I tend to wait to share my experiences until I’ve had time to “wrap my head around it.” I stand back, stay silent, and wait for my life to make a little bit more sense before I present it to the world. I wait until I can say, “Yes, that was a really difficult season, but now I can see how God was working in it.” I like honesty as long as I can tie a neat little bow at the end.
But as I seek to care for others and receive care for myself, I’m realizing how much my desire for neat and tidy can get in the way of what God is trying to do in our souls. God wants to be with us in and during our suffering, not once we’ve gotten through it and have it all figured out. He wants the type of intimacy with us that allows room for the good, the bad, and the ugly. He can handle it. He wants to handle it.
During this last year, I have been scrambling to find bows to tie around my suffering with infertility. I have spent hundreds of hours stuck in my head trying to make sense of it. God has shown me that I would rather analyze my suffering so I can avoid actually feeling it. My emotions of anger, sadness, jealousy, abandonment, seem so wrong and faithless that I try to hold them at bay with my rationalizing. I tell myself, “Don’t be sad, don’t be angry, there’s got to be a reason for all of this.”
This month has felt like the Month of Pregnancy Announcements. It complicates my suffering to try to rejoice with others while feeling like salt is being ground into a gapping wound. I’ve tried to look for reasons like, “Maybe this means this’ll be our month too,” “Maybe God waited so I could get pregnant as a birthday surprise.” Only to have this not be our month, and no birthday surprise besides a negative pregnancy test. These were just two of the hundreds of reasons I have run through. As you can imagine, these mental gymnastics are exhausting.
The truth is, God does have a reason – I just don’t need to know it right now. What I need is God in the present moment and experience my suffering. I need to not try to rush through it to the point where it makes sense. I need to stay with God and ask Him to hold me and my disordered emotions. I need to receive His love for me as His daughter and experience the intimacy with Him that only suffering can bring.
Maybe someday I will be able to look back on this season and make sense of this suffering. But my job today is to be here with God right now, to receive the gifts and the suffering of today, and to see these things as invitations to draw closer to my Father today. It’s as if the lyrics of this hymn were written for me, “Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”