Saturday, July 25, 2009

Serenity Prayer

I'm going to deviate wildly from my usual format: questionably humorous anecdotes from my daily life and/or somewhat obsessive fretting about the state of my ovaries and uterus. So buckle up, 'cause we're jumping from talk about LH surges to talk about... God.

They're actually pretty closely linked in my own experience, though. Dealing with my particular fertility challenges has really caused me to question and grow in my faith lately. There's the obvious issues, such as "Why does God let crack whores get pregnant and then let noble virtuous ME experience difficulty?" and "Why would God allow both Jim and I to strongly desire more children when the process of conception is frustrating and complicated for us? Why couldn't He either make it easy or take away the desire?"

Then there are the deeper questions. "Is He really in control of all of this at all? Does He just pretty much set the world spinning and then stand back and watch? Are difficult circumstances sent to show us that maybe we were wrong about pursuing a certain path, or are they sent to strengthen our resolve, to show us just how much we do, in fact, want that thing?"

There's also the issue of not knowing how to pray. I used to pray, every time we'd try to get pregnant, "Please let this be the month. Please let it happen. Please let me not miscarry. Please give us a healthy child. And please let it be just one child at a time!" Now I only pray this: "Please give me grace to handle whatever happens. Please give us wisdom in each decision, and please give us peace about the outcome." Sometimes I have to pray it over and over again before the peace comes, the peace that what will be, will be, and there's nothing I can do to force God's hand or change His mind. What I desire more now is that God would change mine. I think that's probably what He cares more about, too.

It's not that I no longer believe in God's power, technically speaking, to intervene in even the smallest circumstances. It's just that I'm no longer sure I care to try to sway His power in the direction that seems best to me. I'm not sure that's the kind of praying Jesus meant when He said we should pray always. It seems kind of foolish and unnecessary to me, if I do in fact believe that God has my best interest at heart, to present Him daily with a litany of specific demands. It's making more sense to present Him with open hands, an open heart, and the request only that I can see and hear Him wherever He might be that day. That I could stay open hearted enough to receive His comfort or peace or guidance based on the circumstances I encounter that day.

Basically, I'm trying to let go of the need to control every little part of this process, right down to the part of me that was hoping if I just prayed hard enough, I could create the perfect pregnancy. God is not my fairy godmother. I can take all the drugs and vitamins at all the right times,; I can get sonograms and blood draws and pee on every kind of test the drugstore offers, I can pray the perfect prayers, but when it comes right down to it, I can't make a pregnancy happen, and I can't keep one from slipping away, either. I am not in control. I never was. I am ok with that.


Hillary said...

It sounds like you're in a good place. I'm don't call myself a religious person; I don't go to church. But I do pray, and I've made a conscious decision over the last few years to be more thankful and less demanding in my prayers. It's a hard thing to do.

Jess said...

I'm not religious, but this makes perfect sense to me. I think it makes sense to pray for the bigger things, the qualities and the grace and the serenity to bravely face whatever happens in your life. Rather than asking for specific things to happen at specific times.

Nowheymama said...

This is so well written. I'm trying to be more this way in regards to life in general. Not easy!

Sarah said...

That was really inspiring! I, too, have to catch myself asking for a litany of things. But, I'm trying to make a choice to be more thankful and try not to worry about controlling things.

Katy said...

I'm totally with you on this one. When Charlie was first born I always prayed that he would be strong enough to do what he came here to do. I very specifically didn't ask God to "save" him because I felt like it really was in his hands and that I didn't really understand the larger plan at work.

These day I struggle back and forth between wanting Charlie to have more skills and accepting him exactly the way he is. It can be hard to know the right way to go.

Whimsy said...

This is lovely: God is not my fairy godmother.

And I think you're on the right track - my own personal opinion is that when I ask God to help me to understand what's happening, when I ask him to help me accept what's happening, when I ask him to give me the grace to handle what is going to come... that's when I receive the comfort that I so desperately desire.

In the end, I know God isn't some cruel puppet master, nor is he totally oblivious and uninvolved in our lives. I just think he has a much longer-range goal in mind for all of us.

Sorry about the long ramble.

Shelly said...

This is a great take on things.

artemisia said...

This is a wonderful post.