Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wait: Lesson #1 (bitter or better?)

Over the next 5 (IF-related) blog posts, I hope to help provide you with 5 Lessons for Dealing with Difficult Situations, which are all based upon my friend Kelli's speech/sermon, which she presented at our church back in January. The numbered lessons (1-5) are hers, but I hope to go into a bit of depth and add my own insight, so I guess you could say it's a joint effort! And don't worry, I got her enthusiastic approval before beginning this venture!

Lesson#1 - You can become bitter or better.

  • First of all - WOW! I can remember times when just reading that line would have sent me into a tailspin (bitter??? Don't I have a RIGHT to be bitter??), but honestly...I can look back and say it's the honest-to-goodness truth. Everyday we have a choice. We can choose to be bitter and sulk & have an eternal pity party, or we can do our best to suck it up and accept where we are today. The here-and-now (and how we deal with it) makes us the person that we are; the person that others see. Do you want them to know you as "that bitter infertile woman," or "the woman who counts her blessings each day, hopeful that better days are just around the bend?" (see the quote below)

"A person's character is determined not by how they act when life is going their way, but by how they act when life is NOT going their way." ~Author Unknown

  • This quote made me think of that old saying about how people are like tea bags...you never realize their true strength and purpose until they're in a bit of hot water...how true is that? If God never put us under a little pressure, our lives would be perfect & then we'd have no need for Him...and yes, I know, sometimes it seems as though we've been burned by that scalding hot water, but you know what? We're still alive to tell about it & that says something about who we are and the people that God continues to transform us into.
"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up." ~Psalm 71:20
  • The good news is: God promises there is always light at the end of the tunnel...we are not the first people to see hard times and struggle, nor will we be the last. The bible details many stories of hardship, loss and struggle, but no matter how low your lowest depth may reach, God promises that He will bring you back up.
"Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." ~Romans 5:3-4
  • Rejoice in our sufferings? There's a new one! How can I possibly rejoice in suffering? I mean, I could see being numb or indifferent...and I'll even give you pseudo-pleasant...but rejoice? I'm not so sure I can do that, God. But I will tell you, that after all this time, I can honestly say that I can see how God has used me and grown me over these past four years. I know that I will be a better parent and I will not take as much for granted (of course, you can ask me that hopefully in a few months when I have morning sickness & it might be a different story, but I digress!). I have seen, first hand, the good parents and the bad & I admit that I now have a clearer picture of the life that I want my child to have & the boundaries that I (we) plan to set. So in a way, I can see how this suffering can lead to rejoicing (even if I can't always rejoice in the midst).
"Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God." ~Psalm 42:11
  • Although the change is not an immediate one, this verse gives us an assurance that if we are believers and put our hope in God, our strength will be renewed and we will once again praise Him. It's good to know that we can take a little time for our pity party, but it should not last.
So we have two choices in this fight...we can surrender to the devil and become bitter, or we can rejoice (???) in our sufferings and become a better, stronger & more faithful follower because of them. Which choice will you make today?


Ter said...

Unfortunately, I am unable to really comment at the time because I was beginning to be a "better" person when tragedy hit again, and I've been thrown back to the "bitter" side. It'll be awhile before I make my way back to "better". (Although, even though it's been 3.5 years since my daughter, I still dislike the word "better".... that, perhaps, is the wrong word. (even if I'm a better person, I still believe in my heart having her here would make me an even BETTER person. does that make sense?)

anyway I know this isn't really the point of your post, and perhaps my comment is counterproductive, but like I mentioned above, I'm probably not the right person to comment at this point in time.

Feel free to delete this comment! You know I am in support of you, I hope! :)

roseann said...

Thanks for sharing. It is hard, every day it is hard. For some reason it seems easier to be bitter. I go through mood swing with this. Some days I am really bitter, other days I guess I am better? I think I might have more bitters days though and I'm sure it will only get worse, yeah that doesn't sound helpful or hopeful, sorry. Hugs :)

Jo said...

Hi Teri

I found your blog through Ter's blog. Just cruisin bloggyville :)

I lost my dad in Feb 2005 and my daughter in April 2005.

I was told I wouldn't be able to get pregnant... but then had a son in 1999 and we were SO thrilled. We tried for 3 years for Lilly, and lost her at 12 weeks due to ectopic pregnancy.

Just a little background :)

I also don't like the word "better". I don't feel like I'll EVER be better. It gets easier as time goes by. But it's never better.

Thank you for your vulnerability... your words really hit home :)

God Bless you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this great post. As someone who battled many years of infertily I totally agree with your thoughts. A friend once told me, "don't miss the joy in the journey, even when the journey is hard." At first I thought he was an idiot but then God helped me see that He can bring me joy - even through my deepest pain and heartache - but I have to open my heart and allow it in.