It's been a week since my little Jedidiah was born and I've had some time to reflect on his birth. Being my 6th birth (5th without pain medication or medical intervention, 4th home birth), I've learned a few things about how to get through the pain and difficulty that birth naturally brings. And it seems that each experience keeps getting better and more manageable. This is not because of anything special in me or that I am some sort of supermom. Not at all!!! What I have learned is this: "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matt. 19:26) I've come to wonder how anyone can birth without Jesus!
Having experience as a doula (childbirth assistant) I have helped many women find ways to make the pain of childbirth manageable. There are lots of ideas and helpful information out there! But through personal experience I have come to believe that it is only when we rest in Jesus that we have the kind of joyful, God-honoring birth that He desires us to have.
So what does this look like? Here's my experience with Jed's birth. As labor intensifies the contractions feel like a tight band wrapped around my pelvis with strong cramping all along the front radiating around through my lower back and even down into my thighs. I imagine the giant, powerful, loving hands of my Creator God wrapped around my hips squeezing the baby down further and further with each contraction. This beautiful imagery helps me to relax and surrender my body over to Him to do His work in my body and bring my baby to me. I trust the wisdom of His perfect design when He created my body to do this work of birthing this baby. I think about how He has secretly fashioned and formed this baby in my womb all these months and has known my baby which only His eyes have seen. He is now working in my body to bring the baby and reveal His special gift to me!
As the contractions intensify the only thing I must do is surrender more to my Creator's hands, relaxing my whole body and resting in Him. This seems opposite of what I want to do. It seems the natural tendency in response to pain is to tense up with fear and worry. But instead I must respond with more trust and surrender and completely relax my body. When I do this the pain begins to subside. When I fear and tense up, the pain intensifies.
The morning I went into labor a friend of mine gave me a verse that helped me so much through my labor. Isaiah 26:3, "He will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusts in Thee." With each contraction I would whisper this verse or pray, "Jesus, bring the baby," or sing praise to Him. We listened to worshipful music in the background. Steven was there helping me, he would sing to me about Jesus. It was peaceful, restful, worshipful. This was Jesus' work. And oh how beautiful, as He brought the reward out of my body and into my arms. Oh the joy! A beautiful baby boy! I am always overwhelmed by the goodness and love of my Father to give me yet another amazing love gift! I am so undeserving and it truly overwhelms me.
As I have reflected on Jed's birth and the things I have learned, the Lord has shown me how these lessons apply not only to birth but to all of life. Birth is just the beginning! I've heard it said (and have said it myself) that birth is the hardest work you'll ever do. I've come to see things differently. The work that comes after birth is the most challenging- raising these little ones day in and day out, teaching, training and disciplining them so they will know, love and follow Jesus! The pain a woman experiences as part of the curse continues through all of motherhood. And the natural tendency of our flesh in response to these trails and "pains" of life is to tense up in fear, anxiety or frustration. But just like birth, this is Jesus' work! He will do it in and through us if we let go, surrender and trust in Him. "He will keep you in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee because he trusts in Thee." ( Isaiah 26:3) The more life hurts, the more we must trust and relax. "Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6)
We must fight against our natural response and train ourselves to respond in trust until we are totally surrendered to Christ, letting go of our fears and worries about the future and rest in perfect peace in Jesus. He is the Creator God who not only designed a woman's body for birth, but also designed and planned every day of our lives before there was even one of them! (Ps. 139:16)
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." Prov.3:5
No matter what you are going through in life right now, remember "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Mt. 19:26) As we trust in Him in the midst of the trial or "pain", God can transform our experience into a peaceful, restful, worshipful one. And oh how beautiful, when He brings us through it and we see the reward of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives! It makes me wonder, how can anyone live without Jesus?