Baby announcements are hard for me. As a woman who struggles with infertility, it's hard to scroll through adorable photo after photo, video after video, of creative announcements of expectation, hope, and joy, and not feel the bitter pangs of jealousy and wonder if that will ever be me.
I was speaking with a co-worker the other day and we were talking about moving, change, and transition. She mentioned the term "happy-sad", feeling glad and devastated at the same time. We talked about what an interesting emotion this happy-sad is. Happy-sad is how I feel about my friends who are pregnant. It's a very confusing feeling. I am SO THRILLED for them, and somehow so crushed for myself. I won't lie and tell you that my sadness isn't often mixed with jealousy; that I don't get angry and feel embittered toward God for providing to others what I so desperately want myself. I do do those things, and I am not proud of that.
As with everything else in life, I get a choice on how I respond to this. I don't want to live my life in jealousy and bitterness. I don't want to live for the future and be absent in the present. I WANT to embrace my current season of life, even if it is not everything that I hoped and dreamed. I WANT to trust that God's plan is bigger and better than my own. I WANT to be content and choose joy in all circumstances.
In chapter 12 of the book of Romans, Paul describes what it looks like to be a member of the body of Christ--what it looks like to be a Christian:
Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:9-18 ESV)
What an amazing checklist! And what a lot to strive for, by God's grace and through the powerful work of the Holy Spirit: genuine love, outdo with honor, rejoice, be patient, show hospitality, provide for needs, live in harmony, etc. What stood out to me most, though, was verse 15: Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
To my dear, dear pregnant friends (and my friends with kids): I rejoice with you! Please, please never be afraid to share your wonderful news with me--I want the opportunity to celebrate you and to celebrate new, miraculous life! And, if you think of me, please pray that I would indeed "rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and be constant in prayer."
With so much love,
With so much love,