“Our hearts should be always asking, ‘What more, Lord? What do you want of me? What is still wanting? Show me anything that is preventing your love having full scope in me. Show me.’” Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.
Sometimes I can really relate to St. Peter. I, too, tell God repeatedly that I love Him, that surely He must know that I love Him. But when that key moment arrives, when the threat of losing my life as I know it looms large, the temptation to deny Him is overwhelming.
My husband and I are entering yet another phase in our marriage of “Should we be open to conceiving another child now?”
We have five children, and I’ll be honest. I’m tired. My husband is wonderful with our children, helps out around the house as much as he can, and often gives me little breaks by taking the kids out so I can rest or do some uninterrupted housework. But as our family grows, we both find ourselves working harder all the time.
Yes, our children are definitely a source of priceless joy in our lives. We love them dearly and can’t imagine our lives without any one of them. But they are also a source of dirty laundry, endless food preparation, sleepless nights, ringing ears from all of their noise, and emotional exhaustion from just trying to “get it right” with them every day.
But I think God is calling my husband and me to have more.
I know, I know…I was just complaining about all of the laundry, dishes, and work they create. I was just complaining about losing my life as I know it–about upsetting the basket just when I’m starting to feel like I might be getting the hang of handling five.
But maybe losing my life as I know it is what I need to do. I want to get to heaven some day. I want to see the face of God. I want to have the capacity to experience the fullness of His love.
For this I must be made ready. I must allow God to excavate the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul, however painful that may be. I must allow Him to transform me–to turn me into the type of person who is worthy of meeting Him face to face.
I know that with every child I have, I grow in virtue, and I grow closer to God. With every child I have, I die to self a little more, and open myself wider to God’s will. But I’m not there yet. I find myself asking, “What more, Lord? What do you want of me?” and hoping it’s a rhetorical question. But God always has an answer. Because He loves me so much He just can’t get enough of me. He wants all of me, body and soul, so that He can mold me to His liking and thus show me the real meaning of joy.
And so I am so grateful for His plan for love and marriage that guides my husband and me through these more challenging phases of our relationship. I am so grateful that our bodies are free to speak the truth of our love even when other voices threaten our minds and hearts with lies.
The gift of our fertility is open to God’s will. At times we clearly know He is willing another child for us. At other times He is encouraging us to focus on other aspects of our marriage. But our bodies are always open to what He wants. It is never only our decision. We haven’t cut off that aspect of our lives from Him by any artificial means. We are ready, waiting, and trusting for that moment when He says, “Bring another one of my children into this world.”
The language of our bodies keeps us honest. It allows us to demonstrate our words through our actions. We all fail at this at times. Even St. Peter failed miserably when Christ most wanted his support. But times of failure are what it means to be human. It is when we get back up from our fall and seek forgiveness that we journey one step closer to heaven. Peter became the rock upon which Jesus built His Church not by never falling, but by always getting up again and humbling himself enough to seek God’s mercy. It is these moments precisely that God is clearly showing us where we are failing to love Him–where our self-centeredness overshadows our God-centeredness. It is these moments precisely in which the hand of God is crafting us into the work of art He knows we can be.
I don’t know for sure when God will call my husband and me to have another child, but I know that when He does, I must be ready with an unhesitating “Yes”. Perhaps another pregnancy is the greatest message of love I could give to my family–the message that my body is a gift, designed to love, nurture, and suffer for the sake of others. A body great with child speaks volumes to all who encounter it. We are all familiar with the comments that pregnant mothers of many receive from friends and strangers alike. Perhaps these comments are simply masking an awe–an admiration for witnessing the work of God. Perhaps these comments actually highlight the inadequacy of the spoken word when the language of the body is so much more eloquent.
As we enter into the Lenten season, ask God what more He wants from you. Don’t be afraid to ask Him to reveal your flaws, your weaknesses, your wounds. God is the Master Craftsman, and if allowed, He will shape you into a message of truth and love that resounds from every fiber of your being, every word that leaves your tongue, and every action of your body.
Give yourself to God mind, soul, and body. Be the ultimate example of love for your children as Christ was for us on the Cross. Speak the truth with the language of your body and inspire your children to follow in your footsteps.