Friday, July 23, 2010

Giving Birth

The apostle Paul often likens the journey of life to a race and in many ways, this is accurate. However, I’d like to compare living the Christian Life to giving birth. Unlike many of my friends, motherhood or the prospect of becoming a mother, scared me. From the very time I learned that I was pregnant with my daughter, I was absolutely terrified. From that instant onward, I was on a one way street. Birth was imminent. One way or the other, that baby was coming out! I struggled with a multitude of self doubts while I cradled her in my womb. What if I can’t handle the pain? What if the epidural doesn’t take? What if she gets stuck and I can’t get her out? I was completely focused on the pain of childbearing and the fear of the unknown. Like most people I know, I don’t savor pain. In fact, I do my very darnedest to avoid it if at all possible. As a friend once said, “Giving birth is like saying, “I’m going to hit your thumb with a hammer, but it will only be a small hammer. The size of the hammer doesn’t really matter. Your thumb is still going to hurt!”

Similarly, giving birth, or the fact that women keep having children, is really amazing. Women all over the world and throughout millennia keep having children, in spite of knowing what causes THAT condition. Now that I’ve had children and crossed over the bridge, I know with great certainty that labor and delivery hurts “like the Dickens,” as my grandfather would say. What makes the pain of birthing manageable is that this is a triumphant, productive pain. Every synapse and muscle fiber in the body is focused and straining to achieve the seemingly impossible task of forcing that giant head through a miniscule opening. It hurts SO BADLY. Each contraction is such an intense event that the rotation of the earth around the sun seems to slow. Every pore on a mother’s body is pouring sweat and the only thought one can think is PUSSSSHHHHHH! The negative thoughts like “OHMYGOSH I CAN’T DO IT” are drowned out by the overwhelming force of each contraction. Then, it happens in an instant. The bones of the pelvis shift ever so slightly and at long last, miraculously allow passage. In a rush, that new little person is pushed out, expelled into the world…BORN. In that moment, I knew the joy that others could only tell me about, but that I could not understand until I lived it myself. I knew why women keep getting pregnant, keep having children. Every mother I know would relive those tortuous hours just to hold that precious baby again.

The Bible tells us that we will endure hardship and persecution and pain. And you will hurt so badly in this world. So badly that you may limp, physically or emotionally, every day throughout the rest of your life in this world. But in a flash, in the blink of an eye, the pain will end and it will all have been worth it. You will be forever changed, and your reward will be so great that you would live life all over again just to experience His presence.

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