Recently, one of my friends let me know that she and her husband started using condoms after years of us walking this journey of NFP together. I was so angry and began to realize why she and I had grown apart. I experienced a long period of deep sadness because our friendship had lost an intimacy it once had. I soon discovered that I wasn’t only angry about this situation… I was also jealous.
Now, she was living a life free from worry about getting pregnant, free from worry about trusting God, free from being completely vulnerable…
How weak am I? My jealousy was silly. It is precisely those things that sanctify me. Openness to life, complete trust in God, vulnerability… I was running from them once again.
During my NFP journey I have struggled to trust, but the grace and gift that has encouraged me most have been my friendships with others on this same road. They have sustained my love of this Church teaching and have held me accountable. My girlfriends have surrendered beside me in response to the challenges with beautiful and unshakeable trust. In a world where every pregnancy might be an inconvenience, my friends have rejoiced at each of mine!
What would my life be like without monthly conversations about “peaking early”, “pushing the limits on the rules”, or “taking 3 pregnancy tests in a week’s time” – we certainly have a lot to laugh about!
Recently, after a conversation with another dear friend about this very topic, she sent me this quote from Sigrid Undset: “And the Catholic mother knows that every child she has is worth more than all the stars in the heavens, though at times she is near fainting under the shower of stars…” There is a weight, a cross if you will, to being faithful to this call.
Our openness brings exhaustion. Our openness asks us to trust completely. Our openness hands us suffering. But, when I spend intimate time in deep silence with the Lord, He echoes this quote and my heart bursts open with trust. My friends strengthen my desire to trust by reminding me that any soul He may give me has a value far beyond my comprehension; we participate in the creation of a person who will exist for all eternity! Through their love, prayers and conversation, I realize the fear, the list of cons, the lies Satan feeds me, are all inconsequential.
“Give me the grace, Lord, to trust you with my fertility. Oh Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything.”
“The virtue of chastity blossoms in friendship. It shows the disciple how to follow and imitate him who has chosen us as his friends, who has given himself totally to us and allows us to participate in his divine estate. Chastity is a promise of immortality. Chastity is expressed notably in friendship with one’s neighbor. Whether it develops between persons of the same or opposite sex, friendship represents a great good for all. It leads to spiritual communion.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2347