A couple of months ago, I got a picture book called "Leonardo's Horse" from the library. We've been studying the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and I've found some real gems there to help us in our study.
This book was an interesting story about the massive bronze horse that Leonardo Da Vinci wanted to build and the man who tried to make his dream a reality just a few years ago. I learned a thing or two about Da Vinci that I hadn't known before, but what was most interesting to me was his obsession with this horse.
According to the book, he despaired toward the end of his life because he wasn't going to be able to build it. He talked about it on his death bed, and he worried that his life was in vain because he couldn't create his dream. This great man, who gave so much to the world, wasn't focusing on the Mona Lisa or the Last Supper or his amazing inventions. Instead, he was worried that he hadn't accomplished anything worthwhile during his full life because casting this horse was out of his reach.
This last year has been a lovely one for me, but it's also been a time of disappointment and heartache. After two years of trying, I think I'm about to give up on the idea of having another baby. This was something that we felt like God was asking us to do, and though there were times that I panicked a bit at the thought, I tried to be obedient and open. But nothing happened, and now it seems that we were wrong about what He wanted. Being so out of tune with God's direction for us is just as hard in some ways as going back into infertility.
I've struggled on and off over the years with my dream to have a daughter, and the hurt has gotten greater lately as I've realized that this desire is probably going to go unfulfilled. I can tell myself that I knew that already, but I didn't feel it like I do now.
My youngest is getting older, and we're starting to see a new phase of life that sometimes means that the guys go off and happily do guy things together and Mommy gets left behind. (There's nothing wrong with this. I want them to do guy things together, but it means I'm having to adapt.)
So, Leonardo and I have had a lot in common. Some of our desires haven't matched up with God's plans for us.
Infertility hurts. It makes you doubt your worth and whether your life is pleasing to God. It makes you wonder if He ever cared about any of your dreams.
I haven't ever had the luxury of feeling like my fertility was a gift from God especially for me. Having to fight to get pregnant (twice) and never having it happen when I thought it would has meant that I've had to face the fact that these children are God's plan and not my plan. They aren't ultimately for me; they're for Him. The fact that none of them are the girl that I prayed for amplifies that fact.
These aren't my only plans that haven't come to fruition in the last year. At this point, I feel confused and frustrated and sad and sometimes, yes, unloved.
But I don't really want to be like Leonardo. We all think it's ridiculous that he's staring out the window in longing while the Mona Lisa sits behind him in shadows, right? Why can't he see the beauty of his life instead of what he didn't accomplish?
I keep a Bible verse on the windowsill above my kitchen sink where I will see it when I'm doing dishes. Right now, it's a favorite since I was a teen:
"Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup, you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."- Psalm 16: 5-6
Sometimes you just have to pray and study through the hurt and ask Him to heal it in His own time and in His own way. And be determined to look for the Mona Lisa's in your life that are hiding right in plain sight.