Before he died, my father was a cancer specialist. I grew up hearing stories about patients who had become like extended family to him. Many of them battled terrible forms of the disease with courage and grace – which inspired him, and burdened his heart. He did everything he could to heal their bodies. He also took seriously the call to minister to their spirits.
One Christmas, I cross-stitched these words for him, “This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” [Psalm 118:24]. To my surprise, he hung the framed verse in his chemotherapy room. I wondered, wouldn’t that rub salt in patients’ wounds? Who could possibly come for chemo and feel glad for the day?
As it turned out, that little message was a powerful witness. It reminded patients that every day is a gift full of purpose. Those who chose to trust God’s purposefulness could truly rejoice and be glad – even when their circumstances commanded otherwise – because they could see past the moment and lean into its greater purpose.
Patients began telling my father that the chair across from that cross-stitched verse was “the best seat in the house.” Many told him they would rather wait for that particular chair to be available than go through chemo without the power of those inspirational words. Patients reported feeling blessed by the time spent staring at the psalmist’s verse, even as their IV drips summoned nausea.
Some made the words a prayer, some a whispered mantra, some a silent meditation. All took them to heart and found strength and hope in them.
And then, what happened? Was everyone miraculously healed?
Every journey took its own course – just as every infertility journey does.
Then, what really changed? Here’s what… That little handmade message invited God into an awful place and transformed it into a sanctuary of hope. The experience of receiving chemo became an uplifting spiritual one, rather than just a taxing physical one. In many cases, that difference transformed the journey.
Is there any place in your life that needs transforming? A physical place that represents your suffering and sadness? Or a psychological place that harbors fears, worries, anxieties and dread? If so, I urge you to give yourself the gift of gratitude this Thanksgiving.
Claim God’s promises to be with you always, to make all things work together for good, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future. And then, put the words of the psalmist before your eyes:
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
See God’s goodness with eyes of faith. Trust His purposefulness. And realize that there is so much to be thankful for, even as you make the difficult journey of infertility.
Need more reasons to be thankful? More hope for the journey? If so, visit PregnantWithHope.com or read Pregnant With Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples