Saturday, October 06, 2007

Dear Anonymous

I'm not sure if I should even give your comment attention but I was offended by your implication that my infertility and/or my losses are somehow a punishment by God. And since this is my blog and my sounding board, I am going to respond on behalf of myself and anyone else suffering from this illness. In case you were unaware, infertility is a medical problem - similar to cancer or heart disease.

First of all, you say that I am missing religion, which you define as my "daily relationship with God". According to the dictionary, the definition(s) of religion are as follows:

re·li·gion (rĭ-lĭj'ən) n.
  • Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe
  • A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship
  • The life or condition of a person in a religious order
  • A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader
  • A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion

As you can see from the above definitions, religion is the belief in and love for my creator, whom I believe to be God. It is also living my life according to His beliefs and values. I have never stated that I did not believe in God. I have always believed in Him. And I have always loved Him. I may not always understand his plan for me or for my fellow brothers and sisters but I love Him nonetheless. I try to live a Christian life and treat others with respect and kindness. I admittedly said I felt guilty for blaming Him for my losses, rather than turning to Him. But I never once stopped believing there was a God. Therefore, I fail to see how I am missing religion in my life. I may not have been to church for a year prior to this memorial service but nowhere in that set of definitions does it say that you must attend church every Sunday in order to have religion.

Your suggestion that God is punishing me with infertility or miscarriage in order to be more humble is unwarranted and cruel. That is the antithesis of God's character. Infertility is not a lesson or a curse for being selfish or "not humble enough". It may feel that way sometimes to us when we are going through it but God created us and wants us to be happy in every way - emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. We are all selfish to a degree and God not only knows this but expects it. Scripture tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." [Romans 3:23]. So, would you say the same thing to someone suffering from cancer? That God is punishing them with disease for sins they have committed in the past? Or people who have died from natural disasters such as tsunamis or earthquakes? What about those who have died in terrorist attacks? Do you believe they were feeling the wrath of God for things they had done wrong? Or is your judgment specifically targeted to the subfertile/infertile community?

God's grace is to set us free from our narcissism, not to punish us for it. I may not be a parent yet but from what I understand, parenting is all about sacrificial love. So, why would God deny us the ability to become less self-centered? God does not take away your loved ones so that you can pray more or be more devoted to His will. God does not want us to be alone. He wants our love but He does not deny us parent-child intimacy so that He can have us all to himself. God understands our need for human relationship and our basic need for intimacy and closeness is the very reflection of Him:

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. [ I John 4:7-8]

I have known love. I have loved my family and friends, as well as strangers. See my extensive blogroll to the left. Those are all strangers - people I have never met in person - but I love them as though they were my sisters or brothers. I have loved the two precious children that were bestowed to me. I believe they were taken too soon and I don't really know why but I know that God would never take my children away from me to punish me:

See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost. [Matthew 8:10-14]

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. [Mt 18:14]

Children are innocent and they are a reflection of God's will. So, why would He take that away from me to prove me wrong? Why then does He grant children to people who abuse drugs or hurt or kill their children, all the while cursing His name? There is no rhyme or reason. That is a question I will have to ask Him when I meet Him. I suppose those people will be reprimanded in some way. But to say that He took my children from me to make me more humble does not correspond with His nature. As a part of the Trinity, God understands our need to create family units and He would not deny us the ability to procreate and carry on His image.

Infertility causes a spiritual crisis in most of us because it is so painfully mysterious. The memorial service really became a catalyst for a positive change within me. And also within the church, as the pastor acknowledged and repented for not doing more to help those suffering from infertility and loss. The church is usually so centered around family values (be fruitful and multiply...) and that left me feeling isolated and broken. My whole perspective has changed now, serendipitously, from this one evening. I would like to open up to Him and ask for His help to guide me with His light through this dark path. And I can perhaps gain a new community of support from the church who would like to extend its hand.

He maketh the barren woman to keep house and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the Lord. [Psalm 113:9]

Of all the stores in the bible regarding infertility, with the exception of one I believe, God eventually opened their wombs to bear children. In a few instances, the women were beyond childbearing age and he miraculously allowed them to bear sons. I may not understand what plan God has for me or for my fellow infertile brethren. But I believe we will all be mothers someday, somehow, someway. And it will have nothing to do with being rewarded or punished for our actions. It will have been a part of His divine plan all along.

I hope that after reading this post, you will think about how you judge others and how your statements could affect the person on the other end of the computer. Have you ever experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, infant death or infertility? I pray that you will never have to walk in my shoes. Only then could you truly understand the aftermath of loss(es) so profound. I hope that in the future, you will be able to better comfort your fellow woman in her darkest hour.

29 comments:

Abby said...

Well said Kristen! My guess is the person who left that comment has never experianced as loss like we have.

Geohde said...

The most telling part is the choice to post under "anonymous".

That really is hit and run cowardly behaviour at its best.

We all may have different views on a matter, but I think if someone isn't confortable leaving behind any kind of contact point, well, they KNOW they're probably out of line.

Just my 0.02c.

Grad3 said...

Throughout this process, at times, I have felt as though God has left me alone to cope with this.

I did not grow up in church but I certainly trust that He (or she? ;)is out there. Hearing the quotes from scripture helps me feel less alone. I know that my dh (who did grow up in the church) has felt very abandoned by God. This has been so hard on his faith.

