Fibroids

Bearing the Pain

pain

A co-worker sent me the link below. It’s an eye-opening account of what it’s like to live with chronic pain. I would imagine many readers of this blog will be able to relate to Christine Miserandino’s descriptions. Perhaps it’s not physical pain you carry with you each day – perhaps it’s emotional or psychological. It doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, if it occurs each day, or for certain seasons of your life, you know what it means to wear the “I’m doing fine” mask, and it makes you weary and feeling closed off from the rest of the “healthy” world. See Christine’s unique analogy here: ButYouDon’tLookSick.com.

Allow me to put things into perspective, though.

First, from Romans 8:18: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

And second, from the Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 423:

Jesus, refuge of the weary,

Blest Redeemer whom we love,

Fountain in life’s desert dreary,

Savior from the world above:

Often have Your eyes, offended,

Gazed upon the sinner’s fall;

Yet upon the cross extended,

You have borne the pain of all.

The doctor’s in…

IMG_1879 copyWe were blessed to have an OB-Gyn speak with us at The Great Getaway last summer. Here is a collection of some of the wise tidbits he shared with us:

On infertility…

“Fertility is one of those areas in life where God has us where He wants us. We have to lay it down. We have to give it to God. Who ultimately is in control? It’s not me [the doctor]; it’s not you and your husband; God is the one in control.”

“Infertility is a cross. It’s the cross God has given us. We are to bear our crosses.”

“We can’t even claim to understand why this is happening. This is a wound only God can heal.”

“No matter what happens, your Father loves you. Your Father has your best in mind.”

“Our culture says, ‘I have a right to have my 2.2 children when I want them. Children are things.’ We do not have a right to have children…Children are a precious gift from God.”

“If we had something that worked 100% of the time, then we would lose the awe and wonder of creation.”

On IVF…

“Infertility is not a disease. It is a symptom of a problem. IVF circumvents that problem. Let’s figure out the problem rather than circumvent the problem.”

“Who in the world do we think we are in saying that someone is a Grade D embryo?”

“For every baby that is born through IVF, between 20 to 30 are lost.”

The cost? “$15,000-$18,000 per cycle”

On why life begins at conception…

“Genetically, that embryo is not the mom; that embryo is not the dad. That’s a new person.”

On whether or not the pill ever acts as an abortifacient…

“If it happens once, isn’t that too many?”

Is procreation an intrinsic quality of marriage?

Portrait of a young boy crossing guard standing on the road holding a stop signQuestion Submitted: At a recent theological symposium, I posited that we in the Church need “to return to teaching properly about the positive locus of marriage – teaching about its procreative purpose and nature.” Another attendee replied in part that “procreation is NOT an intrinsic quality of marriage, as we do not say the infertile are not married.” If I had had a chance for rebuttal, I would have pointed out the error of his logic. Bipedalism is an intrinsic quality of humans, despite the sad reality of paraplegia. It would be very helpful to hear how you would counter the idea that infertility invalidates the argument that procreation is an intrinsic quality of marriage. I have my own answers to this false argument, but I would like to make sure I have an answer that is sensitive to the minds of those who suffer from infertility.

My pastors taught me that God institutes and defines marriage in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2. We learn in verses 1:27-28 that God created man in His own image; male and female He created them, and He blessed them. He told them to be fruitful and multiply, and God saw that “it was very good” (Gen 1:31).

The gift of procreation is not only a blessing God speaks over marriage, but God sees the blessing of children as good.

Barrenness is not good. Barrenness is a brokenness of God’s good creation. Endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, hashimoto’s thyroiditis, low sperm motility, ovarian and cervical cancers, miscarriages, childlessness, and the groaning of all creation came about as a result of man’s fall into Sin; and we don’t use the effects of Sin to redefine that which God institutes and calls “good” in His Word, nor do we use the effects of Sin to defend the notion that procreation is somehow not a part of God’s intrinsic design of marriage. That is my biggest qualm with the other attendee’s rhetoric. His thesis does not fully confess barrenness as a post-Fall reality. Barrenness proves nothing about God’s procreative intent for marriage other than that God, post-Fall, allows the cross of barrenness to burden the shoulders of some married couples.

In regards to being sensitive to the barren, we should be careful not to turn God’s good, fruitful blessing for marriage into man’s good work. Scripture tells us that having children is not a law of God for us to keep but a heritage from Him for us to receive (Psalm 127:3). None of us would have children apart from God’s merciful blessing and giving. Only God in His wisdom knows why He does not open the wombs of the barren, and we should not burden the consciences of those who are unable to have children by suggesting they should be able to outwit the very Author of Life.

And as for using the existence of barrenness as an excuse to avoid the gift of children in marriage, I can think of no place in Scripture where God calls that good.

Top Ten

Top Ten Reasons for Training for a Triathlon:

10. Exercise is a heartening (pun intended) alternative to grieving.

9. Endurance sports are good training for enduring chronic physical pain.

8. Running helps you go all jedi on the havoc wreaked by Darth Lupron.

7. Swimming laps is a great time for running hymn lyrics.

6. Riding a bike through the country affords you views such as this one.

IMG_1556

5. Endorphins and dopamine, the natural kind.

4. You won’t be the only one wearing a wetsuit to the party.

3. You can train with your siblings and cousins and make race day a family reunion.

2. You get a really cool swim cap (and a really ugly T-shirt).

1. There is bacon at the finish line.

Ouch

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