A New Name

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  1. T
    Jan 10 - 5:26 pm

    Another brilliant post, thank you. I loved your and Glen’s insights on 1 Sam 1 as well.

    I resonated with the point that you made about the challenge to celebrate with those who are pregnant. I felt this from the other side: I wasn’t sure if I would be well enough to have children, and was overjoyed when I got pregnant. But because there were friends facing infertility issues, my whole group of friends had a very ‘muted’ celebration with me. I could understand – really understand – why it was painful for those facing infertility to find it difficult to celebrate, but I was gutted that it meant that no-one cheered with me. It is important and a challenge to weep with those who weep – but also a challenge to laugh with those who laugh. One of my friends who had been trying for ages to get pregnant didn’t speak to me for weeks, and I found that very hard. In contrast, another of my friends battling infertility made the time to congratulate me and ask me about it. I could see from her face that she really was happy for me – but I could also see how much it cost her, and I loved her all the more for it.

  2. Little Mo
    Jan 10 - 6:42 pm

    Thanks Emma. This post rocks.

  3. Alice
    Jan 10 - 8:20 pm

    Thanks Emma and Glen. Your honesty means a lot.
    Praying for you guys.

  4. Emma
    Jan 10 - 9:03 pm

    Mo and Alice – thanks for your encouragements and prayers: v. much appreciated.

  5. Emma
    Jan 10 - 9:12 pm

    Tanya – thanks: this is a great inspiration and a challenge, especially when I’m tempted to think there’s just one side of the story. I’m praying that instead of withdrawing and closing down, I too can be like the friend who celebrates and shares.

  6. Liam Shannon
    Jan 10 - 11:48 pm

    Dear Emma,

    Thank you for helping me out with these practical tips.

    I especially like the encouragement to share joy and to acknowledge the pain in community.

    I’ll be praying that our church be energised by the gospel of grace to persevere with sharing the good and difficult of life with one another.

    Thanks again,

  7. David
    Jan 11 - 6:55 pm

    It’s quite a challenge to read your recent posts on infertility. My wife and I tried for 5 unsuccessful years to have a baby. Callie found it increasingly hard at church to see all the pregnant women who kept popping up, but what can you do. I didn’t find it that easy either. Your post balances the difficulty of being there for each other, whether you’re celebrating or mourning. We’re virtually at the point of being placed with a child for adoption now, but that process hasn’t been easy either. I am really proud with how Callie coped with it all, especially since she is quite a highly-strung woman generally. She really turned to God and her friends to help her. For me it was really important to not let ‘trying for a baby (and failing)’ be the thing that defined us. Can’t say that everything is sorted in my head, but….

  8. Emma
    Jan 11 - 9:14 pm

    David – as you say, there are no simple answers. I’m really sorry it’s been such a long journey for you and Callie, but thrilled to hear about your adoption. We’ll be thinking of you in the weeks and months ahead x

  9. Emma
    Jan 11 - 9:14 pm

    Thanks Liam, we’ll be praying this too

  10. R
    Jan 17 - 11:24 am

    For some who are struggling with infertility it’s too painful to celebrate with those who become pregnant, even if those people have had to wait too. I don’t think that the call to ‘rejoice with those who rejoice’ is necessarily a command to those who are suffering in something to rejoice with friends who are successful in that very same thing. Obviously, that would be the ideal, but in reality, especially when it comes to childlessness, it is just beyond their strength. When I read a post like T’s (on 10th January), it really upsets me. Of course someone who gets pregnant successfully would wish their friends would rejoice with them, and of course it was big for your friend who was finding it difficult to conceive to say she was pleased for you, but you could have been as good a friend to the other woman – the fact that she didn’t speak to you for two weeks shows something of just how painful childlessness is for her. The pain of ‘not being rejoiced with’ is absolutely nothing compared with the pain of year after year of childlessness.

    The reason I write this is that Emma’s post is so helpful, but to be followed by that first post almost negates its helpfulness. We remain childless, but we have had to deal with many friends becoming pregnant and some being upset that we didn’t ‘rejoice with them.’ It only compounded our grief and made us feel more alone. So I say it again: don’t require those who are mourning over something to rejoice with others about their success in that very same thing – if it’s real mourning, most people can’t. Don’t condemn them, comfort them.

  11. Emma
    Jan 17 - 12:17 pm

    Hi R

    Thanks very much for commenting. So much of what you’ve said resonates – for me, and I’m sure many others. I’ve been struggling with this issue a lot this week and at the moment it feels like an open wound: if anyone goes near I will jump a mile…so at this moment, the goal of rejoicing with pregnant friends feels impossible.

    But …whilst you’re right in saying it is totally beyond our strength, so is the whole Christian life: from forgiveness to the basics of faith. So it’s still my prayer – though what this looks like in practice is a bigger question.

    The reaction of T’s friends highlights this. I can identify much more readily with the friend who says nothing – but my desire is to be the one who can rejoice with her. However,instead of being a judgement on either, it’s my longing for myself.

    In this area as in many others, I’m nowhere near where I want to be: and as you say, compassion rather than condemnation is required. Otherwise we can assume that the one who says something is more godly, when in fact both could be wrestling in faith and prayer before the Lord. But I don’t want to stay where I am either – so I’m caught in that messy place between the practice and the ideal. Some days it feels impossible – some days less so. But in all of this it’s my heart before the Lord that is the most important bit: and this is often unseen. In the same way, as we come prayerfully before Him and His word, our responses can be genuine but also different.

    When writing I’m often formulating what I think as well as articulating it – so I’m very grateful to you and T and everyone else who’s helping me think and feel my way through this.

  12. Rich Owen
    Jan 21 - 12:35 am

    Simultaneously happy and in tears… is this normal?

    What a post, and the comments too.

    I love Jesus more because of this.

  13. Emma
    Jan 21 - 12:23 pm

    Thanks Rich. (Tho you’re asking the wrong person about what counts as ‘normal’)…!

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