Thank you for speaking for me and my dh when we did not know the words.

jenna sais quoi said...

Well put, Miss Kristen!

Also please keep in mind that you are dealing with a commenter who has some erroneous ideas about spelling and is too much of a coward to sign their name to what they wrote.

They also seem to have failed to grasp what you were writing about in your post. And if they are a Christian, they don't seem to get a lot of that particular message either.

People have said and done a lot of things in the name of religion, good and bad, caring and thoughtless.

If Christianity is the religion we are discussing, it is supposed to be about love and faith, kindness and acceptance, and doing the right thing. Not pointing fingers or throwing stones (unless you are "he who is without sin", as I recall.)

Ahem. So Anonymous, you are really getting more attention than you deserve. Thpppppbbbbbbt!

Chris said...

Amen Sister!

Leah said...

It's a rare moment when I, the original Chatty Cathy, am speechless. But I am after reading this post. That was so well put, so heartfelt, so clear. Thank you. You so very accurately explained some of my conflicted thoughts & emotions regarding God's role in my infertility and losses.

It simply cannot, not at all whatsoever, be true that we are forced to endure this as payment for past sins or transgressions. While my resume of sins and transgressions is shockingly long, I am quite confident that there are many, many other people out there worse than me and they are having babies left and right. I too plan to ask about this unfairness (as I perceive it) when I stand before the pearly gates.

Thank you for spending so much time researching this post and for responding with such grace and intelligence regarding a subject that is difficult to understand.

said...

To pass judgement on another person you are more than likely ignorant and often very insecure.

Not only is "anonymous" a coward, I'd be money he/she is also a nutter. You are a good person and I doubt a supposedly loving God would punish one in such a way.

Polka Dot said...

Kudos to you for such a well thought and well spoken reply to someone who didn't have the courage to leave a name. You showed far greater patience than I would have.

Sunny said...

AMEN!!!

Shelli said...

Well said Kristen. Wonderful post.

Waiting Amy said...

Nicely done Kristen.

I hope this was a helpful experience for you, because (sadly) I doubt it will help anonymous much.

Amanda said...

Very well put! And you were so much calmer than I would have been in this situation.

Until you are in a situation of having experienced loss (or lack) of life, you have no clue. I have found, for me, that my recent experience has put serious stress on my already lacking faith. And it doesn't help when you have ignorant people telling you that things like this happen because of God.

Thank you for saying things that I cannot say (and for giving me a little bit of needed faith in God and man).

Road Blocks and Roller Coasters said...

That comment made me SO angry. I'm glad you responded. I went off on the person who posted it on my blog, but I wasn't sure if you would be hurt by that. In any event, well said! I couldn't agree with you more!

Maryanne said...

Thanks Kristen for saying what we all are feeling or have felt at one time or another!

Natalie said...

I am not religious in any way, nor do I believe in a god. But I do try to be respectful of all my friends... and it's very upsetting to me when someone goes around spouting nonsense that is so very un-Christian.

The TRUE Christians I know never go around pointing fingers at others, saying God is punishing them for their sins. They have far too much respect for their God, for themselves, and for others.

Rebecca said...

Well stated -- Amen!

Erin said...

I'm glad you spoke out against that comment--I have a hard time believing that someone who professes to be religious (as I assume Anonymous must believe herself to be to have left such a comment) truly understands what religion is. I'm Jewish and, as far as I know, it's far more important to love and support each other than it is to pass personal judgment on one another.

Samantha said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with such a hurtful comment, but I believe you had written a beautiful response.

Kami said...

Well said! I do not believe in a god, but I can tell you if one existed and was as Anonymous suggests - I wouldn't want anything to do with him.

SaraS-P said...

Oh my! Clutch the heart! I am so sorry you got that comment!

Sounds like you know this very well, but you are in no way being punished by God. I am infinitely offended that someone would even suggest such a horrid notion.

Stay strong.

Debby said...

Preach it sister!

s day said...

You said it perfectly!!! And I love how geohde put it about posting "anonymously."
In EVERY grief book I have read it talks about how normal it is to blame God. He understands our hurt. I don't think anyone has ever said such a stupid thing as this "anonymous" blogger. If it were true that God punishes people, than why do murderers get away with it and live lives with wealth and fame and wordly happiness? Why do religious people get cancer and die? It's such a load.... anonymous clearly doesn't know enough about religion to even be quoting religious advice to others.
GOOD FOR YOU FOR STICKING UP FOR YOURSELF.
And I am sorry that we all have to put up with this stuff when we are already struggling so much.

tipsymarie said...

Wow, sounds like anonymous has been busy. Maybe s/he needs a vacation from reading infertility blogs.
Well stated post.

dmarie said...

So well written! Great post and answer.

hope548 said...

Very very well said! And I haven't even read the comment yet.

Missy said...

I'm glad you responded to that comment. It was definitely unwarrented and cruel. I hope that the person who left it has come back to read your response. To me, your response was very appropriate and inspiring to me, a person who struggles with religion and infertility. Thank you for giving me a better view of the situation.

JJ said...

You did a great job at responding in a calm way that is truly beautiful...you got the message across and you definitely spoke so well for a lot of us who feel the same way!

Laura said...

Well written, Kristen! I was so angry after reading that comment. I will never understand the thoughtlessness and cruelty of others.

msfitzita said...

Amen, sister!!!