Monday, April 4, 2011
I enjoyed spending much of the weekend, sitting on the couch with my husband and my puppy and watching General Conference. If you are not a member of the LDS church, then I should pause and explain that General Conference is a semi-annual event, where Latter Day Saints gather to listen to instruction from inspired church leaders.
I always take time before conference to create a list of questions that I am seeking answers to. I have found that as I seek revelation, the answers often come through the voices of church leaders.
Of course much has been on my mind as far as Heavenly Father’s plan for our family as it relates to someday having children. Spencer and I have spent a great deal of time on our knees seeking help, comfort, inspiration, direction, and guidance in this matter.
I am grateful for the insights and answers that came to my mind as I listened to the words of our Prophet, President S. Monson, and other beloved leaders of the church.
One talk that touched me particularly was by Elder Paul V. Johnson. He told a story about a little boy who had been diagnosed with cancer at just nine years of age. The boy’s doctor told the boy and his family it was common for cancer patients to ask, “Will I be the same after this is all over?” The doctors answer was powerful, “No, you won’t be the same, you will be so much stronger. You will be awesome.”
I thought of our situation. Infertility has changed us forever. We are not the people we would have been if we could have had children right away. We are stronger. We have learned so much. And even though it has been painful, we wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything. We aren’t the same people we were, but it’s a good thing.
I write letters to our future baby. I post them on our adoption blog, because I want to share them with our birthmom. I want her to see how much I love our baby already. It has been a very healing experience. I wanted to share one of the letters I wrote last October with you. (Oh, and I should probably explain that I write to Baby Lydia, not because we are sure we will have a girl, but because I wanted to write to a person by name… not just “baby.” It makes my baby feel closer to me. Anyways…)
Yesterday we had an interesting experience. I had been asked to teach a lesson on floral arranging. I was ecstatic to do so, and looked up a few places online where I could purchase wholesale flowers. I didn’t have time to get to the store until after I had picked up your daddy from work. I asked him if he would like to go with me to pick out flowers. He agreed, so we typed the address of the store into GPS and were on our way.
Interestingly, the store was located on Lydia Street. It was a place we had never been to before. We didn’t know how to get there on our own. But we were confident that with GPS we could find our way. We navigated our way to Lydia Street without any problems, but we were astonished to find that there wasn’t anything at the address we had specified. No flower store. No store of any kind. Just an empty field and a vacant parking lot. We were baffled. I am certain we had the correct address. We had expected to find the store exactly where we were told it would be, but we didn’t.
On our way home, I reflected on how this situation so closely resembled our literal search for Lydia. Your daddy and I have always known what our ultimate destination would be… parenthood. We have the address. Though we weren’t entirely sure how to get there, we were certain we would and we thought that we would get there quickly. Imagine our surprise when a year and a half later we had arrived only at an empty field.
The analogy is not entirely negative, however. We decided on a new location and were delighted to discover hundreds and hundreds of beautiful flowers when we arrived. We didn’t expect to have to try a new location when we set out on our journey. We didn’t expect the trip to take quite so long or the flowers to be a bit more expensive. But the flowers were just as beautiful as any would find should we search the whole world over.
Our little journey to the flower shop is not just a parable for infertility, but for life in general. Rarely does everything go according to plan. We do our best, but I have found that life does not hold our expectations in high regard. Though it seems that our original plan would have been the preferable one, I am consistently amazed how Heavenly Father’s plan for me is far better than the plan I had for myself. Life’s little detours, though sometimes painful, have always led me to higher ground. It is so much easier to see the big picture from higher up. From up high, we can see how what seemed like winding trails lined with burrs and thistles, were really the most direct path to our ultimate destination. We realize that our muscles are toughened from the vigorous climb, and our hearts strengthened in endurance. Most of all, I do not believe we could appreciate the beauty of the view should we not have struggled to arrive there. I am certain that the things we prize most are the ones we worked hardest for.
So Lydia, I pray you will remember these things when life brings you trials. I pray that you will strive to keep an eternal perspective and continue to look for flowers, even if you have to look harder and longer than those around you. The flowers are there, and I know that you will one day find them. I love you.
And on that note, there is an awesome article in the Ensign on Infertility and faith. You can read it here.
Hang in there fellow infertiles! Together, we’ll get through this!