This was originally posted on July 14, 2008:
If you're reading this and don't know me personally, my husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for about three years. We've been diagnosed with unexplained infertility and although we had a miscarriage two years ago, we haven't been able to get pregnant since. If you're interested, you can read more about this from a series of postings I wrote last year.
Recently a friend asked how I was doing in this area of my life and I shared with her that while I am fine with being around babies (for the most part) it is very difficult for me when friends and family are pregnant. I told her "I just really have a problem with pregnant women."
She looked at me with kind, loving eyes and asked, as a good friend should, "Do you think there is something you should do about that?"
My first reaction was to stubbornly say, "No!" I didn't want to deal with whatever hurt or pain was in my heart that causes me to struggle with being around pregnant women.
But her question started me on a journey that I never expected to go down.
During the last few weeks, as I have I pondered her question, I have come to realize that I have allowed the pain, hurt and anger of three years of infertility to harden parts of my heart.
God has brought to light the people in my life that I am resentful toward - for achieving pregnancies easily, for not being sensitive to my struggle or for never acknowledging what I am going through. I realized I was also angry at God for allowing every person in my life (or so it seemed) to get pregnant - except for me.
This realization hit me with full force when I read the following question one morning during my devotional time: "Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful? Am I proud? Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?"
While all those questions are important, did you read the last one? "If so, what am I doing about it?"
Well for three years I haven't done a thing about it. I have just clung to my hurt, pain, longing, and anger. I felt justified in holding on to these feelings and they became a crutch that I clung to in tough moments and on hard days.
My crutch came tumbling down when I read this quote: "Bitterness will end up affecting you more than anyone else."
I doubt any of the people I hold resentment and bitterness toward have any idea that I feel this way. I am very good at covering it up. While in my mind I might have been thinking "I'll show them," I have discovered that it hasn't really affected anyone but me.
Did you know that bitterness is the unharvested fruit of anger?
My bitterness toward other people and toward God is really displaced anger. Hebrews 12:15 says, "See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
Friends, I have allowed a bitter root to grow in my heart. I identify with the author who wrote, "I hadn't intended to let bitterness grow within my heart, but I hadn't actively prevented it either."
It was painful when I discovered that bitter root. It's deep and I don't want to let it go. But I also don't want to live a life of bitterness.
This week I'll be sharing the things I'm learning about recognizing resentment and bitterness in my heart, and how to begin dealing with it.
Today I'm wondering: is there any part of your heart that feels bitterness toward another? Someone who has wronged you? Someone who has hurt you either intentionally or unintentionally? A parent, spouse (or ex-spouse), a sibling or other family member, someone from a past relationship, a co-worker or boss, a neighbor, a friend, a trusted leader or role model in your life?
Let me ask you this question: Is there ANYONE whom you fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what are you doing about it?