When faced with the task of carrying a cross, at times we may feel anger, regret, or an unwilling attitude.

Instead of focusing on how hard it is to carry the cross or lamenting that it is not the cross we would have chosen for ourselves, what if we were to shift the focus to God, and ask Him to pick us for the unique task of carrying this cross, uniquely fashioned just for us? Well, He already has! He knows us better than we know ourselves and He still loves us, flaws and all. In a way, He is saying to us, “Pick me!” as we set out to pick up the crosses that are only ours to bear and to follow Him. Yet, we often look elsewhere to fill the void we feel, rather than seeking Him and only Him.

What if we were to pray for radical acceptance of our crosses – especially those related to infertility? Right here, right now – pray for the grace to carry your cross, even if you are unable to visualize what the future holds for you.

St. Teresa of Avila wrote about the “interior castle” when building a prayer life with God. What if we were to focus on praying for peace in our interior, rather than being caught up in outward appearances and playing the comparison game? I encourage you, Sister in Christ, to pray that you, as God’s beloved daughter, can grow as you are meant to grow. Pray for the graces and fortitude to get through the next hard thing and to reach the point of feeling peace with your circumstances – whatever they may be.

I remember a time, during my single years, when I said to my friend, Lisa, “If I get married…” and she admonished me, saying, “Meg, stop that right now!”  I remember pausing, startled at the force with which she said this.  She said, “Each time you say if…, you’re denying your future husband.  You’re doubting he exists and doubting God’s plan. Start saying, ‘When you get married…’ and start believing in H/him”.  I was so convicted by Lisa’s words, that from that point on, I said, “When my future husband…” or “When I get married…” any time the subject came up in conversation.

I believe the same is true for the desires in your heart now. Instead of saying if, say when! Whatever your hopes are, if the Lord has placed this desire on your heart, I believe He will deliver on it.  My friend Lisa also shared a three-part prayer that she was inspired to pray during Adoration:

1.)  Draw me closer to my future spouse.
2.)  Repel from me anyone who is not that person.
3.)  Give me eyes to recognize him.

What imagery this prayer evokes, even now, years after I first heard of it!  Sometimes we may stay focused on how we thought things would turn out in our lives instead of focusing on how they actually are. What if we were to actively lean into the present circumstances and look for the ways the Lord has blessed us here and now, even if the blessings have turned out differently than what we were planning for in our lives?

My dear sisters, allow the Lord to draw you closer to His will.  He will draw you to it. He will also repel anything that is not of His will. Repel! That is such a strong word. I think of bugs flicking off a windshield when I hear that word. I imagine that God has put a protective bubble around me; He is repelling anything not for my good and is instead guiding me along the path upon which I should be. I believe He is doing the same for you, too. He is working on your heart as you grow.

The third part of the prayer is to ask God to give you the eyes to recognize His will when you are working toward it. Sometimes we build things up in our minds or have a preconceived set of ideas about what the outcome will look like or how things will be. We become so fixated on what we think we want or need that when God brings us to His will, or it to us, we have blinders on and do not realize His will for us while it is in our midst.

When I first prayed this prayer, I wondered if I had missed the chance to encounter God’s will for my life. I had to keep the faith and trust in the last part of the prayer. Admittedly, I would sometimes forget to pray it for fear that once my eyes were opened, His will would be completely unexpected. I can tell you now, in hindsight, that the way things have unfolded thus far was unexpected!  I certainly would not have planned on secondary infertility in my marriage. My husband, Adam, would likely say the same, that he was not seeking to walk this path either, but I am so thankful God saw it fit to draw the two of us together to lighten the load!  It goes to show you that we never know what God has in store. I am so thankful that both Adam and I kept our eyes open to God’s will and were able to recognize it when our paths eventually crossed ten years ago.

Thank you, Lord, for drawing me closer to my spouse and to Your will for my life.
Thank you for repelling from me that which is not of Your will.
Thank you, Lord, for helping me to recognize and see what is of Your will.

May I carry this cross with grace and humility.

Thank you for the blessings that come along with the cross and for giving me eyes to see there are blessings amidst the hard things.

Amen.

Megan Reister, wife to Adam and mother of one young daughter named Charlotte, loves peanut butter and chocolate combinations, puppies, and her home state of Pennsylvania. Now an Ohio resident, she is a teacher who enjoys working at a Catholic university and helping preservice teachers become advocates for the children they will serve in their vocations. Spiritual motherhood has always had a place in Meg’s heart, and even more so as she and her husband face secondary infertility. You can read more from Meg on her personal blog.