Friday, March 12, 2010

Loving through the Suffering

Artist Unknown

I have been spending the weeks of Lent following the stations of the cross as laid out in the book
Following Christ: A Lenten Reader to Stretch Your Soul by Carmen Acevedo Butcher.  To read my previous post on this reader, click HERE.

I am currently studying, praying about and meditating on the suffering of Christ during his trial and walk to Golgotha, the place where he was crucified.  We can imagine ourselves there, present and in the midst of all that was happening.  We can sense the reality that Christ knew human suffering; emotional and physical suffering.  Christ became human and connects with us through the bond of humanity.  Christ was flogged and beaten.  Christ was cursed at, mocked, humiliated and spat upon.  His head was stuffed inside a crown of thorns, meant to both torture him and to humiliate him as "King of the Jews."  After being tortured to the point of pure physical exhaustion, Christ was then made to carry a cross, speculated to weigh approximately 100 pounds, over challenging terrain to the mount where he would be crucified.  Christ suffered.

I have often felt the comfort of knowing that Christ knows what its like to feel human pain.  It is calming to an extent to know that when I suffer, I do not suffer alone and that Christ indeed suffers with me and suffered for me.  And yet, I must admit, there are times when I wonder if Christ really knows MY pain.  Christ, after all, was a man.  Being of the male gender, Christ never experienced menstruation, child birth, infertility or any other pains that are unique to women.  Given those facts, how can I make sense of my own suffering in a way that draws me closer to Christ?  How can I see my pains in his eyes?

I have never suffered as Christ suffered.  Not even close.  But, I have suffered as we all have.  We have all faced and continue to face various challenges in our lives that are emotionally and/or physically painful.  For me, one that is excruciatingly fresh is infertility.  I faced it before my son was born; I faced it for over 2 years.  I was poked, prodded, medicated, tested, examined...I felt like a lab rat with no personal physical privacy left.  I felt broken.  After all, didn't God make me with a body designed to have babies?  So here I was with empty arms, empty hopes and feeling as if I had failed as a woman and a wife.  I felt forsaken, rejected and broken.  I wondered then, "does Christ know what this feels like?"  I wanted some voice from the Bible to speak to me and tell me they knew my suffering.  Besides the amazing stories of women in the Bible who came before me and experienced life in at least this one way like I have, I also wanted to know if Jesus knew how I felt.  Today is a little different.  I've come along way in my spiritual journey since the days of my first round of infertility.  Then I was still wandering in a desert.  Today I'm out of that desert but on a journey.  On this journey, I found myself in a new and different kind of desert.  This is my second round of infertility and we've been trying this time for over 3 years now.

I guess I'm all emotional about this today because I have started back to doctors appointments, poking, prodding, exams, and yesterday was my first day of my new cycle of fertility meds.  I'm just a mess of emotions.  I think this is partly because of the side effects of these drugs, but also because I'm wanting to be pregnant already.  I want the pain to stop.  I am thankful though that while I'm waiting on the Lord that this time I have a strong faith to sustain me.  I'm not sure if Christ knows what its like to be a woman and face infertility.  Maybe, like my husband, he can compassionately understand to the best of his ability because he too has suffered.  Suffering causes us to have a heart of compassion for those who we see are suffering.  Christ is that friend that may never know the depth of what you feel, but loves you beyond words and will walk across fire, or rocky terrain, or suffer...for you.  Christ may not know what infertility feels like, but I believe he cries with me. 

One of the beautiful stories that comes from Christ's walk with the cross is the story of a man named Simon.  Simon picked up the end of the cross and helped the suffering Christ endure the remainder of the pain of that journey.  So maybe infertility is a cross I have to bare, but I am beyond grateful for the cross bearers who walk behind me.  I feel their presence and their prayers.  I know that Christ is there too.

There is joy in the suffering.  I can see joy in the eyes of the son I have, the one I held in my arms after his birth and said "even if I have to do this all over again, it is worth it just for this one marvelous moment."  We suffer.  Christ suffered.  We can't escape suffering in this life, but we can love ourselves and each other through it.  Simon loved Christ through his suffering.  I am forever grateful for those who are loving me through my suffering.  And I will forever be convicted to love others through their suffering.

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myletterstoemily said...

suffering so no fun, but there can
be a sweetness in it.

thank you for sharing your walk
down that difficult path and the
devotion on Christ's suffering.

i look forward to many visits.

margaret told me about you, and
she's so wonderful that i knew i
would love you, too.


Freddae' said...

Thank you, Lea, for your kind message and thank you for swinging by. Many blessings to you.

