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Blog  /  General, Parenting, Adoption & Infertility  /  Don’t forget your pain…


Don’t forget your pain…

Written by: Shannon  |  Found in: General, Parenting, Adoption & Infertility  |  33 Comments »

I was leading worship at a conference in upstate New York about a month ago, and on Saturday evening I did a special concert for the ladies.  Interspersing my testimony in the midst of songs I have written, I shared the story behind my song “In the Waiting.”  I told the story of our 10 year-long struggle with infertility, the miscarriage, the emotional roller coaster, and, finally, the gift of our sweet son Christian, through adoption.  I knew, in a room full of that many women, that there had to be some who were dealing with infertility.  And most certainly, every woman was waiting on the Lord for something.  Aren’t we all?  Every one of us has prayers – spoken or unspoken – lifted to the throne of grace for months, years or even decades.  Truth be told, as I shared my story of infertility that night, I shared it with dry eyes.  I cried buckets full of tears when walking through the valley of infertility, but since it is now 7 years behind me, it’s almost like I shared the story at somewhat of an emotional distance, though not intentionally.

After the concert, I went out to my CD table to chat with the ladies and sign CD’s.  Many women waiting in line shared stories of struggling marriages, testimonies of healing, or just wanted to say “hi.”  But one particular woman stood out to me.  I will call her Emily, though that was not her name.  She was beautiful.  She came up to me glassy-eyed, having patiently waited in line for probably 30 minutes, holding back the torrent of tears that now poured out as she stood before me.  She shared with me the agony of her 15 year  continuing struggle with infertility.  How that all she’s ever wanted is to be a Mom – and how she “saved herself” for her husband, so she could be pure on her wedding day.  She told me that she can’t even handle going to church on Mother’s Day or attending baby showers and that if my testimony that night would’ve ended with the joy of giving birth to a child, she was going to have to run out the back door. I loved her honesty.   She continued to weep, and as she did, I realized that every single word or feeling she expressed was something I had uttered or felt at some point during my journey of infertility.  I could hardly stand attending baby showers, not because I was not overjoyed for my friend or loved one, but because it reminded me of what I could not have.  I cringed at testimonies which proclaimed God’s faithfulness because He had helped someone get pregnant and had given them their long-awaited child.  Was God not faithful, too, in my childlessness?

Now, seven years later, all of that agonizing pain and heartache have virtually evaporated.  Though I did not give birth to a child, God gave us the gift of a child through adoption and filled that Mommy “hole” in my heart utterly and fully.

As I stood before Emily, I listened, held her and prayed for her.  And as I let her know I felt all those same things at one time and hated that she had to walk through this, I felt one strong message shouting to my heart.

“Don’t forget your pain, Shannon.”

Don’t forget the horrible ache that I wrestled with year after year, the desperate cries month after month, the absolute agony and sense of abandonment that my heart felt after my miscarriage.  Because in the remembering, I am able to feel great compassion for the one who is walking where I once walked.  For Emily.

It is easy to pass through a trial and say,  “Whew!  Glad I made it through that!”.  And certainly, the Lord wants us to look ahead to the future and move past our past.  But I don’t think that means that we are to forget it altogether.  If we are not careful to remember our pain, then we leave a huge group of people in the wake of our joy or relief who still desperately need compassion, prayer and comfort.  And while I no longer want to wallow in the sorrow that was infertility, I also do not want to gleefully skip so far away from the memory of it that I can not ache deeply with those who ache today.  In my “springtime,” I do not want to neglect those who are in their “winter.”

How are we to “comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have been given” if we can’t even remember how it felt to be comforted amidst our agony?  I long for my heart to be “moved with compassion” the way my Savior’s heart is and was when He sees our pain.

For the sake of every Emily in our lives, let us not forget the pain from which He has delivered us.  For the Lord Himself has called us to weep with those who weep.

We can not weep, if we can not feel.

And we can not feel, if we do not remember.

“Don’t forget your pain.”  For the sake of every Emily the Lord will bring across our path.

pics Shannon