“Are you effing kidding me?”
Perhaps not the most eloquent prayer. Nor is it the way I should speak to the Creator of the universe. But alas, the cry of my heart sometimes sounds eerily similar to my angsty 15 year old self.
This, I hate to admit, is my usual response.
It’s raw. And it’s real.
Jesus can handle my anger. My frustration. My doubt and fear.
After a few days, I come around and have peace with what is being asked of me. He is patient with me, and I am taking (baby) steps toward to an immediate response of ”yes, Lord,” that doesn’t require a nuclear grace bomb.
Looking back at the previous posts in this series, step one is to make sure you understand God’s character and His original design. Then, admit that you’re having a hard time and acknowledge the heaviness of your burden.
Now, it’s time to invite Jesus in. That may sound like a pious answer. Lucky for you, that's not how I roll. Think about our hearts for a minute. They’re messy. And complicated. Not particularly pious. This is not an invitation to the tidied up house, frantically cleaned while whipping up a batch of brownies to give an impression of ”having it all together.”
No, this invitation is the kind where you allow someone to come over when you haven’t showered in three days, the children are in the same pajamas from two nights ago, they are jumping on the couch yelling something about Neverland Pirates fighting Daniel Tiger (who would hands down lose in that matchup, IMHO), and you’re throwing goldfish across the room to keep your feral offspring out of your bubble while staring into your cold coffee cup. It was reheated twice, maybe three times (or was that yesterday?) and is cold again.
THAT place in your heart is the mess where fear, obsessive control, and unholy self reliance comes from. THAT hot mess is where Jesus needs to go. He won’t force himself, though. He waits to be invited. In case you‘re curious, He does accept invitations sprinkled with colorful language. #noexcuses
What will He do, once He steps in to the mess?
That’s the beauty of individual relationships with Christ. He knows my needs are different than yours.
Some women will find comfort in offering up their burden, united with prayer, for those struggling with infertility.
Another woman will find peace in being open to the life she was certain she could not accept at this time.
Still another woman may simply hear “let me carry this cross with you.” Her burden may not change, but she finds peace in knowing Christ is walking with her.
Your answer may look nothing like these. Yet it will be perfectly fit to the needs of your heart, your family, and your relationship with Christ.
It is impossible to let Him in to the messiest parts of my heart when I doubt His goodness. In those moments of doubt, I have to go back to step 1: God’s character and original design. Fertility and family planning are complicated, fluid aspects of our hearts. I can go from peace to anxiety and back to peace during one Johnson&Johnson Mother's Day commercial. Sometimes my feelings around my fertility even provoke shame. What if I tell the Lord I don’t want 8 kids? Will He think I’m a bad Catholic mother? (Spoiler alert: He already knows what's in the depths of my heart. Admitting it in prayer won’t surprise him.)
If I’m stuck in a place of denial, I can’t effectively bring this cross to Him. Both steps 1 and 2 from previous posts are crucial to have a no-holds-barred encounter with Our Lord where He can step in and pour His graces in to YOU— in a unique way that will touch your heart.
Give it a try. Today. No flowery language. (This coming from the queen of eloquently-worded, semi-vague confessions.) Don't minimize what you're feeling-- good or bad. Just be you. He made you that way. He delights in you just as He made you. So let him in to the space with His authentic, complicated, and sometimes messy, beloved daughter.