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When I was pregnant, as the months melted away and my due date drew near, I began anticipating the childbirth that awaited me and my daughter-to-be. As a first-time mom, it only made sense to me to mine the Scriptures for truths that would translate to this calling, to this experience.
I went through and found a dozen or so verses that spoke to me about this task ahead. They called me to trust God, to have strength, to be patient, to not give up or worry, to remember that God was with me in this task.
One of the verses I came across that stuck to my heart was James 1:2-4 “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow—so let it grow! For when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”
While I might not jump to categorizing childbirth as “trouble,” it certainly falls under the heading of “difficult,” making it fitting for my childbirth-readiness repertoire.
As I meditated on and memorized this verse, I was struck by the last few words: “…you will be ready for anything.” And as I began to mull on that, in the context of childbirth, I began to see how childbirth itself can be a microcosm of motherhood, a snapshot of the next decades that await us in those few hours leading up to the start of the thing itself.
Think about it: Typically, labor is difficult. It’s uncomfortable and as soon as you find a position that feels right, something changes and you have to readjust. It causes some women to scream, to grunt, to roar. You become emotional. There’s pain, and sometimes you just don’t know how to deal with it. Sometimes it causes you to writhe, to act unbecomingly, to even tear your flesh. Invariably you are going to want to give up, throw in the towel, escape from the hardships of the process.
But that isn’t all it is. Because at the very end, all of that pain ceases and is replaced with utter joy as you look at the human being you’ve created and cared for all this time. You finally get to see who this person is and, for the first time, you’re getting to see them for who they really are. You loved them before, but now, that love seems overwhelming.
That’s childbirth, but isn’t it also motherhood?
Like labor, motherhood itself is hard and I’m faced, again and again, with those same temptations and emotions of distress, discouragement, difficulty and pain. But we know that is not all there is to it. As people keep telling me, it will get easier, it will be worth it, even though right now it may feel like that may never come.
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So, in those few hours of labor, perhaps God is giving us a glimpse into the journey that awaits us as mothers over the next years? Perhaps, in the weak moments of motherhood when I feel like I can’t do it anymore and I feel like giving up and like the pain is going to overwhelm me, I can look back at childbirth and be reminded: If I could make it through that, then surely I can endure motherhood. I need not despair or lose confidence or give up hope when those times come. Like the verse says, God has prepared me to be “ready for anything.”
And so I began to see childbirth not as just something to “get through.” Instead, it became a window into motherhood.
Now that I’m deep in the throes of motherhood, I surely do not “feel” like I’m “ready for anything” in this journey of parenting my daughter, but I turn to this verse and cling to that, reminding myself that I in fact am. That I am ready—like with everything else—by the grace and help of God.
Carmen writes the blog, Life Blessons, which provides an intimate look into her life as a twenty-something woman as she details her experiences learning how to live out her faith, enjoy the simple things in life and be the woman God created to her to be. Along the way, she shares the blessings and lessons that are a part of this journey, the things she likes to call her "blessons."