A question was posed in church this morning about why people dealing with certain trials needed to come out and tell everyone what their trials are. Shouldn’t they just keep that to themselves since it’s really nobody’s business to begin with? It was a very specific trial being discussed and not one I personally struggle with, but it made me think about my own trials, how much of them I share, who I share them with, and more importantly, why I share what I do about them.
One of my major mortal trials is my infertility. I will never get pregnant without the extreme efforts of medical specialists. Technically, the only people who really need to know about this are my husband and my doctor. It’s really nobody else’s business. And yet I often feel driven to share this trial with others, and for a variety of reasons.
I share so that others will know they are not alone. In a church with a strong emphasis on families and children, where people make off-handed comments about God sending so many children to the righteous women today, it can feel very isolating to not be able to have children or not be able to have as many as you would like. Knowing that others have been where you are, and kept moving forward, can really help you to move forward as well.
I share so that others will understand why I react the way I do in certain situations. Some baby showers I can go to. Other days it’s just too hard. Some days I can laugh off your question of if I’m pregnant or not. Other days I’m going to go home and sob some ugly tears. And before I was ever married and making actual plans for kids I was never one to play “pass the baby” with the babies of others (I wait for the mom to offer to let me hold the baby, I never ask), so after going through all we did to get them here, I’m rather possessive of our kids and I’ll-just-hold-them-the-whole-time-thank-you-for-the-offer-but-I’ve-got-this. At one point I wasn’t sure if I’d ever be able to hold my own babies in this world so I’m going to hold them as much as I possibly can now that I have the chance.
But the big reason I share my struggles is because of how my struggles, my weaknesses, my trials, have affected my relationship with my Heavenly Father. If I share my testimony of prayer it will include all the prayers we offered while undergoing treatment. If I share my testimony of family it will include all that I learned about the eternal nature of family while we experienced the loss of children we never got a chance to meet. If I share my testimony of Heavenly Father’s love for me it will include the peace He gave me when I was at my uttermost bottom. If I share my testimony of service it will include the strength I was given when I prayed not for myself, but for my husband who was suffering in his own way right along side me. If I share my testimony of fasting it will include the strength we felt from the fasts our families and friends did on our behalf.
I cannot explain to you who I am without explaining this part of me to you.
So no, you might not need to know the details of my mortal struggles. But if you don’t know my struggles you can’t know me.