*This was originally posted in November 2013 by Jessica Hiltz. Her words ring true for me this month as I’ve been the recipient of the blessings from some amazing friends. I wanted to share this again to encourage us all to be a blessing when and how we can! Although Jessica’s struggle was regarding infertility, I feel like this post can be applied to any struggle that we or those we know are going through.
It is a blessing to me to have my good friend, Jess, guest posting today. I hope you are blessed (and learn how to be a blessing) through her words.
I was diagnosed with endometriosis at the age of 22. It has been a disease that causes me to live in pain most days of my life. I’ve been through numerous tests, procedures and surgeries to keep things under control, and unfortunately there is no cure. I’ll live with this disease for the rest of my life.
Besides the physical pain, this disease has brought me face to face with infertility. When we were first married, I felt that God would bring us a miracle and give us a child. But up to this point, His plan for us has not included children.
This has been a road filled with heartache and sorrow at times; but on the other hand, it’s been a road lined on both sides with abundant blessings.
One of the many blessings God has given me is my friends. I have some of the most amazing friends; and they have helped to bring comfort, joy and laughter to this road. They’ve been sensitive, caring and understanding of this battle that I face. I could not ask for better.
I want to share today why I have some of the most amazing friends in the world and how they’ve touched my life.
* Make time for just us.
Most of my friends are young mothers. Their social lives consist of play dates and birthday parties. I have one very special friend who’s a young mother, but every few months, she invites me to go to Wheaton’s for a Girl’s Morning Out. We go, shop, eat lunch and just chat about what is going on in our lives. She makes a conscious effort to spend time with just me apart from her children, and that means a lot to me. I know that she’s very busy with children right now, and I appreciate her taking time to do something with just me.
* Listen to my struggles.
I’m so blessed to have friends that listen to my struggles or sympathize over my latest problem with my endometriosis. They don’t minimize my struggle with infertility, but try to put themselves in my shoes. I have one very special friend who listens ALL the time. The Lord used her to help me talk through a lot of the struggles I was going through, and eventually I was able to write about them. Had I not had a friend to listen, I would never have had the courage to write about my struggles.
* Reach out to me on difficult days.
I was so blessed this past Mother’s Day when I had some friends who texted and emailed me that morning to let me know that they were praying for me and thinking of me. It meant more than they’ll ever know. Most people who see me on those difficult days would never know that anything is wrong, but I had friends who could read beyond the outward into my heart and know that I was struggling. Their encouragement meant so much to me.
* Send specific encouragement.
I remember one friend who sent me one of the sweetest letters I’ve probably ever gotten. I was facing yet another surgery and was very discouraged about what the outcome would be. I’d emailed her to let her know about the situation, and she replied to give me some of the greatest encouragement I’ve ever had. She told me that if God never gave me children, I needed to always keep in mind that her children were so much richer because I hadn’t had children. If I had children, I would never be able to spend time teaching hers in school. Talk about a blessing. Those were words that I have never forgotten, and they have gotten me through many a rough day through my struggle with infertility.
* Never pry or ask awkward questions.
Infertility is a very sensitive topic. It’s one that entails a very private part of a person’s life. I have wonderful friends that never pry or ask questions that are none of their business. They respect my privacy and leave many questions unasked. It is wonderful to be able to be comfortable enough around my friends not to have to worry what they are going to say or ask next. I never need to be on edge waiting for them to ask those awkward questions.
*Walk with me through difficult times.
The Lord has blessed me with friends who have walked with me each step of the way. There were often times when I couldn’t express my own feelings or emotions, but my friends were there. Sometimes there was nothing to say, but they were there. They’ve helped me when they probably didn’t even know they were helping me.
Maybe you know someone who is struggling with infertility, either openly or privately. The best thing you can do is to be a friend to them. Make your friendship a “safe place” for them to open up about how they’re feeling. If they choose to remain private about their struggles, respect that and just be there so that they have someone to talk to when they’re ready to open up about their struggles.
You may think that there isn’t much you can do to encourage someone who’s struggling with infertility because you don’t understand their struggles. But know that if you are a kind, compassionate friend, God will use you in their lives to be a blessing and an encouragement.
I could go on all day about how God has blessed me with wonderful people in my life, and these are just a few of the ways that they have been a blessing to me. I thank God often for them. My infertility road has been so much easier because of the wonderful blessing of godly friends.
1Samuel 23:16 says, “And Jonathan Saul’s son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God.” Truly, when my hand was weakest, God often sent a strengthening through the hand of a friend.
Jessica Hiltz is an elementary and music teacher living with husband Jonathan in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. As a freelance author, she enjoys writing on a topic that has affected her life as a Christian woman and that has brought her closer to other women concerned with the same area: infertility. Having found that life is fulfilling in full-time Christian service, Jessica can most often be found enjoying the company of children, whether it be in the classroom, at the piano, or in children’s church.