Advent starts tomorrow. Advent is the season of waiting for Christ’s birth and it’s the New Year in the Church calendar so it’s natural that we would pause to take stock of where we are in our lives at this time every year. It’s the liturgical New Year’s Eve if you will.
I’ve shared my story of Infertility with all of you, but there are other journeys that I am on in life – just as we all are. Some journeys are things that we have control over (such as the journey towards weight loss) and others are things that we have no control over; still other journeys are lifelong like the journey of faith.
I always tell them that I’m not sure. I tell them that when I’m struggling with my faith or with a particularly challenging or dark time in my life I point to one Bible verse:
“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” ~ Isaiah 9:1 (NAB)
It’s the verse at the start of a chapter with much foreshadowing about the birth of Christ – and it’s part of the beautiful Messiah by Handel – so I actually spend a lot of time during the year with the music of this verse rattling around in my head (maybe that’s why this is one Bible verse I can quote almost exactly).
I don’t claim to know what life is going to throw at me next. I don’t claim to have all the answers. I don’t claim to understand God’s plan. What I do know, however, is that I am (and YOU are) right exactly where God wants me to be at this point in my life.
Let me say that again.
You are at the exact point in your life that God has called you to.
I believe that with every ounce of my being.
I believe that after every dark point in my life the sun has shone – and the Son has shone through.
My faith life is not advanced enough to be able to explain why my husband’s mother died when he was still a young boy and his father died a few years after that. I can’t explain why a classmate from college was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer or why our own Erika has been on her journey. I can’t explain why there are people who are worried about possible eviction or foreclosure. I can’t explain why bad things happen to good people, but I know that the bad thing is not the end of the story. I know that it is as a result of our darkest moments that God allows us to shine.
Erika’s journey (while it is extremely difficult for her and has caused her to question God’s plan on more than one occasion – I have her permission to tell you that) has allowed a lot of people to learn about a breast cancer diagnosis and to gain a new understanding for what it means to Respect Life. Friends who have struggled with multiple miscarriages and then have gone on to adopt have said “if it wouldn’t have been for my miscarriages I wouldn’t have my son/daughter now. This is the reason (pointing to child) that I had to go through that darkness.”
My own Infertility struggle has had starts and stops. We stopped to take a break from treatments more times than I care to count. We still haven’t started (officially) the adoption process – thanks to some sudden & major red flags with the agency that we thought we were going to work with – but (God willing) we’ll be signing our contract with a new agency during Advent.
I’ve had friends and acquaintances who’ve expressed frustration with me over my journey and the starts & stops, but all I can tell them is that it’s not our time yet. If it was time for my husband and I to become parents God would absolutely find a way for us to either get pregnant or we’d get a phone call from someone about a “young woman who’s looking for a good couple to place her baby with for adoption.” When it’s time, it will happen. I can’t explain it better than that. All God asks me to do is to trust Him and help Him work through me to bring me to that light.
Maybe it’s better stated:
“But as it is written: ‘What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.’ This God has revealed to us through the Spirit.” ~1 Corinithians 2:9-10 (NAB)
“I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to the truth.” ~John 16:12-13 (NAB)
Certainly those two Bible verses speak of heaven, but they also speak to the light that we experience here on earth. After every dark period of life there is always a light.
If you’re reading this post and you’re struggling with something in your life – or if you’re wondering why your journey seems to be never-ending, know that you’re not alone. We’re moving in to the season of shorter days and longer nights and just as we have the promise that Spring comes after the Winter, we have the promise in God’s holy word that light always comes after darkness. My prayer for you all this day – everyone who’s reading this post – is that you always feel the presence of God in your life and you always feel as if you’re being guided towards the truth.
O God of Darkness!
Come, my Light, and illume my darkness.
Come, my Life, and revive me from death.
Come, my Physician, and heal my wounds.
Come, Flame of divine love, and burn up the thorns of my sins, kindling my heart with the flame of thy love.
Come, my King, sit upon the throne of my heart and reign there.
For thou alone art my King and my Lord.
~St. Dimitrii of Rostov (1641-1709)
Prayer taken from Advent & Christmas with the Saints compiled by Anthony F. Chiffolo