I admit that I neglect the topic of physical pain on this site. It is a selfish decision on my part. I don’t like to dwell on it. Physical pain simply is, and I can’t do a whole lot about it. It is something to be managed and endured for the long run, and I am the queen of self-numbing when it comes to long runs. Deep breath, chin up, eyes ahead, slow and steady.

However, I do not mean to neglect or ignore your own physical pain, dear reader. I know you are weary. I know you have to stay home two days a month from your job because of the searing pain. I know your menses are more than inconvenient; they are debilitating and socially impossible. I know you can neither stand nor sit nor lie down when the pain hits, and I know you vomit and writhe and pass out from the experience. I know the injections, therapies, surgeries, and crazy dietary restrictions are giant feet kicking your already dead horse. I know you shake your head at heaven every time a cyst bursts and ask “Really, Lord? Isn’t my childlessness alone already painful enough?”

Yet, physical pain is a symptom, not the root, of the problem of barrenness. Sin is the culprit which leaves our bodies twisted in pain, and only Christ’s atonement for that Sin will do. His blessed exchange on the cross, His loving sacrifice of Himself for the Sin of the world, is the reason we have hope in the midst of our pain. For, we know that our Redeemer did not stay dead but lives, and though fibroids and cysts and scar tissue and cancer and worms may destroy our bodies, yet in our flesh will we see God.

So, by all means, consult your doctors, your naturopaths, and your pharmacists for help in managing your physical pain, for they are God’s good gifts to us in this life; but, when the pain cannot be managed and simply must be endured, remember your suffering Savior on the cross and cry out, “Lord, have mercy!” and know that He does.

Crucifix on a Wall

What’s Wrong?

Male Doctor Talking with PatientI enjoyed your “Best Weapon against Temptation” post. It’s as if you read my mind, as usual. My husband and I ask ourselves those same questions among others each time we go to some doctor or specialist. We even left a wonderful doctor who was very knowledgeable about PCOS as her main goal was to “get me pregnant as quick as possible.” Granted, I think IVF was even against her particular beliefs, but pregnancy still wasn’t my only goal. My husband and I have always sought a general well-being of my whole body instead of narrowly focusing on just my reproductive health.

Even with keeping that in mind, I find myself tempted to wonder why the doctors haven’t been able to find out what’s wrong, yet. Why can’t they tell me why I’m tired all the time, etc.? Then I realize that even with good intentions it’s easy for me to focus on healing coming from the doctors themselves or to be driven by a desire to figure out all the answers. It leads to nothing but frustration when one looks to doctors alone for healing and answers. As Rev. Petersen alludes to in his sermon, faith built on such “things” instead of God’s Word won’t last. Certainly there’s no comfort in putting one’s trust in things that will pass away. I’m so thankful that we have God’s Word to turn to in such times. The devil sure does know our weaknesses, and I’m even more thankful to have a Savior who has overcome such temptations for me, as I fail pretty miserably on my own!

L. Meyer

Amen, sister. Amen.

The Cross We Bare

surgical team workingLaura Koch reminds us in her reflection on “My Suffering Is a Blessing” that the crosses we bear can be very hard to bare. Thank you, Laura, for baring your cross to us.

Blessed by God – I suppose that would be the “category” that might describe me since I have four children that were created by God in my womb. But I also know the pain and sorrow of a body filled with stage 4 endometriosis. I know, too, the guilt and suffering that goes with losing an ovary by disease and then deciding to “tie the tube” on the other side because childbirth was becoming too hard.

Our first daughter came to be very early in our marriage. My husband was at the seminary, I was a Lutheran school teacher…we had barely enough money to live on, and yet she came. I was so afraid. How would we take care of her? God provided beautifully for all our needs….and even granted us a son while we were still at the seminary. Another daughter came during my husband’s early years in ministry. Our last daughter came three years later but two months premature, as I was severely bleeding due to placenta previa. After receiving 5 pints of blood, I was just fine. And after 4 weeks in the hospital she came home.

