Mark had asked me recently, “Are you sad that this is your last pregnancy?” (Somehow hoping to solidify our agreement that this will be our grand finale.) “No.” I responded. “It’s not the actual pregnancy period that I’ll miss, but I know I’ll really grieve that this my last birth.” “What?!” Mark laughed, baffled by my momentary insanity. This is most certainly his least favorite part: almost hyperventilating while trying to breath with me; having to see me in pain and knowing his only solace is to stroke my hair, speak encouraging words, countdown contractions, and feed me ice chips; but most of all — seeing the blood. Mark and our son Liam have a remarkably low threshold for blood. The other day while Mark was telling us a story about his childhood friend that lost one of his digits, Liam giggled profusely, with intermittent exclamations, “I feel so weak. I feel so weak.” So, I know that while I’m telling Mark about the enjoyment of childbirth, it’s this part of childbirth upon which he’s fixated — the pain and blood. I agreed with him about the difficulty of the first part of labor, but reminded him, “it’s the actual birth — the culmination of all of that pain and blood — the new life that overshadows everything. Seeing this new person, who’s been living and growing inside of you, for the first time. . .”
This little exchange came back to me this past weekend. As I mentioned in the post before, I’m glad to say goodbye to August. For varying reasons, the month’s circumstances seemed to exasperate me, not to mention my erratic emotions (not a fantastic combination). By the time last weekend came, I felt done relationally and emotionally — confused, anxious, lacking peace. I couldn’t hold myself together any longer. But, then I started thinking back to this conversation, about the process of labor, and how the physical often respresents the metaphysical: in short, we all are in some form of spiritual labor, right? The Lord has a destiny for each of us in Him, which in turn means that as He reveals things in our lives that our not of Him, we have to release them; let them go. And sometimes these “revelations” can feel like contractions — hard and painful, even hopelessly impossible. I wish I could say that I always choose to work with these spiritual contractions, resting in the Father and believing that He really is near to me and loving me, but too often in those moments I respond in the natural rather than the eternal, focusing on my circumstances, wallowing in self-pity and doubt, angry and afraid, unable to hear the Father. And when I have relief, and the contraction ends, I hear the Lord again. And He, like Mark in the delivery room, whispers to me that He is near to me, that He is for me, and that with each contraction I am closer to something new, some One new, and my destiny in Him. Thank you God for new life.