Love Lifted Me

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Posted 6/9/13 at 5:50 PM | Brooke Dimsdale

Perseverance in Pain

Mark Klett, American, b. 1952. Six Quarter Moons, 3/12/05, 2005. Split-toned gelatin silver print, ed. 12/20. Sheet: 7 1/4 x 9 inches (18.42 x 22.86 cm). Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2010.18.14.

When will I get over being sad? It would be easier to just forget my pain and wait it out than it will be to wrestle with it. Infertility is a dull ache that never leaves a barren woman. There are also reminders of this status everywhere for she who cannot have a child. It's often a matter of survival and perseverance for each day or even hours and minutes. A friend recently said to me, "I had to come to the point when I realized and believed that the outcome was not the most important thing." Neither the pain nor the end of the pain should be the focus. Is that what she meant? I think so. Basically, perseverance to seek God in the face of this struggle with infertility or any other "thorn in the flesh" is what matters most.

I was recently able to visit with Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the foundress of the Ruth Institute, who usually spends her time discussing and educating the masses on the controversial issues of life and marriage in our nation. We were chatting with some other ladies about how to educate and reach women seeking discipleship. Among other topics we discussed about family and career life for women, I had mentioned my struggle with the loss of several pregnancies. As we listened to Dr. Morse, she talked about her own struggle with infertility. I was listening as somebody who struggled with that pain and wanted to know how to help others in the same boat. Then came those words that planted a small seed. "I had to come to the point when I realized and believed that the outcome was not the most important thing." Her words rolled off me like an obvious proverb for all of us. Of course, I knew that. FULL POST

Posted 12/8/12 at 4:50 AM | Brooke Dimsdale

Where is HOPE?

Where is hope in the midst of sadness? Where is hope in the midst of confusion? Where is hope in the midst of frustration?

In my pastor’s sermon this week, he talked about how hopeless Israel felt as they waited for the promise of the Savior after 400 years of NOT hearing from God (after Malachi). Zachariah and Elizabeth also felt so hopeless as they had served God so faithfully, yet were old and childless and living in a time where that was shameful to most people. It seemed like they had done everything right, and yet God had allowed them to remain childless. How sad they must have been. It seemed like God was not listening. This feeling is not hard for many who suffer with infertility to understand. It is an illustration of how God’s people felt after 400 years of silence from above. Israel was waiting and praying that the Messiah, of whom the prophets had foretold, would come and save them. God was not hearing their prayers, they thought. How sad God’s people must have been.

There is a unique message here for families who suffer the pain of waiting to have a child. However, first we must know that many will not see the hope of having a child fulfilled. It is a reality that cannot be denied. So how is Elizabeth’s story applicable to them? (Spoiler alert, Elizabeth eventually had the child for which she had prayed.) Back up! Look at the pain she felt before. Was it worse than what Israel had suffered? Her pain was a small picture of what God’s people had felt for centuries. There is a unique sadness, confusion, and frustration that comes with infertility, yet Israel and all of God’s people had those same feelings of sadness, confusion, and frustration as they waited for the Messiah. To understand how great the gift of Hope is, we need to understand how great the hopelessness was that was felt by God’s people. It was as great as the suffering of a woman who is barren. FULL POST

Posted 11/2/12 at 10:16 PM | Brooke Dimsdale

Don't I Mean More to You?

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Paul Gauguin, Faaturuma, 1891.

Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?” I Samuel 1: 4-8

In my last post, I posed the question “Why doesn’t my husband seem as sad as me?” This relationship of a woman with her husband in the face of loss and infertility is one at risk. The differences between a man and woman in their reactions to these situations can often be a source of conflict. One area of strain that pops up is related to the how each of them deals with the processes of grief. The Bible shows us in the story of Hannah that she was often in conflict with her husband because of the situation of her own infertility. Even though there is no doubt that a deep love existed between Hannah and Elkanah, he was often unable to help her or fix the problem for her. He loved her and wanted to comfort her in her time of grief. In a man’s way, he saw that providing her with extra portions (with whom she had no child to share it) was a genuine act of comfort and support. And it was. There were other factors at play here; she was being taunted and harassed by the other woman, which thankfully, women today usually don’t have to worry about. Her grief and frustration over her own problems and the struggling relationship with his other wife drove her to refrain from eating, and her husband’s attempts to comfort her were shunned. FULL POST

Posted 10/30/12 at 10:01 PM | Brooke Dimsdale

God is Himself a Parent

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Childe Hassam, The Sonata, 1893

God is Himself a parent, and He knows what is best for His children. I have had 5 miscarriages since the birth of my son Carter, who is now 7 and the light of my life. After some time, I found I was not even able to conceive, much less carry a pregnancy. Rarely a day goes by that I don't think about those losses. Rarely a month goes by that I don’t remember a due date or see a place where I was when I experienced pain. Occasionally, I come across a note, journal entry or even a cute pair of baby socks that were never used. Honestly, that periodic spike of pain is not nearly as frustrating as the dull ache I struggle with in regards to my relationships with people in my life.

Mostly my, worries and sadness stem from human reactions around me. Questions that remain unanswered linger in my mind.

1) Why doesn’t my husband "seem" as sad as I do sometimes? It was a situation that never made me angry or resentful. I guess I was able to realize that it was the reality of his reaction, and he wasn’t being unkind or uncaring. For him, the reality of our son’s birth (after my first and only successful pregnancy) still took a few days for him to process. Until then, he had only experienced what he could by feeling the baby move in my stomach or taking me to the doctor. So, when we experienced so much loss, he still found it difficult to know the pain I was feeling. He expressed disappointment because he knew how much he loved our son Carter, and he said he would not mind having another baby around. This was so different than my depression and hormonal imbalances that were partly resulted from the physical roller coaster my body had been enduring. FULL POST