Do you remember my bout of unexplained nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea last summer? I lost 15 pounds in three weeks. My OBGYN thought it might be from ovarian cysts, but when they gave me a laparoscopy, they found that the cysts were resolving and were not the problem--turns out it was my endometriosis. (I guess women with endometriosis release more prostaglandins, which cause nausea and diarrhea...lovely.) Once they removed the endo, I felt better for a few months--until I did IVF and got pregnant. I don't know if it's common for women with fertility issues to have tough pregnancies, but it makes sense to me that if your hormones are already messed up to begin with, pregnancy is going to do a number on your body.
I could have it way worse--some women have to be hospitalized during pregnancy for vomiting and other complications--but even though my pregnancy hasn't been the hardest that I've heard about by a long shot, not a single day has been easy. I am so grateful for the opportunity to bring this little miracle baby into the world, but after nine months of feeling pretty darn cruddy, I sometimes spiral down into a hopeless place on the days when I feel especially terrible. I try not to let it happen, but it does on occasion--because there really aren't guarantees that I'm ever going to feel awesome, with all of the weird stuff that goes on in my body whether or not I'm pregnant.
I know it's pointless to think this way...to worry about a future that may or may not even occur...but sometimes it's hard not to go there.
Yesterday morning, while sitting in our recliner with my trusty trashcan by my side, I read a sermon called The Resurrection of Jesus Christ given by one of the leaders of our church, D. Todd Christofferson. It is excellent--I recommend it. It details the events of Christ's miraculous resurrection and goes on to explain some of the spiritual significance for us today and always. One passage in particular caught my attention:
"The Savior makes all things right. No injustice in mortality is permanent, even death, for He restores life again. No injury, disability, betrayal, or abuse goes uncompensated in the end because of His ultimate justice and mercy."
The word that caught my attention was "uncompensated." I've heard that word used in the context of life's trials and difficulties before, but I've never thought deeply about what it means. I looked up the Webster definition of "compensate," and I was struck by the definition as it relates to the struggles of life:
"Compensate: to provide something good as a balance against something bad or undesirable"
Sitting there in the recliner in the early hours of the morning, before Noah had woken up and while everything around me was quiet, I was overwhelmed by the implications of this definition. To be compensated doesn't mean that we get back exactly what we lost. It doesn't mean that those whom we feel have harmed us receive a "comeuppance" that we determine is just. It doesn't mean that life is perfect or easy. It just means that when we face something difficult, God--in His infinite, unspeakable goodness--will provide something good to balance against our struggle.
Oh how true this principle has been in my life! I could never expect to be compensated by God for any of the trials I face--I am too richly blessed to begin with to ever feel entitled to more blessings--and yet He never fails to pour out His tender mercies on me. It brings me to tears when I think about it.
When my mother was sick for thirteen years, when she passed away, when I struggled with infertility, when adoptions fell through, when my baby had colic and I felt so alone, when I was going through the intense process of IVF, when I am enduring months of pregnancy nausea...honestly, even when I go through the simple, everyday trials and stresses of daily life (which sometimes feel even more overwhelming than the "big" stuff)...God has compensated me for my heartaches through unexpected, undeserved, beautiful mercies. Sometimes it's hard to recognize those blessings in the moment, but when I pause and reflect on my experiences, it is so apparent that His hand has been there, lifting me and prompting others to lift me as well.
Why does He do this? Why is He so good to His children? He loves us. I know He does. I believe that He weeps with us during our trials, and though He doesn't always intervene, He is there strengthening us, reaching out to us in small ways to "balance" some of our heartache with gifts that bring us joy and get us through. I know that this is true because I have lived it.
So why am I writing this post today? I am writing it to remind myself. Because even though I had this revelation about compensation and the infinite goodness of God yesterday, I felt so hopeless and discouraged this morning. Sometimes life is just tough like that.
God is good, and He is there--and whatever life calls upon us to bear, we can do it through Him. I want and need to remember this, always.