I read aloud to my young son from his Children’s Bible, and as I progressed through the stories about Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, and Jesus in the Gospels, a heaviness came over my heart. Eight long years of infertility and numerous miscarriages had depressed me and shaken my faith. I was mad at God, and as I continued to read to my son I felt a question hovering. “Why, Why did you let all of this happen?”
Then I read the words from Matthew’s Gospel, “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” The words spoke to me and as I stared at the pictures from this scene the realization hit me hard. I was that house in the storm! I had been battered by the rain, and the wind, and the floods.
Then I asked myself, “If I am that house beaten and windblown, what am I going to do? Will I allow it to defeat me? Take away my faith in God”? I looked down at the Gospel reading, and the Holy Spirit guided me away from the image of the house on the sand to one that was built on rock: “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them shall be compared to a wise man who built his house upon the rock.” A peace overcame me, with God I would weather this storm, and then and there with my son sitting on my lap, I declared to myself, “On this rock I will stand.”
It was a huge turning point for me. I decided to let go of my bitterness and self-pity and instead use my experiences for something far greater.
Life progressed, and my family would endure another miscarriage. This time, however, I was halfway through my pregnancy and the baby would need to be delivered and a funeral planned. This gave a whole new meaning to take up your cross! Again, I turned to Luke’s Gospel and found comfort in Jesus’ words: “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” I thought about the cross and what it meant. An all- powerful, all-knowing God could have brought Salvation any another way, but He choose the cross. Our salvation literally rests on the cross and if we are to imitate Jesus and share in his glorious resurrection, then we too, must share in His sufferings. I was facing yet another storm, and while this time I knew I was standing on the rock. I also understood that our suffering could take on meaning in the light of the cross.
During our darkest hour, our church family reached out to us by attending the funeral, babysitting, providing meals, and uplifting our family in prayer. It was then that I realized we were not alone. Jesus did not need Simon’s help, but allowed it to be the example of how to carry each other’s crosses, and so we took what friends and family offered which helped us bear the load.
A call came soon after we buried our baby from our parish priest asking if we might reach out to another couple facing a similar situation. Their baby had complications and they were being advised to abort the baby. They decided to carry the baby to term and to relish in the joy of a precious new life. Throughout the pregnancy we remained close and after the baby was born we were invited back to see them and they asked us to be the godparents. As we gazed upon the beautiful precious life God had given them, we watched her struggle to breath and knew it would only be a matter of time before she would join her Creator into everlasting life, I felt as though we had just held a saint and the privilege was incredibly powerful.
Many have asked me if our suffering—the miscarriages and infertility—served any purpose. And my answer is overwhelmingly yes. As I look back I can see how God’s revelations have come full circle. Yes, the storms of life were there, but with God I am standing on the rock firm in the knowledge that our trials and tribulations find meaning at the foot of Christ’s cross. Most importantly, I’ve learned how to be a light in the darkness, by loving your neighbor as yourself and allowing others to help us weather the storms.