Once again, I am so thankful for the warm responses to my appearance on Johnette Bankovic's show last week. :) I wanted to expand upon two points mentioned in the show:
1. The power of prayer. Christians often receive criticism for relying on prayer. Telling someone "I'll pray for you" is seen as a weak response. However, as a Catholic Christian, I can say otherwise. Intercessory prayer on another's behalf is very, very powerful. Prayer may bring about a healing or conversion...or simply help a soul make it through the day.
Throughout our infertility journey many, many people have prayed for us: Poor Clares (the "big guns" as my dad calls them), The Tyburn Benedictine Nuns (check out their excellent website!), Nashville Dominicans, little children, married couples, good friends, relaties, and sweet old ladies (no, not my Aunt; she does not qualify as an old lady). The list goes on. God only knows the random people who will offer a prayer following the show. The prayer has brought forth many fruits: Mark and I continue to have a blessed marriage, my teaching jobs are very fulfilling, and countless blessings. One day in prayer I asked the Lord if all of these prayers for us to have children were bouncing off heaven. He reminded me that I have been able to endure quite a bit of pain. The prayers have kept me (and Mark) going through the monthly heartaches, the stupid questions, and the hidden pains no one sees. So prayer can move mountains AND keep us on the long, dark path.
2. Taking the time to give to others. I touched on this topic during the show regarding my work with children, which has been very rewarding. Children have a remarkable way of getting you out of yourself. Like my mom said, try explaining to a 3-year-old why cramps are awful!
But seriously, giving to others has proven a great way to cope with infertility and the normal worries. For 10 years I have volunteered with high school youth groups through the LifeTeen program. Many of those former teens have gone on to the seminary, become youth ministers, or stayed active Catholics. Quite a few of them came to my wedding, which made the day all the more special.
Even in recent years, I can remember arriving at youth group preoccupied with various burdens but leaving with a greater sense of purpose. It doesn't erase the pain, but ministry sure helps alleviate it.