I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, bears much fruit. For without me, you are able to do nothing. John: 15:5

My dear wife, how I wish you could see yourself in my eyes. How beautiful you are, my lover. You are more beautiful than the cherry blossom, more elegant than the willow, standing taller than the sequoia. Your prayers for fruitfulness have blossomed in me. The beams of our house are cedars; our rafters, cypresses. Through you, through this journey with infertility, my love for you, but more importantly my love for Him who created you, has bloomed. Truly, you were planted in fertile soil, a shoot beside plentiful waters, like a willow, you were planted.

My dear wife, in the first years, you were my willow. Bowing your branches low and weeping when I could not. Preternatural in the depth of your beauty and your sadness. Your prayers of longing pulled from your very essence. Branches and twigs snapping with each passing month. Your prayers tumbling to the ground landing with a deadened thud. But, like the willow, from your spent tears and lost branches, new sprouts started growing in my heart. As your branches were stripped, the stark nakedness and beauty of your sorrow was further exposed. Just when your last branch was stripped away, you were transformed by Him who transforms all things.

My dear wife, when I next saw you, you were a new sapling. How you had transformed, had grown so quickly, I knew not. For it was only after I shed so many of my own dreams, my own willow branches, that, through my foliage, I could see you for what you’d become. For you had been sowed in the field of Love. Your last grain of hope for your earthly desire had been transformed into a tiny seed of Hope everlasting. Through your tribulations, you had grown strong and supple. You wrapped your trunk tight around me as my limbs were crashing down around us. When the volatile winds of infertility and childlessness threatened to uproot us completely, you were the burning bush, an angel messenger, hearing God’s voice and speaking it into the wilderness of our infertility. You had found the Son, and your quiet confidence directed our growth towards Him. In my quest to find my purpose – what purpose can a branchless willow have? – you stood patiently waiting. You had to wait for what you knew must happen. You waited for my transformation.

My dear wife, it came suddenly. The spark of a life without children landing on the kindling of my spent dreams and ambitions. Fueled by my indignation, directionless, I roared. I grasped at your trunk, threatening to consume you in my blaze of suffering, of self-pity. Through it all, you stood tall, sturdy, patiently waiting, praying.

My dear wife, finally, through the fruit of my loss and the fruit of your example, I rose again from ashes. With you as my guide, you helped me understand. You showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, running beside us, in which you had planted your roots. Although we would not see our children like olive shoots around our table, you taught me to look up towards our Son, Savior, and Source of all nourishment. When I did choose to look down at the things of this earth, rather than looking at my own lost branches and broken dreams, you showed me to instead, look into that stream. To see myself as God above sees me.

My dear wife, when I gaze into the reflection of that stream, I see a pink dogwood and a white dogwood tree woven together, splendid in their beauty. They bloom at Easter, in the glory of the Resurrection. And, when the winter comes, because winter always comes, and the grass withers and our flowers fall, I remain confident, for the word of the LORD stands forever. I see those two intertwined trees as Christ may have seen them. Those two dogwood trees joined as one standing resolutely in the shape of a cross – a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice He bore for us and the sacrifice we live daily.

My dear wife, thank you. Thank you for bearing such great fruit through Christ in me.

This post was written by an anonymous Springs in the Desert author.