Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Interplay of Faith and Hope

This is my life right now.

Every evening is filled with multiple injections and medications while almost every morning is filled with doctor appointments, ultrasounds and blood work.

We are in the middle of attempting In Vitro Fertilization. It is our last chance at being able to have any additional children that are biologically our own. We are experiencing the end, one way or another, of six years of trying to navigate our infertility issues. Six years of failed attempts and intense heartache. But I can sit here today and honestly say, regardless of the outcome of our IVF, I wouldn't trade those six years. They have helped me gain a greater depth of understanding then I would have otherwise.

We haven't broadcast to the world that we are attempting IVF. Only our family and closest friends know. What has been remarkable to me has been the almost universal response we have received when we have let people know that we are in the middle of the IVF process. Eight times out of ten the response is -

"I am so excited for you! Aren't you so excited to be doing IVF? That's just so exciting!"

My answer, though I often do not express it, is a resounding no.

Please understand, we are profoundly grateful for the privilege of attempting IVF. Especially under the miraculous circumstances that our opportunity came about. In every prayer that we utter, both silent and spoken, we express our gratitude. Our gratitude cannot adequately be expressed. But gratitude does not always equal excitement. It's something that runs much deeper.

I've have thought, over the years, about the distinction between faith and hope. President Uchtorf gave a marvelous Conference Address on this subject awhile back, but it has only been in the last few months that I have come to a better personal understanding.

I have hope that our IVF will be successful. I have hope that all of this turmoil will result in the cradling of a sweet one in my arms. I have hope that this will not all be for naught.

But I know that whatever the outcome, it is the will of the Lord, and that we will be okay. That is my faith. I have come to more deeply understand that true faith centers in Jesus Christ and in trusting His will. My blossoming of faith has come as I have learned how to trust and accept His will, no matter what it is, perhaps especially when it isn't what I have so desperately prayed for.

I haven't always been able to so readily accept His will. It has taken years of sorrow and grieving and humbling to reach where I am now. And where I am now is still so very, very far away from where I need to be on my journey of faith.

Faith and Hope have existed in my heart over the last few weeks, dancing quietly and peacefully with one another. At times buoying courage and strengthening endurance, at times waiting quietly in the shadows, ready to appear when needed. But Faith and Hope have always been there - grounding me with knowledge that all is well, and all will be well, no matter what.

And as I've understood and recognized the presence of Faith and Hope, I have realized and humbly recognized the hand of the Savior holding mine, personally walking me through this experience.

Excitement isn't the word.

Profound, quiet, humbling gratitude.

Reverence for the sacred experiences that these last intensely painful six years have enabled.

Courage to move forward, to trust God and go on.