I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the hard stuff that we all go through: the emotional and physical and mental struggles that are just part of life. I guess pushing out a baby will do that to a girl.
My sister was here for Marilyn’s birth and got some good pictures of it all which I want to post…but to be honest, they’re not very pretty. This birth was one of my harder ones and in most of the shots I just look miserable! The interesting thing about birth, however, is the knowledge that there’s no way out of it but through it (unless you die, but I generally try to avoid thoughts like that that :)). It’s helpful to remember that there will be an end, and in my experience, when the going gets toughest, the end is usually right around the corner.
It occurred to me recently that the fear of the unknown is probably what makes our trials the hardest to bear. We find ourselves asking questions like WHEN will this end?? Or, will this EVER get better?! Chances are good that we’ll be able to hang in there for a few hours during the delivery of a baby. But will we be able to endure days, weeks, months or even years of the really big struggles that life throws at us?
There were moments during Marilyn’s birth when I just wanted to beg God to take the pain from me and make it all go away. But I remembered that there isn’t really any deliverance during a time like that…all He can do is send me comfort and the reminder that Christ felt all our pain. That didn’t really mean very much to me until I experienced my first natural birth and literally felt like I was all alone in the universe, that no one could possibly know how I felt. It’s amazing how the thought of a fellow sufferer can buoy up your spirits in your darkest hours.
Unfortunately, some of life’s hardest moments will be like this too. God purposely holds back His powers of deliverance from these struggles for some reason. It’s likely a reason we won’t understand until after the trial is over and, frustratingly, there are some experiences we will never understand the need for.
It’s faith, grace and hope that get us through these times. Faith: the belief in a God we cannot see who allows us to experience trials so that we can become better. Grace: the divine strength He’ll send us so that we don’t have to rely only on our imperfect power to endure. Hope: the belief that life will get better and soon this current trial will be nothing but a blip on the radar screen of a wonderful, happy life.
I love this quote by Washington Irving:
“There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.”
I believe that if we rely on that godly power within us, we will eventually come to know the fruits of our “labors”, no matter how hard.