When you're stuck in the muck of the messiness that infertility brings, it is hard to see the light. It may feel like your feet and heart are permanently planted in a swamp layered with grief, fatigue, despair and defeat. You may want to move, feel lighter, show up better, but feel challenged to move your legs, throwing your hands up instead, crying out to God, “WHATEVER?!”
Whatever do you want for me? Whatever do you want from our marriage? Whatever do you need us to do? We are tired, we’ve given our all, we’ve done as you asked, what more Lord?
If this resonates with you, you are likely exhausted, feeling miserable, aching for a change, hoping to get unstuck from the muck, reaching with the lightest grasp to hope. Hope is hard right now. Being grateful in this season of thankfulness is hard, too.
In those “whatever” moments when we feel all must be lost, when our head and heart are feeling confused, torn and tired, let us be reminded…
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philipians 4:8)
How can we be thankful in misery? We think of these things.
Whatever is true
Remember the truth of who you are and whose you are! You are a daughter of the one true God who loves you limitlessly and wants the best for you. He grieves alongside you and your husband.
What is ONE truth you know today? If nothing else comes to mind, know you are loved by our creator.
Whatever is honorable
When you spoke your vows and received the sacrament of marriage from one another, you likely had no idea the experiences you would have or challenges you were to endure. You and your spouse may be walking a hard road met with many obstacles, roadblocks and detours. When the immediate landscape appears too daunting to climb and when the road ahead seems too murky, take a few steps back to gain perspective. Hold each other's hands and keep your eyes on heaven.
How might you honor your spouse today or feel honored by them? (If you're not married, how might you honor Christ today?)
Whatever is just
It can be hard to face infertility as a Catholic, right? There are limits to what we are called to explore in the medical world and those limits make our challenges even more challenging. We may feel tempted to ask “what if?” often. But we are faithful to what is true, good and beautiful as the Church reveals.
What is ONE you know to be good?
Whatever is pure
Everyday we are reminded of God’s creations - both simple and grand.
What simple pleasures did you enjoy today?
If nothing comes to mind, take a quick walk, drive with the windows down, visit a park, pick a flower, watch the sunrise. Find something to make you laugh, steal a quiet moment, light a candle. Be reminded of the gifts we’ve been given around us. I hope you don’t have to look far.
Whatever is lovely
During heartache, remind yourself of St. Thomas Aquinas’ quote that made it into the Summa Theologica: “Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.” When was the last time you really cared for yourself? Have you lost a piece of yourself as you’ve been navigating your infertility journey? Do a face mask, go to sleep earlier, drink a cup of tea or something sparkly.
What is ONE thing you were able to do for ONLY you today?
If you can’t think of anything - go do something now!
Whatever is gracious
This journey is hard. Don’t go it alone. Find people who will listen, carry you, pray with you, offer you grace and remind you of your goodness. Offer yourself grace as well and be gentle with yourself.
To whom are you grateful? Say a prayer of thanksgiving for those in your life.
During the upcoming seasons of festivities, family outings and friend functions, give yourself grace. Give yourself more grace than you think necessary and loads more than you think you deserve. It is ok to cry, ok to shout and ok to pout. It is ok to sit out, leave early and ask for space. This season likely doesn’t look like you expected or desired. If these six ways to be thankful feel too challenging, pick one. If that is still too much, let it go. But, if you let it go, make sure to let in what brings you joy, peace and love. Make space for Christ who is longing to walk this road with you, who is crying with you and only wants good for you. Let Him fill your heart this season and may you find slivers of hope to hold onto.