I have friend that decided to move out of a comfort zone. She had three children. She was happy with that. She had no plans to have anymore children. She and her good husband were going to raise these three with everything they could offer-which is A LOT. She had had difficult pregnancies accompanied by difficult depressions which persisted after the babies were born. Yes, three felt great. So, she had her tubes tied because they were done-for sure. Some significant time passed and then the Spirit started to move upon her to have another child. WHAT? How could this be? And it was going to be impossible-physically and emotionally so she ignored this impression for almost a year before she said a word to her husband. When she finally shared her impressions with him, he immediately felt that they should move on it. They went to the doctor and a surgical reversal was not going to work. At this point, moving out of her comfort zone was going to go beyond just being willing to move on the inspiration-it was going to cost a large sum of money for IVF. What could have easily occurred a few years before was now going to become a financial burden. But, they went ahead with it and followed the inspiration. At this point my dear friend believed that since she had gone to such great lengths to get this baby here, surely this pregnancy would be easier than her others. Not so. In fact, it was her hardest. She had to give up a hefty church calling and exceptional homeschooling in exchange for survival. Her emotions were all over the map. It was worse than it had ever been before. Instead of exiting the refiners fire as expected, she noticed that it just kept getting hotter.
Times like these can be so confusing. We are willing to make changes. We are willing to go to great lengths to make changes. And so we expect some considerations. And sometimes, the hits just keep on coming. What does this mean?
I hope it means- lesson learned. As she shared her story with me quite some time ago, I have thought again and again on her statement that for some reason she thought that her sacrifice to bring her baby here would override all of the other negative aspects of her previous experiences with pregnancy. Yet, she was still required to go through the very difficult motions of carrying a baby-something that her body did not do with ease. How many times have I had similar thoughts? You know, Lord, I’m willing to have all of these babies-can’t raising them be a little bit easier? You know, Lord, I am willing to teach this huge class of 14 year olds, but can’t they be better behaved? You know, Lord, I am willing to get a degree in math, but do I really have to study so much?” I believe that the test of mortality is going to require everything out of us at one time or another-and it won’t just happen once. Moving out of old comfort zones, even when we are being directed by the Spirit to do so, does not guarantee any sort of ease. In fact, these especially hard experiences become the very stuff of which we are made and are essential to our growth and progress. It is through these extreme experiences that we really come to know ourselves and our God.
And there’s another aspect of this that I find interesting: I consider it a high compliment to my friend that the Lord gave her such grueling trials amidst her sacrifice. I consider this ‘accelerated sanctification’. He thinks an awful lot of her to allow her to go through so many trials at one time and to know that they won’t bury her. Today she is still my friend in the Gospel, her sweet baby is the joy of her life, and she’s a little bit shinier. I love her with all of my heart and I am grateful for her faithful example.