It's been a trying three months for a variety of reasons (first trimester exhaustion is no joke), but that's a different post all together. What's made the last three months so difficult has been the overwhelming fear that accompanied my first trimester after miscarrying last fall. My miscarriage isn't something I've written about or really shared with others and even now, I feel hesitant to put it out there at all. The details are unnecessary but the results were real and left me feeling my good luck with pregnancy and babies had run out. My extended family has history of various pregnancy struggles. I was diagnosed around 18 as "unlikely to have children naturally with ease". With this, I felt like the other shoe had dropped and prayed about the possibility of an only child instead of the more we had talked and dreamed about.
I realize that this feeling and my fears may seem a little irrational and pessimistic. But it was a difficult, scary experience that I never got to truly process and grieve through. Somehow by mid-November we bought a house, I made it through my first semester (and then second) as a teacher, all while chasing after a rambunctious little boy. Which is why, when I held another positive pregnancy test, I was overwhelmingly anxious, researching everything I could do prevent another early ending. I also hit my knees. Hard. My prayer life had been strong through Lent but the Easter season brought temptation to slack off. But the arrival of someone new to pray for led me to adoration often and desperate to tell others what was going on because I yearned for that power of prayer behind me.
I took comfort in the Rosary, the Divine Mercy chaplet, quiet adoration, and the intercessions of St. Philomena and Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, all of whom are patron saints of pregnancy or difficult pregnancies. And although I didn't realize it at the time, God was keeping His promises made in Philippians 4:6-7.
"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."
Little by little, there was deep, abiding comfort in the prayers I offered up. Sincere vulnerability with my midwife even let me have an early ultrasound, letting me see our tiny little person moving around at about 10 weeks! Our God is one of abundance and love and He did not let me down. By the time we were able to finally announce our news to the general public with confidence, I felt nothing but a simple, pure peace.
Pregnancy can bring such a variety of emotions and experiences with it, from trauma to joy. If you are struggling with fertility in anyway, please know that you have my prayers and Divine Mercy intentions as this pregnancy continues.
Sts. Perpetua, Felicity, and Philomena, pray for us!
It's a chilly Divine Mercy Sunday here and the little one and I have been up since 4 am. We had plans as family to attend Mass despite Josh's crazy work schedule, but now, I'm hoping my little one will crash within the next few hours and allow his daddy to sleep in and me to slip away to Mass for one-on-one time with the Lord, especially since I forgot to pray my Divine Mercy Chaplet yesterday evening.
Now, I love a good novena as much as the next subscriber to Pray More Novenas email list, but I've found that mindset surrounding wasn't necessarily accurate. Novenas are nine days of prayer dedicated to a particular set of intentions and a particular intercessor. You pray the written prayers that have been determined as the novena until the time frame is up. I have found a lot of grace and mercy in novenas, including prayers answered for finances and for our marriage. There is so much fruit available when you really commit to praying and asking someone else, closer to God in Heaven, to pray for you too.
But novenas are not magic spells. Length and accuracy are not directly related to their effectiveness! If you miss a day, it can be easy to conclude that there's no point in going on, but sisters, God doesn't exist in our time! If you missed the Divine Mercy chaplet novena yesterday like I did, because of a great day with your family, then offer up two today with deep sincerity and faith. If this is the first you're reading about a Divine Mercy novena, set aside time before and after Mass and pray three before and three after. You can do the remaining three before bed tonight (they're pretty short).
God does not need a loud, showy performance of prayer that is nine days long. God only wants your sincerity of heart when you turn to Him. Your intentions behind the prayer, the purposefulness within your heart and soul are what create powerful prayers. Recall the Jesus' parable about the two men praying. One was flashy and loud, condemning the poor tax collector in the back of the temple who was fervently repenting before God quietly in his own heart. Who did Jesus say would receive his reward in Heaven? The tax collector!
Through St. Faustina, Jesus and Mary gave us a beautiful set of prayers that fill us with grace when we pray them like the tax collector. God will pay us a full day's wage, regardless of when we started. Don't let the excuse that you forgot prevent you from participating in powerful prayers today, sister!