I’m a fairly sensitive person.
I say “fairly” because I don’t always come off as sensitive. It often looks like I am okay, but deep down? I wound easily and have a hard time processing hard things.
Because of this, I have a tendency to look ahead to try and prepare myself for painful things. I want to protect my heart from needless wounds, so I try to put on some armor before the difficulties arrive.
I did this with infertility. I saw it coming before I was married, before I was at the place for children, and I tried to get some protective gear in order.
In case you’re wondering, it didn’t work.
Infertility, no matter how you look at it, bend it, twist it–is hard. Even if you’re nothing like me, even if you didn’t spend your life wanting a house full of babies.
No matter what, if the day comes that you’re faced with the word infertility, it’s hard. Period.
When we’re faced with this word, this mark, (or other hard words or marks), at a certain point we need to accept it.
Some may disagree, but let me clarify: I don’t think accepting this hard reality means accepting defeat. I don’t think accepting that infertility is a mark on your life means losing hope.
I simply mean we have to recognize we can’t protect our hearts from it.
We have to face it.
For those of us who are Believers, there is a statement Jesus makes to explain this action of facing off with hard things. It’s found in Matthew 10, where Jesus is teaching His disciples about the cost of following Him.
He says, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
The word life here means breath or soul. (Strongs Concordance, 5590, psuche)
Whoever finds breath in earthly things will lose their breath. But whoever loses their breath, their soul, for the sake of Christ will find it.
In other words, he’s saying, “Take up your cross, your weight, your heaviness, your tastes of death–and choose Me so you can breathe and live.”
Be willing to accept your hard things. Be willing to accept the things that leave you vulnerable. Be willing to accept pain, loss, sorrow, and weakness.
Carry them and look to Jesus.
Every day. Every morning.
And breathe in.
Because Jesus is enough and He will put His breath in you. The burden, the hard things, they become light (Matthew 11:28-30). Not because they are no longer hard, but because in the moment when your breath and your strength is gone–you’ll be infused with His.
We can look up and say, “Lord, I don’t want this hard thing. Come. Help me.” And He will.
Elisabeth Elliot says in her book Suffering is Never for Nothing, that there is a Kingdom principle of exchange.
I give Him my deaths and He gives me His life. My sorrows, He gives me joy. My losses, He gives me His gains. This is the great principle of the cross.
No, you can’t protect your heart from the hard things–but you can face your losses, knowing they will be exchanged for His gains.
So, here is the truth again today–for you, but especially for me:
Hard is going to come. Whether it is called infertility or any of the thousands of other names that carry loss–it’ll come.
And you can’t protect your heart from it.
But you can face off with the hard and allow God to breathe for you each day.
And that? That’s the good news of the gospel right there.