Words Hurt!

a little blurry because I was in a hurry

Standing in line at the grocery store, I glanced over at the latest tabloid newspapers.  As usual, they were spreading gossip about celebrities and others.  I try not to put much effort into noticing these magazines.  I see them not benefiting our society at all.

This time however, my eye caught one the latest headlines and I was somewhat stunned by what it said.  A celebrity couple was splattered all over the covers with statements about how they are heading for a multi-million dollar divorce.  According to the reports, the couple is divorcing because he “snapped” and stated “You can’t give me kids!”

When I read this, I thought “Oh no…no…no…no…they just didn’t go there!”  Sure these magazines and tabloid papers stoop to pretty low levels and truly do not care whose lives they ruin by their false statements, invasion of privacy, and exaggerated facts, but this one really got to me.  How disgustingly low of them to print something like this.  Here are a few reasons I find this to be just simply awful:

  1. If the couple is truly in the midst of fertility struggles, then they may be dealing with the emotional hardships of it.  This type of pain is only something that people who are infertile or otherwise struggling to become parents can understand.  It is a pain that fluctuates with great highs and deep lows.  It is a pain that leaves no mercy and that lingers.
  2. The assumption that their marriage is on the rocks because of infertility is a little insulting.  I know plenty of people with biological children whose marriages have fallen apart.  With that being said though, I suspect that marriages can be challenged by the stress of infertility.  The wife may not understand the husband’s thinking or he may not know how to comfort her.  One spouse may want to explore different options than the other.  Both may be grieving at the same time.  And, let’s face it, grief is a universal response to loss, but how one grieves is unique to that person.
  3. It always seems to be assumed that it is the woman who is the cause of infertility.  Men can be infertile too.  I know plenty of couples where the men have been diagnosed with infertility due to medical problems, etc.
  4. The statement “You can’t give me kids” is offensive.  Marriage is not JUST about having kids.  Plenty of people get married and choose to not have children.  My husband knew going into our marriage that we would never have biological children.  We started off on this adventure of marriage together knowing full well that our pursuit for children may not have been successful.  Marriage is about love and commitment.

I know that the entire article may be false and completely without merit.  Their marriage may be fine and infertility may not even be an issue.  I really do not keep up with celebrity news as it is, but I could not help but feel bad for the wife.  The insensitivity of it really bothered me.  What if they are struggling with infertility?  What if she is insecure right now about their marriage?  It would be extremely painful to see one’s hardship splattered all over the papers for the rest of us to read about.

To be honest, I really thought long and hard about writing this post.  A part of me feels like I too am benefiting from what was said as it gave me a topic to write about.  However, the words I read on the front cover of the tabloid that day stayed with me for several days later.  I actually went back to the store and snapped off a quick picture with my phone as I knew there might end up being a post about it brewing inside my thoughts.

Maybe that part of me that still lingers back in the days of growing up infertile feels the need to speak out and be a voice for others.  I don’t know…I really never found my own voice about being barren throughout my adolescence and young adulthood, so now, it feels good to find my voice and to use it — sort of like a protective instinct over the matters of all things infertile.

The saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” is just wishful thinking (in my opinion).  Words hurt.  Words can be used as instruments of healing or instruments of hate.  Words can be magical and speak vibrancy into so many things, but words can also drain the color.  Words – whether true or not – can cut right into the heart of the pain someone is going through.  It saddens me when the pain of others is turned into profit.

What is your opinion about this? Did you see the headline?  I’m curious!!

Where is your treasure?

(photograph by Sarah Carter – http://www.sarahcarterphoto.com)

A friend recently told me that when she and her husband started telling people they are taking foster parent classes, they were met with responses that were both surprising and disheartening.  People have said things like “why don’t you just have your own baby?”, or “why would you do that?”  Unfortunately, the majority of these statements have come from fellow believers in Christ.

It seems this appears to be quite common even in the Christian community, or at least perhaps in our area of the country.  Thankfully, my husband and I did not deal with this as much because people knew we were infertile and that we wanted the opportunity to be parents and hopefully adopt.  But, my friend and her husband have biological children, and could have more if they chose to.  They have felt called for a while now by the Lord to minister to little ones through foster care.

After our conversation, my heart was a little unsettled.  The Lord kept saying to me “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”-Luke 12:34.  After pondering on this, the thought entered my mind that while we are truly blessed in America, where is our heart?  In my opinion, it seems that it is in worldly things.  We treasure our actors and celebrities. We lift them up on pedestals and award them.  Yet, do they reflect our hearts?

We fight so hard with each other over our political opinions and opponents.  Our different views in policies and our abilities to express them are an integral part of our freedoms, but do they really reflect where our hearts should be?  We strive for big cars, bigger houses, and small waistlines, but still, are these the things that we treasure?

It would be a lie to say that I don’t enjoy going to movies, voting, or admiring nice cars or homes.  It would also be not truthful if I never worried about what the scale said.  But, I hope these things never reflect where my treasures really are.

It breaks my heart that in this country of opportunity where fellow Christians can walk freely without persecution, we overlook what is truly important.  The Lord has called us to minister to ALL people.  This includes the politicians we don’t agree with.  This includes the actors or actresses that we may find “weird”.  This especially includes children who have fallen into the foster care system.

I have worked in child welfare for eleven years now and have seen so many horrible and vile acts against children.  I have witnessed foster families get their hearts broken time and time again.  I have watched birth parents lose their battles with addictions, and ultimately lose their children.  Sadly, I have seen social workers become hardened to their hopes that they can change the world.

I still believe that one person can make a huge difference in the lives of children.  I choose to believe that people can change, but they need willing participants to walk along them in their battles.  Sometimes, it seems that we want children to grow up in safe homes, or want adults to change, but fail to recognize our responsibilities in these things.

We might say “I believe in Christ and love Him mightily”; yet, we turn our backs on the things that take us out of our comfortable “God bubble”.  Christ surely was taken out of His comfort zone.  He could have decided not to follow His Father’s calling.  He could have walked away, but He chose not to.

If we want the staggering statistics of abuse and neglect of children to end, we too must not walk away.  Foster care and being involved in child welfare issues will certainly take us out of our comfort zones.  It will definitely break our hearts at times.  However, our involvement in children’s lives and doing what God has called us to do is a reflection of where our treasure should be.

I saw a poster one time that said this “You have never looked into the eyes of anyone who does not matter to God”.  I have decided to recite this to myself daily as a reminder of the incredible responsibility and calling as a Christian to love people, especially those that can be overlooked by society.  My hope is that my treasure and my heart will always be focused on the One who is worth treasuring, and on the children He desperately loves.