Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Mixed Emotions of Good News

This morning I received a wonderfully sensitive email from a dear friend wanting to lovingly, but carefully, inform me of the wonderful news of her pregnancy. I've known a lot of women over the years who, like myself, have struggled for long months and years with infertility. Some have eventually gotten pregnant and some haven't. But each one understands the mixed emotions that a woman in this struggle goes through when the good news happens for someone else. Again. 

On the one hand, and on a good day, I am overwhelmed with excitement for that person, especially if I know it has been a long, prayer and tear-filled struggle.  Before we went through this I had no idea the highs and lows a woman could experience through the course of each 28-day wait. The impatience, the anticipation, the careful and sometimes rather unromantic planning, and the waiting. The never-ending, gut-wrenching, disappointment- anticipating waiting. So, when a friend gets pregnant, I am sometimes overwhelmed by positive emotion for her. The waiting is over! And if she didn't have to wait long, I am thankful for her lack of struggle. Mostly.

On the other hand, and more acutely on a bad day, I am consumed with jealousy.  I am more aware of my empty arms than her full womb. I mourn again the loss of our own precious second baby, lost so early on and never known this side of heaven.  And I wonder anew if this will ever happen for us. I become so inwardly focused and then angry with myself because of it. Nasty cycle, really, because self-loathing only drives me further from community and more into my own self.

I was struck this morning as I sat in deep thankfulness for my friend's sensitivity and good news, while at the same time shedding some tears of my own, at how incredibly the gospel intersects this. The gospel should always be what it is; good news. But on some days and in some moments, I think I have trouble receiving it as such. I would rather be steeped in the mucked-up reality of who I'm struggling or striving to be then let the good news be what it is.  Just as sometimes hearing the joyful news of a new gift of life into the world causes me to see my own lack of a pregnancy, sometimes hearing the gospel does the same thing to my soul. Rather than seeing the deep generosity and fullness of grace and new life that God has given me freely in Christ, I only see the ways I can't measure up, the failures in my life, the ways I want to try to earn my good standing before the Lord.  I'm tempted to reject it for the perception of control I maintain if I am driven and defined by my own abilities and desires. Dependence is hard. Receiving good news and perfect gifts is hard. I want to deserve them. But, that's not how it works.

So, this morning, as I spend some sweet time with my little boy, I want to be able to freely and thankfully receive the gift of who he is and not let his lack of siblings determine my day. I want to fiercely cling to the awesome truth that no matter how junked up my heart might be when I hear good news, that God himself only sees the perfection of Christ and longs for me to let the Spirit transform my own messed up and mixed-emotions into pure joy. I know it is only He, in his love and grace and holiness, who can do this.

      

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for these wise words.

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  2. Thank you for sharing. It is truely from a mother's heart and a daughter of our heavenly Father. I pray for God to overshadow the sorrows of your heart and comfort you with His perfect peace.

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