those of you who have read other posts, specifically the one entitled "Sisters of Life," you will recall that at that retreat in February 2012 I surrendered my dreams of a child to God and I have not really let myself pray for a child since then. I united my suffering to Christ's in a beautiful weekend of pain and grace. But since then I allowed God into the pain but not the hope. If I were to be honest, I didn't believe that God was ever going to "resurrect" me from the cross of infertility. My husband did. I would still go through the 2ww with my hopes separate from God but my husband, my wonderful husband, would remind me, "God will grant us a miracle someday but I don't think it is this cycle."
So here I was at this retreat where I didn't even want to think about infertility and I start feeling like God wants me to pray for a child; like God wants to give me HOPE. To say I was petrified would be underselling it!
It is easier in many ways to think, "This will never happen." You have a few "relapses" in wishful thinking but you focus on other things. You try to fill the child shaped hole in your heart and life with other things and you have moderate success. But to be confronted with the thought, "Maybe this will happen. Maybe this hole CAN be filled. Maybe." My soul was trembling!
I didn't want to reopen this discernment, this wound, if I didn't have to. So, God put a wonderful priest at the course who would listen to me and honestly seek to understand. After our discussion, I resolved that this movement was from God and I should follow it. So I spent the next 4 days of the course opening up my longing for a child to God.
We had a time in class where we were to try imaginative prayer. We were to place ourselves at the nativity scene. Allow God to show us this scene in however he wanted too. This was a beautiful dialogue between God and myself and since you are still reading and I haven't lost you yet (which is very surprising) I will share it.
I was being walked from my Grandma and Grandpa's old farm house to the barn by my grandma (who passed many years ago). I was a young child and she led me to a stall. There in the corner was Mary and Joseph hunched over in the hay with their backs to me. My Grandma gentled pushed me towards them. Mary turned around, took my hand and brought me towards the baby in the hay. She put her arm around me, smiled at me. St. Joseph smiled also at me. Mary said to me, "Let me show you your baby." I looked at the little baby lying in the hay. I say, "You mean, my saviour." She smiles, "No, baby. He is yours!" I looked at my Grandma and she smiled at me. I say, "Help me prepare for his coming. Show me how to be his mother."
I was uncomfortable with this prayer because I felt like Mary should have said like me show you my child. But she didn't. She said, "Let me show you your baby."
It took me another 2 weeks to really understand what God was telling me.
God was asking me to ask him to reveal my family to me. He exists out of time. My children exist in him already. He knows them. I don't. He wants to prepare me for my nativity! He wants to prepare me to be the woman and mother he created me to be. He wants to prepare me to love. He wants to impregnate me with HIS divine life, with grace.
Now... throughout the course I was expecting to Peak. I didn't have my peak day (day closely associated with ovulation) until I came back from my course. I wish I could say that I was at peace throughout the 2ww. I wasn't.
I also wish I could say that I am pregnant. I am not.
What I can say:
God knows my children already and he is preparing me for them perfectly, whether they be biological, adopted or spiritual. And my goal is to be pregnant with grace!
" Rejoice in hope, be patient in trial, persevere in prayer."