By: Nikki Grayson
The Intertwining of Friendship, Grace, and Honesty
Guilt. It hit me like a powerful gust of wind; it wrapped around me like a neatly packaged gift, overly taped and sealed with a bow. See, what led up to this guilt was something that I never thought would happen, so at the time I didn’t think I would come face to face with this.
When my husband and I decided to try for a baby, I had no idea what the future had in store for us. For the next five years, my faith was tested numerous times. I stumbled and fell time and again with each loss I endured, but I always picked myself back up and continued to find even a slight glimmer of hope. After my fourth consecutive miscarriage, I was really struggling. When my first cycle of in vitro failed, I was heartbroken and when I lost my son at 16 ½ weeks pregnant via my second cycle of IVF, my heart not only felt broken, but completely empty. My journey to have a baby consisted of five losses, an ectopic pregnancy that left me with only one fallopian tube, multiple surgeries and many doctor visits. I grappled with anxiety with each new pregnancy, hurt with each baby shower invitation that showed up in my mailbox, and the fear that I may never have a child.
While in the midst of everything, I never would have thought that one day I would feel guilty of all things.
The seed of guilt was planted in me right from the beginning of my battle, I just didn’t know it yet. I missed baby showers, I skipped out on conversations that involved parenting struggles, and I fell out of touch with friends who were having babies so easily. My heart was breaking with every loss I endured, and I was trying to do what was best for me at the time.
The seed of guilt sprang forth after I had my son. Having a newborn IS hard, but I felt that I couldn’t confide in those around me. I couldn’t reach out to others who had children because I wasn’t there for them. When I needed advice, I didn’t feel as though I could turn to them. It was so hard for me to open up and let my guard down. How could I step out and ask them questions I had as a new mom, when they couldn’t ask me because infertility was an uncomfortable barrier between us? And to take it even further, I felt guilty for even feeling that I needed to talk to a friend because I had wanted to be a mom so badly. Satan was trying to feed me the lie that I was wrong for needing help, that I should keep any struggles I had to myself. The more we long for a shoulder to lean on, the more Satan will interfere with lies that tell us we should act as though everything is fine.
One morning, after my first real cry since I’d had my son, I took a few minutes to read my devotion. The words were sweet as honey, it was as if God was keeping that one page for me to read on that exact day. It was simple really, yet jam packed with a powerful weapon I needed to fight my guilt. That weapon was the ability to be real with others, to tell the truth and to be honest. I didn’t have to act as though everything was just fine because I felt I couldn’t reach out to others because of the past. I needed a helping hand, and I knew my family and friends would be more than happy to guide me. They stuck with me throughout everything, and they were willing to listen. As I opened up to them, I realized the sweetness of being able to talk to a friend mama to mama. After all, I had longed for these conversations, to have heart to heart talks about our sweet babies.
We see that scripture states: Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body (Ephesians 4:25). Our ‘neighbor’ might just be our friend who is overwhelmed and struggling with her little ones, and she wants to tell you, but she needs us to be real with her first. Our ‘neighbor’ may be that family member who, on Facebook, is telling the world she is okay, but deep down, she’s wrestling with a broken heart. We all have a battle we are dealing with in different areas, and it’s more than okay, God makes it known that we will have struggles. We need each other, and God wants us to help each other out.
I decided I would start that day, that I could be honest despite the guilt. The guilt was a seed that Satan had planted, and I had to fight back. I reached out to my friend, met up with a family member who had small children, and reached out to my husband. I had to work at it to dig up the seeds that had grown, but with God’s help it was easier than I had thought it would be.
Mama to Mama, we opened up our hearts to one another. With each honest and real word, I spoke the walls they had put up came down also. It’s difficult for us to feel vulnerable, but vulnerability is what it takes to be real with others. So, despite the emotions or feelings that try and hold you back from those heartfelt conversations, push through them. “Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice” (Proverbs 27:9).
If you are suffering under the weight of guilt, anxiety, or fear, just remember that you don’t have to walk through your struggles alone. That friend we feel the nudge to reach out to may just need some honesty to allow her to open up also. I challenge you to do just that and wait and see the amazing blessings God will bring forth.
About Nikki Grayson
Nikki and her husband endured years of repeated miscarriages, infertility, and the loss of their son Hunter at 16 ½ weeks pregnant. Her sixth pregnancy resulted in their rainbow baby; a sweet and very loved little boy. Aside from being a nurse, Nikki has a heart that longs to reach out to others who are struggling with pregnancy after loss and precious Mamas who are hurting after the loss of their baby. Nikki wrote a book during the weeks after losing Hunter called Teardrops in Hunter’s Hollow. The words and pages are meant to be a safe place for women to know and feel they are not alone, with glimmers of hope along the way