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  • Writer's pictureKristin D.

My infertility creed, part 4: Light from light

(This is an excerpt from “The Spiritual Advent of Infertility” manuscript. This is the final excerpt in a 4-part series. You can find the links to parts 1, 2, and 3 at the end of this blog. )


God from God, Light from Light,true God from true God,begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;through him all things were made.


Every human life is sacred. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2258) That includes yours and mine. All life comes to fruition through God’s creative love. We are drawn to the eternal light. Like a candle flickering in the darkness, light overcomes the absence of light. For us, the light is Jesus, who reminds us of our purpose and is our greatest hope. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 748) Of the illumination, John the Evangelist proclaimed: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)



Truly, no matter what comes our way, no matter how difficult it is to perceive meaning through the dark stages of our lives, the light of Christ will always overcome. In times of trial, and indeed, infertility is a trial, we can turn to the scriptures for comfort. I find solace in the prayer, “May we see better times! Lord, show us the light of your face!” (Psalm 4:7)


Jesus was truly an amazing teacher. His encouragement to his disciples rings very true to this day:  

“The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light.” (John 12:35-36)


There are times when I have experienced the presence of God so real and so profound that I never thought it could ever part. There are also times where I have lived in the darkness and did not know where I was going. Infertility can feel like that sometimes. In fact, any of life’s major challenges can feel that way. Do not be mistaken, the light of the dawn is inching its way into the horizon of your life. If you are in a dark period, keep your eyes open. In time, you will find light, beautiful abundant light, and the vision that you will behold will bring you peace.    


“Through Him all things were made”. This line is the kicker. Perhaps this is the profession that I struggle with the most. Since we believe that God is the ultimate creator of all things, sometimes it is easy to wonder why God has not made life within my womb. Let us look deeper into this essential component of our profession of faith. St. Ignatius of Loyola offered this very insight in his “First Principle and Foundation” of his Spiritual Exercises:  

“Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God Our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.  The other things on the face of the earth are created for human beings, to help them in pursuit of the end for which they are created.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, trans. George E. Ganss (St. Louis: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1992), 32 [23])


All things on the face of the earth, the sunlight, the beautiful trees, landscapes, and animals, originated from the thoughts of God. What does that mean for me even in my infertility? It means that I am made by God and He loves me! We are told in the Book of Genesis that God created and said that “it was good”. I am loved, blessed, intended to exist by a God who loves me. When I wonder where God is in the midst of my struggle, I merely stop and remember that He made me in his image and declares that it is good.


My favorite band Switchfoot has an incredible song called The Shadow Proves the Sunshine. The lyrics tell the story of two runaways trying to find their way through a crazy world. It reflects the tension of searching for hope and meaning in the midst of tragedy. The chorus repeats: “We’re crooked souls trying to stay up straight, dry eyes in the pouring rain, where the shadows prove the sunshine.” As the song builds, the listener is taken on a journey facing the darkness head-on and with his ever-vulnerable voice of yearning and hope, singer Jon Foreman belts out the closing petition: “Yea, shine on me! Let your shadows prove the sunshine!”


In moments of darkness, our restless souls are drawn to search for some measure of hope or semblance of meaning. We are looking for the sun when the proof of the Son’s existence is only evident in the shadows. Yet these shadows exist because the light of Love is always there, ever beating upon these objects with a radiant light. Even while these objects block the view of the Son, He is never changing, always there. It’s our perspective that changes. Yes, let these shadows prove the depths of Jesus’ love for us!


I spent endless hours reading through sacred scripture, the Catechism and papal documents trying to find some answers to the infertility struggle. To be honest, it was hard to find something that resonated. However, I came across these words from Pope Francis, whose acknowledgement of the struggle was deeply felt:

Some couples are unable to have children. We know that this can be a cause of real suffering for them… Even in cases where, despite the intense desire of the spouses, there are no children, marriage still retains its character of being a whole manner and communion of life, and preserves its value and indissolubility. So too, motherhood is not a solely biological reality, but is expressed in diverse ways.” (Francis, Amoris Laetitia, Apostolic Exhortation, 178)


At last, I found a shimmer of hope. My marriage, in itself, is a communion! I have the character of motherhood written on my soul and that cannot be taken from me. This means that we can find profound meaning in our marriages as God forms us anew while we serve others. It also means that we still can express our motherhood or fatherhood in concrete ways in the present tense. In our vows, we promise to be open to life, and that includes a “yes” to the very life we have this day. In the absence of a child, we are still open to life when we choose to love one another and the family that is here with us right now. As we nurture those relationships, especially when it hurts, we are living out our Christian faith and our marital vows to the full!


I wish that I could be an adequate vessel of his love by carrying an amazing creation in my womb. However, perhaps Jesus is working and creating something else in me or in you that is incredibly valuable and priceless in His eyes. Perhaps we occupy a space on this planet that is meant to serve a most unique purpose and the revelation of that experience is right before our very eyes. I encourage you to dwell upon that for a moment. Invite God to show you the purpose of this experience in your life, and how He is working towards your salvation through it.


Questions for reflection

  • What images of light speak to you the most?

  • What areas of your life do you wish to shine more?

  • How is God forming you into the woman or man that He is calling you to be?

  • How can you spread the light of Christ with others in daily life?


Action steps

  • Light a candle and pray for unborn children and mothers in crisis pregnancies.

  • Write a letter or speak with your pastor about raising awareness of the struggles that infertile couples face.

  • Write down ways that you are becoming a “mother” or “father” figure to others.


Prayer

Jesus, please shed your light upon our hearts. Help us to grow in love of you. While we may struggle with our circumstances, help us to see that we were made through you and for you. Help us to see that all of creation around us, as well as the absence of created things are your designs intended to help us grow closer to your heart. Amen.


 

Click on the links below to continue reading the series, "My infertility creed", by Kristin D.

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