So, why then am I writing here? Because I find so much comfort in the words written on this blog. I believe God has created a natural desire in women to have children. We, on most days, comfortably nurture the people in our home. When this blessing of children is not granted or ceases to be, the pain that a women suffers can become unbearable at times. And when one chooses not to have children because of fear or because of a risk to her body, her grief can be insurmountable, too. I know.

The years following my tubal were filled with so much grief and tears. I wish I had not made that decision in haste – lying on a hospital bed in pain due to an enormous cyst on the other ovary. I don’t know if God would have granted us any more children. I don’t know if my body would have been able to handle it anymore. Eventually, endometriosis would claim my very womb, too.

The guilt over that decision, though, grieved my heart for many years.

A barren womb is not always easy to see.

We all know that we live in a sin-cursed world. We are children of God, saved by grace in the death of His Son, Jesus Christ, and we live in the freedom of our sins being forgiven. We know that God does indeed love each of us. We need to hear that spoken in our ears every Sunday, if not more! I know that God has forgiven me for that decision and He has calmed my spirit as years have gone by. I look at my children as the true gifts that they are, created in a body that was broken by sin. And I weep with the barren woman because I have shared in her grief, too.

Laura Koch

I’ll See Your Shakespeare and Raise You Three Little Pigs

“Not by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.”

The Three Little Pigs

Remember Beth, my friend whose hormones are about as balanced as our federal budget? While Juliet was finally experiencing “torches that burn a little less brightly,” Beth had a breakthrough of her own (or so she thought)–one that would relieve her from one of the most annoying complications related to ovaries that overproduce cysts: the detestable chin hairs.

Beth had just received an unexpected monetary gift which would allow her to have a little fun and think outside the budget that she and her family were normally confined to. “Hmmm…” she thought to herself (and then told me, of course), “Should I get a new food processor? Save up for a vacation? Update my wardrobe?” The possibilities were endless, until an idea struck her that made her stop what she was doing and practically giggle with glee.

“I could get laser hair removal of my chin hairs!” she almost shouted. She could really do it and they’d be gone. FOREVER. She could hardly contain herself. Once the Dear Husband returned home from work she broached the subject with him cautiously. Yes, the money was given to her and for her alone to use, but they had agreed to discuss all money matters before purchases were made. Would he think this was frivolous spending? Would he laugh? Would he scoff?

“So I was thinking,” Beth began hesitantly when she found an appropriate moment. “I have this money you know, and the thought occurred to me that I could use it for laser hair removal. For my chin. You know how much that annoys me. Do you think it would be OK?”

Without hesitation DH replied enthusiastically, “Absolutely!” Might I point out, a little too enthusiastically. “Then I won’t get scratched anymore,” he added for extra emphasis.

“Yikes! It’s that bad!” Beth realized in a moment of temporary humiliation, followed quickly by relief that it would not have to endure much longer.

The following day she picked up the phone and made The Call.

“Ideal Image. This is Amanda, how can I help you today?”

“I’d like some information about hair removal from the chin,” responded Beth in a confident, “I’m gonna to take this bull by the horns” tone of voice. (Or was it “I’m gonna to take this piglet by the whiskers”?)

“Certainly,” Amanda said. “Can you tell me what color the hairs are?”

What difference does that make?

“Well, they’re blonde.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, our laser technology uses color to search for the follicles. It won’t work on blonde or white hairs. Is there any other part of the body you’d like to address?”

The line was silent for several seconds, but in that brief timeframe Beth went on a mental tirade.

“Is this for real? Did you just say it can’t be done? What is this, the Middle Ages? We just put a vehicle on Mars for crying out loud and you’re telling me your laser technology can’t find the light colored hairs?! I don’t believe it. You’ve got to be kidding me.”

But perky-voiced Amanda wasn’t kidding. The dream was over. The hairs would remain. Beth got a grip and the anger turned to self-pity. She whispered a tearful, “No, but thanks,” and hung up the phone.

She should have known that it was too good to be true.

Fairytales are only in books.