“Jerusalem, take off your robe of mourning and misery; put on the splendor of glory from God forever!”
I don’t know about you, but December feels very heavy to me this year. Like, really, really heavy. And while the imminent arrival of our infant savior fills me with tremendous joy and excitement, I’ve also been randomly weeping at the reality of another Christmas without an infant of my own to hold. I’m eager to arrive at a place of acceptance of it all, but each new cycle seems to start the grieving process all over again.
If I can claim any blessing from my infertility experience, it’s that it has greatly increased my desire for heaven. Through the gift of faith, I believe that God has a place of complete joy and repose prepared for me and one day the weight of this grief will be lifted and I will be free. We were not made for this valley of tears, but for eternity. Last week, Kristin wrote on the virtue of hope. Hope is the divine virtue by which we firmly trust that God will give us eternal life and the means to obtain it... perhaps this cross is the means by which I obtain eternal life in heaven and if it is so, I cry out “fiat!”
(Quick disclaimer: I do not think God’s original plan included infertility or pregnancy loss (or cancer, sickness, untimely death) for any of us. His original plan was Eden, but our first parents disobeyed the commands of God and here we are mourning and weeping generations later. God is love, and a loving God would not put suffering on us. Because we live in a fallen world, pain and suffering exist, but because Christ died on the cross, all suffering can be redemptive through union with his sacrifice.)
During this second week of Advent, we reflect on the virtue of faith. Faith is believing in the truths which God has revealed. Throughout our lives, we are confronted with lies about who we are and what our purpose is (among other things). Dealing with infertility can create an inner dialogue where these lies are repeated over and over in our heads.
But through the gift of faith, we know these statements to be false because of our identity as daughters of Christ. We are not broken. We are worthy. We are infinitely loved and God delights in us every minute of every day.
To help us confront these lies and remind ourselves of true identities, I’ve taken my favorite lines from the first reading from this second Sunday in Advent and tweaked them a bit to help us hear God speaking to us as he did through the prophet Baruch to his beloved people:
My daughter, take off your robe of mourning and misery;
put on the splendor of glory from God forever:
wrapped in the cloak of justice from God,
bear on your head the mitre
that displays the glory of the eternal name.
For God will show all the earth your splendor:
you will be named by God forever
the peace of justice, the glory of God’s worship.
Up, Daughter! stand upon the heights;
For God has commanded
that every lofty mountain be made low,
and that the age-old depths and gorges
be filled to level ground,
that you may advance secure in the glory of God.
The forests and every fragrant kind of tree
have overshadowed you at God’s command;
for God is leading you in joy
by the light of his glory,
with his mercy and justice for company.
Our infertility journeys are fraught with uncertainty, there is so much we don’t know. Rather than dwelling on the unknown, through faith we can find comfort in the certainty that we are beloved daughters of God. God has a unique plan of fruitfulness for our lives and our marriages. We can also trust that if we strive to seek and do his will, one day we will find ourselves in a place of pure, complete joy. There will be no more crying, no more sorrow, only joy. Believe this because our Lord who is TRUTH says it is so, and journey on with his justice and mercy as companions.