Tori Cooper said...

Thank you Freddae for sharing about your personal study! I think it is so easy to get consumed by the chaos of life- that we forget about Christ and all that he went through so we could have a relationship with God. Easter is just around the corner- wow- time flies!

Last night my friend & I were talking about how Christ understands that we are human and each person has their own struggle and personal weakness. I couldn't help but think about the fact that he was with God before creation- he helped God create the world and create us... John 1:1-18 check it out sometime... Christ knows how he created us and how things are supposed to work- when they don't I believe it does hurt his heart just as it hurts the heart of the father. When Christ was ministering to the multitudes the bible said that he had compassion on the multitudes. Why? I think he was looking at them through the eyes of a creator- and seeing their current condition- it hurt him. Naturally he wanted to help them... If Christ helped God create the physiology and biology of the human body- he should know how it should function properly. God knows what we are experiecing and he cares.

I too have been experiencing infertility for 7 months and I have only been married for 8. We are in the beginning phase- and not yet to the point of excrutiating pain, we are still hopefull and tell eachother every month- maybe this will be the month. In the back of my mind- I know that this may be a cross that I may have to bare as well... I try not to worry about it but it does bother me. I have known women who have waited over 7 years to finally have a child... and I think, "oh God, I hope that's not me"... but I know that I am no better than anyone else- it could happen to anyone.

It wasn't until I got married that I started to have problems (which run in my family- my mother had fertility problems and multiple miscarriages- somehow she managed to have six kids- but her body was tore up by the time she had my youngest brother)... I hope and pray for the best in my life.

I don't believe that I deserve this, neither anyone else... I don't understand why God allows this to happen... all I can do is trust him and pray for his will in my life- My life has been a journey filled with suffering, God has blessed me with an amazing understanding husband, but there are no guaruntee's that I will not suffer more in other ways.

All I can do is be reminded of Christ and what he did on the cross... thank you for sharing your heart and struggles... I appreciate it!

Casey said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. I am currently going through a hard patch due to health but my relationship with God has grown.

Freely Living Life said...

Beautiful post! Glad we came across your blog. We are now following you! <3

renewd42 said...

We don't have an idea, when I think of the disciples and all they endured, let alone Jesus. Thank God His word gives us the strength courage and hope to go on...and endure thru! blessings thanks for sharing...Lisa!

Tracy said...

Heartfelt post, Freddae. Blessings and prayers being sent your way. I've had struggles of my own in this regard and remember well the tremendous ache that goes along with it. May God strengthen you and give you peace.


Freddae' said...

Thanks all. Its hard to face challenges but its comforting to know there are others willing to be there for you. You all rock my socks!!!

Freddae' said...

@Tori - Amen!
@Casey - I'm sorry to hear about your rough patch. Let me know if I can be there for you in any way.

Dustine said...

Just saw a show, "The Miracle" in Pigeon Forge this past week where they portray the human Christ...and the God well both ways. They show a very joyful and happy human Christ for the most part (which sometimes is hard to many times I think of him as this serious teacher very concerned for humanity and making sure we all get the message) - but I LOVED seeing Christ as JOYFUL. Then, they showed him weeping over the death of his cousin John The Baptist. Then again, weeping over losing his friend, Judas. It was a musical and the song went, "For a little while he was my least for a little while..."
I think it was an awesome experience for me to witness Christ as fully human...feeling all those emotions of JOY, PAIN, FRUSTRATION, LOSS, FRIENDSHIP.

We're taught that he lives in our hearts...I think when you reach out to your friends...and to your blog community...that the Jesus who lives in each of us can understand your pain...hope to comfort you in some way...and send a prayer out that God will help provide the little miracles you need.

God Bless You!!!!!!!!

Lynette said...

Wonderful post on a difficult subject. If I look back on my life, I see most of the spiritual growth was in times of suffering...and I am thankful that the Lord will use all ways necessary to get me where He wants me.

It also made me think back on our walk through the old city of Jerusalem and following the stations of the cross...amazing.

Julia said...

thank you for calling us back to Christ's suffering during this Lent. It's easy to get caught up in ourselves and what we are doing rather than what He did and is doing.

Domestic Success said...

Thank you for your transparency. I had a misscarriage in between my two boys. I did not think I would get pregnant again, but God kept telling me to have faith. When I finally let go and let Him have the control is when I felt better and got pregnant.

Here from the Tea Party at Lady Bloggers!

kanishk said...

thank you for sharing your walk
down that difficult path and the
devotion on Christ's suffering.

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